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Welcome to the Maternity Operating Theatres. For many of you this will be the first time you have been into an operating theatre so we hope that this guide will help you to feel more relaxed should you have your baby there. We welcome many families to our theatres every year and we are constantly working towards making this environment feel welcoming and caring, and supporting as many of your birth preferences as possible. New Beginnings is a project that has transformed how we care for families in our operating theatres.


Covid-19 and Theatre Birth


Coronavirus has led to lots of changes in the way we deliver maternity care at St George’s.  You can get more information about these changes here.

While these changes are designed to keep you and your family safe, you can still be sure that your choices of pain relief in labour remain essentially the same.  If you are giving birth in theatre then both you and your partner will be asked to wear a face mask, and the team caring for you will also be wearing PPE to keep both you and them safe during your birth.  Otherwise, your choices and preferences during a theatre birth remain largely unchanged.


Who’s who

When you arrive in theatre you will meet lots of different people, some for the first time, and this can feel a bit overwhelming but don’t worry they are all here to look after you.  At the moment, the staff in theatre will be wearing personal protective equipment, as pictured above.

Along with your midwife and obstetrician, various different doctors, nurses and assistants will be part of the team that look after you. They will say hello and you come in and also introduce themselves by role and name. Some of these roles are explained here:

Scrub Nurse – This is the nurse who passes equipment to the obstetrician during your baby’s birth

1st Assistant – This is a specially trained nurse who helps the obstetrician perform the procedure

HCA (Health Care Assistant) – This person helps the nurse to get everything ready and brings anything extra that the team need while you are in theatre

Circulating – this person helps in the running and set up of the theatre space

ODP (Operating Department Practitioner)/Anaesthetic Nurse – Assists the Anaesthetist

Anaesthetist– this is the doctor who looks after your pain relief and provides your anaesthetic

Your will see these roles explained on the welcome board outside of the operating theatres just before you go in and we will write everyone’s names, including yours and your birth partner’s, on a white board in the theatre so you don’t need to remember them. Some families like to make a note of who was there on their special day so this is where you’ll find their names.


Can I have my own music in theatre?

Yes – we have a Bluetooth speaker and a Spotify account for you to access, or you can simply pair your own phone and playlist with our speaker. In an emergency this may not be possible immediately but we will make every effort to make this happen once you are more comfortable and the situation has stabilised.

What birth preferences can I choose for a birth in theatres?

We are currently working hard at making immediate skin to skin work for everyone who’s babies are well enough to stay with you and even those who may need the neonatal unit we are working with the paediatricians to get contact between babies and their mums before they go to the unit

Take a look at our GRAPES birth preferences leaflet and run through what you would like to do with your birth partner if your baby is born in theatre. If you need a general anaesthetic we will support your birth partner to have skin to skin with your baby until you wake up