Preparing for hospital

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As well as your hospital bag, remember you’ll need your birth plan and maternity notes with you at the hospital.

Checks and tests

When you first get to hospital for the birth you’ll probably be taken to a room for mums-to-be who’ve just arrived, so you can be assessed. A midwife will take you through a series of checks and tests. It may be your own midwife but it’s more likely to be the midwife who’s on duty at the time.

They’ll want to check:

  • What’s already happened in your labour, such as whether your waters have broken and whether your contractions have begun.
  • Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and urine.
  • Your maternity notes.
  • Your tummy and, with your permission, carry out an internal examination to find out how dilated your cervix is.
  • Your baby will be monitored.

All the details will be written down.

The next steps

If you’re in early labour it may be better to go home again and wait for the contractions to get stronger. If you’re staying, you’ll be given a bed on the early labour ward and move into a delivery room when your labour progresses. 

If your contractions aren’t too strong this is when the midwife will go through your birth plan with you and find out what all your preferences are during labour.

However, if you’re in full labour you'll be taken straight to a delivery room. You’ll still be able to tell the midwife about your birth plan but make sure you have it to hand and that your birth partner knows about your choices too, because things may be moving more quickly by this stage.

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