There was delight at the news that the first baby has been born at the reopened Cotswold Birth Centre.

Lily Morgado Malcolm was born at 12.08am on January 17.

Cotswold Birth Centre posted: “We’re delighted to be back open and ready to welcome these new babies into the world.”

Cotswold and Wantage Midwifery-led Birth Centres in Wantage and Chipping Norton were closed to families for low-risk births in August 2021 due to staffing constraints.

But earlier this month Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both sites, said having worked with regional NHS colleagues, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and Oxfordshire Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), the trust now had a safe level of staffing to provide safe care at the units.

Mum Beatriz described the birth at the now fully open Chipping Norton unit as ‘a wonderful experience’.

She said: “I had my first baby there in 2020 in the middle of Covid and I was trying to avoid going to hospital as much as possible.

"There were a lot of people could not have their birth partner with them. And I talked to people and a doula said if you want a natural birth you should try them.

“It was a wonderful, a great experience. I feel I was really lucky.

Witney Gazette:

“So the second time around I was adamant to go there again, it was just so great. But it was closed all through my pregnancy.

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"I was really panicking, I did not want to go to hospital. But when I was 39 weeks it reopened. It was such great news."

Beatriz and husband Tom, who live in Yarnton with son Liam, two, said they chose Chippy over a hospital birth.

Witney Gazette:

“We are 20 minutes from the JR and about the same to the Horton or a bit further," said Beatriz. "But it was a personal thing I have about hospitals – the lights, the noise, the car park. Imagine having contractions and driving round looking for a parking space!”

Beatriz gave birth in a birthing pool to her own playlist with husband Tom beside her.

She said: “I went in twice. The first time I wasn’t quite ready and they said you’re welcome to stay and have candles and massages but I decided to go home. I went back at 10pm and had the baby at 12.08.

"I spent three hours there having tea and toast after the birth and then went home.

“It’s so great, it’s like going to a spa. It’s less medical, there’s less noise, it’s much quieter. It’s just peace."

Lily, who was delivered with the help of midwives Miranda, Jade and Lesley, is now six days old and doing well at home.

"She was 3.2kg when she was born - exactly same weight as Liam - and she is doing really well!" said Beatriz. "She only lost 200g since birth which is normal but we expect her to be back to 3.2kg before her 10-day check up."

She added: "I'm so happy for all the other women who will have the privilege to deliver their babies in Chippy soon. This place has a special place in our hearts."


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Wendy Hill, Matron for Community and Public Health at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “My colleagues and I are really pleased to be working back at the Wantage and Chipping Norton Midwifery-led Units since their reopening for low-risk births on Monday 9 January.

“We have had such a warm response from the women, families, and communities we care for.

"As of Monday 23 January, we have had two births – both at the Cotswold Birthing Centre – which is wonderful, and we are looking forward to welcoming more new arrivals in the near future.”

A second baby was born in Chippy last weekend.

Cotswold Birth Centre posted on Facebook: "We were delighted to welcome another beautiful ‘Chippy Baby’ at the weekend.

"Think we might need to update our Emma Bridgwater mug collection with some MSW [maternity support worker] mugs too though!"


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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