Antenatal scans at our Women’s Hospital site – attendance for partners with negative COVID-19 tests

Our priority is to keep you, your family and your baby safe.

We are now able to welcome support partners, who are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and have evidence of a negative test result taken within the last 24 hours, to attend all antenatal pregnancy scans taking place at our Women’s Hospital site.

It is compulsory for support partners to have a negative test result to attend on-site and we strongly recommend the woman having the scan is tested also.

How to get tested

Please visit our dedicated section, which clearly details testing options available for you and your support partners, including how to access free self-testing kits.

Go to our testing information page

To adhere to national social distancing guidance, support partners will be asked to wait outside our hospital until the scan is due to take place so please do remember appropriate clothing. Children are not allowed to attend.

Appointments at other locations in the community

We are working with those providing services at other locations in the community, such as GPs and health centres, to resume partner attendance where possible, subject to a negative COVID-19 test. Whilst we work through this, we will continue to offer ‘virtual attendance’ so your scan can be shared if you have the use of a mobile phone.

If you do have a scan appointment in the community please assume these remain unaccompanied unless directly instructed otherwise.

How your test results impact your care

Test results, whether positive or negative, will impact how we manage your care, and indicate if it is safe for you and others for your support partner to accompany you. This information explains in more detail how screening ahead of your scan for you and your support partner works.

About testing

Why is it important for me and my support partner to have the screening test?

Many people who have Covid-19 have no symptoms, but they can still spread the virus to other people. The aim of screening is to identify people with the virus so that they do not put other people in the hospital at risk of catching it.

Knowing whether a woman has a negative or positive result helps the midwives and doctors plan the best care for her. Please be assured that you will continue to get all the care that you need, even if you test positive.

Why are you testing support partners?

We can only allow partners who have a negative test to accompany you into the hospital. Testing support partners has been introduced to enable us to safely allow your chosen person to accompany you on site whilst also ensuring we are protecting you, our staff and other people using our hospital.

When do we need to get a test?

We are asking all women and their support partners to have a COVID test within 24 hours of their appointment. There are a number of options available for testing, including doing a home test, PCR testing at our Children's Hospital and, alternatively, lateral flow testing on the day at our Women's Hospital site. Full details are availbale on our testing section of our website.

As the test cannot detect any future transmission of the virus, it’s really important you isolate following the test in order to limit your exposure to coronavirus. In line with government advice, we encourage all pregnant women to stay at home and only leave your home where necessary, such as attending medical appointments.

How do I get a Covid-19 screening test?

Please visit our dedicated website section on testing for full details about the options available to you.

Where do we go for the PCR screening test for Covid-19?

For our PCR testing at our Children's Hospital please make your way in your own private vehicle to the ‘drive-through’ swabbing station based at Printing House Street (PHS) Car Park adjacent to our Children’s Hospital site. The postcode is B4 6DE. You should attend the day before your appointment, with tests available every day apart from Saturday and no appointment is necessary. 

For morning scan appointments please attend between 11am and 1pm and for afternoon scan appointments please attend between 1pm and 3pm.

On arrival please press the intercom to gain access to the car park letting our team know you are attending for a screening test ahead of an antenatal scan. They will direct you to a parking bay. Please stay in your car until a staff member gives you further instructions. This is a ‘drive-through’ facility only and you should not attend by taxi, public transport or on foot. 

How do you get a test if you do not have access to a private vehicle, mobile phone or home test?

If you do not have access to a private vehicle, mobile phone or home test, then we can offer you a Lateral Flow test on the day of your appointment, if you are attending for your scan at our Women’s Hospital site only. Lateral flow tests are only available Monday to Friday and will be carried out by a member of staff from a portacabin located in the main car park. You will not be able to enter the main building until your results have been confirmed.

Once the test has been completed you will be asked to wait away from the testing area for at least 30 minutes to receive your results by text. To ensure the safety of you and other people attending we are not able to provide a waiting area, so please only use this testing option as a last resort and dress appropriately for the weather. There is no facility to book with tests being offered Monday to Friday from 8am. Please ensure you allow at least an hour before your appointment, with the last test being offered at 3.30pm.

What if my scan is on a Saturday?

If you have your scan on a Saturday and are using the PCR testing route at our Children's Hospital you and your partner will need to go for your  test on the Friday.

Please note, we are unable to offer lateral flow tests at our Women's on a Saturday, so it’s important that you have received your PCR results or you can evidence of your home test result ahead of your scan to show on arrival.

My appointment is at the Varsity Clinic, is it the same process?

For 20 week scan appointments taking place at the Varsity Clinic in Selly Oak, we are not able to offer any same day Lateral Flow testing facilities. For your partner to be able to attend with you, you will both need to be able to show text message confirmation of negative PCR tests that were taken the day before your appointment, for you both when you arrive.

How does the test itself work?

The PCR test for Covid-19 is a swab taken from your nose and throat. The swab looks like a large cotton bud and takes only a few minutes to perform.

Testing results

For the PCR test both you and your partner will receive an individual text message with your results. The result will also be shared directly with the hospital. Results should normally be available within six hours and you will receive your result by text soon after this.

Lateral flow testing results will be available from 30 minutes after your test at the on-site station and will be sent to you by text. A member of staff will share these results with you in person if you do not have a mobile phone.

Please make sure you have proof of your negative test result to hand (a copy of the text result is fine) as you will need this to gain access to the main hospital building.

Please note that a positive lateral flow test result will need to be confirmed by a PCR test, we’ll explain how to arrange this when we share the result. If there is not sufficient time to do this ahead of your appointment it will mean your chosen support partner is not able to accompany you at this time. Anybody receiving a positive result will need to return home (not using public transport) and self-isolate along with everyone in your household for 10 days.

It is recommended that all women and support partners use the PCR testing wherever possible.

If you’ve not received your PCR testing result by 8am on the morning of your scan then please call 0121 333 9806.

Is the test recorded?

Yes, every test result – positive and negative – will be logged, and the test details and result are forwarded to Public Health England (PHE) as required by law.

What your results mean in relation to your care

The questions and answers below should hopefully answer many of the questions you might have, including the different scenarios in relation to both your own and your support partners test result.

It’s really important that we still see you and ensure your scan goes ahead within the correct screening time. Where you are in your pregnancy journey will have an impact on the options available in relation to your scan.

What does it mean if I have a negative result?

A negative result means that at the time the swab was taken no Covid-19 coronavirus could be detected, however it does not tell you if you have already had the infection. You must still take precautions such as maintaining social distancing, handwashing and wearing a mask to prevent infection.

Both my support partner and I tested negative

If your support partner and you both receive a negative test result then they can accompany you at your appointment. This is subject to the normal restrictions that they must not be self-isolating following coming in to contact with a confirmed case or displaying any of the symptoms of Covid-19. You will need to show the text messages confirming of your negative test results upon arrival.

Once inside the hospital your partner will be asked to wait in the coffee area while you go into radiology. This is to minimise the risk to staff and other patients. Your partner will be called into the scan room at the appropriate moment to join you. Once the scan is completed your support partner will be asked to leave and wait for you outside the building until the rest of your appointment is completed.

What does it mean for my appointment if I have a positive result?

We’ll talk to you about any options in relation to your appointment, which will be dependent on the stage you are at in your baby’s development. Where possible we will endeavour to carry out your scans on the day, but we may need to reschedule your appointment so that we can protect you and your baby. We will care for you in line with our processes developed to keep you, your baby and other users of our site safe.

Later on we share some details about what your positive result means for you, your baby and your ongoing care.

I tested positive but my support partner tested negative, what does this mean?

If your support partner has been in contact with you within the last 48 hours then they will not be able to attend, even if their own test is negative. They will be legally required to self-isolate for 10 days.

It’s really important that we still see you so that we can care for you and your baby and we will be in touch within 24 hours to arrange another appointment. If we are unable to re-arrange your appointment for after your partner has self-isolated then an appointment will be made where you will be able to call your support partner from your own mobile device during the scan as part of our ‘virtual attendance’ pilot.

My support partner tested positive

If your support partner tests positive then they will not be able to accompany you at this time and must self-isolate at home, in line with national guidance. We still need to see you and it may not be possible to re-arrange. If this happens you will be given the opportunity to call your support partner from your own mobile device during the scan as part of our ‘virtual attendance’ pilot.

My support partner doesn’t want to be tested

If your support partner declines the test then they will not be able to accompany you.

What about if I have tested positive in the last 90 days?

If you are able to show evidence of a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days (not including the last 10 days in which you would be required to self-isolate), and you have no symptoms, then you will not need to be tested. This is because an infection can continue to show as a positive result for up to 90 days afterwards without you being infectious.

What does a positive screening test result mean?

It is unclear what the significance of a positive screening result is in the absence of any symptoms. It may mean that you have had a mild infection in the last 28 days; you could have a current infection without symptoms that you have noticed; or, you could be incubating Covid-19 and may develop symptoms in a few days.

Unfortunately there is nothing that we can do to identify which of the above reasons apply, which is why we have to treat anyone with a positive result as potentially infectious.

Following a positive test result you will have to self-isolate for 10 days and the Public Health England Stay-at-Home guidance should be followed for you and anyone you live with, visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.

What effect does coronavirus have on pregnant women and babies?

You can find more information on pregnancy and coronavirus on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/pregnancy-and-coronavirus/

More information

If after reading this page you still have questions please talk to your midwife or contact our Covid-19 Maternity Hotline on 0121 335 8234.