WHILE more and more pregnant mothers are having to travel almost 20 miles to the Conquest Hospital to give birth, one St Leonards mother opted to travel the opposite direction.
Tracey Jenner, of Magdalen Road, St Leonards, decided to give birth at Eastbourne DGH’s midwife-led maternity unit because she wanted her experience to be as natural as possible.
She is the first woman from the east of the county to go to the DGH following the temporary changes to maternity services, which were introduced in May. Hospital trust managers decided to turn the Conquest’s unit into a consultant-led one and Eastbourne’s into one led by midwives following advice from the National Clinical Advisory Team over safety issues.
Mrs Jenner and her husband David welcomed baby Aiden into the world just before 5am last Wednesday (July 31), weighing 7lbs 7ozs.
She said: “With this being our first baby, I wanted to give birth somewhere that had a homely feel where the experience could be as relaxing as possible. We came to have a look round the unit here in Eastbourne beforehand and I just felt it would be the perfect place for me to give birth.
“My pregnancy was absolutely lovely with no complications. I didn’t want drugs for the pain and wanted the birth to be as natural as possible.
“For me, travelling over from St Leonards to Eastbourne for the birth just wasn’t a problem and I’m so glad that I was able to go to Eastbourne. It has been lovely.”
Her husband David added: “I would sum up our experience on the unit by saying that we’ve felt like guests here, not just a patient and her husband.”
Becky Collins, midwifery unit matron, said: “We have had some women from Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill coming to look round the unit and for those that are low-risk, they can choose to come and give birth at Eastbourne. We are getting a lot of positive feedback from women who have given birth here, and it’s lovely when you hear how pleased women such as Tracey are with their experience.”