Local families joined midwives at the Barkantine Birth Centre on Tuesday 8th May at a party to celebrate ten years since the first baby was born.
When it opened in January 2008, the Barkantine Birth Centre was the first of its kind in London. For the first time women could have midwife-led care in Tower Hamlets outside of hospital before, during and after birth.
The centre has continued to serve the local community for the last 10 years; with 3,804 babies born.
Special guest Baroness Julia Cumberlege, who recently led a National Maternity Review to improve outcomes of maternity services across England, described the centre as offering “the best model of care”.
Midwife-led care is different from that received on a labour ward in hospital as mothers and their families have access to their own room with a double bed, private en suite facilities, a sofa and balcony, plasma TV and a birthing pool. Partners can also stay overnight.
The centre is set up to create a relaxing environment for mothers during labour with as little medical intervention as possible. As there are no specialist doctors based at the centre, this type of birth is suitable for women considered to be having a ‘low-risk’ pregnancy.
Ruth Wilson, who lives in Tower Hamlets, praised the midwives for their care during the birth of her daughter Zoe: “Six weeks ago we were lucky enough to welcome our beautiful daughter Zoe into the world – who was expertly and safely delivered by the wonderful Rachel of the Barkantine Birth Centre.
“From my first appointment my pregnancy changed for the better - I felt like an individual. I was listened to; my dignity and the safety of my baby was paramount. I felt relaxed, content and cared for...and this continued with every appointment. Each one of the team I met shared my excitement, understood any worries I had, and reassured me when I needed it.
“The Barkantine makes me so proud of our NHS. It was a real pleasure to be a small part of their story and I will never - for as long as live - forget the care, respect and joy of the most special day of my life.”
Catherine Reeve-Jones, senior midwife at The Barkantine Birth Centre since 2010, said: “I am proud of the care we offer to women who live locally and that women come back to have more babies with us at The Barkantine. It is so lovely to work in the heart of the community.”