Over 1,600 babies a year are born to mothers who are cared for by staff atMaternity North Devon District Hospital and by midwives working in the community. In 2008, the Healthcare Commission rated our maternity service as ‘Excellent’ and particularly commended our midwives for offering an exceptionally caring service to new mothers.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust provides both hospital maternity services at NDDH and community midwifery services to mothers in their own homes and local towns/villages.

You may choose to have your baby in our new labour ward at NDDH or if you have no existing medical problems and remain fit and well throughout the pregnancy, you may wish to have your baby in your own home.

The aim of the maternity service is to support mothers and families by providing information and choice throughout their pregnancy and labour.

Pre Pregnancy Care

Pregnancy care actually starts before you become pregnant. If you are planning a pregnancy, it is advisable to adopt a healthy lifestyle, thinking about what you eat and drink. Research has shown that taking supplements of Folic Acid before you become pregnant, and for the first twelve weeks of the pregnancy, reduces your risk of having a baby with neural tube defects (problems with the baby’s brain and spinal cord).

Pregnancy Care

When you have a positive pregnancy test, you should make an appointment at your nearest GP surgery to see the midwife who is attached to the Practice.

maternity suiteHaving Your Baby/Going Into Labour

During your pregnancy, you will be given advice on when to contact the hospital if you think you are in labour, or if you have any concerns about the health of yourself or your baby. You may speak to a midwife for advice by phoning the hospital where you are having your baby.

The main telephone number for the maternity services at NDDH is 01271 322 788

Babies Who Require Special Care The majority of babies will stay with their mothers on the postnatal wards. However, some babies need extra care when they are born. This could be because they are premature or it may be because they have a problem at birth.

These babies will need admission to the special care baby unit at North Devon District Hospital

SCBU: Telephone number: 01271 322 610 This unit provides care for babies who require high dependency and special care nursing. If you have a babySpecial Care Baby Unit who is born very prematurely or a baby who is very sick at birth, they will be cared for in the special care unit immediately after they are born.

When your baby no longer needs intensive care facilities they will either be discharged home to you from hospital or alternatively moved up to the children’s ward: Caroline Thorpe.

If your baby is admitted to the unit you will be given a more detailed information leaflet

Postnatal Care

After you leave Delivery Suite you will be transferred to Basset Ward until you are ready to go home. Follow the links below for more information about the ward.


Difficulty conceiving is a common problem affecting about one in seven couples in the UK. About 92 out of every 100 couples will conceive within the first two years of trying and therefore it is usual to wait until this time before starting investigations.

The provisions for IVF treatment on the NHS are subject to guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). These recommend that you should be offered up to three cycles of IVF if:

  • you are between 23 and 39 years old at the time of treatment, and
  • one or both of you has been diagnosed with a fertility problem, or
  • you have been infertile for at least 3 years.

Waiting lists for NHS funded IVF treatment do however vary depending on your particular local health authority. If you have been trying for a baby for a while (after one year), and are over the age of 30, it is important to see your GP as soon as possible to discuss your fertility treatment options on the NHS.

Further information:

Click here to select one of our maternity information leaflets

NHS Pregnancy and Baby information

Last updated: December 4, 2017