Birth centre (freestanding)

Barkantine Birth Centre

at Barkantine Health Centre

Part of Barts Health NHS Trust

  • Large-sized birth centre (freestanding)
  • 500 births in 2014/15

About this unit

Book directly from 23 weeks of pregnancy

Open 24 hours every day of the year

Closed 3 times in the last 12 months once for 24 hours due to the London Marathon as all roads around the Birth Centre were closed; twice for 12 hours overnight due to high activity at the Royal London Hospital requiring staff from the Birth Centre to be based at the hospital.

If you need medical help during labour you'll be transferred to The Maternity Suite at Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel and Lotus Birth Centre at Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

How will I be looked after?

You'll see up to 3 different midwives for antenatal appointments and up to 3 different midwives for postnatal appointments.
You'll see the same midwives throughout your pregnancy and after your baby is born, but different midwives when you're in labour.

You will be allocated a named midwife after your booking-in appointment. You will see this midwife at the GP surgery and ideally throughout the pregnancy. There are 3 midwives allocated to each surgery therefore you could see any of these at your antenatal check if your link midwife was on leave.Postnatally women will ideally see no more than 3 midwives in the community setting

Births per midwife per year

No details available.

Who can give birth here?

  • Women who live within the catchment area:
    Tower Hamlets
  • Women who are between 37 and 42 weeks along
  • No complications in a previous pregnancy
  • No complications in this pregnancy
  • Can be Group B Strep positive
  • BMI 35.0 and below
  • Baby must be head down
  • Women having only a single baby in this pregnancy
  • Women with a maximum of 5 previous babies.
  • You can discuss having your baby here, even if you don't fit these criteria. Contact them for details.
  • You can give birth here even if you don't live in the catchment area

Contact information

0207 377 7000 or main hospital number 020 7791 8300
121 Westferry Road, Canary Wharf, London, E14 8JH
Staticmap?size=330x212&sensor=false&center=51.501292, 0.025705&markers=51.501292, 0

Public transport information

How to book once you're pregnant

Booking phone number:
020 7791 8300

Via your GP

You are advised to have your second (anomaly) scan and if there are no pregnancy complications then you can self-refer by calling the Barkantine Birth Centre or by speaking to your midwife to complete a referral form.

If in labour call:
020 7791 8300


  • 5 birthing rooms
  • 5 birth pool(s)
    • 5 Plumbed-in birth pools
    • 0 Inflatable birth pools
  • You can't bring in your own birth pool
  • Car parking for women in labour No special arrangements
  • Out-of-hours access to food Kitchen, frozen meals available
  • Facilities available if you arrive in early labour
    • You'll be seen by a midwife who will check the progress of your labour
    • You can have a bath or use a birth pool if available
    • You can be admitted to the delivery suite/birthing room
  • Communal area or living room A communal area is not available at this unit
  • Outside space available to women in labour Rooms have a balcony

Transfer Details

82% give birth without transfer to the labour ward (2012/13)

If you need medical help during labour you'll be transferred to The Maternity Suite at Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel and Lotus Birth Centre at Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

Approximately 30 minute(s) transfer time

3.0 miles away

Support during birth

There are no restrictions on birth partners.

You can have a doula as a birth partner
A doula counts towards the limited number of birth partners.

You can have an alternative practitioner (e.g. your own aromatherapist) as a birth partner.

Tours of the maternity unit

Tours of the birth centre are every Thursday evening and Saturday morning. To book for a tour please contact on 020 7791 8300

Amenity (private) rooms

Amenity rooms are not available.

Non-NHS Care

Private care isn't provided here. There may be the option to book private or independent midwifery care locally.

Birth equipment

  1. Aromatherapy serviceavailable
  2. Bean bagsavailable
  3. Birth ballsavailable
  4. Birth matsavailable
  5. Birthing couchnot available
  6. CD playeravailable
  7. Cushionsavailable
  1. Dimmable lightingavailable
  2. iPod docknot available
  3. Reclining chairnot available
  4. Rocking chairnot available
  5. Supporting rope or slingnot available
  6. TENS machineavailable

Coping with pain

  1. Birthing poolavailable
  2. Diamorphinenot available
  3. Entonox (gas and air)available
  4. Meptidnot available
  1. Morphine sulphate (Oramorph)not available
  2. Pethidineavailable
  3. Remifentanilnot available

Your stay after you've given birth

  • Women who've had an uncomplicated birth usually stay for 6-24 hours after the birth
  • You'll be able to stay in the same room throughout your stay
  • You will not be able to return here after you've your baby, if you transferred to the labour ward for the birth
  • Provision for partners staying overnight:

    in a room with you, in a double bed

Information for visitors

No set visiting hours during day. Birth Centre closes for visitors at 10pm

Directions, car parking and public transport

Parking costs
No car park though there are meters on the streets and a car park a couple of minutes walk away which is very reasonable for the day (£5)

Public transport information

Breastfeeding rate

No details available.

Baby-friendly status

No award

Find out more about Baby Friendly

Home births from this unit (Values based on small numbers have been adjusted for reasons of confidentiality)

How many women had a home birth?

Reliability of home birth service

This service hasn't been suspended in the last 12 months

How often are women who are booked for a home birth required to come into hospital due to a lack of available staff:

Who can arrange a home birth with this unit?

Women who live within the catchment area:

E1, E2, E3, E14

How to arrange a home birth with this unit

Via your community midwife

Coping with pain

You can have pethidine or other opioids at home if you arrange a home birth with this hospital

Note: epidurals are not available for home births

Assistance for women with limited mobility

  1. Wheelchair access to the wards and delivery suite

No details available.

Interpreting service

There is an interpreting service which can be arranged for antenatal appointments. It is currently not available during labour.

Other assistance for women who don't speak or read English

No details available.

Hearing problems

No details available.

Sight problems

No details available.

Learning difficulties

No details available.

Autism spectrum

No details available.

Specialist midwifery teams

The Maternity Mates project provides voluntary non-clinical support to women who do not have a suitable support network or have specific needs or health issues. This is in addition to the services offered by the unit:

  1. Antenatal Screening
  2. Bereavement
  3. Diabetes
  4. Infant feeding
  1. Perinatal mental health
  2. Substance misuse
  3. Teenage pregnancy
  4. Vulnerable women/safeguarding

How do women give birth here? Cobrand data supplier

Statistics are based on data from all women in labour using this birth centre/midwife-led unit (mostly low risk)

This hospital

  • Unplanned caesarean
  • Birth by forceps or ventouse
  • Baby born without help

This hospital

  • Transferred to labour ward during labour
  • Gave birth in the birth centre

This hospital

  • Transferred to labour ward during labour
  • Gave birth in the birth centre

This hospital

  • Transferred to labour ward during labour
  • Gave birth in the birth centre

This hospital

  • Women having their first baby
  • Women having their second or a subsequent baby

Women's experiences

Please note that the scores and reviews aren't necessarily about this specific unit, but can apply to the hospital or Trust it is part of.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) Maternity Services Survey 2015 Source

Scores are for Trusts as a whole.

Labour and birth

8.1/10 Worse compared with other trusts


7.6/10 Worse compared with other trusts

Care in hospital after birth

6.9/10 Worse compared with other trusts