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Midwives are usually the first contact for the expectant woman during her pregnancy and throughout labour and the postnatal period. They assist women to make informed choices about the services and options available by providing as much information as possible, working in partnership with other healthcare professionals.

Nurses preparing a bed for an expectant motherIn this section, you can find out about:

Antenatal Care
Home Birth
Named midwife / Midwifery Team
Lead Professional / Midwife Led Care
Young women's pregnancy service
Diabetic clinic
Parent craft sessions
Aquanatal Classes
Your maternity records
Friends and Family test 

Antenatal Care
Most antenatal care takes place in the community, either in your general practitioner's (GP's) surgery, a Children’s Centre or in your own home. Women have their first appointment, which is commonly known as “booking in”, between 8 and 10 weeks of pregnancy. At this appointment the midwife will assess your needs to determine whether your care will be offered predominantly by the midwife or shared between the consultant obstetrician and the midwife. The midwife will discuss options for the place of birth of your baby, either at home or in a maternity unit.  They will also give you information to help you to reach decisions about your care, including information about appropriate antenatal tests.

Home Birth
If you have a straightforward pregnancy and both you and the baby are well, you might choose to give birth at home.  In England, approximately 1 in 50 babies is born at home.

If you give birth at home, you will be supported by a midwife, who will support you while you are in labour.  If you need any help or your labour is not progressing as well as it should, your midwife will make arrangements for you to be transferred to hospital.

The advantages of giving birth at home include the following:

  • You can give birth in familiar surroundings where you may feel more relaxed and able to cope
  • You don’t have to interrupt your labour to go to hospital
  • You will not need to leave your other children
  • You will not have to be separated from your partner after the birth
  • You are more likely to be looked after by a midwife who you have got to know during your pregnancy

The things you should consider include the following:

  • You may need to transfer to a hospital if there are any complications
  • Epidurals are not available at home
  • Your doctor or midwife may recommend that you give birth in hospital, for example if you are expecting twins or if your baby is breech.  Your midwife or doctor will explain why they thin hospital is safer for you and your baby.

Planning a home birth
Ask your midwife whether or not a home birth is suitable for you and your baby or available to you.  If it is , your midwife will arrange for members of the midwifery team to support and help you. If you would like more information regarding a home birth, the Home Birth Service offers a workshop every 3 months. Please ask your Community Midwife for further details. Here are some of the questions you might want to ask:

  • How long would it take if you needed to be transferred to hospital?
  • Which hospital would you be transferred to?
  • Would a midwife be with you all the time?
  • How do you obtain a birthing pool?

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Members of the midwifery teamNamed Midwife / Midwifery Team
This will be the midwife who provides antenatal and postnatal care when the person responsible for your care is planned to be the consultant obstetrician. Where the midwife feels you need additional care, other than that planned by your consultant, she will refer you to the Antenatal Day Assessment Unit or request an appointment with your consultant obstetrician. All consultant appointments are held either at the Thomas Linacre Antenatal Clinic or Leigh Antenatal Clinic.

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Lead Professional / Midwife-Led Care
This will be the person responsible for providing all of your antenatal and postnatal care; this may be a consultant or a midwife. The partnership between you and your midwife will ensure you make informed decisions and choices about your own care. When your lead professional is a midwife, if at any time you require specialist care from a consultant, or require an ultrasound scan, your midwife will refer you directly to a consultant obstetrician. At any time during your care you may request to see a consultant obstetrician.

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Antenatal Visits
We aim to provide you with a plan of antenatal care that is tailored to your needs and in accordance with all current set guidance, standards and researched practices. If this is your first baby, your needs may be different from those of a mother who is expecting her second or third baby. To check the wellbeing of you and your baby, it is necessary to be seen at certain times during your pregnancy. It will be a decision that you and your lead professional or named midwife will make. They will offer evidence-based advice on how regularly you need to be seen throughout your pregnancy. Regular assessment of your condition and your baby's development will be monitored at times that are convenient to you. Care will be detailed in your hand-held maternity records.

PDF Document Read the NICE Guidance Leaflet on Antenatal Care

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Young Women's Pregnancy Service
There is a specialist teenage pregnancy midwife who provides individual care, parent craft sessions and support, together with family planning advice and support in caring for your baby when it is born.

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Diabetic Clinic
We provide a dedicated clinic for medical, obstetric and midwifery support for diabetic women throughout their pregnancy. This clinic is based in the Antenatal clinic at Leigh Infirmary.

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Parenthood Education Sessions
These are usually taken up from about 28 weeks of pregnancy; sessions are run by team midwives over a course of three to four weeks and take place in the various health centres. All sessions include: -

  • A tour of the Maternity Unit, including Delivery Suite and Maternity Ward
  • Explanation of what happens during labour and childbirth
  • Looking after yourself and your baby after birth
  • Other informal discussions take place that are ideal for answering any questions you may have about your pregnancy and labour

Ask your team midwife for information about the dates and times of Parenthood education sessions.

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Aquanatal Classes
These classes are not aqua-aerobics. The emphasis is on safe, gentle exercises that will help to improve your muscle tone. They are very good for back muscles and can help with posture during pregnancy. The main advantage of doing these exercises in water is the feeling of weightlessness that the water provides while its resistance ensures that you gain substantial physiological benefits.

Ask your team midwife for information about the dates and times of Aquanatal classes.

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A midwife writes some notesYour Maternity Records
You will be given a set of maternity records containing your personal details. All your antenatal care will be written inside them. Please ensure you carry your records at all times, especially when you attend for antenatal care or should you need to visit the hospital. You will need to return these when you have your baby as they are then filed within your main hospital notes.

Please take the time to read all the information within these hand held records as they provide up-to-date information and advice with regard to your health and well-being in addition to explaining what to expect as your pregnancy progresses.

When you have had your baby 2 sets of postnatal records (1 for you and 1 for your baby) will be given to you for the health carers to document your postnatal care. Again please take the time to read all the information within these hand held records as they provide up-to-date information and advice with regard to yours and your baby’s health and well-being.  When the midwife passes your care over to your Health Visitor, these postnatal booklets will be returned to your midwife when she discharges you from midwifery care, they will then be kept within your health records to complete your pregnancy episode of care with us, usually when your baby is around four weeks old.

Should they not be available when you are discharged from midwifery care, please forward them to the Maternity Ward at Wigan.

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Friends and Family test

The NHS friends and family test is an important opportunity for you to provide feedback on the care and treatment you receive and to improve services.

From October 2013, women will be asked whether they would recommend their Maternity unit and Community Midwifery Services to their friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment. This means every patient receiving Maternity care is able to give feedback on the quality of the care they receive, giving hospitals a better understanding of the needs of their patients and enabling improvements. 

Your answer is voluntary. But if you do answer, your feedback will provide valuable information for your hospital to help ensure its patients have the best possible experience of care.

Your answer will not be traced back to you, and your details will not be passed on to anyone. A member of your family or a friend is welcome to answer the question if you are unable to.

If you feel that you should have been given the opportunity to respond but did not receive the question, please contact the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team or the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team at your hospital. Please also contact PPI or PALS if you would like more information on how the test will be carried out in your hospital.

There are 4 specific time periods when the cards will be given to you:

  • Between 35-37 gestation
  • Post delivery
  • On transfer home from hospital
  • On discharge from Maternity care

How will the results be used?

Hospitals will gather the results and analyse them rapidly to see if any action is required. They will combine your feedback with that of other patients, and create an overall score, which will be published on NHS choices website:

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