Maternity visiting rules 'regrettably' changed amid third Covid lockdown

Ipswich Hosptial is one of three hospitals where ESNEFT have changed maternity ward rules Picture: S

Ipswich Hosptial is one of three hospitals where ESNEFT have changed maternity ward rules Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Visiting rules at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals' maternity wards have been "regrettably" changed as a result of the third national coronavirus lockdown. 

The new rules, which came into effect at 8am today (Wednesday, January 6) have been put in place by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) in response to rising Covid-19 infection rates.

ESNEFT chief executive Nick Hulme Tweeted that the rules changes are "regrettable but necessary".

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, has reassured European staff Pictu

Nick Hulme, CEO of ESNEFT said the rule changes were "regrettable but necessary". - Credit: Archant

The rules mean that general visiting to antenatal and postnatal wards is now suspended, apart from exceptional circumstances. 

The ban has been put in place to " reduce footfall" in maternity units to help enable social distancing to be maintained.


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Rules for ultrasound scan visits have also been altered. 

Only one other person from the same household is allowed to attend the 12-week and 20-week scans. 

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If a person comes along to the 12-week scan, then they are the only person who can later attend the 20-week scan. 

These rules also apply at Clacton Hospital.

During labour, only one birthing partner may accompany a pregnant person.

A person’s birthing partner will be able to stay with them from the point of admission to the labour ward until after the birth of their baby until they are either transferred to a postnatal ward, or discharged home – whichever happens first.

Birthing partners will not be allowed on to the postnatal ward, unless there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances.

Birthing partners must not have tested positive for coronavirus, or have any symptoms.

For induction births, one person is allowed to attend the maternity unit when someone who is pregnant is transferred to the delivery suite.

Only one birthing partner may attend with a pregnant person for an elective Caesarean section.

They will be asked to wait outside the maternity unit until the pregnant person is ready to go to theatre.

Following the birth, the birthing partner may stay while the person is in recovery. However, they will be asked to leave when someone is transferred to the postnatal ward.

For maternity triage and all antenatal appointments, only the person who is pregnant can attend. 

In exceptional circumstances, including breaking sad news or a bereavement, visiting and additional attendance of appointments will be supported by maternity teams.

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