Our maternity service provides maternity care for nearly 5000 women and their babies each year, during pregnancy, labour, birth and up until one month after birth.

Whether you are pregnant and thinking about where to have your baby or someone thinking about joining our team, we are delighted that you have chosen to visit this site.

During pregnancy, we offer both midwifery-led care (in hospital and in the community) and consultant-led care (provided by our expert multi-disciplinary team based at our hospitals). In some cases your care will be shared by a number of professionals including your GP, Midwife and Consultant Obstetrician.

Our midwives look after women at the hospital antenatal clinic, midwifery led units, at local GP surgeries and in your own home whilst our medical staff are available for consultations if problems arise.

For your labour and birth, we provide midwifery led services as well as hospital-based care and a home birth service.  For reasons of medical safety, the place of birth is dependent on individual assessment.

Our philosophy of care is based on respect for pregnancy as a state of health and childbirth as a normal, healthy, physiological process.

Pregnancy and birth are very significant events in a womans life and that of her family. The care we provide will aim to respect the diversity of womans needs and the variety of personal and cultural values that women, families and communities bring to these events. Care will be continuous, personal and responsive to a womans health, social and emotional needs.

We aim to keep women informed at all times of the progress of their pregnancy and likewise any issues that arise during their care. We will encourage decision-making as a shared responsibility between the woman, her family and her care givers. To facilitate this, care provision must include evidence based information, education and counselling support to enable the woman to make informed choices.

Currently we provide services in three main sites boasting state-of-the-art facilities:

  • Current visiting guidance

    Visiting From 1st August 2022

    Maternity Outpatients:

    • Women can  be accompanied by one person/birth partner to all appointments in the Maternity Outpatients Department.

    Induction of Labour:

    • The birth partner may accompany the woman on admission to the Induction Bay and at the start of the induction process. Further visits in the Induction of Labour Bay can be arranged with your midwife.

    Labour Support:

    • In Home From Home women may have 2 birthing partners. If not from the same household 1 metre distance should be adhered to.
    • In Labour Ward women may have 2 birthing partners who can support the woman in labour. One person at a time.
    • A birthing partner may remain with the woman following birth and accompany her on transfer to the Maternity Ward.

    Postnatal visiting:

    • Partners may visit in the Maternity Ward and Home from Home from 11am to 7.30pm.
    • Women may have one other nominated visitor (not a child) during their stay on the Maternity Ward and Home from Home for 2 hours (if in the same household you can visit together, if not in the same household the visits must alternate). These visits can be arranged with your midwife.

    Please support us by continuing to wear a face covering or face mask at all times whilst visiting maternity building and before each visit by taking a lateral flow test.

    You must sanitise your hands on entering the maternity building and again on admission to the individual ward or department

    You must not visit our facilities if you are unwell,  have symptoms or  Covid 19 positive.

    These arrangements are subject to change depending on the circumstances on the ward.

    Your assistance with this is greatly appreciated.

  • Are you planning for a baby?

    Research shows that before conception we can not only influence the health of our newborn baby, but also his/her health in adult life. Couples planning to become pregnant can take a number of steps to give their baby the best possible start in life.

    You should ensure your overall lifestyle is healthy, to give yourself and your baby the best start. Lifestyle changes should ideally start at least three months prior to the planned pregnancy as women’s eggs and men’s sperm may be adversely affected by inadequate diet as well as social and environmental factors.

    Look at your diet including your alcohol intake, and how much exercise you do, with the aim of achieving a healthy weight for your height (a healthy BMI) before you conceive.

    You can improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy by following the steps on this page.

    Take a FOLIC ACID supplement

    It’s recommended that all women who could get pregnant should take a daily supplement of folic acid.

    You should take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid every day before you get pregnant, and every day afterwards, up until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

    Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida.

    A neural tube defect is when the fetus’s spinal cord (part of the body’s nervous system) does not form normally.

    Some women are advised to take a higher dose supplement of 5 milligram (5mg) every day.

    You may need to take a 5mg supplement of folic acid if:

    • you or the baby’s biological father have a neural tube defect
    • you previously had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
    • you or the baby’s biological father have a family history of neural tube defects
    • you have diabetes
    • you take anti-epilepsy medicine
    • you have a BMI >30
    • you have coeliac disease
    • you have thalassaemia

    Talk to a GP if you think you need a 5mg dose of folic acid, as they can prescribe a higher dose.

    You can get folic acid tablets at pharmacies, or talk to a GP about getting a prescription.

    Do not worry if you get pregnant unexpectedly and were not taking a folic acid supplement at the time. Start taking them as soon as you find out, until you’re past the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

    Vitamin D – RDA 10mcg a day

    In summer, most people get enough vitamin D from sunlight.

    Between October and March a 10mcg supplement of vitamin D per day for pregnant/breastfeeding women is encouraged.

    (People who cover their skin for cultural reasons, those confined indoors or with dark skin should take a daily supplement of vitamin D throughout the year.)

    Stop smoking

    Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to a variety of health problems, including:

    You can find useful information on the dangers of smoking during pregnancy and advice on how to stop on the Smokefree website.

    Quitting can be hard, no matter how much you want to, but support is available.

    The NHS Smokefree helpline (0300 123 1044) is open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 4pm at weekends.

    It offers free help, support and advice on stopping smoking, including when you’re pregnant, and can give you details of local support services.

    Smoke from other people’s cigarettes can damage your baby, so ask your partner, friends and family not to smoke near you.

    Find out more about smoking and pregnancy.

    Cut out alcohol

    Do not drink alcohol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Alcohol can be passed to your unborn baby.

    The Chief Medical Officers recommend that the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all.

    Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to your baby, and the more you drink, the greater the risk.

    Find out about alcohol and pregnancyalcohol units and tips for cutting down.

    Keep to a healthy weight

    If you’re overweight, you may have problems getting pregnant and fertility treatment is less likely to work.

    Being overweight (having a BMI over 25) or obese (having a BMI over 30) also raises the risk of some pregnancy problems, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, miscarriage and gestational diabetes.

    Before you get pregnant you can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to find out your BMI. But this may not be accurate once you’re pregnant, so consult your midwife or doctor.

    Having a healthy diet and doing moderate exercise are advised in pregnancy, and it’s important not to gain too much weight.

    You can keep to a healthy weight by having a balanced diet and doing regular exercise.

    Find out about foods to avoid when you’re pregnant.

    Know which medicines you can take

    Not all medicines are safe to take when you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, whether they’re on prescription or medicines you can buy in a pharmacy or shop.

    If you take prescribed medicine and you’re planning to get pregnant, talk to a doctor.

    Do not stop taking your medicine without talking to a doctor.

    Find out about medicines in pregnancy.

    Get flu and whooping cough vaccinations

    Some infections, such as rubella (German measles), can harm your baby if you catch them during pregnancy.

    Most people in the UK are immune to rubella, thanks to the uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

    If you have not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, or you’re not sure if you have, ask your GP surgery to check your vaccination history.

    If you have not had both doses or there’s no record available, you can have the vaccinations at your GP surgery.

    You should avoid getting pregnant for 1 month after having the MMR vaccination, which means you’ll need a reliable method of contraception.

    Find out about other infections during pregnancy that can harm your baby and what you can do to reduce your risk of getting them, including cytomegalovirus (CMV), parvovirus (slapped cheek syndrome) and toxoplasmosis.

    Talk to a doctor if you have a long-term condition

    If you have a long-term condition, such as epilepsy or diabetes, it could affect the decisions you make about your pregnancy – for example, where you might want to give birth.

    While there’s usually no reason why you should not have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby, some health conditions do need careful management to minimise risks to both you and your baby.

    Before you get pregnant, have a discussion with your specialist or a GP about getting pregnant.

    If you’re taking medicine for a condition, do not stop taking it without talking to a doctor.

    Find out more about:

  • Self-referral

    As soon as you have a positive pregnancy test, you can now refer yourself directly for maternity care Hospital within the South Eastern HSC Trust.

    Please complete the form below and email it to the relivant address. Upon receipt, midwives will arrange the first booking appointment for you, and also notify your GP of your pregnancy.

    Click here for the Self-Referral Form

    If you have any queries regarding this form or if you have not received an appointment by the 12th week of your pregnancy please phone:

    Ulster Maternity: (028) 9056 1364
    Lagan Valley Midwifery Led Unit: (028) 9263 3534
    Downe Midwifery Led Unit: (028) 4461 6995

    Please return via email your completed form to:

  • Antenatal Care (before your baby is born)

    Antenatal Care (before your baby is born)

    Antenatal care is an integral part of your pregnancy. Most antenatal care is carried out in the community by your GP or Community Midwife. However, if you have any underlying medical condition or develop complications with your pregnancy, you care will be then be carried out by a hospital Obstetrician.

    Booking Appointment

    Your first appointment is known as a booking appointment. This can either take place in the community or in the hospital around 12-13 weeks gestation. At this appointment you will have a scan to confirm the pregnancy and an estimated date of delivery.

    At all bookings, the Midwife will need to ask you some questions to help plan your future care. This will include your medical history, any relevant family history and any previous pregnancies.

    At the end of your booking appointment you will be given a set of hand-held maternity notes.


    Screening (Blood Tests)

    At your booking appointment, you will be asked for your consent for some investigative blood tests. These blood tests check for particular medical conditions, help to inform your plan of care and include:

    ◦ Full Blood Count

    ◦ Blood Group and Antibodies Screen

    ◦ Hepatitis B

    ◦ HIV

    ◦ Syphilis

    ◦ Rubella

    ◦ Random Blood Sugar

    We also offer a blood test called the QUADRUPLE TEST that will give you a probability ratio for Down’s Syndrome. A doctor or midwife will discuss this with you.

    You should receive a leaflet with your booking appointment explaining your first visit and the tests that we offer. Please read this prior to the appointment and you will be able to ask any questions you may have.

    Anomaly Scan

    This scan usually takes place around 19 weeks. The purpose of the scan is to check that structures and growth of the baby are developing as expected. It is carried out by a specialist qualified radiographer.

    Types of Antenatal Clinics

    GP/Community Midwife Clinics

    Consultant Hospital Clinics – For women who require specialist or obstetric care

    If you have particular medical needs or if circumstances change throughout the pregnancy, you may be seen at our Specialist Clinics:

    ◦ Diabetic clinic

    ◦ Fetal Medicine

    ◦ Twins/Multiple Pregnancy clinic

    ◦ Perinatal Mental Health

    ◦ Haematology

    ◦ Anaesthetic clinic


    It’s good to have some information on feeding your baby before your baby arrives, why not check out our resource page here.


  • Antenatal Classes

    Congratulations on your pregnancy and welcome to your antenatal education programme – The Journey to parenthood.  Following your anomaly scan the midwife will offer you and your birth partner the opportunity to attend the live zoom programme which is delivered over 3 sessions and is available from 25 weeks of pregnancy to women birthing within the South Eastern H&SC Trust region.

    The programme will focus on supporting first time parents to understand:

    • The importance of connecting with your baby early on in pregnancy
    • How your baby is developing at key stages of your pregnancy
    • What to expect on your pregnancy journey
    • Explore your options for birthing your baby
    • Aim to promote a positive birth experience by encouraging the adoption of active birthing positions
    • Utilising hypnobirthing strategies as coping tools throughout pregnancy and birth
    • What analgesia options are available in various birth settings, wherever you choose to birth your baby
    • What to expect as a new parent following your baby’s birth and how to care for you and baby in the early days and weeks ahead
    • Beyond your birth, as you adapt to parenthood with the continuing support of the community midwife, your General practitioner and Baby’s Health visitor

    We encourage you and your birth companion to attend all sessions and ask questions during the live sessions.  For further information please contact and we look forward to meeting you during your pregnancy.

    Pregnancy Yoga

    Our antenatal team are now running Pregnancy Yoga sessions across zoom. The classes are suitable from 14 weeks gestation. Starting 1st February, the sessions will last one hour.

    Every Monday at 5pm and Wednesday 6.30pm.

    For more information and log in details contact


    Active Birth Workshop

    Useful links:


    For further information please Telephone: (028) 9056 4836.

  • Types of Care

    Consultant Care

    This is care carried out by the obstetric team led by your Consultant and generally is most suitable for those women who have more complicated pregnancies or have underlying health concerns themselves. All your appointments will be at the hospital and this antenatal service is available at the Ulster, Lagan Valley and the Downe. Women receiving Consultant care are booked for delivery in the Ulster Hospital.

    Shared Care

    In this case, your antenatal care is shared between your Community Midwife and the medical staff at the hospital. Dependent on risk factors, women having this type of care can give birth in the Midwifery Led Unit.

    Midwifery Led Care

    This type of care is offered to women with low risk pregnancies. Care can be provided in either the Midwifery Led Unit or in the community setting. The Midwives have full support of the medical team and discussion and/or referral for advice can happen at any stage should concerns be raised.

    Recent research has demonstrated that there are many benefits for mothers and babies associated with Midwifery Led Care with no identified adverse effects as long as the women are healthy and have straight forward pregnancies.

    This is also the type of care we provide if you choose to have your baby at home.

    Benefits of Midwifery Led Care include:

    • An increased feeling of being in control
    • Giving birth in a homely, unrushed setting
    • Ability to be mobile during labour
    • Less use of drugs during labour
    • Reduced use of assisted births
    • Positive birth experience
    • Increased breast feeding rates
    • Service close to home
  • Onset of Labour

    Many women experience contractions before the onset of labour; these may be painful and may even be regular for a time, causing women to think that labour has started. The two features of true labour that are missing are effacement (shortening) and dilation of the Cervix. This can only be assessed by vaginal examination.

    Recognising Labour 
    In late pregnancy, vaginal secretions are increased but should not be blood stained. A ‘Show’ in early labour or prior to the onset of labour is quite common. It is usually a pink or blood-stained jelly-like loss. During pregnancy your Cervix (the opening of the womb) is closed and plugged with mucous, this is to prevent any ascending infections coming in contact with the baby. Your Cervix is about 2cms long and firm. During labour your Cervix has to open to allow baby to be born. First it has to soften and shorten. These changes may start in late pregnancy before labour has even begun. Hours or even days before labour starts your Cervix may start to open a little causing the mucous plug to come away.

    Braxton Hicks contractions are more noticeable in late pregnancy and some women experience them as painful. They are usually irregular or their regularity is not maintained for long periods of time. In true labour, contractions exhibit a pattern of rhythm and regularity, usually increasing in length, strength and frequency as time goes on.

    Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes
    It is often difficult to be sure whether or not the membranes have ruptured spontaneously prior to labour or in early labour. Some women may be experiencing a degree of stress incontinence (involuntary passing urine) so may be unsure if it is fluid or urine she is passing. If in doubt, contact your Midwife who may decide to pass a speculum and look for amniotic fluid in the vagina.

    Rupture of membranes can be a slow trickle or a large gush but the water should always be clear. If your water is clear you will be sent home with instructions and to return in 24hours for admission.  If your water is coloured you will not be sent home.

  • Smoking and Pregnancy 

    15% of women in Northern Ireland smoke throughout pregnancy.

    The shock figure reflects the general increase in the number of young women who smoke, and is causing concern about the health of new born babies. Smoke Free Wombs is an exciting initiative by midwives in the South Eastern HSC Trust to encourage mums-to-be to stop smoking. Currently, 15.4% of pregnant women who book with this Trust are smokers. Smoke Free Wombs uses Facebook, a powerful DVD and cartoon images to try and get the message across that smoking harms the unborn child.

    Midwives are asking mums to be to sign a pledge to work in partnership with them to give up. Mums to be will receive a letter outlining how smoking can harm babies in the womb, and offering the opportunity to meet with the Health Improvement Midwife. The woman will then be offered intensive support to use the excellent smoking cessation services. It’s too early to formally assess impact of this innovative approach, but since this initiative began, our midwives’ data suggest a 52% increase in referral to no smoking programmes and that the “quit” rate has trebled.

    New mum Michelle Walsh, from Lisburn, appears on the DVD on Facebook. The DVD also features Consultant Obstetrician Dr NiamhMcCabe who says: “We do see nicotine withdrawal sysmtoms in babies. It makes them jittery.”   Health Improvement Midwife, Cathy Bell says: “Research has shown that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of complications for the baby. These include premature delivery, low birthweight and cot death. NICE guidance found that women may receive mixed messages about smoking in pregnancy, and to aid behavioural change consistent advice should be given to any woman who is smoking and pregnant.”

    The new Smoking Cessation Initiative in the South Eastern HSCT, ‘Smokefree Wombs’ provides women booking for their pregnancy with the opportunity to pledge to stop smoking during pregnancy. Women are provided with consistent information through face to face contact, phone support, text message and Facebook.

    Pregnant women who smoke form a priority group on the Department of Health’s 10 year Tobacco Control Strategy for N.Ireland. There is never anything negative about stopping smoking and the benefits for mums and babies begin as soon as the first cigarette is stubbed out. This initiative encourages women to feel empowered and committed to quitting smoking through friendly consistent support to choose the best start for their baby—a Smoke Free Womb.”

    Why is it harmful to smoke during pregnancy?

    A baby in the womb gets everything from its mother. Nutrients and oxygen come via the placenta and umbilical cord. Smoking not only exposes the fetus to toxins from the tobacco but it also damages the placenta therefore enabling it to function properly. Oxygen flow that is essential for your baby’s growth and development is restricted.

    Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are on average, significantly smaller than those born to women who don’t smoke. Low birth weight is one of the main causes of illness and disability in babies, and also increases the risk of your baby being stillborn. The further into your pregnancy you smoke the greater you risk of complications.

    It is never too late to stop smoking. Every cigarette you decide not to smoke will help your baby’s health. Carbon monoxide and chemicals will soon clear from your body and oxygen levels will return to normal.

    If you stop smoking:

    • You are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby
    • Your baby will cope better with the birth and any birth complications
    • Your baby is less likely to be born too early and have to face additional breathing, feeding and health problems that are associated with being born premature
    • Your baby is less likely to be underweight
    • You will reduce the risk of stillbirth
    • You will reduce the risk of cot death
    • Stopping smoking will also benefit your baby in later life. Children of parents who smoke are more likely to suffer from illnesses such as asthma and frequent ear and chest infections.Children of parents who smoke are also more likely to become smokers themselves compared to children of non-smokers

    Within the Trust we have specialist health professionals to help you stop smoking, so please speak to your Midwife or GP.

  • Stages of Labour

    What happens in the stages of labour?

    During early labour your Cervix starts to open and widen. You may not notice this starting, as your Uterus may be contracting very gently. It may feel like period type cramps or dull backache. You may even be a few centimetres dilated before you realise you are in labour. Every ones labour is different so you will have your own pace and rhythm. As a rough guide contractions are usually more than 5-10 minutes apart and can be as short as 30 seconds. At this stage you should still be able to walk through them and carry on with your normal routine. Sometimes this stage can stop and start before continuing on to active labour.

    As labour progresses your contractions usually becomes longer, stronger and closer together. This is known as the active stage of labour. Contractions are more powerful and will come as a wave gradually reaching a peak and then fading away. In this active stage contractions are usually every 2-3 minutes and lasting about a minute. Contractions are very intense but you should still have relief between each one. This can still take up to 8-12 hours.

    The transitional stage of labour is when you move from the first stage towards the pushing stage. This can happen from about 8cms the contractions may be less frequent but more intense and may come as a double wave, contractions reaching a peak then starting to fade but then increasing in intensity again. At this stage women react in different ways. Some find it overwhelming and may find it difficult to cope with the intensity of the contractions, taking it out on their partner by shouting or even lashing out at them. You may also feel sick and may possibly vomit; equally you may feel none of this at all. Transition means that you are nearly there and with support for your partner and Midwife you will get through it.

    Second Stage 

    The second stage is when you push your baby down through the vagina. The same muscles that make you go to the toilet push your baby out so it is an uncontrollable urge. So listen to your body and push when you have the urge. Sometimes this urge may happen before you are fully dilated but the Midwife will help you breathe through the contraction until the Cervix has disappeared altogether.

    With every push your baby will move through the pelvis a little at a time. It is like two steps forward and one step back. When the baby is well down in the pelvis and the perineum is stretching you will probably feel a hot stinging sensation.

    Whenever the baby’s head does not slip back after the contraction, the Midwife will guide you through the next contractions asking you not to push but either pant or breathe slowly. This enables her to control the delivery of the head to prevent or minimise any trauma to you perineum. With a first baby this stage can take up to an hour but with subsequent babies it should be considerably shorter.

    Third Stage

    The delivery of the placenta is generally known as the third stage of labour. Contractions may start up again but will be much weaker. These allow your uterus to contract making the placenta separate and peel away from the uterine wall. You will be offered an injection to help with this process. Following the delivery of the placenta the midwife will check it to make sure that is has separated intact.

  • Post Natal Care

    Caring for yourself and your baby

    It is important to look after yourself after you have had your baby and to understand what is happening to your body. After the birth of your baby, you will stay in the labour ward for a short time before transfer to the ward. Those mothers delivering in the Midwifery Led Units will remain there. Your length of stay in hospital will be dictated by delivery type and on you and your baby’s health.

    As soon as possible after birth, skin to skin contact with your baby will help them feel safe and secure. It will help you to get to know your baby and they will feel comforted by your voice and touch. Your baby should be encouraged to feed within one to two hours after birth. Skin contact should be maintained until your baby is showing readiness to feed. If you choose to breastfeed, skin contact will also help increase your milk supply.

    Help and support when you go home

    A Community Midwife will call the next day following discharge, and she will arrange to call to see you again and will leave a contact number.

    A Health Visitor will also make contact with you to make arrangements to call when baby is approx two weeks old.

    Contact your GP/Out of Hours if you have any concerns about your baby’s health.

    Feeding your baby

    We have a new Breastfeeding Peer Support Service (BFF) to help and support you with Breastfeeding.

    BFF is available to all breastfeeding women; all you have to do is ask your Midwife to make a referral before you are discharged home from the maternity unit. Your Community Midwife or Health Visitor can also make a referral if you weren’t referred before going home with your baby.

    Breastfeeding Peer Support is mother to mother support given by women who have breastfed (or are still breastfeeding) and would like to support other mothers in their breastfeeding journey.  It is a texting and/or phone call support service.

    All our volunteers have completed a training course and are registered with the South Eastern HSC Trust Volunteer Service.

    For more information about Breastfeeding and formula feeding please see our resource page here.

  • Perinatal Mental Health

    Pregnancy is a time of great excitement and change and for most women the mixed emotions experienced are natural and short-lived. However for some women pregnancy will either provoke new, or exacerbate old problems with their mental health.

    The Perinatal Mental Health Midwifery Service aims to provide antenatal care, support and advice to women with significant mental health problems. Everyone is unique and therefore the care delivered by this service is individually tailored to the needs of the women concerned. It is not a counselling or diagnostic service. We do not prescribe or adjust medication. However we can act on your behalf and liaise with other health care professionals in the role of advocate and provide advice and support with pregnancy related concerns.

    Referral to this service is completed by your midwife who is able to assess your needs against the service criteria.

  • Hypnobirthing

    Hypnobirthing enables pregnant women and their birthing partners to be calm, confident and in control during childbirth. By using breathing, relaxation and hypnosis techniques hypnobirthing helps the process of birth to be natural and easy. Learning to be free of fear and tension means hypnobirthing women allow their birthing bodies to do what they are perfectly designed to do – birth gently.

    In the South Eastern Trust we offer hypnobirthing over three sites in Downe, Lagan Valley and the Ulster Hospital, places are limited and filling out the expression of interest does not guarantee a place. Classes are held over 3 evenings and birth partners are actively encouraged to attend along with the birthing mother.


  • User groups

    What is the User Group?

    The groups are available in all three sites in the Trust, it is a dedicated Committee who makes sure that providers take account of the views and experiences of women and their families who use local maternity services.

    What does the User Group do?

    The User Groups monitor the maternity services provided in their local area, recommends changes and improvements, and acts as a voice for those who use the services.

    The members are made up of:

    User representatives
    Community representatives
    Senior Midwives from all local maternity services

    What does the Maternity Services Liaison Committee not do?

    We are very interested in hearing comments and suggestions from women and their partners who are using, or have recently used, local maternity services. However, we are unable to deal with queries from individuals about their care or deal with complaints.

    If you have questions or concerns about your maternity care, or if you would like to discuss your birth experience in confidence, you can speak to your Midwife, or if you have a complaint, contact the Trust’s Complaints Department

    If you would like to know more about the role of the User Group, or would like to participate, contact any of the Midwives who will be able to help.

  • Bereavement Support 

    Bereavement Support Midwife

    The Bereavement Support Midwife offers support to parents when a pregnancy has not gone as planned.

    The Bereavement Support Midwife specialises in supporting parents whose babies have died, are ill or for parents who have had an experience which they have found difficult. Everyone has individual needs following bereavement or loss. You may not wish to talk to anyone for weeks or months.

    If you would like support please contact Jacqueline Dorrian and Susan Stitt, Bereavement Support Midwife: Telephone: (028) 9056 4717.

    Click here to access the bereavement support leaflet.

    Forget-Me-Not’ Bereaved Parent Liaison Group

    The ‘Forget Me Not’ group welcomes all parents who have been bereaved in the Ulster Hospital. The user-focused group provides a forum for parents who have been bereaved through miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of their child.

    The forum provides an opportunity for parents to discuss the care provided and to help us in our commitment to provide a service that is of the highest possible standard.

    The aim of the focus group is to identify what we are doing well and also identify areas of our service that could be improved.

    The ‘Forget-Me-Not’ focus group has raised funds to provide bereaved parents cared for within the Maternity Unit with a digital camera, photo printer, memory boxes and baby blankets. If staff or bereaved parents would like to attend this group, please contact Hilary Patterson, Bereavement Support Midwife, Telephone:  (028) 9056 4717.

    To view a copy of the ‘Forget Me Not’ leaflet please click here.

    Useful Resources

    Forget Me Not Library List– Books for Parents

    Forget Me Not Library List– Books for Children

    Bereavement Support Websites and Contacts

  • Support Services

    Domestic Abuse

    It is now widely recognised that pregnancy can be a stressful time. This can sometimes have a huge impact on relationships, and in some cases may result in physical, sexual or emotional violence. The effect of this on the pregnancy, the relationship and the family can be traumatic and so we have support which we can offer in these circumstances. If you disclose that there is a problem, this will be taken seriously and will be dealt with the utmost sensitivity and confidence.

    There are help lines and groups which you can be put in touch with. These can give you access to specially trained people who can give you practical advice, help and support. Please refer to the support groups below for further details:

    Womens Aid: Telephone:  (028) 9033 1818
    Victim Support: Telephone:  (028) 9024 4039
    24 Hour Helpline: Telephone:  (0800) 9171 414

    There are two locations within the South Eastern Trust area where Women’s Aid run “One Sop Shops”.  No appointment is necessary.

    They are held from 10am to 12 noon on Friday mornings at two locations:

    Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid Support and Research Centre
    30, Adelaide Park
    BT9 6FY

    Ballymote Centre
    40 Killough Road
    BT30 6PY

  • Links, Leaflets, Publications & Videos
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Whilst Pregnant/Breastfeeding

    Midwives and healthcare professionals are urging those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy who haven’t yet been vaccinated to consider getting the vaccine as soon as possible, and to book their second doses as soon as they are eligible. Vaccination is recommended in pregnancy, but the decision whether to have the vaccine is your choice.

    Pregnant women are at risk of getting severely ill with COVID-19, particularly in the third trimester with new data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) showing that 1 in 10 pregnant women admitted to hospital with symptoms of COVID-19 need intensive care.

    In pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19, it is twice as likely that their baby will be born early, exposing the baby to the risk of prematurity. Recent studies have also found that pregnant women who tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of birth were more likely to develop pre-eclampsia, need an emergency caesarean and had higher rates of stillbirth; however, the actual increases remain low.

    – Information from Royal College of Midwives

    For more information click here to download the RCM information sheet.

    If you wish to get vaccinated you can attend any of our vaccination pop ups or attend the Ulster Maternity Outpatients Department on Saturday 14 August 2021, 9.30am-3.30pm. This clinic is open to Antenatal/postnatal, birthing partners, friends and family.