PLANS for Huddersfield’s new birth centre have just been unveiled.
And they set the scene for mums to give birth in a calm, contemporary ‘home from home’ at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary from next year.
The unit – to be staffed by midwives only – will eventually replace the existing maternity service at the hospital.
Women classed as low risk will be able to give birth there, using two water-birth pools and holistic therapies, including reflexology, aromatherapy and massage to help them during labour.
The new-look cent re will be created on Ward 14, which is now being used for antenatal and postnatal care.
The area will be transformed to offer six individual birthing rooms, each with their own en suite bathroom facilities.
One room has been designed for disabled access and a quiet room will be available for prayer.
A fully-equipped room for resuscitating mothers and babies is included in the plan and midwives have already been trained to the same high standards as consultants.
The important role partners play has also been recognised in the proposals.
For the first time roll-out double beds will be provided, to allow partners the chance to stay overnight with their loved ones.
They will also be able to share bathroom facilities with their partners and have access to the centre’s communal kitchen and dining area serving hot meals around the clock.
The plans are the result of almost two years of planning which has included working closely with groups of women from all sections of the community.
Birth centre manager and midwife Gina Augarde has helped spearhead the scheme. She is confident the centre will give women an excellent birthing experience.
She said: “It is really exciting for Huddersfield. Women will be able to give birth in a relaxed environment near their homes and where they feel good about themselves.
“We are hoping to have a higher normal birth rate. With the facilities, care and support on offer we think it will really benefit them.
“We want the women to feel in control of their births and feel good about it – that’s them and their partners.”
A 17-week scheme to revamp the existing ward area will begin in late autumn. Work will be carried out with minimal disruption to patients still using the ward.
It is expected to be fully operational by early next year.
The centre will then run alongside the current HRI maternity service – as required by the Government’s Health Department – for six months, to make sure any problems have been ironed out before it goes it alone.
All consultant-led care will then transfer to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
Huddersfield mums not considered low risk – including those needing epidurals and Caesareans – will have to have their babies in Halifax.
Gina added: “You have to remember that the criteria for the birth centre is strict. We will only be dealing with low-risk women.
“But we will recognise any problems really quickly, so they can be transferred earlier. At the first sign of anything they will be gone.
“High-risk women who are going to have problems will be transferred to Halifax for excellent care there from the start.
“We have done a lot of research on birth centres around the country and have been working with ambulance control and medical staff.
“It is going to be great.”