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What is an in utero transfer?

If you are pregnant and experience a complication, you will probably first go to your local hospital.

Your local unit will transfer you to another unit if:

  • the mother, fetus or neonate requires enhanced care.
  • the neonatal unit is closed.
  • no neonatal cot of the appropriate level of care is available.
  • there is a request from the neonatal team or delivery suite regarding staffing or workload ratio.

Before the transfer, obstetric and neonatal staff will provide counselling to the mother. Mothers are required to give formal consent to being transferred.

The referring unit is responsible for safe, efficient and rapid transfer. The mother will be transferred by ambulance and will be accompanied by an experienced midwife. If, during the transfer, delivery appears imminent, the ambulance will take the mother to the nearest hospital with maternity facilities.

The receiving unit should clarify any ongoing care plans as soon as is practical after the mother has been transferred. The mother will then become a patient at the new unit until she has either been discharged, or transferred back to her local unit.


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