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Maternity service

    • Maternity services
    • Maternity services

Our maternity service offers you support throughout pregnancy, during birth and after the birth of your baby. We have a consultant-led maternity service at Wansbeck General Hospital and midwifery-led units at North Tyneside, Hexham General Hospitals and Alnwick and Berwick Infirmaries. 

Our maternity service has been rated as one of the safest in the country and we are consistently scored highly in national patient surveys by mothers who have used our service, particularly regarding their care in labour.

Antenatal care 

During pregnancy most of your contact will be with your community midwife who will see you at regular intervals to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy and to answer any questions you may have. 

As soon as you have a positive pregnancy test your GP’s surgery will provide you with the information you need to access the care of one of our community midwives. 

You will be given an opportunity to attend a pre-booking information session with a midwife. You will be given information regarding where you can have your baby and the screening tests available to you and your baby. Information regarding healthy lifestyle choices will also be discussed at this time. This is also an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have with the midwife present.

Once you have received this information you will be able to make informed decisions about your care and where you would like to have your baby. A booking appointment is then planned to discuss these decisions and your care during pregnancy and after you have had your baby.

You will be offered two ultrasound scans at a hospital of your choice.  The first scan in early pregnancy is to confirm the expected date of delivery and the second scan is to assess your baby’s development. 

You will also be offered parent education classes and given an appointment to attend an infant feeding workshop. 

Should you require any extra care (or you are deemed high risk) your midwife will refer you to the hospital to see a consultant. Low risk pregnancies do not generally require a consultant appointment, the midwife is responsible for your care. If any concerns arise when seeing the midwife at clinic she may refer you for consultant review.

Throughout your pregnancy, information and advice is available to you from all the health professionals involved in your care. We have many leaflets readily available which may help you understand, and make decisions on, your care and treatment. The information most appropriate to you will be provided to you throughout your care and you can talk to your midwife or health professional at any point for more advice.

Antenatal clinics

Antenatal clinics are held in a variety of settings, including GP surgeries, children’s centres and in our hospitals to give you a choice of time and location that is most convenient for you. Your community midwife will provide you with the information you need to decide where to have your antenatal care, including those clinics run by our specialist midwives. 

Parent education

We offer a choice of friendly, informal parent education sessions covering all aspects of pregnancy, what to expect during labour, delivery and parenthood. Fathers/partners are welcome to attend any of the sessions, and your community midwife will be able to give you details.

All mums are also given an appointment to attend an infant feeding session run by specialist infant feeding coordinator midwives who are available to offer you support when required.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy can help keep you healthy and relaxed during pregnancy, throughout labour and delivery and after you've had your baby. We have physiotherapists specialising in women's health, who hold sessions during the day and in the evenings which you and your partner can attend. The classes are below:

Back pain classes 

  • North Tyneside General Hospital, every Tuesday 1pm-2.30pm

  • Hexham General Hospital, once a month on a  Friday 10am-12pm
  • 
Wansbeck General Hospital, first & third Wednesday of the month 1pm-2.30pm

  • Alnwick Infirmary, every other Wednesday, 10.30am-11am 

Postnatal exercise classes 

  • North Tyneside General Hospital, Wednesday 1pm-2.30pm

  • Hexham General Hospital, Thursday 12pm-1pm

Specialist midwives

We have a number of specialist midwives who can provide extra care and support with things like diabetes, teenage pregnancy or if you need help with smoking cessation, or drug and alcohol addiction issues. Your community midwife will refer you to these services if you need this extra support.

Our maternity units

Wansbeck General Hospital

Our consultant-led maternity unit is based at Wansbeck General Hospital and provides care for all women. This means you can have your baby here whether you are expecting to have a normal birth or if your consultant or midwife considers you may be at a higher risk of complications. 

If you need to have a caesarean or want an epidural you can deliver your baby at the unit where you will be cared for by our team of highly skilled midwives supported by consultants. 

Our unit offers 13 spacious en-suite delivery rooms. One of the rooms has a birthing pool in a relaxed environment if you want to have a water birth.  

Most babies are born without complication but if your baby needs an extra level of care after birth we have a special care baby unit. There are 12 special care and two high dependency cots/incubators as well as two en-suite rooms for parents and a parents sitting room. In some cases if a baby is born prematurely or becomes very poorly we may transfer them to the RVI in Newcastle for highly specialist intensive care. 

Midwife-led units

We also have midwifery-led units in North Tyneside, Hexham, Berwick and Alnwick. These small units (with the exception of Berwick, see below) are open 24 hours a day and are led by highly skilled experienced midwives who provide one to one personal care and support within a relaxed and friendly environment.   

Our midwives provide care to mothers in the units and in the community after the birth of your baby. They cover local and outlying clinics, provide home visits and ensure continuity of antenatal, labour and postnatal care.

We would be delighted to show you around any of our units, please call the units to make an appointment. The contact details are below.

North Tyneside General Hospital

The unit provides a pregnancy assessment facility and consultant antenatal clinics for those women who require medical consultation during their pregnancy.

The midwifery-led delivery unit has two large en-suite delivery rooms, one of which has a birthing pool, and 11 postnatal rooms.

Hexham General Hospital

Our delivery suite has four rooms with en-suite facilities, one of which has a birthing pool. The ward area has seven single rooms with en-suite facilities. 

Berwick Infirmary

New arrangements are in place to enable low-risk women to once again have the choice to give birth in Berwick Maternity Unit.

This follows the decision by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to introduce a new safe and sustainable model of round-the-clock maternity care in Berwick.

The unit is open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2.30pm at weekends, with a 24/7 on-call service for low-risk women who wish to deliver at the unit or at home.

All regular antenatal and postnatal clinics for both low and high-risk women will continue from Berwick Maternity Unit and under the new arrangements there will be enhanced community postnatal care for women including:

  • Daily telephone contact following discharge to give any immediate advice and signpost to relevant services if required
  • Home visits arranged to meet needs of individual women.to offer support with feeding and baby care i.e. bathing, general baby wellbeing
  • Drop-in postnatal care at the unit to address any wellbeing concerns for new mothers or babies, including full breastfeeding support. If necessary, new mothers will be able to stay in the unit during opening times to receive feeding support
  • Greater links with local organisations such as Sure Start, which provide a range of sessions for new mothers to support breastfeeding and care of the baby.

Alnwick Infirmary (Hillcrest)

Hillcrest is a stand alone unit in the grounds of Alnwick Infirmary with nine beds. Antenatal and postnatal care is also provided so if, either through choice or because you require consultant support, you deliver at our consultant-led unit at Wansbeck General Hospital, you can continue to receive your care here.

The team

Teams of midwives in the hospital and community work closely with consultants, health visitors, physiotherapists and ultrasonographers.

Janice McNichol is Head of Midwifery.

Supervision of midwives


A supervisor of midwives will support you and your midwife in the care she gives you. She can advise on choices such as place of birth, address any concerns regarding care and act as an advocate. A supervior of midwives is available 24-hours a day and you can contact your local maternity unit if you wish to speak to one.

 

Contacts

  • Hillcrest midwife-led unit 01665 626732
  • Berwick midwife-led unit 01289 356622
  • Hexham midwife-led unit 01434 655352
  • North Tyneside midwife-led unit 0191 293 4209
  • Wansbeck maternity 01670 564194

If you need to change your appointment please call 0344 811 8111 and ask for the antenatal clinic at the unit you are booked. 

Patient support groups

Tamba (Twins) 01483304442 
www.tamba.org.uk

National Breast Feeding Helpline 0300 100 0212 
www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk

Newcastle Women’s Aid 0191 2752148

North Tyneside Woman’s Aid 0191 2513305/ Out of hours 07946753638

Sexual Health (One to One centre) 0191 2970441

Parentline Plus 24 hour parent advice line 0808800222 
www.parentlineplus.org.uk

Useful links

NHS Direct

NHS Choices Pregnancy Care Planner

National Childbirth Trust

Dad Info

Please click on the links for more information on our other services including diabetes and children’s services.