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Hospital Birth

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hospital birthWhen we decide to give birth in a hospital, we make the same decision over 95% of British women make. As it's natural to want the best care for our newborn, the protected and monitored environment of a hospital is an understandable choice.

Why choose the hospital experience?

If you are a new mum to be, you're probably nervous about what's coming. Yes, you read all the books, you've been to all the antenatal classes, you've checked all the websites, even watched the traumatic birth video that your midwife kindly provided for you.

You still haven't been there, haven't done that and this simple fact is bound to make you nervous about your hospital birth experience. If you are a first time mum to be and still not sure what to opt for, home or hospital, it's probably better to choose the hospital.



First of all, because there are people to look after you and your newborn if need be. You are 'at hand' if the baby is stubborn enough not to cooperate, by descending in the birth canal low enough, or if your body doesn't cooperate and the cervix doesn't dilate to the required length (10cm) in a reasonable period of time.

Then, of course, you have an entire arsenal of pain relief techniques. You can have Entonox (gas and air) or of course, the mighty Epidural, too.

Should the circumstances get complicated and a caesarean is needed, you're in the right place. Your medical team will assess your and the baby's progress and if the results recommend a caesarean, it's a good job you're already there. The procedure of a caesarean is not as complicated as it might seem, it's actually a quite straight forward and low risk operation. This is Andrea Fairweather's testimony:

'I was petrified when I first heard the word 'caesarean' in my birth room. I was adamant I did not want one and I insisted all along for a natural birth. But the doctors started to monitor my baby's heart rate, which was very fluctuant at some point and they made it clear that the baby was in distress due to the strength of the contractions. Then they took a blood test from his scalp, by inserting a long needle through the birth canal and showed that my baby's oxygen levels were low. I still wasn't going for it, believe it or not. Then my husband became quite insistent and I finally agreed to have a caesarean. I didn't know what to expect, but the idea of having my pelvis cut in half was killing me from the start.'

'However, little did I know that the epidural was fantastic and I didn't feel any pain whatsoever, we had the baby out in seven minutes, which felt like seven seconds after twelve hours of pain and struggle and it took me no more than two days to recover. The only bad thing about it was my guilt for keeping my baby in distress for long and not going for it from the beginning. Next time, it's caesarean from the start.'

What do I need for a hospital birth?

Read our article on the hospital bag to get inspired on what you need for your hospital birth experience.

It's recommended to prepare a birth plan to take with you to hospital and hand it over to your midwife early on, before things get too overwhelming to be thinking of paperwork. You can download the BabyWonderland birth plan and stick it in your hospital bag once you've made the definite decisions regarding your ideal birth experience. If you forget about it, don't worry, surely the hospital staff will listen to your demands anyway.

How long will I be in hospital for?

It depends on how quickly you recover or how prepared for the natural environment your baby is. If your baby was born prematurely or with a certain condition that requires him to be in neonatal care for longer, you will be in hospital for as long as it takes.

But if everything goes well, the timetables are from a couple of hours in case of a natural, problem free birth, to three to five days in case of a caesarean.

Rate your maternity hospital and share your experience, good or bad, with other mums-to-be in your area.

If you're looking for a comparison between the pros and cons of a home birth against a hospital birth, check out our article on home birth and decide what suits you best. And, of course, you can always visit the BabyWonderland forum to meet other mums to be who have already made their choice.

Download the BabyWonderland birth plan