Hundreds more women in Sheffield will benefit from the ‘astonishing’ power of water during labour thanks to a £300,000 appeal backed by The Star.
Three new birth pools will soon be available at Sheffield's Jessop Wing to meet the growing demand from mums-to-be, after the fundraising campaign hit its target.
Jessop's Midwife Led Unit (MLU) previously had just one pool, which proved so popular that staff were struggling to accommodate all the women who wished to use it.
But the appeal made such a big splash, the unit will soon boast three new hi-tech pools, complete with their own sound systems and dimmable LED lighting.
Two of the new pools - one of which replaced the existing one - are already in place, and the third is due to be installed imminently.
The pools have become an increasingly popular option for women choosing where to have their babies, with the warm water soothing them, supporting their weight and acting as a natural form of pain relief during labour.
With around 7,000 babies born each year at the Jessop Wing, and some 2,000 of those births taking place in the MLU, it became clear one pool was not going to be enough.
But a £25,000 donation from the League of Friends has helped Sheffield Hospitals Charity hit its £300,000 target just under a year after launching the appeal to pay for new pools with The Star’s backing.
Adele Stanley, the lead midwife at the MLU, said: “The women are loving the pools, which work brilliantly as pain relief, and everyone who comes here wants to use one.
“The pools help them relax so they progress really well, and we now know women’s labours are shorter and less likely to result in interventions like caesarean sections or instrumental delivery when they use one.
“It’s fantastic to have these new pools, thanks to the incredible generosity of everyone who’s donated, and the feedback from mums who have used them so far is incredible.”
Ms Stanley added that the popularity of birth pools had rocketed in recent years as more women become aware of their benefits they offer, often through word of mouth or via TV shows like One Born Every Minute.
Theresa Hurst used a birth pool when having her first and third children, Archie and Joseph, with her second, Ted, arriving before a pool could be sorted.
She backed the campaign as she felt every woman should be able to benefit from the soothing sensation of water during labour.
“I genuinely believe both of my pool births gave me a great start to motherhood,” said the 36-year-old, from Oughtibridge.
“I am convinced that, in addition to the excellent care provided by the midwives, using the pool meant the births were positive, calm and completely natural experiences.
“Additional pools at the Jessop Wing will just add to the already wonderful services on offer and really enhance many ladies’ birthing experiences.”
Jessop’s staff have praised the ‘astonishing' power of water to provide relief during labour with no side effects.
They say it can contribute to a calmer and gentler birth for mum and baby and reduce the need for drugs, meaning the child is more alert and ready to initiate feeding, all of which can help mother and child get back to the comfort of their home as quickly as possible.
Marie Reid, Jessop’s deputy head of midwifery, said: “We listen to what the women of Sheffield and their families want, and try to make our services meet what they’re asking for.
“With these pools, which have been in pretty much constant use, we've provided what a lot of women have been asking for.”
Sarah Lees, from the League of Friends, said: “The League of Friends has always supported the people of Sheffield and the charitable work of all of the city’s adult hospitals.
“It was a unanimous decision to support Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s Birthing Pool Appeal. It is an amazing cause and we are so proud to be a part of it.”