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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 06:55 GMT
Natural births-only unit praised
The number of births at the unit was 1,528 last year
A special unit that only allows mothers to give birth naturally has doubled the number of women who use it.

The unit, at Forth Park hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, was used by 735 expectant women when it was set up in 1994. Last year it took in 1,528.

It is run by midwives with doctors, allowed in only by invitation, and if a problem occurs mothers are moved.

The Royal College of Midwives has given the team a special award for its work in promoting natural births.

The unit is housed alongside the obstetrics department at the hospital so that medical help is available if it is needed.

Nature tells you when your baby is going to come, most of the time
Doreen Brunton

The ethos on the ward is that the birth process must be allowed to take its natural course, although pain relief drugs are given.

Midwife Doreen Brunton, who is part of the team which runs the unit, told the BBC Scotland news website: "If you intervene too soon, labours get augmented, they end up with problems with the babies, sections or forceps.

"Nature tells you when your baby is going to come, most of the time."

Elissa Leggate from Cardenden recently gave birth to her second child, a daughter called Sara.

She said: "It was just such a relief that you knew that you could be on your own and do what you need to do.

"I had gas and air with both of them, but that was all."

A new mum speaks about her natural birth experience

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