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Maternity cuts at Royal Bournemouth Hospital to mean more home births
ROYAL Bournemouth Hospital will scale back its maternity services as more women are encouraged to give birth at home.
A new midwifery-led unit is planned for the site, which would see two birthing rooms with pools – the current unit has three rooms, two with pools.
Women who are admitted to the hospital to give birth face a walk of approximately 300 steps to their room, while it is estimated it will be less than 10 to the unit from its car park.
Richard Renaut, director of service development, said: “At the moment, the unit is right in the middle of the hospital.
“We set off with a view to create something that is easy to access for women who are considered to be at a low risk of complications during birth. We have looked at a lot of different options and this is the one we believe will work.”
Only those deemed to be low risk are able to give birth at the hospital, while those who may face complications must give birth in Poole.
Acting head of midwifery, Pauline Hawkes, said the opinions of the community would be sought in the design of the new build.
“Being located deep within a hospital building is not ideal for our parents-to-be and this unit will enable us to provide a more homely, rather than a clinical, environment,” she said.
“Lots of women are now interested in the idea of a home birth. The findings of a new study showed that the risks are slightly higher than giving birth in a hospital, but it’s a tiny amount.”
Women who give birth at home through the hospital are cared for by a dedicated midwife, with a second arriving to assist as the baby is born.
Mr Renaut said: “It is very rare for all three birthing rooms to be in use, and we believe we can manage to deliver the same number of babies, with two rooms.”
l Nearly a quarter of women admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital to give birth are taken to Poole following complications.
Around 380 women give birth in Bournemouth each year, and the hospital’s midwives also attend 70 home births.
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