Ashcombe Birth Centre

Learning Environment

Community-based Midwifery Service

Antenatal Clinics

Antenatal Screening Choices

Further information about antenatal screening

Day Assessment Unit (DAU)

Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic (EPAC)

Maternity Voices

New website for parents to share views on maternity services

Choosing where to give birth

Information to help you decide where you would like to give birth to your baby

What women say about us

Results of our survey.

Ashcombe Birth Centre's mums

Stories from mums and midwifes



Ashcombe Birth Centre

Maternity services

This information is correct as of 07 June 2021

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) we have introduced restrictions guided by NHS England to maintain the safety of all mothers and babies, this includes being able to ensure we can maintain social distancing in our waiting areas, appointment and delivery rooms. Please see the details below.

We understand this is a difficult time for expectant mothers and families. We will continue to keep this guidance under careful review, in line with the national advice from the Chief Midwifery Officer for England to ensure everyone's safety. If you have any questions please speak to your midwife.

Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time. 

Scans at St Michael's Hospital and Ashcombe Birth Centre (Weston):

You will be able to attend all scans with one non-symptomatic adult from the same household or support bubble (ideally the birth partner) but you must follow the instructions below. For appointments at our day assessment units at St Michael's Hospital and Ashcombe Birth Centre, please continue to attend these on your own to allow for social distancing. Please do not attend an appointment with any children.If you are an accompanying partner coming to St Michael's you must wait outside of the hospital until you are called in (this is to ensure adequate social distancing in the waiting areas).

In Ashcombe Birth Centre in Weston General you can come into Ashcombe and wait with your partner in the waiting area on the unit.

  • You and your partner will both need to wear a surgical face mask (with the exception of those who are exempt) in our hospitals at all times. These are available as you enter the building. Guidance around face mask exemptions is available on the  Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments for you, if appropriate.
  • You must also use the hand gel at all entrances and exits.
  • You must not visit in any circumstances if you have a new continuous cough, high temperature or have a loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste. For more information and guidance on coronavirus, please visit  www.nhs.uk/coronavirus .
  • To provide safe and personalised maternity care and to enable support people's attendance at maternity appointments, a lateral flow antigen test is suggested. Women and their support partners are able to order tests online to self administer at home via the national portal. Pregnant women and their support people are advised to undertake testing twice weekly during pregnancy and test within 24 hours before an appointment. For more information or you have any questions, please visit the Lateral flow antigen test for pregnant women and support people FAQs.

If you believe that you have additional needs that need to be taken into account please contact the Matron by calling switchboard on 0117 923 0000. Further details about scan appointments can be found on the  FAQs page.

Labour and birth at St Michael's Hospital

  • Two nominated non-symptomatic birthing partners who have tested negative for COVID-19 are allowed to be with you during labour and the birth. Your non-symptomatic partners/supporters will need to undertake a lateral flow test which will be provided and administered on arrival. These tests require a swab from the nose and it takes 30 minutes to provide a result. If the lateral flow test result comes back negative, the partners/supporters will be allowed to accompany you during labour and birth including induction, elective caesarean section and spontaneous labour.  If you give birth on the midwife led unit or central delivery suite and you and your baby are able to go home within 2-3 hours after giving birth, your partners/supporters will be able to stay with you until you and your baby leave.
  • If your baby needs to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), non-symptomatic parents can visit - two parents to the ICU rooms and one parent at a time in the HDU and SCBU rooms.

If you have any questions or additional needs that need to be taken into account please speak to the Matron or your community midwife who will be happy to discuss this with you.

Labour and birth at Ashcombe Birth Centre (Weston)

  • Two nominated non-symptomatic birthing partners who have tested negative for COVID-19 are allowed to be with you during labour and the birth. Your non-symptomatic partners/supporters will need to undertake a lateral flow test which will be provided and administered on arrival. These tests require a swab from the nose and it takes 30 minutes to provide a result. If the lateral flow test result comes back negative, the partners/supporters will be allowed to accompany you during labour and birth. If you and your baby are able to go home within 2-3 hours after giving birth, your partners/supporters will be able to stay with you until you and your baby leave.

If you have any questions or additional needs that need to be taken into account please speak to the Matron or your community midwife who will be happy to discuss this with you. 

Home births

Our home births service is still available where appropriate. Please speak to your midwife to discuss your options.

Appointments at St Michael's Hospital

You can be accompanied by one non-symptomatic person (ideally the birth partner) for all scans and consultant antenatal appointments (except in our day assessment units in St Michael's and Ashcombe Birth Centre in Weston, as space does not allow). Your accompanying partner must wait outside of the hospital until they are called in (this is to ensure adequate social distancing in the waiting areas). Please do not attend with any children.

  1. You and your partner will both need to wear a surgical face mask (with the exception of those who are exempt) in our hospitals at all times. These are available as you enter the building. Guidance around face mask exemptions is available on the  Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments for you, if appropriate.
  2. You must also use the hand gel at all entrances and exits.
  3. You must not visit in any circumstances if you have a new continuous cough, high temperature or have a loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste. For more information and guidance on coronavirus, please visit  www.nhs.uk/coronavirus .
  4. To provide safe and personalised maternity care and to enable support people's attendance at maternity appointments, a lateral flow antigen test is suggested. Women and their support partners are able to order tests online to self administer at home via the national portal. Pregnant women and their support people are advised to undertake testing twice weekly during pregnancy and test within 24 hours before an appointment. For more information or you have any questions, please visit the Lateral flow antigen test for pregnant women and support people FAQs.
  5. If you believe that you have additional needs that need to be taken into account please contact the Matron by calling switchboard on 0117 923 0000. Further details about scan appointments can be found on the   FAQs page.
  6. For appointments at our day assessment units at St Michael's Hospital and Ashcombe Birth Centre, please continue to attend these appointments on your own to allow for social distancing. 
  7. For fetal medicine and early pregnancy clinic appointments you can be accompanied by one non-symptomatic person.
  8. Women will be offered telephone appointments where clinically appropriate.
  9. Children are not allowed in clinic or on the wards.
  10. Community midwifery clinics and home visits are still running as necessary; women are being assessed and only essential face-to-face visits are being undertaken. If you attend a community midwifery clinic, you can be accompanied by a supporting partner. (Please see point four for update around Lateral flow testing).
  11. We regret that we're unable to offer antenatal classes or tours of the unit at the current time.

These measures have been put in place to protect our patients, staff and visitors, which includes being able to ensure we can maintain social distancing in our waiting areas, appointment and delivery rooms. We will continue to keep this guidance under review.

Appointments at Ashcombe Birth Centre (Weston)

You can be accompanied by one non-symptomatic person (ideally the birth partner) for all scans and consultant antenatal appointments (apart from our day assessment units, as space does not allow this). Please do not attend with any children. Your accompanying partner can come into Ashcombe and wait with you in the waiting area on the unit.  

  1. You and your partner will both need to wear a surgical face mask (with the exception of those who are exempt) in our hospitals at all times. These are available as you enter the building. Guidance around face mask exemptions is available on the   Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments for you, if appropriate.
  2. You must also use the hand gel at all entrances and exits.
  3. You must not visit in any circumstances if you have a new continuous cough, high temperature or have a loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste. For more information and guidance on coronavirus, please visit  www.nhs.uk/coronavirus .
  4. To provide safe and personalised maternity care and to enable support people's attendance at maternity appointments, a lateral flow antigen test is suggested. Women and their support partners are able to order tests online to self administer at home via the national portal. Pregnant women and their support people are advised to undertake testing twice weekly during pregnancy and test within 24 hours before an appointment. For more information or you have any questions, please visit the Lateral flow antigen test for pregnant women and support people FAQs.
  5. If you believe that you have additional needs that need to be taken into account please contact the matron by calling switchboard on 0117 923 0000.
  6. For appointments at our day assessment units at St Michael's Hospital and Ashcombe Birth Centre, please continue to attend these appointments on your own to allow for social distancing.
  7. For early pregnancy clinic appointments you can be accompanied by one non-symptomatic person.
  8. Women will be offered telephone appointments where clinically appropriate.
  9. Children are not allowed in clinic or on the wards.
  10. Community midwifery clinics and home visits are still running as necessary; women are being assessed and only essential face-to-face visits are being undertaken. (Please see point 4 for update around Lateral flow testing).
  11. We regret that we're unable to offer antenatal classes or tours of the unit at the current time.

These measures have been put in place to protect our patients, staff and visitors, which includes being able to ensure we can maintain social distancing in our waiting areas, appointment and delivery rooms. We will continue to keep this guidance under review.

Visiting for maternity patients at St Michael's Hospital

One named asymptomatic partner/supporter can visit on the wards between 3pm and 5pm.

If you believe that you have additional needs that need to be taken into account please contact the matron or your community midwife who will be happy to discuss this with you.

Once transferred to the postnatal ward, free WiFi is available to everyone so patients can make phone or video calls to their family and friends using apps including Facetime, WhatsApp or Skype and mobile reception is available across our site. Please be aware that we do not allow any video calling, photographs or recordings to be carried out during scan appointments due to the concentration required by the sonographer.

If you have any questions, please contact your midwife or the matron by calling switchboard on 0117 923 0000.

 

Alternative COVID-19 vaccination

If you are from the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area and require an alternative vaccine to the AstraZeneca vaccine please email  bnssg.massvaccination@nhs.net   providing your name, date of birth, post code, contact number and eligibility for the vaccine (e.g. you are in an eligible cohort or are a frontline worker).

 

Patient Laura has also shared her experience of giving birth at the hospital during the restrictions in  this video.

This animation sets out what pregnant women should expect from NHS maternity services during the coronavirus. Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer, and Dr Matthew Jolly, National Clinical Director for Maternity for the NHS in England explain what might change and why it is important to keep in touch with your maternity team.

Information about Ashcombe Birth Centre

 

Ashcombe Birth Centre is a freestanding birth unit situated on the second floor in the Weston General hospital. Mums-to-be who are having a straightforward pregnancy and would like a natural birth, may be able to choose the homely environment of the free-standing birth centre rather than a traditional hospital setting. It is a purpose built unit with two comfortable birthing rooms. Mothers can give birth in a relaxed, home from home setting.

The birth of your baby is an extraordinary and life-changing event, the memories of which will stay with you forever. We aim to offer a calm and relaxing environment with the support of experienced midwives. Both rooms have ensuite facilities, bean bag and birthing ball and one room has a birth pool, to promote active labour and natural births. After the birth you will return home to the care of your community midwife.

 

Why should I consider birthing in a midwife led unit?

‘Midwifery units appear to be safe for the baby and offer benefits for the mother’.

Women who planned a birth in a midwifery unit had significantly fewer interventions...and more ‘normal births’ than women who planned birth in an obstetric unit’.

Labour and birth are a natural process, most mums who are fit and well and have had a healthy pregnancy can choose to birth in our midwifery led unit. We do recognise that some women may require the more specialised support provided by the main obstetric unit at St. Michael’s Hospital, Bristol. To help with your decision, your community midwife will discuss options with you at your booking and again when you are 34 weeks pregnant, if you choose the Ashcombe birth centre your individual health and pregnancy will be reviewed to ensure your pregnancy has remained uncomplicated.

 

Facilities at Ashcombe Birth Centre have been designed to provide comfort and support in labour and include:

Two en-suite birth rooms furnished with floor mats, cushions and birth balls to support you

A water pool in one birth room, should you wish to relax and/or give birth in water

Entonox (gas and air) and aromatherapy to help with labour 

Access to tea, coffee and light snacks

In addition to the birth facilities, the Birth Centre is a base for the local community midwives and a venue for Consultant antenatal clinics, postnatal clinics, day assessment unit and the early pregnancy assessment unit.

What happens if there is a problem?

If your pregnancy has been straightforward, and there is no reason to think that you or your baby are likely to need medical support during labour or after the birth, then the Birth Centre could be a good choice for you.

The Ashcombe Birth Centre is staffed and run by midwives. Extra emergency equipment is kept in the Birth Centre, should unforeseen problems arise for a woman or baby. Staff receive regular training to deal with such situations.

If emergency assistance is required from other medical practitioners women will be transferred via ambulance to St. Michael’s Hospital maternity unit, approximately 30 minutes away (22 miles).

 

Please take a look at further infromation about St Michael's Hospital.

 

Download our maternity services app

The My Pregnancy @ St Michael's app can be downloaded onto Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. The free app enables people to access more than 60 patient information leaflets produced by our experienced midwives and clinicians. To download the app, type 'St Michael's Bristol' into the app store on your device.  

Apple App store

Android App store


 

Useful links:

National Birth Place Study https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/birthplace

NCT, Where to have my baby?: https://www.nct.org.uk/birth/choosing-where-have-your-baby