08 Nov Choosing the right hospital for me
Often people think a hospital is a hospital and that they are all the same – this is not the case. Have a look around and tour different hospitals and see which hospital offers you what you are looking for, for your birthing experience. The hospital where you birth plays an important part in your first step to parenting. The staff and the philosophy of the maternity ward can make your start to family life either blissfully wonderful or an absolute nightmare. Many people just go along with where their doctor suggests birthing, but few look into what the real differences between them are. You will be spending more time with the hospital than your gynaecologist so make sure you find the hospital who is willing to provide you with the flexibility you are looking for!
Take your time and look around before making the final decision – look early on in your pregnancy so it doesn’t become a last minute panic. Look early, so if necessary you can change your care giver if he is not willing to birth you at your hospital of choice. In making this decision, you need to consider the following and decide what issues are important to you and look for those features in the hospitals under choice.
- Are you encouraged to have a tour of the maternity unit as a couple?
- Is there ample time to ask questions of the maternity unit staff?
- Are the staff up to date with modern trends and evidence based birth?
- Are they open to you bringing in your own birthing plan?
- Can you be mobile during labour?
- What is the environment like where you will be labouring?
- Is the ward environment cold and clinical or home-like?
- Do they offer an alternative to a regular labour ward?
- Do they allow you to create your own birthing environment and bring in your own music and pillows?
- Is there a birthing pool or bath where you can use water for pain relief during labour?
- If you have to have a caesar, do they allow a skin-to-skin caesar or a gentle caesar?
- Do they encourage breastfeeding?
- Do they allow your baby to go through the nine instinctive stages at birth?
- Do they allow skin to skin immediately at birth and leave your baby there uninterrupted for routine procedures and allow you to be on baby time and not on hospital time?
- Is there a lactation consultant as part of the team?
- Do they promote exclusive breastfeeding and not enforce top-ups of formula for baby?
- Do they encourage or allow your baby to room-in with you 24 hours a day? To be skin to skin with you as much as possible?
- Do they make you feel at home and part of a family in the ward?
- What are the rules for visiting – do they suit your views of visiting regulations?
- Do they allow partner access at any time or restrict the visiting hours?
- Do they promote partner participation in looking after the baby?
- Do they allow partners to stay over with you at the hospital?
- What is the general staff patient ratio – do the staff have enough time to assist you with your baby and teach you new mom and dad skills?
- What education is carried out in the ward?
- Do they charge medical aid rates?
- What are the costs if not on a medical aid?
Remember the right choice can give you a memorable birthing experience as well as the best start to parenting