Friday, 30 October 2009

Having a Baby in the UK: What to Expect for Delivery and Recovery

I already posted on what you might be able to expect from the antenatal (prenatal) maternity care in the UK. Here are some thoughts on the delivery side of things.

1. The NHS midwives generally give you the option to have your baby in the hospital or in your own home under their care. Some areas also have birthing centres.

2. Your antenatal midwife will almost certainly not be the one to deliver your baby. Antenatal midwives and birthing midwives typically have distinct and separate jobs here.

3. If you choose to have your baby in the hospital, you will be given a private room for delivery. After delivery you will be transferred to a recovery room. Recovery rooms are typically shared with up to three other postnatal women and their babies.

4. Your baby will typically be left with you after delivery and throughout recovery, not taken to a nursery.

5. I think it's fair to say that the midwives treat delivery in a less medical way than it is often treated in the States. It will not be normal for you to be strapped down with IV's and other tubes connected to you. You should be a be able to move about freely during labor if you want to.

6. In my experience, your husband will not be allowed to stay at the hospital with you overnight.

Things you might not have expected to have to take to the hospital, but probably should:

1. A gown or something you don't mind giving birth in. That's right, the hospital does not typically provide you with a hospital gown to wear.

2. Nappies/Diapers. The hospital staff will expect you to have brought your own supply. They may send your husband to the store to buy some if you haven't.

3. Flip flops. Without going into too much detail, just remember you may be sharing a shower with up to three other post-natal women.

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