Our Maternity Services
What to expect when you call 999 for pregnancy or childbirth
First of all, we extend our warmest congratulations to you!
At EEAST, we recognise that whilst pregnancy can be an exciting time, it can also be a time of worry. We want to reassure you that when emergencies arise, we are here to support you.
Pregnancy can be of huge change in your body, and this means you may seek advice on what is normal and what is concerning.
During pregnancy, you should be provided with the contact details for your named maternity unit or midwife. This should be the first number you call for advice and assistance regarding normal labour and pregnancy concerns. That is because the midwifery team are the experts in pregnancy and are the best placed to let you know what to do next.
Your midwife or obstetrician should discuss the normal process of labour and birth and provide answers to any of your concerns. At this time, you should also discuss, and make plans for, your transport to hospital.
Normal labour is not an emergency. Therefore, it is not considered appropriate to call an ambulance for transportation to the hospital.
However, there may be instances where you need to call 999 for emergency treatment such as:
- The birth of baby is happening faster than expected and there is a strong urge to push.
- Fresh and heavy bleeding (in excess of 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.
- Your midwife has advised you to call 999.
- Other medical emergencies such as breathing difficulties, chest pain or fitting.
In the event of an emergency, stay on the line with our call handlers who can advise and support you until one of our crews arrive.
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 is so that they have all the necessary information to make decisions about the care for you and your baby as quickly as possible.
- 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.
- In the event of an emergency, you will be transferred to the nearest open maternity unit. This may not be your nominated hospital, but it is important for the safety of you and your baby.
- If your baby is born at home and you require transport to 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 are able to be observed, treated and secure for your journey to hospital. Your birth partner is welcome to travel with you, or with your baby.
- Unlike midwives, our frontline ambulance staff are not trained in elements such as water-births. Please follow their instructions if they ask you to perform an action, such as requesting 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 hospital, please follow their advice so a transfer can occur as safely and quickly as possible.
- Click here to view the UKOSS Pregnancy Covid-19 vaccination infographic. More information can also be found on the Covid-19 government web pages here.
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 your safety.
Want to give feedback?
If you have recently contacted our 999 emergency service in relation to maternity services, we are keen to receive your feedback about the quality of service you received from us to ensure that we meet the needs and expectations of our patients.