Blossom and Bloom is Hampshire Hospitals’ home birthing and maternity centre, based at Andover War Memorial Hospital.
We provide midwifery-led care to women wishing to birth their babies at home or at our maternity centre in Andover. Our small team of midwives also includes a maternity support worker.
We aim to provide friendly, kind and compassionate care to you and your family. We want you to feel supported and listened to during your maternity experience. We will provide all of your antenatal and postnatal care, and as a team, we will be on call for your baby’s birth.
A named midwife from our team will provide the majority of your care. They will be able to guide you through your pregnancy journey, from your first appointment right through to discharge to the care of your health visitor.
If your midwife is not available for your appointment, another member of our team will see you at a time that is convenient for you.
You can choose where to have your antenatal appointments – either at home or at our maternity centre.
We believe that ensuring you feel fully informed and supported with your birthing decisions is essential to providing you with an empowering maternity experience.
Your midwife will offer you an individualised birth preferences appointment at around 36 weeks of pregnancy. This may include if you need to see any other healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists or obstetricians during your pregnancy. Your midwife will be able to coordinate this care for you.
We also hold regular ‘meet the midwives’ events for you to meet the whole team, and hear some positive birth stories from families who have birthed in the community. This means that you will always be familiar with the midwives from the Blossom and Bloom team.
When you go into labour, two midwives from our team will be on-call to look after you during your birth and the immediate postnatal period.
Once your baby has arrived, your named midwife will create an individualised care plan with you for your postnatal period.
Our maternity support worker is also able to provide you with any feeding support you might need, and can offer all routine screening for your baby, such as hearing tests or the newborn blood spot. This will ensure you have all the support and care you need for your physical and emotional wellbeing before we discharge you to your health visitor.
If you would like to give birth in the community, please either contact us direct via email or telephone, or ask your community midwife to organise this for you.
Giving birth in the community is safe. Research suggests that receiving this type of care means that you are:
More likely to
- Have a vaginal birth with less intervention
- Know the midwives looking after you
- Have an open and trusting relationship with your named midwife, which is known to reduce anxiety and stress during a woman’s maternity journey.
Less likely to
- Have an epidural or need further pain relief in labour
- Have an episiotomy or assisted birth (forceps or ventouse)
- Give birth prematurely.
We work on an on-call basis, so there is always a member of the team available 24/7.
If you think you are in labour, please call Labour Line on 0300 123 3001 for advice first. They will then contact us to join you either at home or at the Maternity Centre.
Yes. Our Maternity Centre at Andover War Memorial Hospital has a birthing pool you can use. We also have a projector if you want to watch any hypno-birthing videos.
If you are planning to have your baby at home, we recommend hiring a birthing pool. Your midwife can discuss this with you at 36 weeks.
We recommend all women have a community birth (at home or in a maternity centre) if:
- They are pregnant with just one baby
- This is their first baby, or they have had up to five previous babies
- They are generally fit and well
- Their previous pregnancy and birth was uncomplicated
- Their BMI (body mass index) is more than 18 and less than 35
- They are receiving midwifery-led care.
At Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we believe that informed choice is essential. If you are not sure whether community birth is right for you, please talk to your midwife or contact us direct to find out more.
Continuity of carer is one of our main aims as a team. At the start of your journey with us, you will be allocated a named midwife from our team who will provide the majority of your care. They will be able to guide you through your pregnancy journey, from booking right through to discharge. If your midwife is unavailable for your appointment, another member of our small team will see you at a time that’s convenient for you.
We also hold regular “Meet the Midwives” drop in events to give you the opportunity to meet the whole team so when we arrive at your birth we are a friendly face you have seen before! It also allows us to get to know you, and find out what you would like from your birthing experience. Likewise, it gives you the opportunity to chat to mums who have previously birthed with us and hear all their amazing stories! (For more birth stories, please have a read on our news page!)
When you go into labour, two midwives from our team will be on-call to look after you during your birth and the immediate postnatal period. The majority of families that we care for in labour know the midwives who are looking after them. This is shown to increase your chance of having a spontaneous vaginal birth without intervention.
As a team, we love what we do, and can’t wait to be part of your journey.
I joined this fantastic team of midwives back in Sept 2019 (recently working on a high risk labour ward in a different trust) Moving to this team has completely changed my outlook on midwifery care. I get the chance to develop amazing relationships as part of a wonderful journey for women in our care. I am passionate about providing excellent, women centred care ensuring they have an informed choice and trust in the care they receive. I look forward to meeting you all soon and hopefully be there to support you if and when you need us as you meet your new bundle of joy.
Hi, I’m Sharon. I had my 4 babies before realising my long time dream to train as a midwife. I qualified in 2006 and have proudly worked at HHFT ever since. I worked for 10 years at RHCH Winchester. I also worked part time on the Labourline for 4 years and I worked in the community prior to my caseloading with Bloom Team. I LOVE my work... I LOVE my team and I quite simply could never work any other way now! The bittersweet part of my job is saying goodbye at the end of our journey. It is a privilege to be part of every pregnancy and birth and to meet all your babies.
I'm Helen. I've been a midwife for 9 years and I have two young children of my own.
Hi I’m Jemma. Of my almost 7 years as a midwife I’ve spent the last 3 and a half working as a community midwife based at the Maternity Centre in Andover. Having had both my children here and completing 3 years as a student midwife in Andover it holds very special memories for me. I love being able to care for women and their families here and help them to achieve the birth they wish for in this wonderful low risk setting.
Hi I am Tina, I have been a midwife for coming up 13 years. I trained as a student at Winchester hospital and once qualifying I worked as a hospital midwife at Winchester for over a year and then became an integrated midwife for 7 years where I worked both in the hospital and community setting.
Hi I’m Cath, I’ve come to the team after working in two very high risk maternity hospitals. Continuity of care is so important to me and so I joined this lovely team. I am so privileged to meet such lovely women who have decided to embark on their own pregnancy journeys and work with them for their beautiful end result of a precious baby. As a team, we all provide a nurturing and safe environment for you and your family, with care being tailored specifically to your needs. Remember that this is YOUR journey and we are here to support you.
Having been a community midwife for 3 years (and a hospital midwife for 2.5 years before that), I jumped at the chance to be part of the caseloading team ! I am passionate about providing continuity of care and building strong relationships with the women and families in my care. I love being able to provide Individualised care, to make your birthing experience truly unique and special.
I am what the rest of the team calls a ‘baby magnet’ that seems to be at a lot of births, so I may get to see you at yours!
A very warm Hello! I'm Sarah, manager of Blossom and Bloom caseloading team.
I moved across to HHFT in March last year to set up our wonderful team and am very proud of our amazing start and care we are able to provide to you all.
My passion has always been with community birth, and prior to working here I managed a homebirth team at a different Trust. The part I love the most about my job is forming meaningful relationships with the women I care for. Knowing each of my families means I can support a truly individualized journey into motherhood that leaves you feeling empowered and listened to. It's so important that you know you have a choice in where you can birth your baby and the type of care you can receive. Having your own midwife by your side when you meet your baby for the first time is magical-both for you, and for us! Why not birth at home or at our birth centre?I am passionate about active birthing, so will be more than happy to help you move around in labour. I believe there's nothing better than a good lunge or squat to help open your pelvis, and love doing all the exercises with you! When I'm not at work, my passion is playing tennis or running with my Husband around Basingstoke, so give me a wave if you see me!
The Birthplace cohort study
The Birthplace cohort study compared the safety of births planned in four settings: home, freestanding birth centres, alongside birth centres, and obstetric units (labour wards) for over 64,000 low risk births in England. It found that giving birth is generally very safe. Women were also more likely to have a “normal” birth when planning to birth at home or a freestanding birth than an obstetric unit such as a labour ward.
Birth centres are safe for mums and babies.
- For planned births in freestanding birth centres and alongside birth centres there were no significant differences in adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned birth in a hospital setting.
- Women who planned to have their babies in birth centres had significantly fewer interventions, including substantially fewer intrapartum caesarean sections, fewer epidurals, episiotomies, assisted deliveries (forceps and vacuum births).
- Women planning to birth in a freestanding birth centre were 4 times more likely to use water immersion (poolbirths) during their labour than those planning to birth in a hospital setting.
- The research demonstrates more ‘normal births’ than women who planned birth in a hospital labour ward and higher initiation rates of breastfeeding.
Homebirths- for women having a second or subsequent baby, home births are safe for the baby and offer benefits for the mother.
- For women who have had a baby before, there were no significant differences in safety outcomes between planned home births or midwifery unit births and planned births in obstetric units. As above, having a homebirth for these women substantially reduced the odds of having an intrapartum caesarean section, instrumental delivery or episiotomy and increased the chance of having a “normal” birth.
- For low risk first time mums planning a homebirth there was a slight difference in risk for the baby. The risk of an adverse outcome for the baby was increased to 1:110 at home versus 1:190 in an obstetric setting. Although the overall risk is still low, it is still 1.75 times higher for first time mums who plan to birth at home.
We work closely with South Central Ambulance Service and can arrange transfers to either Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital or Royal Hampshire Hospital, Winchester. If you opt to birth at home, the midwives looking after you bring a set of specialist equipment with them to every birth, this means that they can manage emergency situations in your home before an ambulance arrives. If you need to be transferred, the midwife looking after you will accompany you in the ambulance. Most transfers are for non-emergency reasons.
Below image gives the transfer rates from each location as determined by the Birthplace Cohort Study.
New homebirth research published in the Lancet
Click here to link to the Lanet research
A new piece of research published in the Lancet has examined over 500,000 intended homebirths and analysed their safety outcomes. This study is the largest and most comprehensive meta-analysis comparing outcomes of intended home and hospital birth to date.
It found that women who are low risk and planning a homebirth do not appear to have a different risk of fetal or neonatal loss compared to if they chose to birth in a hospital, and the perinatal outcomes were better. This provides reassurance about the safety of homebirth for all low risk women and demonstrates that home births leads to better outcomes for women compared to hospital birth.
Click here to link to the full research article https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/birthplace.