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Pregnancy and Childbirth

Maternity Support

Visit the Plymouth Latch On website for information on support groups in Plymouth.

When You Are First Pregnant

Free pregnancy tests used to be available but most women are now expected to purchase a pregnancy testing kit from a pharmacy to do their own home test. It is very important for the health of the expectant mother and of her developing baby that she should visit her doctor as soon as she thinks she is pregnant. Community Midwives are attached to each family doctor’s surgery/health centre. A mother-to-be will usually meet her Community Midwife at the surgery or by prior arrangement at home in early pregnancy.

NHS Pregnancy Care Planner

NHS Interactive Pregnancy Planner – It contains all you need to know to have a healthy and happy pregnancy, and to make sure you get the care that’s right for you. It has over 125 pages of NHS-accredited information, including videos and interactive planning tools. You’ll also find all the facts you need to choose the best maternity services in your area.
Every pregnancy is different. Get involved in the decisions that affect you and your baby. Start planning your pregnancy care now.

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Derriford Hospital Maternity Unit

Follow the link to find out all about the facilities, including an online video tour of the unit, useful information on breast and bottle feeding, how to register your baby’s birth, etc.

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Plymouth Pregnancy Crisis Centre

c/o The Vineyard Centre, Kinterbury House, Kinterbury Street, Plymouth, PL1 2DG
The project is affiliated to CAREconfidential, a charity supporting more than 160 centres nationwide. Tel: (01752) 246788

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Alcohol in Pregnancy

There has been much media publicity about safe levels of alcohol for mothers-to-be. Follow the link for the guidance offered by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Aqua Yoga

Swimcats offer pre- and post-natal aqua yoga. Contact Jacqi on (01752) 358196 for details.

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Devon and Cornwall Independent Midwives

Offer holistic care which is individually tailored to your pregnancy and birth. They guarantee that you will know the midwife who will support you in labour. Their aim is to make your birth a joyful and empowering experience. To find out more about their service call Nicky on (01752) 721505 or follow the link to the DCIM Facebook site. (They are not part of the NHS.)

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Home Birth Support Group

A supportive group for any expectant parents who are considering having their baby within the comfort of their own home. The group meets monthly to share experiences and help you to make an informed choice. Supported by a local Community Midwife as well as parents who have experienced home birth first hand, we welcome you to join us in a relaxed environment for a cuppa and an informal chat.

The Home Birth Support Group also has useful resources that can be loaned to expectant parents. We have a range of highly recommended text books as well as a several professional, hospital grade birth pools in a box.

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Lazy Daisy Pregnancy and Birthing Classes – Plymouth

Antenatal classes which are a unique combination of birth education, gentle yoga-inspired movement, breathing techniques and relaxation to help mums-to-be feel calm and confident in labour.

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The broad aim of the NCT is education for parenthood, which includes increasing awareness of the natural processes of pregnancy and childbirth and understanding of the medical assistance which is available for those who need it. It also realises the need for parents to explore and come to terms with their new role of parenting and caring for children. The National Childbirth Trust main Website has advice and information on Pregnancy, Birth, After the Birth, Becoming a Dad, Child Development and much more. The Plymouth and West Devon Branch welcomes new members. Contact details are available through the NCT website.

Plymouth Doulas

Plymouth Doulas provide antenatal, birth and postnatal support in Plymouth and the
surrounding areas of Devon and Cornwall. Visit the website for more information.

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Positive Birth Choices

Positive Birth Choices offers a range of practical and emotional support to mothers during their journey into new motherhood. We aim to offer services, products and information to pregnant mothers throughout the UK.

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Group B Strep Support

A national organisation raising awareness of Group B strep infection in new born babies, and how to prevent it.

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The Midwives in Plymouth give every encouragement and support to breast-feeding mothers, as do the community health visitors. The NCT Website has more information about breastfeeding.

The NHS website also has advice and information on starting breastfeeding.

Over the last few years a number of stores have improved their facilities for mothers wishing to feed their babies, although much more could be done. Visit the Plymouth Latch On website for information on places in Plymouth where customers can be accommodated, and I would ask that people making use of these facilities please treat them with respect to ensure the continuation of such help as is offered. Provision of customer toilets and babychange facilities is also included. Often now a parent room is available, to enable dads to find somewhere suitable for nappy changing.

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A Cornish-based website,, is working with the Plymouth Latch On breastfeeding groups to award certificates to those businesses in the city that encourage breastfeeding.

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The Plymouth Latchon and Real Baby Milk websites also have further information about support groups in your area.

National groups that encourage breastfeeding are the NCT and La Leche League.

Stop Smoking

Smoke Free Plymouth

“Giving up smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health and to give your baby a healthy start in life.” There is a lot of support and advice available to help you, your partner and your family to give up smoking. Call the specialist service helpline on (01752) 314040. The specialist service offers individual and group support sessions at Mount Gould or Derriford Hospitals or at your own home.

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Advice to reduce cot death

Advice to Reduce Risk of Cot Death

  • Research continues into the causes and possible means of preventing cot death (otherwise known as sudden infant death syndrome). The Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust Maternity Services Information booklet 2000 contains the following advice, which has resulted from considerable research into the possible causes of cot death.
  • Lie your baby on his back to sleep.
  • Avoid smoking during and after pregnancy and smoky rooms.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot (or too cold). To check how warm your baby is, feel the tummy not hands and feet which often feel cold.
  • Use thin layers of clothing and bedding that can be easily removed. When indoors babies over 4 weeks old do not need more clothes than their parents. The amount of bedding needed depends on the room temperature.
  • Keep your baby’s head uncovered. Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders.
  • Place your baby in the “feet to foot” position (with their feet touching the end of the cot or pram).
  • Do not overheat your home – 65 °F (18 °C) is ideal for a baby.
  • Remember to remove warm outdoor clothes when you take your baby indoors.
  • Do not use duvets, cot bumpers or pillows for babies under 1 year old.
  • Do not share a bed with an infant less than eight weeks old (advice added January 2004) – the safest place for a baby up to the age of 6 months is in a cot beside your bed.

The midwife and health visitor will help parents who need further advice and it is worth remembering that cot death is rare.

Further information is available on the NHS Choices website


Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society

is a support group for parents who have suffered bereavement and they have compiled an advice section on their Website.

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The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths is working to prevent sudden deaths and promote health and have a booklet available to download Babyzone – how to keep your baby safe and healthy.

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