Cumbria's tireless midwives have been praised for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, midwives at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust are celebrating International Day of the Midwife.

Over the last year the midwives have shown great commitment, strength and resilience and continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the maternity service because of Covid-19.

Between March 16 last year and the same date this year, maternity services at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital delivered 2,689 babies – 1,347 boys and 1,341 girls and 39 sets of twins.

Rachel Fulton, matron of Midwifery Services at NCIC, said: “We have received some amazing feedback from women who were fearful of having a baby in a pandemic.

"They said they felt safe, reassured and supported.

“Our team strive every day to try to keep our women’s birth experiences as positive and ‘normal’ as possible, in an otherwise ‘abnormal’ world.

"I am immensely proud to be part of the maternity team.”

Amanda Kennett, associate director of midwifery at NCIC, said: “Being a midwife is all about trying to make a positive difference to women and their babies at that vital time.

“Being a midwife is a privilege and it’s a lovely day to celebrate and say thank you for all the care midwives have given women and families during the pandemic and their unswerving dedication and hard work over the year.”

To help women see what the maternity units look like, the trust has developed a virtual tour of the maternity wards at the West Cumberland Hospital and Cumberland Infirmary.

The West Cumberland Hospital Maternity video tour, which has a voiceover and subtitles, features Julie McQuire, community midwife, explaining how to get to the delivery suite and then once inside, she takes you on a journey through:

• Maternity reception

• Single labour rooms, including one with a birthing pool

• Maternity theatre

• Maternity ward which also includes:

• Dining room

• Antenatal ward

• Day assessment unit

Janet Riley, matron for maternity services at West Cumberland Hospital, said: “Having a virtual tour in place is really important for anyone who is expecting to come to us.

"We hope that it will calm nerves of those who are feeling anxious ahead of attending.”