Argyll Ward

Argyll ward is a 27 bedded antenatal and postnatal ward on Level 7 of the Maternity Unit. It is staffed by Registered Midwives and Maternity Care Assistants. There are a variety of room layouts with 4-bedded, two bedded and single bedded rooms. The use of single rooms tends to be dictated by clinical need.

The Maternity Care Assistants complete specific training to be able to support you, your baby and the midwifery staff. This may mean that it feels as though you are not being seen by a midwife – a midwife does however oversee and supervise all of your care. All staff are qualified to give support with feeding your baby.

To receive medication when you need it we encourage you to keep your medication in your locked bedside cabinet designated for this purpose.  This is particularly helpful to you when needing pain relief or when continuing regular medication you would take at home.

Antenatal and Postnatal Information

Welcome to our Antenatal and Postnatal Ward.

Before the birth of your baby, you might need to come to the antenatal ward, for example, for induction of labour.

After the birth of your baby, should you or your baby need to stay in hospital, you wil be transferred to our postnatal ward. We will give you support to help you to recover from the birth and make sure you are confident with feeding and looking after your baby before you go home.

We strive to provide you with safe and supportive care whilst your are an inpatienton our ward. This information is to help you understand some of the processes on the ward and provide useful information for your stay with us. If you wish to ask any further questions or need any help or support please do not hesitate to ask amember of our team.

Argyll Ward Layout

Layout of Argyll ward showing wards, toilets and showers

Meet the Clinical Team


You will have a midwife or nurse allocated to care for you and your baby during your stay on the Ward. They are your lead care provider whilst on the ward.

Maternity Support Worker (MSW)

MSW's are here to support you in lots of ways. They can help support with baby and feeding and to help you, including regularly monitoring your observations if required.

Obstetric/Anaesthetic/Neonatal Doctor

The doctors may come to review if you and/or your baby are under their care. They will see you and/or your baby before you are discharged. An Anaesthetist may review you if you have had any anaesthesia administered by them.

Nursery Nurses

Nursery Nurses are here to assist in the clinical careof your baby and support with feeding. They areusually based on the Transitional Care Ward (TCW) or in the Neonatal Unit, though may assist on other wards. They specialise in the care of babies needing some extra observation and/or input.

Meet the Non-Clinical Team

Ward Clerks/Receptionists

Our ward clerks and receptionists are here to greet you as you enter the department and answer or direct any questions you may have. They oversee who comes onto the ward areas and provide administrative support.


Our housekeeping and catering team will ensure you have water, take your meal orders and bring you your meals. They can help if you require any special dietary requirements from the catering team. They provide regular tea and coffee rounds but please ask if you require anything outside of these times.


The domestic team are regularly cleaning the rooms, floors and ensuring litter bins are emptied.


The portering team assist in moving you around the hospital via bed or chair when needed. They may also assist in emergency situations collecting equipment and transporting samples.

Assistance bells and alarms

The call bell at your bed space is the big orange button. In the toilets it is a red cord.

The bell is there to be used - If you need to speak to a member of staff, please feel free to press or pull the bell and a member of staff will answer as soon as they are able to do so. If you are unable to pick your baby up from the cot please do not hesitate to call a member of staff. We are there to help and support so please call.

If there is an emergency situation and you require an immediate response, please pull or have someone else pull the red button above your bed, which will raise an alarm. If there is a fire, the staff will be alerted by the fire alarm system and will let you know if you need to be moved.

Meals and Refreshments

Meals are brought to your bedside by our catering and housekeeping team. Meal times are as follows:

  • Breakfast: 8am to 8.30am
  • Lunch: 12pm to 12.30pm
  • Dinner: 5.30pm to 6pm

There are snacks available outside of this time in our fridge in the kitchen along with fruit, biscuits and hot drinks. You are welcome to bring your own food into the ward although we do not have facilities to heat food.

Drinks are routinely offered at the bedside following meals and in the evening.

We do not have the facilities to provide meals for partners/support people but you are welcome to bringyour own food into the ward. There are vending machines in Maternity reception (on Level 5) and several cafes and food places on site and by the multistorey car park.


  • Samsung and Apple chargers with extended cables are available on the ward to charge your devices. Please ask if you require one of these.
  • There is free NHS WiFi available for you to use: Select 'NHS WiFi' from the options of available WiFi networks on your device and follow the directions to set it up.
  • Please be mindful of others around you and use headphones where able to keep the noise levels to a minimum.
  • Please be aware the bed spaces are small and we may need to get to you or your baby in an emergency. We would encourage you to only have the minimum amount of luggage at your bedside.
  • We will offer to change your bed linen daily, in addition to any extra changes you require. We will do this at at time convenient to you, so please just let us know when you would like this done.


Parking will no longer be available just outside the Maternity entrance, however there will still be a drop-off only area by the maternity entrance.

There are a number of car parks for patients and visitors on the Derriford Hospital site. Find out more on our Parking at Derriford page, including a site map.


  • Your Partner/ Support person is able to remain with you between the hours of 8am to 8pm on the ward.
  • Two additional people are permitted between 4pm to 7pm which includes siblings of your baby.
  • Please be aware that we do not have the provision for food or shower facilities for partners on the ward.
  • Please be mindful of others within the ward environment and remain in your designated bay or with the person you are supporting whilst here to help to maintain the privacy of others.
  • We request that partners remain suitably clothed at all times out of respect for other service users and staff on the ward.

Medication Rounds

There are certain times of the day that your midwife will come round with medications and drugs.

These are routinely done at 6am, 12pm, 2pm, 6pm and 10pm.

If you require pain relief outside of these times then please don't hesitate to ask.

If there are any medications that you take regularly at home then you may ask to self medicate these, including some pain relieving medication. Please speak to your midwife about this.

We ask that you inform us of any medication that you take so that we can ensure that it is recorded on your medication charts.

All inpatients should have anti-thrombolic stockings applied. Please ask if you have not been supplied with these

Induction of Labour


Propess is a hormone pessary that is inserted into the vagina and contains hormones called prostaglandins which are released at a steady rate. This should start to soften and open the cervix over the following 24hours but it can remain in place for up to 30 hours.

The pessary looks like a small tampon and it has a tape attached to it which enables the pessary to be removed with ease when necessary. You should be careful not to pull on it, for example, when you go to the bathroom. If it should fall out please speak to the midwife caring for you on the ward.

Cervical Ripening Balloon (CRB)

The CRB is a small catheter tube that is inserted into the cervix and filled with a small amount of water to gently open the cervix. This normally stays in place for around 12 to 18 hours. This method is used as an alternative to propess or may be recommended if propess is not clinically suitable.

Breaking your waters and oxytocin infusion

If your cervix is open, or once it has been ripened by the pessary or CRB, we can induce your labour by breaking the waters around your baby on the labour ward and starting a hormonal drip called oxytocin to bring on contractions.

Breaking your waters involves a midwife or doctor performing a vaginal examination during which they use a small instrument to make a hole in the bag of waters around your baby.

Oxytocin is given through a drip and enters your bloodstream through a tiny tube into a vein in your arm called a cannula. This drug will encourage your contractions to start.

Once the contractions have begun, the rate of the drip can be adjusted so that your contractions continue regularly until your baby is born. During this process your midwife will monitor your baby's heartbeat continuously.

Support and comfort

During the day, your Partner/ Support person is able to remain with you throughout the induction of labour process. We can provide blankets and a chair that they can rest on. It is a good idea to consider bringing some pillows/comfort items for them from home. If you feel able to get some rest then your partner could go home to get better quality sleep and return at any stage during the night should you want them with you.

  • Depending on your reason for being induced, it is usually fine for you to leave the ward for short periods of time - please discuss with the midwife who is caring for you.
  • You can have a bath while your induction of labour is ongoing. This will help you to relax and can ease your discomfort too.
  • We have birthing balls that you can use - if there is not one in your room please ask and we will find one for you.
  • Please ask if you would like any extra blankets or towels to help you feel more comfortable.
  • Music can be very helpful and will encourage you to relax, your oxytocin to rise and in turn encourage your labour to start - however, please be respectful of others in your bay.
  • Paracetamol can be very beneficial in early labour - we can provide this for you if you would like some.
  • Keeping energy levels maintained is a must. We have regular meal times and snacks available but you are also welcome to bring your own food into the unit if you would prefer. Isotonic drinks that are non-fizzy or jelly sweets are particularly good.

The call bell at your bed space is there to be used - If you need to speak to a midwife please feel free to press the bell and a member of staff will answer as soon as able to do so. If there is an emergency situation and you require an immediate response, please pull or have someone pull the red button on the wall which will raise an alarm.

Tests we might offer you

While you are on the ward, there may be several tests or procedures we might offer you dependent on your medical condition or birth.

  • A CTG (Cardiotocograph) is a way to monitor your babies heartbeat and contractions. We may offer these whilst you are an antenatal inpatient or having your labour induced.
  • Blood tests may be taken for several reasons, for example, if we need to monitor the glucose in your blood, if we are worried about your blood pressure being high, or if you are unwell.
  • If you have had a catheter in your bladder we may need to measure your urine by asking you to measure the amount in a bedpan.
  • Blood pressure, heartrate, breathing rate and temperature may be taken routinely or more regularly if you are unwell or have had a Caesarean.
  • If you are being induced and are having regular contractions, we may offer to perform a vaginal examination. This can often help us plan your care.

Tests we might offer your baby

  • We may need to monitor your baby's breathing, heart rate and temperature if we are concerned they are at risk of infection. We also may check the oxygen levels in their blood - this is not invasive and uses a machine with a probe on your baby's hand.
  • We may need to check your baby for jaundice, a condition where your baby may be very sleepy or have a yellow colouring to their skin by a blood test called a SBR.
  • We may need to measure the glucose levels in your baby's blood by pricking your baby's heel for a drop of blood. This is most commonly done if you are diabetic or have been in pregnancy as this can affect your baby's blood glucose levels as a result.
  • If we are concerned about your baby's feeding or weight, we may ask to weigh your baby. • If your baby is still an inpatient when they are 5 days old we may conduct the screening test offered to all babies, which is a blood test for genetic and metabolic conditions.
  • If your baby is still an inpatient when they are 5 days old we may conduct the screening test offered to all babies, which is a blood test for genetic and metabolic conditions
  • The Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) is the first medical examination of your baby conducted within the first 72 hours by a specially trained Midwife or a Neonatal doctor. It screens your baby's heart, eyes, hips and genitalia.

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