Place of birth

We encourage service users to choose where they would like to give birth. We can support you to give birth in the hospital on the labour ward or at home with support and care from the community midwives. Your midwife will talk to you about where you wish to give birth during your pregnancy.

Labour Ward

This is where you would come to have your baby if you decided to come into hospital. You can find a full tour and a video on how to get to us from the main entrance on the labour ward page.

There are no set visiting hours on labour ward. Your birth partners can be with you at any time whilst you are on the labour ward. You can only have two birthing partners with you. Unfortunately, children are unable to be in this area.

Meal times: hot and cold meals are provided for service users at any time of the day (including outside of usual mealtimes). There is also a variety of hot and cold drinks and snacks available 24 hours a day.

The team who care for you on Labour Ward may include midwives, obstetricians, paediatricians and anaesthetists. When making your choice, it is important to consider all your personal circumstances and any additional care needs you and your baby may need. You can discuss your wishes and options available with your Midwife and/or Obstetrician if there are any pregnancy concerns. It may be possible for you to visit the unit during your pregnancy. This will give you the opportunity to find out more about the facilities available.

We are able to offer a birthing room to suit your preferences- including two birthing pools, ambient lighting, active birthing aids such as mats, peanut balls, birthing stools and birthing balls.

Inducing labour

It may be necessary to start your labour if there are problems in the pregnancy e.g. high blood pressure, concerns about the baby’s growth or if you are 10-14 days overdue. If you are ‘overdue’ your Midwife will offer you a membrane sweep at 41 weeks. This is a vaginal examination which stimulates the neck of the womb, which may trigger labour. Contractions can be started by inserting a pessary into the vagina. The pessaries are not designed to get you into established labour, however most people experience some form of contractions or cramping during this time. The aim of the pessaries is to soften and open the cervix enough that it is possible to break your waters. While the pessaries can sometimes cause you to go into labour, most of the time, a hormone infusion (drip) is needed to speed up the labour. You and your baby will be closely monitored throughout the induction process.

Delays are common in this process, in order for us to provide safe care to families, we must prioritise providing 1:1 care to people in established labour, and therefore we may need to pause the continuation of the induction process while we manage those who are already in established labour.

Assessment of progress

There are many ways that midwives can tell how the labour is progressing. The most commonly used way is to perform vaginal examination, to determine how open the cervix is, how stretchy and thin it is, and how the baby is positioned. Midwives also look for other signs of progress, such as the behaviour of the person in labour, contraction length, strength and frequency.

When to call us

If your pregnancy has been uncomplicated and you are having a hospital birth, it is advisable that you stay at home for as long as possible during the early stages of labour, as long as your baby is moving and you are coping with the contractions. Evidence suggests that your home environment will encourage you to remain relaxed and therefore more able to cope with the pain. Remember to continue to eat and drink during this time.

Home birth

Our maternity service at MKUH are dedicated to providing you with choice of place of birth, we currently offer birth on our labour ward or at your home.

Our home birth service is run by our midwives who cover a 24-hour rota so we can be available to you during your labour and birth. We will meet with you at home, at 36 weeks to discuss your choices for your home birth.

There may be times, when the maternity service is extremely busy, or our community midwives are already at a home birth. If this happens you will be invited to attend the maternity unit for assessment whilst we continue to review all possible options to support you at home. It may be possible for you to go home and for our midwives to support you when your labour is more advanced.

For further information and support please contact: [email protected]