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