Happy birthday to the maternity ward which has helped welcome hundreds of sanddancers into the world

A maternity service is celebrating its own first birthday after helping deliver 220 babies into the world.

Baby 200th born Lyle Cresswell with parents Claire and Lee and midwife Liz Di-Duca Dad, CE Ken Bremner and Jack Bickley with daughter Mia who was the first baby born at South Tyneside Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre as the centre celebrates the first anniversary with midwife Michelle Becke
Baby 200th born Lyle Cresswell with parents Claire and Lee and midwife Liz Di-Duca Dad, CE Ken Bremner and Jack Bickley with daughter Mia who was the first baby born at South Tyneside Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre as the centre celebrates the first anniversary with midwife Michelle Becke

The Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre at South Tyneside District Hospital is celebrating its 12-month anniversary and has a 100% satisfaction rate from mums.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said its “excellent ante-natal care during labour” resulted in fewer than 10% of cases being transferred to an obstetric unit, compared to the national average of 20%.

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The official opening of the centre last August marked an expansion of choice on where mums could give birth, with bosses saying it was a crucial link in the creation of a combined maternity service for South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Dad Jack Bickley with daughter Mia who was the first baby born at South Tyneside Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre as the centre celebrates the first anniversary with midwife Michelle Becke

In that time, South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital have delivered 3,740 babies, half of those were in the centre’s birthing pools.

The trust’s head of midwifery, Sheila Ford, said: “It has been a fantastic year for our new, combined service.”

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The centre’s team of midwives provide one-to-one support during labour with en-suite birthing rooms, including one with a birthing pool, and partners are able to stay overnight.

Included in the birthday celebrations was Lyle Cresswell, who became the 200th baby to be delivered when he arrived on Tuesday, June 16, weighing 7lb 1oz.

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His parents, Claire Cresswell, 31, and Lee Cresswell, 33, from Town End Farm, Sunderland, have praised their care.

Claire, who is also mum to Corey, nine, was supported by midwife, Liz Di-Duca.

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She said: “The whole experience was brilliant. It was so relaxed and we were made to feel so welcome.

"I felt like I was in a hotel. It was particularly nice that my husband was able to be very involved.

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“Liz was supportive and encouraging throughout and kept me calm.

"I don’t think I could have done it without her.”

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South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Executive Ken Bremner gifted the family a commemorative, hand-blown glass bauble as a keepsake of the centre’s milestone 200th birth.

He said: “The Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre is a wonderful addition to our Trust’s maternity provision and, following its extremely successful first year, I look forward to watching it go from strength to strength.

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“The midwives are dedicated to supporting women to achieve a safe and natural labour and birth and the positive feedback they have received from families shows how much their care and dedication are valued.”

He thanked the Trust’s midwives at both South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital for their commitment during the pandemic to ensuring that mothers and babies continue to receive a safe, positive birthing experience, despite the extremely challenging circumstances.

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Midwife Jacqui Ramshaw, manager of the Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre, said the first anniversary of its opening was a very proud day for the staff.

She added: “The past 12 months have been very exciting as we have developed our new service. It has been our privilege to provide women having a straightforward, low risk pregnancy with safe, midwife-led care in surroundings where they can feel more relaxed and better able to cope with labour.”

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