Maternity: care during pregnancy
We hold a number of specialist clinics in our hospital where you can be seen by a specialist doctor or midwife if this is required.
All clinics are by appointment only.
Appointments will be arranged by your midwife. They tell you the details of your appointment and why a referral to a specialist clinic has been made.
Preterm surveillance clinic
Phone: 020 7188 2300
Address: fetal medicine unit, 8th floor, North Wing, St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH
If you are having your baby with us your midwife or obstetrician can refer you.
If you’re not having your baby with us, your GP can refer you.
We provide extra care at this clinic if you're at higher risk of having a baby born too early.
This can be for different reasons, such as:
- previous birth before 34 weeks
- previous late miscarriage
- the 'waters' (amniotic sac) have broken before 34 weeks in a previous pregnancy
- previous surgery to the cervix after an abnormal smear test
- an unusually shaped womb (uterus)
- you're expecting more than one baby
Often we'll see you at the clinic 2 or 3 times and be able to reassure you that your pregnancy is progressing well. You'll then be discharged from the clinic around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Sometimes we may think it is useful to monitor you more regularly. We may be able to offer you treatments that reduce the risk of preterm birth.
You'll usually see a midwife at the clinic. They’ll take your medical history and talk to you about your pregnancy care plan.
We may also offer a transvaginal ultrasound scan of your cervix. This involves an ultrasound probe placed into the vagina. Your bladder should be empty for this scan.
If you’re more than 18 weeks pregnant, a vaginal swab test (fetal fibronectin) can help predict your risk of an early birth. This is done with a speculum and then a swab (like a cotton bud) is placed in the vagina for a few seconds.
The test is more reliable if you avoid sex and vaginal douching (flushing your vagina with water for cleaning) for 2 days before your clinic visit.
Your swab result is usually ready after 10-25 minutes but sometimes delays happen.
If you think you might be going into labour or need urgent advice, please do not wait for your next clinic appointment. Contact our maternity assessment unit.
We may ask if you want to join one of our research projects at the clinic. Taking part is voluntary and will not affect your care. It may help us improve our care for others in the future. If you want more information, please call the research midwife team on 020 7188 3570 or 020 7188 3634 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).