New maternity unit to open

Elizabeth Simms tests out the birthing pool.

Elizabeth Simms tests out the birthing pool.

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Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital is hoping for the birth of a very special baby today.

For the child’s birth will be the first in a new £680,000 midwife-led maternity unit which opens its doors today.

The new unit, which will run independently but alongside the existing delivery suite within the Women’s and Children’s Unit at the hospital, features four en-suite birthing rooms, two with pools and aims to provide a “home-from-home” environment.

Midwifery matron Janet Danson-Smith said: “I can’t wait for the first delivery, it will make all the hard work which has gone into this new unit worthwhile.”

It means first time mums can now chose to have their babies at home, in the hospital delivery suite or in the new unit which is staffed by midwives but with less medical intervention during birth.

Mrs Danson-Smith added: “They now have the option of delivering within the safety of the hospital but with the philosophy of a home confinement.

“Water and movement will be predominantly used for pain relief although women will be able to access whatever pain relief they require due to the close proximity of delivery suite.

“Should concerns arise in the condition of mum or baby the full facilities of the hospital will be next door and easily accessible.”

Cash for the unit was announced by health minister Dan Poulter at the beginning of this year as part of a £25m cash pot for more than 100 hospitals across the country.

Building work started immediately and seven months later the unit has now opened.

Midwife sister Kate Charles said the whole team were excited about the project. “From plans on the wall that just seemed a jumble we could not really understand, to this wonderful, modern, luxurious unit, we could not be more delighted. This will give mums a more positive, natural and holistic experience.”

Taking a sneak preview of the unit, Lytham mum-to-be Elizabeth Smith said: “This is definitely where I want to have my baby.

“I like the fact the pool rooms don’t have a bed as I have been told that it is better to move around in labour.

“It’s a much more relaxed atmosphere in here than I expected and feels a lot less clinical than the delivery suite.”

The hospital offers the new facilities to medically low-risk women. Any mum-to-be wanting more information should speak to her community midwife.

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