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Decisions decisions… Even once you’ve made up your mind (almost, probably, definitely maybe) about whether you’d like a hospital or a home birth, there’s still lots to be decided.
If you’re going for a hospital birth, here are a few things you might like to think about:
Your main concern will probably be distance from your home. If you’re weighing up the options between the city hospital down the road or the lovely birthing unit an hour’s drive away in the country, take into consideration the fact that whoever is driving you to hospital will feel the full force of your labouring rage every time you hit a bump in the road or turn a sharp corner.
Each maternity unit has its own policies for the management of labour, which is something you could ask about – most units and hospitals offer tours of the labour wards, which are a good idea and will familiarise you with the environment. Hopefully, you will be pleasantly assured by the lack of horror-house screaming and medieval torture devices. (Note: don’t ask to see the forceps!)
Don’t be put off by the pictures of dolphins in the birthing-pool suite: they won’t actually be in there with you.
Even if they can afford it, going private isn’t necessarily everyone’s first choice. Some people feel more confident opting for a private ward on an NHS site, in case of an emergency. Bear in mind that some NHS hospitals have ‘private’ rooms that you can pay an additional sum to stay in after the birth. This is effectively an ‘upgrade’ in your accommodation; you will still see the same midwives, physiotherapists and paediatricians that you would see on the ward, but you will have a little more privacy, so you won’t have to watch the husband of the new mother in the bed opposite eating chips, while you are enjoying your NHS lunch rations. Some of these private rooms are on a first-come-first-served basis, though.
Be aware that even though you may have a fight on your hands, it is never too late to change your mind about which hospital you want to use. As long as you’re in the catchment area (and they have room on the day) it’s your choice.
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Discuss your options for where to give birth
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