Child and Maternal Health
Cabinet Secretary visits new Alongside Midwifery Unit in Forth Valley
Pregnant women in NHS Forth Valley now have the full range of birth settings to choose from when they come to deliver their baby. Offering women choice is one of many recommendation included in the Best Start report published after the review of maternity services in Scotland.
The unit is a pre-existing area of the Obstetric Unit in Forth Valley Royal Hospital which has been refurbished and has had new equipment added. It allows women to give birth in a more homely environment. New beds have been bought along with cube chairs which convert to double beds to allow women and their partner to stay together.
Art work designed by local school pupils has been added to the walls, which adds to the homely more relaxed environment. Calm light projections provide visual distraction.
The unit also supports water births, with two rooms having the facilities to make this possible. The whole atmosphere of the unit is far less clinical compared to the labour ward.
While visiting the facility on 30 August, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman had the opportunity to meet the pupils who had been involved in the wall mural as well as add her own leaf to the wall.
She also met baby Amelia Fraser who was the first baby to be born in the Alongside Midwifery Unit.
During the visit, Ms Freeman had the chance to speak to the staff involved in planning for the move to a continuity of carer model that is recommended in The Best Start.
Gillian Morton, Head of Midwifery said: “NHS Forth Valley is one of five NHS Boards in Scotland selected to take forward the early implementation of recommendations in The Best Start, Scotland’s national strategy for maternity and neonatal care. As well as the development of an AMU, we will be introducing new working patterns for staff to ensure more women are cared for by a midwife they know during pregnancy, labour and after their baby has been born.”
The team at NHS Forth Valley have worked hard to make this recommendation in The Best Start a reality, and we look forward to seeing their progress with other recommendations over the coming months!