Find out what to expect when you come to hospital for your appointment at the premature birth service.

Before your appointment

You are likely to be referred to the prematurity clinic by the midwife who books your maternity care. You will usually be offered an appointment within three weeks. You are welcome to bring a relative, close friend or carer with you to your appointment. Our research midwife is present at all appointments and can act as a chaperone.

Please wear normal clothes that can be easily removed as we will likely perform an examination and some investigations. If you have previously had some treatment to your cervix such as a LLETZ biopsy, knife cone biopsy or laser biopsy, please bring any details you may have about that procedure with you. You do not need to have a full bladder for the cervical length scan.

During your appointment

Waiting times are typically around 30 minutes, and you can expect your appointment to take 15 to 20 minutes. At the clinic you will be seen by both a research midwife and a specialist doctor and your medical history will be discussed in detail followed by a internal ultrasound scan. The trans-vaginal (internal) scan is performed to measure the length of your cervix. Although some women find having an internal scan a daunting idea, we find that nearly everyone is completely comfortable during their scan.

After your appointment

You will likely have a follow-up appointment. Most women are seen in the prematurity clinic three or four times in their pregnancy, but the frequency of follow-up appointments is determined by individual circumstances. You will also be given access to a specialised email address for advice and be given additional information.