New guidance issued to maternity services to allow support person presence

Women and pregnant people to have a support person of their choice at every point throughout their maternity journey

Published: 08 April 2022 Obstetrics and Gynaecology

NHS England has issued new guidance to trusts to allow pregnant women and people to have a support person present at all antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal contacts and parents of babies on neonatal units having access to their babies.

It updates Supporting women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic: actions for NHS trusts, published on 14 December 2020, and builds on trusts’ work to safely facilitate access for support people.

The guidance says that trusts “should request that any support person who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has COVID19, does not attend maternity or neonatal settings and encourage women and pregnant people to consider an alternative support person who could accompany them  in this eventuality”.

Key guidance for sonographers:


  • Continue to facilitate an adult support person to be in attendance during all examinations, based on regular updated risk assessment
  • Ensure mitigation is in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within the ultrasound and antenatal department, based on risk assessment
  • Provide clear communication to parents, particularly in relation to a support person who has COVID-19 symptoms from the updated list in partnership with local maternity voices partnership (MVP)
  • As rapid COVID-19 lateral flow tests are no longer freely available ‘providers should no longer expect evidence of a negative test before allowing access to maternity or neonatal units’
  • All those attending ultrasound departments should be advised to wear a face covering or mask to protect staff and patients