Baby Jessica makes history at Preston’s new birth centre

First day: Anne-Marie Cowley and Alex Cartwright with baby Jessica Evie Cartwright
First day: Anne-Marie Cowley and Alex Cartwright with baby Jessica Evie Cartwright
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A baby has made history after being the first to be born at a new birthing centre in Preston.

Jessica Evie Cartwright came into the world on Monday afternoon at the birth centre at the Royal Preston Hospital.

The little girl weighed 7lb 8oz and her parents Anne-Marie Cowley and Alex Cartwright say she is “absolutely brilliant.”

Anne-Marie, 29, who works at a senior carer at Laurel Villas in Ashton, said: “She is early, she wasn’t due until November 21.

“It was my mum and dad’s 30th wedding anniversary on Monday so as soon as I said I thought I was going into labour they had their fingers crossed.

“They said it made their day!

“I think it is brilliant that she is the first baby to be born there, it’s brilliant for her, I can tell her when she is older.”

Anne-Marie added: “I went to the hospital at about 2.30pm, I had started in the early hours of the morning – I was having contractions in my back. I came to hospital, I just thought they would send me home.”

The new mum gave birth in a birthing pool and Jessica was born at 4.42pm, with Alex and her friend Heather Smith by her side.

She added: “I am glad I chose the birthing pool, I thought it might help with my back pain.

“The new unit is absolutely fantastic, there’s little lights in the ceiling so it is very relaxing.”

Anne-Marie and Alex, who works for Carillion, knew they were expecting a girl and settled on the name Jessica from the beginning.

The couple live in Ashton, Preston, and have been together for two and a half years, Jessica is their first chid.

They met on a night out in Carlisle where Alex was on stag do.

Bosses at the Royal Preston Hospital say the new midwifery-led unit is designed to provide a ‘home from home’ experience.

The Preston Birth Centre features four new birthing rooms with integrated birthing pools. These new rooms even have enough space to accommodate the mother’s partner throughout her stay. The new unit also includes two overnight suites, which can also accommodate partners.

The new birth centre is midwifery-led, however consultants, obstetricians and paediatric staff are still based at the maternity ward at Royal Preston hospital.

Susan Sherlock, head of midwifery at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted that the first baby has been born at our new Preston birth centre and we look forward to welcoming many more expectant parents through our doors in the future. The new midwifery-led unit offers women a number of benefits and is a welcoming and homely environment.

“We are delighted that the new ward is now open to patients and we are committed to ensuring that local mums have access to the highest standard of midwife-led maternity care at Preston Birth Centre.”