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Where to have your baby

William Harvey Hospital and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital

Our consultant led units at the William Harvey and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospitals offer specialised obstetric care for labour and birth for those women with complications as well as for those women who would prefer to give birth where there is immediate access to specialist services.

The hospital has paediatricians who staff a level three Neonatal Intensive Care unitwhich means that the unit accepts transfers of both pregnant women and newly delivered babies from across the South East and also from London. Babies who are born prematurely after 24 weeks and those who are sick are cared for in this unit.

The Special Care Baby Unittakes babies born after 28 weeks. Those babies born earlier or who are very sick are transferred to William Harvey Hospital.

In both hospitals following birth, mother and baby are transferred and cared for on the postnatal wards. Most women are discharged home twenty four hours after the birth. Once at home the community midwife will visit until the baby is ten days old or if needed until the baby is four weeks old.

Midwife Led Units (MLU)

If you are fit and healthy with an uncomplicated pregnancy you may want to consider having a baby at one of our midwife-led units.

These midwife led units are located within the hospitals at Ashford (Singleton) and Margate (St Peter's). They are located close to the consultant led ‘traditional’ labour wards. These units are run by midwives to encourage and support normal birth. They both have two birth pools offering the use of water for pain relief and/or a water birth. There are facilities to support more upright positions in labour as well as space to move around e.g. birth balls, mats, and wall bars. Gas and air and pethidine are available for pain relief if needed but not an epidural. If you would like/need an epidural for pain relief then you would be transferred to the labour ward.

After you have had your baby you will be offered postnatal care up to 24 hours after the birth although it is expected that most women will go home within 6 to 12 hours after the birth of their babies. There are facilities for women and their families to make drinks and snacks. All rooms are ensuite. Partners are welcome and encouraged to stay with you if you would like.

We also offer home birth services provided by our Community Midwives.

If we need to change your place of birth

Upon registering with your midwife, you will be choosing your preferred place of birth and we strive to honour this at all times.

It is our aim to ensure we maintain a safe service for all women, and at times when activity is high in an individual unit, this may mean your care may be transferred to the other hospital, for the safety of you and your baby. Aside from location, we will work with you to ensure your care is in line with your original plan.