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Pregnant, what next?

Once you have found out that you are pregnant, please get in touch with our maternity team as soon as possible to book your first appointment.

You can book your first appointment by completing an online self-referral form via this link >

Ideally, a midwife will have seen you at your first appointment by the time that you are ten weeks pregnant.

Self-refer to our maternity services

Now that you have found out that you are pregnant, please get in touch with our maternity team as soon as possible to book your first appointment.

You can book your first appointment by completing an online self-referral form via this link >

Once we have received your self-referral form, we will be in touch to schedule your appointment, this usually happens within five days of receiving your referral.

Please ensure that you have completed all of the fields correctly to avoid any delays in booking your first appointment.

We aim to schedule your first appointment with one of our midwives by the time that you are eight to ten weeks pregnant, depending on how many weeks pregnant you are when we receive your self-referral.

If you need additional support in completing your self-referral form please contact the maternity helpline on 01279 82 7286.

To help guide the choices you make about your maternity care, please take a look at the Mum and Baby App, available to download on the App store or Android store.

Community midwifery team details

Hera midwifery team (Harlow area) 

Willow midwifery team (Harlow area) 

Juno midwifery team (Harlow area) 

Lotus midwifery team (Epping, Ongar) 

Priory midwifery team (Waltham Abbey) 

Forest midwifery team (Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell) 

East Hertfordshire midwifery team 

Rodings midwifery team (Dunmow, Stansted) 

Saffron Walden midwifery team 

Our specialist services

If any complications arise, or if you have a known medical problem, your midwife will refer you to an obstetrician who will then become the lead professional in your care. Your midwife may also refer you to other professional colleagues, such as an anaesthetist, physiotherapist, dietitian or psychologist.

Many of these professionals run regular clinics and educational sessions in the antenatal and postnatal periods. They will provide you with up-to-date information to help you make informed choices about your care. However, your midwife will continue to be involved in your care and provide you with help and support.

Maternity Assessment Centre (MAC)/Triage

The MAC/Triage is a service designed for women and people who may be showing signs of early complications that do not require admission to hospital. The service allows for your pregnancy to be more closely monitored. If you require an appointment in this unit, your midwife or obstetrician will give you information on what to expect.

Antenatal ward

If your pregnancy requires more in-depth monitoring, you will be admitted to the antenatal ward. There are a number of conditions which require this - your obstetrician will give you detailed information on what you can expect and what choices you have.

We have specialist clinics for women and people who require additional healthcare during pregnancy. Appointments for these clinics are made via your midwife or obstetrician.

Diabetic clinic

In these clinics, we see pregnant mothers/people who are diagnosed with diabetes before their pregnancy, and those who have developed diabetes during their pregnancy.

Fetal medicine

This is a specialist clinic run by an obstetric consultant and a midwife, who provide care and advice to women/people whose pregnancies have been diagnosed with fetal abnormalities or problems.

HIV clinic

Our HIV clinic supports pregnant mothers/people who have been diagnosed with HIV during their pregnancy, or before.

A specialist midwife, obstetric consultant, HIV consultant and a specialist HIV nurse run the clinic.


This is a multi-disciplinary clinic for women/people whose blood results have identified sickle cell disease or thalassemia. These results are reviewed, a care plan is put together and referrals are made if necessary.

Multiple pregnancy clinics

Specialist obstetric consultants who provide care and advice to mothers/people who are expecting two or more babies run these clinics.

Vaginal birth after caesarean clinic (also known as VBAC Clinic)

This clinic provides advice to pregnant mothers/people regarding their birth choice, following their previous baby being delivered by caesarean section.

Birth reflections clinic

This is an opportunity for our consultant midwives to meet with women/people to discuss birth experiences and plan their birth choices.

Your health during pregnancy

The more active and fit you are, the easier it will be for you to cope comfortably with your changing shape and weight during pregnancy, the process of labour and looking after a newborn baby. Regular walking, swimming and yoga are particularly good. It is not a good idea to start vigorous exercise if your body is not already used to it. Please ask your midwife for further advice.

Eat a varied and healthy diet throughout your pregnancy. Iron tablets are not given as a matter of routine, but only when necessary based on the results of your blood tests.

You can view further dietary advice via this link >

Foods to avoid
The following foods may contain elements which could be harmful to your unborn child and you are advised to avoid them:

  • Soft/blue cheeses

  • Unpasteurised milk products

  • Raw meats, pâtés, liver,

  • Eggs that have not been produced under the Lion Code are considered less safe

  • Shellfish, swordfish, marlin, shark (mercury content)

  • More than two portions of tuna a week

  • Smoked fish

This is an infection which is not usually dangerous to healthy adults and children but could harm an unborn baby. We do not routinely test for this infection but would advise the following precautions:

  • If you do not have to pick up or handle cats, then don’t

  • Cat owners, in particular, should take extra care since the infection can be caught from cat faeces - you should, for example, wear rubber gloves when changing cat litter

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing any food

  • Ensure raw meats are stored separately at the bottom of your fridge and only eat meat which has been cooked thoroughly

  • Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to remove all traces of soil

You are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and baby if you do not smoke. If you need help to stop smoking you can telephone the NHS Pregnancy Smoking Helpline on 0800 1699 169 for support and advice. You can also talk to your midwife or our healthy lifestyles midwife. Our trust has a no smoking policy which means you cannot smoke anywhere on hospital premises.

Recent Department of Health information advises that you should avoid all alcohol during pregnancy. Please ask your midwife for more information if you require this.

Sex in pregnancy
There is no physical reason why you should not continue to have sexual intercourse throughout a normal pregnancy. Your midwife is happy to discuss this subject and help with any concerns you may have.

Generally, women and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised not to take medication that can be bought from a shop without first consulting with their midwife or a pharmacist.

A doctor, such as your GP or obstetrician, will provide all prescribed medication after confirming it is safe to take. Please make sure you tell your dentist that you are pregnant or breastfeeding before treatment.

Antenatal care and classes

It is important that you contact our midwifery team as soon as possible so that they can plan your care and birth with you.

We have a range of antenatal services to support you throughout your pregnancy, including regular antenatal clinics at local children’s centres and GP practices, hosted by our community midwives. We also offer screening tests throughout your pregnancy to identify and monitor any potential health conditions.

Throughout your pregnancy, we adhere to national guidance and tailor your care to meet your individual needs.  

If your pregnancy is low risk, your community midwife will provide all aspects of your maternity care. If there are issues identified during your pregnancy, your community midwife will refer you to our maternity team hospital team; however, your community midwife will be available to provide you with support and advice.

If your pregnancy is classed as a higher risk, you may be offered an appointment with one of our obstetric consultants who will review and lead your care plan, together with your midwife.

Depending on your individual needs, your care will be provided at one of our antenatal clinics based at a local children’s centre, GP surgery, or at The Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Antenatal classes

As part of your maternity care, we offer a full range of antenatal classes that can help prepare you for birth and looking after your baby. The classes will cover:

  • Tips on staying healthy during pregnancy
  • Understanding your labour and birthing choices
  • Your worries and concerns
  • Meeting other parents and those who are expecting
  • Feeding and caring for your baby

Please speak to your community midwife if you are interested in booking onto an antenatal class.

Online maternity care resources

Our maternity team has developed an online resource, known as a padlet, to provide you with a range of information during your pregnancy, labour and birth, and caring for your baby after birth.

You can access the padlet here.

Advice for EPU Patients PDF



Inpatient comment:

Everyone offered words of such reassurance and kindness. I felt so cared for and the communication with me at all times was fantastic.