Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Maternity Unit Tour and questions to ask

Couple of weeks ago I have booked our maternity unit tour and last Saturday was THE day. We were greeted by a lovely midwife who I met before when I had high blood pressure problems. She explained at the beginning that it will be around 40 minutes tour and that we will be able to ask our questions at the end (I had 2 pages of questions). 

Midwife started the tour from explaining how to get to Delivery Suite from the main entrance and from A&E side after hours. She also mentioned that our partners can drop us off closer to the entrance and then to park their cars on the hospital territory, which is by the way very expensive (we won't be parking there anyway as we found a spot by residential area).

We followed our midwife to Delivery Suite itself (we can use stairs or the lift) and that's where it is more blurry, please don't blame baby brain (I do have it from time to time though), the reason is we heard someone giving birth, it was very loud and distracting for us all and possibly very painful for her (I had tears in my eyes that's how real and scary that was). 

While we were walking to the Suite we were "greeted" by Winnie- the- Pooh cartoon characters on walls which I thought was very cute. To get in to the Delivery Suite we needed (and will need to use in the future) to use intercom mounted on the wall, as all entrances to and exists from the Suite are locked for the safety of mums and babies. 
Midwife showed us waiting room and toilets for visitors, which are right by the entrance/exit door, we are allowed to have 1-2 people with us in labour with visiting hours 10 am- 10pm. Birth partners can stay over night with a mum-to-be as long as it is agreed beforehand but they say on a first comes first served basis as they can't really find space for every partner. There is one more "luxury" for our partners- kitchen with fridge, water cooler or they can use cafe and vending machines outside of the Suite.

Delivery Rooms: during our stay we will be in one room all the time, there are 6 delivery rooms with shared bathroom facilities and 2 birthing pool rooms with en-suite which can be used on a first comes first served basis (I would love to be in one of these rooms and will definitely mention this in my birth plan). Every room has a bed, gas and air (I didn't know it makes a "Darth Vader" noise), baby resuscitaire, cot, a chair for a partner, monitors including wireless monitors, entertainment unit with USB port plus each birthing pool rooms have a birthing ball and some other weird equipment a mum-to-be can hold on to. We had a quick look at a Maternity Theatre room but we didn't go inside, I think it scared a little most of us.

During  and after labour & birth: I was happy to know that hospital will have a whole set of midwives (work 12 hours shifts from 8 am to 8pm), consultants, pediatricians, obstetricians available if there are any complications to mum or baby, hospital now has a new policy and they delay cord clamping, allow lots of bonding, skin to skin time and do monitoring only when necessary in case of any problems. 

After birth mum and baby are transferred to the Ward or baby can be transferred to newborn intensive care unit (NICU) in case of any complications. All postnatal rooms are shared, midwives can do exceptions with rooms if mum wants to be alone, but they do not recommend it (I think it's because they want less hassle for themselves) and again those rooms are on a first comes first served basis. They provide menu for mums but we are allowed to bring our own food ( I need to write down a list of junk food I want to eat).

We were also told that we will have lots of leaflets and information about breastfeeding , that there always will be someone who can show us and direct how to do it, and we also will be showed how to express milk by hands. With regards to discharging minimum is 6 hours, but they recommend to stay over night, for those who had c- section it is 2-3 nights stay and if we want our friends and family to see us they can come 3pm- 4pm or 7pm- 8pm, but it can be more flexible. 
I almost forgot to write about emotional bit of this story, when midwife showed us the Ward she also took us to see a mum holding a newborn in her arms. That was so sweet and magical it made me cry, I just couldn't stop, I was thinking how cute this little girl is, how I want to see my little one, that soon enough our little creation will be in my arms as well, it was so overwhelming I just couldn't stop crying, I guess I was the only emotionally not stable out of all couples as no one else cried. Some midwives passing by tried to cheer me up, which was very nice of them.
At the end of the tour I was the only one (again) left to ask  questions and as midwives saw me before I think after “the interview” with one of them they have a picture of who I am and what I'm going to be like during labour, my husband made a joke about it, said that midwives possibly have a nickname for me “Victoria- the worrier”. 
Now to my questions, these are the questions I have used to "interview" my midwife and you can use them for yourself if you are planning to have Maternity Unit Tour.
  1. Do you have a list of what we need to bring with us?
  2. Where is the entry after hours?
  3. Where's the nearest place to the entrance I can be dropped? Does my DH/birth partner have to pay normal parking rates while I'm giving birth or are there special parking spaces/a permit scheme for him while I'm in labour? Is it the same out of hours?
  4. Where is the waiting area for other family and friends? How many people can be with me?
  5. Do we need to complete any paperwork upon our arrival or during the stay?
  6. What is their "routine" on admission in labour- straight into delivery suite or are we put into a waiting room until labour is more established where will I initially be examined?

Rooms & Logistics
  1. Will I be in one room during my entire stay, or will I be moved to a separate room after birth? Can DH stay in this room with me? Private room hire for after birth? Bathroom? How to secure a room? Can DH stay in a private room with me? Birthing Pool rooms?
  2. Can DH stay overnight with me before and after birth? When is “kicking out” time? Visiting hours?
  3. Are mobile phones permitted in the room?

  1. Do you have a kitchen where DH can make himself a cup of tea, make himself some toast or put some food in the fridge if needs be.
  2. Would hospital provide me with the food or I have to bring my own for before and after? Can I eat during labour?

During Labor & Birth
  1. What birthing equipment do you provide e.g. birth ball etc
  2. What doctors, specialist will be available if there will be any complications with me or baby? Are there any doctors available on call?
  3. What sort of monitoring, etc do you have? When and how they do monitoring?What is their standard?
  4. Do I need to bring my birth plan with me?
  5. Am I allowed to move around freely and go to shower during labour?

After Birth
  1. Will they allow immediate skin-to-skin contact (postponing the initial check up)? Can we delay all procedure/exams for baby until after some bonding time?
  2. Do you let the cord finish pulsing before cutting? What’s the policy on delayed cord clamping?
  3. Will they bath baby straight after delivery? Can DH or birth partner accompany the baby at all times while it's being bathed, etc.?
  4. What sort of breastfeeding support is offered? How does it work?
  5. Is there a newborn intensive care unit (NICU)?
  6. Are there any situations where my baby would need to be transferred to another facility? Will I be notified about it?
  7. Where are the toilets and showers ? Do I have to take the baby with you each time (or will they look after him/her for you), if so can I manoeuvre the cot on wheels in there?
  8. What time of day does discharge generally occur? How long do you expect me to stay in? 


  1. This is such a great post, and it sounds like they answered all of your questions. I'm due to book my hospital tour soon, and I think I'll be asking pretty much the same questions as you. Would be lovely to see a new mum in there too, must have been a very real moment for you! Not long now :) xx

  2. I can remember my maternity unit very well soo lovely , i had water births with all of mine and the midwives were amazing , best of luck x

  3. I never got round to a hospital tour with my second. I wish I had as it removed a lot of worries

  4. This is great. I did one before I had Buba but never got the chance for the hospital with MM as she came early and it was a different hospital. Glad they answered all your questions. This is great. Best of luck I am so excited for you. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. Enjoying your posts and getting to know more about you. Hope this removed your worries and you are all ready for the next best biggest adventure in life. #sharewithme

  5. I never had a hospital tour with any of mine. You are lucky to have had your questions answered. I remember doing Darth Vader impressions with the gas and air and thinking I was the funniest person on the planet ever!

  6. Great post, seems like you have gained loads of helpful information. Good luck x

  7. I went on a tour of my local maternity unit on Monday, so I can really relate to your post! When are you due? Mel

  8. Interesting post. I didn't even know expectant mothers get tours of the maternity unit. It s ounds overall this unit is quite good.

  9. Such an exciting time for you. The twins were early so we didn't manage the maternity ward tour. Special moments for you treasure x

  10. Wicked post!!! Brilliant hun :-)
    I want our tour... but never get to speak to anyone at the hospital about it... just seem to hang around for hours waiting, have my 5mins with the consultant and am ushered out. So thanks for this post, very helpful :-)

  11. I remember doing the tour of our mat ward about 4 weeks before my eldest was born - it was an obscenely hot day and I'd reached the stage in pregnancy where I really couldn't stand for long periods and my husband was convinced i was going to faint!

  12. YOu are so lucky. In my country people are not allowed to do this as people are just too busy. So these areas are really always full. Thank you for sharing your experience! #sharewithme

  13. I think only did the maternity tour once - they don't offer it to you with subsequent babies. Great tips though

  14. A great post and lovely to hear that helped answer your questions

  15. The tour of the maternity unit is really useful - it does help make the hospital more familiar when you're in labour. Good luck with it all. Look forward to reading your next posts.

  16. Very helpful post.
    Thank you for sharing. It might save some thinking to some.

  17. aww that's so sweet that you cried! Sounds like something I would do :) x

  18. I was induced three days before our planned hosiptal tour with my eldest and they didn't offer one with second! Makes it feel more real though

  19. What a lovely thing, I had no idea you could tour the units before hand, I can imagine that definitely eases some worries. x

  20. I never did a tour of our maternity ward, i wish i had now as would have been really interesting to see. I was induced so would have been nice. x

  21. Brilliant post. I did a tour of my maternity ward.

  22. Great post! We weren't allowed to have a maternity ward tour, but we did look online and thanks to a trip to triage we got a glimpse of where we'd have Finlay. I did have a couple requests but when I actually went into labour I think I wasn't forward enough with what I wanted (cord pulsing etc.) and the midwife almost rolled her eyes at me when I did tentatively suggest what I wanted. I still had a mostly positive experience, but maybe next time I'll be brave enough to be more bold about what I'd like! Best of luck :) xx

  23. Great that you had all your questions answered! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  24. Great post and I can't say with all five of my pups I never had a maternity ward tour, so this is totally new to me! But it does seem like you have all in the info you need for the arrival of this little one!! Thanks so much for sharing! #MadMidWeekBlogHop xx

  25. What a great post, especially the list at the end. I've had 3 babies and I think you are WAY more prepared by far!