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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Cumbrian midwives deliver baby on campsite

Midwives in Cumbria have been going to extremes to help women have the birth they want.

Anne Musgrave photo
Anne Musgrave

In one case, they even put on their wellies to help a mother deliver her baby on a campsite with no hot or cold water – because that is what she was determined to do.

In a presentation to North Cumbria University Hospitals’ trust board, midwife supervisor Chantal Knight and head of midwifery Anne Musgrave said they did what they could to meet expectant mothers’ wishes – however out of the ordinary.

Where possible, if a woman wants a home birth and it is safe to do so, midwives will help them plan it and support them through it.

The same applies to women who want a specific type of birth at the hospital.

The midwife supervisors then work with both staff and expectant mothers on any issues before the birth.

Sometimes, depending on health and risk issues, their plan may not work out exactly as hoped but Chantal said that as long as women feel supported and informed the overall outcomes are far better. She stressed the priority is always the safety of mum and baby.

Chantal said: “A woman has the right to make decisions about where, how and with who she has her baby so they have to be able to make an informed choice. Women keep coming up with alternative places to have their babies.

“We have had all sorts of situations – caravans, tents. We put our wellies on and get in the car and go.

“One woman, when asked why she wanted to do that, said ‘why shouldn’t I?’ There was no hot water, no cold water, no toilet facilities but in the end it was a straightforward, normal birth and the woman was over the moon with the outcome.”

Anne added: “Alternative requests happen in hospital too, not just for home births, and in a hospital environment it’s still about choice.”

The number of home births in north Cumbria averages at about one per fortnight.

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