When your local birthing centre closes…

vaginal examinations rvi birthing centre

Imagine arriving at the birthing centre in labour and it’s closed so you have to use the main maternity unit.

No big deal right? For some parents it won’t be a big deal but for others it will cause frustration and upset, it will knock their confidence and change their options.

My local birthing centre, at the RVI in Newcastle, has been experiencing closures this year, along with other birthing centres around the country.

When parents plan to use a midwifery-led birthing centre, they want care and support from midwives who specialise in labour and birth without interventions, in an environment which supports movement and birth without medication.

Of course, this will also be supported in the maternity unit, but the environment may provide more challenges with fewer birth pools and medical looking rooms, which might not have bathrooms.

There is also the additional consideration of care after birth. In the birthing centre you can stay together as a family and continue to have more midwifery support with your new baby but moving to the maternity may mean you need to go to a postnatal ward after birth and that could mean that your partner has to go home at night. Check with your maternity unit so you know what to expect.

Closures can cause disruption so what can you do about it:

▪︎ use your relax & breathe skills to stay calm so you don’t feel overwhelmed or panicky

▪︎ make sure your birth room has birth balls, floor mats, etc

▪︎ find out what water options are available for you – pool, bath, shower

▪︎ your need for movement, positions and a calm space can still be supported

▪︎ communicate your needs so your midwife can support you

▪︎ adapt your mindset – this is your labour and you need to focus on your contractions, on your body, on resting and being comfortable

▪︎ the uncertainty that all this can bring also mean that some parents plan a homebirth instead, while others are moving to a different hospital

▪︎ hiring a birth doula can provide you with consistent support and reassurance so you can adapt

This situation is far from ideal but maternity units are under pressure and this reduction of services could be set to continue. Now, more than ever, it makes a difference to prepare for labour beyond your ideal scenario so you have options, so you can be assertive and so you can adapt.

If you are preparing for your baby, or you now have a baby, I am on hand for information, support and reassurance. Please do send me a message below and tell me more about what you need.

Get in touch with any questions.

Janine x

Working with parents since 2002

With consultationsdigital guides and content, my practice is here for you every step of the way. You can also join the conversation for expectant and new parents.

As a doula I work with parents from across Newcastle and Tyneside.

Copyright: Janine Smith

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