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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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Hospital Care

The Maternity ward

Some women need care in hospital during the antenatal period. Care is provided on the Maternity Ward on the first floor of the Wirral Women and Children’s hospital.

There are 26 individual rooms for newly delivered mothers and pregnant women, each with en-suite bathrooms. Your partner may be able to stay on the ward with you. Please speak to the midwife caring for you. 

There is a six bedded Post Operative Care Bay (pictured) where higher dependency care can be delivered around the clock.

The Midwifery-led Unit (MLU) 

The MLU has five home-from-home rooms and two poolrooms for water births. Women with low risk pregnancies are encouraged to labour here if they do not want to give birth at home. This area is totally staffed by midwives and is a centre for normality in childbirth.

There are two designated Maternity Theatres directly linked to the Delivery Suite and MLU which are staffed 24 hours per day for elective and emergency surgery.

The Postnatal ward also has four “Transitional Care” rooms that are used when babies require additional support that can be provided outside the Neonatal Unit.

Antenatal Clinic

The antenatal clinic is situated on the ground floor of Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital.

The following services are provided:

  • Obstetric consultant led clinics for women who have medical problems prior to and complications during pregnancy
  • Young Women’s Antenatal clinic
  • Perinatal Mental Health Clinic
  • Pre-operative Assessment Clinic
  • Anaesthetic Clinic
  • Medical Disorders Clinic
  • Obstetric Ultrasound Scanning
  • Substance Misuse Clinic

Induction of Labour

There are 2 methods of induction used at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital, depending on clinical examination and cervical assessment

Prostaglandin Vaginal Pessaries/Tampons

If the Bishop’s score is below 8 points, prostaglandin pessaries are the induction method of choice. Individual condition determines which is more suitable.

  • Prostin tampon is inserted and left for up to 24 hours or until labour begins or
  • Pessary is placed behind the cervix, at the top of the vagina where it dissolves
  • Hormones in the pessary cause the cervix to soften and the uterus to contract
  • If labour has not begun 6 hours later, the process is repeated
  • A 3rd pessary is sometimes given the following day, if indicated

Artificial Rupture of Membranes and Syntocinon

If the Bishop’s score is 8 or above, artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) can be performed. This should be no more uncomfortable than any other vaginal examination.

  • Small, slim instrument is used to nick the bag of membranes, releasing some of the water.
  • Often this is sufficient stimulation for the uterus to start contracting and labour begins
  • An intravenous infusion of a hormone called syntocinon can be used to stimulate the uterus to begin contracting.

Rhesus Negative

People who are Rhesus positive (Rh pos) have a substance known as 'D antigen' on their red blood cells, whereas Rhesus negative (Rh neg) people do not.

If an Rh neg woman carries an Rh pos baby, there is a slight risk that a small amount of the baby’s blood could enter the mother’s bloodstream.

This could cause an immune response to the D antigen and her body will produce antibodies against it, which stay in her blood forever.

This doesn’t usually affect the existing pregnancy but can cause difficulties in subsequent pregnancies.

The antibodies in the mother’s blood can cross the placenta and attach to the D antigen on the baby’s red blood cells. This can harm the baby and cause anaemia and jaundice. 

Anti-D Immunoglobulin - Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital advises all Rhesus negative women to accept a prophylactic Anti-D injection at certain times:

  • Should there be any bleeding during the pregnancy
  • Following miscarriage and amniocentesis
  • Routinely at 28 weeks gestation
  • Following birth, if the baby is Rhesus positive
  • For further information, visit www.nice.org.uk/TA156.

Blood Test

Routine blood tests taken at booking include:

  • Blood group and Rhesus factor
  • Full Blood Count test for anaemia and Thalassaemia
  • Virology tests for Hepatitis B, Syphilis, HIV and Rubella (German Measles)

The results of these are filed in your notes at the 20-week scan visit. 
Should any need to be repeated, the community midwife will do this at a clinic.

  • At 15-16 weeks the Quadruple screen for Down’s and Spina Bifida risk, is offered and is entirely optional.
  • At 28 weeks the Full Blood Count and Rhesus factor tests are repeated
  • At 36 weeks the Full Blood Count is repeated, to detect and treat possible anaemia prior to delivery
  • After delivery, a Kleihaur test offered to all Rhesus Negative women and a Full Blood Count may be indicated