Early designs for NHS Lothian’s new birthing centre have been unveiled.
Pictures and initial plans have been revealed for the first time and give an idea how the midwife-led facility will look when it is built at Simpson’s Centre for Reproductive Health at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE).
Families will get a bird’s eye view of the bright and airy unit with curved walls and the spacious delivery rooms, all of which have their own birthing pool and en-suite bathrooms.
Expectant mothers will also be able to see the separate entrance to the birthing centre, how the unit connects to the rest of the hospital as well as the main reception area.
It is part of the multi-million pound strategy that will welcome in a new era in maternity services in Lothian and give thousands of women more choice about the birth of their babies.
Maria Wilson, Chief Midwife NHS Lothian, said: “The plans look fantastic and we are thrilled with them. We wanted to make sure the birthing centre had everything that women would expect and we are confident we have achieved that.
“The feedback from the groups who have helped shape the new service has been really positive.
“It is very exciting to see all of the plans fast becoming a reality.”
NHS Lothian gave the maternity strategy the green light after women and families took part in a public consultation to help shape the future of the service to meet the changing needs of the community and the unprecedented rise in the birth rate.
The number of babies born in Lothian soared by 11 per cent, from 8,538 in 2004 to 9,456 in 2007 – a total of 6,508 at the RIE and 2,948 at St John’s in 2007.
The creation of the birthing centre, led by midwives, will mean that around 1,500 women a year, who are assessed as being likely not to require any high-tech medical interventions, can have their babies in a more “homely” environment, but still have nearby medical expertise close if required.
The floor plan shows the stand alone unit, which has a total of six delivery rooms, each with their own birthing pool.
The current service in St John’s Hospital will also be upgraded with the plan to revamp the delivery suite.
En-suite facilities will be created in delivery rooms to increase privacy and dignity during the birth experience – an action highlighted during the consultation exercise.
Mathilde Peace, lay chair of the Lothian Maternity Services Liaison Committee, said: “This is a very exciting time for maternity services in Lothian. The new birthing centre is a very welcome addition and will give women the option of having their baby in a homely and comfortable environment with the reassurance of being close to the hospital.
“The MSLC and other lay members have been closely involved in the development of these plans and are delighted that the comments we made have been taken on board. Women in labour will have space to move around freely, a comfortable room where they can feel relaxed and make themselves at home, with adjustable heating and lighting. The option of using a birth pool is also very welcome. We cannot wait to see this fantastic new facility open.”
Notes to editors: Plans are available by contacting NHS Lothian's communications department.