A MUM of twins has expressed her gratitude for a new unit at the borough’s NHS trust's maternity ward which provides support in keeping mums and their premature babies together.

Parents Sarah Halsall and Richard Darbyshire, from Hindley, were the first couple to stay on Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s Maternity Ward Neonatal Transitional Care Unit following the birth of their twins, Ben and Poppy.

The unit allows premature babies to be cared for primarily by parents, alongside support from neonatal nursing and midwifery staff, who will be on hand to care for and support the mothers of the babies on the ward.

Babies who are born between 35 and 37 weeks will be put on the unit as well as babies that are born after 37 weeks who need extra support.

However, if the baby is born before 35 weeks, they will be cared for in the trust’s neonatal department.

Sarah gave birth to the twins on October 28 with them weighing just under 5lb following IVF treatment at Fertility Fusion, based at Wrightington Hospital.

She said: “I felt as if I wasn’t missing out on anything as I knew they were right next to me. I couldn’t even imagine if I had to leave them at the hospital while I went home, so being able to stay with them has been brilliant.”

“Everyone has been amazing with my little family and I’m so grateful for the ward.

"It has made my time here a lot easier.”

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Neonatal Unit outreach manager Catherine Hargreaves said: “The main aim for the new ward is for parents to be fully involved in their baby’s care.

“Babies that require transitional care need a little more support than babies on the postnatal ward, however they are well enough not to need admission to the neonatal unit.

“The length of stay on the ward really depends on the baby’s progression. Most babies in transitional care will remain an inpatient approximately for four days, however this stay maybe longer or shorter.”

The unit officially opened in August and in October it was fully established, with three families already experiencing the new care.