Find out how you can socialise with others online and even join Walk & Talks in your local area, as well as what the latest government restrictions mean for you.
What are the restrictions at the moment?
Since Monday 19 July, almost all restrictions have been lifted across England, and you are now able to meet up indoors or outdoors with any number of friends and family. Read more about changing restrictions in England.
In Wales, there have been changes from Saturday 17 July allowing up to six people to meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation. Children under 11 don't count in the numbers. Restrictions on the number of people allowed to meet will be lifted completely on Saturday 7 August if conditions allow. Find out more about the lockdown rules in Wales.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also announced an easing of restrictions. The whole country is now at Level 0, according to the Covid-19 levels system.
In Northern Ireland, restrictions are also being eased.
Pregnant women remain in the clinically vulnerable group, advised to be especially careful to follow the guidance and minimise contact with others. Some of our antenatal courses remain online, ensuring a safe, social and interactive experience.
The Prime Minister announced that 15-min rapid Covid-19 tests will be prioritised for maternity to ensure women don’t give birth alone. We’ll share more information on this when we know more.
We welcome the new guidance from NHS England, issued on 15 December, that confirms 'that a woman should have access to support from a person of her choosing at all stages on her maternity journey.' This makes the case for partners to be allowed to attend antenatal scans, labour and postnatal wards, because at the moment the restrictions are variable. This was campaigned for by birthrights. See the guidance from NHS England here.
Since the beginning of lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions, we’ve been campaigning for the needs of new and expectant parents to be recognised. Read about how we're delivering our services under the restrictions.
Walk & Talk groups
We're pleased to say that in England, Wales and Scotland, Walk & Talk groups are running. However, as these are volunteer-led, we appreciate some volunteers may not be in a position to run the walks at the moment, or feel comfortable doing so. Please check your local NCT Facebook page to see if any walks are running near you. Or, if you'd like to set one up yourself, see here.
In Northern Ireland, Walk & Talk groups are unable to restart at the moment, but we will update you if this changes.
Contactless loan or hire service
Some local NCT groups provide a contactless loan or hire service of items that can help with your parenting choices. These may be cloth nappy libraries, baby-carrying or sling libraries, welly libraries or valley cushion loans. You can ask at your local branch if they have this service.
Our Baby Bundles volunteers are also helping parents in difficult circumstances by providing essential items to parents in need. We're delighted to say that in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland both these services are able to continue.
Virtual groups and activities
Visit our local activities and meet-ups page and enter your postcode to search for your local NCT group. You’ll also be able to see all the activities and meet ups happening in your area every week. We've also released a guide for re-starting support services for expectant and new parents. Find out more here.
Feeding support line
If you need information, support or just someone to talk to, give one of our trained breastfeeding counsellors a call on 0300 330 0700 (option 1). The line is open every day from 8am to midnight, including bank holidays.