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Where to give birth in Newcastle

Everything you need to know about giving birth at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI)


royal victoria infirmary

If you live in Newcastle, chances are you’re considering giving birth at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).


In this blog post, I’m going to guide you through exactly what services and options the maternity unit at the RVI offers, helping you to decide if it’s the right choice for you and your birth.


The information in this blog is up to date at the time of writing, but I would always recommend that you speak to your midwife for the most up to date information.


Deciding where to give birth

When you attend your first appointment with your health professional around 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, there may be a quick chat around which hospital you would like to give birth at.


It's important to know that nothing is ever set in stone and you can change your mind at any point. Where you choose to birth your baby could powerfully impact your birth experience so it's really important to make an informed decision.


Know that you don't have to give birth at your local hospital.


You can choose to give birth any of the maternity units in your region. This is your baby and your birth. In the UK, every single pregnant person has the right to decide where they want to give birth, whether that's at home or in hospital. This right is protected in law.


A medical professional can make a recommendation, but ultimately it's your decision.


If you want to read more about deciding where to give birth, check out at this article from Birth Rights.


If you live in Newcastle or the North East, you can find details about all of the other maternity units in the region here.


pregnant couple

About the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) Maternity Unit

The RVI is one of the largest maternity units in the North East and across the UK, caring for over 5000+ families per year. The unit looks after a significant number of families in the region and is well equipped to provide specialist support for those with more complicated pregnancies and medical conditions, and for babies who may require extra care after birth on the Neonatal unit.

 

At the time of writing this blog post, in person tours of the RVI 's maternity unit are not currently available but please do check with your midwife for an update on this.


If you would like to get more of an idea of what the maternity unit looks like, there is a video tour available here:



 

The maternity unit at the RVI is easily accessible by car, bus or metro and is located in the Leazes wing of the hospital. There are marked maternity bay parking spaces for when you arrive at the unit in labour and you do not need to pay for these.

 

Your options for birth

You have three options available to you when you choose to birth under the Newcastle Trust.


You can choose to give birth at home, on the midwife led Newcastle Birthing Centre or on the consultant led delivery suite (labour ward).


I’m going to break down the pros and cons of all these options, alongside the facilities that will be available to you in each location so you can fully consider all of your options.

 

Home birth

homebirth birthing pool set up

Choosing to give birth at home is the right decision for some families, particularly those who want a hands-off birth with minimal medical interventions.


Regardless of your ‘risk labels’, you have the right to give birth at home.


Please note that the time of writing this blog post, the home birth service in Newcastle is currently suspended


Whilst the trust must take your individual circumstances into consideration if you request a homebirth, as the service is suspended this does mean that in the event you ring the team in labour, an ambulance would most likely be sent out to you instead of a midwife from the trust.


If you would like more information on your homebirth rights, please do read this article from Birth Rights. Please also check in with your midwife for the latest information on the home birth service in Newcastle.


Pros of homebirth


  • Comfortable, private environment

  • One to one care

  • You’re more likely to see the same person throughout your care

  • Less likely to experience medical interventions

  • You can definitely have access to a birthing pool if you hire one

  • You can use gas & air

  • No restrictions on birthing partners

  • Able to recover after birth in the comfort of your own home

 

Cons of homebirth


  • No access to pharmaceutical pain relief options

  • Transfer to hospital would be via ambulance in the case of an emergency

 

Newcastle Birthing Centre


birthing centre RVI

The Newcastle Birthing Centre is the largest birthing centre in the North East and is located on level 3 of the Leazes Wing at the RVI. It is directly on the left hand side as you enter the hospital through the main doors.

 

The Newcastle Birthing Centre is a co-located midwife led unit, meaning it is in the main hospital building, but separate from the consultant led delivery suite.


Facilities

At the RVI, the Birthing Centre is one floor away from the delivery suite and has the following facilities:


  • 12 birthing rooms, 5 of which are pool rooms

  • Hot meals provided at any time of day or night

  • An en-suite bathroom in each birthing room (some have baths with showers overhead, others have showers only)

  • Free TV with Freeview in each birthing room

  • Birthing balls, floor mats, birthing couches and birthing stools

  • Dimmer switches and air conditioning in each birthing room

  • A pull out double sofa bed for postnatal stays

*Please note that at the time of writing this blog post, the birthing centre at the RVI is not ‘open as usual’. Due to significant staff shortages at the trust, the birthing centre sometimes has to close at short notice and the duration of the closures can vary. This means the birthing centre could be closed for hours or days at a time.


It is not currently possible to know if the birthing centre at the RVI will be open when you give birth as no announcements are being made from the trust. The current advice from the trust is to ring the labour line when you are in labour and ask if the birthing centre is open.


For the most up to date information on this situation, please contact your midwife.


Criteria for using the birthing centre

The RVI currently advise that they have the following criteria for using the birthing centre:


  • Being pregnant with 1 baby

  • Baby in the head down position at the start of labour

  • You are having a ‘low risk’ pregnancy or there is a documented plan in your notes that says you can give birth at the Newcastle Birthing Centre

  • Be ‘term’ at the start of your labour – between 37+0 and 42+0 weeks

  • If it is your first baby, to have a BMI below 35 at 28 weeks of pregnancy

  • If it is your second baby or more, to have a BMI below 40 at 28 weeks of pregnancy

 

If you fall outside of the above criteria, please do speak to your midwife. It’s important to know that these criteria are not set in law. For more information on your birth rights and choosing to use a birthing centre, please read this article from Birth Rights.



woman holds her pregnant bump


Pros of using the birthing centre at the RVI


  • Midwife led care 

  • Homely environment which is less clinical than the delivery suite

  • 5 birthing pool rooms

  • No birthing partner restrictions. Your birthing partner can stay with you throughout your labour and after you’ve given birth

  • All rooms have ensuite bathrooms

  • Gas and air is available for pain relief

  • You only need to transfer one floor up if you need stronger forms of pain relief or if you need to see a consultant

Cons of using the birthing centre at the RVI


  • No access to strong forms of pain relief such as an epidural

  • Currently, it isn’t always open and there’s no way of knowing if it will be open in advance of you giving birth

  • You cannot use the birthing centre if your labour is induced

 

Delivery suite


delivery suite at the RVI

The Delivery suite or labour ward at the RVI is the largest in the North East. It provides consultant led care and is located on level 4 of the Leazes Wing, one floor above the Birthing Centre.


Facilities

The delivery suite has:


  • 12 birthing rooms, 1 of which is a pool room

  • 7 rooms are en-suite and 5 have shared bathroom facilities

  • 6 induction beds, arranged as one 2-bedded bay and one 4-bedded bay

  • A 5-bedded Recovery area

  • A 4-bedded Enhanced Recovery area

  • 2 maternity theatres on the Delivery Suite

  • Free TV with Freeview in each birthing room except the pool room

  • Birthing balls, floor mats and birthing stools available on request

 

Pros of using the delivery suite


  • Access to stronger forms of pain relief such as an epidural

  • If you or your baby needs to see a doctor, your midwife will call a doctor who is available on the suite to come to your room to see you. You will not have to transfer anywhere

Cons of using the delivery suite


  • More clinical experience

  • Higher risk of experiencing medical interventions, even if you’re low risk

  • There is only 1 pool room

  • You may have to share a bathroom with another family whilst in labour

  • There are birthing partner restrictions. After you’ve given birth, your birthing partner will only be able to stay with you during set visiting hours. This means they could be asked to leave after your baby is born

  • Recovery usually takes place on a shared postnatal ward


a woman hold a newborn baby in hospital in newcastle

When considering where to give birth, it’s really important to taking into account your own personal circumstances, health and also what you value as important for your birth. Deciding what type of birth you want is a great place to start.


Ultimately, the best place to give birth is wherever you feel safest and most relaxed.

 

Love Emma

Hypnobirthing and antenatal teacher

xxx



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Who am I?

antenatal teacher newcastle holds pevlvis

Hi, I'm Emma. 5* rated Hypnobirthing and antenatal teacher and the founder of Blooming Births Hypnobirthing.


I pride myself on offering honest, bespoke and evidence based antenatal courses, developed after years of extensive training.


After giving birth to my own two babies, I continue to work closely with the Newcastle Maternity units and stay up to date with current working practices so that you are well informed about what to expect from your local trust.

 I'm also an affiliate member of The Royal College of Midwives and a breastfeeding peer support volunteer. I'm continually updating my knowledge, including training with the UKs leading midwives, doulas and birth rights consultants.




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