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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Antenatal care

Antenatal care is provided to all women during pregnancy by community midwives. Appointments will usually take place in GP surgeries, health centres or in the home.

Women attend regular appointments with midwives throughout their pregnancy, please visit the NHS Choices website for further details.

If a woman has any complications during pregnancy she will be referred to a consultant obstetrician who will advise and share her care with the community midwife. Consultant clinics take place within the Maternity Unit's Antenatal Clinic, which incorporates ultrasound facilities for scans if required.

Ultrasound scans

All women have a 12 week ultrasound scan to confirm or establish their due date, and at this time are offered antenatal screening.  A copy of the  'Screening tests for you and your baby' booklet can be found in patient information.

Women also receive a routine 20 week ultrasound scan to check the physical development of their baby.  All ultrsound scans will take place within the maternity unit.

During your visit for your 12 week scan you will have your height and weight measured, be asked to provide a urine sample, and will also have blood taken for antenatal screening tests. 

Antenatal education sessions

Antenatal education sessions are held at various venues across the district. Women can book themselves on to these courses by ringing the Maternity Unit receptionist on 0300 019 2319 from Monday to Friday.

The sessions are run in the evenings, and partners are very welcome.

Additional facilities

The unit has a 12 bed antenatal inpatient ward for women with complications who need to be admitted.

However, most women are able to remain at home with visits to the Antenatal Day Assessment Unit for monitoring.

Antenatal ward visiting times


Visiting Times on the antenatal ward are as follows:

  • Open visiting - partners
  • 10am to 9pm mothers own children.
  • Other visitors are welcome between 2-4 pm and 7-8 pm.

Please do not visit the antenatal ward if you have symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting or any other illness.

We do not allow children who are not the children of the woman admitted to visit.

We ask that there be no more than two people visiting at the bedside at any time for patient safety as well as to keep noise and disruption to a minimum.

We understand that an admission to the antenatal ward can be an emotional time for you and recognize that you may wish your partner or relative to stay overnight to support you .

Please note that the following rules apply to ensure the privacy, dignity ,wellbeing and safety of all women on the ward

  • Only one adult family member or partner may stay at any one time for support
  • Please ensure your partner has signed in and out at the ward reception desk
  • Curtains must remain open in order that staff can observe that you are well.
  • No alcohol or take-away food is permitted on the ward area
  • For reasons of infection control, please ensure that you and your partner wash hands regularly and use the alcohol gel provided
  • Please ensure that your partner remains fully dressed at all times
  • For infection control reasons, please do not share a bed with your partner and do not sit on other clean beds, similarly partners may not sleep on the floor.
  • All partners in shared bays must respect the privacy and dignity of other women and partners and keep noise to a minimum overnight so that all women get as much well-needed rest as possible.
  • Switch mobile phones off or to silent.
  • The security doors to the front doors are locked from 20:30 hours. If your partner leaves the building he/she will not be re-admitted.
  • Facilities on the antenatal ward are limited to a reclining chair for partners who stay overnight; curtains provide the only privacy in four bedded shared bays. Please remember , you are there to support your partner and it is unlikely that you will have much opportunity to sleep.
  • Visitors' toilets are located on the ground floor and partners will need to go home for wash facilities
  • Partners will have access to hot drinks but meals are not provided.

In accordance with the hospital visiting policy this privilege may be removed at any time for the safety and security of patients and staff

Respecting our staff and patients

The trust operates a zero tolerance policy on abuse towards staff or patients. If you are asked to leave, please do so.

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