Having a baby can be an exciting and scary time. No matter what the circumstances of your pregnancy, you can be assured of the very best of care. Our maternity services help women reach informed decisions about their care throughout their pregnancy.
Maternity care is generally divided into two categories:
Low risk care is offered where any previous births and general health have been problem-free. Expecting mothers are managed throughout their pregnancies by midwives.
Combined care is provided where a medical condition exists that may need additional monitoring. Care is shared between a midwife and a consultant obstetrician (a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and childbirth).
All women and their families will be treated with kindness, respect and dignity. The views, beliefs and values of women, their partners and family in relation to their care and that of their babies will be sought and respected at all times.
We offer a wide range of services to meet individual needs. These include interpreters and link workers for women whose first language is not English. We also have family support workers who provide assistance and practical help – for example, around the house or with shopping.
Choosing where to have your baby
Having a baby is a natural event in life, and you should consider giving birth where you feel most comfortable and in control. You may find it helpful to talk to your midwife, or to other parents and support groups, or by visiting maternity units and birth centres.
Most women have their babies in hospital, believing it to be safer than giving birth at home. However if your pregnancy is straightforward there is no real difference in the safety of having a baby at home than in hospital. You will still have a midwife present.
It’s important that you feel as relaxed as possible when you give birth, as the pain can feel worse if you are tense or anxious. Some women choose to give birth at home so that they have familiar things around them. Other women feel safer and more relaxed in hospital and find this environment reassuring.
If you have your baby in hospital you may use rooms with home-like surroundings or bring personal pillows or other items to make you feel more comfortable.
At City Hospital, the Serenity Midwifery Birth Centre is a purpose-built facility that looks and feels homely to make women feel comfortable and relaxed.
For more information about disabled access for this service, please click here.
Clinical Director – Neil Shah
Director of Midwifery – Rachel Carter
Group Director of Operations, Women and Child’s Health – Amanda Geary
0121 507 4989
Whether you give birth in hospital or at home, a midwife will be with you when you are in labour. Midwives provide antenatal care in many locations, including GP surgeries, Sure Start centres and children’s centres. Postnatal care is largely provided through home visits. Community midwives also provide home birth information and support.
Learning about being a parent and preparing for birth are important parts of pregnancy, so we provide a range of sessions to help you. Groups meet weekly either in hospital, health centres or children’s centres and discuss pregnancy, birth and childcare. Each meeting lasts about two hours, and covers topics like:
- Preparing for birth
- Pain relief during labour
- Infant feeding and baby care
- Financial benefits and child development.
Additional sessions are provided for women and their partners who are expecting multiple births, for teenage mums-to-be, for those with special needs, or women who need one-to-one support. Sessions are also available for women who do not speak English.
Following the birth of your baby, all parents who attended antenatal classes are invited back for a reunion.
If you attend antenatal classes at City Hospital you will be given the opportunity to take a tour of the Maternity Unit. Tours are also held on the second Saturday of each month.
Screening & Blood Tests
During your pregnancy you will have blood tests at various stages to check on your health, and that of your baby. You will be given information leaflets beforehand that explain the tests, and you can also discuss them with your midwife before accepting them.
Day Assessment Unit
In the Day Assessment Unit we care for women whose pregnancies are considered ‘high risk’. This allows us to monitor patients closely but without having to admit them into hospital. The number of visits will differ for each person, according to their needs. The Day Assessment Unit is located on Ward M1 at City Hospital. Opening hours are 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
The Delivery Suite
Our Delivery Suite consists of 10 rooms, where you can go into labour and give birth without changing from one room to another. If you are low-risk, you will come into our midwife-led care facility in the Delivery Suite. This provides a homely environment for you to give birth in. A midwife will take care of you throughout your labour. You will find birthing balls, mats, birthing stools and other equipment that enables you to remain active during labour.
You will be considered low risk if you are:
- 37-42 weeks pregnant
- Have an uncomplicated pregnancy
- Have no medical or serious health problems
- Have had normal pregnancies and births in the past
If any complications arise then you will be assessed and moved into one of our high risk rooms. Here you will receive continuous combined care from a midwife and obstetrician (a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and childbirth). Special monitor equipment is available for both you and your baby. If required, there are two operating theatres, a recovery room and a high-dependency suite.
On arrival at the Delivery Suite a midwife will meet you to see whether or not you are in active labour. If you are, you will be admitted to the Delivery Suite. If not, a decision will be made by a doctor or midwife as to whether you should remain in hospital or return home. If you’re not in labour, you will probably be much more comfortable at home relaxing and sleeping when you can. You can always ring up for advice and assessment when to come back.
Special facilities include a water-birth room for pain relief during labour, and aromatherapy – blends of pleasant-smelling oils that are used to help during labour.
Serenity Birth Centre
The Serenity Midwifery Birth Centre at City Hospital is a small maternity unit which is staffed and run by experienced midwives. They offer a comfortable environment where birth is treated as a “normal” process rather than a medical one. The Serenity Centre is near to the delivery suite but not part of it. The facility looks and feels homely – not like a hospital – helping you feel comfortable and relaxed.
The Serenity Centre is for low-risk births. This means the midwife has cared for you during your pregnancy and there have been no complications or medical problems. You will come into the centre with your partner when you are in labour. The facility is used for all low-risk pregnancies, unless you wish to opt-out.
Our highly trained midwives offer support, encouragement and care for women who have normal labours. This includes offering different ways to cope, such as trying different positions, relaxing, using water for labour, or aromatherapy. You may eat and drink light food and move around as you feel comfortable. You should be able to go home within a few hours after giving birth, with your new baby.
Women who use the Serenity Centre find they need less pain relief and have a normal birth. They are also less likely to need forceps or caesarean birth.
It is important to know that the Serenity Centre does not have doctors; they are based in the delivery suite. The Birth Centre does not provide epidurals (powerful anaesthetics) or provide caesarean sections; these are also provided in the delivery suite for women who choose these options, or who have complications with their pregnancy or labours.
Most women who give birth in the centre do so without problems. If there is a complication during your pregnancy you will be seen by a consultant. If this is likely to complicate your pregnancy or labour then you will give birth in the delivery suite. If it is all right for you to continue to give birth in the Serenity Centre, then you can come back to the midwives.
Following birth we try to make sure that all mothers have time with their newborn baby as soon as possible. This applies to all births including those born by caesarean section. Your midwife will discuss this with you during your labour.
After you have had some time to recover in the delivery suite, you will be prepared for going home. If all is well you can go home within as little as six hours, but certainly on the same day. If you had a complicated labour or a caesarean section we may ask you to stay longer. You will be checked over by a doctor or midwife before you go home.
You and your baby will be given a full examination to make sure you are both well before the decision is made about going home. Your baby will be offered a hearing test, although you can return to have this done later. Sometimes babies need immediate vaccinations (injections to protect against disease) or other tests, and these will all be arranged.
We have a facility called the Transfer Lounge. This is a comfy environment where you can wait for your relatives to collect you. There are refreshments, baby care facilities, TV and staff on hand to help you prepare for going home.
A midwife will visit you within 24 hours of your transfer home. She will provide you with ongoing support for up to six months after the birth of your child. This service is tailored for different individual or cultural needs. The visits include home demonstrations on bathing your baby, sterilising baby feeding equipment, and preparing baby formula (milk) for feeding.
We recommend breastfeeding as the best way to feed your baby and we will provide help and support for you to do this. We also know that some parents may choose not to breastfeed, and we will provide help and advice to support you in your choice.
The Neonatal Unit is an intensive care facility which looks after ill or premature babies. The unit has trained nurses, midwives and doctors who can care for sick babies and their families. The Unit has state-of-the-art equipment and incubators for caring for sick babies.
The Unit has facilities for 35 babies, with areas for intensive care, high dependency and low dependency. Low dependency is the cot nursery, where babies who are nearly ready to be transferred home are cared for.
If a baby has to be transferred to the Neonatal Unit we’ll do our best to encourage bonding with the baby and try to avoid unnecessary separation. The unit is very close to the maternity unit at City Hospital, so mothers can visit easily whilst they are recovering in hospital.
Mothers on the Postnatal Ward can see their babies at any time. Once mums have been discharged, parents are welcome to visit at any time, with brothers and sisters welcome too.
There is a family waiting area and a parents’ coffee room, along with play facilities that are available throughout the day.
Please feel free to share your experiences of this service. Please e-mail your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Patient information leaflets
A guide to feeding your baby
After the birth of your baby
Breastfeeding support groups
Choosing where to give birth to your baby
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in pregnancy
Expressing your milk antenatally
Giving birth after a previous caesarean section
Giving birth by caesarean section
Giving birth when your baby is in breech position at the end of your pregnancy
How to sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment
Induction of labour
Keeping healthy during pregnancy
Labour, What happens and how it can be managed
Monitoring your baby during labour
Pregnancy Advice for Gypsy, Roma and Travellers
Vitamin K supplement for newborns
Your antenatal appointments
Your waters have broken but your labour hasn’t started yet
Our leaflets are now available in other languages, please click on the links provided below to read the leaflets in your preferred language:
A guide to feeding your baby (Bengali Translation)
Choosing where to give birth to your baby (Bengali Translation)
Keeping healthy during pregnancy (Bengali Translation)
Labour, What happens and how it can be managed (Bengali Translation)
Your antenatal appointments (Bengali)
A guide to feeding your baby (Polish Translation)
Choosing where to give birth to your baby (Polish Translation)
Keeping Healthy During Pregnancy (Polish Translation)
Labour, What happens and how it can be managed (Polish Translation)
Your antenatal appointments (Polish Translation)
A guide to feeding your baby (Punjabi Translation)
Choosing where to give birth to your baby (Punjabi Translation)
Keeping healthy during pregnancy (Punjabi Translation)
Labour, What happens and how it can be managed (Punjabi Translation)
Your antenatal appointments (Punjabi Translation)
A guide to feeding your baby (Urdu Translation)
Choosing where to give birth to your baby (Urdu Translation)
Keeping healthy during pregegnancy (Urdu Translation)
Labour – What happens and how it can be managed (Urdu Translation)
Your antenatal appointments (Urdu Translation)
Audio Translated Patient Information
Community Midwives: 0121 507 3774
City Hospital: 0121 554 3801
Further support can be obtained from ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices): 020 7631 0285.
City Hospital Infant Feeding Helpline: 0121 507 5703