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Hospital birth centre in high demand during first year, with nearly 900 babies delivered.

Team from the Mulberry birth centre at FrimleyFrimley Park Hospital’s new birth centre has become the busiest unit of its kind in the south east region within a year of opening.

The Mulberry Birth Centre offers a home from home experience for mothers and their partners with the added security of sitting alongside the hospital’s main labour ward.

Since it opened in February 2015 the centre has helped to bring 892 babies into the world – which equates to about 16% of all the babies born at Frimley Park.

Staff marked the first anniversary of the centre’s opening with a small celebration for those on duty and a cake decorated in the mulberry colours of the unit.

The completion of the unit was the final phase of a major refurbishment of all labour and neonatal facilities at the hospital. It included upgrading all delivery rooms to en suites with showers, relocating and expanding the special care baby unit (SCBU) into a full neonatal unit. The Mulberry Birth Centre was rebuilt in the location of the former SCBU.

Women who choose to have their babies at the Mulberry Birth Centre are offered a more relaxed, less medical environment much like their own homes. But they have the added comfort of knowing that in the unlikely event of complications arising they are located within the first hospital in the country to be rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

The dedicated team of midwives in the Mulberry Birth Centre provides a relaxed service for mothers who have low risk of complications. Developments at the centre in the past year have included offering women honey during labour to keep their energy levels up at a time when many mothers feel unable to eat and staff training for hypnotherapy. The team hopes to offer aromatherapy soon.

Helen Whapshott, lead midwife for labour ward, said: “The feedback we’ve had from women and families who have used the Mulberry Birth Centre has been overwhelmingly positive so we’re delighted it has proved so popular.

“It has given an extra dimension to what we can offer and has helped us to promote childbirth as a natural process.”