Obstetric Unit (Delivery suite)

Most women give birth in Obstetric units (OU), and you’ll be looked after by midwives, but doctors will be available if you need their help.

You’ll still have choices about the kind of care you want. Your midwives and doctors will provide information about what your OU can offer, however the environment is more clinicial and less homely.

Advantages of OU birth include:

  • direct access to obstetricians if your labour becomes complicated
  • direct access to anaesthetists, who give epidurals and general anaesthetics
  • there will be specialists in newborn care (neonatologists) and a special care baby unit if there are any problems with your baby


There are some things you should think about if you’re considering a OU birth:

  • you may go home directly from the labour ward or you may be moved to a postnatal ward
  • in hospital, you may be looked after by a different midwife from the one who looked after you during your pregnancy
  • women giving birth in OU are more likely to have an epidural, episiotomy, or a forceps or ventouse delivery

Planning an OU birth

You may be encouraged to have OU (labour ward) birth if during your pregnancy you have complications which indicate that this is the safest option for you and your baby.