To help prevent spread of coronavirus to other women, their babies and key front-line healthcare staff, it is very important that you do not attend the maternity unit if you have any symptoms of coronavirus or have had any in the previous 7 days.
If you are unwell, protect your family and NHS staff, and stay at home. To prepare for this, women and their current birth partner(s) are being encouraged to think about an alternative birth partner(s), if required. This person does not need to be from the same household as you.
If you are supporting a woman during labour and birth, please be aware of the strict infection control procedures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus to other pregnant women and their babies, as well as other people within the hospital and the maternity staff.
Please wash your hands regularly with soap and water and use hand sanitiser gel in clinical areas as available.
If you cough or sneeze, please cover your mouth with a tissue and dispose of it in a bin immediately.
Stay in the labour room with the woman you are supporting. Do not walk around the maternity unit unaccompanied – use the call bell if you require assistance.
If you are asked to wear any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) in addition to a mask or face covering during the labour or birth, please follow the instructions carefully and take it off before you leave the clinical area.
You can read the full document published by the RCM here
The above guidance is predominately aimed at a birth partner who lives in the same household as the birthing person. A doula would be outside that household and therefore our guidance goes further and we recommend:
that doulas be ready to source and have PPE supplies on hand before attending births at home or MLU/labour ward. This may take the form of a face mask / covering, disposable gloves and apron. Please try to source your own PPE so that we are not using NHS supplies.
that doulas consult with the midwives caring for the family about PPE.
that doulas have a conversation with the family they are supporting beforehand about their expectations and the challenges posed around wearing PPE