Alexandra Birthing Centre

The aim of the Alexandra Birthing Centre (ABC) is to create a 'home from home' atmosphere.

Picture of a sign that says Alexandra Birthing CentreThe human body needs a hormone called oxytocin to labour, which is produced by the brain.  The release of oxytocin is maximised when women feel safe and secure. The environment surrounding you during labour plays an important part during labour.

The Alexandra Birthing Centre provides a calm atmosphere and surrounding, for women to feel relaxed and comfortable. The Birthing Centre is staffed with qualified midwives, who are experts in normal birth and adequately trained to deal with any eventualities during labour and birth, should these arise.

The rooms in the Alexandra Birthing Centre contain equipment to help during your birth, including a bed, a chair and birthing mats and balls for you to use. They also have en-suite facilities, with a toilet and shower for your personal use. There are seven birthing rooms, two birthing pools and a sensory room, a large room that can be used during early stages of labour to relax and mobilise, should you need to stay in hospital during that time.

Birthing pools are used on a first-come first-served basis. We generally manage to make arrangements to ensure women wanting to use a pool have access to this during their labour. During the birth, women can either give birth in the pool or return to their rooms. There have been numerous studies informing us that being born in the water is not only safe for babies, but also helpful for mothers. Using water during labour can be relaxing, soothing, warm and comforting. Water can make women feel weightless, empowering them to follow their natural instincts and adopt positions that enable the baby to move into good positions for labour and birth.

Arriving at the Alexandra Birthing Centre

Picture of a room in the Alexandra Birthing CentreOnce you arrive at the Alexandra Birthing Centre and you are found to be in labour, the midwife caring for you will, after completing a full assessment, discuss with you a plan of care. This will include aspects such as relaxation techniques, mobilising, eating and drinking and pain relief options, amongst other things.

Midwives will be able to offer a range of coping mechanisms and pain relief, including the use of water, gas and air, and pethidine. Women often find these are sufficient to help them get through labour. Should you wish to access other options such an epidural, your care will be transferred from ABC to delivery suite, as anaesthetic care will be required and we will need to monitor you and your baby closely.

In the event of you requiring any other help (for example, if your labour stops progressing), you may need to be transferred to delivery suite, where a plan of care will be made alongside an obstetrician. The vast majority of women who plan to give birth on ABC will manage to do so with no concerns.

Women giving birth on the Alexandra Birthing Centre do not need to be transferred to the postnatal ward, as our birth centre midwives can provide this care on the birth centre. Because most women will go on to have a healthy birth, we do everything that we can to get you home soon as soon as 6 hours after you give birth. This will depend on the day and time when baby is born, how well baby adapts to life outside the womb and how confident you feel with feeding.

We understand how important it is for dads to be included in all aspects of care during labour and after birth. Because of this, the birth centre has some facilities for dads to stay. This is so that they can support you, should you need any help during your stay. If you feel this is not necessary, we will also encourage dads to go home and get some rest and to make any necessary arrangements at home in preparation for the arrival of mum and baby.

This is a midwifery run unit for low risk healthy pregnant women.

Low risk healthy pregnant women:

  • Term pregnancy, from 37 to 42 weeks of gestation.
  • Spontaneous onset of  labour
  • Age 18 – 40
  • Normal range blood pressure
  • Having baby number 1-5
  • BMI 18 – 35
  • Hb level (Iron) 8.5g/dl or above
  • Baby is head down
  • No previous pregnancy complications e.g. previous caesarean section, PPH, shoulder dystocia.
  • No significant obstetric complication likely to recur in this pregnancy

Conditions that will exclude you from the Alexandra Birthing Centre

Your community midwife is best place to discuss your particular circumstances with you  and make recommendations with regards to place of birth. Kindly discuss this with your midwife at your next appointment. Place of birth discussions usually take place at booking and at 36 weeks, but you can discuss this at any stage during your pregnancy.

Sensory Room

The Sensory room in the Alexandra Birthing Centre is a very relaxing room with dimmed lighting, bean bags, birthing couch, music, birth balls and a large bed.

This room cannot be booked; however, if it is free, women can use it to labour in.

Only one labouring woman at a time. It provides a change of scenery and a very relaxing atmosphere.

Birthing Pools

Picture of a birthing pool

We have two pools at the Alexandra Birthing Centre.

The advantages, as far as labouring in water is concerned, are that it is very relaxing, soothing, warm and comforting.

In water, labouring women find it easier to move because the water makes them almost weightless. This allows women to follow their natural instincts and adopt positions that enable the baby to move into good positions for labour and birth.

Picture of a nurse measuring the blood presseure of a patient

How to get help

Picture of a pregnant person with hands on tummy

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