Hospital birth: Most women give birth in an NHS hospital maternity unit. If you choose to give birth in hospital, you will be looked after by a midwife but doctors will be available if you need their help. You will still have choices about the kind of care you want.
Your midwife and doctors will inform you about what your hospital can offer.
The advantages of giving birth in hospital include the following:
• You have direct access to obstetricians, anesthetists and neonatologists.
• You can access other specialist services, such as epidurals for relief of pain.
• There will be a special care baby unit if there are any problems.
The things you should consider include the following:
• You may go home directly from the labor ward or you may be moved to a postnatal ward.
• In hospital, you may be looked after by a different midwife from the one who looked after you during pregnancy.
Planning hospital birth
Your midwife can help you decide at which hospital you want to have your baby. If there is more than one hospital in your locality you can choose which one to go to. Find out more about the care provided in each so that you can decide which will suit you best.
Here are some of the questions that you might want to ask:
• Are tours of maternity facilities for birth available before the birth?
• When can I discuss my birth plan?
• Are TENS machines available or do I need to hire one?
• What equipment is available – e.g. mats, a birthing chair or beanbags?
• Are there birthing pools?
• Are partners, close relatives or friends welcome in the delivery room?
• Are birthing partners ever asked to leave the room? Why?
• Can I move around in labor and find my own position for the birth?
• What services are provided for sick babies?
• Who will help me breastfeed my baby?
• Who will help me if I choose to formula feed?
• How long will I be in hospital?
• What are the visiting hours?