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Model Birthing Unit for Wyong

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Title: Model Birthing Unit for Wyong

Wyong Hospital’s maternity unit has seen ups and downs in its 13-year history, but is now back on the rise again as the Central Coast’s low-risk birthing centre.

As the venue for almost 10 per cent of births for the Central Coast, Wyong’s birthing unit has a way to go before competing with the number of babies born at Gosford Hospital, but Central Coast Health’s Acting Divisional Manager for Women’s, Children’s and Family Health Angela Monger hopes that day is closer.

“We support births locally for people. People want that. If we could get more of our normal births out to what is now essentially a birth centre [at Wyong Hospital], then we would lighten the load at Gosford and we normalise birth for women,” Ms Monger said.

The unit opened in October 1997, however problems such as a lack of obstetricians and anaesthetists and funding for registrars and trainees, have meant it has closed several times, including a five-month closure in 2008. “In early 2008 we had a problem with lack of obstetricians here at Gosford so there really was no choice. The obstetric support that was at Wyong was brought to Gosford,” she explained.

Then started a recruitment program for obstetricians that is still underway even now. “It was obvious we weren’t going to be able to fix the lack of obstetricians problem here quickly so we went into recruitment. Most of our applicants were from overseas and it takes a considerable amount of time to get them over here,” she said.

When the Wyong birthing unit re-opened in late 2008 it was under two midwifery care models – caseload or Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) and Team Midwifery Program (TMP) – and run independently from Gosford Hospital. Women who needed obstetric support or had problems in labour had to go to Gosford Hospital.

“With caseload a woman is allocated to a known midwife and, apart from when the midwife is on her designated days off, that is the midwife that they see for all their visits, in labour, and all being well, that’s the midwife who will care for them. Women going through caseload feel more supported and more secure and able to continue with their decision to have their baby at Wyong. We want to continue to have more babies at Wyong,” Ms Monger said.

And this is the scenario Central Coast Health is aiming for. “We also know we get better outcomes from normal women when they are away from an environment of a high risk birthing unit,” Ms Monger explained, saying fear caused longer labours and greater pain. “Women who feel completely supported and capable of doing something actually manage to do it so much better. Women being supported by an individual who is very experienced and philosophically of the viewpoint that birth is a natural process are going to have better outcomes.”

The process of going to hospital to have a baby and then returning home soon after is called Domino Domiciliary in the United Kingdom, where Ms Monger practised as a midwife. Care is provided in a woman’s home by midwives post-natally and, sometimes, ante-natally.

Despite recruiting midwives for the TMP model, the number needed to effectively staff Wyong birthing unit could not be maintained and Ms Monger decided to switch to one care model, similar to the system run at Belmont Hospital. “Belmont has operated successfully like that for a considerable amount of time now and has very good outcomes – very short lengths of stay and women who are supported by their midwives to go home early then have whatever home visits are necessary for the individual.”

So now women attending Wyong Hospital to give birth naturally can see the midwife they had seen throughout their pregnancy and a second midwife comes in for support as the baby is born. The unit is sometimes heaving with activity, and other times quiet. “We always say our birthing suite is a bit like the emergency department of the hospital – we can’t predict exactly what is coming in,” Ms Monger said, and added there was some known activity like booked inductions and caesareans, “but we can’t control when people will go into labour”.

Another advantage of the MGP model is allowing midwives to stay with labouring women if they have to be transferred to Gosford, even if they only stay with her as a support person. This model also provides assessment during pregnancy, such as if a woman has had some bleeding or they think their baby is not moving.

“Our hope and intention is that one day we will have all the required resources for reintroducing an obstetric service at Wyong,” Ms Monger explained and added she hoped home birth would also be an option for Central Coast women. “We’re not able yet to offer people home birth on the Central Coast, but I certainly hope that that is something that will be available to people one day.”

“A birth unit like Wyong is there for people who would have a birth at home – they recognise home as the best place to be, rather than a hospital environment. Hospitals generally don’t perpetuate the whole wellness model – it’s an illness model of care.”

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27 Comments on “Model Birthing Unit for Wyong”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I gave birth at Wyong Hospital under the care of a Midwife and it was absolutely fantastic.
    I had the most amazing water birth in one of their beautiful birthing suits. I then left the hospital the next day and the midwives came to my house a number of times over the following weeks to help me settle into becoming a mum.
    I couldn’t recommend the service at Wyong by the midwives high enough, we are so lucky to have this birthing unit on the central coast.

  2. Mandy says:

    Having moved out of the area, I realise just how lucky mothers of the Central Coast are to be able to access this kind and quality of care. I birthed my second baby under the care of a wonderful midwife, as part of the MGP program. My wishes for birth were completely respected. I was allowed to catch my own baby, and had a easy and peaceful water birth. I went home 4 hours after my baby girl was born and walked out of the hospital totally elated. It was one of the most empowering experiences of my life. I don’t know why Area Health Services vary so much, but I couldn’t even get on the MGP program at Wollongong Hospital – you have to book in at 4 weeks because it is so over subscribed! Who even knows they’re pregnant that early? Also, you’re allowed to labour in water, but not birth in it. I hope many more women discover the amazing service at Wyong Hospital. Congratulations to those health care professionals, like Ms Angela Monger, who truly put the women and their baby at the centre of their practice. I don’t suppose she’d like a transfer…?

  3. Jennifer and Mandy I really enjoyed speaking with Angela Monger Wyong’s birthing unit to write this article. Birth is a natural process and should be treated so in more cases.

  4. Lisa Kim says:

    I was also lucky enough to utilise the wonderful services that Wyong Birthing Unit offers.

    When I was pregnant with my second child, I wanted somewhere I felt really safe and confident as well as knowing my experience would be supported as a natural and normal process.

    I am delighted to say that all of my ideas were listened to by my Midwife at Wyong Hospital. She filled me with confidence and trust in myself, took the time to answer any questions I had during my prenatal visits and offered great post natal support. Not once did I feel concerned about leaving the hospital after 4 hours as my midwife also offered me all the support I needed afterwards in home visits. In fact she even looked after my newborn baby as I had a shower and got ready to go to a wedding the very next day.

    My wish is that more people on the Central Coast are also able to share and become aware of this wonderful service right on our doorstep.

  5. Carissa says:

    How do i get in touch with the Wyong birthing unit, i’d like to have a water birth (with gas). I am due in April next year (yes i am only 6 weeks preg)

  6. Lisa it’s so important to feel confident about such decisions – it makes all the difference when you’re doing something so important.

    Congratulations Carissa. The general hospital number for Wyong is (02) 4394 8000 so I’m sure they could direct you.

  7. Kelli Lockett says:

    I am the same.I couldn’t be happier with the care i received at Wyong with my first born. My midwife was wonderful & was with me every step of the way. I had a water birth with no pain relief & the support from my midwife was so encouraging. I went home the next day by choice & had great folllow up care in the comfort of my lounge. My 2nd bub is due in 6 weeks and i’m booked back at Wyong & have another wonderful midwife looking after me again. I feel very lucky to have Wyong Maternity available to me.

  8. Erin says:

    I have four children, two born at Gosford and two at Wyong. I must say that the two births at Wyong were fantastic, i felt supported and cared for and at no point was i made to feel like just another patient. While both times i didnt get to use the bath (very fast labours) i loved that the option was there, and the freedom to move around the room as i wanted was fantastic.
    My other two births were stressful and had unnecessary interventions. I would recommend any expectant mother to birth at Wyong as the amount of care and information was invaluable at such a momentous time in your life.

  9. Kelly McMillan says:

    This has been so excellent to read, the article and all the posts! I am early on in our second pregnancy and have only recently moved to central coast. Our first was born at a rural hospital last year which was also run only by midwives. We didn’t see a doctor the entire stay. We couldn’t imagine a better place to be for the birth of a baby and I have been wondering where our second would be born. I didn’t like the serious side of Gosford Hospital, seems a bit scary to me. My GP told me I couldn’t go to Wyong! So glad I found this page as Wyong sounds the perfect place for us to go. Hopefully all goes well and we’ll be back here writing a rave review in September ; )

  10. Lisa Kim says:

    Hey Kelly

    I just read your post and I just wanted to let you know you need to book in really early so give the booking phone number a call as soon as possible to make sure you can utilise the great services offered. Cheers, LISA

  11. Jordana Mancini says:

    i am 14 weeks pregnant and would like to birth at Wyong Hospital…
    so i guess i should ring them now?
    I am 17 and still have 24 hour sickness and very lethargic, i have lost just over 5kg since November…

    I’d love to have a water birth or labour as someone said you can’t actually birth in the water although i have seen it done…

    NO epidural or pain relief, maybe gas if needed…

    (If someone could take the time to reply it would be greatly appreciated)

    thank you

  12. Lisa Kim says:

    Hi Jordana

    It sounds like your preferred option would be to have support in a normal and natural birth therefore your best option on the Central Coast is Wyong Birth Centre.

    And from experience, Wyong has THE BEST baths on the Coast in every room.

    Don’t forget to also make enquiries in regard to various antenatal class options to help support your choice of having a lovely natural birth.

    I highly recommend you contact the midwives as soon as possible on 4320 2884 to ensure you will be allocated a midwife to support you at Wyong.

    I am sorry to hear you are feeling so poorly at such a special time of your life, but can I please urge you to seek the help of a healthcare professional such as a naturopath, homeopath or herbalist. If they are not an affordable option, perhaps your local healthfood store may be able to recommend something to ease the nausea.

    Best of wishes.


  13. Arabella says:

    For great birthing classes, check out Central Coast calmbirth, they are listed in the Coast Kids directory.

  14. Gemma says:

    I had my first baby at Gosford and was so disappointed in the service in the maternity ward, I had a completely natural birth and the other girls in my room all had caesareans so the nurses were quite busy with them and didn’t give me much help with breastfeeding or anything. I was so upset I left that afternoon without them even checking me over or bub. Don’t get me wrong the midwives were fantastic. I am now pregnant with our second and I vow never to go to Gosford again! Thank god I found this post and got to read all the great things about Wyong, I live almost an hour away but if it means better service, a midwife that you know all through your pregnancy birthing my child and a much more inviting atmosphere then… hurray!!!!

  15. Kelly M says:

    Regarding the booking in early at Wyong, my recent experience, from just this week, has had me ringing the booking line, which is in fact the Central Coast booking line for both Gosford and Wyong Midwives. Ringing Wyong Hospital direct just got me put through to the booking line. I called the booking line 3 times, every second day, before someone called me back as we are at 15/16 wks and I didn’t want to miss out on Wyong. We were fine for Wyong in September and also qualified for the MGP program, not sure why but it sounds EXCELLENT! They did confirm that discharges are 4 – 12hrs after birth.

  16. Kelly M says:

    On another note, it seems crazy to me that there are really only 3 options of birthing on the central coast; Wyong, Gosford and North Gosford. Also crazy that people would have to travel from an hour away just to get the service they prefer, eg. Wyong. I would think Wyong and Gosford should both offer similar services, eg. own rooms, water births etc whatever it is that mothers want from the hospitals. The central coast covers a large enough area and accommodates enough people I find it crazy that the birthing options are so limited. Either that or a “birthing hospital” is needed.

  17. Lisa Kim says:

    Hi Gemma and Kelly M

    Kelly is right in saying contact the booking line as soon as possible and be persistent.

    The MGP program offers such brilliant support. You will be allocated your very own midwife to support you through your prenatal care, birth and postnatal period. Yes, early discharge is part of the program, however, be assured that your midwife will remain on call for you should any issues arise.

    Kelly, in regard to your comment about the limited and inconsistent services offered on the Coast, there are a variety of reasons. Wyong is a fairly new hospital, hence all of the lovely facilites, where as Gosford is a little older. At present, Wyong Hospital is midwifery run therefore they can only support women who qualify for the program, generally ‘low risk’ as there are no obstetric services.

    All of our public services are working very hard at upgrading their care and options for all women however, funding is limited and renovations and employing more staff is challenging.

    I am currently sitting on the Towards Normal Birth committee as a consumer representative, which is a 5 year program and funding support by the NSW Government to improve birth support, education & services, reduce unnecessary intervention, encourage natural alternatives for pain management as well as looking closely at the current cesarean section rate and reducing that.

    There are changes that are currently happening, including baths for all rooms at Gosford 🙂 Again due to funding Wyong wasn’t able to maintain the 2 midwifery programs, MGP & Team Midwifery Care but both hospitals do offer MGP.

    If you would like to help improve our local services think about attending the meetings with the Central Coast Maternity Coalition, a small group of advocates who really care about our local birthing services.

    They meet at 10am on the 1st Tuesday every month at the Berkeley Vale Centre. Their email address is if you would like more information.

    Happy births to you both.


  18. Jenny says:

    I am currently doing a personal interest project on wyong and gosford maternity ward.
    (removed by administrator) But I was wondering if anyone knows any personal that works at wyong or gosford that I can interview?
    Wyong needs the proper faculities to cater to the needs of every patient and for every situation. Hopefully my P.I.P will get someone to listen.
    Thank you, Jenny

  19. Jennifer says:

    Contact Angela Monger at Wyong Hospital.

  20. Jessica says:

    Hi. I am about 19 weeks pregnant (Due December 23, 2011.) I am birthing at Wyong, & have been feeling rather insecure about it! These posts have put my mind at ease (to an extent). I am concerned about something going wrong in labour, ie. baby gets distreessed/stuck, baby isn’t breathing, I bleed badly. I am worried I will not get to Gosford in time if something goes terribly wrong! I love the atmosphere & facilities at Wyong, but am still very hesitant if something terrible happens…. I am classed as low risk, 26 years old & no complications so far…

  21. Jessica says:

    Oh, & I am a little worried about being discharged so early (after 4 hours). It’s my first bub, & i’m scared I wont know what to do. I know the midwives visit you at home, but I think I would feel more confident staying in a hospital for a night or so. Don’t get me wrong, I would still much prefer Wyong than Gosford (I don’t think I would like the atmosphere of Gosford, it seems so intimidating!)

  22. Kelly M says:

    Hi Jessica, I am currently 34wks & we were also worried (a little) about the early discharge. I have a toddler at home and don’t want to be away from her for 4 days but at the same time driving home with a 4 hr old baby is pretty daunting – especially if it is night time. My partner and I looked into NightNannies and the possibility of hiring a nurse at home for the first few days, just so we could get some sleep knowing bubs was being looked after. The service is actually extremely affordable at around $30/hr and someone suggested we may get money back from our Private Health. But after discussing my concerns with the midwives they put me at ease. Bubs will be next to my bed and the theory is that I will wake up should anything happen with bubs. It is a lil’ scary thinking we are still atleast a 20min drive to the hospital but I guess we’ll just have to wait & see how we feel when we get home with the new bubs. Also, if I can squeeze in a newborn first aid course in the next few weeks that will surely help set my mind at ease also. Meanwhile I think what makes it most daunting is a lot of people do not realise Wyong have such a short discharge & they are more than happy to offer their (normally shocked/disapproving) opinions. I remind myself why I chose Wyong and I do believe a lot of the time things can actually work out really well, eg. bubs being born on Toddler’s daycare day ; ). I have also been reminding people that I agreed, & signed, on the early discharge policy at Wyong for our own reasons. Should anything go wrong we’d end up at Gosford anyways where I understand it all changes. I don’t see much point in stressing too much about it as we may go over/under term by too much or something and end up at Gosford anyways. Isn’t that the way it works? I hope this helps a little bit.

  23. Mandy says:

    Dear Jessica, I really understand your concerns – they are real, and important to address. I can’t really encourage you enough to speak with your midwife at Wyong about all these issues. I’m about to have my 4th baby in November at home. My first was born in Gosford, second in Wyong and third at home. I feel somewhat experienced in a variety of models of care, and can honestly say that with the one-to-one care (eg: MGP at Wyong) you will receive an excellent level of support. Labours and births that have less intervention have less chance of something going “wrong”. I believe that Wyong would have oxygen available if your baby had trouble breathing. I would imagine they can give you an injection to help with bleeding and transfer you to Gosford if that became necessary. And as far as your baby getting stuck – like my third 10 pounder did at home – my midwife had the training to know exactly what to do to get him out. I avoided an extra large epesiotomy thanks to her gentle method. It took a while for my baby to begin breathing, but with the cord remaining unclamped and still pulsing he was getting all the oxygen he needed until a few moments later he began to breathe and cry on his own. What I’m trying to get to here is talk about these worries with your midwife. Ask if “x” happens, what will you do? Ask “what are the chances of ‘y’ happening to me”? Once you know the facts, your mind will be at ease. The other beautiful thing about the midwives at Wyong is that in my experience they watch so carefully, they could see well in advance if something was not going well – before it became an crash emergency type situation. As far as feeling nervous about going home after 4 hours, I also understand that. A new baby is a very daunting prospect – let alone your first – a little person, depending on you to care for his/her every need. I’m not sure if things have changed, but I believe you can still phone the 24 hour number to speak to a midwife if you needed help at home. The home visits are absolutely wonderful too. In all honesty, in Gosford hospital with all the shift changes you can get a million different pieces of advice – some of which is conflicting. I found it better to be home where I had my midwife come visit me and help me. There was consistency in the advice she gave me, and she was very relaxed about baby care (eg: no forcing of routines that destroy a breastfeeding relationship). I would highly recommend you attend an ABA course on breastfeeding (if you plan to), and also find some people to support you in the style of parenting you would like to use with your baby. I’m a co-sleeping, breastfeeding, home-birthing, sling-wearing, cloth-nappying Mummy – and I’ve found a Natural Parenting group in my area with other mothers who I can identify with, get advice and tips from and enjoy their friendship and understanding. I’d encourage you to link up with groups like Central Coast Maternity Coalition – who can then link you in with other support groups that may help you to feel confident in the lead up to your baby’s birth and in taking care of bub. I hope some of this has been helpful. Talk, talk and talk some more until you feel you are satisfied with the information you’ve received and are in a position where you can confidently make informed choices about yourself and your precious little baby. All the best, Mandy.

  24. I’m so pleased this article has continued to generate so many comments and you’re all supporting each other. What a great community!


  25. samantha says:

    I had my son at wyong and now that is the on place I want to give birth iam hoping on having my second child there when me and my partner decide on more kids I think that the birthing unit at wyong is the best and all low risk ladys should give birth there

  26. rochelle says:

    Hi ladies.
    I am currently pregnant with my 3rd child. I birthed my first child at Gosford due to complications, my second at wyong under team midwifery care and recently booked into wyong for number 3!.

    i had no probs booking in, i was 16 weeks, had my first appointment within a week.

    Wyong is definitely the place to go if you want a more relaxed atmosphere. You certainly can birth in the tubs or the showers.

    Would highly recommend wyong to anyone who is eligible to birth there 😉

  27. Lisa Lake says:

    I just wanted to update the comments made on this blog. Wyong Birthing Unit is now able to support even more women on the Central Coast. All women who have no complications in their pregnancy are able to have their babies their regardless if it is their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or more babies if they book into the program. When you look at reports such as the Mother & Babies Report it is clear that there is a lower rate of intervention and better birth outcomes for both mother and baby.

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