Antenatal care

We advise women to ask their GP to refer to our maternity services as soon as they suspect that they are pregnant. You can also self-refer to us. Please complete one of the following online referral forms: 

Antenatal care

Watch our virtual tours of the Epsom and St Helier maternity departments.

We like to see women for the first booking-in appointment as early as possible, and ideally before 10 weeks of pregnancy. At this appointment your midwife will discuss all of the screening tests that are available to you in pregnancy which includes the ultrasound scans. This information is also available in a number of foreign languages - please see the 'Leaflets and additional information' section at the bottom of this page.

Most women follow a planned schedule of midwifery care which includes two ultrasound scan appointments.

  • 10-13 weeks: first ultrasound scan
  • Around 12 weeks or earlier: booking-in appointment
  • 16-18 weeks: antenatal follow-up appointment
  • 20-22 weeks: second ultrasound scan. 

Mothers to be will then receive antenatal appointments from 25 weeks of pregnancy at around two to three week intervals.

At each appointment, your baby’s growth and movements will be assessed to ensure good growth and development, along with checkups on your own general wellbeing.

Antenatal care for low risk women is shared by our community midwives and your GP.

For women with more complicated pregnancies, care will be shared with one of our obstetric consultants or many of our different specialist services, depending on your specific needs.

Your parent journey starts here

During your pregnancy you will want to spend a little time discussing your hopes and feelings about parenthood, and how best to lay the foundation for a strong and loving bond with your baby. For more information about your journey and how we will work with you, please see Your parent journey starts here [pdf] 339KB.

Flu Vaccinations

It is highly recommended that you are immunized against influenza at the earliest point possible before or during your pregnancy. Our hospitals offer this service to all pregnant women, just ask in the early pregnancy unit or at your booking appointment. Please read this leaflet:  Public Health England Flu Vaccination for pregnant women leaflet [pdf] 381KB and raise any queries you may have with your Midwife.

Pertussis/Whooping Cough

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs and airways. It causes repeated coughing bouts that can last for two to three months or more, and can make babies and young children in particular very ill. Whooping cough is spread in the droplets of the coughs or sneezes of someone with the infection. At Epsom and St Helier we can offer you a vaccination to protect you and baby following your 20 week scan. Please read this leaflet: Whooping Cough booklet - Public Health Engalnd [pdf] 355KB.

Vaccinations for your baby - BCG

It's good to start considering if you would like your baby to be immunised against Tuberculousis after your baby has been born. We can offer the vaccine on the ward, before you go home, or you can choose to come to one of our outpatient clinics on either site. Please read these leaflets for more information:  BCG for newborns info leaflet - Public Health England [pdf] 184KB PHE BCG Child vaccine information for parents [pdf] 97KB

Infant development

We are here to support you and your family during your pregnancy and beyond, to help you establish a close and loving relationship with your baby to provide the best possible start in life.

During your pregnancy

Getting to know your baby starts long before they arrive. As your baby grows and develops they will start to hear you and those around you, and you will start to feel them move and react. Your midwives will ask about you and your baby at each appointment.

There are many ways you can start to develop a relationship, including talking to your baby, rubbing your bump and responding to your baby's movements, this interaction helps your baby's brain develop. The Baby Buddy app (opens in a new window) is a free mobile phone app for parents and parents-to-be with personalised content approved by doctors and midwives that spans from pregnancy right through to the first six months after birth, developed by Best Beginnings.

Once your baby has arrived

Our staff will support you to understand and care for your baby whilst in hospital and at home. Please see our Postnatal care section for further information.

The following videos, from the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative, provide a useful introduction:

We offer an antenatal infant feeding workshop and informal sessions before your baby arrives so you can talk to a healthcare professional about the best options for you to feed your baby. Find out more about our Infant feeding and colostrum harvesting service [pdf] 1MB.

Community midwifery

Community midwives provide the majority of antenatal care for pregnant women at either their GP surgery or a local children's centre. After the birth of your baby and discharge form the hospital, your care continues with the same community team and will be planned according to your own needs.  

Home birth

We have a dedicated home birth lead midwife, who offers individualised care alongside the community team to mothers who choose to give birth at home. Please ask for a referral at your booking appointment.

Home birth workshops 2017

Date Time Location
Sunday 22 January 2pm Antenatal Clinic, St Helier Hospital
Sunday 19 March 2pm Casey Annex, Epsom Hospital
Sunday 21 May 2pm Antenatal Clinic, St Helier Hospital
Sunday 16 July 2pm Casey Annex, Epsom Hospital
Sunday 17 September 2pm Antenatal Clinic, St Helier Hospital
Sunday 19 November 2pm Casey Annex, Epsom Hospital

Antenatal classes and workshops

Our midwives offer a variety of antenatal classes and workshops at a range of venues and times.

These classes are very popular and are generally booked up very quickly. If you decide that you would like to attend any classes, we advise you to book them as soon as possible after your antenatal booking appointment.

Please remember that you are entitled to take reasonable paid time off your work for your antenatal care, including parentcraft (antenatal) and relaxation classes. This applies no matter how long you have been employed or how many hours you work per week.

Flyers

National Childbirth Trust (NCT)

NCT is the UK's leading charity for parents and run courses for parents, both before and after birth, led by NCT trained workers. They hold a variety of classes within the local area.

Please see the NCT website (opens in a new window) for further details.

 

Anaesthetic antenatal clinic

Anaesthetic clinics are held on Wednesday afternoons, for women with muscular, skeletal, surgical or anaesthetic complications. We aim to provide balanced information on pain relief options for labour; this is especially useful for women who suffer with back pain and have concerns about having an epidural in labour.    

The clinics are run by anaesthetic consultants with assistance from midwives specialising in higher risk cases. You may be referred to the clinic from a consultant obstetrician or midwife.

Weight management clinic

Pregnancy provides you with the golden opportunity to make changes regarding your lifestyle, with immediate and long-term effects for you and your family. This is especially important if your body mass index (BMI) has been raised significantly.

We provide expert help and advice through weight management, dietary and healthy lifestyle changes. You’ll receive individualised care which promotes your dignity, respect for your wishes and achieve optimum outcomes for you and your baby.

In addition to exercise and nutrition information and monitoring, we will refer you to the Infant Feeding Team to be trained in expressing and storing your breast milk towards the end of your pregnancy.

Diabetes clinic

During normal pregnancy, there is a rise in hormones which causes your body to become relatively insensitive to insulin, the hormone your body produces to lower blood sugar. Some women cannot make sufficient insulin to overcome this insensitivity and so develop diabetes, which usually disappears after delivery.

If you are diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes in your pregnancy (gestational diabetes), you will be seen by the specialist doctor and midwife who will monitor the growth of your baby, and the treatment of your diabetes.

Early pregnancy assessment units

The early pregnancy assessment units at our hospitals are for patients in the early stages of pregnancy (up to 20 weeks). If you have concerns, such as bleeding, you may refer yourself to the service, or be referred by your GP, a midwife or from our A&E departments. Please make an appointment before attending the units (details of how to do so are below).

You may be seen in the unit if you have:

  • A positive pregnancy test
  • Early pregnancy (up to 20 weeks gestation)
  • Vaginal bleeding or pain
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy.

St Helier Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU)

The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit at St Helier is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am-11.30am on the ground floor of E block (Women’s Health) at St Helier. To make an appointment, please call 020 8296 2882. 

If you need to be seen urgently outside of these hours we suggest you attend the Emergency Department.

The clinic tends to be busy and the midwife may not be able to answer the phone during clinic times. If there is no answer, please leave a brief message and clear contact details on the answer machine and someone will return your call.

Epsom Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU)

The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit at Epsom is open from 1.15pm-4pm Monday to Friday, with the last appointment at 3.30pm. It is situated on the ground floor in block L2 (Langley Wing).  To make an appointment, please call 01372 735155.

If you need to be seen urgently outside of these hours we suggest you attend the Emergency Department.

The clinic tends to be busy and the midwife may not be able to answer the phone during clinic. If there is no answer, please leave a brief message and clear contact details on the answer machine.

Maternity assessment units (MAU and MATAU)

Both hospitals have a midwife-led maternity assessment unit for monitoring of a variety of conditions such as blood pressure, suspected waters breaking, reduced fetal movements, or itching. 

St Helier

Our Maternity Assessment Unit (MAU) at St Helier provides a walk-in service for women who are at least 20 weeks pregnant and have either been referred by a health professional or have a concern themselves regarding their pregnancy. The unit is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm and accepts patients until 4pm every day.

Epsom

At Epsom, our Maternity Assessment Unit (MATAU) is by appointment only but these can usually be made for the same day. To make an appointment at Epsom, please call 01372 735264 or 07975 232375 (please do not leave a voicemail on the unit's mobile number). The unit, situated in the Antenatal Clinic in block L (Langley Wing), is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. 

Out of these hours, please call the Delivery suite on 01372 735208/5247.

Fetal medicine and ultrasound scanning

Our fetal medicine team will ensure that any risk of abnormality is identified. In addition to ultrasound scanning and screening for Down's Syndrome, we offer other tests including Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis if required. 

Mental health and substance misuse clinics

The Maple Clinic specialises in providing one-to-one care during the antenatal period for women with mental health conditions or a history of alcohol and drug misuse.

Our sensitive and confidential service provides individual care, and you will see the same midwife throughout the antenatal period, helping to ensure continuity of care.

We encourage women who attend the clinic to play an active role in identifying what support and assistance is required to meet their specific needs.

Feeding your baby

For more information about feeding your baby, including our infant feeding service, please see our dedicated Infant feeding section.

'From bump to breastfeeding' video

We would like to encourage our expectant and new mothers to watch a 35-minute documentary produced by child health charity, Best Beginnings, developed in collaboration with the Department of Health, entitled  'From Bump to Breastfeeding' (opens in a new window).

The documentary follows real mothers across the UK in their journey from pregnancy to birth to breastfeeding their new babies. The documentary is a fantastic resource, covering everything from the practical aspects, such as how to get your baby positioned and attached correctly, to social things like breastfeeding in public.

We feel that this is a really useful resource for mums-to-be, with some information which may have not occurred to you. Most importantly, the more information you have available, the more empowered you feel to make the right decision for you and your baby – this is what’s most important for us.

Leaflets and additional information

Other languages

For those who are visually challenged, please find links to audio versions of these leaflets below:

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