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Welcome to the Obstetric Close Observation Unit Level 3

Patient information

About OCOU

OCOU is a specialist three bed unit for high risk postnatal women requiring closer observation following delivery. The reason(s) for your stay with us will be explained to you prior to admission. The length of stay will depend on the type of care you need and we will do our best to ensure you are kept informed every step of the way. During your stay you will be cared for by a Midwife and a Maternity Support Worker.

Will my baby stay with me?

We make it a priority to keep you and your baby together wherever possible, however if your baby requires additional care then this may involve a period of separation which could include a stay on our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Should this be the case the plan of care will be discussed with you by the Midwife and Paediatrician.

Can my partner stay with me?

Birth partners are able to stay on OCOU and as such their assistance in providing care for your baby is greatly appreciated, enabling us to care for you.

Please note: we do not have washing facilities for birth partners nor are we able to provide anything other than an armchair for them to sleep on. Sleeping on the floor or on your bed with you is not permitted as it is an infection and safety risk.

Why do my curtains have to be open?

As a “Close Observation” unit we need to ensure that you can be seen at all times to minimise risk and keep you safe. During breastfeeding, or whilst personal care is taking place, the curtains may be closed. Throughout the Trust there is an open curtain policy. Please help us to care for you and your baby appropriately.


There is a shared bathroom for patient use only and this is cleaned daily. You will be offered a daily wash by a member of the unit staff if appropriate (if you are not independent). Complete bed linen changes will also be offered daily.

Visitors may use any of the facilities located throughout level 3.

DVD player

The unit has a DVD player which we are happy for you to use during your stay with us. We do have a small selection of DVDs however please feel free to bring in your own.


13:00 – 15:00

17:00 – 19:30 (siblings to leave at this time)

Birth partners do not have to adhere to visiting hours however we do ask that they minimise leaving the unit during the night to avoid disruption to other patients.

Visiting is restricted to two visitors per bedside plus your birth partner. Siblings of your baby are welcome unless there is a visiting restriction in place e.g. an outbreak of Norovirus. They must be supervised by a parent / guardian as we cannot take responsibility for their care.

Regarding parking, your birth partner should visit the main desk in the car park and discuss with the attendant the most cost effective ticket price. Unfortunately we are unable to assist with this other than to confirm your stay should the attendant require.

Breastfeeding or formula feeding?

We understand this is an important decision as well as a personal choice and we are here to support you whatever you choose.

Occasionally we find women make choices without enough information and they would potentially make a different choice if given all the facts. This is what we call ‘informed choice’. As a hospital we do promote breastfeeding as evidence based research tells us that this helps the development of the baby and also builds maternal confidence.


Breakfast, lunch and supper are provided for patients only. You are more than welcome to bring in your own food should you wish. We also advise that birth partners bring their own food and refreshments or make use of the concourse. We do have a fridge to store items as well as access to a microwave should it be required.

Hot drink facilities are available for visitors in the corridor outside the unit.

Breakfast – anytime during the morning

Lunch – 12:00

Supper – 17:00

As an inpatient sometimes it is important that you have a procedure at a set time therefore if you have missed a meal please talk to the staff who will be able to arrange a hot meal or sandwich for you.


The main doors to this unit are locked at all times. Access requires either a staff ID badge or use of the intercom at the main doors, access is then permitted from inside the unit by a member of staff. We ask that all patients and visitors bear with us if the door is not answered straight away as we may be busy with other patients. We will answer the door as soon as we can.

If your visitor is a member of staff please remind them it is against Trust policy to use their ID badge to gain entry and the set hours of visiting must be adhered to.

Babies must not leave the unit until stepped down from our care or unless otherwise agreed. It is also important that babies are not carried around the unit as there can be hazards causing slips, trips and falls.


Please be careful bed sharing with your baby as this increases the risk of sudden infant death and baby falling out of bed. If your baby is very unsettled and will not settle in a cot then we are happy to help support you with this.

Ward rounds

Many different healthcare professionals may be involved in your care. The Obstetric team will review each patient twice a day as part of their ward round. Should you wish to discuss any concerns with a doctor at another time in the day we will do our very best to facilitate this. We do politely ask that you are patient as they are very busy.

Stepping down

Once the Obstetric team decide you have met the requirements for routine postnatal care then you will be transferred to “Lady Mary Ward” which is our regular postnatal ward on Level 2. The ward will then advise when you are medically ready to be discharged home.

Our commitment to you

The Trust’s philosophy is to keep our patients at the heart of everything we do and we, as staff, to uphold our values of Together - Safe, Kind, and Excellent at all times.

We are a centre of excellence, providing expert care in a safe, clean, comfortable and friendly environment.

Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) is committed to respecting our patients' privacy and dignity at all times in a safe, clean and comfortable environment.

Contact details

Telephone: 01223 217640

Please call after 08:30 hours or 20:30 hours as the changeover of staff will be complete by this time. To discuss care issues, please contact the ward sister in the first instance.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151