MUMS across West Yorkshire are increasingly opting to have their children born in Bradford.

And the growing reputation of the state-of-the-art centre £1.2 million birth centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary makes for one of the proudest points in the career of Bradford's first consultant midwife Alison Brown who retires this week.

She was part of the team who designed the centre, which opened two years ago and gives women who have low-risk pregnancies an alternative to home birth.

So far this year 1,667 babies have been born there, which is already 150 more than the previous year, attracting mums-to-be not just from around Bradford but also from areas such as Leeds and Halifax.

Mrs Brown, 55, said: "Word has spread, we are very popular because of what we offer. We are getting more mums in Leeds who have the choice of having their babies in Leeds or Bradford, coming to us.

"Family and friends are recommending us which is praise indeed. I'm incredibly proud of what Bradford has here."

All of the care in its seven en-suite rooms, two with birthing pools, is provided by midwives putting emphasis on a natural birth with less pain relief.

Mrs Brown, of Denholme, trained at Airedale General Hospital in 1982 and has worked in Bradford twice, the first time spending ten years as a community midwife.

She then took time away from the maternity wards teaching midwifery students before returning to Bradford for a second-stint in 2002.

Promoting normality in pregnancy has been a mission for Mrs Brown, who has grown up children of her own, and spent an early chunk of her time in the city making sure mums knew about home birth options - that work reaped accolades from the Royal College of Midwives and an All-party Parliamentary Community award for that.

"I have had a wonderful professional life," said Mrs Brown, who has brought hundreds of babies into the world over her career spanning more than three decade.

"I've been so fortunate working with great people, the women have been fantastic."

Mrs Brown's retirement celebration coincided with celebrations marking the birth centre's second anniversary yesterday.

But she has also pledged to keep busy in her retirement.

She is looking forward to spending more time out walking with husband Duncan and cultivating their allotment as well as working part-time teaching at the University of Bradford and working for the Health On The Streets Team based at Eccleshill.

"I've got lots of plans and certainly won't be putting my feet up," she said.