Midwifery Led Birthing Unit

Our Midwifery-led Birthing Unit (MLBU) is a birthing suite that provides a “home-from-home” environment for women with uncomplicated pregnancies and who are under the care of midwives.

Our birthing unit has four birthing rooms, all with en-suite shower rooms. The rooms are sensitively decorated with soft lighting, audio equipment is available so that women can bring in their own music to create a homely and relaxing atmosphere. There are three birthing pools which women can use for labour and to give birth in if desired.

The Philosophy of Care

Our midwives will provide care and support to women throughout the process of labour and birth.  They aim to promote the process of labour and birth by creating an environment in which you have the freedom to express yourself physically and emotionally.

One-to-one support from midwives will empower you to have the confidence to progress through labour and birth naturally without other intervention.  A “working with pain” philosophy will be encouraged, with an approach to alternative coping strategies.

Labour is a natural process.  Midwives are able to recognise and act upon any findings that may cause concern in you or your unborn baby’s condition. Midwives practice will be guided by the best evidence to support you in your choices.

How do I book?

When you first meet your midwife you will be able to discuss where you would like to have your baby. Towards the end of your pregnancy, your midwife will assess you to make sure you are still comfortable with your choices and that you are still suitable to have your baby in our birthing unit.

Who do I call when labour begins?

When your labour begins, you will call the unit directly on 01603 288260 and speak with a midwife who can advise you when to come in and how to manage at home in the very early stages of labour.

How can I help myself during my labour?

Antenatal classes are available through your midwife. Many women find adopting alternative positions and keeping active helps to manage the discomfort of contractions.  Birthing balls, floor mats and bean bags are available for you to use.  You may bring in your own music and pillows if these will help you to feel more relaxed. Click here for advise at home in labour.

The use of water is known to be beneficial for women in labour, and at birth.  Three birthing pools are available.

You may wish to use your own TENS machine. Entonox and Pethidine are available on request.  Relaxation and imagery are known to help, and midwives can help support you by using massage, the application of warm compresses and distraction.  Simple strategies, when combined with support, can be sufficient to assist some women to manage their labours. Epidural anaesthesia is not available on the midwife-led birthing unit.

What happens if there are problems when I’m in labour?

If there are concerns about you or your baby during labour, you will be transferred to delivery suite where you will be assessed by the medical team.  This is the most suitable area to be cared for if problems arise.

How long will I stay after my baby is born?

If you and your baby are well you may go home a few hours after the birth.  Your baby will be examined before you go home – this will be done by a midwife with the relevant qualification, or a doctor.  In exceptional circumstances, this may be done at home by arrangement with your community midwife. If there is a clinical need for you or your baby to stay in hospital, you will be transferred to the postnatal ward.