Antenatal care generally commences between 9 - 12 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 attend 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.
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. Community midwives visit at home generally until the tenth day postnatally (depending on the women's needs). At that point they formally hand over care to health visitors.