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Labour and birth

When to come in to hospital

Labour ward receptionPlease call 5320 4533 or 5320 4979 after hours to speak to a midwife before coming to the hospital.

It is advisable to contact the hospital if:

  • your waters break
  • your contractions are becoming painful and regular
  • you have any vaginal bleeding
  • your baby is not moving as much as normal
  • you think you may be going into labour before 37 weeks
  • you think you may be going into labour and you are booked for a Caesarean Section
  • you develop a severe headache, blurred vision or upper abdominal pain
  •   you are worried about yourself or your baby

Please call the hospital before you come in.

Depending on your concerns and the time of the day, you may be advised to remain at home or to be assessed in the hospital. If you are less than 20 weeks pregnant and experiencing problems, please contact your own GP or the hospital emergency department on 5320 4000.  

What to bring into hospital

Birthing SuiteOur birthing suite

At BHS, our birthing suite has several labour wards and two family birth centres. If your pregnancy has been normal with no complications, it is best to stay at home in early labour for as long as possible. You will be comfortable in familiar surroundings and your labour will progress in its own time. When you feel the need to come in, please phone the hospital first; the midwives will suggest options for you at this time. Occasionally, you may be sent home, otherwise you will be admitted and cared for by our experienced labour ward staff.

Birth plans

If you have a birth plan please share this with your midwife when you arrive so she is aware of your preferences and expectations. Try to consider all aspects of labour as well as possible alternatives. If unexpected events occur, such as your labour needs to be induced or you change your mind about pain relief options, you will be in a better position to make decisions, if you have some knowledge of what to expect. The information on the external links may help in your decision-making. When you arrive at the hospital

When you arrive at the hospital, your blood pressure, pulse and temperature will be taken. The midwife or doctor will feel your abdomen to check the position of the baby and assess your contractions. A vaginal (internal) examination may also be offered to assess how much your cervix has opened (dilated) and how far down your baby’s head is in the pelvis. The baby’s heartbeat will be listened to regularly during labour. Your baby may require ongoing heart rate monitoring during labour if you have any pregnancy or labour complications. As your labour progresses, your cervix dilates and your baby will move down through the pelvis. After the birth of your baby, you remain in the labour ward for two hours before being moved to the postnatal ward. If you have your baby in the birth centre, you remain there for 24 hours. Sometimes the safest option for the birth of your baby may be Caesarean SectioFamily birthing suite with occupantWhen you arrive at the hospital

When you arrive at the hospital, your blood pressure, pulse and temperature will be taken. The midwife or doctor will feel your abdomen to check the position of the baby and assess your contractions. A vaginal (internal) examination may also be offered to assess how much your cervix has opened (dilated) and how far down your baby’s head is in the pelvis. The baby’s heartbeat will be listened to regularly during labour. Your baby may require ongoing heart rate monitoring during labour if you have any pregnancy or labour complications. As your labour progresses, your cervix dilates and your baby will move down through the pelvis. After the birth of your baby, you remain in the labour ward for two hours before being moved to the postnatal ward. If you have your baby in the birth centre, you remain there for 24 hours. Sometimes the safest option for the birth of your baby may be Caesarean Section.  

Pain relief options

The experience of pain in labour is different for everyone. Some women prefer to avoid using drugs for pain relief in labour. This is a personal choice and we will support you in your decision. Labour and birth is usually a painful experience for most women. It is a good idea to be aware of the options for pain relief and to know how you would receive pain relief drugs if you feel you need them. We encourage the use of ‘non-drug’ options including the use of water (shower/bath), positioning, massage and breathing awareness. Your support person also plays a very important role during your labour.

More information about pain relief can be found here.