More choice in place of birth for women and their families in the Bromley area.
The new Midwifery-Led Birth Centre at the PRUH opened its doors on 8 December 2010, with the first baby being born just before midnight.
For women having a straightforward pregnancy, the Oasis Birth Centre means more choice in where to give birth. Local women can now choose to give birth either at home, in a hospital labour ward or the Birth Centre. The Oasis Birth Centre is in the Princess Royal University Hospital, on the same floor as the Labour Ward and adjacent to the Maternity Ward. At the Birth Centre women who have had a straightforward pregnancy are cared for in labour by midwives. The ethos of the centre is very different to a traditional labour ward. The midwives working there have confidence in and promote normality of birth, supporting women to achieve the birth that they would like. The rooms are less like clinical hospital rooms, instead decorated and furnished in a more comfortable ‘home-from home’ style. Women are encouraged to relax as much as possible in labour, move around, use the pool if they’d like to and adopt whatever position they find comfortable. Midwives support women at all times to labour however they want to and the baby’s well-being is monitored regularly.
Whilst some mums-to-be who are anxious about labour and birth may be put off by that fact that epidurals are not available on the Birth Centre, it’s worth remembering that simply opting to go to the Birth Centre will mean that a woman is much less likely to request one. The relaxed environment and supportive staff mean that a straightforward labour and birth experience is more likely.
One mum-to-be went to have a look around: “As I am hoping to have a water birth, I was particularly interested in seeing a birthing pool. We were shown the smaller of the two birthing pool rooms (as the other one was in use). Despite being "smaller" it was a huge room with the pool in one corner, a bed, crib, sofa (for worn out birth partners!) plus shower, toilet and bidet. They have gas and air on constant supply plus birthing balls for use in the room. The midwife showing us around also mentioned that it is possible to have pethidine, but that would mean you couldn't go in the water for 4 hours. The room was bright and seemed very comfortable - you can stay there throughout your labour, even if you're not using the pool all the time. There is also a TV/relaxation room in the centre should you want a break from your room. Once you have given birth, you are not discharged into the maternity ward but remain at the Oasis Centre either in your birthing room or in the 4-bedded postnatal room. The overall emphasis of the Birth centre is on minimal intervention i.e. midwife-led birth with the support of your birth partner. The aim is to create a relaxed atmosphere which is conducive to a straightforward labour. I think they have succeeded! If there are any risks beforehand, then the birthing centre is not for you. Obviously if complications develop during labour, they would take you straight to the labour ward. The Oasis is a very appropriate name since, having entered via the manic maternity ward, you instantly felt like you were in an oasis of calm.”
A final comment from one mum who gave birth in the Oasis Birth Centre: “I cannot praise the midwives at the new Birth Centre at the PRUH highly enough. The care we received was fantastic. Labour was quite long and very hard work, but I felt well-supported to achieve a natural birth in the pool. It was amazing!”
The Oasis Birth Centre
Princess Royal University Hospital