Having a baby is such a special time in your life and we want you to have the best possible experience. We’re here to offer you lots of support throughout pregnancy, during birth and after the birth of your baby.
You can find lots of information below about our birthing centre at The Northumbria hospital, as well as our midwifery-led units and all the ante-natal and post-natal care that we offer.
Birth Reflection Service
Sometimes following a birth it is helpful to talk through your experience. If you’ve had your baby with us, you can spend time talking to a midwife through our birth reflection service.
- Birthing centre
Our birthing centre is based at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and offers you a welcoming, safe environment to have your baby in.
You will have a single en-suite room and your partner is also able to stay overnight in your room. The delivery suite has birthing pools if you would like this as an option.
The centre has a consultant-led obstetric unit and co-located midwifery-led unit. It also has a special care baby unit for those babies who need extra help.
Please get in touch if you would like to look around.
If you choose to deliver your baby here you will still receive your ante-natal care at one of our current hospitals close to home. Depending on the care you need that will be at Hexham, North Tyneside or Wansbeck general hospitals, or Berwick or Alnwick infirmary.
- Our midwifery-led units
In addition to the birthing centre at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, we also have midwifery-led units in Hexham, Berwick and Alnwick. These small units are led by highly skilled experienced midwives who provide one to one personal care and support within a relaxed and friendly environment.
Our midwives provide care to mothers in the units and in the community after the birth of your baby. They cover local and outlying clinics, provide home visits and ensure continuity of antenatal, labour and postnatal care.
We would be delighted to show you around any of our units, please call the units to make an appointment. The contact details are below.
Alnwick Infirmary (Hillcrest)
Hillcrest is a stand alone unit in the grounds of Alnwick Infirmary with nine beds.
As in Berwick, the unit has an overnight on-call system for women deemed to be low-risk who are due to give birth at Hillcrest. This interim measure allows us to continue fully staffing Hillcrest during the day, seven days a week and continue with all local community midwifery services to support local women throughout their pregnancies. The temporary measure means that between 6pm and 8.30am (seven days a week), there will be an on call midwifery service for Alnwick women who are booked to give birth at Hillcrest.
Hillcrest is open seven days a week, from 8.30am until 6pm with antenatal clinics, consultant-led clinics and postnatal drop-in clinics and community midwifery services.
During this interim safety measure, women who give birth at Hillcrest will experience a shortened post natal stay and discharges will be based upon clinical need. As the unit is not be staffed 24/7, there is no inpatient post natal care for Alnwick women who have chosen to deliver at The Northumbria hospital, however extra support with community breastfeeding services are available to support local women at home.
Women considered to be low-risk women have the choice to give birth in Berwick Maternity Unit.
The unit is open from 9am-6pm Monday to Friday and 9am-2.30pm at weekends, with a 24/7 on-call service for low-risk women who wish to deliver at the unit or at home.
There are regular antenatal and postnatal clinics for both low and high-risk women at the unit with enhanced community postnatal care for women including:
- Daily telephone contact following discharge to give any immediate advice and signpost to relevant services if required
- Home visits arranged to meet needs of individual women.to offer support with feeding and baby care such as bathing, general baby wellbeing
- Drop-in postnatal care at the unit to address any wellbeing concerns for new mothers or babies, including full breastfeeding support. If necessary, new mothers will be able to stay in the unit during opening times to receive feeding support
- Greater links with local organisations such as Sure Start, which provide a range of sessions for new mothers to support breastfeeding and care of the baby.
Hexham General Hospital
This unit is open 24 hours a day. Our delivery suite has four rooms with en-suite facilities, one of which has a birthing pool. The ward area has seven single rooms with en-suite facilities.
- Antenatal care
During pregnancy most of your contact will be with your community midwife who will see you regularly to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy and to answer any questions you may have.
As soon as you have a positive pregnancy test your GP surgery will provide you with the information you need to access the care of one of our community midwives.
You will be given an opportunity to attend a pre-booking information session with a midwife. During this session you will be given information about where you can have your baby, the screening tests available to you and your baby and information about healthy lifestyle choices will be discussed with you. You will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have with the midwife present.
Once you have received this information, you should feel able to make informed decisions about your care and where you would like to have your baby. A booking appointment is then planned to discuss these decisions and your care during your pregnancy and after you have your baby.
You will be offered two ultrasound scans at a hospital of your choice. The first scan, in early pregnancy, is to confirm the expected date of delivery and the second scan is to assess your baby’s development.
You will also be offered parent education classes and given an appointment to attend an infant feeding workshop.
Should you require any extra care (or you are deemed high risk) your midwife will refer you to the hospital to see a consultant. Low risk pregnancies do not generally require a consultant appointment, the midwife is responsible for your care.
Throughout your pregnancy, information and advice is available to you from all the health professionals involved in your care. We have many leaflets readily available which may help you understand, and make decisions on, your care and treatment. The information most appropriate to you will be provided to you throughout your care and you can talk to your midwife or health professional at any point for more advice.
- Antenatal clinics
Antenatal clinics are held in a variety of settings, including GP surgeries, children’s centres and in our hospitals to give you a choice of time and location that is most convenient for you. Your community midwife will provide you with the information you need to decide where to have your antenatal care, including those clinics run by our specialist midwives.
- Antenatal and newborn screening
We offer a comprehensive screening programme for pregnant women and newborn babies to help identify any increased risk of a disease or condition.
Our screening co-ordinators support pregnant women and their families throughout the process, ensuring that any positive results are received in a timely manner and information provided to promote informed choice and decision making.
Antenatal screening programmes:
- Sickle cell and thalassaemia
- Infectious diseases
- Down’s/Edward’s/Patau’s syndrome and fetal anomaly ultra sound scan
Newborn screening programmes:
- Hearing screening
- Blood spot screening
- Newborn and infant physical examination
The screening programmes will be discussed with you at the appropriate time, either during your pregnancy or after the birth of your baby. You will have time at your appointments to discuss your options and have any queries that you may have answered.
More information about these programmes are available in your ‘screening tests for you and your baby’ leaflet given to you at your early pregnancy session/booking appointment. You can find more information on screening on NHS Choices here.
- Parent education
We offer a choice of friendly, informal parent education sessions covering all aspects of pregnancy, what to expect during labour, delivery and parenthood. Fathers/partners are welcome to attend any of the sessions, and your community midwife will be able to give you details.
All mums are also given an appointment to attend an infant feeding session run by specialist infant feeding coordinator midwives who are available to offer you support when required.
Physiotherapy can help keep you healthy and relaxed during pregnancy, throughout labour and delivery and after you’ have had your baby. We have physiotherapists specialising in women’s health, who hold sessions during the day and in the evenings which you and your partner can attend. Your midwife will be able to let you know when these sessions are.
- Specialist midwives
We have a number of specialist midwives who can provide extra care and support with things like diabetes, teenage pregnancy or if you need help with smoking cessation, or drug and alcohol addiction issues. Your community midwife will refer you to these services if you need this extra support.
- Aqua natal classes
Aqua natal exercise classes are designed specifically for women throughout their pregnancy with mums then returning six weeks after the baby is born. They can help promote sleep, reduce stress levels and reduce back and joint pain. They encourage the baby to get into the best position for birth as well as maintaining good core strength which can help expectant mums to feel comfortable throughout pregnancy, improve flexibility of the spine and joints and lower heart rate and blood pressure. Talk to your midwife about the nearest class to you.
- Birthing unit, Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital 0191 607 2318
- Hillcrest midwife-led unit 01665 626 732
- Berwick midwife-led unit 01289 356 622
- Hexham midwife-led unit 01434 655 352
Patient support groups
National Breast Feeding Helpline 0300 100 0212
Newcastle Women’s Aid 0191 2752148
Sexual Health (One to One centre) 0191 2970441