During your pregnancy and labour
Studies from the UK show that pregnant women are no more likely to get 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 or flu-like symptoms
However a small number of pregnant women can become unwell with coronavirus. Pregnant women who catch coronavirus may be at increased risk of becoming severely unwell compared to those who aren't pregnant, particularly towards the end of pregnancy.
More about coronavirus symptoms and when to phone 111
You should continue to follow health advice during your pregnancy, including monitoring your baby’s movements.
Coronavirus vaccines are recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of coronavirus in pregnancy for both women and babies, including admission of the woman to intensive care and premature birth of the baby.
More about vaccination in pregnancy
Antenatal and postnatal appointments
It's really important you continue to attend your scheduled routine care when you're well. Whilst the majority of scheduled care will be in person, some parts of your care may be supported by Near Me video call and remote monitoring instead of an in-person visit.
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 about organising your routine antenatal appointments.
Do not reduce your number of visits without speaking to your maternity team first.
Can someone come to my appointments with me?
A person accompanying you should not attend any appointments if they're ill or have coronavirus symptoms.
You can be accompanied to certain appointments such as your booking appointment, 20 week scan and emergency appointments. Some restrictions may still be in place as health boards begin a gradual return to full person visiting.
You should speak to your maternity team about what restrictions are in place before you attend any appointments.
Provided the person is not ill or showing symptoms of coronavirus, if you need additional support you can be accompanied by a:
- parent (in the case of a minor) – this person should not be counted as a visitor
Please speak to your midwife to find out what’s available in your area. You can access online antenatal classes, use the access code TARTAN, and discuss the content with your midwife at your next appointment.
If you're well, you should be able to attend your antenatal care as normal in order to receive your whooping cough vaccine.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, 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'll be delivered within 4 weeks of your due date. If you have coronavirus your midwife will be able to register on your behalf.
During the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, some choices such as home birth were unavailable due to staff and patient safety concerns.
These restrictions are now changing and you should speak to your midwife or maternity team who'll provide you with up to date information the options in your area.
Labour and your birth partner
Your birth partner can be with you throughout induction, your labour and the birth of your baby, unless you need a general anaesthetic.
You may have a second birth partner, subject to local risk assessments and physical distancing.
If your birth partner is self-isolating for suspected or confirmed coronavirus or has recently returned from a country requiring quarantine, they must not accompany you to the hospital. You should think about who might be an alternative birth partner and discuss this with your midwife.
In labour you may notice that midwives and the maternity team caring for you are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons, masks or eye protection. These are to protect you and your baby and the staff caring for you by reducing the risk of infection.
If you’re in labour and need extra support, like a carer, advocate or translator or, in the case of a minor, a parent, this person should not be counted as a visitor.
If you're being induced, your birth partner can accompany you from the beginning of the induction process, if it's possible to maintain a reasonable level of physical distancing from other patients.
If you're required to have an operative birth, such as a C-section, 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's no evidence 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 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
Visitors should wear face coverings and any PPE instructed by the clinical team.
Face coverings should be similar to those 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
- using alcohol hand sanitiser, before entering and leaving the ward
- covering their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing, coughing, wiping or blowing their nose
Tissues should be disposed of in the bin provided and hand hygiene rules followed immediately afterwards.
Physical distancing should be maintained during visits and visitors must not visit other patients or other clinical areas during their visit.
If your visitors are unwell or have any symptoms of coronavirus or are self-isolating they'll 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, you and your baby will be moved to a ward.
Your birth partner can visit you on the postnatal ward. However, they must not visit if they're ill, have coronavirus symptoms, or are self-isolating.
Visiting time may be restricted to support physical distancing so speak to your midwife to check the guidelines in your local area. We understand this may be difficult. However, it's essential we limit the number of visitors to hospitals to protect other pregnant women, their babies, and staff.
Full person-centered visiting is returning gradually and cautiously. This means there may still be some restrictions in place for visitors subject to local health protection advice. Please speak to your maternity team to find out what's happening in your local area.
Taking your baby home
If you and your baby are well, you'll be discharged home as soon as possible.
Your postnatal care will be discussed with you when you’re discharged, but you’ll 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 you'll want family and friends to meet your new baby. It’s recommended you continue to follow government advice.
If you become unwell when you get home
Phone your GP, midwife or maternity unit if:
- you become unwell
- you're concerned about your physical or mental health
- you're concerned about the health of your baby
If it's an emergency phone 999.
For non-emergency concerns do not hesitate to phone NHS 24 on 111.
Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing
With so many changes, it's normal to feel stressed or 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 issues, support is available. It's important to let your midwife know as they'll be able to help you put the right support in place.
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 (COVID-19) 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 protective measures
- 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.
What if my baby is unwell?
Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to signs your baby may be unwell for other reasons.
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
What to do if your child has cold or flu symptoms
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're 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:
- wearing a mask or face covering while holding your baby close, including during feeding
- 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)
Vaccination while breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed
The coronavirus vaccines are recommended for individuals who are breastfeeding or expressing milk. You should continue to breastfeed after vaccination to protect your baby. There's no risk of passing the virus to your baby through breastmilk.
More about coronavirus vaccination while breastfeeding