Downe Hospital Maternity
In 2009 the first stand-alone Midwifery Led Unit (MLU) in Northern Ireland was opened in the Downe Hospital. It is a three bedded unit for low risk women. ‘Midwifery Led’ means it is run by experienced Midwives. It has a birth rate of around 100 births per year.
Downpatrick Midwifery Led Unit is managed by experienced Midwives who specialise in caring for women with uncomplicated pregnancy and labour. One Midwife will look after you in labour and give you and your partner support. A second Midwife may be present when your baby is born. Midwives are supported by the Health Care Assistants in the unit.
The facilities have been designed to help you relax with your health and wellbeing in mind. The unit is secure and right of entry is gained only by Staff swipe cards.
The unit has three birthing rooms, they are spacious, comfortable and have purpose built ensuite rooms, two with deep birthing pools and the other a large wet room.The rooms are also designed to have the comforts of home in mind. Each room has a large flat screen TV, CD player and docking stations for iPods.
All rooms are equipped with birthing aids to help you remain active and to mobilise in labour.
We have a sofa bed in each room and welcome the presence of partners or birth partners overnight. There is a designated kitchen for our mothers and their families to use stocked with basic foods.
Access and visiting
We are situated on the ground floor of the Downe Hospital between the shop and the canteen.
Please contact your Midwife when you are in labour for advice or when to come into hospital.
Telephone: (028) 4461 6995
The main car park allows for easy access to the front of the hospital. There is also a set down area at the main entrance for drop off use only.
Visiting the Maternity Unit
We are a family centred unit and have flexible visiting arrangements throughout the day. There is a sofa bed for partners who wish to stay overnight.
Two birthing partners are welcome to support you during labour and birth.
To protect our newborn babies from the risk of infection, we would request that:
- No other children other than mother`s own children or step children may visit. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.
- All visitors should wash their hands before lifting or handling a baby. Hand sanitizers are provided in each area.
- It is advisable not to visit or attend hospital when you are or have been suffering from vomiting and/or diarrhoea or have not been feeling well.
- Infection Control has advised that only two people at any one time should be permitted to visit each new mother.
Ante-natal Care at the Downe Hospital
Downpatrick Midwifery Led Unit welcomes and encourages all our local mothers to benefit from using our ante-natal services. We can access, book and refer to a choice of Consultant units.
Women can choose to give birth in one of the following places:
- At home
- Downe Midwifery Led Unit
- Ulster Hospital Maternity Unit
- Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital
- Daisy Hill Hospital
We have developed and have in place, a good working partnership and referral systems with our colleagues in all Maternity Units. We can provide all ante-natal care locally and conveniently.
Ante-natal services we provide include:
Ante-natal Midwives Review Clinics (9.00am -5.00pm)
For low risk women, an antenatal examination is performed by your Midwife to check on mother and baby wellbeing.
Consultant Review Clinic (9.00am 1.00pm)
If you have particular medical needs, you may be seen by the Consultant from the Ulster Hospital (Downpatrick and Ulster Hospital women only).
Day Assessment Unit (9.00am – 5.00pm)
Midwife assessment for specific pregnancy related problems.
We offer a variety of workshops to help you both during your pregnancy. Parentcraft classes or Active Birth Workshops. Your partner, or other relative or friend is welcome to attend. These are arranged at your 28 week antenatal clinic appointment.
Parentcraft classes are held within the unit. They consist of a two evening programme over two weeks. These provide information on:
- The unit (including a tour)
- Ways of coping during labour
- Caring for your baby following birth
Active Birth Workshops
Active Birth Workshops are offered in a single class on a monthly basis. These provide information on:
- Self coping measures
- Mobility and birthing aids
- Positions for labour and giving birth
We also have a breastfeeding co-ordinator who offers additional assistance and support to all mothers in the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust area.