New Alongside Midwifery Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital proving a hit with mums-to-be

Nearly 400 women have chosen to give birth in the Alongside Midwifery Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital since it opened just over a year ago.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 8:15 am

The midwife-led facility sits within the Women and Children’s Unit and offers more relaxed, comfortable surroundings for mums-to-be.

It currently has three rooms, two of which are equipped with birthing pools.

The rooms aim to provide a more calming environment with specially commissioned artwork, soothing light displays which are projected onto the walls, TVs and relaxing music. They also have cube chairs, which convert to double beds for women to sleep on together with their partner, and a range of equipment which can be used during labour such as balls, mats and birth stools.

Louise Dawson and Patrik Szabo with Aron who was born in the Alongside Midwifery Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Jackie Rutherford, midwife, said the number of people opting to use the new unit accounted for 14 per cent of all births in Forth Valley.

She explained: “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 compassionate care to ensure that their birth is a positive life changing experience.”

Louise Dawson, decided to give birth to Aron there after she had called maternity triage and was advised to take a bath to help ease her early labour pains.

She said:“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.

“It was such a relaxing and amazing environment to give birth in. I loved it and would 100 per cent encourage other women to think about using this fantastic facility.”

NHS Forth Valley is one of five NHS Boards in Scotland selected to take forward the early implementation of recommendations in The Best Start, Scotland’s national strategy for maternity and neonatal care.

As well as the development of an AMU, a new transitional care service is now in place which allows some babies who require increased nursing and monitoring to stay with their mother in the postnatal ward rather than having to be transferred to the Neonatal Unit.