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Labour Ward

Labour Ward Information

The Labour ward phone number is 01722 425183 or 425188

In the early stages of labour you will be encouraged to stay at home as it is easiest to distract yourself whilst in your own environment. However, if you are not coping then the most appropriate place for you both to be is labour ward.

View map for directions to the Labour ward.

If arriving by car, the route to the drop-off for the Maternity unit is signposted from entrance A on lilac coloured signs (turn into entrance A from Odstock Road and take the 1st turning on the right). Come to the Ambulance Bay marked “Maternity Admissions”. There is a buzzer to the right of the door that will be answered from the ward office.

Once dropped off at the Maternity unit, your partner will need to park the car to keep the ambulance bay clear. There is a small “pay and display” car park for maternity use near the entrance. There are also various car parks located around the hospital. Please ensure you put a car parking ticket in your car as the hospital does issue penalty notices for non-payment.

All of the maternity wards are locked wards for the safety of mothers and babies. Please respect this and do not let anyone on the ward without the permission of a member of staff.

If you wish, bring food and drink for patient and partner. Additionally the kitchen has tea, coffee and a water cooler available. Hospital food is provided for patients only. There is a water cooler just outside the ward office, feel free to fill water bottles.
The hospital has a W.H. Smith and a coffee shop in the main entrance. On level 2 there is a restaurant called “Springs” which opens at 8:30 am and closes at 19:30. The coffee shop opens 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at weekends. Out of hours we have a folder of take away menus should you wish to order food.
There are also several vending machines around the hospital.

We want you and your partner to feel comfortable and relaxed. Please feel free to play music, there are radios and CD players available for your use. The TV units on the wall offer free radio.

Unless the labour is progressing quickly, once settled in you will likely be left alone and encouraged to rest. The midwife will listen to the babies heartbeat on a regular basis, usually every 30 minutes. It is normal practise for you to be left without a member of staff constantly in attendance in early labour. Should you need assistance the call bell is hanging on the wall.

When you are in the active phase of labour the midwife will normally listen to the babies heart rate every 15 minutes and will spend more time with you observing your behaviour and the pattern of tightenings.

During the 2nd stage of labour (the pushing stage) the midwife will listen in every five minutes to the babies heart rate.

However sometimes if there are concerns for the health of mother or baby a CTG machine may be used to give a continuous readout of the baby’s heart rate. If this is used your midwife will explain why and for how long it will be needed.

As far as possible your birth plan will govern the progress of your labour, however circumstances sometimes mean that plans have to change. Your care team will keep you informed and will talk to you about any changes or decisions required.

Induction of Labour

There are several reasons why your baby may need to be induced. It can be related to the health of the mother or baby. Most commonly it is because the baby is overdue.

Methods of Induction of Labour:

Prostin Gel

This is a hormone gel given to prepare the cervix for the onset of labour.
The gel is inserted into the vagina following a gentle examination.
This may need to be repeated several times

Artificial Rupture of Membranes (ARM)

If the cervix is favourable, the membranes may be broken during a vaginal examination using a small hook called an Amnihook.

Sometimes contractions start soon after the membranes are ruptured. If this doesn't happen, a hormone "drip" will be offered.

A plan will be made with you about how soon this can be offered. This may be immediately after ARM or a few hours later depending on individual circumstances.

With both methods of induction we closely monitor the baby both before and after starting, and throughout the procedure.

The most appropriate method of induction for you will depend on several things including,reason for induction,parity,gestation, maternal age,how favourable the cervix is etc This will be decided by the obstetrician and/or midwife following discussion with the mother.

Commonly Asked Questions about Induction

1) How long does it take after starting induction before the baby is born?

This varies with every case. It will depend on many things including the reason for induction,the method used , whether the mother has had a baby before etc .For a first time mother being induced because the baby is overdue,it is not uncommon to take two days until labour is established.

2) Do I have to stay in bed?

Generally we would encourage mothers to be up and about,especially first time mothers being induced with Prostin gel. You will be free to go out of the ward ,and go for a walk in the hospital grounds.

Obviously with a hormone drip in your arm, mobility will be restricted. But you need not be in bed the whole time.

It is perfectly feasible to have a drip in and sit on a stool ,chair or birthing ball for a time.The most important thing is that we can monitor your baby, and that you are comfortable.

Generally, most mums start off on the bed, then they get up and change position and get back onto the bed later.

3) Eating and Drinking

Most mothers are allowed to eat and drink in labour. Sometimes we may need to restrict fluids and diet. Generally most mothers do not want to eat large meals in labour.We would encourage lots of fluids ,fruit and smaller meals. Some people like to bring in cereal bars and snacks

4) Will I always be "started off" on the day given to me?

Emergency situations can occur at any time ,day or night. Sometimes there may not be a bed available at the time you are asked to come in. This is why we always prefer you to ring through to the Labour Ward before leaving home.

If a bed is not available, but we can see space becoming free later, as mothers go home or to the Post Natal Ward, then we will ask you to ring again later.

The midwives will do their utmost to get mothers started on the given day, but delays inevitably occur, and occasionally inductions may need to be delayed until the following day.

Elective Caesarean Sections

Salisbury Maternity Unit has an obstetric theatre which is open 24 hours a day.
At other times i.e. for emergency caesarean sections, mothers are taken on their beds to the main Hospital Theatre Suite where a theatre is allocated specifically for maternity cases.

Eating and Drinking

Before your elective caesarean section you will be advised not to eat from midnight and not drink anything after 6:00am. You will be given an antacid tablet to take at 6:00am.


You will be asked to come to Beatrice Labour ward for 8:00am. The midwife will show you to your bed, ask to listen to your baby’s heartbeat and then give you a gown. Your notes will be checked and you will have a name band for your wrist.

You may have one birth partner with you in theatre if you are awake during the procedure.

Part of the preparation for theatre icludes shaving hair from the bikini line. Some mothers prefer to do this at home or it can be done by the midwife.

In Theatre

The anaesthetist and their assistant ensure that your are comfortable, by giving an epidural or spinal anaesthetic, so that you are numb from your waist down and can be awake during the operation.

The surgeon and his/her assistant will be wearing sterile gowns, gloves with hats and masks.
The scrub nurse will also wear a sterile gown; they will hand the instruments to the surgeon.

The baby is usually delivered within 5 minutes of starting the operation. You will be aware of some pushing and pulling but the anaesthetist will ensure that you feel no pain. 
Your baby will be handed to a midwife who will assess, dry and wrap baby, or baby may be passed directly to the mother for skin to skin contact. Please talk to your midwife about your wishes. Sometimes, baby may need some help at birth and will be placed on the Resusitair in the theatre where the baby can be attended by the Paediatrician and Midwife.

Closing the wound takes longer as there are several layers to be stitched. A dressing is then applied.
Your midwife will help you to breast feed and have skin to skin contact soon after the birth.

After a short time in “Recovery” you and your baby will be taken back to the Post Natal Ward.

A supervisor is always available to provide support, advice and guidance to mothers, families and midwives. Mothers may contact us to talk about the standard of care they have received or to discuss if they have not felt supported. Midwives may contact us for professional advice and guidance.
Supervisor of Midwives on call: Salisbury District Hospital via switchboard 01722 336262

Page Last Updated: 02/12/2016 13:46 
Printed from Salisbury NHS Foundation Website