Wednesday 28 February 2024
Salisbury Foundation Trust

Beatrice Birth Centre

Our Beatrice Birth Centre is an 'alongside Midwifery Led Unit' within the Obstetric Unit (Labour Ward).

Our birth centre is particularly suitable for you if:

  • You and your baby are healthy
  • You are expecting one baby
  • You are between 37 weeks and 41 weeks plus 6 days’ gestation
  • Your baby is presenting head down
  • This is your first pregnancy, or previous pregnancies and labours have been normal
  • You spontaneously go into labour yourself without having your labour induced

If you are outside this criteria but wish to use the birth centre then please inform your midwife who will refer you to one of our maternity matrons to discuss your birth preferences and make a plan with you.

The Birth Place Study (2011) found that low-risk women planning birth at home or in an alongside midwifery led unit were more likely to have a straightforward vaginal birth than women planning birth in an obstetric unit. Planning to give birth in a midwifery unit was a particularly suitable option for low risk, healthy women having their first baby because the rate of interventions was lower and there was no evidence that the outcome for the baby is different compared with an obstetric unit.

The Beatrice Birth Centre is situated within the maternity unit and care in labour is provided by midwives. In the event that there are any concerns about you or your baby’s wellbeing in labour, or you request an epidural, then a transfer to labour ward will be recommended during labour. This transfer usually only takes a few minutes, as the birth centre is alongside the labour ward. Pain relief options include birthing pools, gas and air and pethidine.

The most common reasons that a transfer is recommended to the labour ward from our birth centre would be:

  • There are concerns with the observations of you and your baby in labour or after the birth
  • You would like an epidural
  • There is a delay in the progress of your labour
  • The colour of your waters are blood stained or there is meconium in your waters (baby’s first poo)
  • Your placenta is not delivering
  • There are concerns about the presentation or position of your baby or your baby’s cord is presenting first
  • You experience heavy bleeding following the birth
  • That you have experienced a tear which requires a review by an obstetric doctor (such as a complicated tear involving muscle or other structures, or a third or fourth degree tear which involves your back passage)
  • Maternal request for a transfer


The Birth Place Study (2011) research found that transfer to an obstetric unit for women who planned their birth in an alongside birth centre occurred in 40.2% of first time mothers, and 10% of second time or subsequent mothers.

Advantages of an Alongside Birth Centre


  • The birth centre has a more ‘home from home’ environment where you may feel more relaxed and better able to cope with labour
  • There is a lower likelihood of having an intervention such as forceps or ventouse
  • The birth centre is situated locally to the labour ward in the event a transfer is required
  • A transfer may be recommended if there any concerns with yourself or baby
  • An epidural is not available in the birth centre


Our staff at Salisbury District Hospital have long been well regarded for the quality of care and treatment they provide for our patients and for their innovation, commitment and professionalism. This has been recognised in a wide range of achievements and it is reflected in our award of NHS Foundation Trust status. This is afforded to hospitals that provide the highest standards of care.

Person Centred & Safe





Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury District Hospital, Odstock Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 8BJ
T: 01722 336262 E:
© 2024 Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Trust Values