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WATCH: New birth centre for Cornwall to welcome its first families

WATCH: New birth centre for Cornwall to welcome its first families

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:04am 27th November 2017. (Updated at 5:41pm 27th November 2017)

Take a look inside Cornwall's brand-new birthing centre as it prepares to welcome its first families.

Pirate FM helped Treliske launch its Birth and Baby Appeal, which aims to give all babies born in the Duchy the best start in life.

A big development programme for maternity and neonatal is already underway, thanks to a £3.6 million-pound investment from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals' NHS Trust.

It includes the new suite set to open on Monday, where the rooms are kitted out with state-of-the-art facilities like birthing pools.

Neonatal unit is moving to a much bigger area and there will be more space in the special care nurseries too.

birthing centre - baba appeal

The entrance to the birthing centre where beautiful quotes adorn the walls, picked by the midwives themselves

Sandra Hogan will be running the new centre and said: "For the women, they've now got a nice home-from-home environment to have their babies.

"State-of-the-art facilities, lovely en-suites, active birth equipment; it's all here in a unit run by midwives who believe passionately in normal birth and supporting women through that".

Midwife Shan Hughes added: "It has everything that you would expect as a midwife but also when people come in, it's just so beautiful and homely.

"I feel that people can come in with all their stuff and just set it out how they want it; they can just be here together having their baby".

birthing centre - baba appeal

The post-birth chill-out area for new mums and their families

When the BABA Appeal launched, midwife coorindator Zoe Nelson explained what a difference the changes to neonatal will make: "To have something like, for example, a sibling room, will make such a difference for a family bonding with that baby and they haven't got space for that.

"Often they have to take turns in visiting the baby and it's not as family centred as we know it could be".

Kathy Byrne, Chief Executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, said: "We want to give parents and babies in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the very best start.

"We truly believe that women, babies and their families deserve the best possible care. You can be a part of this very special vision and make a real difference".

Here are some of the items the fundraising appeal has helped to pay for:

  • 14 'Neopuff Infant Resuscitators' - Due to increased space in the new neonatal unit, there is now a need for one resuscitator at each bed space where previously babies were moved to the resuscitator
  • Twin Cot - Currently the Neonatal unit only has one twin cot which means that when there are more than one set of wins they can't both be in twin cots
  • Four Medela Milk Warmers - These warm mother's milk to body temperature to allow for better absorption in preterm babies

Other items include active birth rocking chairs, active birth bean bags, active birth mats, birthing balls, changing tables and cots.

birthing centre - baba appeal

One of the beautiful birthing quotes on the wall of the new birth centre

Over four thousand babies a year are born at the hospital and 10-12% of those babies being cared for by the team at the Duchy's only neonatal unit.

Rachel Bailey, neonatal sister, explains how the changes will have a real impact on the care they can provide:

"The new unit will provide a lot more space, better facilities to enable families to be closer to their babies and to feel more comfortable, an increased number of 'rooming in' bedrooms, a parents kitchen and much improved outpatients area".

birthing centre - baba appeal

One of the birthing pools in the new birth centre

Rachel continued: "The extra space will allow for better and more comfortable seating which will facilitate quality time for skin to skin, kangaroo cuddles, and bonding between parents and their new arrival.

"For babies, having their families so closely involved can help lower stress levels, promote better health, shorten hospital stays and reduce hospital readmissions".

Head of Midwifery, Jan Walters, said: "We are very excited about the opening of an alongside midwifery led unit at Royal Cornwall Hospital as it will give so many women the chance to labour and give birth in a more homely and relaxed environment which we know gives the very best chance of a positive and low intervention birth.

birthing centre - baba appeal

A consultation room at the new birthing centre

"We realise that for a long time women and families in Cornwall have been asking for this development and their dreams are becoming a reality. The new unit consists of four en-suite birthing rooms, each with a number of birthing 'aids' e.g. pool, birthing chairs and birthing balls".

Pirate FM was given a sneak peek around the birthing centre, a week before the grand opening on Monday 27th November.

Shan Hughes described some of the state-of-the-art facilities mentioned above and gave us a demonstration of how the special cube beds work...


Meantime, the BABA Christmas Card Appeal is asking everyone to write just one extra card, make a donation to The Cornwall Birth and Baby Appeal and then send their card with a festive message to the teams at the hospital.

Despite the opening of the two newly developed units at Royal Cornwall Hospital the urgent need for support continues with additional equipment still required for the units as well as additional works,   

“We still have a way to go to reach our fundraising target of £500,000 so that we can provide the very best equipment and facilities across all maternity and neonatal services.

"We are working on a staged programme with the new neonatal unit and birthing centre prioritised first and then we want to develop the delivery suite and units for pre and after birth so that everyone can get a great service in every area," said Karen Murrish, Fundraising Manager for Royal Cornwall Hospitals Charity.   

Read more about the Cornwall Birth and Baby Appeal or scroll through our gallery below to see more photos of the new birth centre.

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