The Trust aims to provide a high standard of care which is tailored to meet the needs of the individual. We provide community and hospital-led antenatal care, home birth, parent education, Surestart programmes and postnatal care. We do this in hospital, at clinics across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre and in your home. If you are pregnant, you will be told about a wide range of services that we provide and given information about how to access them. This section of the website aims to introduce you to a small section of the services we provide.
- Antenatal Screening
- Antenatal Clinic Services
- Aquanatal Classes
- Parentcraft and relaxation classes
- Teenage Pregnancy Midwifery Coordinators
- Drug Liaison Midwives
- Health Visitors
The majority of women and babies are perfectly normal. However a small number are affected by medical conditions which need further attention. As part of the care provided by the Trust and our satellite clinics we offer a comprehensive set of tests during pregnancy.
This section of the site explains which tests are carried out routinely and why they are important for you and your baby. It also describes some of the tests that are available but are not performed as part of your routine antenatal booking. If you notice that your baby is moving less than usual, or is extremely active, please telephone the Delivery Suite on the number provided below. The Midwife may want you to come to the hospital to have a CTG (cardiotocography) recording done. This is a recording of your baby’s heartbeat through your abdomen, and may be requested as another check on your baby’s condition.
If you have any questions or require further information about the antenatal screening services described below, please speak to your Midwife at your booking or when you attend antenatal clinic.
- Full blood count
This test checks for anaemia and problems with the red and white blood cells. We can gain useful information by looking at the number, size and content of the red blood cells. We also check on other types of cells that make up normal human blood. Some women become anaemic during pregnancy and this is easily remedied by taking iron and extra folic acid supplements. Occasionally we do detect rare forms of anaemia or abnormalities with the other blood cells. In these cases we would offer further investigations and referral to an appropriate specialist.
- Blood group and the Rhesus factor
This test checks your blood group and whether you are rhesus positive or negative. We need to know your blood group so that should there be any complications during your pregnancy or delivery that might require a blood transfusion, we can ensure prompt supply of the correct type of blood. Rhesus factor is a protein on the surface of red blood cells. About 15% of women in England do not have it and they are called “Rhesus negative”. If you are Rhesus negative this will not affect your own health but if your baby is Rhesus positive you may make antibody proteins that could damage a child during a future pregnancy. There are measures that can be taken to reduce the possibility of this. Additionally, we can screen blood for unusual types of blood group antibodies, which though rare, might affect your baby. If you are Rhesus negative, you will be offered an Anti-D injection at 28 weeks of pregnancy.
This test involves sampling some of the fluid from around the baby and it may be offered if other screening tests suggest that you have a higher than average chance of having a baby with a genetic problem. It may also be offered to older women and to mothers whose family history includes babies with Down’s syndrome or other genetic problems.
Some of the tests we do check whether there are any infections you may have that could affect you or your baby during pregnancy. These will alert you, your Midwife and Doctor to any problems that may need special care during your pregnancy. They are performed as routine and form part of our standard antenatal care service. They are offered to every pregnant woman without exception.
- Rubella (German measles)
Infection with this virus in the early stages of pregnancy can cause babies to develop abnormally. Most woman are already immune to rubella, having either been vaccinated against it or having had an attack when they were children. If a woman has had rubella before or been vaccinated, then she is immune to further attacks and her baby will not be at risk. The purpose of the test is to identify those who are immune and those who have poor or no immunity. These women may be offered vaccination or a ‘booster’ after delivery to ensure they are immune before any future pregnancies occur.
This is a rare sexually transmitted infection. However it could have very serious effects on you and your baby if it has not been recognised or treated. We test mothers to establish if this has been the case. If so, treatment of the mother with antibiotics in the early stages of pregnancy will prevent damage to the baby.
- Hepatitis B
This is a virus that causes liver inflammation (Hepatitis). This may be serious and it can lead to progressive liver damage in later life. Some patients who have had this virus never get rid of it, and become what we call ‘Hepatitis B carriers’. It may be contracted in a number of ways including exposure to the blood or bodily fluids of someone who is infected with the virus (e.g through sex or injecting drugs). There is a high chance that Hepatitis B will pass from a mother to her baby during childbirth. Many children infected in this way will also go on to develop serious liver problems. However this can be prevented. We test mothers to see if they are infected with Hepatitis B virus or if they are carriers. If so, then the baby can still be protected from the infection by treatment given shortly after birth. The treatment consists of Hepatitis B vaccine injections. Some babies may also need Hepatitis B immunoglobulin. These cause no harm to the baby. We can also refer anyone found to be a carrier of Hepatitis B to an appropriate specialist for tests regarding their own future health.
- HIV testing
Since it is obviously important that we prevent babies from becoming infected, HIV testing is offered as part of our routine antenatal infection screen. This is in accordance with Government guidelines and the recommendations of the specialist royal colleges. You can carefully decide whether you would like to be tested for HIV, and the Trust offers information, support and guidance to help you make your decision. If you test positive for HIV, we can take measures that will dramatically reduce the risk of your child becoming infected and you will be offered all the appropriate support, counselling and medical help you may require. For more information or advice about HIV testing, you can speak confidentially to your Midwife or contact the HIV Community Nursing Team on 01253 953326.
Antenatal clinic service
Your first appointment includes a private discussion with the Midwife who will take details of your
family, personal and medical history, together with any previous pregnancies you may have had. She will also explain the routine examinations which will be made throughout your pregnancy. This first appointment normally happens in a clinic near to your home. You will be contacted by your named Midwife, who will arrange this for you. Your first antenatal appointment usually takes a little longer than your subsequent appointments. Please feel free to have a partner or friend with you.
During your antenatal appointments, you will be asked to take part in the following:
- Urine tests
Please bring a fresh specimen of urine in a suitable container to each antenatal visit
- Blood pressure check
This will be recorded at each visit
- Abdominal examination
This is to make sure that your baby is growing normally and lying in the correct position
- Breast advice
Midwives are always willing to discuss how you wish to feed your baby and give advice on the care of your breasts during pregnancy
- Blood tests
These are performed to find out your blood group, haemoglobin level, immunity to rubella, HIV, Hepatitis B, syphilis and various other tests
- Carbon monoxide screening
This is a quick and simple breath screen which will tell you and your midwife how much carbon monoxide is in your body. Your Midwife will discuss the result with you.
Diet, exercise and your total healthcare will also be discussed with you, including the place of your baby’s birth (home or hospital). Please make any special requests for your care known to us so that your pregnancy, delivery and postnatal care will be as safe and happy as possible.
These classes are not aqua-aerobics. The emphasis is on safe, gentle exercises that will help to improve your muscle tone. They are very good for back muscles and can help with posture during pregnancy. The main advantage of doing these exercises in water is the feeling of weightlessness that the water provides while its resistance ensures that you gain substantial physiological benefits.
Parentcraft and relaxation classes
Details of these classes will be given to you by your Midwife along with a list of centres throughout the area where they are held. These classes are very useful and we hope you will attend to meet other new parents and to chat and seek advice from the Midwife.
Classes are held locally with the option of attending during the day which are usually for women only, or in the evening where the invitation is also extended to your partner, parent or friend and will include a visit to the Delivery Suite. For further details, please contact either your Midwife, Health Visitor or antenatal clinic.
Teenage Pregnancy Midwifery Coordinators
The Trust has three Teenage Pregnancy Midwifery Coordinators who cover the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre areas. They provide a comprehensive support network for pregnant teenagers and teenage parents and aim to give all the necessary guidance and advice to help them develop parenting skills.
Substance Misuse Midwife
The Maternity Department offers support and guidance to future parents who misuse drugs. A weekly clinic enables a Substance Misuse Midwife to meet women and discuss with them, any concerns about their condition and provide valuable information about how to keep themselves and their children healthy.
Health Visitor service
When your baby is a month old, the Midwife transfers you into the care of a Health Visitor unless you have had difficulties i.e your baby is premature or small, in which case the Midwife may visit longer. Before you are discharged from her care, the Midwife will discuss with you registration of your baby, baby clinics, postnatal examination and provision of family planning services.
Health Visitors are specially trained Nurses. They are especially interested in the care and development of babies and young children. Your Health Visitor will see you soon after your baby is ten days old and she will continue to have contact with you at regular intervals until your child is ready for school.