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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Women's Services

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Cotswold Birth Centre

Managed by a team of highly skilled and experienced community midwives and dedicated maternity support workers, the Cotswold Birth Centre is a small, local and accessible place providing a home-from-home setting which is welcoming and supportive for women and their families.

The Centre offers continuity of care and a sensitive, individualised approach to many low-risk women who do not need to give birth in hospital. However, if women are experiencing complications in their pregnancies, or they are choosing to birth in hospital, they can still receive their antenatal and postnatal care at the Centre where their midwife will communicate with their hospital-based obstetrician to provide care as part of a multiprofessional team.

Facilities at the Centre

  • Day room with comfortable seating, books about breastfeeding and normal birth, information leaflets and posters.
  • Kitchen with tea and coffee making facilities.
  • Two antenatal clinic rooms, each with an examination area and en suite.
  • Two birth rooms each with a birthing pool, en suite, CD/iPod/radio player, low-level lighting, birth ball, and a low-level couch and bean bag or a bed.
  • Two postnatal rooms each with a bed, cot, baby changing area, and baby bath and en suite.

Antenatal care

Women can receive all of their antenatal care at the Centre, including the initial booking appointment and subsequent routine appointments. Women are welcome to book extra appointments if they have any queries or concerns about their pregnancy; they can be assessed and offered reassurance and referred for further care at the hospital if required.

The team of community midwives also provide antenatal care at GP surgeries; women are advised to contact their surgery directly to arrange appointments. Pre-birth courses are available to first time parents for free; booking is essential via telephone or email.

Care in labour

The Centre is open 24 hours a day for low risk women to birth in where they will receive continuity of care in a quiet and calm environment. The birth rooms are designed to help women relax and promote the release of natural pain relieving hormones.

Women can use the pool for labour and birth and are offered support on positions to labour in, aromatherapy, hypnobirthing, music, massage, TENS, Entonox (gas and air) and Meptid (a morphine based injection) too. Births are facilitated at the centre and at home, supported by community midwives from Banbury, Witney and Bicester, providing care to women from around the county and further afield encouraging normal childbirth by recognising, respecting and safeguarding normal birth progressions.

Most births are very straightforward however the midwives and maternity support workers are trained to deal with emergencies and monitor women and babies regularly through labour. Complications are swiftly recognised and if it is felt a woman or baby should be seen by a doctor then they will be accompanied in an ambulance to the maternity units at Horton General Hospital or John Radcliffe Hospital.

Midwives are on call from home at night so women must telephone before coming to the centre so it can be opened for them. Women with a straightforward pregnancy with no medical or obstetric problems and who go into labour between 37 and 42 weeks may birth at the centre. If they do not meet these conditions and still wish to have their baby with at the centre or at home then they are encouraged to discuss this with their midwife who will arrange for them to speak to a Supervisor of Midwives or a Consultant Midwife.

If you do not currently receive your antenatal care from the Cotswold Birth Centre team but would like to birth there then please arrange to have your 36 week antenatal check at the centre. This will give you an opportunity to meet some of the team and for the midwives to review your notes.

Postnatal care

The Centre provides immediate postnatal care to women and their babies, facilitating skin-to-skin contact, delayed umbilical cord clamping, natural delivery of the placenta and initiating breastfeeding if wished by the woman.

Women can expect to go home between two and eight hours after the birth, and midwives will continue to support women with an initial visit at home the following day and further appointments at the centre for postnatal support.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding support is available each day at the Centre. Women who are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties can telephone the Centre and will be invited to spend time in one of the postnatal rooms, where they can rest between feeds and receive excellent support and advice from knowledgeable midwives and maternity support workers.

There is also a weekly breastfeeding clinic run by a breastfeeding specialist:

  • Every Friday 10.00am - 3.00pm

Women can come along to meet other breastfeeding mums and get friendly, expert advice on any issues they might have. If you would like to come along please call the centre and you will be given an appointment to attend.

The centre was awarded the UNICEF Global Baby Friendly award in 2000. At each subsequent assessment they have achieved 100 percent for their outstanding level of care.

Tours of the Centre

We strongly recommend you come and look around the Centre; tours are held each Saturday at 2.00pm.

To book a place on a tour, please contact us: