Having a baby is one of the most important and life-changing events that will happen to you and we are here to make sure that you have the very best care throughout your pregnancy, during your delivery and after your baby is born.
Around 4,600 mothers choose to have their baby in our maternity units every year and are supported by our team of experienced midwives and doctors.
Finding out that you’re pregnant can be both an exciting and anxious time for families. We want to make sure that you have as much information as possible about what you can expect whilst you are under the care of our community and hospital based midwifery teams.
Changes to our maternity services
From 9am on Monday 5 August 2019 a new model of maternity care will come into operation with the opening of a new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital. The centre will offer more choice on where to give birth for local woment across South Tyneside and Sunderland.
From the 5 August if you have a low risk pregnancy which is problem-free you will have the option of:
- giving birth at home
- giving birth at the new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital
- giving birth under midwifery-led care at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which is within the consultant-led maternity unit
- giving birth at another maternity unit of your choice in the region
If you have a high risk pregnancy, for example if you are expecting twins, if your baby is in the breech position, or if you have experienced complications in your current pregnancy or a previous pregnancy, you will be advised to give birth in our consultant-led maternity unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which is rated amongst the best in the NHS according to the latest Care Quality Commission maternity survey.
If you are currently booked to have your baby at South Tyneside District Hospital or Sunderland Royal Hospital during July and August, you will be contacted about the changes and given the opportunity to have a discussion about your birthing options with your midwife.
All antenal and postnatal care will continue to be offered locally, as it is now.
What happens at my first appointment?
Every GP surgery in Sunderland and South Tyneside has an allocated community midwife. During your pregnancy you will have a named midwife who will care for you throughout before and after your baby is born.
You will be referred to see your named midwife by completing a referral form at your GP surgery. You will also receive and information pack and will be invited back to meet with your midwife and discuss the maternity services available to you.
Your medical and family history will be taken to establish the best way to care for you and your baby and you will be asked to think about which hospital you would like to have your baby in. You will be offered routine pregnancy health screening and have your blood taken, your blood pressure checked and urine samples taken with your consent. Your midwife will need your current height and weight so please take these measurements with you if you have them.
Most women will see their named midwife at their GP surgery or during home visits throughout their pregnancy. Where a pregnancy is more complex or high risk, you will be asked to attend extra appointments with our team of experienced consultants. These appointments, along with ultrasound scan appointments will be held at your hospital of choice.
The schedule for standard ultrasound scans and community midwife reviews are as follows (please note these dates are approximate):
- 12 weeks - dating ultrasound scan
- 16 weeks - listening visit
- 20 weeks - anomaly scan
- 25 weeks
- 28 weeks (blood screening performed)
- 31 weeks
- 34 weeks
- 38 weeks
- 39 weeks (depening on personal circumstances)
- 40 weeks onwards - you will agree a plan with your midwife if your pregnancy continues beyond 40 weeks
Antenatal Service will be provided locally to you and includes routine and additional care for high and low risk women during their pregnancy. The activities that are available within our departments include:
- Consultant led specialist clinics for high risk women
- Antenatal day care services
- Obstetric ultrasound
- Maternal Serum Screening
- Early Pregnancy Assessment
- Fetal Medicine Sessions
- Pre-operative Assessment
- Specialist Community Midwifery clinics (Young Women’s Pregnancy Service, Ethnic Minority Clinic, Clinic for women who book from out of the area)
During your pregnancy you will be offered screening tests to try to find any health problems that could affect you or your baby. The tests can help you to make choices about care or treatment during your pregnancy. The National Screening Committee produce leaflets with information on the screening tests available to you and your baby. This leaflet will be given to you at your booking appointment and can be accessed in different languages at the address below.
Screening Tests Leaflet - different languages - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/screening-tests-for-you-and-your-baby-description-in-brief
Further Screening information can be accessed at link below via NHS choices:
South Tyneside District Hospital
Our antenatal department is located on the ground floor of the maternity unit and is open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm.
The department is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm. The last appointment is at 4pm to allow time for a full assessment of a woman’s care needs.
Direct line to the reception desk is: 0191 404 1031
Fax number: 0191 202 4141
Department is managed by: Antenatal Assessment Services Manager Debbie Wood
Sunderland Royal Hospital
Our antenatal department is located within our maternity department on D floor, or accessible via the maternity entrance next to Chester Wing outpatients.
You can contact the clinic on 0191 569 9036.
Our Antenatal Day Unit is where we will care for you should you have any concerns about you or your baby.
Within this unit you will be assessed and further investigation carried out to see if any other medical intervention is needed.
You can contact the unit on 0191 5699181.
You will be referred by your GP, practice nurse, community midwife and other departments within the hospital. You may self-refer to antenatal day care if you are feeling unwell or have any problems during your pregnancy.
Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU)
Our Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit can be found in Chester Lodge at the back of the main Chester Road care park. This is where we care for women who have bleeding or signs of threatened miscarriage in early pregnancy.
Having your baby
Once you have chosen where you would like to have your baby it is important to make sure that you know where the delivery suite is located and where you can park.
At Sunderland Royal the entrance to our maternity unit is opposite our Chester Road car park. If you are in labour and thinking of coming into the hospital, please contact the delivery suite on 0191 5699777 and speak with one of our midwives so we can give you advice and support about when is best to come in.
At South Tyneside Hospital our maternity unit is on ward 22. If you are in labour and thinking of coming into the hospital, please contact the delivery suite on 0191 404 1033 and speak with one of our midwives so we can give you advice and support about when is best to come in.
If you have a birth plan please bring this with you and give it to your midwife so we can make sure that we follow your wishes as much as possible.
You may wish to pack a bag in advance. If you do these are a few essentials that you might want to include:
- A loose nighty or tshirt for you to wear during your labour, slippers and a dressing gown
- Toiletries, flannel and towel
- Newborn nappies and clothing for your baby
- Maternity pads and changes of underwear
- Drinks and snacks for you and your birthing partner(s)
- Music, books or magazines
Having a baby is an exciting time for families and naturally family members and friends want to be involved. We do ask that you have no more that 2 birthing partners of your choice with you during labour and delivery. Please be advised that there is no other visiting for relatives and friends, other than your chosen birthing partners.
This is for the security and safety of all of our mothers and babies and we appreciate your co-operation with this.
It just as important for partners to be able to bond with their babies and so we welcome extended visiting for partners.
Sunderland Royal Hospital
Partners are welcome to visit between 10am and 8pm.
All other visitors are welcome between 2pm-5pm and 6pm-8pm. We do ask that there are only 3 visitors per room at any one time, but please speak to any one of our midwives if you have any issues or questions.
South Tyneside District Hospital
You can have your partner or person of your choice with you anytime between 12pm and 7.30pm. In addition, partners are welcome to visit between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.
Please do not come into the unit if you have diahorrea or vomiting. You should wait until you are free from symptoms for 48 hours before visiting.
All other visitors are welcome between 2pm and 3pm and 6pm and 7.30pm.
Siblings can visit between 12pm and 3pm and 6pm and 7.30pm.
We ask that there are only four visitors per bed, plus partner and siblings.
Our maternity unit is located on D floor in the Chester Wing. It is most easily accessed from Chester Road and is a short distance from Outpatients Entrance 5.
South Tyneside District Hospital
Our maternity unit is on Ward 22 in the main hospital building.
If you have any concerns about your baby, or think you are going into labour please contact the delivery suite and our team of midwives will be happy to offer you advice and support.
Maternity services at Sunderland Royal
Antenatal Day Unit - 0191 5699181
Delivery Suite - 0191 5699777
Antenatal Clinic - 0191 5699036
Based at Pennywell Neighbourhood Centre - 0191 5341477
Based at Southwick Health Centre - 0191 5026662
Based at Riverview Health Centre - 0191 5027400
Based at Seaham Sure Start Centre - 0191 5816560
Based at Washington Galleries - 0191 5026892
Maternity Services at South Tyneside District Hospital
Ward 22 staff office – 0191 4041022
South Tyneside District Hospital midwifery-led birthing centre
From 9am on Monday 5 August, our new midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital will provide a relaxing ‘home from home’ birthing experience for women with low risk pregnancies who have not experienced any complications.
Open 24/7, our new midwifery-led birthing centre will be run by our team of highly experienced midwives who will offer a comfortable, relaxed and friendly environment for families who are keen to have a natural birth with minimum intervention.
We pride ourselves on providing a calm, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere with lots of one-to-one personalised care to help you bond with your baby in those precious first few hours. Partners are also welcome to stay in our en-suite birthing rooms during and after the birth, until you choose to go home, usually within 12 to 24 hours.
Our midwives are expertly trained to detect, very early on, if your labour is not progressing normally. If our midwives do have concerns about you or your baby’s wellbeing or progress during labour, we have very close links and direct 24/7 communication with doctors in our consultant-led maternity unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital. If necessary we will arrange for you to be transferred to our consultant-led maternity unit in an ambulance and your midwife will come along with you.
Benefits of our midwifery-led birthing centre
• Calm, comfortable and friendly surroundings to help you feel in control and relaxed
• Personalised one-to-one care with experienced midwives
• Increased chances of having a normal birth with less intervention
• Partners are able to stay overnight in our en-suite birthing rooms
• Water birth options are available
• A good option if you do not want a homebirth and do not need consultant-led medical care
• There are no doctors physically based in our midwifery-led birthing centre however we do have direct 24/7 links to consultant obstetricians at Sunderland Royal Hospital. If problems do arise before or during your labour, our midwives are expertly trained to deal with any emergency situations
• There may be a need for you to transfer to our consultant-led maternity unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital in an ambulance. If this is necessary your midwife will come with you
• You will not be able to have an epidural in our midwifery-led birthing centre.
Sunderland Royal Hospital consultant-led maternity unit
Our Delivery Suite has 23 LDRP (labour, delivery, recovery and postnatal) en-suite rooms. This is where you will come when you are ready to have your baby and stay until you are ready to take your little one home. We also have a birthing pool room should you wish to have a water birth.
The suite also has a theatre and a dedicated bereavement suite.
Tours of the delivery suite are available on a Sunday afternoon. Please ask your midwife for more information.
If you think you are in labour or have any concerns about your baby please contact the delivery suite on 0191 5699036.
If you would like to have midwifery-led care at Sunderland Royal Hospital this is possible and our midwives will provide one-to-one personalised care and support.
Benefits of consultant-led maternity care:
- If needed, your care will be regularly reviewed by the consultant obstetricians who are experts in high risk maternity care
- A team of anaesthetists and theatre staff are available to provide care if this is needed
- Personalised one-to-one care with experienced midwives
- Partners are able to stay overnight in our en-suite birthing rooms
- Water birth options are available
A full range of recommended pain relief is available including Diamorphine and epidural
High risk pregnancies
Our consultant-led maternity unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital is recommended if your pregnancy is classed as high risk. Examples of this would be a baby in a breech position, a planned caesarean section, high blood pressure, a BMI over 35, or if you are carrying twins.
Women who have delivered their baby with us in Sunderland rate their experience extremely highly and better than many other regional consultant-led maternity units. Mams have told us they have high confidence and trust in the staff caring for them during labour and feel that any concerns are taken seriously and that they are treated with kindness and understanding.
If you choose or need to give birth in our consultant-led maternity unit in Sunderland, you will still continue to receive all of your antenatal care locally. This will be with your midwife at your GP surgery and with consultants who visit our midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital to deliver planned antenatal and postnatal appointments.
Classes for parents
At South Tyneside hospital we provide tours of the delivery suite and the post-natal ward for yourself and your partner to familiarise yourself with the surroundings prior to birth. This class runs once a month and you will receive an invite in the post to inform you of the dates from this tour when you’re approximately 34 weeks pregnant. Speak to your community midwife for more information surrounding how to express an interest in attending our tour.
We also provide a water birth class on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month from 1700-1830pm at South Tyneside in the function suite which is the hospital restaurant. This is available to all pregnant women and their birthing partners. At this class we discuss: benefits of water birth, who can have a water birth and coping techniques in labour.
City Hospitals Sunderland pregnancy information and birth pla.pdf
Screening tests for you and your baby.pdf
Classes for parents
Speak to your midwife about classes available in your area, such as parent craft classes. If you need support with breastfeeding we have a regular class within the delivery suite at Sunderland Royal on the 3rd Saturday of the month between 9-11am or 11am-1pm. The class is open to all women over 30 weeks pregnant and mums. Partners are also welcome!
Sunderland Bosom Buddy groups
Fulwell community library 10-11
Rainbow Family centre, Washington
Barnwell Primary, Penshaw
Miss Tina’s in southwick 10-11:30
Bunnyhill Children’s centre 10-12
Miss Tina’s Washington 9:30-11
If you would like to attend the breastfeeding clinic on Friday at Thorney close, please contact your breastfeeding support worker or message Sunderland Bosom Buddies on Facebook.
Parent and baby friendly businesses
Here are some of the places that you said were parent and baby friendly:
Gold star for being most welcoming to new parents
- Miss Tina’s, Washington and Sunderland
- Rainbow family centre
- Costa coffee, Houghton le spring
- Angelo’s restaurant
- Fulwell Library
- Cafe Nero in the Bridges
Best baby change for mums and dads
- The Bridges
- The Galleries
- Miss Tina's Sunderland and Washington
- Sunderland museum and winter gardens
- Little play café
Best baby care facilities
- Washington Sainsbury
- Washington Asda
- Galleries feeding room
- The scullery
- Miss Tina's Sunderland
- Matalan, Pallion
- Little play café
- Miss Tina's, Washington
- Sunderland Museum
- Hetton centre
- Sunderland Royal Hospital
- Children's centres
- Bridges feeding room
- Miss Tina’s sunderland
- Little play café
- Costa Sunderland
- Southwick health centre
- Fulwell library
- Thorney close children’s centre
- Bunnyhill children’s centre
- Rainbow family centre
- Angelo’s restaurant
- BB muffin, Dalton Park
- Sunderland library/museum
- Latimers vinyl café, Washington
- Café nero
- Natwest galleries
- The mad hatter, fulwell
- Westbourne medical centre
- Keiper medical centre
Student midwives and doctors
South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital are teaching hospitals. We have student midwives and doctors who work on placement both our hospital and in the community. You may be asked for your consent for our students to observe / participate in your care. Our students need practical experience and so we are grateful for your help in supporting them in their placement. If you would prefer not to have a student involved in your care please let your midwife know.
Research and innovation
We support research so that we can continue to develop and improve how we care for you and other patients in the future. We have a team of dedicated research midwives who may come and talk to you about clinical trials if you meet the criteria and consent to be involved.
Water Birth Classes
Our water birth classes are held on the first and third Wednesday of every month 17:00-18:30pm.
Please wait in ante natal clinic reception or report to our midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital. No booking needed, simply come along!
- 18th September
- 2nd October
- 16th October
- 6th November
- 20th November
Our talented team of midwives are hosting a series of weekly antenatal classes every Sunday throughout October from 1-3pm.The classes are suitable for women having both high and low risk pregnancies at South Tyneside and Sunderland.
- Class 1 October 6th 1pm until 3pm Antenatal Wellbeing
- Class 2 October 13th 1pm until 3pm Preparation for Labour and Pain relief options
- Class 3 October 20th 1pm until 3pm Water birth
- Class 3 October 27th 1pm until 3pm Postnatal and Care of the Baby
Telephone Number: 0191 4041033
Want to find out more about our new Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre? Drop in for a cuppa and cake on the following dates:
- 6th September
- 4th October
- 1st November
- 6th December
You'll get to enjoy a tour and meet our fantastic team of midwives! We can't wait to see you.