During your pregnancy and labour

People who are pregnant don’t appear to be more susceptible to coronavirus (COVID-19) than the general population, but are generally more susceptible to infection.

If you get coronavirus during your pregnancy it's likely that you:

  • won't be more seriously unwell than other healthy adults
  • will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms

More about coronavirus symptoms and when to phone 111

You should continue to follow health advice during your pregnancy, including:

You should contact your midwife or maternity team immediately if you think your baby’s movements have slowed down, stopped or changed.

Antenatal and postnatal appointments

You should continue to attend your scheduled routine care when you're well. How you receive some of your care may change, for example by phone or by Near-me video call instead of in-person. Your maternity team will speak to you about this.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus and are self-isolating, please ask your midwife or antenatal clinic for advice on going to routine antenatal appointments. Do not reduce your number of visits without speaking to your maternity team first.

You can now choose one supportive person (children are still not permitted) to accompany you to antenatal appointments and scans, provided that person is not ill or showing any symptoms of coronavirus. If you need additional support, the supportive person can be accompanied by a:

  • carer
  • advocate
  • translator
  • parent (in the case of a minor) - this person should not be counted as a visitor.

Group antenatal classes are now restarting online or face to face subject to physical distancing being adhered to. Please speak to your midwife to find out what is available in your area. You can access online antenatal classes (using the access code TARTAN) and discuss the content with your midwife at your next appointment.

Immunisation appointments

If you are well, you should be able to attend your antenatal care as normal, and in order to receive your whooping cough vaccine.

If you have symptoms of possible coronavirus infection, you should contact your midwife to postpone your vaccination appointment until after the isolation period is over.

Stay updated about immunisations on our immunisation pages and follow the @NHSImmuniseScot twitter account for updated advice on immunisation.

Getting your baby box

You can still register for your baby box at one of your antenatal appointments and it will be delivered within 4 weeks of your due date. If you have coronavirus your midwife will be able to register on your behalf.

Birth choices

During this pandemic, some birth choices such as the homebirth service were unavailable due to staff and patient safety concerns. These restrictions are now changing and all Health Boards should be able to provide all choices to women including home births. You should speak to your midwife or maternity team who will provide you with up to date information on your options in your area.

Labour and your birth partner

Your birth partner can be with you during your labour and the birth of your baby and where local arrangements allow a second birth partner, if requested. However, if they have any symptoms of coronavirus, they must not accompany you to the hospital. You may want to think about who might be an alternative birth partner in that case.

In labour you may notice that midwives and the maternity team caring for you are wearing protective clothing such as aprons, masks or eye protection. These measures protect you and your baby, the staff caring for you and reduce the risk of spreading infection.

If you are in labour and you require additional support, for example of a carer, advocate or translator, or in the case of a minor, a parent, this person should not be counted as a visitor.

Induced birth

If you are being induced, your birth partner can accompany you from the beginning of the induction process, if it is possible to maintain a reasonable level of physical distancing from other patients.

Operative birth

If you are required to have an operative birth, your birth partner should also be allowed to be there, except when a general anaesthetic is needed.

Giving birth with suspected or confirmed coronavirus

There is no evidence currently to suggest that if you have coronavirus, giving birth vaginally or by caesarean has any difference in risks or benefits for you or your baby. As a precautionary approach, if you've suspected or confirmed coronavirus, you'll be advised to give birth in an obstetric unit. This is so the maternity team looking after you have the facilities in which to monitor your oxygen levels and the baby’s heartbeat. You'll be cared for in a dedicated area to keep you, your baby and staff as safe as possible.

Visiting rules within the maternity unit

When you, your birth partner or key visitor are attending the maternity unit, including to attend an appointment, a face covering should be worn where it’s not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from other people. The face covering should be similar to those that are now mandatory on public transport and in shops. Everyone must also adhere to strict hand and respiratory hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water, or using alcohol hand gel, before entering and leaving the ward and covering their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing, coughing, wiping or blowing their nose. These should be disposed of immediately in the bin and hand hygiene rules followed immediately afterwards.

Physical distancing should be maintained during visits and visitors should not visit other patients or other clinical areas during their visit. If your visitors are unwell or have any symptoms of coronavirus they should not be permitted to visit. All visitors should check local guidance and can also refer to Scottish Government national guidance on hospital visiting

Partners visiting after birth

Following birth, your baby and you will be moved to a ward. You can now choose one key visitor in addition to your birth partner, to visit you on the postnatal ward provided they are not unwell or have any symptoms of coronavirus.  Please speak to your midwife to see the guidelines in your local area.  Whilst we understand that this may be difficult, it's essential that we limit the number of visitors to hospitals during this time to protect other pregnant women, their babies, and staff.

Taking your baby home

If you and your baby are well you will be discharged home as quickly as possible. Your postnatal care will be discussed with you when you are discharged, but be reassured that you will get the support and care you need from your maternity team.

More information on caring for your newborn baby

Once home, your midwifery service, health visitor and family nurse will support you. We know that you'll want family and friends to meet your new baby. It is recommended you continue to follow government advice on physical distancing.

If you become unwell when you get home

If you become unwell in any way whilst at home with your baby please contact your GP, midwife or maternity unit.

  • For non-emergency concerns do not hesitate to phone NHS 24 on 111.
  • If it's an emergency phone 999.

If you are concerned about your physical or mental health or the health of your baby in any way do not wait to seek help. Phone your midwife or maternity unit straight away.

Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing

With all the changes happening it's normal to feel stressed and anxious. Parent Club has some helpful tips for managing anxiety during pregnancy

If you're worried about your mental health and wellbeing or have existing mental health difficulties, support is still available It's important to let your midwife know as they'll be able to help you put the right support in place.

Further information

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has more detailed guidance about COVID-19 for people who are pregnant including on self-isolating and guidance for pregnant people in the workplace.

Caring for your newborn baby

The number of babies that have caught coronavirus is extremely low, however they can potentially catch coronavirus after birth from anyone infected with the virus, even if that person does not feel unwell.

It's recommended that you:

  • take your baby home as soon as it is safe for you to do so.
  • follow government advice on self isolation and physical distancing
  • keep your baby away from people with a cough, fever or other viral symptoms such as a runny nose, vomiting or diarrhoea

Bliss has advice about coronavirus for parents of babies born sick or premature.

How will I know if my baby has coronavirus?

Many babies with the virus will not show signs of illness and the vast majority (or almost all) will recover fully.

Some babies can develop an unstable temperature (too hot and/or too cold) and/or a cough. Babies with infections do not always develop a fever.

What to do if you think your baby is unwell

Breastfeeding

There’s currently no evidence to suggest the virus can be spread through breast milk. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of spreading the virus to your baby.

Parent Club have information on breastfeeding and coronavirus.

Breastfeeding advice can also be found in Ready Steady Baby.

Unicef has additional advice on breastfeeding

You can also phone the Breastfeeding Network National Helpline on: 0300 100 0212 (from 9.30am to 9.30pm each day)

Breastfeeding if you have coronavirus symptoms

If you are breastfeeding and feeling unwell continuing to breastfeed can be the easiest and least stressful option during this time.

You should continue to breastfeed your baby even if you become infected with coronavirus. This is more likely to help protect them. Phone your midwife, health visitor or GP if you have any concerns. You should also be very careful not to fall asleep with your baby.

If you prefer, you can also express and ask someone who is well to feed your breast milk to your baby for some or all feeds.

Reducing the risk of your baby catching coronavirus

You can reduce the risk of your baby catching coronavirus by:

  • washing your hands before touching your baby, breast pump, bottle or other feeding equipment
  • avoiding coughing or sneezing whilst feeding or holding your baby
  • following breast pump and equipment cleaning recommendations after each use (as you would always do)
  • washing and cleaning bottles and other equipment thoroughly in hot soapy water, before sterilising (as you would always do)