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Anyone given birth at Gloucester hospital's midwife-led birth unit?

(18 Posts)
Microtufts Wed 01-Jun-11 20:17:51

Hi everyone,

I'm planning to have my baby at the birth unit in the new women's centre at Gloucester and wondered whether anyone has any stories to share? I've had my scans and bloods done at the women's centre, and it's all very new and flash, but the (lovely) staff sometimes seem a bit disorganised, as if they're still settling in. I'm 28 weeks, so they've got 12 weeks to sort it out! ;)

Rebecca x

spilttheteaagain Sat 04-Jun-11 14:48:34


I am 29 weeks and hoping to use the MW birth unit there (though currently in debate with my consultant who is pushing for the Consultant ward).

Would love to hear any experiences of either.

nervatious Sat 04-Jun-11 19:04:02

Snap again! 20 weeks here and planning to use the unit. Have heard so far that 1) It's very good and midwives are lovely (mum who gave birth there 7 months ago)
2) My midwife said it was good but she had heard that one woman had been forced to sleep on a mat on the floor as there were no beds available on the ward - and no beds at all in the centre cos they just have sort of soft-play things to give birth on....

spilttheteaagain Sat 04-Jun-11 20:30:04

Don't know if you've both seen the online tour? At least gives you an idea of what's there facility wise. What I would love to hear though would be things like:
-staffing levels - have they got it about right or are there never enough MWs?
-birth pools - how likely are you to get to use one if you want to, given that they only have 2 and have apparently 7000 births a year!
-how eager are they to intervene?
-what's the postnatal ward care like?
-what sort of support can they give someone trying to figure out breastfeeding?

MNers please come forward and tell us!

nervatious Sun 05-Jun-11 10:43:40

Wow 7000 divided by 365 makes nearly 20 a day! only 2 pools? oh dear

spilttheteaagain Sun 05-Jun-11 12:08:20

yes but bear in mind those 7000 will be spread over the birth unit and the consultant ward. Anyone having a pre 37 week delivery, an induction, a section, a high risk pg, an epidural, CFM etc will be on the consultant ward and not able to use the pools.

I don't know how the number of births on each ward breaks down. But also waterbirth isn't for everyone anyway, some people will be in the birth unit bouncing around on balls and horrified at the idea of a pool! And I guess most people would only be in the pool for a few hours so you could have about 4+ births a day in each pool possibly? Depending on how long it takes to clean...

Just trying to reassure myself!

spilttheteaagain Sun 05-Jun-11 12:11:23

Just to throw into the mix though - have you considered Stroud as well? Their unit is on the virtual tour thingy I linked to. That's a standalone MW unit. They have about 300 births a year and 2 pools so much better odds if that's what you'd like!

nervatious Mon 06-Jun-11 16:40:39

Aha I tried to give birth at Stroud last time (ds1), it's absolutely lovely and wish I had the confidence to try again, but got transferred to gloucs due to various factors so have chickened out. I plan to go straight there after the birth however, as aftercare at Gloucs was patchy at best. Stroud for aftercare was amazing, we had a private room and everything, they even let us check back in when ds was 9 days as we had a powercut at home and couldn't use the steriliser.
I did get to use the pool at stroud btw, it was amazing but just a shame i didn't get to go the whole way there - no fault of theirs at all, on my notes the reason was 'failure to progress'. Ds was born with forceps in the end.

Microtufts Wed 15-Jun-11 14:11:57

Hi ladies,

Thanks for your replies! I'm also hoping for a water birth in the birth unit. I wanted one with my first baby, who was born in Oxford in 2009 - I planned to use the pool in the midwife-led unit there, but unfortunately when my waters broke there was meconium in them, so I had to give birth on my back on a bed, strapped up to various monitoring machines! My advice is to have a back-up option available in case you can't use the pool - I had a TENS machine. And after really stressing last time about whether the pool would be free (there's only one in the MW unit at Oxford), I'm not so worried this time. A birth on 'dry land' isn't a disaster.

I also looked at the online tour, but of course that doesn't help with issues about staffing levels and general atmosphere. I did read on the website that, if you give birth in the birth unit, you can stay in the birth room until you're ready to leave (i.e. they don't move you to a ward). I guess that means that the unit can't be that much in demand, otherwise they would surely want to free up their birth rooms more quickly - so hopefully the pools won't be chock a block!

I've also heard good things about Stroud. It's too far away for us to consider (we're near Tewkesbury), but also I don't want the risk of an ambulance ride to hospital if there's anything amiss. That's what makes the birth unit within the hospital seem ideal.

I try not to worry too much about horror stories. People are far more likely to talk about the one horror story than the hundred good but boring experiences, so it's probably not representative of what's likely to happen to you. I think the same goes for online reviews (there are reviews of hospitals on the netmums site) - people are more likely to go online to moan about a bad experience than to report a good one. I recently read the reviews for the hospital in Oxford where I had DD, and I didn't relate to any of the bad experiences reported there ... plus some people just like a moan (one reviewer complained about staff wearing hard-soled shoes, because the footsteps keep patients awake at night :D). Well, hopefully some new mums will have time to join this thread and give us a balanced view ...

Good luck with your pregnancies.

Rebecca x

merthemer Thu 16-Jun-11 21:43:09

Hi, Im usually a lurker on here but had to reply to this. I had my son in the birth unit 3 weeks ago and it was fantastic. Cant praise the staff or place enough! One thing to note , they can only take 2 ladies in established labour at a time due to staffing levels as its one midwife to one lady on there and they only have 2 trained staff on at once. The rooms dont have beds just a really squishy sofa thing as they are meant to encourage an active labour which must have worked for me as I was admitted at 7 am and delivered at 11.30 am, used the ball at first got to 10cm really quickly then got into the pool to deliver which took 17 minutes!!

I had a brilliant labour with only a few puffs on gas and air , the midwives in there are trained in aromatherapy which worked really well to relax me highly recommended The rooms are fantastic and really homely and clean.They are meant as labour and postpartum rooms though if you decide to stay on you would have to go to the postnatal ward. I was discharged within 3 hours and home a very happy mummy honestly i would do it all over again happily.I work at GRH and asking around it seems the birth unit is very much in demand however its very strictly for low risk women therefore a lot of people are unable to use and have to go to delivery suite. I didn't have any problems rang up and warned them I was on my way then got put straight into a pool room Really hope you ladies get the chance to use the place as its just fab!

spilttheteaagain Fri 17-Jun-11 09:47:14

merthemer thanks so much for your post, and congratulations on your baby boy! Fabulous that you had such a good experience. Fingers crossed for the rest of us.

Microtufts Fri 17-Jun-11 10:09:49

Thanks merthemer! It sounds fantastic, and all the better if it magically ensured you had a quick and easy labour - I hope it works for the rest of us too ;)

Congratulations on your new son. x

nervatious Fri 17-Jun-11 13:46:25

Wow what a brilliant experience! Do you have to book in advance, register an interest or anything or will they just take you if you ring up when in labour?

Microtufts Wed 03-Aug-11 19:42:02

Nervatious, I asked about booking in advance the last time I was there, and they said I should just phone up when I'm in labour. I assume you need to be already a patient at the hospital though.

hazelnutlatte Thu 04-Aug-11 21:50:50

I have also been planning to give birth at the MW unit at Gloucester. My midwife has suggested I go to Cheltenham instead as it tends to be quieter and there is more chance of a pool being available - anyone have experience of the new MW unit there? Think it has only been open a few months.
Not sure about booking in advance - I am supposed to tell the midwife where I want to go at my 36 week appointment.

Lumptysmum Mon 29-Dec-14 17:32:27

Was wondering if anyone had any more recent experiences to share? Saw a different midwife today (who was covering holidays for my own), who suggested the unit. My midwife hasn't mentioned it at all, I'd just assumed I'd end up on the delivery suite. I've only 2 weeks left to go so should probably start thinking about it! smile

quellerosiel Sun 04-Jan-15 00:54:08

I'm curious if any of you ladies who have been to Gloucester got shoved in that hideous tower block after? I've visited enough relatives there to know that it is completely vile and I wouldn't put a dog in there given the choice! (Ttc and probably headed for Bristol based on what I've heard about Gloucester!)

lisaad Mon 12-Jan-15 12:36:16

I had both of my children at the birth unit in Gloucester and have to say both experiences were amazing. I was lucky enough to have the chance to go into the birth unit on both occasions, but when i was in labour with my son i was told i couldnt go onto the birth unit as there wasnt enough midwifes, fortunately a midwife who was on the maternity ward just started her shift and offered to take me up and look after me as there was a spare room. it was lovely, clean and had a birthing pool. I could not fault the staff up there, my midwife didnt leave me for more than a couple of minutes at a time and even stayed with me during her lunch break. Unfortunately, due to a long labour, my midwife had to leave at the end of her shift, she stayed an extra 40 mins as my son was so close to being delivered but she was due back in at 6am the next day, she stayed with me until 8.30 but then she had to go and she was sincerely upset that she couldnt stay as she spent the last 12 hours with me, my Son was born 10 mins after she left :-( amazingly, she came in a bit earlier for her shift the next day to come and see me and my son and she had a cuddle with him and got me a card. Safe to say she made the whole experience one that i would and could never forget. I had the same level of care 5 months ago when i had my little girl, amazing midwife and fantastic after care. I was suffering with a sinus infection at the time i had her and the team up there did everything they could to help me feel more comfortable during and after the birth. They didnt make me feel like i had to get out of the room and made sure i was well rested before leaving. If you get the chance to go in the birth unit, you will not be disappointed. i know every situation is different but mine were amazing. good luck and enjoy it :-)

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