“Having your first child is a life-changing moment and it was great to be able to help my partner and support her during the very early stages. It was great just being in the same room and everything just seems a lot more relaxed. It also means I am not at home worrying or missing them both,” said Ian Wicker, one of the first fathers to stay overnight with his partner and their newborn baby at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH) maternity unit.

His partner Victoria Parker gave birth to Henry James on Tuesday 29 July.

Victoria said: “It was comforting to know that Ian was so close by should I need him. Obviously staff are only just outside but it was nice for both of us to share the first hours of Henry’s life and support each other through the night.”

The overnight stay for fathers is so that they can offer support and bond with their new baby.

The RBH maternity unit is temporarily located on Ward 7 and will move to a new home in the autumn. Once completed, the new permanent maternity unit will also have rooms large enough to accommodate both parents for overnight stays.

Ward Sister Lesley Connell said she was delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to families. “I think the other parent misses out on so much straight after the birth of their child, and this initiative gives them the chance to build relationships with their new arrival immediately.

“It also gives their partners the chance to rest and eases the pressure on them because it can be quite scary when you have just had a baby and you have no immediate family close by,” she said.

The new Maternity Unit will still be located at RBH but with an improved layout and located closer to the hospital’s road, improving access for arriving mums. The location will have dedicated car parking bays and will improve emergency transfers by ambulance should mothers unexpectedly need obstetric support, available at Poole Hospital.


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