Ulster Hospital Maternity
The Ulster Hospital Maternity Unit is situated to the west of the site in a new facility which opened to patients in August 2007.
The new three story building provides purpose built state-of-the-art accommodation for mothers and newborn babies as well as much needed office space for staff and a new play area for children.
We serve a large area which runs from Newcastle to East Belfast and the Ards Peninsula. We have approximately 4,500 births per year in the Trust with around 4000 of these happening at the Ulster Maternity Unit. The remainder occurs in Lagan Valley and Downpatrick Midwifery Led Units. We also offer low risk women the option of having their baby at home.
While using our facilities we aim to:
- Provide care, tailored to suit your needs, supporting you to make informed choices that are respected
- Provide a quality service securing safety for your and your baby during the childbearing process
- Provide a friendly courteous atmosphere throughout the unit
- To ensure privacy and dignity for all mothers
The Maternity Ward is situated on the first floor of the Maternity building. This consists of four – four bedded bays and 16 side rooms. Rooms are allocated on a first come basis. Although on occasions if the situation arises, you may be asked to vacate the room for a woman who requires specialist care or treatment.
Breakfast is available in the patients tearoom with a selection of cereals, bread, yoghurts, juice, tea and coffee.
Lunch and dinner will be brought from the kitchen to your bedside.
Each side room has a private shower and toilet. Each bay has communal facilities. All beds have an individual television. Mobile phones may be used on the ward but please respect other patients when in use.
The ward can be a very busy place with various members of staff from other disciplines having access.
ALL MEMBERS OF STAFF CARING FOR YOU WILL INTRODUCE THEMSELVES AND WILL HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC ID.
The Labour Ward is situated on the second floor of Maternity. It has:
- 5 birthing rooms
- 2 theatres
- 3 bedded recovery area.
It caters for women who have risk factors or who need additional help during their labour and birth. One of the birthing rooms is especially equipped to support women who have a disability.
There is no visiting in labour ward but you will be able to visit on the Postnatal Ward.
You will be looked after by a team of doctors and midwives. There is a Consultant on-call at all times.
You will be given a named Midwife at the start of every shift. If you have any questions or problems, please talk to your Midwife. If he/she is unable to help, your questions will be directed to the Midwife in charge that day.
There is an Anaesthetist on-call for Labour Ward at all times.
After the birth, you usually stay on labour ward for about one hour before being transferred to the Maternity Ward on the first floor.
Home from Home
Home from Home is a seven bedded unit with a friendly relaxed environment located on the first floor of the Maternity Unit. The midwives in Home from Home are committed to facilitating normal birth and helping you achieve a positive birth experience Any woman in good health, pregnant with one baby and having an uncomplicated pregnancy is suitable to birth in the unit. Midwives manage the unit and the yearly birth rate is around 900 births. Almost half of these women will have chosen to birth their baby in water.
What can you expect when you come to the Home From Home Unit?
If you are low risk and your labour has started by itself or after a propess or foley induction of labour, you can be admitted into one of the birthing rooms. You can remain in this room until you are discharged. There is a fold away bed which can be used if your partner chooses to stay overnight (only partners of labouring women are permitted during the current pandaemic). Each room has a flat screen television and radio, or if you prefer you can bring your own device to listen to music in labour.
In the Home from Home Unit you will be encouraged to adopt different positions during labour and to use relaxation techniques. To help with this process the unit has a supply of birthing balls, CUBs, birth mats, bean bags, peanut balls, the Combitrac, heat packs and diffusers for essential oils available on request. The Home from Home host active birth workshops twice a week.
Each room has an ensuite with a birthing pool. If you wish, you can have your baby in the pool or simply use it for comfort and relaxation during your labour. Additional coping mechanisms for labour include using hypnobirthing techniques, gas and air (entonox) or a morphine/diamorphine injection. One midwife will look after you throughout labour and provide care and support for you and your partner. A second midwife may be present when your baby is born to help care for both you and your baby.
Once your baby is born, the midwifery team will support you in caring for your baby and prepare you for discharge home. You usually go home between six and 24 hours, the maximum stay is usually 48 hours. A specially trained Midwife will examine your baby before you leave or a referral will be made to the paediatrician if appropriate.
There is emergency equipment which is concealed behind cupboard doors. The midwives have been trained and are regularly updated in emergency skills. The midwives are also skilled in identifying complications should they arise so that you can be referred to an obstetrician if needed. The Home from Home Unit has the support of the obstetric-led labour ward which is located on the next floor. If you request Remifentanyl or an Epidural you will be transferred to the labour ward for the additional monitoring required.
The safety of you and your baby is our main priority
Contact Telephone: (028) 9056 4777
Click here to download the Home from Home leaflet.
For more information visit our Neonatal Unit page.
Emergency Obstetric Unit
The Emergency Obstetric Unit is for expectant mothers who may have concerns or worries about their pregnancy.
The Emergency Obstetric Unit is run by a team of experienced Midwives who provide support and advice to mothers. Medical advice is sought as necessary. As there is no appointment system in the Emergency Obstetric Unit, you may have to wait for a while before being seen. However, our triage system will ensure that labouring mothers and emergencies are given priority.
Any pregnant mother who has booked within the South Eastern Trust Maternity Units can come to the Emergency Obstetric Unit.
The following type of problems may be referred to the Emergency Obstetric Unit:
- Any form of vaginal bleeding
- A reduction of baby’s movements
- Raised blood pressure in pregnancy
- Abdominal pain
- Early labour
- Leaking of amniotic fluid (waters breaking)
These are examples of some concerns about which you may wish to contact the unit for advice. For most other problems it would be best to contact your GP first.
Contacting the Emergency Obstetric Unit
The following people can refer you to the Emergency Obstetric Unit:
- Your GP
- Community midwife
- Antenatal Clinic
- Consultant obstetrician
- Main A&E
You are welcome to contact us directly and speak to a midwife, either to seek advice or to arrange a time to attend. Please remember to bring your hospital notes with you if you are coming to the Emergency Obstetric Unit.
Screening tests are also carried out in the Emergency Obstetric Unit and outpatient care given to mothers who have antenatal problems but do not have to be admitted to hospital, for example raised blood pressure.
Emergency Obstetric Unit Direct Line:
Telephone: (028) 9055 0403. A Midwife will be available 24 hours a day to give advice.
Other Useful Information
Benefits and Maternity Pay
You will find advice about benefits, your rights and Maternity Pay in The Pregnancy Book. If you need further advice contact your local benefits office, your employer or the Inland Revenue.
If you receive certain benefits, you may be able to claim travel expenses for hospital appointments. Ask the Midwife at the Antenatal Clinic to sign the necessary forms and give you details of how to submit them to the Trust’s Finance Department.
Car Parking Facilities
A pay and display system operates within the hospital grounds. You will need to bring change for the machine which is situated in the main reception area of the general hospital and outside the main entrance to the Maternity Unit.
There is a designated space outside the main door for use by emergency ambulances. It is essential that you do not park in this area.
Outside the Maternity Unit are four drop off points for maternity use only. These can be used for up to ½ hour free of charge and no risk of clamping. Cars will be clamped if not parked in designated areas. As soon as possible move your car to one of the car parks.
The Oasis Restaurant situated in the main hospital on the first floor is open every day for meals and snacks. The closing time is 7.15pm. Vending machines are also available on the first floor of the main hospital and ground floor of the Maternity Unit. A Coffee Shop is also located on the ground floor of the Maternity Unit and is open from 9.30am – 5.00pm.
Appliances such as hairdryers and straighteners must carry a CE mark.
Registration of Births
It is the legal duty of the parent to register the birth of the baby within 42 days. If you are not married and you want your baby’s fathers name on the birth certificate, he must be present when you register your baby. While in hospital both mum and baby must be the same name. Registration can be done at your local registration office.
Toilets for Visitors
These are situated on the ground floor and first floor of the Maternity Unit.
Telephones are located on the ground floor of the unit. You will need 20p, 50p or £1 coins for the telephone. The phones are available for outgoing calls only. It is not possible for inpatients to accept incoming calls except in an emergency.
Please note mobile phones can affect clinical equipment and must not be used in the Maternity Unit.
Smoking is not permitted within the Maternity Unit by staff, patients relatives or visitors.
There are no facilities within the unit for smoking. This is for the protection of all our health and particularly newborn babies.
Smoke alarms are situated in all areas of the unit and these are sensitive to cigarette smoke. Midwives and a smoking Cessation Advisor are available to provide help and support for mothers and their partners who wish to stop smoking.
The Trust has a new initiative ‘Smoke Free Wombs’ 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.