New guidance: Obstetric ultrasound examinations during the pandemic

Published: 27 April 2020 Ultrasound

Four professional bodies have published a joint statement on the recording of ultrasound examinations and the use of private ultrasound providers during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing guidance to their members, providers and service users.

The document from the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR), the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), and the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS), "is to support local policy decisions in ultrasound departments and private practice, to ensure that government recommendations are met, while still providing woman-centred care."

The guidance has been developed in response to questions raised by practitioners, women’s advocacy groups, and the public, who are concerned about the limitations on partners and companions being present during ultrasound examinations.

Questions have also been raised about the role of private ultrasound clinics providing additional examinations for fetal bonding, gender, and 3D and 4D imaging. Best practice guidance recommends performing the examination as quickly as possible, and limiting the number of people in the ultrasound examination room, to reduce the chance of virus transmission from staff to women and vice versa.

The content of the document includes sections about ensuring involvement of the partner or companion when discussing unexpected findings or difficult news, as well as the role of private providers during the pandemic.

Gill Harrison, the SCoR's professional officer for ultrasound, said, "The woman and the wellbeing of her baby must be at the centre of what we do, whilst also taking into account the welfare of the woman's partner or companion and the sonographer who is carrying out the examination.”

"The intention of the guidance is to provide a balanced perspective to meet everyone's needs, as well as conform to the UK government's requirements for social distancing and Public Health England's infection prevention and control guidance."

Download Obstetric ultrasound examinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.