NHS begin suspending home births

The NHS has begun suspending home births as the healthcare service urges women with coronavirus symptoms to have their babies in hospital. 

Home births can require additional medical resources and are not an ideal option for expectant mothers who may have COVID-19, experts said.

The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS foundation trust in London and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are among those which have suspended home births, the Guardian reported. 

‘This is to allow us to concentrate our maternity staff in our hospitals to cover those who are absent from work because they are either self-isolating or symptomatic,’ a spokesperson for the Glasgow and Clyde trust said. 

The NHS has begun suspending home births as the healthcare service urges women with coronavirus symptoms to have their babies in hospital (stock image)

The NHS has begun suspending home births as the healthcare service urges women with coronavirus symptoms to have their babies in hospital (stock image)

The NHS has begun suspending home births as the healthcare service urges women with coronavirus symptoms to have their babies in hospital (stock image)

In a tweet, the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS foundation trust added: ‘Due to #COVID-19 will be temporarily suspending our homebirth services so we can provide safe care to all women having a baby with us. 

‘Your midwife will have discussed this with you, we appreciate your co-operation and apologise for the inconvenience.’

Birte Harley-Lam, executive director for professional leadership at the Royal College of Midwives, said home births could still be an option for healthy women who are showing no symptoms of the deadly virus.

She added, however, that this would likely depend on staffing levels in nearby hospitals.     

‘Maternity services are working around the clock to support choices about where [women] give birth, including at home,’ she said. ‘However, safety is always the paramount consideration for maternity services, so there may be situations where, due to staffing or other concerns, home births may not be possible.’ 

Ms Harley-Lam added that home births could put pressure on the ambulance service should hospital transfers be required for the mother. 

Home births can require additional medical resources and are not an ideal option for expectant mothers who may have COVID-19, experts said (stock image)

Home births can require additional medical resources and are not an ideal option for expectant mothers who may have COVID-19, experts said (stock image)

Home births can require additional medical resources and are not an ideal option for expectant mothers who may have COVID-19, experts said (stock image)

But women who have symptoms of coronavirus should avoid having a home birth because of the ‘extra monitoring and medical backup that might be needed to keep her and her baby safe’, she said. 

Private Midwives, a service registered with the Care Quality Commission, has reported a ‘doubling in the number of enquiries’ about home births ‘in the last few weeks’.

ARE PREGNANT WOMEN MORE VULNERABLE TO COVID-19? 

There is no evidence that pregnant women become more severely unwell if they develop coronavirus than the general population.

It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate symptoms because more severe symptoms such as pneumonia appear to be more common in older people, those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions. 

There are no reported deaths of pregnant women from coronavirus at the moment.

If you are pregnant you are more vulnerable to getting infections than a woman who is not pregnant, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. 

If you have an underlying condition, such as asthma or diabetes, you may be more unwell if you have coronavirus because is poses a higher risk to those with underlying health conditions.

In terms of risk to the baby, there is no evidence right now to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage or transmission to the unborn baby via the womb or breast milk.  

Some babies born to women with symptoms of coronavirus in China have been born prematurely. It is unclear whether coronavirus caused this or the doctors made the decision for the baby to be born early because the woman was unwell.

Edward Sparks, chief executive for the service, said this was either because women wanted to avoid putting more pressure on hospitals, or they were looking for a way to continue their previous plan to give birth at home despite NHS services being suspended.

‘Quite a few areas around the country are struggling to provide the community services that they were previously,’ added Mr Sparks. 

But not all NHS trusts across the UK have halted home births with a spokesperson for Oxford University Hospitals NHS foundation trust confirming ‘we are providing a normal service at present’. 

It added the trust hasn’t seen a ‘noticeable increase in demand’ for home births at present. 

It comes as the UK coronavirus death toll today jumped by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228, as the infection rate dropped for the second day in a row. 

There are now 19,522 confirmed cases nationwide, up from 17,089 yesterday. 

Today’s increase in fatalities is the second biggest Britain has seen so far, but with 51 fewer deaths than yesterday, offering some hope that the figures are beginning to plateau.  

Medical experts say pregnant women who are otherwise healthy are not believed to have an increased risk of infection. 

There is also no evidence to suggest expectant mothers would become more severely unwell should they develop coronavirus than the general population. 

It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate symptoms because more severe symptoms such as pneumonia appear to be more common in older people, those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions. 

In terms of risk to the baby, there is also no evidence right now to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage or transmission to the unborn baby via the womb or breast milk. 

Some babies born to women with symptoms of coronavirus in China have been born prematurely. 

It is unclear whether coronavirus caused this or the doctors made the decision for the baby to be born early because the woman was unwell.

Link hienalouca.com

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