The Maternity Service aims to provide excellent care in a friendly and nurturing environment to give mothers, babies and their families' personalised care from the early antenatal period, during pregnancy and labour and during the first early days of parenting.
You can talk to the Maternity Team about the various options available to you to help you choose the right personalised care package for your pregnancy, together with a delivery plan that suits you and your family.
HSC Position Statement on Homebirth Support (June 2021)
- With the risk of COVID remaining in the community, homebirths cannot be safely supported by HSC at this time but our passionate team of midwives are committed to offering a home-from-home environment for birthing on our dedicated Loveridge Ward.
- Pre-COVID, the maternity team would make every effort to accommodate homebirths on the rare occasions that they were requested. However providing this service did create resourcing challenges. Put simply, attending and facilitating a home birth took one-third of the maternity team away from Loveridge Ward. It also required a very demanding on-call commitment for these teams.
- The impact of the continuing pandemic has made these resourcing challenges far more acute. In line with Public Health advice, staff are having to take sick leave if showing the mildest symptoms of what might turn out to be common colds or other ailments, which in pre-COVID circumstances might have seen them able to continue to work. But with the continued risk of COVID in the community, this clearly is not now an option. Similarly, there are higher instances of staff taking unplanned leave to look after children who are off sick from school.
- So as we live with the risk of COVID in the community, our limited number of highly-skilled midwives are our most precious maternity resource, as midwifery is a specialist skill which can't be covered by general nursing.
- A further challenge in offering homebirths at this time is the varying suitability of domestic dwellings to enable the safe delivering of a baby in terms of available space and other considerations. HSC staff attending homes also puts them at higher risk of contracting any sickness in the community which may then lead to further risk of unplanned leave within our small team.
- Regrettably, these pressures mean that supporting the rare number of requests for homebirths is no longer sustainable at the present time.
- Our midwives are passionate about being able to offer choice but are also duty bound to advise on what is safe. They are confident that they can create the best possible birth plan for any expectant parents within the dedicated Loveridge Ward. Its birthing rooms are designed to have everything to hand while also offering a homely environment. The ward features a delivery room that includes a pool, which will be offered to expectant parents whenever appropriate and pending availability. A portable pool can also be utilised in other delivery rooms. Expectant parents can also bring in some creature comforts such as rugs or other personal belongings to help make their labour and delivery more familiar and personal. These can be delivered to the ward in advance. New parents and babies will only be kept on the ward as long as necessary, with swift discharge back home supported as far as possible.
The Maternity Team
- Midwives, Obstetricians, Maternity Support Workers [MSW], Sonographers, Paediatricians and Anaesthetists make up the Maternity Team. All skilled professionals are either based in the hospital or community to provide you and your families with the personalised care that you need throughout your experience.
- Midwives will be your first point of contact if you develop any complications during your pregnancy.
- Maternity Support Workers assist the Midwives in all aspects of care, including:
- Accompanying women to other clinical departments under the direction of a Midwife
- Home visits
- Providing breastfeeding support
- In addition, they will assist you whenever needed
- The Community Midwifery Team are assigned to parishes for home visits, run antenatal clinics and also co-ordinate the Great Expectations parent craft classes along with Bosom Buddies breast feeding support group. They also provide postnatal once discharged from hospital. The Community Midwives can be contacted on 01481 224682.
- Obstetric Consultants will lead or work in collaboration with the lead Midwife if you develop complications during your pregnancy. You can find out more about our Obstetric Consultants here.
Labour Wards and Suites
- Lavender Suite
- The Lavender Suite is situated on Loveridge ward and can be used as long as you remain low risk during your pregnancy and go into natural labour between 37 and 42 weeks.
- The suite consists of a spacious relaxing area with a bean bag, bradbury cushion and birthing pool all of which encourage mobilisation and normality in labour.
- The use of the Lavender Suite can be discussed with your Midwife at 36 weeks if this is your preferred option.
- Delivery Suite/ Labour Ward
- Our Labour Suite is typically for those women with complications who may require Obstetric and Midwifery care during labour and birth. Occasionally, if the Lavender Suite is in use, the Labour Suite can also be used for those women whose care is Midwifery led.
- The Labour Suite is an appropriate choice for Obstetric led and Midwifery led care. Maternity care in the labour suite is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including Midwives, Obstetricians, Anaesthetists, Paediatricians and Support Workers. All members of the team will ensure the focus is on respecting your individual preferences
- Delivery Suite facilities:
- Three birthing rooms: Ocean, Woodland and Blossom. Ocean is our secondary water birth room which can be used if the Lavender Suite is unavailable.
- The Cove: is a big bath which can be used by women in early labour
- Listed below are a number of reasons it may be more appropriate for you to give birth in our labour suite:
- Have medical or obstetric complications in your present pregnancy
- Have had complications in a previous pregnancy or birth
- Go into labour before 37 weeks
- Require Induction of Labour (IOL)
- Need a Caesarean Section for medical or obstetric reasons
- Choose to have your baby on the Labour Ward
- Would like an epidural
Visiting Hours and Contact - Loveridge Ward
- The entrance to the ward is monitored by CCTV and is securely locked at all times. Parents/birthing partners are welcome to visit any time during the day, however, the only children allowed to visit are siblings of the baby, and our rationale for this is to reduce the risk of infection.
- Visiting times to the Unit are:
- 15.30 to 16.30
- 18.30 to 19.30
- We do not have facilities for friends to stay on the unit however, we are now very fortunate to be able to offer overnight accommodation for birthing partners if requested.
- If you have any questions you can contact the ward on 01481 224377.
More information on your pregnancy, giving birth and support can be found here.