St Michael's Hospital, Braintree

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Freestanding Birth Centre

WJC Birthing Centre

Contact & visitor information

Freestanding birth centres are not on the same site as a hospital, so your care is led by midwives. If you need the assistance of a doctor you’ll be transferred to a labour ward at a hospital.

a small unit


births from Apr 2017 to Apr 2018



Birthing rooms available

  • Epidural
  • Birth pools available
  • Neonatal care unit

Pain-relief options

  • Entonox (gas and air)
  • Diamorphine
  • Meptid
  • Morphine sulphate (Oramorph)
  • Pethidine
  • Remifentanil
  • Sterile water injections
  • Epidural
  • Birth pool
  • Other: Morphine
Find out more about pain relief during labour

Having a baby here

During labour and birth

  • If you arrive in the early stages of labour
    • You'll be seen by a midwife who will check the progress of your labour
    • You'll be encouraged to go home
    • There's an area where you can be assessed
    • You can have a bath or use a birth pool if available
    • You can be admitted to the delivery suite/birthing room
    • You can speak to a midwife at any time and have 24 hour access to the unit. You will be encouraged to remain in the comfort of your own home during early labour, but will be advised accordingly if you need pain relief.
  • Transfer details
  • Birthing rooms
    • 2 Birthing room(s)
    • 2 Birth pool(s)
      • 0 Inflatable birth pool(s)
      • 2 Plumbed-in birth pool(s)
  • Birth partners
    • Additional birth partners may be accommodated in certain circumstances and this can be discussed in the antenatal period. However, there are no waiting facilities for relatives within the Birth Centre
    • The limit depends on the individual circumstances
    • You can have the following number of birth partners with you during labour: 2

Birth facilities

  • Aromatherapy service
  • Bean bags
  • Birth balls
  • Birth mats
  • Birthing couch
  • Dimmable lighting
  • iPod dock
  • Reclining chair
  • Supporting rope or sling
  • TENS machine
  • Hypnobirthing
  • Birthing stools
  • TV
  • Rocking chair

After you've given birth

  • Private postnatal rooms
    • Amenity rooms are available.
    • All rooms are private without charge for women recieving NHS care.
  • Provision for partners staying overnight
    • Partners can stay in a room with you in a double bed
  • Your stay after you've given birth
    • After you have given birth you'll be transferred to a bed in the postnatal area
    • Women who've had an uncomplicated birth usually stay for 6-24 hours after the birth
    • If you're transferred to the labour ward during the birth you can come back to the birth centre postnatally
  • Contact & visitor information

How many midwives will I meet?

The maximum number of different midwives you're likely to see for antenatal appointments is 2 and for postnatal appointments it's 3.

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 looked after by a small team of Midwives for your antenatal care, during labour and for postnatal care. You will be given a named Midwife at your first appointment. Midwives work in pairs to give antenatal care, so you will see your named Midwife or her partner for the majority of your antenatal appointments. If they are unwell or on holiday, or you need to be seen urgently, your care will be provided by another of the Birth Centre's team of Midwives. The same team of Midwives provide care in labour, and postnatal care.

Find out about the benefits of knowing your midwife


* We’ve adjusted the data where it’s based on a small number of women to ensure confidentiality
Compared to the national average, women were:
    What is your situation?

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    Who can give birth here?

    • Eligibility
      • Baby must be head down
      • You can discuss having your baby here, even if you don't fit the following criteria.
      • Straightforward pregnancy
      • Straightforward previous pregnancies
      • Only having one baby in this pregnancy (eg no twins)
      • BMI between 20 and 35.0
      • Aged between 16 and 40 years old
      • Between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant
      • Maximum of 4 previous babies
      • No known medical conditions
    • Catchment area
      • Women who live within the catchment area: Mid-Essex
      • You can give birth here even if you don't live in the catchment area

    Support services

    • Accessibility
      • Wheelchair access to the wards and delivery suite
      • Limited mobility: The Birth Centre is on ground level.
      • Hearing problems: The hospital has hearing loops provided in all department receptions, main waiting areas, discharge lounges and in the atria, for deaf patients. Information available in special formats for the deaf.
      • Sight problems: Information is available in special formats for the blind.
      • Learning disabilities: There is help available for women with learning disabilities.
      • Autism spectrum: The Trust has a Learning Disability Specialist Nurse who supports maternity.
    • Interpreting service
      • Telephone interpreting service provided by 'TheBigWord'. For face-to-face interpreters ask for a fax booking form. BSL for hearing disability is available.
      • Picture aids are available.
    • Specialist midwifery teams
      • Antenatal Screening
      • Bereavement
      • Diabetes
      • Infant feeding
      • Perinatal mental health
      • Teenage pregnancy
      • Vulnerable women

    Women's experiences

    Source: CQC

    Care Quality Commission (CQC) Maternity Services Survey 2015

    Scores are for the NHS Trust that this hospital is part of.

    • Labour and birth

    • Staff

    • Care in hospital after birth

    • Labour and birth


      About the same compared with other trusts

    • Staff


      About the same compared with other trusts

    • Care in hospital after birth


      About the same compared with other trusts

    General information

    • Tours
    • Non-NHS Care
      • Private maternity care isn't available here.
    • Breastfeeding accreditation
    • Food for partners out-of-hours
      • Sandwiches, toast and biscuits are kept on site for partners. Partners can also order in food if they wish.
      • 24h cafe
    • Contact information
    • How to book once you're pregnant
      Book directly from 5 weeks of pregnancy
      • Booking phone number: 0137 656 0010
      • If in labour call: 0137 656 0010
    • Outside space
      • Outside space is available for women in labour
      • There is a courtyard.
    • Visiting information
      • Partners: open visiting. Other visitors: 2-4pm and 6.30-8.30pm
    • Car parking for women in labour
      • Plenty of free parking at the Birth Centre
      • Parking spaces at the maternity unit
    • Parking
      • Free
    • Temporary closures
      • Number of times this unit was closed between Apr 2017 - Apr 2018: 143
      • Reason for closure: The Birth Unit was closed overnight for 103 consecutive days due to staff shortages at both the Birth Centre and Broomfield Hospital. The Birth Centre has now resumed a full 24-hour service. The other closures were for single overnight closures due to temporary staff shortage; boiler breakdown, and once due to a cyber attack on the computer system.
      • If this unit is closed when you go into labour you'll be asked to go to an alternative unit: St Peter's Birthing Unit
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