It’s hard to believe the Fatima Allam Birth Centre is provided by the NHS and not a private hospital.
With its mood lighting, wall art and the most tranquil private environment, Hull’s new natural birth centre is more like a swanky boutique hotel than a hospital.
The Fatima Allam Birth Centre is a midwifery-led unit which opened its doors next door to the labour ward in Hull Women and Children’s Hospital earlier this year.
The centre gives women more choice where they give birth and provides a homely and relaxing environment to make the whole process as “perfect” as possible.
As soon as you walk through the double-doors from the labour ward into the birth centre you can feel the environment shifts from a clinical hospital to a welcoming, calm and spacious centre.
The lighting is dimmed, walls are adorned with art and black and white baby photography, music is piped into each suite and the clinical machinery is hidden behind dark wooden panels you would usually find in a luxury hotel.
Each private en-suite room has a light-up birthing pool, birthing platforms (the bed), and birthing aids, including a birthing stool and birthing ball.
Suzanna Lascelles, midwifery sister, said: “This centre brings more choice for women. We can now offer women a home birth, a birth on a consultant led unit in the labour ward or a birth at the birthing centre which is led by highly-skilled midwives.
“It’s an ideal place for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies who do not want a home birth, but want a calm place in a home from home environment.
“The women can come straight to us if they’ve had a low-risk pregnancy.
“We offer labour aids such as birthing balls and birthing stools and we encourage the use of massage, supportive birth partners, aromatherapy and tens machines.
“Each room has all the clinical equipment hidden behind paneling, so it’s made to look like a homely environment so women can keep calm and stay relaxed because a tranquil environment can help women have less fear in their labour.
“Women have told us it’s a great environment, that they really like it, that it looks good, and feels good and that it’s helped them to relax and they’ve told us they’ve had a really positive birthing experience here.”
Although the centre is for women to have a natural birth, women can have Entonox – known commonly as gas and air, pethidine and meptid. The only pain relief women can’t have in the birth centre is an epidural.