“WE’RE still here to help”.

That’s the resounding message from the district’s maternity services to pregnant women and new mums.

Midwives in Bradford district and Craven are keen to provide reassurance amid concerns that some mothers and families are not coming forward to use the services due to worries about coronavirus.

Bosses say it is vital that women continue to attend pre-natal appointments – whether in hospital, or with a midwife at a GP practice – as the appointments are important for checking the health of both mum and baby before delivery.

Maternity units at Airedale Hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary – and GP surgeries – are safe environments, they add.

In the case of face-to-face appointments, staff will wear personal protective equipment including an apron, gloves and face mask when in close contact.

Currently, women are asked to attend all appointments on their own, unless they need support from a carer or relative.

Dr Amy Tatham, associate clinical director for maternity with NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, said she appreciated pregnant women may have concerns during the present pandemic – but stressed the importance of attending appointments.

She said: “I can understand that this might be a worrying time for women who are pregnant but I would like to reassure people that midwives, midwifery teams and doctors are very much still here to help and support women and their families throughout pregnancy and birth.

“Pregnant women are offered a series of appointments which are really important to attend – and these appointments are continuing throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

“They might be a bit different to normal, but I urge women to please carry on going – they are there to spot any problems which may put mum or baby at risk and manage any issues as quickly as possible.

“If you are nervous or anxious about your appointments, please speak to your midwife or midwifery team, they are there to support you throughout pregnancy.”

Dr Tatham says any pregnant woman starting to show symptoms of coronavirus should get in touch with her midwife.

But she added that there is no evidence pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from the virus, or that it affects the chances of miscarriage or how the baby develops during the pregnancy.

Any general questions about care can be answered by the midwifery team.

Information about giving birth and pre-natal appointments at Airedale Hospital is available at airedale-trust.nhs.uk/coronavirus-information-coronavirus-information-for-maternity-patients.