Our midwife-led Carmen Suite has had two state-of-the-art birthing pools installed into its newly refurbished rooms – providing a tranquil environment for mothers and babies.

We spoke to Emma Spillane, Head Midwife on Carmen Suite, about the benefits these new pools offer to the hundreds of women who give birth at St George’s Hospital each year.

What are the benefits of the new pools?

The Swiss-made birthing pools are spacious, easy to use, sterile, and have an inbuilt birthing stool – meaning expectant mothers do not need to get in and out as often. They also have a shower attachment, which we use on the mother’s back – it is very relaxing and almost like a massage.

What else is different in the rooms?

We have completely redecorated two of our birthing rooms, and plan to do the same in other two rooms soon. We did a lot of research about colours in healthcare and settled on deep pinks and warm blues. We’ve also added candles and fairy lights so the rooms look more like a spa then a hospital!

Why do some women opt for a water birth?

The main benefits are pain relief and relaxation for the mothers. Some research has also suggested it lowers blood pressure and can shorten labour by up to 45 minutes – which may not sound a lot, but for a woman in labour that is a significant amount of time!

Does it have any benefit for the baby?

We’ve found that babies born in water tend to be quieter and latch on to breastfeeding a lot quicker. It’s almost as if the babies don’t realise they’ve been born.

What feedback have you had?

Women love the new pools and have said that the rooms themselves are really calm and peaceful. The rooms aren’t as clinical-looking as other areas of the hospital, and the women who have given birth in them have said it has felt more like being at home.