Maternity services are divided into the three stages of pregnancy: antenatal, intrapartum (birth) and post natal care. In addition, neonatal care can be seen as an extension of maternity care when a baby is not yet ready to be sent home from hospital.
Antenatal care generally commences between 8 - 10 weeks into pregnancy and the purpose is to support women and their partners during pregnancy and identify potential problems with mother and baby early through detailed history risk taking and risk assessment. Good antenatal care is essential in providing choice for women. It is important that women and their partners are given the information to enable them to make an informed choice over all aspects of their pregnancy.
In addition to antenatal care, women and their partners can access antenatal classes which cover topics such as health in pregnancy, what happens during labour and birth and caring for your baby. Classes are run by hospital midwives, community midwives or health visitors and mostly take place in the children's centres. At Musgrove Park Hospital staff offer Wise Hippo Birth Preparation Classes as standard to all women.
Intrapartum care covers the onset of labour through to immediate care after birth (first, second and third stages of labour). Depending on the needs of a woman and the services available in her local area, a woman has the option of giving birth at home or at one of the midwife-lead birthing units at
Bracken Ward, Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton and Yeovil District Hospital Maternity Unit, Yeovil or at stand-alone birthing units at Bridgwater Community Hospital, West Mendip Community Hospital or Frome Community Hospital.
Most women leave hospital within 1-2 days of the birth of their baby although women may choose to go home from 2 hours following birth. At that point mother and baby care is formally handed over to health visitors. Community postnatal care is provided in a variety of settings including home visits and drop-in clinics held at local children’s centres usually till when baby is around 10 days old (dependant on the needs of the woman and her baby)
A new smartphone app providing mums-to-be and their families with information about pregnancy has been developed by the clinicians at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. The HANDi maternity app, which launched in 2017, has been designed to help expectant mothers and their families through pregnancy and to help them prepare for their big day. It features general information about pregnancy, a confidential appointments calendar, maternity leaflets, important contact numbers, and videos, including a tour of Musgrove's own maternity unit.