Enquiries: 01305 251150

Maternity Unit

Updated 27 July 2021

Changes to maternity restrictions (updated 14 June 2021)

If you are attending the Maternity Unit with your partner or support person for any reason, including coming to our Day Assessment Unit or seeing a consultant, please ensure that your partner or support person has done a recent lateral flow test for COVID-19 (no more than 24hrs before). You can get a pack of seven rapid tests sent to your home and you will need to report your results on line or over the phone. Please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 for more information. If your partner or support person tests positive, please telephone the Maternity Unit before you come in so we can properly advise you. 

For DCH, you can now have up to two support people with you for your labour and birth. If you are induced your second birth partner can join you once you are in labour. Currently, for planned caesarean birth, only one partner can attend. Partners must wear a face covering and must have tested negative on a recent lateral flow test.

If a single room is available postnatally, one partner can stay until you and your baby are discharged home. If there isn’t a single room available after the birth, your partner or support person will need to go home overnight but can return the next day. One partner or support person can also accompany you for appointments in the Day Assessment Unit and to antenatal clinic.

Pregnant women may bring a support person with them to all scans. The support person is required to undertake a rapid COVID test (lateral flow device test) no more than 24hrs before the scan appointment.

For 12 and 20 week scans
If the test is negative the partner may attend the appointment.

If the test is positive for the support person the pregnant woman should phone 01305 254530.

The woman will have the option to proceed with the scan or to discuss re-booking after the support person has completed 10 days self-isolation, as long as this is before 14+6 weeks (for 12 weeks scan) or 23 weeks (for 20 week scan).

The support person is advised to immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test through the government website.

For early pregnancy, growth or any other urgent scans
If the test is negative the partner may attend the appointment

If the test is positive for the support person they should phone 01305 254530.

In the event of a positive LFD test for the support person, the advice will be to proceed with the scan for the woman only.

The support person is advised to immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test through the government website

From 19 April all ladies attending consultant antenatal clinics at DCH may bring a partner/family member with them under the following guidance:

  • The person should be from the same household/support bubble
  • Only one person may attend with the woman
  • No children are able to attend
  • The person attending for support must be well and have no COVID symptoms
  • They will need to wait in the corridor until it is time for the woman to see her consultant
  • They will need to wear a surgical mask (available in the dispensers at the entrances to the hospital)
  • A lateral flow device test is not required (but it is for partners to attend USS)

COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy 

The vaccine is available for all pregnant women.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have a range of information for pregnant women about COVID-19 vaccination.

Q&As on COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy, fertility and breastfeeding, as well as a range of videos are available on the RCOG website here.

General information

The Maternity Unit based at Dorset County Hospital provides the care for pregnant women in the west of the county. We have approximately 1,850 births a year with a thriving homebirth team. Approximately eight to 10% of our babies are born at home. We have six large birthing rooms, all en-suite, plus a pool room.

Maternity Matters Dorset provides a guide to maternity options and services in Dorset. Read all the information you will need about pregnancy and giving birth here.

At Dorset County Hospital, we have many specialist services, some led by midwives and some by consultant obstetricians:

  • Smoking cessation team
  • Multi professional diabetic team
  • Perinatal mental health specialist team
  • Specialist multiple pregnancy team
  • The Cygnet homebirth team
  • Access to a midwife trained in psychotherapy for women experiencing anxiety over planning their birth
  • Specialist team for teenage parents
  • Aromatherapy service
  • Breathing and relaxation classes
  • Better births and foundations for life classes​​
  • Bereavement team
  • Antenatal screening service with some onsite fetal medicine provision

We also have:

  • A Special Care Baby Unit that can have babies from 32 weeks gestation. The unit has four rooms for parents to be resident with their baby
  • 24 hour access to an epidural service
  • A dedicated maternity theatre
  • Access to a birthing pool

We have eight consultant obstetricians who lead on complex and high risk pregnancies:         

  • Audrey Ryan
  • Alison Cooper
  • Mamdouh Shoukrey
  • Beena Dandawate
  • Mohamed Siddig
  • Francis Afadapa
  • Suguna Balasundram
  • Andrew Mukherjee

If your pregnancy is low-risk then a midwife will be the lead professional for your pregnancy. Ideally you will see the same midwife for the majority of your pregnancy care.

We are fully accredited to the UNICEF Baby Friendly standard for Infant Feeding and have a dedicated Infant Feeding Team whose focus is on supporting you to successfully feed your baby in whichever way you choose. Our initiation rates for breastfeeding are approximately 80%.

The majority of our postnatal accommodation are large single rooms, fully en suite and if you are in a single room, then your partner is welcome to stay overnight. We can provide a recliner for your partner but would recommend they bring in a pillow and a blanket, or cover of some kind. However, ​if all the single rooms are occupied then postnatal accommodation is in small multi-occupancy wards. In this case, unfortunately partners cannot stay overnight.

The reception phone number for the maternity unit is 01305 254267.

The Head of Midwifery is Jo Hartley. Her email is jo.hartley@dchft.nhs.uk

Dorset Maternity Labour Line offers advice and support during your pregnancy.

Call them if:

  • You think you're in labour
  • You think your waters have broken
  • You don't think your baby is moving
  • You have unexplained pain or bleeding

Midwives are available 24/7 to answer your calls – 0300 369 0388.

You can keep up to date with the latest information and advice from our maternity unit via their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

We are working towards NBCPathway status and our trust is committed to continuous improvement in bereavement care for those affected by pregnancy or baby loss. More information is available on the NBCPathway website. You can also keep up to date with information by following #nbcpathway on Twitter.


BadgerNet Maternity

BadgerNet Maternity is a new electronic maternity healthcare record system. It allows real-time recording of all events wherever they occur: in the hospital, the community, or at home. This includes both high risk (consultant led) and low risk (midwife led) pregnancy pathways.

Based on a woman-centred care model, the BadgerNet Maternity system comes with a portal for women to view and access their own maternity records online.

More information is available on the Maternity Matters Dorset website.

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