Cossham Birth Centre FAQs

Cossham Birth Centre reopened on Monday 21 October 2019 under an “Open on Arrival” model for labouring women, which applies day and night. This means the centre will be opened specifically for a birth and closed afterwards.

What exactly does open on arrival mean?

Cossham Birth Centre reopened on Monday 21 October 2019 under an “Open on Arrival” model for labouring women, which applies day and night. This means the centre will be opened specifically for a birth and closed afterwards.

Cossham Birth Centre is an option for low risk women who have been assessed as suitable by their midwife. Before arriving at Cossham Birth Centre, women in labour must telephone Mendip Birth Centre on 0117 414 6900 and speak to a midwife.

The Midwife on Mendip Birth Centre will support women to get their first choice where possible on a case by case basis. However, if the team are already occupied with a birth then they would be offered Mendip Birth Centre or Central Delivery Suite as an alternative. Conversations about this and suitable alternatives will have previously been discussed at their 34 week antenatal checks.

If a Cossham birth is appropriate and the centre is available, a Midwife will meet the woman at the birth centre and open it. Two midwives will attend every birth, and after the birth, at an agreed time but no earlier than six hours, the mother and baby would return home. The midwives would then ensure Cossham is ready for the next birth, and then close the unit. If mother and baby need to stay longer than six hours they will be transferred, by ambulance, to Southmead Maternity Unit.

Can I just turn up at Cossham?

No, you need to call Mendip Birth Centre on 0117 414 6900 to ensure there is capacity for you and that the midwives are not already caring for a woman in labour.

What if I have arranged a Cossham birth but I arrive before the birthing team?

As long as you have already called the midwife, she will arrange to meet you in the front entrance of Cossham Hospital by the security lodge, if, when you get there the midwife has not arrived, please wait until she gets there. If you are concerned that you will birth imminently – please call 999 for an ambulance to take you to Southmead Maternity Unit.

Can I stay at Cossham - how quickly will I be expected to leave?

Following your birth will can stay at Cossham Birth Centre for up to six hours, and then be discharged home. If there are any concerns with you or your baby, you will be transferred by ambulance to Southmead Maternity Unit.

Can I tour Cossham before I go there to give birth?

Yes, when you see the midwife at 34 weeks, at Cossham Birth Centre, she will give you a tour then.

Where will I be transferred if things don’t go to plan? How long will that take? Who will come with me?

You will be transferred to Central Delivery Suite (CDS) at Southmead Maternity Uniy if your midwife has concerns. The journey can take up to an hour; this is timed from making the initial call to the ambulance crew, right through to arrival on CDS. The actual journey from Cossham to Southmead takes about 15 minutes. One of the Cossham Home Birth Team midwives will go with you

Why is Cossham a good option for me if both St Michaels and Southmead have birthing centres?

The Birthplace study, 2017, findings, showed that:
‘Midwifery units appear to be safe for the baby and offer benefits for the mother. Planned births in a Free standing unit had significantly fewer interventions and more normal births than women who planned birth in an obstetric unit’.

It is a matter of choice for you to make, you may consider it more conveniently situated to your home, or would like a quieter more homely environment et., however, what is important is that you understand the difference  between a free standing and an alongside birth centre.

All this will be explained to you in more detail when you attend your 34 week antenatal appointment with you midwife.