New birthing unit opens

A new unit offering mothers the chance to give birth in a 'home away from home' has opened.

The �470,000 midwifery-led birthing unit (MLBU) at the West Suffolk Hospital has been designed to provide mothers with a comfortable and 'homely' environment in which to give birth.

Colour, soft furnishings, music, pictures and soft lighting have all been used in the four individual rooms, while visible medical equipment has been kept to a minimum.

Various items to aid normal delivery, such as birthing balls and floor mattresses, are available in the unit, along with aromatherapy and massage. Emergency medical equipment is also easily accessible in case of any complications, while the Bury St Edmunds hospital's wider medical team can also give extra support if necessary.

Patricia Davis, head of midwifery, said: 'We want every woman who gives birth at West Suffolk to be offered a choice of where they deliver their baby while ensuring they continue to receive the best possible care from our dedicated team of midwives.

'We are absolutely delighted with the new MLBU. Its four individual rooms, complete with en suite wet rooms, give women the chance to enjoy comfortable, homely surroundings during labour, delivery and immediately following the birth of their child.

'The unit has been specially designed to be as relaxing and calming as possible, providing a safe, sensitive and supportive environment in which to give birth. We hope that the number of women who need medical interventions will be reduced as a result, in turn ensuring as many as possible can enjoy a normal labour and birth.'

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

The MLBU has been co-located with the central delivery suite, so that any women who develop complications can be quickly transferred into the care of a consultant.