Sanctuary birth centre

We have a Midwifery-led Birth Centre at the Queen’s Medical Centre and at City Hospital. These are midwifery-led birth units and are staffed by a core team who specialise in supporting birth experiences in low risk pregnancies.

On each site there is a birth pool available if you would like to use this for your labour and birth. We support you to be active and mobile while in labour and birthing balls, mats and bean bags are available in every birth room. You can hire TENS machines and alternative therapies such as hypnobirthing are also available. Many people find the atmosphere in the Birth Centre very relaxing and similar to being at home.

If needed transfer to the main delivery suite is available 24 hours a day.

Sanctuary birth centre image

Your Common Questions Answered

Am I suitable for the Birth Centre?

You will be suitable for the Birth Centre if your pregnancy is low risk, that is, without any past or current medical complications affecting either you or your baby. Please speak to your midwife either during your pregnancy or when you are in early labour if you are unsure if you are suitable for the Birth Centre.

If there are complications either in this pregnancy or if you have had complications during a previous pregnancy, please discuss this with your consultant obstetrician and we will work together with you to put specialist plan in place in our birth planning clinics. Our biggest priority is to keep you and your baby safe.

Will a doctor be present at the birth?

Midwives work together with the obstetric team and will seek the assistance of a doctor if they need further medical opinion or help at any stage. It is important we work together as a team to provide a safe and quality birth experience for you and your baby.  We will work hard to keep you informed every step of the way and support you to make informed decisions about your care.

Can I use the pool to labour and give birth if I have Group B strep?

Group B strep (also known as GBS or strep B) is a common bacteria carried in the body. If you have Group B strep, we will recommend that you have antibiotics during established labour.If your pregnancy is otherwise low risk, you will be able to enter the birthing pool once you have had any antibiotics you may need and a waterproof dressing will be used. You can read more information about Group B strep on the NHS website:

How will my baby be monitored?

We will listen carefully to your baby’s heartbeat every 15 minutes during labour and more frequently just before the birth. If the midwife has concerns about your baby’s heartbeat, they will discuss these with you and recommend transferring you to the labour ward for continuous monitoring.

 How quickly can I go home?

If you and your baby are well following the birth, you may go home directly from our birthing centre. You will be seen by a midwife the following day. If, however, we have any concerns following the birth, you will be advised to stay on our post-natal ward. If you do have any concerns when you leave hospital, please contact your midwife or call our Maternity Advice Line on 0115 9709777. The advice line is open 24/7 and is manned by our friendly midwives.

National outcomes for healthy women and babies at low risk of complications

First baby: birth planned in Sanctuary Birth Centre

  • 995 per 1000 babies are born healthy.
  • 62% women have a birth with no intervention. 38% have medical intervention


Second baby, third or fourth: birth planned in Sanctuary Birth Centre

  • 998 per 1000 babies are born healthy
  • 91% women have a birth without intervention. 9% have medical intervention

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