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:
Whipps Cross Hospital
- Making your first appointment - how to be referred
- Before your first appointment
- At your first appointment
- Choices of antenatal care
- What to expect from your antenatal care
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:
- Complete the maternity self-referral form [docx] 112KB
- call the Newham maternity helpline on 020 8090 9999 who will take your details over the phone (for Newham Hospital only)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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. We understand that the current restrictions are challenging. Please be assured that we are continually reviewing our visitor guidance in the antenatal, labour and post-natal period, in line with national recommendations to ensure our staff, patients and visitors are kept as safe as possible.
Pregnancy: All our hospitals allow one visitor, usually the named birth partner, to accompany women to their antenatal appointments, subject to risk assessment at entrance to the hospital
Labour/birth: In line with national guidance, we welcome one visitor, usually the named birth partner, to accompany women at all stages of labour including inductions and caesarean sections and the immediate postnatal period. A ‘maternity mate’ can also be present with the nominated birthing partner. A Doula’s presence is agreed prior to labour on a case by case basis.
Postnatal: Our maternity units are open to the nominated birthing partner to visit during a designated 3 hour period, provided they have a negative Covid-19 test.
- Please note that for Whipps Cross, visiting times have now been extended and the nominated birthing partner will be able to visit everyday between 11am - 5pm
- At The Royal London, visiting has also been extended and is now open 24 hours a day for a nominated birthing partner
Partner COVID-19 testing: All partners are offered the test prior to accompanying the woman in labour/birth and on the post-natal ward.
Please note there will be no swapping of birthing partners for the duration of women’s stay.
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.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, treatment and vaccine
Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for:
- testing for coronavirus (even if the test shows you do not have coronavirus)
- treatment for coronavirus
However charges may apply to any secondary illness that may be present even if treatment is necessary in order to successfully treat the condition unless a personal or medical exemption applies.
The Covid-19 vaccine is outside the scope of charging.
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 via email or via phone 020 8090 9999.
Our triage departments are available 24/7, should you need to get in touch.
Are you pregnant and worried about coronavirus? The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gyneacologists has published a question and answer resource. Read it here.