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Promoting midwifery led care for low risk women

The Jessop Wing at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital is the only maternity unit in Sheffield. It has a range of facilities including:

  • A Midwifery Led Care unit.
  • A birthing pool.
  • An admissions (triage) area where your labour can be assessed out of hours.
  • Consultant led delivery rooms.
  • En suite bathroom facilities with each labour room.
  • A high dependency unit which provides extra care for women who have complications.
  • Maternity operating theatres should these be required
  • A special care baby unit should a baby need extra help and support after being born.
  • A parent education room for antenatal classes and baby first aid.
  • A pharmacy which sells items such as nappies and maternity pads.
Types of care

The main types of care available for women in the UK are midwifery led care and consultant led care. 

Midwifery led care has been defined as care where “The midwife is the lead professional in the planning, organisation and delivery of care given to a woman from initial booking to the postnatal period.”

(Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2001)

During pregnancy

Midwifery Led Care

Midwifery led care is provided by teams of 7 to 8 community midwives. Women will have one specific named midwife, but may also be cared for by any midwife from the team who is working on the day of their appointment. Women therefore get to know several midwives over their pregnancy and can learn from the midwives’ range of skills and experiences. Normally women receiving midwifery led care will attend two hospital appointments, the booking appointment including the dating ultrasound scan and a second ultrasound scan. Women can also be referred onto obstetric or other specialists if required. One of the benefits of midwifery led care is that women will usually receive greater continuity of care (care by the same person during pregnancy). 

Consultant Led Care

If you have any complications in pregnancy or if any complications are expected during labour you will be considered for consultant led care. Complications can include carrying more than one baby, or having long term pre-existing medical conditions such as Chronic Kidney Disease or Diabetes. Consultant led care is when the lead professional in the planning, organisation and delivery of care given to a woman is a consultant doctor. In pregnancy women will receive some of their care at hospital appointments where a consultant or junior doctors under the direction of a consultant will provide any extra care and monitoring required by their specific complication. They will also usually receive some of their care from the team of community midwives in a similar way to midwifery led care women. 


The triage waiting area
During labour

Women receiving midwifery led care can choose to have their baby at home or in the Midwifery Led Unit which is part of the Jessop Wing. Women receiving Consultant led care with be advised to give birth in the Jessop Wing.

Sometimes women who are under midwifery led care during pregnancy, may need to be transferred to consultant led care in labour. For instance if you request an epidural this will change your model of care and you will be transferred to the consultant led care unit. 

The development of the information contained on this web page was an independent project led by Sheffield Hallam University in collaboration with the Jessop Wing and supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for South Yorkshire (NIHR CLAHRC SY). This project was aimed to raise awareness of up-to-date evidence regarding Midwife-led versus other models of care for childbearing women (Cochrane Review, 2013)

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