When you think you are in labour you should contact your named midwife or you can call us at the Hospital Birth Centre using the contact details on the right of this page. You will be given advice on when to come into hospital. Please call before you come into hospital so that the midwives are expecting you.
Take the lift to the 7th floor of St Thomas' North Wing to the Hospital Birth Centre reception. Please show the receptionist your maternity notes.
You will initially be assessed by a midwife, to check that all is well with you and your baby and to determine your progress in labour. Your plans for birth will be discussed and a midwife will be allocated to look after you.
If you have been asked to attend the birth centre for a planned induction of labour or elective caesarean section, please let the receptionist know when you arrive.
Once your labour is established (which means you are having regular contractions and your cervix is dilating, usually 4cm or more), you will be allocated a single room and a midwife will provide one-to-one care.
Each room has:
- en suite bath/shower and toilet facilities
- a comfortable chair for birth partners
- birth balls, birth mats, bean bags available
- the option of aromatherapy oils (your midwife will advise you as to their use)
- special warmer and resuscitaire equipment for babies who need extra care straight after birth
- adaptable lighting and sound - for example you may wish to have low lighting in the room and/or play music from your own device.
Many women choose to use relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques during labour and we will do our best to facilitate a calm, private and quiet environment. Find out more about coping with labour.
There is a kitchenette for you and your birth partners to make hot and cold drinks.
The Hospedia service by your bed offers a radio that you can use for free and a television, which you have to pay for.
You can use your mobile phone in the centre, except for in the high dependency unit or theatre as they can interfere with electrical equipment. There is also a payphone in the centre. A free wi-fi network is available for your use.
It is important to be well nourished and well hydrated during labour. Snacks and sandwiches are available for women on request, or you can bring in your favourite sacks and drinks. There is also a hot meal service available.
If your labour is affected by complications, your midwife will tell you if you should refrain from eating, and will explain the reasons for this. Hot drinks are available for free at all times from the tea trolley, which is in the kitchenette. After the birth, we ask other visitors to use the facilities in the main hospital lobby on the ground floor.
Labour and birth supporters
We welcome one or two named birthing partners into the birth room to support you during labour and birth. If you would like additional support (including your own doula) we will do our best to facilitate this. Occasionally, such as in an emergency, we may need to ask the additional supporter(s) to wait outside the room.
Following the birth, it is usfually up to you to decide how many visitors you receive although we may not be able to accommodate all your visitors at the same time. To reduce the risk of infection, we do not allow children under the age of 16 in the birth centres unless they are your own children. For more information, see our visiting hours page.
Midwives in the hospital birth centre mostly work for 12 hours, 7.30am-8pm or 7.30pm-8am. Occasionally, midwives may work shorter shifts, from 7.30am-3pm or 12 noon-8pm. You will be allocated a named midwife at the start of every day or night shift, so you will find that you have a change of staff in the morning or evening, and sometimes in the early afternoon.