Oh baby! HRI birth centre celebrates four years of delivering success
IT is a far cry from a traditional hospital unit. With a serene water feature, holistic therapies and i-pod stations in every room, it is no wonder women are booking themselves in to Huddersfield’s birth centre.
Four years on since it opened, the unit at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary is now delivering about 700 babies a year and is proving popular with mums-to-be from across the country.
Run only by midwives, it is designed for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Eighty per cent of women have used one of the two birth pools.
Gina Augarde, head of the unit, said it is a far cry from the scenes of popular TV show One Born Every Minute, and that the relaxed approach to labour is the best midwifery she has every practised.
Having worked in different labour units throughout the UK, she can speak from experience.
She said: “When the birth centre first opened, we were told we had to have between 200 to 250 births each year and there were concerns that we wouldn’t meet our targets.
“In our first year we had 530 women and this year it is going to be around 700, which is phenomenal.
“I believe that all women deserve to have a birth centre because their chances of having a normal birth are so high.
“What is important for a woman in labour is that she feels in control and safe.
“We have got a strong focus on on-to-one care and getting the woman to feel as though she is in control.
“Every woman is scared when they go into labour but at the birth centre we aim to take that away because fear affects the hormones and the contractions.
“But the majority of women are likely to have a normal birth and the government is starting to recognise that women do not need to be in high-risk environments.”
Gina said that those who are high risk can be identified in advance and transferred to the medical unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital in about seven to 15 minutes by ambulance.
The award-winning centre in Huddersfield has one of the lowest transfer rates in the country, with only 16% of mums-to-be taken across to the labour, delivery, recovery and postnatal suite in Halifax.
Marsh couple, Christopher Keen and Ann-Marie Rowan, welcomed their first baby together Mary Ava Keen, at 8.34am on February 27 in the Sandalwood suite.
They praised the midwives, who helped them along in Ann-Marie’s eight-hour labour.
Ann-Marie is a nurse at the Infirmary and knows the centre staff.
She said: “I came in for a 36-week check-up and I just loved the way I was treated and my midwife made me feel so comfortable.
“They advised me to keep ringing if I had any problems and when I came in the room was ready.