The Labour Ward is situated on the first floor of the maternity unit in Florence Portal House. There are seven birthing rooms and two obstetric operating theatres. Each of the rooms is individually decorated and equipped to encourage a better birthing environment for women who choose to have their baby born at Winchester.
Two of the birthing rooms are allocated for use by women whose pregnancy and labour so far has been without complication. Both of these rooms have a birthing pool, mood lighting, bluetooth music centres/radios and full en-suite facilities.
Midwives are generally the lead care givers for women who have a straight forward, uncomplicated pregnancy, labour and birth. The midwives work as part of a multi-disciplinary team with obstetricians and anaesthetists available at all times if required.
There are many choices of pain relief available to those women who wish to use them. These include, Entonox (gas & air), the birthing pools, birthing balls and floor mats. TENS machines can be hired, details available from community midwives. Medications are also available, including Diamorphine and a 24/7 days a week Epidural service. The midwife providing 1 to 1 care in labour will advise of the most appropriate pain relief for the woman they are with, taking into account their labour progress and individual circumstances.
Birthing partners (generally no more than 2 due to space) are welcome to stay with women throughout their time in the maternity unit (Labour Ward & Geoffrey Hammond Wards), this is 24hours per day. Please note however we do not have sleeping facilities or bathing facilities for birthing partners to use. All other visitors are welcomed to the labour ward, but on an individual basis and generally only for short periods of time. The midwife providing care would be able to advise further at the time.
We encourage skin to skin contact with newborn babies to promote bonding, and will aim to achieve this for as long as possible at every birth including if your baby is born in the operating theatre (as appropriate). This is sometimes referred to as HOBNOB – Hat On Baby Naked On Body (mum or birthing parner if not possible with mum)
Planned Caesarean sections (elective) are undertaken on a Wednesday and Thursday each week. These are carried out in our separate operating theatre on the ground floor of Florence Portal House. Women & babies are then transferred to the postnatal ward (Geoffrey Hammond Ward) on the first floor for onging care.
Your birthing partner is welcome to stay with you throughout your stay on Labour ward. A birthing partner can be a partner, relative or friend but must be an adult.