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Portland District Health Maternity Information

Are you transferring from Portland District Health to deliver your baby?

Portland District Health have announced that they will be suspending their birthing services for a 3 month period from from 15 March 2022 and will review this arrangement every 6 weeks until they can resume.

If you were due to have your baby at PDH during this time and will now be delivering at SWH at our Warrnambool Base Hospital, here is some important information for you:

Care close to home:

You will still be able to access PDH for the following appointments and services:
Home visits by a midwife, antenatal clinic appointments, antenatal classes and any antenatal assessments.

Portland District Health will provide on-going support after your birth and discharge from Warrnambool. Midwives will check your transition to home and wellbeing for both you and baby with postnatal at home visits.

When to come to Warrnambool:

Once you are 36 weeks pregnant your doctor in Portland will refer you to your hospital of choice to birth, in this case SWH. Once our Women’s Health Service receives this referral, they will book a telehealth appointment for you to meet with one of our midwives. This meeting will go for approximately 1 hour, and we will give you all the information you need about where to go when you arrive, what to pack and all the phone numbers you will need. You will also be booked in for a 37 week face-to-face appointment with one of our SWH doctors.

Depending on how pregnancy progresses, patients will then have a midwife appointment with their normal midwife in Portland at 38 weeks before returning to SWH for another doctor’s appointment at 39 weeks. Appointments after this will be on an individual basis depending on the pregnancy.

If you have any concerns during this stage of your pregnancy, we advise that you call Portland Hospital in the first instance. If they are able to help they will, and if you need to travel to SWH then that will be arranged between the two health services.

You will attend SWH’s Warrnambool Base Hospital for the following appointments:

  • Week 36 appointment with midwife (telehealth)
  • Week 37 appointment face-to-face with SWH doctor
  • Week 39 appointment face-to-face with doctor

Our team are ready and willing to help

You can find out more about SWH’s maternity ward and women’s services here. SWH has 4 birthing suites and 12 beds on our maternity ward in Warrnambool, which has been set up as a calm and welcoming space for families and their new little arrivals. Our maternity unit is modern, bright and welcoming with both single and double rooms with private en-suite facilities.

Transport and accommodation are available if you need it

Any mother that resides greater than 100kms from Warrnambool Base Hospital may be eligible for the Victorian Patient Transport Scheme (VPTAS). This may help cover some travel expenses, including accommodation.

If a partner or parent requires accommodation in Warrnambool, you are welcome to contact Rotary House, which is located opposite our main building on Timor Street. Please note that this is available for a birthing partner or parent of the child only, and not for extended family. Accommodation is available on a needs basis.

A number of our mothers who give birth in Warrnambool travel some distances to be here, such is the nature of rural life. If you are worried about travel to hospital during labour our experienced team have a wealth of information and tactics that may help you get through this part of the journey.

Special care nursery

Warrnambool has a special care nursery on site which cares for babies that are unwell, premature or require additional support which cannot be provided in the Maternity Unit. You can read more about this here. SWH’s Warrnambool Base Hospital can accept mothers who are 34 weeks or greater in gestation. If you need to deliver before 34 weeks PDH will assist you with a referral to a service that can accommodate you.

SWH understands that for many women, birthing at SWH may not have been your original plan, and that being away from home may cause some anxiety. But we’d like you to know that our staff are here for you to help make your experience as positive as we can, and we welcome you to speak with our midwife at your 36 week appointment with any questions you may have.

At SWH we pride ourselves on providing excellence in care, and creating partnerships with our patients, and we look forward to welcoming you and your little one at this special time.

Visitor restrictions

Maternity ward: Currently SWH have no restrictions on non-birthing parents of the child staying for the duration of birth and visiting during daylight hours.

Non-birthing parents are unfortunately unable to stay overnight with mothers due to security reasons.

We currently have some restrictions on additional visitors. For the safety of all unvaccinated newborns. Whilst we do not currently allow children under the age of 16 to visit the maternity ward, under certain circumstances there may be some exceptions made, at the discretion of the Nurse Unit Manager.

Special care nursery: Currently only parents of the baby may be permitted to visit. Mums are encouraged to stay in pods attached to baby’s room. This allows you to get to know your baby, establish breastfeeding if you choose and allows you to be involved in your babies care.

Page last updated: 12 May 2022

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