Triage is the assessment area for maternity where we assess many needs not just labour. You may be referred to triage by your GP, community midwife or you may contact us directly after 20 weeks of pregnancy, up to 6 weeks after delivery of your baby. Triage is open 7 days a week and offers a 24 hour service. Triage midwives will aim to give you consistent professional advice concerning your current pregnancy or postnatal concerns.
It may be necessary for you to be seen by a doctor during your visit to Triage which may require you to be admitted for observation onto the maternity ward or admission to delivery suite if you are in established labour.
If you think you are in labour and are booked under the care of your midwife, you should inform the Triage midwife. When you telephone, you may be transferred to the MLU or asked to attend the MLU when you arrive.
If you need help or advice before 20 weeks of pregnancy, please contact your GP, go to Accident and Emergency Department, or contact your community midwife team; you may then be referred to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic.
Very occasionally a labour can develop very quickly and if you feel your baby’s birth is imminent, please telephone an emergency ambulance on 999.
What happens when you call Triage?
Following a telephone consultation with the midwife, you may be asked to attend Triage or the midwife may give you advice and reassurance that enables you to stay at home. The midwife may also refer you to Pregnancy Day Assessment Unit (PDAU) or in some cases, ask you to see your GP.
When you contact Triage, you will be asked for your hospital number which is recorded on your pregnancy hand-held notes, your reason for calling, any problems you may have had with previous pregnancies and deliveries, and very importantly, if your baby’s movements are normal.
We advise you to ring PDAU or Triage immediately if you consider that your baby’s movements have slowed down or are absent.
Example reasons for admission to Triage:
• Abdominal pain
• Vaginal bleeding
• Abnormal discharge
• General malaise/ feeling ill
• If you suspect infection both before labour or after baby is born (high temperature)
• Labour including premature labour (you are having regular painful contractions)
• Waters breaking at any point after 20 weeks of pregnancy
• Raised blood pressure (outside of PDAU hours)
• Reduced baby movements (outside of PDAU hours). It is not true that babies move less at the end of pregnancy so if you are concerned, ring Triage immediately
• Problems with vision (blurring, flashing lights or spots, difficulty focusing)
• A persistent headache
• Postnatal concerns up to 6 weeks after giving birth
Any other concerns no matter how big or small; we are here to help.
On admission to Triage
You will be asked to bring with you your pregnancy hand-held notes and give them to the midwife on admission. You may be taken into an assessment room straight away or asked to sit in a waiting room for a while.
During your assessment, the midwife will listen to your story, take your medical history and record information to help her make a plan of care for you.
We may do the following tests:
• Temperature, pulse, blood pressure
• Urine testing (you don’t need to bring a urine specimen into hospital as we will ask you to provide a specimen on admission)
• Abdominal examination
• Baby’s heart monitoring
• Vaginal examination
• Blood tests
If attending with suspected labour; following assessment, if you are not considered to be in established labour, you may be advised to return home and wait for the contractions to become longer and stronger before you return. The comfort of your own home is widely regarded as the best place to be during the early stages of labour. Pain relief and coping strategies will be offered before you leave.
When you are discharged home from any area of maternity, you are welcome to contact Triage for advice at any time. We hope that your visit to Triage is a good experience and we welcome any feedback that may help our department.