Ashcombe Birth Centre

The Birth Centre

Learning Environment

Postnatal Care

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.

NEWS: Ashcombe/Endoscopy refurbishment

An important note to expectant mothers planning to use our service.

Ashcombe Birth Centre

Ashcombe Birth Centre


Ashcombe Birth Centre is a midwife led unit within Weston General Hospital and is situated on the second floor of the 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. The Ashcombe Birth Centre aims to facilitate a positive experience by providing one-to-one care in a relaxed, calm and friendly environment. Both rooms have ensuite facilities, bean bag and birthing ball to promote active labour and natural births.  One of the birth rooms has a birth pool. After the birth you will return home to the care of your community midwife. Women and their babies are usually well enough for discharge home six hours after birth.



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 an obstetric unit, It links closely with St Michael's Hospital in 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 Ashcombe Birth Centre your individual health and pregnancy will be reviewed to ensure your pregnancy has remained uncomplicated.


The 2011 "Birth Place in England Study", which studied more than 62,000 women with a straightforward pregnancy, found that:

  • Birth centres are just as safe as hospital for 'low risk' women
  • Women who give birth in a birth centre are more likely to have a straightforward birth with less medical intervention
  • Women who give birth in a birth centre are more likely to breastfeed successfully


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 drinks and light snacks

In addition to the birth facilities, the Birth Centre is a base for the local community midwives and a venue for antenatal clinics and postnatal clinics.


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.

Ashcombe birth centre

 is staffed by experienced midwives with support from maternity care assistants. 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 Michaels maternity unit, approximately 43 minutes away (24 miles). This is travel time after ambulance has arrived on site. Transfer rates from the Birth Centre are in line with national averages. 6 out of 10 first time mothers will birth and be discharged home from the Birth Centre without needing transfer. 9 out of 10 mothers having a second or subsequent baby will experience the same.


As a standalone Midwifery led unit, All Midwives are trained in Neonatal advanced life support and if a if baby becomes unwell and requires further support, a transfer will be arranged to St. Michaels or another unit that provides neonatal care as required.


We are a 24 hour service, 52 weeks of the year and are always available and willing to give help and advice on any subject relating to pregnancy and childbirth. Please just ask.


Should you have any other concerns that you wish to share – please contact your community Midwife in the first instance who will be able to access further support if required. 


Midwifery Matron,  Ashcombe Maternity Services – Ailish Edwards