Visiting And Attending Maternity Services

Early pregnancy, maternity and neonatal care Covid-19: Attending and visiting the maternity and neonatal unit.

Update 16 July: Due to rates of COVID-19 in the community this visiting guidance will remain in place after 19 July, 2021 for the safety of our patients and staff.

We will continue to monitor the situation so that we can ensure we are keeping mums, babies and staff safe.

We will continue to monitor the situation so that we can ensure we are keeping mums, babies and staff safe.

Visiting our maternity services safely:

  • Please do not visit the hospital if you have symptoms of coronavirus or have been asked to self-isolate because you live in a household where someone has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Patients and partners or nominated supporters will be asked to wear a face mask which covers their nose and mouth at all times while accessing our services (unless exempt). The only exceptions to this are when a woman is admitted to hospital and in her bed space, and during advanced labour and birth.
  • We strongly advise that women, birth partners and visitors do a lateral flow test before coming into the hospital for an appointment, or for a postnatal care visit so you can demonstrate you do not have COVID-19. These are available for free. See the Government website for information about regular rapid coronavirus tests.  


Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre

  • One birth partner (a non-symptomatic adult from the same household or support bubble) can be present with at all appointments


Antenatal clinics (Southmead Hospital and the community)

  • One birth partner (a non-symptomatic adult from the same household or support bubble) can be present with at all antenatal appointments


Ultrasound appointments

  • One birth partner (a non-symptomatic adult from the same household or support bubble) can be present with at all Ultrasound appointments


Antenatal screening 

Due to temporary reduced capacity within our clinic, availability of combined screening tests is currently limited.

This means a small number of women who would have chosen the First Trimester Combined Screening (FTCS) test may instead be offered a different combination of tests.

Our maternity team is working hard to ensure we’re able to offer the First Trimester Combined Screening Test to all those who request it, as soon as possible.

The FTCS is offered to women from 11+2 to 14+1 weeks (alongside the 12-week/dating scan) as part of the national screening programme to assess the chance of babies having Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome.

If you choose to take up the offer of this test a referral will be sent to the antenatal screening team who will look to book you in for an appointment within this timescale.

However, if they cannot arrange an appointment within this timeframe, the Quadruple Test will be offered as an alternative to assess the chance of babies having Down’s syndrome. This can be offered alongside the anomaly (20-week) scan, which screens for Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome when the FTCS has not been performed.

The antenatal screening team will contact you in advance to discuss all of your options, if they cannot offer the FTCS.

We apologise to any women affected by this temporary disruption.


Antenatal Assessment Unit (AAU)

  • One birth partner (a non-symptomatic adult from the same household or support bubble) can be present with at all antenatal appointments


Antenatal inpatient care

  • Antenatal care is provided on Quantock ward, this includes inpatient care and induction of labour. Visiting times in this area will be from 9am – 9pm.

  • Some mothers that are admitted for induction of labour will be cared for in the induction of labour suite situated on delivery suite.


Induction, early labour and birth

We are now in a position to be able to offer women to have two birth partners present with them when they are in labour – whether this is at Cossham Birth Centre, the Mendip Birth Centre or Central Delivery Suite at Southmead Hospital.

  • Please consider carefully whether you need to have two birth partners present with you during your labour – social distancing is not possible in all our birthing rooms, it may be better for you to have one birth partner during your labour and have that extra support ready for when you go home.
  • Birth partners must wear a surgical face mask at all times when they are in the hospital
  • To minimise movement around our birth units we ask birth partners to remain in the birth room at all times.  Please bring food to keep yourself fed (we will supply tea and coffee!).  All our birth rooms have ensuite facilities which birth partners are able to use.
  • If your birth partner is eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine we advise they are vaccinated as soon as possible – this will help to keep you and our team safe.
  • We would recommend that you obtain a Covid-19 Testing kit so you and your birth partner are able to test yourselves for Covid-19 on a twice weekly basis in the lead up to your birth.  Kits can be obtained for free from the NHS website.


Postnatal inpatient care


There may be times when exceptions are needed to this guidance - please speak to the Midwife/Nurse in charge to discuss these exceptions.

  • Once you have had your baby you may be ready to go home quickly, in which case you will be discharged. If you need to stay in for a few more hours or days you will be transferred to either Percy Phillips Ward or Transitional Care on Mendip Ward.
  • One designated birth partner – may visit you on the ward between 10am – 12midday and 2pm – 7pm.
  • There may be times when our staff ask for a visit to be limited, especially if everyone in a bay has a visitor at the same time. Please bear with us as we all try to work through this difficult time together. If we ask your partner to leave and return at a later time, it will be for your safety and for the safety of those around you.


Neonatal care

  • Parents/carers can both have unrestricted access throughout your baby’s stay in the neonatal unit. Unfortunately we are currently unable to support visiting for extended family members, including siblings.
  • All parents/carers will be required to continue wearing masks on the neonatal unit with the exception of when you are at your baby’s cot side
  • We encourage all parents/carers to lateral flow test twice weekly. This will be provided when your baby is admitted to the neonatal unit
  • Due to the constraints of space within the unit, at times we may need to politely ask parents/carers to leave their babies’ room if there is a need for more medical and nursing staff to be in that room for emergencies or procedures.


Covid-19 testing for women

  • We recommend that women obtain a Covid-19 lateral flow Testing Kit so they, and their birth partners are able to test themselves for Covid-19 on a twice weekly basis in the lead up to their birth. 
  • If you do test positive for Covid-19, please follow the instructions in the testing kit, and contact your community midwife.
  • We will continue to test women who are admitted to Southmead maternity unit or Cossham Birth Centre with the Covid-19 PCR test.
  • This is a nose and throat swab and we should have a result within 8 to 36 hours of the test being performed.
  • Women are tested on admission and at regular interval throughout their stay. Anyone who becomes unwell will be also tested as soon as any symptoms develop.


Covid-19 testing for partners

  • Birth partners must not have any symptoms of Covid-19 - we will ask everyone on arrival whether they have any symptoms – we are sorry but if you have symptoms of Covid-19 you will not be able to come into the hospital in order to protect patients and staff.  In this situation an alternative Birth Partner could come in to support but they would need to be free of any symptoms.
  • We advise that partners do a lateral flow test so they can demonstrate they do not have COVID-19. These are available for free. See the Government website for information about regular rapid coronavirus tests. 


Alternative COVID-19 vaccination

If you are from the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area and require an alternative vaccine to the AstraZeneca vaccine please email  providing your name, date of birth, post code, contact number and eligibility for the vaccine (e.g. you are in an eligible cohort or are a frontline worker).

Please noteIn order to maintain the above standards at all times we are not currently able to allow you to bring children to attend antenatal clinic appointments with you or to allow children to visit our ward areas unless this is in exceptional circumstances for long stay admissions where an individualised plan can be made with our nursing team.


Site map

Entry and exit from any other route is not permitted without speaking to a member of staff. We appreciate your co-operation.

If you have any questions, please speak to your midwife or a member of the security team.