Watch this video on our maternity services during Covid-19

Maternity Services during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We would like to take this opportunity to update you about your maternity care whilst we deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global outbreak. We want to reassure you that our dedicated teams will continue to strive to provide outstanding care and prioritise your safety and that of your baby at this unprecedented time.

It is expected the majority of pregnant women who are exposed to COVID-19 will experience only mild to moderate cold/flu like symptoms. There is no evidence that pregnant women who have contracted COVID-19 are more at risk of serious complications than any other healthy individuals.

We are taking extra care in how we are looking after all women who access our maternity services to ensure we maintain their safety and well-being. We have created separate areas on both the labour and inpatient wards and are following government guidance to care for those who have confirmed, or are suspected to have, COVID-19. This ensures that those women who are unaffected are also kept safe and well.   

For the most up to date pregnancy COVID-19 advice and information we recommend you visit the RCOG website on Covid-19 virus infection and pregnancy.

Help and advice regarding Covid-19

If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19 you should use the NHS 111 online service for information. Please only call 111 if you are not able to access the advice on-line as there are very long wait times.

  • Stay at home and do not come to the hospital if you have a high temperature or new persistent cough, and follow guidance available at: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
  • If you do not start to feel better within 7-14 days this may be a sign that you are developing a more significant illness that requires enhanced care. You should use the NHS 111 online service for advice.
  • If you develop more severe symptoms of COVID-19 such as for example; difficulties in breathing you should phone 999.
  • If you are concerned about your pregnancy or new born baby, you should contact our dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline which is available 7 days a week on: 01708 503742

Protecting yourself and others from COVID-19

As a precaution, you should follow government advice about pregnancy and social distancing; stay away from public places and avoid anyone who has symptoms suggestive of COVID19. Please refer to the current guidance on social isolation both for yourself and your household. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Please follow the Government advice:

  • Stay at home as much as possible. Only go outside for essential food items or health reasons.
  • Work from home if practical to do so.
  • If you do need to go out stay two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth and eyes with your hands.
  • On returning home wash your hands as soon as you get home.
  • If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant you should be particularly attentive to social distancing and minimising any contact with others.
  • Pregnant women with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired) are strongly recommended that you follow shielding measures to keep yourself safe. Shielding means you are advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.

If you work in an essential service as a Key Worker as deemed by Government guidance and you are less than 28 weeks pregnant, please seek advice from your employer and access for up to date advice

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2020-03-30-occupational-health-advice-for-employers-and-pregnant-women-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-20200406.pdf

Maternity Care

It is important for your maternity care and safety that you let us know if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Please let your community midwife know, on the telephone number within your handheld notes, so she/he can make alterative arrangements to ensure that you receive the care that is required.

  • Please do not attend if you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (fever/high temperature, persistent cough, shortness of breath)
  • Please do not attend an appointment if you or anyone in your household is self-isolating for suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Please do not allow any other member of your household to accompany you to hospital at any time including if you are labour, if they are showing symptoms or are meant to be self-isolating.
  • Please do not bring any children with you to the hospital or to any of your appointments. They will not be allowed to accompany you and you will be asked to reschedule. Children can be carriers of COVID-19 and can easily spread it whilst not displaying any symptoms themselves.
  • Please ensure that your community midwife and the hospital have your correct telephone number.
  • If you are concerned at any time about your pregnancy or new born baby, you should contact our dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline which is available 7 days a week on: 01708 503742

Please keep us informed so we can keep you and your baby safe

Outpatient/Hospital Appointments:

Whilst we attempt to limit the spread of COVID19 we ask that you please:

  • Attend your Maternity appointments alone. This unfortunately includes your scan appointments.
  • We may contact you via telephone prior to any planned appointments, visits and attendances to ask screening questions to ensure you are well enough (asymptomatic) to attend. If you are contacted you must accurately and honestly answer the questions asked regarding COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolation or family members within the household who are self-isolating. This allows us to make a plan of care for you that will keep you and your baby safe.  It also helps us keep our staff safe so that they can continue to remain well to care for you and others.
  • Some hospital appointments will now be conducted over the telephone rather than face-to-face. We will inform you if this applies to you and your appointments.
  • All parent education classes and tours of labour ward have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. We are looking into ways of delivering these classes virtually – please follow our BHRUT social Media feeds for more information over the coming weeks.

Antenatal Care in Community

Your antenatal care pathway has also been adjusted to include telephone consultations when appropriate. This facilitates social distancing whilst ensuring that you and your unborn baby remain well. Your midwife will contact you to discuss your adjusted antenatal care pathway. Please inform your midwife if you or a family member in your household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

If you are concerned at any time about your pregnancy or new born baby you should contact either your Community midwife or our dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline which is available seven days a week on: 01708 503 742.

Labour / Triage Assessment

If you think your labour has started, or you need to attend the hospital due to an urgent pregnancy concern, please contact the dedicated 24 hour Maternity Helpline on 01708 503 742. A midwife will take a history and advise you when and where to come in. Please do not attend without calling first. This is particularly important if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or people in your household with symptoms of COVID-19.

Please note that during this COVID-19 outbreak some of the available options to you may unfortunately be limited or suspended such as Water Birth and/or non-emergency Epidural service. We will try our best to support your birth choices when possible.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The maternity team will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) due to COVID-19 when they provide patient care to you and/or your baby, this will include face masks. This is for their own and your protection, however this can make communication more difficult please bear with us.

If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 you will be cared for in an isolation room (or bay) with the maternity team wearing PPE which will include a gown, gloves, face mask and eye protection. In an emergency this may cause a delay in staff responding as they must be wearing PPE before assisting for their own protection. Staff has been practising putting on PPE at speed to minimise and reduce the potential impact of these delays on you and your baby.

Visiting Policy

Unfortunately all visiting is currently being restricted due to COVID-19 and the need to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Only one named person will be allowed to accompany you whilst you are birthing your baby.
  • Please ensure that you have considered having a back-up birthing partner should your partner be self-isolating or symptomatic of COVID19 and therefore unable to accompany you.
  • We are aiming to discharge suitable women straight home from the labour ward.
  • If you are required to be transferred to the postnatal ward for continuing care, your partner will be asked to kindly leave and cannot stay with you.
  • If your partner has any fever/high temperature, persistent cough, shortness of breath they must  not accompany you (that means not entering the hospital building).
  • All other visitors must wait to see you and your baby until you have been discharged home.
  • No children will be allowed within the Maternity Services departments.
  • Please speak to a Midwifery Matron for exceptions in extreme cases only.

Postnatal Care in the Community

Your postnatal care pathway will be adjusted to include telephone consultations and to minimise the face to face appointments during the COVID-19 outbreak. Once you are discharged home from hospital a midwife will contact you the following day by phone to assess you and your baby’s wellbeing.  The midwife will discuss your ongoing postnatal care pathway and provide you with contact numbers should you at any time be concerned regarding yourself or your baby. Please inform your midwife if you or a family member is displaying symptoms of COVID19.

For the most up to date advice; find us on social media

Trust Coronavirus Website- https://www.bhrhospitals.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Trust Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/bhrhospitals

Trust Twitter page- https://twitter.com/BHR_hospitals

Maternity Twitter - https://twitter.com/TeamMidwife

Our maternity services remain committed to providing you with outstanding care and have dedicated staff working round the clock and hard to ensure you have a safe and positive pregnancy and birth. Maternity staff cannot work from home as we need to care for you and your baby throughout the antenatal, labour and postnatal period; however they themselves will need to respond to personal or family challenges in dealing with COVID19, which may mean we are working with a lot less staff than usual. Our first priority is providing the best service we can for you and we ask that you understand the challenging situation that we are working in and support us in our efforts to care for you as safely and efficiently as we can during this time. Thank you.

Sue Lovell
Director of Midwifery

Mental health resources during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Support services for women

Postpartum psychosis

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) will continue their national peer support services throughout the outbreak. The APP forum is available for people affected by PP to talk to other women and partners.

They offer one to one peer support for anyone in the UK, where people are paired with an APP coordinator with lived experience, or a volunteer peer supporter. They offer one to one peer support via email, private messaging on the forum, or via video call. Their regional postpartum psychosis cafe groups will also continue via video call. People personally affected by PP (woman, partner, family members) who would like to access this support should email app@app-network.org.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar UK provides coronavirus advice for pregnant women with bipolar disorder and also offers peer support on its e-community.

Perinatal OCD

Maternal OCD provides guidance and resources for coping with COVID-19 for people with perinatal OCD

Eating disorders

Beat Eating Disorders provides resources for people with eating disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Depression and other perinatal mental illnesses

The PANDAS Foundation provides support and advice for any parent and their networks who need support with perinatal mental illness.

Perinatal anxiety

Anxiety UK offers support, advice and information on a range of anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression condition via email, text and live chat services.

Useful links

Mind

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/perinatal-anxiety/

Anxiety self help guide

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/mental-health/mental-health-self-help-guides/anxiety-self-help-guide

Head space

https://www.headspace.com/

Maternal Mental Health Alliance

https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/news/mmha-members-offer-reassurance-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/

Community Infant Feeding support during Coronavirus COVID-19

All drop in clinics and cafes have been cancelled.

London Borough of Redbridge

For infant feeding support please contact telephone Redbridge 0-19 Children's Service on 0300 300 1579. The service operates Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. Voicemail covers out of hours and weekends. We aim to get back to everyone within 24 hours at most (excluding weekends).

You will be presented with the following options.

  • Option 1: Loxford, Cranbrook, Valentines, Clementswood, Mayfield
  • Option 2: Seven Kings, Newbury, Goodmayes, and Chadwell Health
  • Option 3: Fairlop, Hainault, Fulwell, Clayhall, Barkingside
  • Option 4: Wanstead, Woodford Green, Monkhams, Woodford Bridge, Churchfields, South Woodford, Snaresbrook and Aldersbrook
  • Option 5 - for any other enquiries (Admin Hub)

If forwarded to voicemail, please leave the following:

  • Your name
  • Contact telephone number
  • baby’s date of birth

Barking and Dagenham

Please call the duty numbers below for Infant Feeding Support.

West Locality

East Locality

North Locality

For more specialist infant feeding support please contact Health Improvement Practitioner Sahera Bharucha (Sahera.bharucha@nelft.nhs.uk).

London Borough of Havering

Havering Children’s Centres Infant Feeding Advisors

  • Telephone: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm: 01708 432 309 (Becky) or 01708 434 747 (Michelle).
  • Email childrenscentres@havering.gov.uk with questions or to request a call back.

LatchOn Havering

Provides breastfeeding support:

La Leche League

Provides support via:

  • Online meetings: telephone 0345 120 2918
  • Email: local Leaders via helpform
  • Website: www.laleche.org.uk

For further support, contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212, who provides help and support every day of the year from 9.30am to 9.30pm.

For a Specialist Infant Feeding phone consultation from our team, email bhrut.infantfeeding@nhs.net. Include your name and phone number and we will call you back. Call back service available from Monday to Friday, 9am -3pm.

Coronavirus COVID-19: helpful maternity guidance videos

Using QR codes to find maternity information

Pregnancy and Coronavirus

RCOG Vice President Dr Jo Mountfield talking about coronavirus and pregnancy from RCOG on Vimeo.

RCOG Vice President Dr Jo Mountfield talking about attending routine antenatal appointments during coronavirus from RCOG on Vimeo.

Free online NHS antenatal courses during Covid-19

An online NHS antenatal course for parents-to-be and everyone around you is free during COVID-19 restrictions for parents, grandparents and carers across the country.

Written by NHS midwives, health visitors and clinical psychologists

Choose your preferred antenatal course then fill in some details to create an account. To return to the course(s) go to www.inourplace.co.uk and sign in.

There are also versions in Urdu, Welsh and for Women Couples. For technical support, contact Solihull.approach@heartofengland.nhs.uk or telephone 0121 296 4448 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Domestic abuse during coronavirus: practical support and advice

For guidance and advice during the coronavirus outbreak, visit Women's Aid:

https://www.womensaid.org.uk/covid-19-resource-hub/

Maternity services

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.

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.

Pre-pregnancy

  • 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.

During pregnancy

  • 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.

Movements Matter

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.

Queen's Birth Centre

Our maternity services

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.

Booking your birth

As soon as you find out you are pregnant, it’s a good idea to book your antenatal care and birth with us here at Queen's Hospital, using our booking form in the pink box above.

Alternatively, you may call us on 020 8970 5757 (8.30am to 4.30pm). We will contact you within 72 hours with a booking appointment date. Your first appointment is likely to be with a community midwife. We will then make an appointment for various tests and scans. You can find out more information through the links on this site. 

We advise women to book in as early on in pregnancy as possible, so that we can give you all the care, advice, options and support that you need for a healthy pregnancy. 

We provide care to women living in Havering and most parts of Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Brentwood and parts of Essex. Our catchment area covers most of these boroughs, and we give priority to local women who book with us. 

At present, we cannot provide care to other women who live outside our catchment area due to an increase in referrals. We need to work within our capacity in order to ensure that we do not compromise the quality of care that we offer. Please feel free to make an enquiry. If we do not have enough capacity, we will refer you on to another local hospital. This might be:

  • Whipps Cross for women living in some parts of Redbridge
  • Newham for women living in some parts of Barking and Dagenham
  • or an Essex hospital such as Broomfield or Basildon for women living in Essex.

Antenatal classes

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 until the end of May 2020.  

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:

https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/

https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/benefits-breastfeeding/

https://www.who.int/westernpacific/health-topics/breastfeeding

https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pain-relief-labour/

https://www.cochrane.org/CD009234/PREG_pain-management-for-women-in-labour---an-overview

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/what-happens-during-labour-and-birth/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/baby-special-intensive-care/

https://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/newborns/care_at_birth/en/

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.

Benefits

  • Reducing the intensity of contractions
  • Relaxation
  • 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.
Email: bhrut.pals@nhs.net

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.

During labour

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 midwife

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
• Redbridge

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.

FIRST TRIMESTER

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.

SECOND TRIMESTER

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.

Maternity visiting times

Visiting times below apply to antenatal, postnatal, and Coral wards.

Partners

Open visiting and permitted to stay overnight

Partners not staying

Ward is closed from 10pm to 8am.

Other visitors

11am to 8pm.

Mother's own children only may visit.

Maternity patient information leaflets

There are a number of patient information leaflets produced by external organisations that may be beneficial for you to read. These are: