Antenatal clinics and specialist care: consultations, referrals, treatment guidelines

Familiarize yourself with the referral criteria submitted by your local maternity hospital. In unclear cases, consult an appropriate specialist (physician/midwife) either by telephone or in writing. If possible avoid an emergency referral, and make an appointment for the patient. This will ensure that adequate hospital staff and equipment will be available, and the hospital staff will have time to consult the appropriate literature should it be necessary. Send the patient as an emergency if the state of the mother or foetus requires immediate assessment or treatment. The problems of an emergency referral are many: waiting times at the hospital might be long, investigations and treatment may be carried out in haste, the referral may cause unnecessary worry for the patient and the credibility of the antenatal clinic might even be questioned. See also .