Enquiries: 01305 251150

Maternity Unit

Updated 15 April 2021

Changes to maternity restrictions

For DCH, partners can accompany women for all admissions to labour ward, including induction of labour, elective caesarean and of course spontaneous labour. A lateral flow device (LFD) test is not required. Partners must wear a face covering.

If a single room is available postnatally, partners can stay until the woman and her baby are discharged home. If there isn’t a single room available after the birth, partners need to go at home overnight but can return the next day. They can also accompany women for appointments in the Day Assessment Unit.

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)

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.

Visiting hours are from 2pm until 7pm. Partners and your own children can visit from 9am until 9pm.

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.

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