An open day will be held in the Maternity Unit at Clacton Hospital on Friday 31 October to increase public awareness of the wide range of services it provides.
Anyone can drop in at any point between 9am and 7pm to meet members of the team and learn more about subjects as diverse as water births, relaxation classes, hypnobirthing and yoga.
Members of the Clacton Midwives Team will be available on the day to chat with visitors, answer questions and show them the unit’s facilities.
Team Leader Alexia Murray said: “We are a small unit but I guarantee visitors will be surprised by the huge amount of services we provide.
“The day is open to anyone but we’re particularly keen to see people who are thinking of having a baby as well as women who are already pregnant and their friends – and their partners, of course!
“We’d also like grandparents-to-be to come along because we know from our women what an important role they play in pregnancy and the period immediately afterwards.
“Some new members of staff have recently joined us and we’re a very enthusiastic and friendly team providing a first-class service to Clacton women and their families.”
She stressed that visitors would be most welcome to bring their children along, and face painting would be available for them.
Visitors can drop in at any time but there is also a set programme of activities on the day:
10.30am Yoga taster session
11am Relaxation class
12noon Belly bump painting
1pm Water birth taster
2pm Yoga taster session
3pm Hypnobirthing introduction
6pm Yoga taster session
Midwives will be on hand to talk about other topics, such as home births, pain management and breastfeeding, and visitors will be able to take away information leaflets. A prize raffle will also be held.
Although the unit is for women expecting low-risk births, women regarded as high-risk, such as those with high blood pressure or expecting twins, have some of their care during pregnancy and after the birth provided by the Clacton midwives, although they give birth in Colchester.
Consultant obstetricians run clinics there and women can also go the unit for ultrasound scans and to have hearing tests for their newborn babies.
Parent education classes are held during the evening and at weekends to make them more accessible.
The Clacton Midwives Team consists of 13 midwives, eight healthcare assistants, one midwifery support worker and one ward clerk.
The unit is staffed from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, and outside of those hours low-risk women can still give birth there.
While the midwives are based on the maternity unit, they also work closely with Clacton’s GP practices and in some cases see women in GP surgeries. Each pregnant woman will be allocated to a midwife for her care, depending on which GP practice she belongs to, and should have the majority of her care with the same midwife.
Clacton midwives also see women in their own homes after they have given birth.
Clacton Maternity Unit underwent a £67,000 refurbishment in 2012 which included creating three extra consulting rooms, a waiting area, new flooring and buying new equipment.
People attending the open day will also have a chance to learn about the public consultation into maternity services in North East Essex, which runs until 10 December.
* Members of the public wanting more information about the open day are asked to ring Clacton Maternity Unit on 01255 201600.