Women and maternity

Within Surrey Heartlands we aim to achieve sustainable, high-quality physical and mental health care for women and children that meets the wide range of needs in our communities.

We will achieve this through working better together – both the organisations who commission the services and the organisations that provide the services – building on local good practice.

Health and wellbeing

As well as providing care when required, we want to help people to avoid preventable ill-health. We’ll do this by enabling local people to make the right choices for them and their families through support, information and access to early intervention to stop physical and mental ill health at an early stage.

The NHS Long Term Plan supports this focus on prevention and early intervention. Drawn up by those who know the NHS best – frontline health and care staff, patients and their families and other experts – the Long Term Plan is ambitious but realistic. It will give everyone the best start in life; deliver world-class care for major health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, and help people age well.

If you would like information about supporting you and your family’s health and wellbeing, please visit the Healthy Surrey website.

Maternity support

The local maternity and neonatal system operates across Surrey to provide women, birthing people and their partners with a positive, supportive experience from conception through to caring for their baby after the birth.

You can find information on tips for conceiving, choices for giving birth, and what care to expect after the birth on the Healthy Surrey website maternity pages.

Call a Midwife 24/7 urgent maternity triage line

Call a Midwife brand graphic, 24/7 urgent maternity triage line 0300 123 5473

Call a Midwife is changing

The Call a Midwife service is changing and will now provide a 24/7 telephone triage line for anyone over 16 weeks pregnant with urgent maternity concerns.

This means that you’ll get a fast response to any maternity concerns that need immediate midwifery advice and a plan for further assessment if that’s what you need.

Call a Midwife (0300 123 5473) is available for anyone who is booked with Epsom & St Helier, Ashford & St. Peter’s, and Royal Surrey Hospitals, who:

  • is over 16 weeks pregnant or has recently given birth
  • has not been discharged by their community midwife
  • has an urgent maternity or newborn related concern that needs immediate midwifery advice.

If you have any non-urgent maternity concerns, please contact your community midwife. Call a Midwife does not have the ability to change appointments, issue test results or give out maternity exemption forms.

If you are under 16 weeks pregnant, you may access urgent early pregnancy care through self-referral to early pregnancy services, via your GP, or through NHS 111.

If you have any non-maternity health concerns, please contact your GP, NHS 111, your local pharmacy. For life threatening emergencies call 999 or attend your nearest emergency department.

Other local support and information

Taking medicine in pregnancy

Some medicines that men and women take can affect fertility or an unborn baby.

If you or your partner are taking medicines you need to know how it might affect you and your pregnancy. This applies to prescribed, online and over the counter medicines.

Always speak to your doctor or healthcare professional before changing your medicines. Healthcare professionals include your GP, pharmacist, midwife or specialist team.

Your healthcare professional can explain if the benefits of your medicine outweigh any risks. They have the knowledge to help you make an informed decision about your medicines.

What are the benefits and risks of continuing my medicines if I am planning a pregnancy?

Your doctor* or healthcare professional wants to make sure you and your baby are safe. They will tell you what changes may be needed to your treatment or monitoring plan.

What should I do if I become pregnant while taking medicines?

Do not stop taking your medicines. Speak to a healthcare professional first. They will tell you what the best options are for you and your baby's health.

Do I need to use contraception whilst taking my medicines?

Check with your doctor.* They will tell you if you need to avoid a pregnancy while taking medicine and will discuss the best contraception options for you. Your doctor* can also discuss any medicine changes needed before planning a pregnancy.

Which vitamin supplements do I need to take when preparing for a pregnancy?

The recommendations are:

  • Folic acid from 12 weeks before pregnancy until week 12
  • Vitamin D throughout your pregnancy

Speak to a healthcare professional for further advice.

Further information

Go to the BUMPS website for guidance on the Best Use Of Medicines in Pregnancy. This includes advice about the effects of medicines on fertility in both men and women.

Choosing the right help for you and your baby

Pregnancy scan iconEarly pregnancy (under 16 weeks)

If you are experiencing severe pain or heavy bleeding, attend an Emergency Department or call 999 immediately.

For other early pregnancy concerns, please visit your hospital’s website for details of how to access local early pregnancy services and advice.

You may be able to self-refer to these services or be advised to contact your GP (or NHS 111 out of hours) for advice and support in early pregnancy.

Self care iconSelf-care

Book your maternity care directly with your preferred hospital. Details are on your NHS Trust’s website.

Online advice you can trust on a wide range of topics:

  • BabyBuddy App
  • NHS App   
  • healthysurrey.org.uk

Make or change appointments (contact details on your maternity notes).

Pharmacy iconPharmacist

Your pharmacist can help with medication, advice or treatment for a range of conditions, including:

  • Minor illness e.g. sore throat, earache, infected insect bites, impetigo, sinusitis
  • Allergies
  • Vaginal thrush
  • Heartburn
  • Minor cuts/grazes
  • Coughs and colds
  • Nappy rash

See your pharmacy website for opening hours or go to ‘find a pharmacy’ on www.nhs.uk

Healthcare person iconCommunity Midwife

Discuss routine matters at your midwife appointments, including:

  • MatB1 and FW8 forms 
  • Mental health 
  • Diet advice 
  • Vaccinations and general baby care
  • Personalised care plans

Check your maternity notes for community midwife contact details.

Once discharged by your midwife, call the Health Visitor 0-19 Advice Line on 01883 340 922.

Stethoscope icon GP or NHS 111

For general health concerns, including: 

  • Early pregnancy advice before 16 weeks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Prescriptions and letters
  • Mental health
  • Urinary infections
  • Respiratory or other infections
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Wound infections
  • Pain (not abdominal)
  • Thrush
  • Unwell baby

Contact NHS 111 outside GP’s surgery hours.

Helpline iconMaternity Triage Line

(Translators available on request - state the language you require when the phone is answered)

Call 0300 123 5473 (or 01737 231 764 for East Surrey Hospital) from 16 weeks to community postnatal discharge. Open 24/7 for urgent maternity concerns, including:

  • Signs of labour
  • Abdominal pain
  • Change in baby movements
  • Waters breaking
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe headache
  • Visual disturbances
  • Temp above 37.5C
  • Persistent itching
  • Urgent newborn concerns

Urgent Care iconEmergency Department

(Translators available on request - state the language you require when calling 999)

Attend an Emergency Department or call 999 for serious or life threatening conditions, including:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Severe chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe vomiting (hyperemesis)
  • Severe injury
  • Blackouts
  • Seizures/fit
  • Severely unwell, floppy or unresponsive baby
  • Mental health crisis

Download and print a pdf version of this information by clicking the button below.

Download: Choose the Right Help for You and Your Baby [pdf] 2MB

Safer sleep advice for babies

Following safer sleep advice can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The Lullaby Trust provides advice for parents on safer sleep.

Emergency situations and baby boxes

It may not always be possible to access a recommended sleeping space for your baby. For example if you are unexpectedly away from home, fleeing domestic abuse, or in some other emergency situation.

In some situations – as long as the box is positioned where you can easily see or check on baby AND you follow safer sleep guidelines – a baby box can be used as a sleep space. The Lullaby Trust have adapted their safer sleep advice to cover different situations including what to do if you don’t have a cot or are thinking of using a Baby Box.  

Further safer sleep advice

If you are worried or need advice about your baby’s sleeping space use speak to your Midwife or Health Visitor.

Coping with a crying baby

All babies cry. It’s designed to get your attention, regardless of how tired you are and all the other demands on you. It can be frustrating. You may be anxious and worried that something is wrong with your baby. Babies can cry for many reasons from being hungry, tired, or feeling unwell to having a wet or dirty nappy.

Not every baby is easy to calm. That doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. It may help to remember ICON.

ICON – four steps to cope with crying

We can easily start to feel out of control when a baby’s crying becomes too much. ICON is a simple message to help you cope with a crying baby. Each letter starts a word, each word starts a line of simple advice:

  • Infant – infant crying is normal and it will stop
  • Comfort – comfort methods can sometimes soothe the baby and the crying will stop
  • OK – it’s OK to walk away (if you have checked the baby is safe) and the crying is getting to you
  • Never – never shake or hurt a baby

For more information go to ICON Cope website

Ways to comfort your baby

You may have to make more than one attempt to soothe your baby. These may not always work but try:

  • Talking calmly, humming or singing to your baby
  • Letting them hear a repeating or soothing sound
  • Holding them close, skin to skin
  • Going for a walk outside with your baby
  • Giving them a warm bath

Sometimes a combination of methods, like singing and walking, may work best. Once your crying baby falls asleep it can be tempting not to disturb them. But it is important to remember they still need a safe sleep space. Check our safer sleep information above.

When the crying gets to you – walk away

It’s normal for parents to get stressed, especially by crying. To help you cope take care of your own needs as well as your baby’s. Put some time aside for yourself.

When the crying gets to you - don’t get angry with yourself or your baby:

  • Put your baby in a safe place and walk away
  • Do something that takes your mind off the crying. Try something that you find calming like:
    • listening to music
    • doing exercises
    • calling a relative or a friend
  • After a few minutes, when you are feeling calm, go back and check on your baby.

Where to get help

Talk to your community midwife or Health Visitor about ICON and all aspects of crying.

Families in Surrey can ring the 0-19 Advice Line on 01883 340 922, available 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

CRY-SIS National Help line - 08451 228 669. Lines open 7 days a week, 9am to 10pm.

If you are concerned that you baby may be unwell, contact your GP or NHS 111. In an emergency call 999.

Perinatal Mental Health

The aim of the Surrey Perinatal Mental Health Service is to ensure that:

  • Every woman has access to services to support her psychosocial wellbeing as well as that of her infant and her family in order to prevent mental illness during the antenatal period until one year after delivery.
  • Every woman is able to access quality perinatal mental health care and treatment at the right time, at the right level and at the right location

Surrey has a specialist mental health service for women who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or have a baby up to 12 months old. It is made up of different professionals including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists and allied health professionals such as occupational therapists.For more information, please visit the Surrey and Borders Partnership website.

Local support and information

For details about the health visitor advice line, please visit the Children's Health Surrey website.

If you are looking for more information about the local service offer provided by Surrey County Council Children’s Services please visit the Surrey Local Offer website. Further information on Learning Disabilities and Autism can be found on this section of our website.

The HANDi app is a new mobile phone app that provides advice and support to parents and carers if their children have symptoms of common childhood illnesses. The HANDi App offers simple and straightforward advice on what to do and who to contact when a child is unwell.You can download the FREE HANDi App for Android phones from Google Play or the Apple App Store for iPhones by searching 'Handi app' Paediatric, then selecting ‘Surrey Heartlands’.

Safeguarding children and young people

Safeguarding means protecting a citizen’s health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is an integral part of providing high-quality health care.  Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility.

All staff, whether they work in a hospital, a care home, in general practice, or in providing community care, and whether they are employed by a public sector, private, or not-for-profit organisation, have a responsibility to safeguard children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect in the NHS.

please visit the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership website.