You have a few choices on where to give birth in the Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford area. Here we’ll go through what’s available, and where. 

Newborn baby at Royal Berkshire Hospital

There are a few options surrounding you in the West Berkshire area, so it’s important to look at what each place has to offer, and make a decision that feels right for you. In the Newbury area, we are in the middle of 4 hospital trusts each with their own offering, so it’s worth taking some time and doing the research. Remember, what feels right for one person may not to another, this is a personal decision.

Where should I give birth?

It’s important to have a think through what feels the right decision to you on where to give birth, and what you think will be important to you on the day- do you want to use a birth pool? Are they set up for privacy and calm? Are they supportive of birthing hormones and physiological birth? How long is the drive/ how easy is the drive? Do you know you’ll want a epidural? 

Also remember- you can always change your mind! If you are booked in to one hospital and decide you want to use the birth centre at another trust, or transfer to the homebirth team, then just let your midwife know during pregnancy and they can arrange this for you.

Labour Ward

Labour wards, or sometimes known as delivery suite or obstetric unit, is the ward in hospital specifically for pregnancy and birth. Generally those who are considered “higher risk” or who may need extra medical care are suggested to have their babies here, although you do have other options if this doesn’t feel right for you.

If you do choose to have your baby on the labour ward, there are some things to know.

You will have all types of pain relief available here, as well as medical professionals for you and baby. They tend to be noisier and busier, so make a plan on how you will create an atmosphere of calm to encourage those birthing hormones- thinking of lighting, sound and smell.

It’s also important to note that studies* have shown if you are “low risk” you have a higher chance of intervention during labour by giving birth on the labour wards, so remembering your antenatal education, particularly how your hormones and muscles are effected and how movement will benefit you massively is really important when birthing on labour ward. *The Birth Place Study 2011

Birth Centre

Midwife Led Units tend to be well set up for Hypnobirthing and physiological birth, with pools, dimmed and mood lighting, birth balls, stools and slings available. It is also generally easier to have a more private, quieter and calm environment here. If you should choose to have pain relief, you would have gas and air, pethadine, and some birth centres now offer sterile water injections. Many birth centres are also offering aromatherapy, so it’s worth asking your midwife if this is something you would like to use. If you decide you want an epidural you would need to transfer to labour ward.

Birth centres are a really good option for those who are not wanting a homebirth, but want to support a calm, physiological birth.- they are seen as a “home from home” environment. 


Of course when choosing where to give birth, there is always the option of home! Having your baby at home is an option for all woman, although you may be advised against this if you have specific medical needs in your pregnancy, or are considered “high risk”. Having your baby at home has many benefits- you control the environment, it’s private, quiet and comfortable, and is much easier to allow Oxytocin to flow making your labour progress efficiently. If you have your baby at home, you will have 1 midwife with you, and towards the end of your labour another midwife would join you.

You can hire a birth pool if you would like to use water- do a test run before you go into labour so you know you have space and how long it takes to fill!

You will have your creature comforts around you and generally feel more at ease. If you are planning a Homebirth, stock up on yummy snacks and meals, and don’t forget to have something available for your midwives! At home, you obviously have all of your hypnobirthing techniques to use if you are using hypnobirthing, you can also use gas and air, a tens machine, and you can speak to your midwife about the option of using pethidine if you think you might want it.

There is nothing quite like climbing into your own bed after giving birth, and snuggling down into that newborn bubble.

Also remember you can always change your mind- if during your labour you decide you want to be in hospital then you can go in. In the event of more help being needed, your midwife would be looking out for any complication and would transfer you into hospital, usually by ambulance.

Homebirth team in Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford:

Royal Berkshire Homebirth team

So what’s available near West Berkshire?


Great Western Hospital in Swindon is a popular choice for parents to be giving birth in the Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford area. On a practical note, it is an easy drive straight along the M4 with easy access. Parking is plentiful and charged when exiting with a card machine- no need to remember the loose change!

Giving birth at Great Western hospital there are two options available for you- the delivery suite, otherwise known as labour ward, and The White Horse Birth Centre.

Delivery Suite

The delivery suite is normally suggested for woman who are considered “higher risk” or who may need some extra medical care during their birth, or who are wanting a epidural. On the labour ward there is a full team of medical staff including Midwives, Obstetricians and Anaesthetists. 

Labour wards tend to be noisier and more clinical, so it can be slightly harder to create that private, relaxing environment that is so important for birth- but it isn’t impossible, you just need to be a bit more creative.

The delivery suite at Great Western Hospital has 12 delivery rooms, all of which are en suite and has 1 birth pool. 

White Horse Birth Centre

mum holding newborn baby- water birth at white horse birth centre


Baby Zeke- born at the White Horse Birth Centre

The White Horse Birth Centre is an attached birth centre located on the same floor as the delivery suite. This is a great option for many woman giving birth, and is well set up for Hypnobirthing and Physiological birth, with different props such a balls, mats and stools to support movement and different positions, dim lighting and large private rooms. 

There are 2 pool rooms in The White Horse Birth Centre, so if you would like to use the pool include this in your birth preferences and let your midwife know on arrival. 

I gave birth to 2 of my boys at The White Horse Birth Centre and had wonderful birth experiences here. You can read my third birth story here

There is also a family room for early labour and to make teas and coffees. The White Horse Birth Centre is run by a team of Midwives and aims to provide you with 1 to 1 care. 

You can see a virtual tour of the birth centre.


Royal Berkshire has the option of The Delivery Suite for woman who may require additional support such as monitoring during labour or care immediately after birth, and The Rushy Birth Centre.

Royal Berkshire Hospital is slightly harder to get to from Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford, so bare that in mind when planning your journey- and watch those speed bumps!

There is short stay parking for the maternity unit just outside the maternity block if you arrive when you are in labour to save the walk through the hospital!

royal Berkshire hospital maternity
Royal Berkshire Hospital

Delivery Suite

The delivery suite is on level 3 of the maternity block and has 10 delivery rooms, all en suite and 1 room with a static birth pool. There is also the option of using an inflatable birth pool.

The delivery suite has consultants, midwives and anaesthetists all available, and is suggested for woman who may need a bit of extra care or monitoring during their birth.

birth pool in rushey birth centre
Rushey Midwifery Led Centre

Rushey Midwifery Led unit

The Rushey birth Centre is located on level 6, and is a midwife led birth centre with a triage area and 4 birthing rooms, 2 of which have birth pools. The birth centre is well set up to support Hypnobirthing with adjustable lights, equipment such as stools and birth pools to support a variety of positioning and aromatherapy. You also have medical pain relief options available here such as gas and air and pethidine. 


 At the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, there is an attached Birth Centre called the Oxford Spires Birth Centre, and the John Radcliffe Womans Centre Delivery suite. Feedback from past clients is that if you hit rush hour the journey can be well over an hour, so something to consider when choosing where to give birth.

The oxford spires birth centre

The Oxford Spires Birth Centre offer a home from home setting, and aim to support you to have a calm birth with the use of aromatherapy, beds that can be adjusted to support optimal positioning, and 3 of the rooms have birth pools if you are wanting to labour or birth in the water. The Birth Centre is run by a team of midwives, who are there to support you through your labour and postnatally. They also have 4 post natal rooms, 3 of which have double beds and they encourage partners to stay. 

birth pool in Oxford spires birth centre
Oxford Spires Birth Centre

Delivery Suite

The Delivery Suite has 15 birth rooms, which you will be shown to once you have been assessed in the Maternity Assessment Unit. 3 of these rooms are en suite, and 1 has a birth pool. You will be advised to use the Delivery suite if you are under consultant led care, would like an epidural, or if you choose to.

Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital

The labour ward at Basingstoke has 6 birth rooms, all of which are en suite, and 2 birth suites which both have birth pools, adjustable lighting and music systems. The labour ward has midwives and consultants available, and is located in the Sherbourne building. All the rooms aim to support vaginal birth, with birth pools and adjustable beds.

basigntsoke hospital birth pool
Basingstoke birth suite

Blossom and Bloom Freestanding Homebirth and and Maternity Centre

Blossom and Bloom is a midwife led birth centre based at Andover War Memorial Hospital. They aim to offer continuity of care, and a supportive, woman centred space for you to birth your baby. At the birth centre there is a birth pool if you wish to labour or birth in the water, and they are well equipped for supporting physiological birth. It is a great option when choosing where to give birth for local families.

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