Midwife Winnie Chambers and support worker Caroline Wallace manning the information stand.
STAFF from the Lagan Valley Midwifery Led Unit celebrated International Midwives Day recently by taking to the streets to spread the good news about facilities for expectant mums in the area.
Information stands were set up at Sprucefield and Bow Street Mall, and around 20 midwives chatted with families who already use the unit, or may be thinking of doing so in the future. The stands featured photographs of the private rooms with en suite birthing pools which women are able to stay in from the birth of the babies until they leave.
The Midwifery Led Unit had 230 births in its first year, exceeding its target of 100. However the unit can accommodate 500 births a year, and already women are booking in from outside the immediate Lisburn area. It caters for women with normal, low risk pregnancies.
Midwife Winnie Chambers said:" People were very interested to hear first of all about the emphasis on safety in the unit, and secondly about our excellent facilities. Women are admitted to a private room with birthing pool and they deliver in the room, and remain there for the duration of their stay. There is open visiting and fathers can stay overnight also. Many people asked was this private healthcare, but we told them no, it was the NHS at its best."
The South Eastern HSC Trust has pioneered standalone midwifery led units in Ireland, and midwifery led care has been pinpointed by Health Minister Edwin Poots as the way forward in the recent draft Maternity strategy.
The theme of the International Day of the Midwife is that the world needs midwives now more than ever, especially overseas, and to encourage government to recruit m greater numbers.