We recognise that the emotional support of a partner, relative, friend or other person throughout pregnancy and childbirth is a key component of safe and personalised maternity care. At the same time, it is our priority to prevent and control COVID-19 infection and keep all pregnant people and staff safe.
While you are present on healthcare premises, you must continue to follow social distancing rules, use a hospital grade face mask and other personal protection equipment. We also ask that you and the person supporting you undertake a lateral flow test 24 hours before your appointment.
One person is welcome to support you for all appointments within the hospital, or community setting. This includes ultrasound scan appointments. We do not have a waiting area and therefore respectfully ask that you do not bring children, or arrive early for your appointment. We also remind you that not all community venues are managed by the trust and rules relating to additional people attending appointments may differ between venues. We do not have control over this.
Within the maternity department at Conquest Hospital or Eastbourne Midwifery Unit (EMU), we welcome a nominated person to support you if you require admission to the antenatal or postnatal ward. To keep you, other service users, babies and our staff safe, we will be maintaining a six-hour, pre-bookable visiting time slot. Visiting times will be – 9am to 3pm and 3.30pm to 9.30pm.
When you are admitted in established labour, two nominated people are welcome to support you. The size of our birth rooms is not sufficient for multiple people and equipment. Therefore, your supporters will be admitted on a rotational basis during your labour. Both people can be present for the birth if you wish.
Please be aware that no exemptions will be made.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that pregnant women/people should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
We encourage pregnant women/people to discuss the risks and benefits with their clinician – those at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 are encouraged to promptly take up the offer of vaccination when offered.
90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, without any safety concerns being raised
Please use visit the Royal College of Obstetricians website which has more advice.
Due to the increased transmissibility of the Omicron Covid variant, to protect other service users and staff, all women/people and their supporters are required to undertake a lateral flow test before each visit to our maternity departments, midwifery clinics or our scan department. We recognise that this may not be possible prior to urgent/emergency appointments and in such instances a test will be provided on arrival.
If your test result is positive please call your community midwife or our triage line – Tel: 0300 131 5341 for advice.
We do not have capacity to routinely perform this test when you arrive so to avoid delays please ensure you test before your appointment.
If you are unable to access a lateral flow test kit for yourself, please arrive at your clinic appointment at least 30 minutes early, you will be provided with a kit so you can perform the test. We do not have separate waiting areas for this so you will be asked to return to your car or wait outside while you wait for the result.
The test kits can be obtained via this link:
Instructions for performing the test can be found here:
and are available in various languages.
Women/people and their supporters are expected to continue to:
- Wear a hospital grade facemask. Anyone who cannot wear a mask must inform us prior to attending.
- Use the available hand sanitiser
- Maintain social distancing where possible
- Please attend with only one support person – children are not permitted to attend.
People can bring one support person with them to midwife and consultant obstetrician appointments. Please read the following information carefully.
We are still challenged with providing enough space to for social distancing in some of our venues, especially in waiting areas, therefore to keep everyone safe:
- Please only bring a support person with you if you really need to. If possible, please attend routine appointments on your own
- Please don’t bring children with you to any appointments, including scans
- Please attend at your appointment time, don’t arrive early
- You and/or your support person may be asked to wait outside the venue until called in some circumstances
- We do not own or control access to all venues, some GP surgeries and Children’s Centres are still not allowing support people at appointments. If you would like to bring a support person with you and your appointment is to be held in a GP surgery or Children’s Centre, please contact your GP surgery or midwife for local advice
- Please ensure you wear a mask, use hand sanitiser and practice social distancing while at your appointment.
Thank you for your support with this.
Pregnant people will be able to be accompanied at all obstetric scans. Safety of our patients and staff is paramount during the pandemic.
- You can bring one support person only with you, ideally someone who lives with you or is in your ‘support bubble’
- Your support person and you will be expected to wear a face mask, sanitise their hands and maintain social distancing as much as possible
- Please do not bring children with you
This change is due to the reduction in COVID-19 cases in our communities and within our hospitals. The decision may need to be reviewed in future if case numbers increase.
Thank you for your support during this challenging time.