Whilst pregnancy can be an exciting time; it can also be a time of worry. We want to reassure you that we are here to support you when emergencies arise.
During pregnancy, you will be provided with the contact details for your named maternity unit or midwife. This should be your first point of contact for advice and assistance regarding labour and pregnancy concerns. The maternity team are the experts and are best to reassure you and provide you with advice on accessing services should you need to be seen by a midwife or doctor.
Your midwife or obstetrician should discuss the normal process of labour and birth, providing answers to any of your concerns. At this time, you should also discuss and make plans for your transport to the hospital.
Normal labour is not an emergency. Therefore, it is not appropriate to call an ambulance for transportation to the hospital. Should you call 999, you could be referred to a clinician for an over-the-phone assessment or told to make your own way to the hospital.
However, there may be instances where you need to call 999 for emergency treatment, such as:
- Your midwife has advised you to call 999
- The birth is happening faster than expected, and there is a strong urge to push
- Fresh and heavy bleeding (more than an egg-cup full) and continuing
- Sudden onset of severe and continuous abdominal pain
- Waters have broken, and your baby’s cord is noticeable outside the vagina
- Other medical emergencies such as breathing difficulties, chest pain or fitting
In an emergency, please stay on the line with our call handlers as they will advise and support you until one of our crews arrives.Please have your pregnancy notes ready for our crews upon their arrival and inform them of any complications in your medical history and pregnancy. This provides them will all the necessary information to decide the most appropriate care for you and your baby.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you call 999 and it is not an emergency, you may be referred to a clinician for an over-the-phone assessment or be advised to make your own way to hospital.
You will be transferred to the nearest available maternity unit for both your and your baby’s safety. This may not be your nominated hospital.
It may not be suitable for you and your baby to travel together in the same ambulance. We know this is not always preferable, but it is important for both you and your baby’s safety that you can be observed, treated and secure for your journey to hospital. Your birth partner is welcome to travel with you or your baby.
Unlike midwives, our frontline ambulance staff are not trained in elements such as water births. Please follow their instructions, including requests for you to come out of the water. This ensures ambulance crews work within their knowledge and scope of practice.
Ambulance staff may contact the maternity unit for advice. The maternity unit is the expert in the field, so their guidance will be followed.
If a crew recommends you be taken to the hospital, please follow their advice so a transfer can occur safely and quickly. This recommendation is based on the safety of you and your baby.
We will attempt to facilitate this request if able. However, in an emergency, it may not be safe to wait for a female clinician to attend if the crew on scene are all male. As in any situation, you have the right to refuse care from any member of staff.
Please be respectful to all our staff whatever the situation. From call handlers to contact centre clinicians and our frontline crews, all our staff work to perform the best job possible and to ensure the safety of you and your baby.