Giving Birth

The Delivery Suite is a Consultant-led service and every birth on the Delivery Suite is overseen by one of our Consultants, supported by Midwives and other specialist maternity staff.
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Birth Room

Home births

If you are wishing to have a Home Birth, you can discuss this with your Specialist Midwife who will be able to talk through the options for you.

Home birth can be a great option for women who have a routine pregnancy and they are popular with women who have previously had uncomplicated births. Many women like the idea of being in their own home environment before, during, and straight after the birth. You will be supported by your Midwife throughout, working together to create your ideal birthing experience as closely as possible.

The majority of home births run smoothly but in those instances where complications do develop, your Midwife will call an ambulance to bring you to MFT. Your Midwife will join you on the journey and stay with you as you are admitted and seen by a Consultant to monitor how your baby is doing. Our priority is always to put your choice first where possible but in some instances, we will need to ask you to be flexible about your birthing plan in the interests of your safety and that of your unborn child. We will always discuss the different options with you and your birthing partner.

The Birth Centre

If you are assessed as having a low risk birth, you will usually be admitted to our midwife-led Birth Centre. The Centre has been designed around the latest thinking in baby delivery, aiming to mirror the pattern of natural birth. We want to create a warm, cocoon-like environment where we can support your birthing journey and help you to feel as comfortable as possible.

The Midwife-led team at The Birth Centre follow a robust path of checks throughout your labour to make sure the safety of you and your baby come first. Our aim is to allow your labour to follow its natural course as far as possible unless there are any complications. Although there is no high-tech equipment in the birth rooms and no doctors are involved in births at The Birth Centre, both are on hand if you require them. If your Midwife becomes unhappy with your progress at any point, they will call one of our Consultants to assess you.

The Birth Centre is a Midwife-led service which focuses on low risk, spontaneous labour. If you have been told your birth is high risk or if you are having a caesarean, you will have your baby in our consultant-led Delivery Suite.

The Birth Rooms

Each of our five specialist birth rooms at the Birth Centre has the full range of facilities so that every low risk mum-to-be has the same choices. Our Maternity department is staffed to ensure all five rooms are available 24 hours a day. We have six birthing pools, the highest number of any hospital in the UK.
Every birth room has:

  • A couch
  • A birthing pool
  • An en suite wet room
  • A gym mat and exercise ball
  • Adjustable lighting
  • A bubble lamp
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Flat screen TV
  • iPod docking station

It is your choice whether you use the pool for pain relief, for a water birth, or not at all. You don’t need to decide this in advance – as every birth room has both a pool and a bed. Your Midwife will be able to discuss these options with you as part of the antenatal service or once you arrive at The Birth Centre.

Pain relief

There are a number of ways that we can help with your pain in labour. Below is a table describing these options and a short video with more details on some of the more advanced methods of pain relief that are availble at Wythenshawe.

Pain relief in Labour at MFT- Wythenshawe site



TENS machine Entonox  – Gas and Air Diamorphine Remifentanil PCA Epidural
What is it? A gentle electrical current is passed through pads on your back A gas mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Diamorphine is injected into the muscle in your arm or leg. Small dose of Remifentanil (a strong painkiller that last 3-4 minutes) given from a pump into a drip in your hand. Local anaesthetic and a painkiller given through a fine tube in your back to numb your nerves. May not be recommended very early or late in labour.
What do you do? You press a button to control the strength of the current. Breathe it through a
mask or mouthpiece
with a valve.
Have an injection in your arm or leg. Press the button to give yourself a dose every time you feel a contraction starting. Sit still in a curled-up position for 20 minutes while the tube is put in. (Can often take longer than this).
How much pain relief? Mild. Tingling feeling helps reduce the pain. Ideal to reduce backache in early labour. Moderate help. Mild: On average reduces pain score from 8/10 to 7/10 for 1 hour. Mild to Moderate: On average reduces pain score from 8/10 to 4/10. Can be used throughout labour.

Usually very good. Pain score should be 0/10.

However failure rate of Epidural is 1/8 and it may therefore need replacing.

How long until it starts to work? Five minutes to put on the pads and set up. Immediate. 5 minutes to prepare the injection, then 30 minutes
before it starts to work. Effects last up to 1 hour.
10 minutes to set up then works in a few minutes. On average 20 minutes to
set up. (May be longer). Then 20 minutes for epidural to work.
Any extra procedures?

It is your responsibility to hire or purchase the TENS unit. It is possible to rent a unit from Ruth Lee (midwife)

0161 440 8261

None. None. You will be on a drip.
You may be connected to a
monitor to check your baby’s heartbeat. Checks on your oxygen levels. You may need extra oxygen.
You will be on a drip. You may have a catheter in your bladder. You may be connected to a monitor to check your baby’s heartbeat.
Risks to baby? None None. Baby may be sleepy and slow to feed for up to 2 days following delivery. Minimal as Remifentanil is broken down just as quickly in your baby. You may have low blood pressure and this can affect your baby’s heart rate if not treated.
Side effects for mother? None Some nausea. Can feel ‘spaced out’. Can be tiring and make your mouth
Feeling sleepy or sick. May slow your breathing. Can’t have Remifentanil PCA for four hours following Diamorphine injection.

Feeling sleepy or sick.

May slow your breathing.

Low blood pressure. Difficulty passing urine. Severe headache (1/100). Increase in temperature. Temporary nerve damage. Increased chance of needing an instrumental delivery (10% more likely than if using Remifentanil.)

All options are available 24 hours 7 days per week.
We aim to see all ladies requiring analgesia within 30 mins of request, in rare circumstances when the unit is very busy there may be a short delay.

Please see short video for more information on Remifentanil PCA and Epidurals below.

Advanced Pain Relief in Labour - Wythenshawe

After the birth of your baby

About 70 per cent of babies born on The Birth Centre head home with their mums the same day. The remaining 30 per cent, who are assessed as requiring additional time to recuperate, spend some time on Postnatal Ward C2 before heading home within 24-48 hours.

The Delivery Suite

The Delivery Suite is primarily for high risk births that are not suitable for delivery in The Birth Centre. Although we offer choice to our mums-to-be where we can, sometimes we have to put the health of mum and baby first and advise pregnant women to choose the Delivery Suite as the best option for them.

Occasionally, women who have a low risk pregnancy will choose to have their baby in the Delivery Suite. This is usually because they have opted to have an epidural, which is not available in The Birth Centre because it requires an anaesthetist.

The Delivery Suite is a Consultant-led service and every birth on the Delivery Suite is overseen by one of our Consultants, supported by Midwives and other specialist maternity staff.

Caesarean section

A caesarean is usually a planned event and is known as ‘elective’ surgery, which means you are choosing to have it after discussing the reasons you may need one with your Consultant, Midwife or another member of the Maternity team.

The reasons for having an elective caesarean include:

  • Placenta praevia – where a low lying placenta is covering the entrance to the womb
  • Where early delivery is needed due to an existing health condition
  • Where a baby is breech (the baby’s bottom and not its head is closest to the entrance to the womb)

Occasionally an emergency caesarean needs to be performed. Reasons for this include:

  • Concerns about the health of the baby
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
  • Going into labour before the date of a planned caesarean

Supplementary therapies

A range of supplementary therapies are available to you in our dedicated therapy room. These include massage therapy and hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing is a drug-free option to assist with pain relief during pregnancy and labour and it is popular with women who wish to have a natural birth and those who choose a home birth. The self-hypnotherapy techniques used in hypnobirthing are simple to use and are taught by a hypnobirthing specialist.

These therapies are not offered on the NHS so if you choose to use them, you will have to pay for them. Where possible, these therapies are offered at a reduced cost, so they will usually be cheaper at the hospital than when provided elsewhere. To find out about our full range of supplementary therapies and how much they cost, contact our Maternity Reception on 0161 291 2950.

Massage therapy

Massage therapy can help you relax and give a feeling of general wellbeing during pregnancy. Shoulder massages and foot massages are particularly popular with pregnant women. Some types of massage are not suitable for pregnant women – for example, your stomach should not be massaged during the first three months of pregnancy.

Our therapist are experienced in massage during pregnancy and can advise on which types of massage are suitable for you. They will also ask you about health conditions you may have that could affect the types of massage available to you.