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What Can I Expect When Giving Birth in Hospital?

You have lots of options open to you when deciding where to have your baby. If, like 94% of other mums, you want to give birth in a hospital, then you may be wondering what to expect.

So what are the Advantages of Giving Birth in Hospital?

Hospitals are the main choice for many mums because there are expert staff on hand and the best medical help and equipment available throughout the birth. Even if you chose to give birth at home or in a birth centre, you may still be transferred to hospital if there are problems during labour. The advantage of already being in hospital if a complication arises is that you and your baby will get the care that you need right there and then.

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There are all types of pain relief available in hospital. If you want an epidural you will need to be in hospital.

If you have your baby in hospital, you will also get to stay a while, giving you a chance to recover from the birth. Midwives will also be able to give you advice on breastfeeding and caring for your baby’s umbilical stump.

And the Disadvantages?

The hospital environment isn’t always a friendly, welcoming one in comparison to giving birth at home. However, if you do feel intimidated by it, but prefer to have the medical expertise on hand, then there are ways of making you feel more at home and more relaxed.

Each hospital will have its own policy on how long a labour should take, so you may receive medical intervention to help speed up your labour.

You are also at a slight risk of picking up a hospital acquired infection, but you can reduce this risk by washing your hands regularly.

What Will the Delivery Suite Offer Me?

Facilities vary between hospitals, so make sure that you ask your midwife at an antenatal appointment. Most will have adjustable beds, a comfortable chair and space for you to move around. Some wards have showers, and others baths.

If you want a water birth, you’ll have to ask your hospital about whether there is one available. Your hospital may have birth balls, mats and wall bars to help you lean or squat.

Who Will Look After Me?

The midwife will look after you when you give birth. An obstetrician will be available, but they are only needed if there are complications with your labour.

Your midwife won’t necessarily be the same one that you have had for your antenatal appointments, as you will usually just have whoever is on shift when you arrive at the hospital. If your labour is a long one, then you may be cared for by more than one midwife as their shifts end.

You may also have student midwives or medical students observing and participating in your care, but if you’re not comfortable with this, make sure you tell your midwife.

If you don’t get on with your midwife, then you can ask for a different one.

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