Limerick Maternity to leave on the immersion for mums in labour ward

Maternity hospital staff in the newly-refurbished home birthing room

Maternity hospital staff in the newly-refurbished home birthing room

NEW mums in the Mid-West will soon have the option to avail of water immersion and hydrotherapy during labour at University Maternity Hospital Limerick.

The UL Hospitals Group announced this week that the new service will commend at the end of next month as a “prototype” for normal-risk women in a newly-refurbished home birthing room at UMHL.

The announcement was made two weeks ahead of a free public lecture at University Hospital Limerick on the topic of water immersion.

Water immersion is part of a range of supports provided in the home birthing room to facilitate natural labour.

This refurbishment of the facility was driven by requests from women and the publication of the Government’s national maternity strategy.

Eileen Ronan, acting director of midwifery said: “The National Maternity Strategy identifies three care pathways in its model of care, based on the risk profile of women.   The supported care pathway is intended for normal-risk women, with midwives leading and providing care within a multidisciplinary framework. With this in mind, the opening of the refurbished home birthing room is welcomed,” she said. 

Ms Ronan added: “The first priority is always safe care, therefore we have criteria to facilitate the use of the pool.  An information leaflet is being developed for women, and staff training is progressing. There is already significant interest from women in the Mid-West for the new service. The pool is only one element of the new space for holistic care aimed at supporting normal birth. The bed does not dominate the room in anyway. Women can move from the floor to leaning against the bed, to the shower to using the ball.”

Dr Mark Skehan, consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist, said he is looking forward to opening the new service. 

“Water immersion and hydrotherapy can be quite effective for pain relief and a larger element of all of this will be using the room for more natural processes and trying to get more natural birth. We have in addition to the bath, an adjoining shower room, a birthing cube, and birthing balls. This is something of a prototype for us and if it is successful and demand increases, we hope to do the same thing in another labour room.”

Ms Ronan invites members of the public to attend a session on ‘Water Immersion for Labour’, as part of the public lecture series, at the Clinical Education and Research Building at UHL on Tuesday, April 17 at 6pm.

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