Maternity - service overview

Our maternity services are committed to ensuring you have access to high quality maternity care, wherever you choose to give birth.

You may find this information useful when talking with your midwife at your booking appointment which usually takes place around eight weeks into your pregnancy. It can help to support any choices and decisions regarding your pregnancy care in the beginning.

Congratulations you are pregnant

Once you find out you are pregnant you should:

  • Book into the maternity service using Maternity Direct, ensuring that you select the hospital of your choice, as soonPregnant tummy with two hands clasping as possible.
  • Start taking 400 micrograms of folic acid per day to help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. If you have diabetes, epilepsy or a raised body mass index (BMI) you will need a prescription for a higher dose per day.
  • Start taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day to support bone and muscle development.
  • Plan to see a midwife as soon as possible, especially if you have any medical conditions.
  • Vist to browse a whole range of information to help you with your health

  • If you smoke, now would be a good time to stop. Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. Even breathing in tobacco smoke from those who smoke around you can also affect the health of your baby so now would be a good time to stop. Visit for more advice and support, or if you or your loved ones need help to stop smoking you can call the NHS Smoke-free advice line on 0300 123 1044.

Places to give birth

Expectant parents who live within the Mid and South Essex area have the choice to give birth at Basildon, Broomfield, Southend, St. Peters, WJC or at home.

Our teams will do their best to make sure that you have access to your preferred choice of both hospital site and type of birth, however this will depend on the capacity of each site at the time of your pregnancy referral and this could change unexpectedly or at short notice if your (or your baby’s) medical needs change.

Expectant parents who live outside of the Mid and South Essex area also have the choice of giving birth at one of our hospitals, although this will depend on the capacity of the individual site at the time of your pregnancy as safety of you and your baby is always our priority.

The pathway of care for both antenatal and postnatal appointments may look different for the expectant parents living outside of the Mid and South Essex area who are planning to give birth at one of our hospitals. This will be explained to you when you meet with the midwife following your referral.

Where to give birth

The below link will take you to a very informative leaflet which has been produced by Mid and South Essex Maternity Services.

MSE - Better Births Choices Booklet[pdf] 581KB

Where to give birth – the options available to you

Visit the NHS website

Other access to services

Some women choose to pay for private maternity care, either with an independent/private midwife or an obstetric consultant.

You could also choose to receive services from a paid for doula (who are additional support workers for pregnancy, birth and beyond).

For more information, visit Labour and birth of your baby.

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