The first baby born at Northern Ireland’s first midwifery-led unit has been delivered safely — and was home with her family within hours of the birth.
The baby girl, who has been named Jorja, was born at 10.07am yesterday weighing in at 6lb 14.5ozs.
Her delighted mum Claire Clarke praised staff at the state-of-the-art unit at Downe Hospital.
She said: “Everyone at the unit was absolutely brilliant, supportive and friendly. It was just like being at home.”
And as the new family returned to their Downpatrick home, a second woman in labour arrived at the ward to deliver her baby.
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey, who opened the unit earlier this week, said: “I offer my sincere congratulations to Claire Clarke and Martin Curran on the birth of their little girl Jorja.”
The ward comprises three fully equipped rooms, each with its own en-suite facilities and birthing pool. Modelled on the Home from Home Unit at the Ulster Maternity Hospital, it has the capacity to deliver more than 300 babies a year.
It offers antenatal and post-natal care, as well as a day assessment service, breastfeeding support, parentcraft and active birth classes. The unit is designed for women who have no problems with their pregnancy and are assessed as low risk.