First South Tyneside babies are born in Sunderland following maternity services dispute

The first South Tyneside babies have been born in Sunderland following the controversial transfer of maternity services.

Saturday, 17th August 2019, 08:00 am
Updated Friday, 16th August 2019, 17:41 pm
Lee and Claire Habicht with baby Archie

Women from South Tyneside who have a high-risk pregnancy are advised to give birth in the trust’s consultant-led unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which is rated among the best in the NHS, following disputed reforms to services at South Tyneside Hospital.

South Shields mam and dad Claire and Lee Habicht have now welcomed baby boy Archie in Sunderland – born more than a month premature – after his arrival at 8.52pm on Wednesday .

Claire, 32, explained: “I wanted to give birth at South Tyneside, as I had previously, but this pregnancy was high risk so I was advised to give birth at Sunderland.

Harmanjeet Kaur and Harkirat Singh with their new-born son.

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“All of my other maternity care and antenatal appointments took place at South Tyneside, which is where they spotted the problem.

“I’d gone in for a routine blood pressure check and I wanted to check that everything was ok as I hadn’t felt a lot of movement. I was hooked up to a monitor straight away and they noticed that my baby’s heart rate was high.

“Within minutes the paramedics arrived and I was blue lighted to Sunderland Royal Hospital with a midwife from South Tyneside. I was taken straight to the delivery suite where a consultant and a midwife were waiting to check me over.

“Everything just happened so quickly but I was made to feel completely at ease and I felt safe.”

Baby Archie, weighing only 4lb 15oz, was born five weeks and five days early, eight hours after Claire attended her check-up at South Tyneside District Hospital.

South Shields couple Harmanjeet Kaur, 25 and Harkirat Singh 32, also had a high risk pregnancy and also welcomed their baby boy at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Wednesday.

Proud mum Harmanjeet said: “I really wanted to give birth in South Tyneside as it was familiar having had all my antenatal care there, but I knew I couldn’t being high risk.

“I’d never even been to Sunderland hospital before, but the staff have been really nice and they have gone out of their way to help us.”

Their baby’s name has still to be confirmed.