Our maternity services look after pregnant people who live in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire. We have an obstetric ward, a co-located birth centre and two stand-alone birth centres. We have a team made up of consultants, doctors, midwives that work in community and hospital settings, and maternity support workers to support you through your pregnancy and postnatal period. We are a teaching hospital and student midwives train alongside the Midwives.

We are part of the SHIP network (Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Hospitals), and we work alongside those other NHS organisations to share knowledge, resources and provide the best care we can.

The safety of people giving birth and their babies is our top priority. You can be assured that we have taken time and put considerable effort into ensuring that we have taken all possible learning from the Ockenden Review.

We have a close working relationship with the Portsmouth & South East Maternity Voices Partnership and value the contribution that parents-to- be and families make when reviewing and developing our maternity services. It is important that we hear the voices of all women and birthing people and put their needs at the centre of our care.

We have a Maternity Services Facebook page which provides the latest information and advice. You can follow us here: 

Below is a range of information that could be helpful to you during your pregnancy: 

Once you are pregnant and this has been confirmed by a positive pregnancy test, you can self-refer to our service for care. Please complete the maternity self-referral form. You do not have to see your GP first. We will aim to contact you to complete your booking with us for when you are approximately nine weeks pregnant.


The information on this webpage aims to give you the latest advice on keeping well during your pregnancy. You can also sign up for Start for Life emails, which are personalised emails to support your through pregnancy and parenthood.

Further information and advice is available from Keeping well in pregnancy - NHS (

Your emotional wellbeing matters, and it is okay to talk about it.

It is normal to sometimes feel down and more anxious when you are pregnant or a new parent, but if you find you are feeling low more than you are feeling happy or are overly anxious, you need to talk with someone.

The Perinatal Pathway is a quick and simple questionnaire to help you, your family and health professionals find services and helpful information for your mental health.

The following questionnaire will only take a few minutes to complete. The answers will help you find what your next steps are and give you some helpful information but remember it is not a diagnostic tool. If you have any concerns you should discuss these with a health professional.

It would be helpful if you are able to complete this prior to your midwife booking appointment.

At Portsmouth Hospitals our midwives are trained to support women who may be worried about their emotional wellbeing, we have a Lead Obstetrician and a Special Perinatal Mental Health midwife, who are both available to offer additional support with planning for your baby’s birth and for the early postnatal days.

Useful links

We offer all pregnant people screening tests during pregnancy to look for certain health conditions that could harm them or their baby. Whether or not to have each test is a personal choice that only you can make.

A list of screening tests is available from this national website and covers information on infectious diseases, sickle cell, Down’s syndrome, diabetic eye screening, hearing loss, blood spots and more. You can discuss them further when the midwife contacts you to discuss your booking with the maternity service.

If you would like further information and support, please see the Antenatal results and Choices website.

Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, low birthweight, premature births and smaller poorly babies.

To give up smoking if you live in Hampshire, contact Smokefree Hampshire on 0800 772 3649, text QUIT to 66777 or email

Portsmouth residents can contact Portsmouth Wellbeing service on 023 9229 4001 or email

Advice about alcohol in pregnancy can get confusing – the simplest line is to not drink while you’re pregnant. Alcohol passes from your blood across the placenta to the developing baby. Alcohol in the baby’s blood can interfere with their oxygen and nutrient supply, leading to birth defects, reduced growth and long-term learning and behaviour problems.

Stillbirths are also more common in pregnant people who drink heavily. Drinking alcohol at critical times in the baby’s development, heavy (‘binge’) drinking and frequent drinking increase the likelihood that the baby will be affected

The safest way to ensure your baby is not damaged by alcohol is to not drink while you’re pregnant. If you are finding it hard to stop drinking, ask for help from your midwife or GP. They will be able to refer you for special support.

You should start taking folic acid and vitamin D supplements as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Folic acid needs to be taken for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. You need to take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, but if the below applies you will need to take 5mg of folic acid which you can get on prescription from your GP:

  • your BMI is above 30
  • you or the baby's biological father have a neural tube defect
  • you or the baby's biological father have a family history of neural tube defects
  • you have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
  • you have diabetes
  • you take anti-epilepsy medicine
  • you take anti-retroviral medicine for HIV

You need to take a 10 microgram supplement of Vitamin D daily for the duration of your pregnancy.

Women low in vitamin D may be more vulnerable to coronavirus so women with darker skin or those who always cover their skin when outside may be at particular risk of vitamin D insufficiency.

Most foods and drinks are safe to have during pregnancy. But there are some things you should be careful with or avoid. This link will take you to the NHS website that will give you the most up to date information.

During pregnancy, your immune system (the body's natural defence) is weakened to protect the pregnancy. This can mean you're less able to fight off infections. As the baby grows, you may be unable to breathe as deeply, increasing the risk of infections such as pneumonia.

These changes can raise the risk from flu – pregnant women are more likely to get flu complications than women who are not pregnant and are more likely to be admitted to hospital. Having the flu vaccine means you're less likely to get flu. Find out more about the flu jab in pregnancy

At Portsmouth Hospitals we offer the flu vaccine in our maternity outpatient department on B Level, Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm (not bank holidays). The Flu season is normally from the end of September to the end of March.

Whooping cough
Whooping cough is a very serious infection, and young babies are most at risk. Most babies with whooping cough will be admitted to hospital. When you have the whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy, your body produces antibodies to protect against whooping cough. These antibodies pass to your baby giving them some protection until they're able to have their whooping cough vaccination at 8 weeks old. Find out more about the whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy

The best time to have the whooping cough vaccine is between 20 weeks (after your scan) and 32 weeks. But if for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour. You can have the vaccine in the maternity outpatient department after your anomaly scan.

You're at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you're pregnant. If you get COVID-19 late in your pregnancy, your baby could also be at risk. It's safe to have the vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. You do not need to delay vaccination until after you have given birth. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any live viruses and cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. You can book your vaccination appointment online.

Find out more about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination

More information about vaccinations during pregnancy can be found on Vaccinations in pregnancy - NHS (

Below is a range of information that could be helpful after your baby is born: 

Below you can find information on visiting our maternity wards.

Maternity Labour - Ward B8

  • Two birth partners at any time
  • No children are allowed
  • No visiting at any time

Maternity Labour - B8 (Induction of labour)

  • Birth partners: 9am - 9pm
  • One additional visitor: 2pm - 7pm
  • No children

Maternity Postnatal / Antenatal Wards -B6/B7

  • Birth partners: 9am - 9pm
  • Visitors and siblings of the newborn: 2pm - 7pm
  • Maximum of two adults at bedside at a time
  • No children, other than siblings of the newborn, are allowed

The Birth Centre QA - B5 Labour

  • Two birth partners at any time
  • No children

The Birth Centre QA - B5 Postnatal

  • Birth partners: 9am - 9pm
  • Visitors and siblings of the newborn: 2pm - 7pm
  • Maximum of two adults at bedside at a time
  • No children, other than siblings of the newborn, are allowed

Maternity Outpatients

(including appointments and scans)

  • 1 person with patient only
  • No children

Maternity Assessment Unit (MAU)

  • Birth partner or one adult to accompany patient (no swapping)
  • No children

Our protocols are in place to ensure the safety of our patients and their babies. Thank you for your cooperation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your midwife or the midwife in-charge.

However you feed your baby, it is important you receive good clear information to help you feel confident and reassure you that the feeding is going well.

Breastfeeding – there is a wide range of information about breastfeeding available via: Benefits of breastfeeding - NHS (

Infant feeding support

Skin to skin has many advantages for your baby, yourself and your partner. Skin-to-skin contact helps:

  • regulate your baby's temperature, breathing and heart rate
  • boost your milk supply and stimulate your baby's feeding instincts
  • you bond with your baby
  • release the hormone oxytocin – your body's natural feel-good chemical
  • build your baby's immunity to infections

The midwifery team will be able to show you how to hold your baby safely ensuring your baby's neck is straight and their head is upright so they can breathe easily and you can see their face so you can check they are ok.  

More information can be found here: Skin-to-skin contact with your newborn - Start for Life - NHS (

The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first six months is in a cot, lying on their back, in the same room as you.

The Lullaby Trust has a range of advice on simple steps on how you can sleep your baby to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is commonly known as cot death. You can call their information line on 0808 802 6869 if you have any other questions.

Below you can find out our latest news and links to further information: 

  • Good news for maternity services after CQC inspection (Feb 2024) 
  • New collaborative pathway sets out to improve Down syndrome services and support for families expecting (August 2023) 

  • Portsmouth nurses and midwives return to star in second documentary series (July 2023) 

  • Portsmouth nurse, midwife and volunteer team shortlisted for national NHS Parliamentary Awards (June 2023) 

  • Portsmouth Midwife awarded with prestigious national award (May 2023)