Mothers-to-be booked in to give birth at Penrith maternity unit are to benefit from new facilities after it underwent an extensive refurbishment.
The improved set-up at Penrith birth centre includes a new birthing pool with mood lighting and an active birth bed, along with the transformation of both clinic rooms and an upgrade for the staff kitchen, office and store room.
The changes came after the centre secured money from the Maternity Transformation Fund, a national initiative that aims to make services for pregnant women become safer and more personalised, professional and family-friendly.
Jane McRitchie, lead midwife for Penrith birth centre, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the work that’s happened at the centre.
“It’s fantastic for our service and I am excited for women and their families to come and be cared for here by our team of midwives in a home-from-home environment.
“We are all thrilled with the new birthing pool and active birth bed.
“The pool has lovely mood lighting and is a more relaxed environment for a baby to be born in. It also reduces the need for pain relief as it encourages more natural positions to give birth, similar to the bed which encourages a more upright natural position.
“Myself and the team are really excited about the changes and are looking forward to many more women giving birth here at the centre.
Penrith birth centre is one of three maternity units run by North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.
Mums-to-be from Keswick and the North Lakes can either go there or to Carlisle or Whitehaven to give birth.
Midwifery-led units, or birthing centres, are run by midwives and provide an alternative to a hospital birth. They are suitable for low risk and uncomplicated pregnancies which fit certain criteria.
Jane added: “The refurbishment has already made such a difference to our lovely birth unit. It is a welcoming and peaceful environment for the midwives to look after women who come in to give birth and attend appointments.
“We are now also running a new ultra sound scanning service for women, alongside our other maternity clinics. This means we can build relationships with mums throughout their pregnancy, providing continuity of care right through to labour and postnatal care which is what being a midwife is all about.”
The birth centre operates 24/7, with regular opening hours from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
On-call midwives from community teams across the area provide an out-of-hours birthing service from 4.30pm to 8.30am.
Women can also receive antenatal and postnatal care at Penrith if they prefer.