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The birth centres at St Helier and Epsom hospitals

Rachel, birth centre and community midwife
Rachel, birth centre and community midwife at St Helier

Our midwife-led birth centres are dedicated to providing safe, individualised care from a core team of experienced midwives in a friendly home-from-home environment.

Each centre, built as part of the £2.8 million overhaul of the maternity unit, contains three birthing pools, specialist furniture, birthing balls and mood lighting that gently changes colour.

The centres have been designed so that women who have had problem-free pregnancies have the chance to give birth in a more relaxed environment, supported by midwives.

What is a birth centre?

A birth centre is a specially designed area on the main labour ward that is staffed by a dedicated team of experienced midwives.

All our staff believe that women and their partners should receive a service that is safe, respectful of each individual woman's wishes and friendly. We encourage and support women to have choice and control over their birth experience, and also in the immediate postnatal period, in partnership with the midwife providing the care.

The birth centre 1

What are the rooms like?

The 'home from home' environment of the birth centre at St Helier contains four birthing rooms, three of which contain birthing pools, mood lighting and specially designed birthing couches.

The fourth room has a traditional bed for women who want to choose that as an option, or for those who want to stay in the centre for up to 24 hours for breast-feeding support, although we anticipate that the majority of women will go home 2-6 hours after giving birth.

The Epsom hospital birth centre, which cost £318,000, gives mothers-to-be the opportunity to give birth naturally in a relaxing environment. It contains three separate rooms, two birthing pools, specially made bean bag sofas and reclining chairs.

It has been designed so that women who have had problem-free pregnancies have the chance to give birth in a more comfortable environment, supported by midwives.  A communal kitchen within the centre allows families to help themselves to cups of tea and coffee.

Who can use the birth centre?

We welcome all women who would like to give birth in a natural, home-from-home environment, although there are certain criteria you need to meet:

  • Full-term pregnancy between 37- 42 weeks;

  • Healthy woman with no known medical conditions;

  • Singleton pregnancy (only one baby);

  • Uncomplicated current pregnancy;

  • No previous pregnancy or birth complications;

  • Baby in head down position;

  • Spontaneous onset of labour.

The birth centre 3

What pain relief is available?

  • Massage

  • Breathing / relaxation techniques

  • Water (hydrotherapy)

  • Mobilisation

  • TENS machine

  • Hypnotherapy will be supported

  • Entonox (gas and air)

  • Pethidine injection

If an epidural is requested a transfer will be necessary to one of our labour ward rooms. However, it is known that the need for epidural anesthesia is significantly reduced when one-to-one care is provided by a midwife.

For more information

If you are interested in using our new midwifery-led birth centre and require any further information, speak with your midwife at your next scheduled appointment.

Alternatively, you may contact one of the midwives in the centre directly and arrange a time to discuss your birth plan and ask any questions you have.

Midwives supervisors are also available to discuss your birth plan, and answer any questions.

Key staff

Gina Brockwell
Birth centre lead midwife,
St Helier Hospital
Tel: 020 8296 3157

Denise Dinsdale
Birth centre lead midwife,
Epsom Hospital
Tel: 01372 73 5962

Contact details

St Helier Hospital

Birth centre
Tel: 020 8296 2050

Labour ward
Tel: 020 8296 2479

Maternity ward
Tel: 020 8296 2478

Antenatal clinic
Tel: 020 8296 2571

Early pregnancy unit
Tel: 020 8296 2882

Community midwives
Tel: 020 8296 2990

Maternity assessment unit
Tel: 020 8296 3124

Epsom Hospital

Birth centre
Tel: 01372 37 5996

Labour ward/Delivery suite
Tel: 01372 73 5208

Maternity ward
01372 73 5206

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