10 things you didn’t know about hospital births

Posted on March 7th, 2018

Here are a few things about giving birth in hospital that you may not know. By registered midwife Pippa Hime

10 things you didn't know about hospital births

There is something about walking into a hospital that can start the average person’s heart racing. I, however, love hospitals. I think I was born to work in one, but your average human doesn’t share this sentiment. Many find being admitted into hospital a little stressful.

ALSO SEE: 12 questions to ask on a maternity hospital tour

So here are a few things about giving birth in hospital that you may not know.

You don’t have to rush off to hospital the minute things get going.

Honestly, if you can relax at home in the early stages of labour your labour will most likely progress much faster and smoother. Anxiety can slow down labour so being in a calm relaxed environment like your own home, is ideal.

You give birth in your own room.

Many moms worry that they will be bunking up with a fellow labouring mom unless they book that all illusive VIP suite. You labour and deliver in the labour ward. Here you are allocated a room to yourself and a midwife who will look after you throughout your labour. Once baby is born you can move to Post Natal where you may have a private room or a general ward – as you wish.

Your obstetrician may not be present throughout your entire labour.

The doctor may make a few guest appearances and then arrive at crunch time to do the delivery. In the interim a midwife – assigned to you – will provide your care. If you are not satisfied with the care you are receiving be sure to ask the unit manager for someone else. It is your right as a patient to be comfortable with your midwife.

ALSO SEE: The benefits of having a midwife

When in doubt – find out.

You should ask as many questions as possible to ensure you know exactly what is going on. Often doctors and nurses tend to talk over the patient making them anxious or worried. Make sure you understand your options. Get clear explanations of procedures and what the expected outcome is.

ALSO SEE: Your labour and birth dictionary

You do have a choice.

You should never feel bullied into a decision. Obviously if there is a chance that you and/or your baby are in any danger, you should adhere to the medical advice given. When it comes to things like position or pain relief it is your choice. Make sure that your birthing partner has a clear idea of your birth plan so that he or she can act as an advocate for you.

DOWNLOAD YOUR PRINTABLE BIRTH PLAN TEMPLATE HERE.

You don’t have to look like a patient.

Those horrid shapeless hospital gowns can make you feel ill just by wearing it. You can wear what you please in labour. Just make sure that you are happy for it to get messy. One thing about birth is that it is not a neat and tidy affair.

There is alot of foot traffic.

You will be surprised at how many people will traipse through your room in hospital. Often each task is allocated to a different person so a number of nursing staff attend to various needs. Then there are the catering people, the cleaning staff and the doctors. If it is rest you are expecting then best you think again. Hospitals are very busy places.

Talking about rest, it is now standard procedure that your baby sleeps in the room with you.

Babies are no longer kept in nurseries and brought to mothers to feed only. It is important for early bonding and establishing good breastfeeding to keep the mother and child unit as one. Staff will leave you to do your thing most of the time so be sure to call for help if you are uncertain of anything pertaining to feeding or baby care. Remember when you get home you are on your own, so make the most of the expertise whilst you are there.

You can leave early.

No one will hold it against you if you wish to leave early. As long as the doctors are happy all is fine with you and baby you can go home after 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes there is nothing nicer than your own bed!

You may need some extra supplies.

Hospital food generally has a bad reputation, although it has come a long way since the grey soup and jelly days. Even so, you may find that you need to bring in a few extra snacks and treats to keep your energy levels up during labour as well as during your recovery time. Breastfeeding can work up quite an appetite.