24-hour maternity helpline
01708 503 742
If you are concerned at any time about your pregnancy or new born baby, contact our dedicated 24-hour Maternity Helpline which is available seven days a week .
We provide maternity care to around 8,200 women each year, making it one of the largest maternity services in the country. We recognise that pregnancy and birth are really important times for women and their families and we will support your individual birth choices with up-to-date facilities, information, and highly trained staff treating you with compassion and respect.
New maternity visitor arrangements
From Monday 21 September the following visitor arrangements will apply:
- One visitor (the birthing partner) will be able to visit our antenatal, postnatal and Coral wards, for a two-hour slot between 1pm and 5.30pm. The ward will arrange your visiting time with you.
- If you have had an elective caesarean your birthing partner can stay with you while you are in our High Dependency Unit or Recovery area.
- Visiting hours have been extended on our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). One parent at a time can attend between 10am and 10pm.
If you have any questions about your pregnancy or our visiting policy please speak to your midwife.
Book your care
If you book your care with us you will have your baby at Queen's Hospital in Romford. You can self-refer yourself as soon as you know you are pregnant (even when you see that first pink/blue line!) to our maternity services by completing our self-referral form.
Please be aware that our catchment areas for women are a little different to our geographical borough boundaries. This may mean that even if you live in Barking and Dagenham, Havering or Redbridge, we may not be able to look after you during your pregnancy. These catchment areas were agreed with our Commissioners to ensure we can keep the women we look after safe and provide high quality care.
Visit the MyHealthLondon website for your nearest maternity services provider.
Pregnancy: reduce the risks
It is important that women have access to high quality information before and during their pregnancy to enable them to reduce the risk to their baby. Public Health England and Sands have developed some key messages.
- Choose when to start or grow your family by using contraception.
- Eat healthily and be physically active to enter pregnancy at a healthy weight.
- Take a daily supplement of folic acid before conception and until 12 weeks of pregnancy.
- Ensure that you are vaccinated against rubella.
- Find out if you think you or your partner could be a carrier for a genetic disorder.
- Stop smoking.
- Pregnant women should have 10μg of vitamin D a day.
- Don’t drink alcohol.
- Don’t smoke and avoid second hand smoke.
- Don’t use illegal street drugs or other substances.
- Have the seasonal flu vaccination.
- Have the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination.
- Avoid contact with people who have infectious illnesses, including diarrhoea, sickness, childhood illnesses or any rash-like illness.
- Remember the importance of handwashing to reduce the risk of CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection.
- Go to all antenatal appointments.
- Contact the maternity service promptly if you are worried - don’t wait.
- In later pregnancy (after 28 weeks), it is safer to go to sleep on your side than on your back.
Smoking and pregnancy
Every cigarette you smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Smoking when pregnant harms your unborn baby. Cigarettes restricts the essential oxygen supply to your baby. As a result, their heart must beat harder every time you smoke.
For more details. visit the NHS website on stopping smoking during pregnancy.
Our maternity services
Queen's Birth Centre
Screening tests during pregnancy
A short video about screening tests offered during pregnancy and after your baby has been born. You can find leaflets in English and other languages in the information leaflet section further down this page.
Movements Matter was launched by Tommy's, who aim to save babies’ lives by raising awareness of current guidelines around monitoring baby’s movements in pregnancy.
Monitoring blood sugars
Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy
Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start in life – you can provide all the nutrients they need and skin-to-skin contact from the start will help you both form a close, loving bond. It protects her against infection and disease, it’s free and convenient, and it has all different types of health benefits for you, too.
We’re baby friendly
We know that some of our mums and babies can find breast feeding difficult at first, which is completely natural. That’s where we come in - we’re a Baby Friendly Stage 2 accredited hospital, so if you have any questions about feeding your baby, our midwives are more than happy to help.
Come along to one of our Infant Feeding Cafes [pdf] 240KB
Infant feeding team
If you need more help and support, our infant feeding team are on hand to give you practical advice, make care plans for your baby, and we can even refer to services closer to home when you leave hospital.
We’re available Monday to Friday, so if you want to chat while you’re in hospital, speak to a member of the ward team. Email us at email@example.com.
Breast or formula – it’s your choice – and we’ll support you whichever way you go. We don’t hold a stock of formula and we have nowhere to make bottles, so it’s best to bring ready-made.
Remember to use small bottles to cut down on waste:
- They take up less space in our fridges
- Storage time might be shorter than what you’re used to at home because our fridges are in constant use
We encourage you to use eRedbook to record healthcare information about you child. This is a digital version of the Redbook given to you and all parents.
A paper version is still provided but the e-Redbook provides online access to:
- Antenatal advice and information
- timelines and reminders about screenings, health reviews and immunisations
- growth measurements and charts
- information and advice on a child’s developmental ‘firsts’ (feeding, moving, words and so on)
- tailored advice and information by age and location
You can add photos and your own notes, including antenatal records. And be able to share access with members of your family and, if you choose, health professionals.
e-Redbook receives the following records direct from your GP or health visitor:
- Initial birth notification details
- New-born screening test results
- Immunisations records
- Health checks
If you have any queries about eRedbook, contact your named midwife or health visitor.
Day assessment unit
Also known as the Obstetric Assessment unit
We have a day assessment unit, accepting women who are more than 20 weeks into their pregnancy. The units offer fetal monitoring, blood pressure checks, Anti D injections, glucose tolerance tests and pregnancy related advice.
The Day Assessment unit at Queen’s Hospital is open 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Sunday and can be contacted on 01708 503 826.
There is also a maternity triage department at Queen's Hospital located on labour ward. This is open 24/7. The telephone number is 01708 503 742.
Our Birth Centre
The new Queen's Birth Centre opened in January 2013, providing a home-from-home environment for childbirth, led by experienced midwives. If you are expected to have a normal birth and there are no other concerns such as high blood pressure, you can choose to have your baby here. Talk to your midwife for more information.
We aim to provide a safe and supportive environment for pregnancy and birth for you, your baby and your family. Whether your pregnancy is straightforward or more complicated, whether you choose to give birth at home, in the Queen's Birth Centre or on the Labour ward, at all times we strive to provide excellent maternity care that meets your individual needs.
We have recently made major investments in our maternity facilities, training and staffing levels, and we offer one-to-one care in labour, and one of the best levels of midwifery and obstetric staffing in the country. One of our specialist teams has recently been nominated for a Royal College of Midwives award and we have increasing levels of positive feedback from local mothers and organisations that check the quality of care.
Antenatal and postnatal care is available on both sites and in the community setting outside hospital - please speak to your midwife for more information.
In order to keep pregnant women safe, due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) we have taken the decision to cancel all antenatal education at Queen’s Hospital and all community locations.
We understand that this is disappointing as the sessions provide useful information to assist you in your journey to parenthood and hope to re-instate this service as soon as possible. In the meantime, please do have a look at the websites and information below:
Water for labour and birth
Being in warm water during labour can be a really effective way of managing pain during the birth. It can have a positive impact on your experience as warm water can be comforting, relaxing and calming.
- Reducing the intensity of contractions
- Less use of pharmalogical pain management
- Increased mobility
- Reduced risk of perineal tears - your perineum is the area between your vagina and your bottom (anus)
- Better birth experience.
In our midwifery led Birth Centre at Queen’s Hospital we have two built-in birth pools, located in spacious rooms. We also have portable pools available for use in our other six rooms.
In our obstetric led Labour Ward we have one dedicated pool room and portable pools are also available.
Who can use the birthing pool?
- Uncomplicated, full-term pregnancy
- Women with a body mass index (BMI) under 35
- If you are having one baby, and the head is down into the pelvis
- Going into labour naturally
- If your waters have been broken for less than 24 hours.
Anyone outside the above criteria should discuss their plan with the consultant midwife for normality and midwifery-led care or the matron.
What should I wear?
Wear what you feel comfortable in. Some women choose to wear a bikini or tankini top, sports bra or vest top; others prefer to be naked. Loose and baggy clothes are not recommended.
We kindly ask that you wear something without clasps and remove jewellery whilst in the pool. We will provide small towels, and you nmay want to bring a large bath towel or dressing gown.
What temperate should the pool be?
The water temperature will be maintained at approximately 36.5oC to 37.5oC during labour. Closer to the time of birth a temperature of no more than 37 oC is best.
Can I get out of the pool for birth?
You may choose to give birth in the water or just use the pool throughout your labour and then exit the pool for the birth.
Can I birth the placenta in the pool?
Women who want to birth their placenta naturally without the use of pharmacological intervention may remain in the pool. If you opt to have an ‘actively managed’ delivery of the placenta with the use of a medicine given by injection, you will be asked to leave the pool.
When will I need to get out of the pool?
You will be encouraged to leave the pool occasionally to have a break from the water and pass urine.
You may also be asked to exit the pool if there are any concerns with you or your baby’s wellbeing, for example:
- Concerns in baby’s heart rate
- Lack of progress in labour or your contractions slow down
- To give pain relief, for example, if requesting pethidine or an epidural
- Vaginal bleeding.
How can I find out further information?
Water birth workshops are held weekly at Queen’s Birth Centre. Please ask your midwife for further information on how to book. If you would like this information in an alternative format, or if you need help with communicating with us, please let us know.
Telephone: 01708 435454 or 020 8970 8234.
If you are deaf or unable to communicate with us using telephone or email, we have a text service which can be contacted on 07800 005 502.
We have a philosophy to support and empower you throughout your birthing experience with excellent facilities and access to a wide range of pain relief. Most women choose to have their baby at Queen's Hospital in Romford, in either the co-located Birth Centre or on the Labour ward. Home birth care is also available and recommended for low-risk women.
If you think you are in labour, please call our Maternity Triage helpline on 01708 503 742 for advice from an experienced midwife. You will probably be most comfortable staying at home in early labour, and our midwives will discuss with you when you should come into hospital and answer any questions you may have.
When you come into Queen's Hospital to have your baby, please use the dedicated maternity entrance at the side of the hospital, and use the maternity car park as a drop-off location. However we advise that you park your car in our multi-storey car park for the duration of your labour and delivery.
If you are planning to give birth in the Queen’s Birth Centre, please go directly to the Birth Centre on the third floor for your initial assessment. You will be examined in a first-stage room to see how far along your labour is. If it is time for you to give birth, you will be shown to a dedicated room in the Birth Centre. We recognise that not all birthing experiences go to plan and we are equipped with state of the art facilities and specialist staff to cover all eventualities for both you and your baby.
If you are planning, or have been advised, to give birth on the Labour ward, please report to maternity reception to be seen. Here you will be referred to Maternity Triage, where you will be examined to see how far along your labour is. If it is time for you to give birth, you will be shown to a dedicated room on the Labour ward.
The Labour ward at Queen's Hospital can be contacted on 01708 435 213 or 435 371.
Community midwives provide antenatal care for expectant mothers, care in labour for homebirths and postnatal care.
There are three groups of community midwives working in the following areas:
• Barking and Dagenham
• Havering and Brentwood
The community midwife will usually be the first person you meet along your pregnancy journey. She will complete your booking appointment taking all your history and planning your individualised care pathway. The remainder of your antenatal care will be with either the community midwife, GP or shared with the obstetrician at the hospital according to your needs. Community Midwife Antenatal Clinics are held in children’s centres, GP surgeries or health centres.
After your baby is born, the midwife will visit you within 24 hours of you leaving hospital to check both you and your baby. The amount and frequency of visits will be planned with you at the first visit but please be aware that the midwife does not visit every day. She will leave contact numbers for advice 24 hours a day. There are also postnatal clinics that are held throughout the boroughs to help you during your transition into parenthood.
Screening and ultrasound scans
As part of your antenatal care, you will be offered various tests to check on the health of your developing baby and for conditions that may affect you or your baby. It is important you book for antenatal care as early as possible in your pregnancy. This will help you get these tests at the appropriate time, and benefit from other care for you and your baby.
Screening tests are used to find people at higher chance of a health problem. This means they can get earlier, potentially more effective treatment, or make informed decisions about their health. It can be helpful to imagine screening like putting people through a sieve. Most people pass straight through but a small number get caught in the sieve. The people caught in the sieve are those considered to have a higher chance of having the health problem being screened for.
Screening tests are not perfect. Some people will be told that they or their baby have a high chance of having a health problem when in fact they do not have the problem. Also, a few people will be told that they or their baby have a low chance of having a health problem when in fact they do have the problem.
During the first appointment with the midwife, you will be offered several tests. The tests are to check for different conditions that may affect you or your baby. The results of these tests are given at a future appointment; however you may well be contacted earlier if a result requires some action. These tests include hepatitis and HIV. Read more
You can choose to have a screening test for chromosomal abnormalities when you attend for your screening and ultrasound scan visit (between 11½ and just under 14 weeks of pregnancy).
The blood test measures the amount of two proteins PAPPA and FREE BETA HCG. These proteins appear naturally in your blood during pregnancy. A change in the level of these proteins can indicate an increased chance of abnormality, but doesn't give you a certain diagnosis.
The ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of your baby on a screen. It can show the age and position of your baby, and also if there is more than one baby. During the scan, the ultrasonographer will also measure the amount of fluid behind the neck of the baby - this test is called the nuchal translucency. This measurement, along with the baby’s age, your age, and the results of the biochemical tests will allow us to calculate the individual risk of the baby having a chromosomal abnormality such as Down’s syndrome. If the risk is increased, you will be offered the opportunity to discuss further with the doctor or midwife.
If it is considered appropriate for further follow up tests, the appropriate diagnostic tests will either be chorionic villus sampling (CVS) where a small amount of afterbirth is tested under ultrasound, or amniocentesis where a small amount of fluid from around the baby is tested.
Sickle cell and thalassaemia (SCD): screening in pregnancy for SCD and thalassaemia involves having a blood test. It is best to have the test ideally by eight weeks, to allow for your results to appear on your electronic medical records by 10 weeks. This test is offered to all women cared for through our Trust. Read more
The screening will find out if you are a carrier of the sickle cell or thalassaemia gene and therefore likely to pass it on to the baby.
If you book after 13 weeks and 6 days, you can still have a blood test. This test is called the Quad test and includes four markers: Free-beta HCG, AFP, Unconjugated Estriol and Inhibin-A. It will detect around 80% of Down’s syndrome cases. Read more
An anomaly scan is undertaken between 18 and 20 weeks and checks the development of the baby.
Birth reflections service
Do you have any questions about your care in our labour wards or your birthing experience? We’d love to talk. If you gave birth in our hospitals, you can meet with one of our experienced midwives, and we’ll go through your care records together to answer any questions you might have.
You might feel that a part of your care was unexpected, unplanned, or confusing. You might feel your expectations were not met, or your birth plans may have changed due to medical concerns. During our conversation we can look back your birth story to fill in the gaps.
When you’re ready, you can call us on 020 8970 5757 to book an appointment. Sessions last an hour and you’re welcome to attend on your own, with your partner, your family or a friend.
Our booking line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm.
We can’t wait to meet you.
External Maternity patient resources
There are a number of resoruces produced by external organisations that may be beneficial for you to read. These are:
- A third or fourth-degree tear during birth
- Air travel in pregnancy
- Alcohol and pregnancy
- All about flu and how to stop getting it
- Antipsychotics in pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Aquanatal guidelines: guidance on antenal and postnatal exercises in the water
- Baby movements
- Being overweight in pregnancy and after birth
- Birth options for having your first baby
- Birth options if you have had a baby before
- Birth options after previous caesarean section
- Bleeding and/or pain in early pregnancy
- Breech Baby at the end of pregnancy
- Chickenpox and pregnancy
- Choosing to have a caesarean section
- Contraceptive choices after you've had your baby
- Diagnosis and treatment of venous thrombosis in pregnancy and after birth
- Early miscarriage
- Exercise and advice following pregnancy
- Epilepsy in pregnancy
- Feeling your baby move is a sign that they are well
- Female genital mutilation (FGM)
- Fit following birth
- Fit for birth
- Fit for the future
- Flu vaccination: who should have it this winter and why
- Headache after an epidural or spinal injection
- Healthy eating and vitamin supplements
- Heavy bleeding after birth (postpartum haemorrhage)
- Help for women and their partners to understand what ‘safeguarding children’ means
- Hepatitis B: explaining the screening result
- How to inject Clexane
- HIV: explaining the screening result
- I need to take medication for my mental health during pregnancy – what does this mean when my baby is born?
- Illness in newborn babies
- In-utero transfer
- Labour pain and pain relief - international translations
- Lithium in pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Metformin treatment in pregnancy
- Mother and baby units
- Mothers with diabetes
- Multiple pregnancy
- Pelvic floor muscles - a guide for women
- Pelvic girdle pain and pregnancy
- Perineal tears during childbirth
- Perinatal OCD - information for carers
- Physical activity and pregnancy
- Post-natal care for gestational diabetes (GDM)
- Postpartum psychosis - information for carers
- Pregnancy Sickness
- Protecting and improving the nation's health Vitamin D
- Reducing the risk of venous thrombosis in pregnancy and after birth
- Screening tests for you and your baby
- Screening tests for you and your baby: easy guides
- Smoking and pregnancy
- Syphilis: explaining the screening result
- TB, BCG and your baby
- The flu vaccination: Who should have it and why?
- Valproate in women and girls who could get pregnant
- What are perinatal mental health services?
- Whooping cough and pregnancy