Meet the Women Who Help Bring Our Little Bundles of Joy into the World; A ROYAL College of Midwives Report States That a UK Shortfall of Almost 5,000 Midwives Alongside a 2.4% Increase in Births Means Maternity Services Are Strained. LINDSAY BRUCE Spent a Day in the Delivery Suite at James Cook University Hospital to Experience Life as a Midwife

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THE day starts at 7am when the small fleet - usually seven or eight midwives including the team leader - arrive for their morning hand-over.

A white-board crammed with names and the current status of expectant mums becomes the focal point of all in the room.

Janice Loughran, 51, a critical care midwife, explains the current situation.

But her analysis that today is "quiet" is greeted by a raft of "shhhh" - such a day would be a rarity.

"Take Monday for example," Janice says, "the night shift delivered 12 babies through the night and were in theatre twice."

Following the hand-over, the team splits - with the bulk staying in high-dependency and a smaller group heading to the Marton Suite.

"Our ladies," says Janice, mum to three grown-up sons of her own, "are classed as needing more specialist care. That could mean anything from having had a previous section, to multiple births or maybe a previous bleed."

Each of the women on either delivery wing - are given a room with their own bathroom, bed, pull-out bed for partners and cot for the baby. On the low-dependency ward mums can also make use of birthing seats, a pool and have essential oils for the baths.

Student midwife Tracy McKeone, 38, from North Ormesby is passionate about making mums see their time in hospital as being in "their own space."

Married to John and mum to three boys and a girl, she said: "Mums are more likely to have a smooth delivery if they feel comfortable and safe so we try to let mums listen to their bodies and go with what's happening.

"We obviously have to monitor babies - so maybe every 15 minutes we'll listen in to baby's heartbeat - but mum gets to choose what position she's in."

There were mums in labour, seeing eight babies delivered over the 10 hours, inductions - when labour is induced in mums past term or who have a medical need to begin labour early - a planned cesarean section and other mums-to-be concerned with bleeding in pregnancy.

One mum, Joanne Phillips, 27, welcomed her second child, little Braidie-Leigh into the world weighing six pounds.

Joanne, from Guisborough, also mum to Alfie, five, said: "It's all been so quick but she is absolutely beautiful - I couldn't fault James Cook at all. …