Focus on home birth service could be next step for Queen Elizabeth Hospital after the unveiling of its new midwife-led birthing unit
A senior figure at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has said its next move could be to look at delivering home births after opening its new midwife-led birthing unit.
The QEH will become home to a modern midwife-led unit on Monday - complete with colour-lit birth pools and bluetooth technology so mothers - and partners - can play their favourite music during the labour.
The Waterlily Birth Centre boasts three modern rooms, Willow, Clover and Blossom, with bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area, in a bid to provide home comforts.
Bean bags and birthing balls are also at hand to help women deliver in the position they feel most comfortable.
The unit well help women who are healthy, and can expect a straightforward delivery, to have a natural birth in a more relaxing environment, but if complications were to arise the central delivery suite is next door so mothers and babies can be swiftly transferred.
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Specialist midwife Catherine Weatherill said: 'As a midwife this is what we are trained to do. This is the heart of the job really and it's a bit more satisfying knowing we can give women choice. Because the unit is midwife-led it has got a slightly different ethos.
'We know if women are relaxed, their labour hormones are better and you are less likely to have complications. You feel in control of what is happening rather than being told 'this is going to happen.'
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'It's a different way of looking at it, it is their space. It's her labour and her birth.'
Expectant mothers can opt for pain relief including a water birth, gas and air and pethidine but are not able to be given an epidural at the Waterlily centre.
And the new home-like unit, decorated with brightly-coloured floral wallpaper, could be a stepping stone to the provision of home births.
Catherine Morgan, director of nursing, said: 'It was a priority to get this up and running. While we are doing that we are looking at how we might be able to move to provide a home birth service as well.'
For more information regarding whether The Waterlily Birth Centre would be recommended in your circumstances, speak to your community midwife or call 01553 214635 for a visit.
Email health correspondent Nicholas Carding at firstname.lastname@example.org