Greater Manchester midwives are coming together on the International Day of the Midwife to reassure pregnant women across the region that maternity services are still there, and it is safe to attend hospital when they need to during the coronavirus pandemic.
Eileen Stringer, Greater Manchester Clinical Lead Midwife, said:
“Midwives across Greater Manchester are telling us that some pregnant women are not attending important scans and appointments and are less likely to contact their midwife if they are worried about their baby. These services are there to monitor the baby’s development and wellbeing. So, this is a real concern as it increases the risk that something will be missed. Women are also missing out on the reassurance and support their midwifery team can provide.”
Pregnant women are advised to contact their midwife or local maternity unit if they experience symptoms such as changes in the pattern of baby’s movements, bleeding, back pain, or a urinary tract infection (UTI). Detailed of other symptoms to look out for can be found at www.mybirthmychoice.co.uk/coronavirus-and-pregnancy run by the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Local Maternity System, part of the Health and Social Care Partnership.
Eileen goes on to say:
“We understand that many women will be anxious, but we can reassure you that maternity services are working hard to ensure that you and your baby continue to receive safe, high quality care during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re still there for you.”
Some changes have been made to the way services are provided to protect NHS staff and patients, whilst slowing the spread of the virus.
- Some appointments may now be conducted over the phone or by video call. Women may be provided with iPads, blood pressure monitors and equipment to test urine so that vital checks can be carried out at home
- Women will need to attend scans on their own without a partner, friend or family member unless extenuating circumstances
- Women may need to have their babies in a different place from where they had planned
- Midwives and other health professionals who are caring for them may need to wear protective clothing such as mask
Maternity and birthing services are completely separate to NHS services treating coronavirus patients. Women who have symptoms of coronavirus when having their baby will be cared for in a dedicated area to protect staff and other patients.
Cathy Brewster and Natalie Qureshi, co-chairs of the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Maternity Voices Partnership Network, said:
“We are hearing many questions and concerns from parents-to-be and new parents at the moment, which is totally understandable given the current circumstances. Maternity services are working really hard and are still there for you – get in touch with your midwife if you have any concerns or questions, they are keen to help, advise and reassure. Get pregnancy symptoms checked out, call your local maternity unit at any time – there are no silly questions.”