Antenatal care

Antenatal care

Antenatal care is the term we use to describe the care you receive from our team during your pregnancy.

This care is mainly provided by the midwifery teams working in the community. Antenatal care will also involve coming to the Centre for Women's Health for ultrasound scans.

Every pregnancy is different, and sometimes people will need specialist care for themselves or their babies. We provide a wide range of specialist services including tailored care and advice for:

  • Screening
  • Diabetes
  • Medical conditions
  • Birth choices
  • Birth after caesarean sections
  • Immunisations
  • Twins, triplets and other multiple pregnancies

 

When to call us

If you experience any of the following during your pregnancy, please contact us at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • 01392 406616

Please contact this number for both the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and North Devon District Hospital.

Symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Your baby is not moving, or the movements are not the usual pattern
  • Constant tummy pain
  • Persistent headache not resolved with paracetamol
  • Starred vision or disturbed vision
  • Epigastric pain not resolved with antacids

Assessment Unit

The Assessment Unit is an outpatient antenatal unit, offering planned appointments for additional maternal and fetal assessment and screening in pregnancy. This is open Monday to Friday 08:30 to 19:30 and Weekends 09:00 till 16:30.

It is important to get in touch with us if you have any concerns during your pregnancy.

Call your midwife or maternity unit immediately if:

  • your baby is moving less than usual
  • you cannot feel your baby moving anymore
  • there is a change to your baby's usual pattern of movements

They'll need to check your baby's movements and heartbeat.

Do not wait until the next day – call immediately, even if it's the middle of the night.

You can find out more about monitoring your baby's movements here.

Fetal and Maternal Assessment Unit (FMAU)- Eastern services

The Fetal and Maternal Assessment Unit (FMAU) is an outpatient antenatal unit based at our Eastern services site, offering planned appointments for additional maternal and fetal assessment and screening in pregnancy. FMAU is open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm.

Some women might need to come to the antenatal care ward before the birth of their baby. This can be due to problems arising with your pregnancy or for induction of labour. There is an open visiting policy on this ward.

Maternity Triage: 01392 406616

Fetal and Maternal Assessment Unit (FMAU): 01392 406540

Antenatal/Postnatal Ward: 01392 406684

Day Assessment Unit (DAU) - Northern services

The Day Assessment Unit (DAU) is an outpatient service where you can be checked and monitored for any concerns related to your or your baby's health. This could be because you are feeling unwell, have unusual symptoms, or have noticed a change in your baby's movements. 

We can see you after your 18th week of pregnancy - you may be referred by your GP, your midwife, or via antenatal clinic or another healthcare setting. We can also offer advice over the telephone and may advise you to come in for an appointment with us where needed.  

We are based in the Ladywell Unit of North Devon District Hospital, Level 2.

North Devon District Hospital
Raleigh Park
Barnstaple
Devon
EX31 4JB

When you arrive please press the bell for Bassett Ward and explain that you have arrived for an appointment in the Day Assessment Unit. 

Maternity Triage

You can contact this department for advice 24 hours a day once you have had your 12-week FTSC in our Eastern services and after 18 weeks in our Northern services, to discuss any urgent concerns about your pregnancy or your baby.

The contact number for both the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and North Devon District Hospital is 01392 406616.

You may also be referred to triage by your midwife or doctor if they feel that you or your baby requires an assessment. For urgent advice before 12 weeks (Eastern services) and 18 weeks (Northern services), you should contact your GP.

For non-urgent enquires or advice not related to your pregnancy, you should contact your GP or community midwifery team.

You should be seen and have an initial triage within 15 minutes of arrival. Persons attending triage are seen according to the urgency of their condition, rather than by arrival times for their ongoing care, similar to ED.

If you feel that your symptoms, such as pain, are becoming worse while you are waiting to be seen, please let us know.

Within the triage area you will be seen by a midwife and, if necessary, a doctor.

Becoming Smoke Free

Stopping smoking is the most important thing that you can do for both your unborn baby and your own health. Smoking in pregnancy is a serious health risk for both you and your baby. The good news is that if you manage to quit smoking by the 15th week of your pregnancy and remain smoke free, the risks to your baby in terms of growth and development can be reduced to that of a non-smoker. Find out more about the risks of smoking in pregnancy.

At the Royal Devon Maternity Services, all pregnant woman and people who are tobacco dependent are referred to a Specialist Team. This team will contact you and discuss your choices in regards to supporting a quit attempt. They offer kind, non-judgmental support, behavioural therapy, free nicotine replacement therapy and/or vapes. Find out more about vaping in pregnancy .

You can have one-to-one support from your own advisor and this can be face to face, via a video appointment or over the phone. The team will support you throughout your pregnancy to become smoke free. Many people think that they will reduce any risks by cutting down the number of cigarettes that they smoke, this is not true as there is no ‘safe’ level of carbon monoxide in pregnancy. We advise on a ‘Not a puff’ rule and recommend making a quit date that suits you and completely stopping. The team will support you with this.

You can be referred to this team at any point in your pregnancy even before you have contacted your Midwife. Contact the team on 01392 406301.

At your appointments, your Midwife will measure your carbon monoxide levels, this is to ensure that you are getting the correct support and advice. Carbon Monoxide is an odourless poisonous gas. Breathing it can make you very unwell and can kill if you are exposed to high levels. Carbon monoxide can be made by cigarettes, fires and appliances that burn gas, wood, oil or coal. Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated appliances such as cookers and boilers are some of the most common causes of accidental exposure to carbon monoxide. Blocked chimneys, faulty car exhausts, paint fumes and cigarettes can be other causes of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning you should get a registered engineer to install any appliances in your home, maintain and service appliances as recommended by manufacturer, quit smoking, make sure all chimneys are swept regularly and you can install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home to alert you if there is a leak. Here is some more information about Carbon monoxide.

Devon Perinatal Pelvic Health Service

The Devon Perinatal Pelvic Health Service cares for all women and birthing people from pregnancy to 12 months after having a baby. The service has been set up to provide support, advice and treatment for those with or at higher risk of pelvic health concerns in Devon. You can self-refer into the service or talk to your midwife.

More information about the service is available on the Devon Perinatal Pelvic Health Service website.

Last updated: June 24, 2024.