Published on: 10 September 2019

South Tyneside District Hospital’s new midwifery-led birthing centre is proving to be a popular choice for expectant mams in the local area.

Eighteen babies have now been born in the new facility, which opened on August 5.

The centre’s latest arrival and 18th baby to be born at the centre is Liam Matthew Harrison. He was delivered by experienced midwife Michelle Becke, who has worked at the maternity unit at South Tyneside District Hospital for over 20 years.

Proud parents Kimberly Watton, 24, and Matthew Harrison, 24, welcomed their new baby boy at 5am on September 6.

Weighing 7lb 13oz, Liam joins big sister Grace Sutherland (5) and brother Lee Sutherland (2) who were also both born at South Tyneside District Hospital.

Mam Kimberly said: “This is the first time that I’ve had a water birth and it’s also the first time I’ve only needed gas and air. It’s definitely been the easiest and calmest delivery I’ve had.

“The room is beautiful and the whole experience was so relaxing. I had the lights dimmed and lots of coloured lights in the pool. It was really tranquil and calm and it really helped keep me relaxed.

“The care I’ve had has been amazing. Michelle was there whenever I needed her - it feels more like a private hospital!”

The centre offers mams-to-be with low risk pregnancies even more choice on where to give birth, as well as a safe alternative to giving birth in consultant-led hospital settings or at home.

With ensuite birthing rooms, including a large room with a birthing pool and additional postnatal rooms, the centre offers women in labour a relaxed and homely environment. Partners are able to stay overnight and one-to-one midwifery support is provided during labour by a team of experienced, award-winning midwives.

Kimberly added: “It’s brilliant having your own room and bathroom, I could just relax more and my partner and family could come and go, they weren’t stuck to set times.”

Midwife and manager of the new midwifery-led birthing centre Jacqui Ramshaw said: “It’s wonderful that so many mams have chosen to have their babies with us at our new centre and we have had some incredible feedback.

“We’ve had lots of enquiries and visits to our new centre and I would encourage anyone who wants to come and visit our fantastic, new facility to give us a call on 0191 404 1033 to arrange a visit and discuss the choices available to them.”

For more information about maternity services in South Tyneside and Sunderland visit Women who have a high risk pregnancy; for example if they are expecting twins, if their baby is in the breech position, or if they have experienced complications in this or a previous pregnancy, will be advised to give birth in the Trust’s consultant-led unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital which is rated amongst the best in the NHS.