Advice if you are due to give birth

Please think carefully before calling an ambulance in pregnancy or normal labour. Call your midwife, birth centre or labour ward in the first instance for help and advice.

Ambulances are needed for life-threatening emergencies, and normal labour is not an emergency.

During your pregnancy, it is important you discuss with your midwife the signs of normal labour and plan your transport to your chosen place for the birth.

Initially any pregnancy or labour concerns should be raised with your midwife or birth centre. This includes worries with fetal movements, or if feeling unwell, as they can advise you further.

On rare occasions an ambulance may be needed, such as:

  • You are immediately about to give birth with a strong urge to push.
  • Fresh bleeding which is more than an egg cupful (or two changes of pads).
  • Severe abdominal pain that continues and persists after a contraction.
  • The baby’s cord is noticeable.
  • Other medical emergencies, such as breathing difficulties or chest pain.
  • Any other condition that the midwife requests you to phone 999 for.

When an ambulance arrives and a decision is made to take you to hospital, it is important that you comply with the crew’s assessment of your condition so that your transfer can happen as quickly and safely as possible for you and your baby.

We need to gain your cooperation to be able to take you to hospital.

In an emergency you may be taken to the nearest maternity unit for care and not your preferred place of booking as this may be safer for you and your baby.