Coronavirus: frequently asked questions for people using maternity services

If you are worried about your health or the health of your baby, please call 111, your midwife or maternity unit. In an emergency, dial 999.


Key messages for 18/05/20

  • Free online resources are now available for parents and carers in Devon, offering practical information about pregnancy and birth and to help you get to know your baby, and understand your child and teenager better.
  • Free online antenatal education is now available to help you prepare for pregnancy, labour, birth and your baby.


Devon Local Maternity System supports women and families who are pregnant or have had a baby recently. This includes the four providers of maternity care in Devon:

  • Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

It also includes “Devon Maternity Voices Partnership” who represent people who use maternity services and NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group who plan and buy local services.

We want to make sure you and your baby are well during the coronavirus pandemic and we are committed to providing safe and personal maternity care. It is important that you have the right information to help you to make informed decisions about your maternity care. For more information, please visit the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the NHS website:

We are also publishing frequently asked questions that are specific to Devon on a weekly basis. Please see below.


What should I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, speak to your midwife or maternity team who will advise you what to do.

Stay at home and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you get either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

For more information, visit the NHS coronavirus and pregnancy web page.


Will I be offered antenatal education?

To reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading, face to face antenatal classes are not taking place. However, people who live in Devon now have access to free online antenatal education to help prepare for pregnancy, labour, birth and looking after your baby. For more information go to and apply the access code TAMAR for FREE access.


 What antenatal appointments will I be offered?

Everything you need for your antenatal care will be offered to you; however, your appointments may be at a different location than you have attended before or be by telephone or video call. If you are self-isolating or you have symptoms of coronavirus, please speak to your midwife or maternity unit to get their advice on attending routine antenatal appointments.


Can I have someone with me at my antenatal appointments including scans?

To reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading, you will not be able to have someone to attend your antenatal appointment and scans with you. By minimising the number of people who attend health care settings, we can protect service users and staff.


As I will not have someone attending my scan appointment with me can I film it or take live footage?

To ensure the best conditions for your scan, you will not be able to film or take live footage. Ultrasound examinations are time consuming, require great concentration, and any disturbances will reduce the effectiveness of the scan and communication with you.


Will my birth plan be affected?

All maternity providers in Devon are offering the full range of services including home birth. If you have any queries, please contact your midwife or maternity unit.


Can I have someone with me with me when I go into labour?

Yes, you are encouraged to have a birth partner with you during labour and birth – unless they have coronavirus symptoms. However, to keep all our staff and service users safe, the antenatal and postnatal wards will be closed to visitors. We know this is difficult for families but our staff are here to support you emotionally and practically during your stay.


Will maternity staff be wearing personal protective equipment?

To help to reduce the spread of coronavirus, all maternity staff in the hospital and community will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). This may include masks, aprons or gowns, gloves and face visors.


Will I be offered a test for coronavirus?

If you need an overnight stay in hospital you will be offered a test for coronavirus. You’ll be offered a corona virus test for your baby if either parent has symptoms or has tested positive.


If my baby is on the neonatal unit who can visit?

To ensure that social distancing can happen, the amount of visitors is being kept to a minimum.  Both parents are able to visit the unit but we request that parents limit this to one at a time.


What postnatal visits and support will I get?

When you have had your baby, the midwife will discuss your plan of care for the postnatal period with you. We are providing some home visits, while some postnatal assessments will be provided from a local hub or community service. We will talk to you about local arrangements when you return home.


What do I need to do if a midwife is due to visit me at home?

If you or anyone in your home has symptoms of coronavirus, please ring your midwife before the visit. To help keep your midwife safe when visiting you, please open the window of the room you will be in to ensure it is well ventilated and open doors to limit surfaces that are touched by the midwife. Please make space so the visit can be with just the mum and baby and ask other family members to keep the two-metre social distance.


Where can I get help if I need support with my mental health or emotional wellbeing?

Many services are available to support your mental health and wellbeing. For more information, please talk to your midwife.


Will my family be able to visit my baby when I return home?

We advise you to follow the Government guidance on social distancing. We appreciate that this is difficult when you want to celebrate the birth of your baby but there are many other ways of keeping in contact and sharing such as video calls and social media.


If you would like to talk about how this information affects your individual circumstances, please contact your midwife or maternity unit.


This information was co-produced with Devon Maternity Voices Partnership who represent people who use maternity services:


Facebook: Devon Maternity Voices Partnership

Twitter: @devonmaternity


Information last reviewed and updated: 18 May 2020.