Maternity services in the Leeds district are provided by Leeds Community Healthcare Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, but are accessed via the Practice. Some of our patients choose to have their baby at Harrogate District Hospital as this is more convenient, but the information provided here still applies.
Role of the Midwife
The Midwives are trained health professionals who guide you through your pregnancy, identify any potential problems and make relevant referrals if necessary. They help you to prepare for motherhood and promote good health for yourself and your baby by advising on the effects of drinking, smoking and good diet whilst you are pregnant. For example, Midwives ask you to start taking Folic Acid and vitamin D supplements as soon as you plan your pregnancy.
First Appointment with the Midwife
When you become pregnant, please arrange an initial appointment to see one of our Midwives (Jane Woodhead or Lindsey Pratt) rather than the GP. This ideally takes place around 6 - 8 weeks into your pregnancy. You can work this out by using the calculator on the NHS.UK website. Appointments are available at the Practice three days per week (Mondays at Charles Street, Thursdays at Bridge Street and Fridays at Bramhope) and can be booked via our reception staff as normal.
Your Midwife will discuss your options for delivery, arrange appropriate referrals and provide you with dietary advice. Your midwife will also arrange your scans, take blood tests and discuss the results with you. Whilst you are pregnant and until your baby is one year old, you are entitled to free prescriptions and dental treatment and your Midwife will arrange an exemption certificate for this.
During the Pregnancy
You will have regular ante-natal appointments with your Midwife throughout your pregnancy and for some women hospital appointments to see an Obstetrician will also be needed. If you have any concerns at any other time, you can contact your Midwife, or if they are unavailable, please make an appointment to see a Doctor during normal surgery hours.
In addition, at some point during your pregnancy, a Health Visitor will meet you to discuss their role in your and your baby’s care. The Health Visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who works closely with midwives, practice nurses, and GPs and helps you and your partner to learn about being a parent to support you to in raising a healthy, happy child. Further information on this service can be found at Leeds Community Healthcare.
After the Birth
Following the delivery of your baby, your Midwife will visit you on your first day at home to help you and your baby with feeding and physical and emotional care. When your baby is five days old, the Midwife will carry out a special screening test called the ‘Bloodspot Test’. You will continue to have support from the midwives until you and your baby are discharged - usually between 2 and 3 weeks after your delivery.
Your Health Visitor will visit you at home when your baby is between 10 and 14 days old and can advise on feeding, weaning and any family issues you may have. In your baby's early months and years, your Health Visitor will advise you about your baby’s physical and emotional development, breastfeeding, helping you get your baby into a bedtime routine, colic and persistent crying, healthy eating for you and your baby, coping with minor illnesses, your baby's immunisations, and recognising the signs of post-natal depression.
It takes time for you and your baby to learn how to breastfeed. Your Midwife or Health Visitor can offer support and advice and further helpful information can be found on the NHS.UK page on breast feeding. There are also a number of national services offering local support groups which can be accessed online, including Babycafe, Association of Breast Feeding Mothers, La Leche League GB, and Breastfeeding Network.
Your Health Visitor will also give you your baby's Personal Child Health Record (PCHR), or ‘Red Book’, either just before or just after the birth. The ‘Red Book’ records your baby's immunisations, how much weight they are gaining and how they are growing. You can add details yourself about your baby's milestones, any illnesses or accidents, or any medicines they have taken. Your Health Visitor will show you how to use it as a record of how your child is growing.
About 6 weeks after your birth, you should make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss contraception and any concerns you have about your own health.