400th baby arrives at new midwife-led birthing centre in South Tyneside

Four hundred bundles have joy have now arrived at South Tyneside’s midwife-led birthing centre.

By Ross Robertson
Friday, 18th June 2021, 4:49 pm
Mum Chloe Ireland and baby Willow
Mum Chloe Ireland and baby Willow

The 400th baby has been delivered at South Tyneside District Hospital’s Midwifery Led Birthing Centre.

The service launched in August 2019 as part of controversial changes under the Path to Excellence programme, following the merging of Sunderland and South Tyneside’s hospital trusts.

The unit provides for women with low-risk pregnancies who have not experienced any complications, with other births looked after by consultant-led care at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

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Baby Willow

The 400th baby to arrive at the new unit in South Tyneside was Willow Ireland, weighing 7lb 1oz, born at 3:55pm on June 16, 2021, arriving right on time on her due date.

First-time mam Chloe Ireland was supported throughout her labour by her mother and experienced midwife Janet Rooks.

Chloe, 18, from Hebburn, said: “I have had a really good experience at the birthing centre. My midwife was amazing and was really supportive.

"I’ve loved being able to stay in the same room, it’s much more relaxing.

“I would recommend the birthing centre to anyone. I had total confidence in my midwife and I was completely put at ease. I wouldn’t change where I had my baby.”

Jacqui Ramshaw, midwife and manager of the centre, said: “First of all, I’d like to say a huge congratulations to Chloe on the birth of baby Willow.

"It’s great to know that Chloe was so happy with her birthing experience.

“Our birthing centre in South Tyneside is going from strength-to-strength and delivering yet another milestone baby is proof of that.”

Jacqui said the centre regularly asked women and their families for feedback, which had been ‘overwhelmingly positive’ and a recent patient survey found 100% were satisfied with the care they received at the centre.

“We have an incredible team and I’d like to thank them for all of their hard work over the last two years,” she said.

"I am extremely proud to work with such dedicated and enthusiastic people who show such commitment to providing an outstanding service which supports women to have their baby here in South Tyneside.”

So far midwives at the birthing centre have helped to deliver 210 boys and 190 girls.

The trust said water births continue to be particularly popular, with the number currently running at 207.

Sheila Ford, Head of Midwifery at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our midwives working across the whole of our maternity service, have created a fabulous service for pregnant women in South Tyneside and Sunderland. Our service provides local women with the very highest standards of care and more choice over where to have their baby.

“Since opening in 2019 the birthing centre has proven to be a much loved and vital service for women who want to give birth in South Tyneside."

She added: “The positive feedback that the centre has received over the past two years, just shows how much their care is valued.

“Our midwives have worked incredibly hard to make the birthing centre a success and I am extremely proud of everything that they have achieved.”

Health chiefs say changes under Path to Excellence will “secure the future of local NHS services and to identify new and innovative ways of delivering high quality, joined-up, sustainable care that will benefit the population both now and in the future”.

But many are angry at what they say amounts to a downgrading of hospital services in South Shields, and campaigners from Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign have been fighting the changes for years.

The options for expecting mothers

Women who have a low-risk pregnancy which is problem-free now have the option of:

:: Giving birth at the midwifery-led birthing centre at South Tyneside District Hospital

:: Giving birth under midwifery-led care at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which is within the consultant-led maternity unit

:: Giving birth at another maternity unit of their choice in the region

:: Giving birth at home

Women who have a high risk pregnancy are advised to give birth in the consultant-led unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital. The majority of all antenatal and postnatal care continues to be provided locally.

Midwives at the Midwifery Led Birthing Centre also run range of classes and groups, six days a week, including:

:: Introduction to hypnobirthing and relaxation

:: Breastfeeding support group

:: Parentcraft education classes

:: Birthing reflection for mams who have recently given birth

:: Infant feeding classes and

:: Dad’s classes which give information on how to support your partner before, during and after labour.