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Mums-to-be in Durham have more choice following installation of new birthing pool

Birthing Pool UHNDExpectant mums in County Durham and Darlington now have more choice over where and how they have their baby, following the installation of a new birthing pool at the University Hospital of North Durham.

The new birthing pool adds to the existing maternity services offered at the hospital, which has been recognised nationally for its high standards of care, and customer service excellence.

New mum, Donna Bennett from East Rainton, was the first lady to give birth to her second baby, Isobelle in the new pool.

Speaking about the labour, Donna said: "I had an absolutely wonderful experience. I had such a difficult birth when my first baby, Ethan was born, so I was nervous about having Isobelle, but I didn't need to be worried, everything was fantastic. The staff in particular were outstanding, I can't speak highly enough about them, they were so supportive.

"I hadn't actually planned to have a water birth. I went in to have Isobelle during the night and the midwife told me they were getting the pool ready to be used, but she thought I would have had my baby by the time it was ready. In the morning, the midwife came in and asked if I wanted to be the first person to use it, I was having quite a bit of back pain and they thought it might help me.

"I was in the pool for around 40 minutes before Isobelle was born at 9.25am. It was such an amazing experience, I can't recommend it highly enough. It was so calming - even now Isobelle is such a calm and content baby and I'm sure it must have something to do with how she came into the world, because it really was such a lovely experience for us all.

"It was a much easier birth than Ethan - he was a bigger baby and I had some problems, but this time my partner, Steven got to cut the cord, he was the one who told me it was a girl, it really was wonderful."

Water births in pregnancies which are classed as 'low risk' are supported by both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives. Advocates believe that giving birth in water results in a more relaxed, less painful experience which can reduce the risks of tearing and reduces the need for episiotomy.

Lesley Heelbeck, Maternity Matron at the hospital, said: "We're delighted to unveil our new birthing pool and look forward to many new mums using the facility. The pool really complements our existing maternity suite and offers more choice than ever before.

"We've had some lovely feedback from women using it, and are pleased to be able to give more parents the choice to have a water birth. Our aim is to promote normality during pregnancy and delivery, and ensure that the family is at the focus of the care we provide."

Linda Ibbetson, Delivery Suite Manager, added that the staff are also really enjoying the experience of helping women to birth safely in such a relaxed, calm environment.

'I feel it is important to relay my experience back to let the staff know they are doing a brilliant job! I would like them to know I appreciated all they did for myself, my family and our beautiful baby girl.'

Patient, Labour Ward, Darlington Memorial Hospital