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Dr Sarah Temple
A family doctor with more than 20 years experience working with children in both General Practice and Mental Health Services. Trained to run Emotion Coaching Parenting Courses. She has a special interest in the link between child and parental wellbeing.
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Birth and Labour

What are the options with a hospital delivery unit?

If you decide to go for a hospital delivery, there may be several local hospitals to choose from. Some offer a choice of a midwife-led unit or the labour ward. If there’s a choice of hospital, visit each one and have a chat to the teams before you decide which best suits your needs.
In Short

If you decide to go for a hospital delivery you need to decide:

Which hospital.

Which method of delivery.

What type of pain relief.

We give you a few tips here on preparation. 

Try to talk to local mums to find out where they gave birth and what their experiences were. Some hospitals/areas have a ‘team midwifery’ system so you’ll see someone from the same team each time you visit, and one the midwives from the team will support you at your delivery.

It is possible to use any pain and labour management strategies in the labour ward, so hospital can be a good option for women who have to be monitored or treated during labour, for instance those who are having a vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC), women whose labour has to be induced, and anyone who has tested positive for group B Strep and needs intravenous antibiotics during birth. You will need to discuss your birth plan preferences in the context of the extra monitoring you might need, but midwives and obstetricians are keen to support women’s birth plan wishes where possible.

One of the advantages of the labour ward is that there is a variety of pain relief available including epidural, mobile epidural, spinal block and pethidine. However, some midwives and obstetricians would argue that a woman (particularly if in a bed lying on her back) in a delivery suite is more likely to find her labour painful. This can particularly be true for induced births as the process can lead to very intense contractions which some women report feel less productive than natural contractions. However, if there is an emergency and you need a forceps delivery or even caesarean, the theatre is usually close to the labour ward. If all has gone well you may be sent home after a few hours, once you and your baby have been properly checked. If there are complications after, say, an emergency caesarean section, you may be kept in for a few days.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.