A WEE COUNTY mum has hailed the new midwife-led facility at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which opened a year ago.

Louise Dawson, of Tullibody, gave birth to one of the unit's latest arrivals, 6lb 12oz Aaron.

She was one of almost 400 women who have chosen to give birth in the Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU) that sits within the existing Women and Children's Unit and offers more relaxed, comfortable surroundings for mums-to-be.

It currently has three rooms, two of which are equipped with birthing pools, which is where Aaron was born.

Mum Louise decided to give birth in the AMU after she had phoned maternity triage the day before and was advised to take a bath to help ease her early labour pains.

Louise said: "The bath took a lot of pressure off and when I came into hospital the next day I knew I wanted to use the birthing pool.

"You can alter the temperature of the water and it was really calming. I lay in the pool in semi-darkness for seven hours.

"I had candles on, the TV on and the projector which played a pattern on the wall."

Her final stage of labour took just 15 minutes which Louise feels was amazing for a first-time mum.

She said: "It was such a relaxing and amazing environment to give birth in.

"I loved it and would one hundred percent encourage other women to think about using this fantastic facility."

More than 80 per cent of women who have their babies in the AMU choose to use water at some stage in their labour and over 30 per cent choose to birth in the water.

NHS Forth Valley Midwife, Jackie Rutherford, said the number of people opting to use the unit accounted for 14 per cent of all births in Forth Valley.

She added: "For us as midwives it's about women's journeys and it's crucial to remember that this is one of the most important times in their life.

"We aim to support all women by providing safe compassionate care to ensure that their birth is a positive life changing experience."