Patient Journey — Pregnancy and Antenatal Care
Finding that you are, or may be, pregnant can be both an exciting and worrying time. This is a short guide as to how we will help you through your pregnancy.
If you suspect they are pregnant you can check this with a home testing kit which can be obtained from the pharmacy. Some chemists offer a pregnancy testing service. We do not offer a pregnancy testing service except in exceptional circumstances.
Initial Antenatal Care
There is no need to see your GP following a positive pregnancy test as you are now able to self-refer using the following online forms:
Please complete the self-referral form from before the end of your 9th week of pregnancy (where possible). This is to ensure you receive the necessary screening for you and your baby.
Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU)
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.
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 clinics tend 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.
Antenatal Care at 12 Weeks
You will have a muchal scan which your GP will have previously discussed with you. This scans checks the size of the baby’s neck and identifies the likely risk of the baby being born with Down’s syndrome. You will have an appointment with a midwife often in you own home to discuss the pregnancy so far. She will advise you on lifestyle issues, listen to the baby’s heartbeat and answer any questions you may have. She will also guide you through the details of the plan you will receive covering your further antenatal care including
- An ultrasound scan of the baby at 20 weeks
- Routine blood tests and screenings
- Routine GP or Community Midwife appointments up to the birth of your baby
Routine Antenatal Appointments
These will be identified in your care plan and will be at your surgery either with the GP of a midwife. However in the case of more complicated pregnancies these are likely to take place at hospital. Routine appointments last for 10 minutes and involve check on
- Your blood pressure
- Testing you urine for sugar, blood and protein (which if present could indicate potential problems)
- Your stomach for the rough size of the baby and which way it is lying (head or bottom down)
- The baby’s heartbeat
The GP or midwife will answer any questions you may have about the health of your baby and it’s delivery.
Even if most visits are at the hospital or with a community midwife your GP is always happy to see you at this exciting time.
You will also receive your own obstetric notes to take to all antenatal appointments. These notes are important to always carry with you especially if you are away from home and need routine or urgent care. They will inform any doctor or midwife of your condition. You will receive these normally after your second scan.
The Delivery of Your Baby
Your will already have discussed with your GP and midwife whether you wish to have the baby at home or hospital. When you fell that labour is beginning you need to contact the delivery suite to discuss whether you would be better to stay at home for a while. Every labour and delivery is an individual experience so if you have any specific questions regarding your pregnancy then discuss this with you GP and midwife.
After the Birth of Your Baby
The GP will be notified of the birth of your baby by the hospital or midwife. The community midwife will visit you at home over the first few days to check on you and your baby’s health and advise on issues such as feeding. If you have any postnatal problems which cannot be dealt with by the midwife then your GP will be happy to see you or liaise with the hospital as appropriate.
Please note: It is very important that you register the birth as soon as possible so that your baby starts their immunisation programme at the right time.
Health visitors attached to the surgery will begin to see you and your baby about 2 weeks after the birth.
Your GP will see you for this check about 6 weeks after the baby is born. We will try and answer any questions relating to the birth and any areas of concern following the delivery. We will check that abdominal muscles are coming back together and discuss contraception and smear tests. Most women usually want to ask questions about their new baby relating to sleeping, feeding, winding etc and we are happy to discuss these as well.