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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Maternity

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John Radcliffe Women's Centre Delivery Suite

Our Delivery Suite provides 24-hour care for pregnant women during labour and birth.

We care for women:
  • with low-risk pregnancies, who choose to give birth with us
  • who wish to use our epidural service
  • who may have more complicated pregnancies, and for whom a consultant-led unit has been advised.

Our multiprofessional team works closely to ensure women have the best chance to give birth safely and with as little intervention as possible.

We ensure that all women can make shared, informed decisions about their care during labour and birth.

Find us and contact us

Women's Centre
John Radcliffe Hospital
Headington
Oxford OX3 9DU

Tel: 01865 221651

How to find the John Radcliffe Hospital

Parking is limited and you will have to pay, so please be prepared for this.

Car travel and parking

On arrival please go to the Maternity Assessment Unit (MAU):

Maternity Assessment Unit (MAU)

There are toilets and vending machines in the main corridor. We encourage you to bring some light snacks and isotonic drinks.

If you are sent to Delivery Suite from MAU, we will show you into a birth room.

Our teams

Our midwifery team comprises:

  • midwives
  • student midwives
  • maternity advanced practitioners
  • support workers

Our medical team includes a range of obstetric and anaesthetic doctors and medical students, who are based on the Delivery Suite, and some neonatologists for babies who need extra assessment and support at birth.

Our rooms

We have 15 birth rooms, one with a pool, and three have en-suite bathrooms. All rooms are close to toilets and showers.

Four rooms have windows, and the others have dim lighting for women who find this relaxing.

Most women prefer to move around during labour rather than lie down; our midwives can recommend different positions, and we have birth balls, bean bags, mats, easy chairs and stools.

We have CD players, although many women prefer to bring in their own music and speakers.

While you are in the birth room it is your space: you can rearrange the furniture, adjust the height of the bed, bring extra pillows and have your chosen birth companions with you (it is best not to bring more than two people).

We will do our best to support you and your birth partners, but there may be times when we need to limit the number of people in the room - we will explain this to you if this happens.

Monitoring

If there are no issues, we monitor your baby's heartbeat with a hand-held device. However, if we have any concerns we may recommend continuous monitoring with a cardiotocograph (CTG) machine - this is attached to you with belts around your waist.

This type of monitoring can limit your freedom to move around, as you are connected to the machine, but we do have some wireless / waterproof machines which enable you to be more mobile and use the pool.

Pain relief

We can offer:

  • aromatherapy
  • heat pads
  • Entonox (gas and air)
  • pain relief tablets and injections
  • a 24-hour epidural service.

Your midwife can discuss these options with you.

When your baby is about to be born, the midwife caring for you will usually ask a colleague to attend the birth; you may hear her ask for a 'second midwife'. The second midwife provides additional support as needed in the room, and normally leaves shortly after the birth.

Assisted delivery

If you need help from a doctor, such as a ventouse or forceps delivery, this usually happens in the birth room. However, the doctor may recommend that you are transferred to one of our theatres. The doctor will explain this at the time. We will support your birth partner to go with you if you need to go to theatre.

The theatre will be within Delivery Suite, and staffed by a bigger team who will introduce themselves to you. We aim to keep your birth partner with you in theatre, and the midwife caring for you will be there to offer reassurance and support.

After the birth we will take you to our observation area, a small ward where we can monitor you and ensure there are no concerns before you move to the postnatal ward. This is a precautionary measure, and women usually only stay there for a few hours.

Most of our Caesarean sections are carried out in one of the theatres on Delivery Suite.

After birth

We promote delayed cord clamping and 'skin-to-skin' contact as soon as possible after the birth, whether in a birth room or theatre. The time immediately after birth is crucial, as your baby's temperature, breathing and heart rate stabilise and you begin to bond with them. We will also help you feed your baby.

Infant feeding

A midwife will be available for the first few hours after the birth for extra support, but she will also give you time alone with your baby - there is a call system available if you need help during this time.

If your pregnancy and birth have been uncomplicated, and you and your baby are well, you may wish to go straight home from Delivery Suite. We will arrange for a community midwife to visit you the next day, to check you are both well.

Please remember to bring a car seat to take your baby home in.

At home you will have 24-hour support by telephone, in addition to visits from midwives and care assistants. There are drop-in clinics and breastfeeding support is available.

If you would like to stay in hospital, or we have recommended that you or your baby do so, your midwife will hand over your care to a midwife on our postnatal ward, and when you and your baby are ready, she will help to transfer you.