Midwifery unit opens

A NEW unit designed to offer mothers the chance to give birth in a 'home away from home' is being created at West Suffolk Hospital.

A NEW unit designed to offer mothers the chance to give birth in a “home away from home” is being created at West Suffolk Hospital.

Work on the �360,000 midwifery-led birthing unit (MLBU) started earlier this week. Once complete later in the summer, the unit will provide four individual rooms, together with en suite wet rooms, to cater for women during labour, delivery and immediately following the birth of their child.

The unit has been designed to be as homely as possible, with visible medical equipment kept to a minimum and colour, soft furnishings, music, soft lighting and pictures taking its place. Various items to aid normal delivery, such as birthing balls and floor mattresses, will be available, along with aromatherapy and massage. Emergency medical equipment will also be easily accessible in case of any complications.

The unit will be suitable for women who need midwifery care only, whilst those with more complex needs will continue to receive specialist individualised care from the obstetrics team.

Head of midwifery at West Suffolk Hospital, Patricia Davis, said: “Our aim is to ensure that every woman who gives birth at West Suffolk can do so in a safe, sensitive, supportive and friendly environment which offers the best possible care for both mother and baby.

“We hope that the unit will help reduce the number of women who need medical interventions, in turn ensuring as many as possible can enjoy a normal labour and birth.”

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The unit is being created in response to a national drive, called “maternity matters”, which aims to guarantee all women more choice in how they access services, the type of ante and postnatal care they receive and the place of their child's birth.