Maternity services in Somerset have changed the way they offer services to keep mums and babies safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Somerset maternity teams have been looking at the best way to keep delivering care that prioritises the health and wellbeing of women and babies, taking into consideration the extra pressures from potential staff absences and demands on NHS services due to COVID-19.

Sallyann Batstone, Head of Midwifery, Yeovil District Hospital said “Our priority, as always, is to ensure we continue to provide safe, kind and appropriate care. We are using national guidance to make these decisions to ensure we are keeping you, your baby and our colleagues safe during this time.

“The team in our antenatal clinics are reviewing all care on a case by case basis, creating individual care plans to ensure we can provide care that reduces the risks as much as possible. The changes may mean you are seen in a different location or have telephone consultations instead of face-to-face appointments. This will be discussed on an individual basis as no woman and no baby are the same, and we want to support all our women in a way that meets those individual needs.

“I would like to add a thank you to all our women and their families who are being so understanding at this time and stress that the midwives and support staff are still very much here for you.”

In Somerset, all care plans are reviewed by members of the maternity team and take into consideration a mother’s personal, medical and obstetric situation. If possible, appointments may go ahead via phone call.

Sallyann King, Head of Midwifery at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“In these exceptional times, we understand that women and their families may be feeling increased anxiety and worry so we want to reassure you that we are here for you.

“Following national guidance, we have temporarily changed the way we provide antenatal and postnatal care. We’ve made these changes to try to minimize the face-to-face contact you have with your midwife while continuing to care for you and your baby in a safe way.

“Please be reassured that when you visit us at our maternity units, we are taking your safety very seriously. All of our maternity colleagues will be wearing PPE to protect you, but behind the masks, we are here to take care of you and support you during your pregnancy and birth.”

Although contact with the maternity team may not always be face to face during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to remember that they are available on the phone. Women who are concerned about their baby must contact their maternity unit immediately, especially if the baby’s movements have slowed or changed.

Antenatal classes have moved online, with both Musgrove Park Maternity and Yeovil District Hospital Maternity offering a variety of classes. Full details can be found on their Facebook pages:

www.facebook.com/YeovilHospitalMaternityUnit/ and www.facebook.com/MusgroveParkMaternity/.   

Maternity Services in Somerset continue to work closely with Maternity Voices Partnership during this time to ensure that local women and their families are being heard.

Donna Butland, the chair of Somerset Maternity Voices Partnership said “With all the changes happening at the moment we just wanted to remind people that they can reach out to us via our social media pages and webpage.

“We want to thank you all for the kindness and support that you are showing to our NHS services and staff, your patience and understanding is very much appreciated, by working together and supporting each other we will get through this challenging time.” 

If you have any queries or want advice or support, you can reach out to the team using the information below.

Musgrove Park Hospital Maternity Unit

If you have urgent concerns about you or your baby’s health we have midwives available on the maternity triage line: 01823 343985. This line is available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Keep checking the website for the latest information about our service, as well as useful links to other sources of help and advice: https://somersetft.nhs.uk/maternity/

You can also see a set of frequently asked questions on the website: www.somersetft.nhs.uk/maternity.

Yeovil District Hospital Maternity Unit

Yeovil Hospital maternity team is on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01935 384350 for any urgent health concerns during pregnancy and in the first two weeks after birth.

The maternity pages of the Yeovil Hospital website have the latest information about our service, as well as a film of our team answering your frequently asked questions. https://yeovilhospital.co.uk/services/maternity/

The maternity Facebook page is a further source of information https://www.facebook.com/YeovilHospitalMaternityUnit and antenatal classes are taking place online – your midwife will provide you with the details for this private group where you can not only access antenatal information and support but also meet other pregnant women in the local area.