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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Maternity

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Oxford Spires Midwifery-led Unit

Our mission is to provide care that is safe and respectful of the individual needs and preferences of women and their families, in a relaxed environment that is kind, warm and nurturing.

Our vision is to work in partnership with women and their families. Childbirth is a natural, healthy process, therefore we celebrate an innovative and creative approach which helps women achieve an informed, positive birth experience.

Our focus is to empower women to believe in their ability to give birth and have an active role in making their birth choices.

Women often comment on how safe and relaxed they feel as soon as they walk through our doors. This is something we are very proud of, and we want all women giving birth in our unit to feel safe in our welcoming and supportive home-from-home environment, where parents can enjoy the first precious moments with their baby in peace and quiet for an early, undisturbed bonding experience.

The Spires is run by a team of highly skilled and experienced midwives and maternity support workers and is open 24 hours every day. We welcome women with a low-risk pregnancy, who go into labour spontaneously between 37 and 42 weeks. If you don't think this is you, and would still like to use the Spires, please speak to your community midwife.

Tours of the unit

We run tours of the unit on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10.00am.

After seeing your community midwife at 34 weeks, please call us to book a tour any time from 36 weeks of pregnancy onwards.

The tours are an opportunity for women and a partner/friend or family member to see the birthing rooms and the facilities we offer. It is also a good time to discuss individual care preferences. Everyone is welcome.

Our facilities

Our five birth rooms are designed to help women relax and promote the release of natural pain-relieving hormones.

The Chiltern Room and Waterperry Room have beds specifically designed to enable the maternal positions known to help labour progress normally. All rooms have a variety of equipment to aid optimal maternal positioning in labour, such as birthing mats, balls and stools, and we have a special active birth couch.

The relaxing, soothing benefits that water provides can be very beneficial during childbirth; women often report a feeling of weightlessness and freedom of movement when labouring in water.

Our three pool rooms (Wytham, Knowles and Burcot) each have unique features that allow for maximum calm and relaxation during your childbirth experience.

We provide aromatherapy oils to further enhance relaxation and a feeling of calm. We also have BlueTooth media players so you can listen to your own music, and radios if you are unable to use BlueTooth. You can also bring your own portable speakers.

We advocate breathing and relaxation techniques as well as massage, heat pads and aromatherapy. We can also offer Entonox (gas and air) and Meptid (an opiate based injection) or Diamorphine (opiate injection).

All our birth rooms have ensuite showers.

The Wytham Room

This is a light, spacious room that contains a large, clover leaf-shaped pool.

The Knowles Room

This is our light sensory room. It contains one of the two smaller oval-shaped pools we have on the unit, combining the benefits of water and sensory lighting to create a very gentle relaxing environment. We have air conditioning which can be set at a comfortable level for you.

The Burcot Room

This is another light, airy and relaxing room and contains the other oval pool. Like the Knowles Room, it is air conditioned.

Care in labour

Most births happen without complications, however, should you need to see a doctor during labour we can arrange this quickly and safely. If you choose, or need, transfer in labour or after the birth of your baby, we can transfer you via the lift to the obstetetric unit below.

Immediately following birth, we actively promote skin-to-skin contact and delayed umbilical cord clamping.

Postnatal care

We have four postnatal rooms, three of which have double beds. We encourage partners to stay, as it is a very special and unique time to bond with your new baby as a couple.

Women stay with us until they feel rested and are clinically fit and well for discharge home. This can be as soon as two hours after birth, but is normally between six and 24 hours after birth, and depends on individual circumstances.

Infant feeding

It is important that a mother feels confident feeding her baby before she goes home. We will support you in your choice of how to feed your baby, but we do promote breastfeeding in the interests of both mother and baby.

Testimonials

"The Spires itself is a truly unique place which every mum-to-be should get the choice to experience."

"I felt safe, relaxed and secure."

"There are no words to describe how grateful we are for the care we received."

"You were all so supportive and motivating when I wanted to give up. I felt so well cared-for whilst having my babies on the Spires, never rushed, and always listened to. I felt in very safe hands both times."

“Thank you so much for all being so wonderful when we came in to give birth to our son. We will be recommending the Spires unit to everyone we meet."

Find us and contact us

Level 7, Women's Centre
John Radcliffe Hospital
Headington
Oxford OX3 9DU

Tel: 01865 221666

If you are booked to have your baby at Oxford Spires Midwifery-led Unit, please call the Unit directly when you are in labour.

How to find the John Radcliffe Hospital