Your experiences of South Tyneside's midwife-led birthing unit as health chiefs reveal service's initial numbers

Parents have been sharing their experiences of South Tyneside District Hospital’s midwife-led birthing unit after health chiefs admitted that the number of families using the service are “lower than planned”.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 8:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 11:10 am

The unit welcomed mothers-to-be for the first time this August, following Path to Excellence changes to paediatric and birthing care in the borough.

The five-year project is looking at healthcare services across South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Health chiefs admitted in a meeting last week that take-up from families has been “lower than planned” – but that they hope to “sell” a visit to the unit as an experience for families.

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New midwifery-led birth centre at South Tyneside District Hospital.

The latest figures show that there were 49 births there in August, September and October 2019.

It replaced South Tyneside District Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit.

Gazette readers got in touch on Facebook to tell their stories of using the service, with some singing its praises.

The new service was introduced at South Tyneside District Hospital in August this year.

Here’s how you reacted on the Shields Gazette Facebook page:

Emma Lonie: “I had my baby there four weeks ago and it was a fantastic experience. I also had my three-year-old at South Tyneside when doctors were there and I can honestly say my experience this time was so much better.”

Monica Sutherland: “Get the consultants and doctors back and your numbers may improve. No disrespect to the midwives, but it is too big a risk to take for the mothers and babies knowing what can happen during labour.”

Jean Dickinson: “If we are not careful we will lose it altogether. In the past it was midwives delivering the babies mostly at home. You would think that in a hospital there would be a doctor around just in case of emergencies.”

The service is still in its infancy.

Jessy Starr: “I had my baby here two weeks ago and she was my first midwifes were amazing definitely recommend it’s such a calming experience.”

Andy Mc: “Given that there is no gynaecology there now most will look to seek alternatives since a pregnancy can turn into a major health risk for mother and child in a heartbeat.”

Lee Bosworth: “My girlfriend gave birth there two weeks ago and it was EXACTLY the experience any mother would want giving birth. Monitored with regular scans to make sure everything was safe to deliver naturally.”

Lee added: “She gave birth in the pool and it was a comfortable experience for everyone involved. Yes there can be risks but that’s why you get monitored during the full pregnancy.”

Kelly Crowther: “How many women, in the midst of labour want to be wheeled into an ambulance and ferried out of town with her life and the life of her baby at risk?”

Ann Best: “Every birth has potential to become an emergency.”