New midwife-led Birth Centre at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital

Pauline checks up on first time mum Emily Seddon

Pauline checks up on first time mum Emily Seddon - Credit: Archant

A new midwife-led Birth Centre at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital is providing mothers-to-be with a world of choice, as Ellie Cowley discovers

As the ‘Great Kate Wait’ number two begins, some equally precious bundles are making their way into the world at the new midwife-led Bournemouth Birth Centre at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital..

With two spacious en-suite birthing suites, birthing pools, hidden technology, sound proofing, air conditioning and ambient lighting, the centre provides ‘home from home’ birth facilities.

As Head of Midwifery, Pauline Hawkes, explains, it’s all about giving women choices. “Giving birth is a very individual thing and my team supports natural birth where possible. Most mothers want to avoid surgery, but some women have acute anxiety about giving birth normally. In extreme cases, they will request other options, like elective C-sections.

“Then there are many women who want to experience natural birth; we are told the Duchess of Cambridge was delighted when she gave birth to Prince George this way. Davina McCall, a mother for the first time at 33, had all three of her children naturally at home, later saying: ‘When my babies were born, I felt like I was the lion king. I wanted to go to pride rock, lift my baby up and roar. Nothing else has ever made me feel like that!’ Davina is a real inspiration for many women who come to us.”

Pauline adds that being a mum herself has helped in her role as a midwife. “I want every woman, whatever kind of birth they have, to feel empowered.”

So is a birth centre or home birth suitable for first time mums and older mums? Pauline happily confirms that in most cases the answer is yes: “If a mother is fit and healthy she can choose to give birth in our Birth Centre. If she is over 35, recent guidance recommends that she births in an Obstetric Unit as she has a higher risk of excessive blood loss.

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There are also many reasons why mothers want a hospital birth even if in the peak of health, as Pauline reveals: “Many choose Poole Hospital’s maternity suite because emergency teams are close by and paediatricians are on hand if the baby needs urgent treatment.”

So what are Pauline’s hopes for royal birth number two? “It would be inspiring if the Duchess of Cambridge had a home birth. The Queen had her four children at home, so it wouldn’t be out of character for a royal delivery!”

Find out about the Bournemouth Birth Centre at or call 01202 704684



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