First baby born in new community birthing unit
The first baby to be born at the new St George’s Hospital Maternity Centre was welcomed earlier this month (December 2020).
The new Maternity Centre features three purpose-built birthing rooms (two with birthing pools) and is significantly larger than the maternity ward it replaces. It is located in St George’s new Cressy Wing, which is the final building to be completed as part of the Hospital’s eight-year redevelopment.
The community birthing unit was blessed by the Hospital’s kaumātua and chaplain on Monday 30 November prior to opening that afternoon.
St George’s Maternity Centre Charge Midwife Andrea Robinson says, “We are very proud of our new Maternity Centre and staff are looking forward to welcoming māma, pēpi and whānau.”
A little boy, named Jasaaratt Singh, was the first baby to be born in the Maternity Centre at 7pm on Tuesday 1 December, weighing 3.8kgs.
Mum and dad, KamalJeet Kaur and Randeep Singh, are thrilled with his arrival and say they have had a great experience at the new Maternity Centre.
“The new hospital is fantastic and I was able to use the birthing pool for a water birth,” KamalJeet says.
“As a first-time mum, it’s been reassuring to have midwives by our side to help settle our son. I have been very exhausted after giving birth and feeding him every few hours, but I have been getting plenty of help.
“The staff have been amazing and I have felt very taken care of.”
St George’s incorporated feedback from women, their partners, Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) and staff in designing the new centre.
“Women and LMCs asked for two birthing pools,” says Rae Green, St George’s Patient Care Manager.
“A lot of women will only come to us if they know the pool is available. Having a second, purpose-built pool means more women have the option of using the pool for labouring and/or giving birth.
“The feedback from the LMCs who went through the new centre before it opened was very positive. Two pools were a big drawcard to encourage well women to receive maternity care in a community setting.
“We wanted to create a community facility to meet the needs of women, their whānau and their LMCs and we are very confident we have achieved that.
“Large rooms mean plenty of space for the māma and a cot for the pēpi, as well as a fold down sleep chair that turns into a bed for overnight stays by a partner or support person.”
St George’s Maternity Centre has a contract with the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB). This means any woman in Canterbury who meets the criteria to birth at a community facility and is eligible to receive maternity services in New Zealand can have their baby at St George’s free of charge.
Māma and pēpi are able to transfer to St George’s from Christchurch Women’s Hospital for postnatal care, which is also provided at no cost under the CDHB contract.
“Women who give birth at St George’s come from all over Christchurch and further afield in Canterbury,” adds Rae.
One of the purpose-built birthing rooms in the new St George’s Hospital Maternity Centre