The Hospital Birth of Your Choice

Experiencing the type of hospital birth you would like is something to be thinking about well before your due date. All Maternity hospitals vary and if you have a few to choose from in your locality start finding out what people’s experience has been in the different places.

To optimize your hospital experience, follow our tips below. Maternity Hospitals can be the perfect place to experience a wonderful birth and welcome your new baby. That's whether it's a natural birth, a medically assisted birth (if you need that) or surgical delivery (Cesarean section).

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Reasons Why You Might Choose A Hospital Birth:

1) Medical or obstetric (pregnancy-related) complications e.g. severe anemia, gestational diabetes or other conditions.

2) You may feel less stress and anxiety and be more relaxed with doctors and technical machinery around.

3) Infertility treatment e.g. IVF

4) Breech baby, twin pregnancy or multiple births.

5) You want stronger analgesia (pain relief) such as an epidural that is not available for most Birth Centres or at home.

Often your doctor will recommend or even presume that you’ll wish for a hospital birth if you’ve had any fertility treatment to help you in getting pregnant. However if you have had a natural pregnancy and it has been straightforward with no other factors then you can inquire about the option of giving birth in a Birth Center or at home.

Babies who decide to lie in the breech position and twins or multiple babies are another common reason for choosing a hospital to have your baby(s). In many countries of the world breech babies and twins are born at home or in Birthing Centers. With this type of birth it’s even more important to have a well experienced as well as qualified birth attendant (midwife or doctor).

Things To Consider

There are still many choices you can make and sitting down with your partner to write a Birth Plan is a good idea at this stage. Start by listing all the things you would like to have happen. Now note down all the things you would like to avoid. Make two separate lists of “Do Want” and “Don’t Want”. Then you can start getting information about those items.

Now either print it out or write out a neat copy as a 'Birth Plan' to show your nurse-midwife or Obstetrician. It's a good idea to discuss your birth plan and planned hospital birth with your health care provider when you are around 36 weeks pregnant. That gives everyone time to adjust the plan or get things in place so that you can achieve the natural childbirth you want.

The birth plan is exactly that, a plan. It's not written in stone and can be changed as and when needed. This may be because you want something different or because your pregnancy circumstances change. As you write it try to keep it as open and flexible as possible.

Questions To Ask When Choosing A Hospital

• How many support people/family can I have with me in the labor room?

• What are the hospital policies on speeding-up labor?

• What are the policies about partners staying with me throughout labor?

• How often will my midwife or doctor change shift?

• What are your episiotomy rates?

• What are your epidural rates?

• Do you have anaesthetists available 24 hrs a day?

• Can I bring my acupuncturist or other practitioner with me?

• Do you have water birth facilities?

• Do you have pediatricians here 24 hours a day?

• Can my baby stay with me 24/7?

• Will I get help with breast feeding my baby within the first hour after birth?

Tips for a Safe Labor and Hospital Birth:

1. Let labor begin naturally - in other words spontaneously.

2. Always follow your instincts; especially with hospital birth.

3. Have an active birth; that is walk around, move around and change positions throughout labor.

4. Have your partner, a friend, doula or labor companion for continuous support throughout labor and delivery.

5. Keep drinking water and energy drinks (not high sugar).

6. Sleep when you’re tired. Eat when you’re hungry.

7. Use the relaxation techniques you’ve learned in pregnancy such as Lamaze, self hypnosis or yoga breathing.

8. Try to avoid interventions that are not medically necessary.

9. Try to avoid being on a bed during labor - you’re not ill.

10. Avoid giving birth on your back or in a semi-lying back position. Read up on best birth positions. 11. Never be separated from your baby -- it's best for mother, baby and breastfeeding. If your baby needs to go to Neonatal Intensive Care, get your partner to accompany the baby.

Of course there will always be exceptions to the rule and also sometimes circumstances will change and you may need IV hydration or medication to aid your labor for one reason or another.

In this situation (and others) you may need to stop eating, or be on the bed etc. Hopefully this won't happen, but always discuss what's happening with your care givers and keep asking questions if you don't understand anything.

Useful Things To Pack For Hospital Birth

!) A face cloth (flannel).

2) Water spritzer for cooling you down.

3) Any essential oils you've had prescribed by your Aromatherapist.

4) Homeopathic prescription pills etc.

5) Bed socks for cold feet.

6) High energy food bars and other snacks for you and/or your partner. Packed lunch for labor support people.

7) Change (coins) for drinks machines and parking meters etc.

8) A bottle of water with spout that you can suck on.

9) Favourite night dress for after the birth.

10) Old T-shirt for wearing in labor if you aren't wearing a hospital gown.

!!) A few of your oldest and biggest 'Grandma's' knickers for wearing in the days after the birth. Blood loss can be messy.

Remember that anything you have been prescribed by an Aromatherapist or Homeopath can affect other drugs or medications, including local and general anesthetics! So always discuss this with all practitioners and ask for a detailed list about any prescriptions of alternative medicines or oils eg. drug interactions etc.

If you have any other suggestions for this list please contact me and I'll add it on.

Whatever the reason you’re giving birth in hospital make it a positive experience for you, your partner and your newborn baby. Contact your Maternity Hospital or midwife as soon as you feel the first signs of labor.

Hospital birth can still be a natural birth. Being prepared and working towards natural childbirth right from the start of pregnancy will increase your chances of achieving the natural birth experience you desire.

Remember the basics of being prepared for a natural labor and birth. By that we mean good pregnancy nutrition, being physically active and fit during pregnancy and staying relaxed and positive.

Read more about where to give birth.

Read more about What Babies Want and preview this inspiring, informative video

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