The Birth Place – where it all begins

Date: 21 November 2016

The Birth Place
Members of the Birth Place team

As a friendly receptionist welcomes you into The Birth Place, the first thing you sense is the atmosphere of calm. This midwife-led service offers a safe, high quality experience of birth in a uniquely peaceful environment with a choice of alternative therapies. Of the 5,000 babies delivered at the Trust each year, around 1,000 are born here.

Dot Smith, Head of Midwifery and Matron for Gynaecological Nursing, joined the Trust as part of the Women’s and Children’s Directorate in 2002, and has played an instrumental role in the improvement of maternity care. ‘One of the areas that we are most proud of is our preceptorship programme for newly qualified midwives,’ she said. ‘They are supported in developing professional competence and confidence to develop as safe professional practitioners.’

Everything in The Birth Place has been shaped by input from both patients and midwives, as well as by adopting aspects of the best birthing facilities in the country. Each birthing room offers privacy, a family area, birthing pool, relaxing music and adjustable lighting for periods of rest and relaxation. The aim is to offer the experience of a

home birth within the safety of a hospital setting. Staff move quietly from room to room, providing personalised care throughout each woman’s delivery. The team works in partnership with the Obstetric team so that where a change in a woman’s risk level means medical treatment is needed, she is moved to a medical ward without delay.

Most recently, the Trust’s work to successfully reduce the incidence of perineal tears was published in The European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology (April 2016), bringing its work in maternity care to an international audience. At last year’s North Kent Clinical Commissioning Group Annual Awards, Medway Maritime Hospital was given the Learning & Improving Award, acknowledging its work on perineal tears, along with a Quality Improvement Award, and the Overall Winner Award for Mainstreaming Francis.

‘By listening to women who told us what a good birth looks like, and challenging ourselves to rethink how we delivered care, we have tried to create the most natural, safe and positive experience of birth as possible,’ said Dot. ‘For me, it is a privilege to be in a position to positively influence the maternity experience for women accessing care at the Trust.’

  • Summary:

    This midwife-led service offers a safe, high quality experience of birth in a uniquely peaceful environment with a choice of alternative therapies.