bristol • north somerset • south gloucestershire

Consultant-led unit

Giving birth in a consultant-led unit is recommended if you had problems in a previous pregnancy, if you have developed complications in this pregnancy, or in case of certain medical conditions. If you are offered induction (starting labour off artificially with medication or by breaking your waters), this always takes place in a consultant-led unit. 

Consultant-led units are staffed by midwives, maternity care assistants, obstetric doctors, neonatal doctors and anaesthetists. During labour most of your care will be provided by a midwife, but doctors may be involved if needed. 

Gas and air, pethidine and epidurals are available and you can bring a TENS machine. Both consultant-led units have one birth pool.

The maternity units actively try to ensure that everyone has a positive birth experience, no matter where and how you give birth. You are encouraged to write down your preferences for the birth so the staff caring for you can find out your views and discuss your preferences with you when you come in to the unit, and as things progress.

At both consultant-led units, mats and balls are available on request if not in the room already and the bed can often be moved to one side to give you more room to move about, even if you are attached to a baby heart monitor or drip. It is often possible to use a type of electronic fetal monitor which does not have wires (telemetry), giving you more freedom to move about. Provided you do not have a drip or other electrical equipment attached, telemetry can also be used in water.

Bright light is rarely needed so you can ask for reduced lighting. You can bring music to play in the birth room or the theatre. 

Two people can be with you on Delivery Suite during labour and birth; one person can stay with you in theatre if you are having a caesarean birth. One person can also stay with you overnight on the antenatal ward if you are having your labour induced and you are in a single room.


Consultant-led units 

St Michael’s Hospital (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust)

Central Delivery Suite 0117 342 5213

Southwell Street, Bristol BS2 8EG


Southmead Hospital (North Bristol NHS Trust)

Central Delivery Suite 0117 414 6916 

Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB