Women are able to choose to give birth to their babies at a MLU if their pregnancy has been uncomplicated. Giving birth is generally very safe for both the woman and the baby (Birthplace, 2011).
Any risk factors that develop during the pregnancy may require assessment by a consultant obstetrician either at the Consultant Led Unit or in antenatal clinic or day assessment unit at Eastbourne DGH or Conquest Hospital. This may then mean that the MLU or home is no longer the safest option for your birth. Plans will then be discussed with you for the birth to take place in a consultant led unit such as at Conquest Hospital.
The Birthplace study, which looked at 64,000 low risk births showed that birth centres appear to be safe for the baby and offer benefits for the mother. For planned births in a MLU there is no significant difference in outcomes for babies, however women who had planned birth in a MLU had significantly fewer interventions (ventouse, forceps and caesareans) and more normal births compared to a Consultant Led Unit.
The majority of women that come to a MLU in labour will successfully give birth there – more than 60% of women with their first baby and over 90% of women who have had a baby before. This is also evident in the published literature for home births.
It is possible for you to have a tour around our MLU – Eastbourne Midwifery Unit – by arrangement.