Last updated 7 January 2021

If you have any worries regarding your maternity care, your points of contact have not changed. Your Community midwife is available on their individual phone numbers. Contact can also be made by ringing either of the Consultant units in Carlisle or Whitehaven.

All areas of maternity care are doing their best to protect you from the risk of the Coronavirus. Our already thorough cleaning regimes have been enhanced and we have rearranged waiting areas to comply with social distancing advice from the Government.

When appropriate, midwives will be wearing personal protective equipment to protect both themselves and those in their care. We have clear guidance from the Royal Colleges of Obstetrics, Midwives and Anaesthetists which we are following in this regard. This advice is changing regularly but we are committed to following the latest guidance.

All women will have received a message via the maternity notes app with regards to their antenatal care. An individual care plan will be developed with your Midwife and Consultant. Wherever possible this will be based on a telephone service but there are times when a face-toface appointment is necessary.

This situation is ever changing so please keep an eye on your maternity notes app for further information. If you are planning to attend the Delivery suite for care such as an induction of labour or elective caesarean section that appointment will not change, however it is essential you report any symptoms you or your household may have developed so we can plan safe care accordingly.

If you are attending the Maternity Day Assessment Units or Antenatal clinics please can you inform staff of any onset of COVID-19 related symptoms for yourself or anyone in your home before attending any of these areas.

All births are able to take place in the place of your choice. That could be on a Delivery suite at Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital, at Penrith Birthing Centre or at home. Please be aware that our homebirth and birthing centre services rely heavily on the ambulance service for transfer. If demands on the service are high elsewhere, this may cause a delay in transferring you to an obstetric unit in an emergency.

Current guidance from the Royal College of Gynaecology states that women that are suspected of or are COVID-19 positive should not use the birthing pool as there is a risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus through faeces. RCOG Corona virus (COVID-19) Infection in Pregnancy Version 5, March 2020

Birth partners may attend appointments if they wish. Please ensure appropriate PPE is worn and social distancing is respected.

When you attend in labour, for induction of labour or for a caesarean section you are permitted to bring one birthing partner with you who can stay for the duration of your birth experience once you are admitted to Delivery suite. Once admitted your birth partner must remain on delivery suite with you and cannot go backwards and forwards.

If you or your partner smoke you may wish to consider nicotine replacement therapy as we are reducing the number of people entering/exiting the unit. Women can access this via our smoking cessation services and partners will find it available from your local pharmacist.

If it is anticipated that you can be discharged to go home directly from the Delivery suite after giving birth, your birthing partner is able to stay with you within your room and to accompany you home to the care of the community midwives.

If you are transferred to the Postnatal ward following delivery then your birth partner will be asked to leave. You will be allocated an hour time slot both AM and PM and your partner will be able to come and visit during these times.

Attending the unit is your own responsibility and will vary based on individual needs. We advise you make a plan in advance of labour and we ask that you do not call an ambulance unless medically indicated.

For the time being we have had to postpone our antenatal classes. We understand this is a big disappointment to some people however it is the only safe option at the moment in line with national social distancing guidance. The topics covered in your antenatal classes include healthy pregnancy, what to expect from labour and birth, relaxation techniques, medical interventions in labour, feeding your baby and emotions in pregnancy and postnatal. We would advise you to speak to your midwife so she can answer any questions you may have.

We are currently working on the provision of virtual antenatal classes. There is also a virtual tour of the Delivery suite at The Cumberland Infirmary (including our birthing pool suite). This is available via the following link: Virtual maternity tour

Generally speaking we are unable to routinely test women for COVID-19 at this moment in time. If you are symptomatic, you and your partner will be asked to wear a surgical mask on entering the maternity unit and for the duration of your stay. You will be shown to an appropriate room on admission. Those who are caring for you will wear appropriate personal protective equipment, this can seem quite daunting but it is there to protect you and the staff caring for you.

You can still use the Entonox (gas and air) but will be asked to use a mask rather than a mouth piece to reduce transmission to those around you. Your partner can support you in labour as usual however if they are displaying symptoms or isolating due to COVID-19 it would be advisable to consider an alternative birth partner to be able to support you. This is in line with RCOG guidance.

Your postnatal care will be developed on an individual basis. When you are discharged from the hospital your community midwife will be informed of your return home. The midwife will phone you the following day and arrange an appropriate care plan. We will still see you at home when needed but will also be offering a regular telephone service.

Current evidence advises that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh potential risks of not breastfeeding. Breastfeeding support remains in place for those who need it.

Those who are bottle feeding their baby must continue to follow strict hygiene procedures for sterilising and making up bottles and ensure you wash your hands before doing so. If you are struggling to get hold of formula milk for your baby please speak to your local pharmacist who will be able to help you.

If you have symptoms of COVID-10 consideration should be given to wearing a face mask while feeding your baby to reduce the risk of droplets passing from you to your baby. Your midwife will be able to guide you on this.

The health visitor will be advised of your discharge to their care at around 10 days of age as normal.

For information on birth registrations please visit: https://cumbria.gov.uk/registrationservice/births/births.asp

Baby Buddy The Baby Buddy app guides you through your pregnancy and the first 6 months following your baby's birth. It is designed to help you look after your baby's mental and physical health, as well as your own, and give your baby the best start in life. Find out more at: Baby Buddy App

Cumberland Infirmary

Cumberland Infirmary
Newtown Road
Carlisle
CA2 7HY

Call 01228 814269

Penrith Birth Centre

Penrith Birth Centre
Bridge Lane
Penrith
CA11 8HX

Call 01768 245558

West Cumberland Hospital

West Cumberland Hospital
Homewood Rd
Whitehaven
CA28 8JG

Call 01946 523242

Community midwives

Contact numbers:

  • Appleby: 01768 54959
  • Brampton: 016977 41365
  • Carlisle: 01228 814872
  • Cockermouth: 01900 705760
  • Copeland: 01946 523229
  • Keswick and Penrith: 01768 245558
  • Maryport: 01900 811840
  • Wigton: 016973 66609
  • Workington: 01900 705033