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Our maternity service has been rated as one of the safest in the country and we have a fantastic birthing centre at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.


Our birthing centre

The birthing centre has a consultant-led obstetric unit and co-located midwifery-led unit.  You will have a single en-suite room, so your partner can stay overnight with you. The delivery suite has birthing pools as an option for you.
The centre also has a special care baby unit for those babies who need extra help.
If you choose to deliver your baby at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital 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 hospital, or Berwick or Alnwick infirmary.
If you would like more information about having your baby at the Birthing Centre at the Northumbria hospital, or would like to look around, please contact 0191 607 2018 to arrange a visit.

To find out more about our birthing centre watch our short video...


Trustwide services  

We offer support throughout pregnancy, during birth and after the birth of your baby. We also have midwifery-led maternity services at Hexham General Hospital and Alnwick and Berwick infirmaries. 

Antenatal care

During pregnancy most of your contact will be with your community midwife who will see you at regular intervals 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. If any concerns arise when seeing the midwife at clinic she may refer you for consultant review.

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. Alternatively visit the government screening information site here if you have not booked yet.

Aqua natal classes

Expectant and new mums invited to attend aqua natal exercise classes at The Swan Centre, Berwick, every Tuesday 6-6.45pm. They are designed specifically for women throughout their pregnancy with mums then returning six weeks after the baby is born.

Aqua natal exercise classes also help promote sleep, can help to 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.

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. The classes are below:

Back pain classes

  • North Tyneside General Hospital, every Tuesday 1pm-2.30pm

  • Hexham General Hospital, once a month on a  Friday 10am-12pm
  • Wansbeck General Hospital, first and third Wednesday of the month 1pm-2.30pm

  • Alnwick Infirmary, every other Wednesday, 10.30am-11am

Postnatal exercise classes

  • North Tyneside General Hospital, Wednesday 1pm-2.30pm

  • Hexham General Hospital, Thursday 12pm-1pm

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.

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.

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.

Berwick Infirmary

Arrangements are in place to enable low-risk women to once again have the choice to give birth in Berwick Maternity Unit.

This follows the decision, by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to introduce a new safe and sustainable model of round-the-clock maternity care in Berwick.

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.

All regular antenatal and postnatal clinics for both low and high-risk women will continue from Berwick Maternity Unit and under the new arrangements there will be 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 i.e. 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.

Alnwick Infirmary (Hillcrest)

Hillcrest is a stand alone unit in the grounds of Alnwick Infirmary with nine beds. 
From 8pm on Friday 4 November, we are introducing the successful overnight on call system, which is currently in place in Berwick, to the Alnwick area, for women who are due to give birth at Hillcrest.  This is an interim measure to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of pregnant women and is being put in place as we continue with our extensive recruitment efforts to reach a full staffing complement in Alnwick.  
This interim change 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 will continue to be open seven days a week, from 8.30am until 6pm and all antenatal clinics, consultant-led clinics and postnatal drop-in clinics and community midwifery services will continue as normal.
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 will not be staffed 24/7, there will be no inpatient post natal care available at Hillcrest for Alnwick women who have chosen to deliver at The Northumbria hospital, however extra support with community breastfeeding services will be available to support local women at home. 

The team

Teams of midwives in the hospital and community work closely with consultants, health visitors, physiotherapists and ultrasonographers. Janice McNichol is head of midwifery.

Supervision of midwives

A supervisor of midwives will support you and your midwife in the care she gives you. She can advise on choices such as place of birth, address any concerns regarding care and act as an advocate. A supervior of midwives is available 24-hours a day and you can contact your local maternity unit if you wish to speak to one.


  • Hillcrest midwife-led unit 01665 626 732
  • Berwick midwife-led unit 01289 356 622
  • Hexham midwife-led unit 01434 655 352

If you need to change your appointment please call 0344 811 8111 and ask for the antenatal clinic at the unit you are booked.

Patient support groups

Tamba (Twins) 01483 304442 

National Breast Feeding Helpline 0300 100 0212 

Newcastle Women’s Aid 0191 2752148

North Tyneside Woman’s Aid 0191 2513305/ Out of hours 07946 753638

Sexual Health (One to One centre) 0191 2970441

Parentline Plus 24 hour parent advice line 0808 800222 

Useful links

NHS Direct

NHS Choices Pregnancy Care Planner

UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative

National Childbirth Trust

Dad Info