Midwifery unit in Altnagelvin turns five

Mum Christine McManus, Dad Eugene and big sister Hollie from Dungiven with baby Farrah, born in Midwife Led Unit on 20.01.2015.

Mum Christine McManus, Dad Eugene and big sister Hollie from Dungiven with baby Farrah, born in Midwife Led Unit on 20.01.2015.

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They celebrate birthdays every day welcoming in new babies to the world.

And now the Midwifery Led birthing unit at Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry has celebrated its fifth anniversary.

The unit officially opened to expectant women back in January 2010 to offer more choice for women with low risk pregnancies in the Western area.

Mum Jennifer McCallion and proud big sister Ava from Derry with baby Cian born in the Midwifery Led Unit on 22.01.15. They are joined by Midwife Bridie Donaghey.

Mum Jennifer McCallion and proud big sister Ava from Derry with baby Cian born in the Midwifery Led Unit on 22.01.15. They are joined by Midwife Bridie Donaghey.

Since opening, the highly skilled and dedicated Midwives have helped deliver over 3,100 births. Over 440 of the women using the unit have opted to have water births in the birthing pool suites, demonstrating some of the benefits of delivery in the Midwifery Led Unit.

Lead Midwife Maureen Miller said: “We are really delighted that so many women have chosen to have their baby in the unit over the past five years.

“It is evident talking to Midwives and new parents, that the Midwifery Led Unit creates a more natural environment for a normal birth. Water and movement are predominantly used for pain relief and Midwives offer one to one care in labour, providing physical and emotional support and as a result women have been having very positive birthing experiences.

“Women can discuss the option of birth in the Midwifery Led Unit along with other birthing plan options with their community Midwife, when booking. Women will always have the assurance that if they experience any complications during birth they can be easily transferred to the adjacent Consultant unit for specialist care.”

L-R Midwives Judith Smyth, Sister Beverley Crothers, Ward Manager, Camilla McCrenaghan, Jennie Shiels and Lisa Kelly.

L-R Midwives Judith Smyth, Sister Beverley Crothers, Ward Manager, Camilla McCrenaghan, Jennie Shiels and Lisa Kelly.

Commenting on her experience in the unit, a recent new mum said: “It was a really positive and special experience to have had all my care provided by Midwives both during my pregnancy and during labour. The one to one care in the Midwifery Led Unit is exceptional and I was able to go home so soon after the birth of my baby.”

Western Trust Chief Executive Elaine Way CBE said: “The birth of a baby is one of the most momentous events in life but can also be one of the most stressful. The commitment and high quality care Western Trust Midwives provide is a testament to the number of babies born in the unit over the past five years. The Midwifery Led Unit offers women an alternative option for the birth of their child which complements the Consultant delivered service.

“We are delighted that so many women, who have used the unit, have reflected very positively on their experience and care.”