A new specialist maternity centre has opened at the Royal Sussex County Hospital

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From left to right: Jo Sinclair (Consultant Obstetrician); Heather Woods (Specialist Network Midwife); Sophia Stone (Lead Consultant for the Sussex Maternal Medicine Network); Carol Postlethwaite (Lead Consultant Obstetric Physician for the Sussex and Kent regions of the network); Kayleigh Cooper (Administrator for the Sussex Network)

A new specialist maternity centre has opened at the Royal Sussex County Hospital offering expert help for service users with complex medical needs.

The Maternal Medicine Centre supports those with conditions that may complicate their pregnancy. For example, they may have inflammatory bowel disease or have had an organ transplant.  

Dr Carol Postlethwaite, Consultant Obstetric Physician leads the clinic.

She said: “Patients with complex medical issues, who become pregnant, often have to attend many different clinics. Sometimes they travel significant distances to London or Southampton to receive specialist care.

“This new centre is open to all those expecting a baby across Sussex with an underlying medical condition, irrespective of where they may have chosen to birth their baby. It puts the patient at the heart of their care and ensures that as much of their care as possible is in Sussex.”  

The weekly clinic supports dozens of patients each month from Chichester to Hastings.

It is the only clinic in Sussex where a Consultant Obstetric Physician and Consultant Obstetrician work together to create a tailored pregnancy plan and provide on-going support during pregnancy. This ensures the best outcomes for them and their babies.  

Layla Ward, 38, from Hellingly, East Sussex, was referred to the service following her midwife booking appointment. She has chronic conditions affecting her pancreas and liver and is expecting her baby in August.

She said: “Dr Postlethwaite spent over an hour with me in clinic, which was amazing. I did not expect to have so much time to talk about my worries over my medical conditions. She was informative and very honest. It is comforting to know that at any point in my pregnancy, I will have a dedicated team to contact if I have any concerns. I feel a lot happier knowing I’m under the care of such a dedicated, caring and proactive team.”

The centre operates as an extension of the South-East London Maternal Medicine Network. This allows colleagues across the area to share expertise and experiences.

Dr Sophia Stone is a Consultant Obstetrician and Maternal Medicine specialist at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust. 

She said: “We are so excited to open the doors of our Maternal Medicine Centre. It is brilliant to network with other specialists in our local area. This ensures that our patients receive the best and most up to date advice for their condition. And any medications they often need to remain on in pregnancy.”