Level 3, West Wing

After you have had your baby you will be transferred to Aspen Ward or Cedar Ward. Aspen Ward is a 14 bedded postnatal ward made up of 3 bays of 4 beds, and one bay of 2 beds. You will be cared for by a team of friendly staff made up of midwives, maternity support workers, student midwives, paediatricians, hearing screeners and ward clerks to ensure a positive transition to parenthood.

You will be allocated a named midwife at the beginning of each shift, this midwife will be caring you and up to six other women and their babies. This midwife will carry out your daily examinations and observations, if you have any questions or problems, please speak to your midwife. We also have a Ward Manager who is happy to discuss any areas of concern you may have.

We will support your feeding choice and ensure you are confident in caring for your baby. Your baby will also have a hearing screen and a Newborn Infant Physical Examination on the ward prior to going home. We are here to guide you in all areas of baby care and will support you while you learn the new skills you need. 

The time you spend on the postnatal ward is very individual, depending on your needs. Some women will go home after 6 hours, while same need to stay up to 5 days. We have introduced a traffic light hat system, each baby is identified as red, amber or green which determines the level of care required. If your baby has been born before 38 weeks, or needs extra observations, it is likely you will need to stay for at least 24 hours after the birth of your baby.

Protecting the privacy and dignity of all women on our maternity wards is our priority at all times.  Mothers breast feeding, having catheters removed or performing personal hygiene, have their privacy from other patients and visitors. We also use a ‘Pegs for Privacy’ system where mothers use brightly coloured pegs to close the bedside curtains. These are visible to both members of staff and visitors.


Contact number01322 428667

Security is paramount at Darent Valley Hospital to ensure babies are kept safe at all times. The Trust has an identification-band system for new-borns and their mothers, and staff are required to wear ID badges with controlled access to all maternity wards. For your safety, you and your visitors are requested not to let anyone in or out of the wards, for this reason visitors will need to be buzzed out of the ward as well as in. Babies are not allowed to leave the ward until you go home.

We advise that you don’t leave your baby unattended. Please tell a member of staff if you are leaving the ward. Should your baby require any tests in other departments you, your partner and/or a member of staff will accompany your baby.

You may have one support partner stay on the ward 24/7 (currently, this needs to be the same person . At present, the only other permitted visitors are siblings of the new baby).

Having a partner stay helps bonding within the family unit. It also helps both parents learn new skills required to care for baby. We are pleased to be able to offer this but request that the chosen person considers the privacy and dignity of other patients and relatives. We expect all support partners to dress appropriately, wearing footwear at all times if staying overnight. We ask support partners not to walk around in underwear.

The space around beds is limited, so we would request that when a nurse or midwife needs to provide care at the bedside, you help us by making access as easy as possible.

There are ways your nominated partner can help if they choose to stay over night

  • Assisting with baby’s feeding
  • Changing baby’s nappy and clothes
  • Seeking assistance from the midwives station

There is a visitors shower and toilet on the ward. We have a fridge and microwave should you wish to bring in your own food. All food must be stored in containers labelled with your name and bed number. Hospital food is provided for mothers only. Outside the ward there is a vending machine selling snacks and cold drinks. Marks and Spencer, WH Smith and the Eleanor Foundation shop are situated in the main entrance of the hospital.

The Wellspring Restaurant on Level 1 is open 7 days a week. Opening hours are:

  • Mon-Fri 07:15 – 19:15 (Lunch from 12-2pm, light snacks available in-between, supper from 4-6pm- call order menu available from 2pm-6pm)
  • Sat–Sun 08:00 – 17:00 (Lunch from 12-3pm, no supper/ replaced by call menu 12-4.30pm)

The team on Aspen Ward will provide care and support to ensure that you are physically well, and confident in taking your baby home. We will provide you with any necessary medication, information/notes for the community midwife, contact telephone numbers and advice for ongoing care. When you go home we will be handing your care back to community midwives, and they will visit you at home until your health visitor takes over your care around day 10.