Birth at the RVI

Birth at the RVI offers you two options:
the maternity unit and the birthing centre.

The maternity unit offers the full range of medical care while the birthing centre focus on straight-forward labour and birth which do not need additional medical support.

The RVI maternity unit has:

  • 12 labour rooms, including 2 birth pool rooms
  • Epidural
  • Gas & Air
  • Diamorphine & Pethidine
  • Birth balls may be available
  • Partners might be able to stay on the postnatal ward on a chair
  • Staff: midwives, obstetricians and anaesthetists are available
  • This maternity unit provides care for women who are classified as low risk, for women whose pregnancy/birth options are more complicated as well as for women who need a caesarean or to be induced
  • There is a Special Care Baby Unit and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit available for babies who need extra care and medical support

My thoughts on the RVI Maternity Unit…
It’s a great unit and it is used by pregnant women who may need more medical observation and monitoring or who may feel more secure having access to epidurals and interventions.

Like any maternity unit, it will receive some criticisms but the feedback I usually receive from parents is very positive, with mention of individual care and flexibility. It is a busy unit so 1:1 midwifery care cannot always be guaranteed but it always worth asking if your midwife can provide it. You may need to be assertive on the postnatal ward if you need support from a midwife.

This is a mainstream maternity unit with inductions, epidurals, intervention and caesareans but there are also birth balls, bean bags, gas & air and a birthing pool so it is also ready to support natural labours.

I have given birth at the RVI and I have been a birth doula there many times – the midwifery care has always been professional with good communication and flexibility to support movement, gravity and what a women needs to work with her contractions.

Comments from parents about the RVI maternity unit…

  • I felt like I had options – I was classed as high risk but there was no pressure to be on the bed and I could walk and move as I needed to.
  • I had a really positive experience. I loved my midwife.
  • I ended up needing a caesarean after a long labour, so it didn’t go to plan but the staff were brilliant and I felt really supported. They explained what needed to happen so I didn’t feel scared.
  • We were left on our own quite a lot but when my contractions got much closer together, she was with me all the time.
  • I was pleased to get home,  I didn’t like being on the postnatal ward because I was sore and tired and I felt like the midwives were busy so I didn’t want to bother them too much.

The RVI Birthing Centre

  • 12 birthing rooms – all are en-suite with air conditioning and adjustable lighting
  • This includes 5 birth pools
  • Gas & air
  • Diamorphine
  • Birth balls and birth couch
  • Febromed birth system
  • Partners can stay
  • Shared living room/kitchen  area, where drinks and food is available.
  • Every room has a TV and DVD/CD player
  • Outdoor courtyard
  • This is a midwifery-led unit so there are no doctors, epidurals or interventions – it specialises in low-risk, straight-forward birth
  • Parking: There are free maternity parking bays

My thoughts on the RVI Birthing Centre…
This is a brilliant, busy and popular unit which is designed to cater for women who are classed as low-risk, so there are no additional medical needs. The criteria to use the unit can be strict to ensure that both mum and baby are healthy.

Feedback from parents is very positive – they like having a unit dedicated to natural birth. Some of the expectant parents I see don’t want to book this unit as they would like to be able to choose an epidural if they need one.

It is well equipped with a birth pools and a range of birthing equipment to encourage labouring women to be mobile and comfortable without the need for further pain relief.

I have experienced the birthing centre several times as a birth doula and I have been impressed every time. The midwives have all be professional and encouraging, offering a brilliant level of support for women and their partners.

Parents can stay together in the unit until they go home with their baby, midwives are there to provide support in those early hours, especially with feeding and skin-to-skin cuddles.

Comments from parents about the RVI Birthing Centre…

  • Just brilliant
  • I felt well supported and looked after
  • My room was fantastic – I felt comfortable and able to move around as I needed to. I used a ball, the bed, I walked around and I got into the pool when I was ready
  • The midwives were amazing. I wasn’t in established labour when I arrived even though my contractions were fairly close together. This was my second baby and I sensed it was going to happen quickly. I wasn’t booked in but I was given a room as my midwife thought my baby wasn’t quite lined up. She also suggested we go for a walk and to include some stairs. We were given tea and biscuits and we could ask for her whenever we needed her. After about 90 minutes, my contractions intensified and I was booked in. My baby was born about an hour later.
  • I had to move up to the main maternity unit as I had been in labour for a long time and I was exhausted. I was really disappointed but it was explained really well to me and I felt supported
  • My partner could stay overnight with me, that made such a difference

Find out more about birth at the RVI and here’s a guide to what to pack in your birth bag.

Royal Victoria Infirmary, Leazes Wing, Richardson Road,
Newcastle NE1 4LP

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