MUMS-to-be and maternity staff are brimming with excitement about a new £1.5million unit being built at Warwick Hospital.
The Maternity Led Unit (MLU) is set to provide a ‘home from home’ experience for parents, and will be a less clinical setting to give birth.
And as work on a £200,000 fund-raising appeal for ‘added comforts’ gets underway, The Observer has spoken to Warwick Hospital’s Clinical Governance Midwife Lorraine Parsons about what the department will mean for expectant mums.
With some 2,500 women giving birth annually at the Lakin Road hospital’s maternity department or with the hospital’s community home-birth teams, the unit will mean more choice, including the option of using one of the four birthing pool rooms.
There will also be separate areas for patients to relax in and a private garden.
And it seems everyone from staff to patients are excited about the unit – and some expectant mums are secretly hoping it will be completed in time for when they meet their bundle of joy.
Lorraine said: “The new midwifery-led unit will mean enhanced birth choices for women and their families. Having an MLU will provide women with a home from home environment which bridges the gap between home birth and hospital birth.
“The response has been very positive from women and their families. The women are excited about the development of the MLU at Warwick and those that are currently pregnant are wishing that it would be built and open before they are due to have their baby.”
Expectant mums who may have complications with their pregnancy will be advised to use the hospital’s labour ward. But most women who have no medical issues will be advised to give birth in the unit – which will include ‘little luxuries’ including plastic cots, comfy furnishing and birthing pools.
Lorraine, a midwife of 17 years, said: “Pregnancy, labour and birth is a natural process which for most women progresses without complication – this is why providing midwifery led care in the home or within an MLU is so important.
“Evidence tells us that if women who are anticipated to have a normal birth, plan to have their baby in an MLU they are less likely to have complications in their labour.”
The hospital say they will plan for emergencies and if one arose the patient would be immediately taken to see the team on the labour ward.
But staff say being able to offer parents the opportunity to give birth in a more natural environment is ‘very exciting’ and will enable them to branch out and help parents as far afield as Redditch and Rugby.
And residents are equally as excited at the prospect of the new MLU opening, and have been asking how they can help join in the fund-raising campaign.
Lorraine said: “Local maternity units often hold a strong emotion in the hearts and minds of the local community as so many people access the service and have a memory of when they had their children.
“To have such an interest and high level of involvement from people is really important to us as we really would like this unit to have strong community and family approach.
“I previously led on the development of another MLU and feel really excited and privileged to be involved in another.”
Call 01926 495321 ext 8049 or email [email protected] to contact the fund-raising department and find out more about the MLU appeal.