Almost 400 women have chosen to give birth in the new Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU) at Forth Valley Royal Hospital since it opened just over a year ago.
The midwife-led facility, which is located within the existing Women and Children’s Unit, saw over 80% of women who chose to have their babies in the AMU use water at some stage during their labour, with 30% choosing to give birth in one of the birthing pools.
The AMU currently has three rooms featuring specially commissioned wall art, soothing light displays and relaxing music to provide a calming environment for women and their families.
NHS Forth Valley Midwife, Jackie Rutherford, said: “For us as midwives it’s about women’s journeys and it’s crucial to remember that this is one of the most important times in their life.
“We aim to support all women by providing safe and compassionate care to ensure that their birth is a positive life changing experience.”
Louise Dawson who used the AMU to give birth to her first child said she used the facilities after she had phoned maternity triage the day before and was advised to take a bath to help with labour pains.
“The bath took a lot of pressure off and when I came into hospital the next day I knew I wanted to use the birthing pool. You can alter the temperature of the water and it was really calming.
“I lay in the pool in semi-darkness for seven hours, I had candles on, the TV on and the projector which played a pattern on the wall.
“It was such a relaxing environment to give birth in. I loved it and would one hundred percent encourage women to think about using this fantastic facility,” she said.
NHS Forth Valley is one of five NHS Boards in Scotland that was selected for early implementation of recommendations outlined in The Best Start – Scotland’s national strategy for improving maternity and neonatal care.
As well as the development of the AMU, NHS Forth Valley is also now offering a transitional service which allows women to stay with their baby in the postnatal ward if they require extra monitoring rather than being transferred to the Neonatal Unit.
The Women and Children’s Unit currently holds a Unicef Baby Friendly Award which was awarded in 2012.
Source: NHS North Valley (press release)
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