Home births encouraged by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust in shake-up of maternity services

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A shake-up of the district’s maternity services has been supported by changes to official guidelines on safe births, say hospital bosses.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust has welcomed new guidance saying more women should give birth in units run by midwives instead of doctors being in charge.

Draft guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence say births in Midwife-Led Units (MLUs) and home births should be encouraged for women who already have a child and whose pregnancy is considered low-risk.

Currently, both Pinderfieds and Dewsbury hospitals have consultant-led maternity units.

But the trust is pressing ahead with plans to centralise consultant-led births at Pinderfields and downgrade Dewswbury to an MLU.

Pontefract already has a midwife-led unit, and Pinderfields is set to have an MLU alongside its consultant led unit under the shake-up.

Gill Pownall, consultant midwife at Mid Yorkshire, said: “We believe in giving women choice and support during their pregnancy and encourage mums-to-be to trust in their bodies and to give birth as naturally as possible, wherever possible.

“These draft guidelines support our plans for the future of maternity services across Mid Yorkshire, and we are delighted that the services offered by the trust are ahead of the game.”

New mum Kelly Wroe, from Ossett, chose Pontefract MLU for the birth of her second child after her pregnancy was classed as low-risk.

She said: “The MLU offered exactly what I wanted; it meant I could have as natural a birth as possible, without medical intervention.

“The unit doesn’t feel overly clinical, there are no beeping machines or restrictive monitors, it is a comfortable and calming environment and I felt in control.”

New MLUs at Pinderfields and Dewsbury are expected to be operational by 2016.