Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust (MTW) is one of very few Trusts nationally that offers women and their families a maternity service with the widest possible range of birth choices. MTW has two birth centres offering midwifery led care.
A birth centre is a unit offering care to healthy women with straightforward pregnancies in which Midwives take primary professional responsibility for care. They can be located away from the Hospitals obstetric unit (standalone) or adjacent (alongside) the obstetric unit. At MTW both birth centres are standalone.
NICE revised guideline (2014) recommended that for women having their first or subsequent babies who are healthy and experiencing a straightforward pregnancy giving birth in a birth centre is a safe choice both for them and their baby.
At a Birth Centre the rate of intervention is lower and the outcome for baby is no different than at an obstetric unit (Delivery Suite). Women’s experiences of care have been shown to be more positive when they choose to birth and are cared for at a Birth Centre.
Our data and statistics reflect these findings. Maidstone and Crowborough Birth Centres have supported over 3000 births since they have been open. Of the women starting their birthing process at one of our birth centres 89% of them have gone on to have an uncomplicated birth.
Choosing a Birth Centre
We encourage all women and their partners to attend a tour of the birth centre of their choice. This can be arranged with your midwife or by calling the birth centre. We offer a birth place assessment at around 34 weeks of pregnancy and this can be booked through your Midwife or direct with the birth centre. The birth place assessment allows time for the Midwife to assess your pregnancy and make sure you are suitable to birth with them. You can plan your birth and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
More information on Birth Centres can be found on the NHS.uk website.
Facilities at the Birth Centres
Both our birth centres offer midwifery led care with the support of maternity support workers. They are comfortable and furnished more like a home, to allow women to spend time with their families. Active birth is encouraged with birthing balls, bean bags and birthing stools. There is a kitchen diner for easy access to drinks and snacks and plenty of room for women to move about. The post-natal rooms have double beds for partners to stay.
The birth centres also offer:
- Pool rooms and post-natal rooms
- Ante natal and birthing sessions
- Breast feeding support and drop-in sessions
- Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) – Midwives are trained to complete this examination for your baby before you go home
There are many options available for pain management in labour including TENS machines, water births and complementary therapies. The Birth Centre also offers;
- Pools for waterbirths
- Aromatherapy and acupuncture
- Natural methods to support your birthing for example sterile water for injections
- Pethidine can be used for pain relief.
- Epidurals are not available on the Birth Centres. This would require a transfer to the hospital Delivery Suite.
Please visit our Pain Relief page for more information.
Crowborough Birth Centre
It is situated on the boarders of East Sussex and Kent and has been part of the Maidstone and Tunbridge wells Trust since 2016. It is part of the Crowborough Cottage Hospital and has been located in the Hospital for 20 years providing Midwifery led care. The birthing rooms at Crowborough have recently undergone a full makeover including a new pool.
- The Birth Centre team can be contacted on 01892 654080/664643
Maidstone Birth Centre
Maidstone Birth centre is located on the grounds of the Maidstone Hospital in Hermitage Lane, Barming. It is a purpose built unit which opened in 2011. The birth centre is modern and homely, offering women a calming birthing environment.
The Birth Centre team can be contacted on 01622 220161
There are many ways you can achieve a positive birth experience regardless of how your baby is born. Here at MTW, we encourage all mothers-to-be to read about our Birth Optimising practices.
Please visit our Birth Optimising page for more information.
Don’t just take our word for it…
Our video below showcases the experiences of three women who chose to have their baby at our Crowborough Birthing Centre.