Published on Wednesday 07 March 2018
Expectant mums in Wirral now have access to a new team of midwives dedicated to women choosing to have their babies at home or in the ‘pop up’ birth unit opening soon at Seacombe Children’s Centre.
The Highfield Birth Team consists of six experienced community midwives who will provide a 24 hour service, 7 days a week giving women access to a known midwife throughout their pregnancy, birth and after their baby is born. The team is the latest addition to Wirral University Teaching Hospital’s community midwifery service, which cares for thousands of women during and after pregnancy.
The new service is part of the local response to recommendations made by the 2016 National Maternity Review, ‘Better Births’, which set out a clear vision of achieving safer, more personalised and more family friendly maternity services.
Named after the former maternity facility on the site of Victoria Central Hospital, the Highfield Birth Team is one of the first of its kind to be up and running in Cheshire and Merseyside. The specialised service will make it easier for women to develop relationships with just one or two named midwives over the course of their pregnancy, achieving more continuity and one to one care determined by individual needs and circumstances. Women under the care of the Highfield Birth Team will also be able to choose from a range of suitable locations for the majority of their antenatal appointments, whether that be a local clinic, at home or even at their place of work where appropriate.
Mary Magee from Wallasey (pictured second left) was one of the babies born at the former Highfield Maternity Hospital. She has been a midwife for 17 years and is proud to be part of the new team. She explained: “As Community Midwives, we have a lot of experience between us and absolutely love what we do. Being part of a small team focusing solely on low-risk women having their baby at home or in the birthing centre will make it easier for us to get to know our patients, build trust and understand their needs.
“We are in a privileged position and find it very rewarding to support families to achieve their birthing ambitions. For healthy women with a low risk of complications, there can be many benefits to having a home birth. Research has shown that women who have their baby at home are less likely to need interventions such as a caesarean, forceps or an episiotomy and are less likely to require an epidural for pain relief or a hormone drip to speed up their labour.*
“Being in a calm and relaxing environment can help labour to progress and the new ‘pop up’ birthing centre opening at the end of March has been designed to make women as comfortable as possible. With a pool, a birthing chair, bean bags and an adjustable birth bed it aims to provide a home from home environment for women who don’t want a home birth but would prefer to avoid the medical setting of a hospital. I am very excited about welcoming our first babies!”
The Highfield Birth Team went viral recently reaching over 39,000 people through the hospital’s WUTHNHS Facebook page. The popular midwives received a flurry of praise from grateful families with one proud new mum writing: “I would like to thank the home birthing team for making my home birth such a positive experience. Everything went exactly how I wanted it to and it was so relaxed and calm. The team have been amazing post birth as well…”
If you are thinking about a home birth or would like to know more about having your baby at the new ‘pop up’ birthing centre opening in Seacombe, please ask your community midwife to refer you to the Highfield Birth Team. You can also contact the team directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0151 639 2221 during day time hours. Alternatively, please leave a message on 0151 604 7682 and the team will be in touch as soon as possible.
Pictured above: The Highfield Birth Team with baby Jessica Sharrock from Wallasey, aged 6 months.
* In 2011 a large study called ‘The Birthplace Study’ followed nearly 65,000 women who planned to have their babies at home, in midwifery-led units, or in hospital to look at what happened to them and their babies. It showed that for women who are healthy and having a straightforward pregnancy, there is a very low risk of problems for their baby, whether they plan to give birth at home or in hospital.