Transferring to another hospital during pregnancy

Transferring your care to ensure your baby is born in the right place.

Adapted for web from information compiled by the Yorkshire and Humber Neonatal Operational Delivery Network.

Why do I need to be transferred?

If your baby is likely to be born early or poorly, it is important that you and your baby are in the best place to access specialist care. It is much better for the baby to be transferred whilst still in the womb. This transfer could happen very quickly or more slowly depending on several factors i.e., Birthing person/mother and baby are stable to transfer safely, gestation of baby and ensuring all care and medication is optimised for both birthing person/mother and baby before transfer and distance and time of transfer.

When the decision to move to another hospital has been made you will be transferred by ambulance with a Midwife. This will take place before your baby is born and you will be going to a hospital with a specialist neonatal unit. We are not always able to offer you and your partner/family a choice of place where their baby is cared for, but will ensure your baby is cared for in the right place with the right level of care needed. We realise this is a worrying time for you and your family a Doctor and Midwife will be available to discuss the reasons for transfer and which unit has been organised with you and your partner/ family.

Unfortunately, your partner will not be able to travel in the ambulance with you but they will be given the hospital details in order to meet you there.

As previously mentioned, not all neonatal units can provide the same level of specialist care for your baby. Below is a brief guide to the levels of care that neonatal units can provide and the names of the Yorkshire and Humber Neonatal Units.

Levels of care and Neonatal Units in Yorkshire and Humber

Special Care Unit (SCU - Level 1)

For babies who need support with the most straightforward care. This may include minimal breathing support, help with feeding, treatment for jaundice and additional monitoring of heart rate and breathing plus any recovery and convalescence from other care. The majority of babies will be born after 32 weeks gestation and weighing more than 1000 grams. If you have a twin pregnancy these babies will need to be over 34 weeks gestation to deliver in a level 1 unit. Higher multiples i.e. triplets will be delivered in a higher-level unit.

Special Care Units (SCBU - Level 1) in Yorkshire and Humber
  • Airedale
  • Bassetlaw
  • Harrogate
  • Scarborough
  • St James, Leeds

Local Neonatal Unit (LNU - Level 2)

For babies who require special care needs as above as well as short-term breathing support via a breathing machine (e.g. a ventilator) and/or High dependency care such as longer-term breathing support (e.g. via other specialist breathing equipment) and/or babies who require more longer-term support with feeding and nutrition are also cared for here. Babies born after 27 weeks gestation weighing more than 800 grams may receive all their care in an LNU.

Local Neonatal Units (LNU - Level 2) in Yorkshire and Humber
  • Barnsley
  • Calderdale
  • Chesterfield
  • Doncaster
  • Grimsby
  • Pinderfields
  • Rotherham
  • Scunthorpe
  • York

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU - Level 3)

Provides all levels of care as above for own local area as well as the Yorkshire and Humber Network including a range of highly specialised care and expertise. Some units specialise in surgery and/or looking after specific conditions. Any baby born after 22 weeks requiring intensive care, High dependency and special care may receive some or all their care here.

Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU - Level 3) in Yorkshire and Humber
  • Bradford
  • Hull
  • Jessop Wing, Sheffield
  • Leeds General Infirmary
  • Sheffield Children's (Neonatal Surgical Unit)

If your baby is not born soon after transfer

If you have been transferred to another hospital before your baby is born, there is a possibility you may not give birth following the transfer. Depending on you and your baby’s needs you may be discharged home or transferred back to your local hospital for continued antenatal care.

When your baby is born

If your baby is born before transfer is possible and requires further specialised care, your baby will be transferred by the Embrace Transport Team (Yorkshire & Humber Infant and Children’s Transport service).

Transferring to your local hospital for continuing care

Once your baby no longer requires specialist care, your baby will be transferred back to a hospital closer to home.

Content adapted for web from the Yorkshire and Humber Neonatal Operational Delivery Network leaflet, 'Transferring to another hospital during pregnancy'.

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