Obstetric Triage

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Pregnant and worried?

Obstetric Triage is an emergency service.

Accessing the most appropriate service helps to prevent unnecessary delays for those needing to attend Obstetric Triage. Please consider using some of the other services in the section ‘Worried about your pregnancy?’ if you have a problem that is not related to your pregnancy.

Saint Mary’s Obstetric Triage Unit provides a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency assessment service from 20 weeks of pregnancy, up to 28 days following the birth of your baby. Triage works in a similar way to an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, and, like A&E departments can be an over-used resource. This can cause unnecessary waiting times and delays in providing the right kind of care.

Always call Triage before coming so that the midwife can advise you whether or not you need to attend –
(0161) 276 6567

Remember to consider how you will get to the hospital, if required, during your pregnancy.  Ambulances for emergencies only.  If you call an ambulance, you may be taken to the nearest hospital, even if you are booked at Saint Mary’s.

When to contact Triage

The Obstetric Triage department sees pregnant women from 20 weeks of pregnancy onwards. Before 20 weeks, you should contact the Emergency Gynaecology Unit on (0161) 276 6204 for advice.

Some of the reasons to contact Triage:

  • If you think you are in labour (either premature labour, or at the end of your pregnancy).  Labour is different for every woman, but commonly starts, with  your waters breaking or contractions.  If you think you are going into labour before 37 weeks of pregnancy you should call Triage immediately for advice. Your community midwife will discuss signs of labour/when to call Triage towards your due date.
  • If you think your waters have broken. Waters breaking (or membrane rupture) is common during, or just before labour.  Most women find it obvious that waters have broken, whilst others are less sure.  If you are unsure if your waters have broken, place a maternity pad in your underwear to monitor any fluid leaking and contact Triage for advice.

Please note: If your midwife has informed you that you are suitable for Midwifery Led Care (‘MLC’), you should contact the Midwifery Led Unit (Ward 47a) directly on (0161) 701 0018, if your waters break or you think you are in labour after 37 weeks.

  • Severe abdominal pain (not relieved with Paracetamol).
  • Vaginal Bleeding.  If you notice any vaginal bleeding you should contact Triage immediately for advice.  Sometimes towards the end of pregnancy, you may have a ‘show’.  A show is usually a mucosy, sticky, blood stained vaginal loss. A show is the mucous ‘plug’ in front of your baby, which comes away towards the end of pregnancy. A show is normal, and may occur days or weeks before you go into labour.  If you are unsure, please contact Triage.

Note: If you know your blood group is Rhesus negative, please inform us when you telephone if you have vaginal bleeding or a bump to your abdomen, as you will require an Anti-D injection.


The following concerns can be seen in your nearest Antenatal Assessment Unit during weekdays and Triage out-of-hours:

  • Reduced baby movements.
  • Itching (not accompanied by a rash).
  • Headaches (not relieved with Paracetamol) and/or visual disturbances.

Reduced movements

The importance of monitoring your baby’s movements and becoming familiar with your baby’s patterns of movements will have been highlighted during your pregnancy.

Don’t ignore any reduction in the amount you feel your baby move.  It may be an important sign that there is a problem.

If you are unsure if you baby is moving around as much as normal, try lying on your left side, and spending an hour or two monitoring movements.  If you don’t feel movements, or you still feel movements are  reduced, contact one of the following numbers for advice:

Antenatal Assessment Units:

  • Saint Mary’s Antenatal Assessment Unit – (0161) 276 6404, Monday to Sunday, 8.30 am – 8.00 pm.
  • Salford Antenatal Assessment Unit – (0161) 206 5291, Monday to Friday, 8.00 am – 5.00 pm.

Outside of these hours, contact Triage at Saint Mary’s (0161) 276 6567.

Postnatal Issues

After the birth of your baby: Your community midwife will visit you in the immediate postnatal period. Out of hours if you experience any excessively heavy bleeding, feverishness/very high temperature, problems related to healing stitches or Caesarean section scars, or other urgent concerns, please contact Triage for advice.

Community Midwives can be contacted for advice on non-urgent postnatal issues on: (0161) 276 6246.