Labour and birth of your baby

All of our local hospital maternity units offer care from midwives and consultants, or specialists, depending on the level of support you need.

Pregnancy care before (antenatal) and after birth (postnatal) is available in our hospitals, in children’s centres, community hubs, and GP surgeries. Some or all of these choices are available depending on where you choose to receive your care. If you find any locations are difficult to access due to individual needs, please discuss possible alternatives with your midwife. Across all areas we are starting to build continuity of care teams. These small teams will enable you to be cared for by a midwife who you know throughout pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period.

You will have a named midwife who will take on responsibility for coordinating your care ensuring that your needs are met at the right time and in the right place and with whom you can develop an ongoing relationship of trust.

You can give birth at home, in midwife-led birthing rooms at the hospital, or in a birthing room within the consultant-led unit.

If you have particular medical needs you may be advised to attend hospital for appointments or to give birth.

Your care after your baby is born and discharged from hospital takes place either at home or in specific postnatal clinics. These clinics are usually in hospital, or sometimes at a children’s centre or community hub.

New mother holding baby


Other choices you may want to consider:

  • How much contact you have with your midwife
  • Where to be cared for during your pregnancy
  • Place of birth and other birth choices
  • Going along to parenting education courses
  • Who your main carer will be
  • More info in our Better Births Choices here: MSE - Better Births Choices Booklet [pdf] 581KB


Choosing your care

  • Support during labour and birth Midwife-led care chosen by most women, includes access to a team of experienced midwives 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Senior doctor (consultant) led care for mums-to-be needing more complex care and support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Specialist doctors, midwives, nurses, and support workers from different areas of healthcare as required
  • Modern equipment and facilities in our maternity units
  • Birthing rooms, some include birthing pools
  • Labour wards with maternity theatres
  • Recovery areas for women who have given birth in theatre
  • Special care baby units (SCBU) or neonatal units (NICU) for babies with complex needs that require extra support.

Personalised Care and Support Plan (PSCP)

Personalised care is care centred on the woman, her baby and her family. It is based around her needs, values and decisions and facilitates genuine choice, informed by unbiased information.

Every woman should develop a personalised care plan, with her midwife and other health professionals, which sets out her decisions about her care, reflects her wider health needs and is kept up to date as her pregnancy progresses.

We aim to make unbiased information available to help you make decisions and develop your care plan. This should include information that is appropriate to you, including the latest evidence and what services are available locally.

You can choose the provider of your antenatal, intrapartum (labour and birth) and postnatal care.  You can make decisions about the support you need during birth and where you would prefer to give birth, whether this is at home, in a midwifery unit or in an obstetric unit, after full discussion of the benefits and risks associated with each option.

Please follow the link below to access your personal care plan, which you may want to print, ready for your first (and subsequent) midwife appointment.

Mid and South Essex Maternity Services - Personal care plan [pdf] 394KB

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