​Birth suite and birth centre

birthing_suite.jpgThe JHH Birth Suite and Birth Centre are located together on level 3 at JHH.

The Birth Suite, formerly known as Delivery Suite or Labour Ward, cares for women with normal to high risk of obstetric or medical
conditions occurring, and while supporting normal labour and birth, staff in Birth Suite can provide extra monitoring of mother and baby or extra interventions if required.

The Birth Centre is an area for healthy women with normal risk of medical or obstetric conditions, where normal labour and birth are supported by her partner and midwives, with easy access to further help if required.

When you arrive at JHH, go straight to the Birth Suite reception desk. You will be met by a midwife or receptionist and taken to an available room that best suits your needs, or to the waiting area of the Maternity Assessment Day Unit.

Virtual tour of JHH maternity services

Visit our virtual tour of the Birth Suite, Birth Centre, Maternity Assessment Day Unit, antenatal and postnatal wards at John Hunter
Hospital, as well Belmont Birthing Service.

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Maternity Assessment Day Unit (MADU)

The MADU is an area where pregnant women may be directed to go following an antenatal clinic visit, or after speaking with a midwife in Birth Suite. Reasons may include: being more than 41 weeks pregnant, waters leaking after 37 weeks and not in labour, high blood pressure, and other events. While in MADU, a comprehensive assessment will be undertaken, and this could take about 4 hours.

When you are ready to birth, or require a closer monitoring, you will be transferred to the Birth Suite. Alternatively, you may be discharged home from MADU with a follow up plan of care.

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Travelling to have your baby in hospital

  • Contact the midwife in the Birthing Service (or your own midwife as arranged) for advice.
  • Wear a sanitary pad (or more!).
  • Have your support person drive safely, and use your seat belt with lap belt positioned below your baby. Have old towels available to catch leaks if they occur, and an old ice-cream bucket in case of nausea or vomiting.
  • In NSW, an ambulance ride can be very expensive; it is strongly suggested that you join an ambulance fund for your family emergency situations, if you are not already covered by private health insurance (this may be done through any major private health fund office or online).
  • Bring your antenatal record. Your antenatal record provides us with your history and plan of management for labour and birth. Please carry it at all times, and present it to the midwife or receptionist on your arrival to the Birth Suite.

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A plan for going home after birth

For most women, pregnancy and birth is a healthy experience. Many women choose to go home from the hospital soon after the baby is born, and take advantage of our Home Midwifery Service (HMS). This is dependent on both mother and baby being well, baby has had the first feed, and mother is confident going home with adequate family support. You can go home straight from
Birth Suite/ Birth Centre. A physical examination of mother and baby will be done before you leave. All the necessary documents and supportive information will also be provided. The midwife from the HMS or Midwifery Group Practice will contact you the day after your discharge and inform you of an approximate time for your home visit. They may visit you for up to about 5 days after birth, depending on your circumstances.

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Husband / partner / support persons in labour and birth

We welcome people who will support and encourage you throughout labour and birth. There is room for a maximum of two support people at any one time in the Birth Suite.

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It is the woman’s choice who supports her during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period. A doula is a layperson, identified by the woman, who provides continuous support during the antenatal period, childbirth and the postnatal period. The
doula attends as an employee of the woman. Under normal circumstances each woman is able to have two support people with her in delivery suite. A doula is to be considered one of the two support people.

Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) is open to the use of doulas at birth, and maternity services will facilitate a productive, receptive environment for doulas to support women. However, HNELHD clearly states that it does not accept responsibility and is not accountable for any actions or advice given to labouring women by doulas.

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If there are some visitors you would like to visit you soon after the birth of your baby in the Birth Suite, we request that your visitors check at the Birth Suite desk before proceeding to your room. This is to protect your privacy and the privacy of other
women in the unit. Please be aware that there is no waiting room for visitors in the Birth Suite.

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Enquiries while in Birth Suite

To protect your privacy and confidentiality, information is not given to people enquiring about you without your consent. We will take messages for you to contact the enquirers at a convenient time.

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Video recording and photography

We respect your wish to film labour and birth. However, all staff have the right to refuse to be identified on film or refuse filming during specific procedures. Please inform your midwife of your intention to film. If your baby is born in the Obstetric Operating Suite, only still photographs may be taken.

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Music for labour

Within each Birth Suite room there maybe a blue tooth speaker available for you to play your own music using your own device. Alternatively there is a radio/CD player available. You are also welcome to bring your own speaker dock for your smartphone if you would prefer.

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There are no childcare facilities at JHH or the Birth Suite. If you wish to have your children present for labour and birth, we request you have one adult, other than your main support person to care and supervise. However, the limit of two additional
people at a time will also need to be considered.

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Mobile phones

We ask that all mobile phones are turned to silent mode in the Birth Suite, Birth Centre and ward environments.

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Keeping baby with you following birth

Your baby will remain with you following birth. Skin-to-skin is encouraged for a minimum of 1 hour after the birth or until the first breastfeed. Skin to skin contact stimulates the mothers’ production of the oxytocin hormone, which decreases bleeding, promotes bonding and breastfeeding. It allows the baby to smell, touch and know mum as well as stay warm. When the baby shows signs of
readiness, he/she will be able to breastfeed.

It is strongly suggested that during this important time the baby stays with mum, rather than being handed around to other family members. The father of the baby has an important role in protecting the new mother and baby.

After your baby has fed, he / she will be weighed and measured. With your consent, Vitamin K (Konakion) and Hepatitis B vaccine injections will be given at this time.

Two arm-bands with the baby’s correct identification details will be placed on the baby’s arm and leg – the midwife will ask you to check these details to ensure they are accurate. The identifying number on the mother’s armbands are the same as the baby’s, so it is important that you make sure the identifying numbers correspond.

The armbands are routinely checked by the midwives. Should the armbands fall off, please tell the midwife as soon as you can so that new armbands can be provided.

If medical treatment is required for your baby, then he or she may be taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery or Special Care Nursery adjacent to the Birth Suite. As soon as possible, you will be able to visit and care for your baby.

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What happens to the placenta (afterbirth)?

After the birth of your baby, the placenta will be disposed of in accordance with NSW Health Guidelines.

On some occasions the placenta may be sent to the Pathology Department, for extra information. This may happen if you gave birth to twins, or if you or your baby has a serious medical or obstetric condition.

If you would like to take your placenta home please talk to your midwife.

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Stem cell collection and storage

If you are interested in the collection of stem cells from your baby’s cord blood for possible future use, you need to organise this with one of the private companies several weeks before coming to hospital to birth your baby. You will need to organise the collection, equipment, courier service and storage with the private company.

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