Coronavirus may impact where and how you give birth.
Although you may have been hoping for a delivery at home or in a midwife-led centre, pregnant women with suspected or confirmed coronavirus are being advised to give birth in a hospital obstetric unit so that both mum and baby can be continually monitored.
This kind of monitoring can only take place in an obstetric unit where both doctors and midwives are present.
It is also reported that women with symptomatic COVID-19 are more likely to have a caesarean birth, making it even more important that they give birth in an obstetric unit where prompt access to emergency care is available.
If you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection, a birthing pool delivery in hospital isn't recommended as the virus can sometimes be found in faeces.
Not only that but it may also be difficult for healthcare staff to use adequate protection equipment during a water birth. If you are well it may be possible to have a water birth but you should check with your team.
If you have chosen a home birth or one in a midwife-led unit that isn’t co-located with an obstetric unit, it’s important to understand that these services rely on the availability of ambulance services for rapid transfer to hospital if needed and the right number of staff to keep you safe.
If these aren’t in place, it’s possible your local health trust or board might not be able to provide these services.
In some areas of the UK, some Trusts and Boards had to pause their home birth service or close their midwife-led unit but most of these services have now been reinstated.
A Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) spokesperson said: 'Women’s birth plans should be followed as closely as possible. Please check with your local maternity as to the birthing options available.'
If you go into labour, call your maternity team for advice and let them know if you have suspected or confirmed coronavirus.
If you have mild symptoms you'll be encouraged to remain self-isolating at home and when the time has come to go to hospital you're advised to get there by private transport where possible.
When you arrive you should notify them of your attendance before entering the hospital and you'll be met by staff who will take you to a suitable room.
You will also be tested for coronavirus. This currently involves swabs being taken from your mouth and nose and you may also be asked to cough up sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus).
Guidance from the NHS says pregnant women in England should have access to support.
This means having one person with them throughout their pregnancy, during labour, birth and their immediate postnatal period, as long as their support partner is not showing any symptoms of coronavirus.
The support partner does not necessarily need to be the co-parent or the baby's father and the chosen person can accompany the mum-to-be to any scans or appointments.
Whoever you have chosen, you should be supported to have them with you, unless they are unwell with Covid symptoms or have tested positive for Covid.
Page last updated 29/09/21.