Got my hands on the Maidstone Birth Centre Five Year Report 2011-2016 yesterday and it makes for impressive reading! It’ll soon be on the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s Website, but here’s a summary.
These stats are very pertinent for local women as they understand and make choices about where to have their babies.
Maidstone Birth Centre opened five years ago and there have been more than 2,000 births there since. This equates to around 8% per year of all babies born within the Trust, which is significantly above the national average for births outside the main hospital environment.
First up – know this: The Birth Place Study in England (see my previous post here) found that, for low risk women, birth is as safe for babies in a birth centre as it is in hospital, with the added benefit of reduced intervention for mums – lower rates of caesarean birth, lower rates of assisted birth with forceps/ventouse and lower rates of episiotomy.
To be clear on episiotomies (because this is one of the issues that most mums on my courses are really concerned about): The Birth Place Study reported that ‘low risk’ women would expect to have a rate of episiotomy at 28% for first time mothers and 7.4% for subsequent births ….. not at Maidstone Birth Centre they don’t! The Birth Centre reports a really low episiotomy rate of 4% for first time mothers and 0.6% for subsequent births.
77% of first time mothers starting labour at the Birth Centre had a normal delivery (compared with only 65.7% expected from the Birth Place Study) 7% required a caesarean birth (compared with 13%) and 15% an instrumental birth (compared with 21.3%)
Maidstone Birth Centre’s showing way better stats than the national expected average.
Outcomes are also excellent for women having their second or subsequent birth – 98% had a straightforward birth.
To put these stats into context, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) indicate that similar women giving birth in a hospital setting are 4 times more like to have a caesarean and 3 times more likely to have birth with either forceps or ventouse.
Research has shown that a non-clinical birth environment can enormously effect a woman’s birth experience by helping reduce fear and anxiety.
If a problem occurs during labour, it may be necessary for a woman to be transferred to hospital by ambulance along with her midwife. Overall transfer rates for women are 20%, women report this process as being straightforward and many choose to return to the Birth Centre for their postnatal care. That figure may seem quite high, but 2 things to bear in mind – midwives aren’t stupid and they don’t take risks and also a significant number of women transferred will go on to have a straightforward labour anyway – the fact that they chose to and did start their labour in a birth centre has an impact.
The Centre also provides breastfeeding support, a 24 hour help line and drop-in facility, and complementary therapies for labour – aromatherapy, reflexology, hypnobirthing, acupuncture.
You also have the choice of Crowborough Birth Centre. The support there is amazing also and women love it. It’s become part of Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, so the two Birth Centre teams are working together. I don’t have actual figures for there, but I’ll endeavor to get them and report back. But, from the findings of the Birth Place Study, it’s safe to say that birthing there will also profoundly improve your birth experience.
Worth being aware also, that if you don’t clearly fit into a ‘low risk’ or ‘high risk’ category your specific situation can be discussed on an individual basis by a multi professional team – so always ask if there’s any confusion.
We’re fortunate to have two wonderful Birth Centres with teams providing high standards of evidence based care, ensuring that women have a real choice about where to give birth.
There’s lots more info. & stats in the actual report, keep an eye here to read it.
But, in the meantime do go along and visit the both Birth Centres, look around, talk to the midwives there … so that when you choose where to have your baby you really understand your choices and are making an informed decision
I’ve just focused here on the things that I hear from the parents on my courses and at Positive Birth Movement gatherings are worrying them – they want straightforward births, without episiotomies on the whole and yet most of them choose to give birth at the hospital, with the reason stated as being ‘because it’s nearest’. I’m sure that there are other reasons why they’re choosing to birth there, but I urge them and you to give it a lot of thought.
You’ve read the evidence and the stats – if you’re married, think about how much time you spent researching and visiting wedding venues, meeting caterers, florists, how much time you spent debating what you’d where etc. Or, think about a big holiday you’ve planned ….. where you birth your baby deserves as much (or, dare I say, more) consideration folks!
Plus – Maidstone Birth Centre is bloody LUSH! It’s like a boutique hotel! Double beds in postnatal rooms so partners can stay comfortably! You won’t wanna leave!
As always I’d love your comments and if you’ve got any questions or want more info, just email me – if I don’t know the answer, I certainly know someone who does, and I’m really happy to source info/support just for you!