Maternity

Maternity

We recognise that expectant mothers require very special attention. Our dedicated teams are here to help you through your pregnancy and birth and provide you with the best care to suit your individual needs.

You can choose to access maternity care in any of our units:

  • Barkantine Birth Centre
  • Barking Community Birth Centre
  • Newham University Hospital
  • The Royal London Hospital
  • Whipps Cross University Hospital

Our information here will help you to access care from our expert maternity teams, who will support you to plan and prepare for pregnancy, birth and beyond.

From pregnancy through to postnatal care, our team of midwives and medical staff will help you to make informed choices.

As part of your journey with us, you can choose to have your baby at one of our tranquil birthing units led by experienced midwives; in one of our labour wards with leading consultants close at hand; or in the comforting surrounding of your own home.

We are very proud of our maternity units at The Royal London Hospital and Newham University Hospital – and refurbishment at Whipps Cross University Hospital is currently underway.

We hope that you will have a straightforward pregnancy, but if you do experience any complications, then you will have access to a wide range of experts who can provide specialist advice. Our team includes obstetric and gynaecology consultants, specialist nurses and anaesthetists. We will ensure that you are kept fully informed and treated with care and dignity at every stage of your journey.

Your appointments

Making your first appointment - how to be referred

When you first find out that you are pregnant you should register for antenatal care as soon as possible. This enables us to organise maternity care for you that takes into account all your needs and preferences.

There are currently three ways that you can be referred to Barts Health maternity services. You can:

Once your referral has been received a booking appointment with a midwife will be sent out to you and ideally be completed before the week 10 of your pregnancy.

At this appointment your individual plan of care will be discussed with you and plans made for your future appointments.

If you have booked to have your baby at another unit but wish to transfer your care to us, please complete the self-referral form above. We will do our best to see you within two weeks of receiving your form.

The Trust offers an interpreting service, Bilingual Health Advocacy Service which includes face-to-face interpreting and also telephone line interpreting. For more information visit the interpreting service pages of our website here.

If English is not your first language and you require this service then this should be included on the referral form and an interpreter will be arranged for your appointment. We prefer not to use any friends or family members to interpret for you.

Before your first appointment

With your appointment letter we will also send a booklet called screening tests for you and your baby. Please read this before your appointment. You will then be able to ask any questions with the midwife before deciding which screening tests you wish to have. 

Please bring with you to your appointment:

  • scan reports if you have already had any ultrasound scans
  • a copy of your maternity notes, blood results or ultrasound scan reports if you are transferring your care from another hospital

We provide additional services for patients with learning disabilities by giving them a hospital passport. For more information about the passport visit the patients with disabilities page here.

At your first appointment

Your first pregnancy appointment, also known as your booking appointment, will either take place at one of our hospitals or in your local GP surgery or Children’s Centre.

At this appointment the midwife will ask you a series of questions about your medical history, previous pregnancies and health and well-being. The midwife will give you information for your pregnancy, including information about:

  • maintaining a healthy pregnancy such as how to eat healthily and stop smoking
  • what choices are available to you during your pregnancy, including screening tests and where to have you baby
  • how to access antenatal classes

Your booking appointment usually takes around one hour and is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have. You are welcome to have your husband, partner, mother, or friend attend with you.

You will be given your handheld maternity folder which includes your green maternity notes. You should keep these maternity notes in a safe place and bring them with you to every appointment and hospital attendance.

Choices of antenatal care

At your first appointment the midwife will help arrange the best antenatal care package for you and your pregnancy. The midwife will work with you to assess whether your pregnancy has any special considerations called risk factors. This enables us to offer the best care package for you and your baby. 

Midwifery led care

This package is designed for women with uncomplicated, ‘low risk’ pregnancies. Women are booked with a team of community midwives. Antenatal care is provided by these teams in community clinics at Health Centres / Children’s Centres / GP surgeries. Scans are at the hospital. You will only need to see an obstetrician if any problems arise during your pregnancy, or if you or your midwife have any concerns.

Shared care between midwife and GP

This package is also designed for women with uncomplicated, ‘low risk’ pregnancies. The midwife will generally be your lead professional and an agreed schedule of care will be planned. Care is provided with input from your GP. You will go to hospital for scans. You will only need to see an obstetrician if any problems arise during your pregnancy, or if you, your midwife or your GP have any concerns.

Consultant led shared care

This package is designed for women with complicated or ‘high risk’ pregnancies.  Depending on the specific risk factors, your care is led by a named obstetrician and your appointments will be either with the obstetrician at the hospital or with your GP / midwife in the community. Scans take place at the hospital. 

What to expect from your antenatal care

You will be invited to attend regular appointments throughout your pregnancy in order to monitor the health and wellbeing of you and your baby. 

Some of the things you should expect at these appointments include:

  • checking your urine and blood pressure
  • feeling your tummy to assess the growth and position of your baby
  • listening to you baby’s heartbeat (from 24 weeks)

You should use these appointments to discuss any concerns or worries that you may have.

To find out more visit about antenatal care, visit the NHS Choices website here.

The table below outlines your likely schedule of care if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, this includes 10 appointments for women having their first baby and seven appointments for subsequent births. 

If you have any existing medical problems, or develop complications during pregnancy, you may need to be seen more often.

Schedule of care
Weeks' pregnant Who you will see Mother and baby checks
10 - 12 weeks Community midwife Booking visit, meet your  midwife and take your history, check BP and urine
11 - 13 weeks Hospital Scan and blood test Nuchal translucency scan: measures fluid under skin at back of baby’s neck (a test for Down’s syndrome)
16 weeks Community GP / midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby
20 - 23 weeks Hospital Anomaly scan: detailed scan for fetal wellbeing
25 weeks Community GP / midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby
28 weeks Community midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby, blood tests and anti-D if rhesus negative
31 weeks Community GP / midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby
34 weeks Community midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby, anti-D if rhesus negative, birth plan
36 weeks Community GP / midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby, discuss test results and baby’s position
38 weeks Community GP / midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby, discuss options if you go beyond 40 weeks
40 weeks Community GP / midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby, discuss options if you go beyond 40 weeks
41 weeks Community midwife Antenatal check of mother and baby, membrane sweep and book induction

At the end of each your appointments, we will give you details of where and when your next appointment will be and with who. If this is not possible, you will be contacted by telephone or letter with the details of your next appointment.

If you have either missed or not been told about an appointment that you think you should have had, please contact your midwife or antenatal clinic as soon as possible.

Coronavirus update

If you are having a baby at one of our hospitals 

Due to the unprecedented situation we have to take extraordinary protective measures to minimise the risk of harm for mums, dads, babies and families.

Pregnancy: During antenatal appointments (community or hospital) visitors will be requested to wait outside the room. This includes attendances to scanning, triage and day assessment unit (DAU). Where possible please do not bring children to your appointments.

Birth: One visitor (asymptomatic) can stay with the mother throughout “established” labour, birth and the immediate postnatal period. No swapping of visitors is permitted. 

Postnatal: No visitors permitted for postnatal mothers at anytime, anywhere in the maternity building. Where safe to do so we will encourage early discharge home, and our maternity staff will support this process.

Homebirths and birth centres

Homebirths and all our birth centres, including the Barkantine Birth Centre and the Barking Community Birth Centre, are available and offering a normal service.

Cancellation of maternity tours and on site antenatal education 

Tours of the Maternity Unit and face-to-face antenatal education sessions at all our hospitals, are currently suspended. We hope to restart this again soon.

Get in touch 

If you have any questions we are happy to answer them for you. Please email the parent education team or for the Whipps Cross Hospital team. The Newham Hospital maternity team can be contaced at bartshealth.maternityhelpline@nhs.net or via phone 020 8090 9999.

Our triage departments are available 24/7, should you need to get in touch.

Stay up-to-date 

Are you pregnant and worried about coronavirus? The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gyneacologists has published a question and answer resource. Read it here.

Ask our antenatal team a question