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Maternity Assessment Unit

The Women’s Health Service provides a Maternity Assessment Unit where you can access urgent self-referral or medically recommended appointments when there are concerns for you or your baby after 20 weeks gestation.

The Maternity Assessment Unit is part of the Specialist Outpatient Service provided by South West Healthcare.

If you are greater than 20 weeks pregnant and have concerns about your pregnancy we encourage you to call our MAU, a midwife will triage your concern over the phone and advise you whether it is necessary to come into the hospital for review with a midwife and/or an obstetric doctor. If the decision is made that a review is required the midwife will book you an appointment time and ask you to come in for assessment. Some of these appointments are immediate in order to ensure safety for you and your baby.

Call the Women’s Health Clinic Service on 5564 4363 : Monday to Friday 8.30am- 4.30pm. After hours/weekends/public holidays call: Maternity Floor, Level 2, 5563 1441

Patient information

  • Who does this clinic care for?

    The Maternity Assessment Unit (MAU) cares for all women with pregnancy concerns over 20 weeks gestation.

  • How do I access this service?

    Self-referral once over 20 week’s gestation or as medically recommended by your health care provider/ GP.

  • What do I bring to an appointment?

    All Information your GP has given you in regards to your pregnancy.
    Medicare card, a list of all medications that you are currently taking, plus any relevant cards (example Health Care Card).

When to get help from a midwife or doctor


There are various reasons why you may need to contact a midwife or doctor.

If you are worried about yourself or your baby always call for advice.

If you are experiencing any of the below, please contact MAU at Women's Health Service,

WHS Phone hours of operation: 8.30 am – 4.30 pm Monday to Friday OR After hours/weekends/public holidays call: Maternity Floor, Level 2,  5563 1441

  • Your baby’s pattern of movements have changed

    Babies often use their movements as a sign to alert us that something may not be right for them on the inside. You should start feeling your baby move between 18-22 weeks of your pregnancy, and by 28 weeks you will notice that your baby has developed its own pattern of movements. Every baby has a different pattern of waking and sleeping so it is helpful if you stay tuned-in to your babies movements during waking hours.

    Your baby’s pattern of movement will remain the same for your baby until birth – it is not true that babies move less as you get closer to your due date. You should feel the same pattern of movements for your baby right up until labour starts and during labour too.

    Your midwife or doctor will ask you about your movements at each visit, however if you feel there has been a change in the normal pattern (i.e. change in the frequency and/or strength of movements) please contact the Maternity Assessment Unit (MAU) or the Maternity Unit at the moment you are concerned, do not wait to report this change at your next appointment.

  • Your waters have broken or are leaking

    Sometimes your waters breaking is obvious and will feel like a popping sensation followed by a gush of fluid. Other times it may not be so convincing and you may have a slow leak of your waters. If unsure the midwife can perform a test called an amnisure to confirm if the fluid is amniotic fluid. If your waters break and the fluid is green or brown in colour it means that the baby has passed meconium and your baby will need to be monitored more closely during labour.

    If you think that your water’s have broken or leaking, place a pad in your underwear and call the midwife to discuss the next step.

  • Your contractions are becoming painful and regular

    If you think you are in labour please call the midwife for advice, especially once your contractions become regular and strong or you have been contracting for an extended period of time and are exhausted.

    If you are in active labour, you will be admitted to the Birthing Suite.

    If you are in early labour, you may be able to return home for a period of time.

  • You think you may be going into labour before 37 weeks’ gestation

    If you are less than 37 weeks your pregnancy is classified as preterm. You will need to be assessed to determine if we need to try and slow or stop the labour.

    If you are less than 34 weeks you may need to be transferred to a tertiary centre to birth.

  • You have urinary symptoms

    Bladder infections may cause pelvic pain, discomfort when passing urine, smelly urine, and an increased urge to urinate more than usual. A kidney infection can cause back pain (or flank side pain), nausea, vomiting and fever. Treating infections in pregnancy is very important as left untreated can lead to premature labor.

  • If you are having contractions and are booked for a Caesarean Section or attempting a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC)

    It is important that you call your maternity provider if you feel you are in labour or your waters have broken. If you are planning a VBAC, it is recommended that you have monitoring of your baby during the labour until delivery. If you are a booked for a caesarean and are in active labour, maternity staff in consultation with theatre may need to prepare to organise your caesarean earlier.

  • Abdominal trauma, such as a blow to the abdomen, car accident or fall

    Any trauma to your abdomen can cause serious complications with your placenta and bleeding. You will be asked to present to the hospital for monitoring for you and your baby.

  • You have any vaginal bleeding

    Bleeding may indicate there is a problem. To work out what is causing the bleeding, further investigations may be required. You may need to have a speculum examination, an ultrasound scan or blood tests to check your hormone levels.

    Your doctor or midwife will also ask you about other symptoms, such as cramping, pain and dizziness. Sometimes it might not be possible to find out what caused the bleeding.

    Depending on your symptoms and how pregnant you are will determine if you need further monitoring and, in some cases, kept in hospital for observation.

  • Offensive or unusual vaginal discharge

    If you have watery, clear or coloured discharge from the vagina that seems abnormal for you please call us. This could be your waters breaking or signs of an infection (especially if the discharge has an odour to it).

  • Generalised itchiness of the skin

    Call if you have itching (particularly on the hands and feet, but other areas of the body may also be affected), even if it’s mild. Itching in pregnancy can be normal for most women, but in a small number of women it can be related to a liver disorder called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP, also called obstetric cholestasis). If left untreated, ICP can lead to premature labour and increase the risk of stillbirth. This can be confirmed by assessing your symptoms and performing a blood test.

  • Pain in pregnancy

    It is normal in pregnancy to have general aches and pains, however if pain is prolonged or persistent especially lasting longer than 1hr you need to call immediately and come for an assessment. While some pain can be normal in pregnancy this type of pain can be an abruption which is very serious and you need review to distinguish between these different pains.

  • You develop a severe headache, blurred vision, upper abdominal pain or swelling

    These could be signs of pre-eclampsia. Although pre-eclampsia is usually mild if detected early, in some pregnancies it can lead to life-threatening problems for both mother and baby.

    Symptoms may include:

    • obvious swelling – especially of the hands and face or upper body
    • severe headache that does not go away – sometimes with vomiting
    • problems with vision, such as blurring, flashing lights, spots or difficulty focusing
    • severe pain just below the ribs in the middle of your abdomen

    If your are noticing these symptoms it is important that your report them straight away and not wait until your next appointment.



Please present to the Emergency Department if you are less than 20 weeks pregnant and/or have any of the following concerns:

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Asthma
  • Heart conditions
  • Altered conscious state/ become unconscious
  • Seizures
  • Acute medical conditions
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Suspected infection disease


Health professional information

  • Who does this clinic care for?

    The Maternity Outpatient Service (MAU) is for urgent pregnancy care from 20 weeks gestation. If under 20 weeks gestation please send patient to the Emergency Department.

  • How do I prepare my patient for an appointment?

    Discuss concerns.
    Make referral to MAU if greater than 20 weeks. Alternatively the patient can self-refer by ringing the MAU.

South West Healthcare is a teaching hospital. As such, there may be either a medical or midwifery student present alongside your doctor or midwife at your appointment at the Women’s Health Service. If at any point you do not wish to have a student present, please let our staff know. It is important that you feel safe, respected and comfortable at all times.

Page last updated: 13 October 2023

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