​General information for maternity inpatients

What to bring to hospital when having your baby

Please bring all you need for yourself and your baby for one day in 1-2 small overnight bags, as space is limited in the hospital.

For the mother

  • Antenatal Record
  • You are encouraged to wear your own clothes during labour and birth. A comfortable cotton nightshirt or long T-shirt or sarongs are suitable (you may need more than one if you wish to be covered while in the shower or bath)
  • Extra sarong or long scarf to hold heat pack in place as a comfort aid during labour
  • Comfortable underwear
  • Sanitary adhesive pads
  • Maternity bras or “crop top,” breast (nursing) pads (disposable or cloth, not plastic lined)
  • Comfortable clothing, suitable when breastfeeding: T-shirts, shorts/trousers or leggings for day wear, pyjamas, nightshirts,
    dressing gown
  • Non slip footwear
  • Toiletries, tissues, etc
  • Massage oil
  • Your favourite food and drink to keep up your energy levels, preferably these should be nonperishable; special foods that require cooling or heating must be carried and stored following Safe Food Handling Guidelines
  • MP3 or iPod, with selection of music, relaxation and/or affirmations for different stages of labour; some speakers available, but you may bring your own, labelled (all optional but may be helpful)
  • Mobile phone
  • Camera or smart phone (still photos only)
  • Note pad/ book and pen
  • Please leave all valuables at home – there is nowhere to secure them safely in the hospital

For the Support person

  • Wear ‘closed’ shoes for WH&S safety in the Birthing Service
  • Change of clothes/board shorts if assisting mother in shower or bath
  • Jacket or warm clothing for cool air conditioning
  • Snacks and drinks (following Safe Food Handling Guidelines)
  • Toothbrush & paste

For baby

  • At least three singlets
  • At least three sets of clothing (every day clothes, not good ones!)
  • At least three bunny rugs/baby wraps (suggest brushed cotton if cold weather, fine cotton or muslin type if warm weather)
  • One packet of cotton buds (for ‘cord’ care)
  • Optional: bath solution or baby soap, baby lotion or wipes (just water for baby is fine)
  • Disposable nappies - infant nappies are not supplied during your hospital stay
  • If you are formula feeding your baby, bring a tin of your choice of infant formula. Sterile bottles and teats will be provided only while you are in hospital
  • An approved baby restraint as required by law should be fitted to your car; it is strongly suggested that you do this when you are about 34-36 weeks pregnant. If you need help with this, check the Transport NSW website for fitting stations located near you.

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care-board.jpgMother and Baby Care Boards

Near each bed you will notice a Mother and Baby Care Board. We use these boards in all ward areas across the hospital to communicate the daily and anticipated plan for care between the woman, the family and carer and healthcare team.

Ward staff will update the board each shift, and you or your family or carer can write comments and questions on it at any time. If you have any questions regarding your care board, please ask one of our staff members. For your safety, we want to work together to plan your care and know what is important to you.


We need to check if there is anything we should do for you before you go, and confirm what time you plan to return.

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REACH: Recognise, Engage, Act, Call, Help

If you or a family member becomes concerned about your condition while in hospital:

  • Have you spoken to your midwife or doctor?
  • Have your concerns been answered?
  • Are you still concerned?

If so, ask your midwife for a ‘Clinical Review’, or you can dial 0423 848 420 to call an emergency response.

A REACH poster will be displayed beside your bed with this information.

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Clinical handover

At John Hunter Hospital we aim to provide excellent healthcare for every woman, every time. An important part of this commitment is staff performing a clinical handover at the bedside every shift.

At the handover, the midwife who has been caring for you provides information regarding your care and reason for your admission to the midwife who will be looking after you during the next shift.

The staff will involve you in this process, which will allow you to participate in the planning of your care and ensure that the information that is exchanged is accurate. You will also have an opportunity at this time to ask any questions regarding your care.

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Hand Hygiene

To help prevent infection the following rules are for all visitors for the John Hunter Hospital:

  • Gel hands on entering unit
  • Gel hands on entering patient’s rooms
  • Gel hands on exit from patient’s room
  • Inform staff if you are unwell

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Providing a safe environment for clients and staff

Creating a safe environment for patients, visitors to our hospital and our staff is our priority. Any behaviour which compromises the safety of mothers and babies will not be tolerated. Any behaviour which disrupts the ability of our staff to fulfil their duty of care will also not be tolerated.

Should any person display such behaviour they may be asked to leave.

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The hospital has a lock down period between 9pm and 5.30am. During these hours, entrance and exit to JHH and Belmont Hospital is through the main entrance only.

Security cameras are located in most areas throughout JHH & Belmont hospitals.

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Belongings and Valuables

To minimise the chance of misplacing your belongings it is helpful if your items are marked with an identifying label, especially valuables such as glasses and phone chargers.

We do our best to ensure all private items are returned to you if misplaced but we cannot take responsibility for lost items. Valuable items are best left at home for safekeeping. There is no secure environment on the wards to store valuable items.

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Car Parking

Car parking is available at John Hunter and Belmont Hospitals for a set fee.

Car parking is also available at community clinic venues. For Newcastle Community Midwifery clinic, free car parking is available at a nearby shopping centre for up to three hours.

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Visiting Hours

John Hunter Hospital has an open visiting policy. We acknowledge that new mothers need rest and so we encourage a rest period on the wards between 1pm and 3pm each day.

The majority of our beds are in four-bed rooms, so when visiting we ask that you are mindful of this quiet period for your family member and for other women and babies on the ward.

We also request that visitors are up-to-date with the whooping cough vaccination when visiting new babies, and if feeling unwell with colds and flu-like illness, please avoid visiting new mothers and babies.

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Meal times are approximately:

  • Breakfast 7.30 to 8.30 am
  • Lunch 12.30 pm.
  • Dinner 5.30 pm to 6 pm.

A small kitchen is located on each ward with tea, coffee making facilities, ice machine, refrigerator, toaster and microwave. These items are available for your convenience.

Please be mindful of safe food handling practices at all times.

For the safety of you, your baby, visitors and our staff, we ask that all curtains in the ward areas are open at all times when
appropriate, especially mealtimes to allow the safe distribution and collection of meal trays.

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Smoke Free Health Service

John Hunter Hospital and Belmont Hospital are smoke-free health services. Smoking is not permitted in the hospital or on hospital grounds. The midwife caring for you will assist you with smoking cessation support if required.

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Televisions are available for your use at each ward bed at no cost. The television service includes all major television channels, and maternity education channels including baby bath demonstration, breastfeeding, care of your baby, parental bonding
with baby, and introducing your baby to the family dog or cat.

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Other Services Available

Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Hospital Chaplains and Pastoral Carers are available to all patients and visitors. Please ask one of our friendly staff to contact the service if required. The JHH Chapel is located near the main entrance and is open at all times. Chapel services are held on a regular basis, the times of which are advertised in the chapel and on the Pastoral Care brochure.


The hospital pharmacy is located near the main entrance on Level 2, outside the Outpatients Clinic, and is available to all patients to fill their scripts for discharge. Doc’s Pharmacy is a commercially operated pharmacy for non-hospital scripts and pharmaceuticals. It is located in the food court on Level 2.


JHH News and Gifts Newsagency is located on Level 2 to the right of the hospital’s main entrance.Cards, gifts, confectionery, phone cards and lottery services are available.

Places to eat

There are a number of places to eat on the John Hunter Hospital Campus.

Grab and GoGo Café is located on Level 2, inside near the main entrance. Sandwiches, drinks (hot and cold), confectionary and hot meals are available.

Baratza Coffee Shop is located at the west end of Level 2. Drinks (hot and cold) and confectionery are available.

A larger Food Court is located at the eastern end of Level 2, with a sandwich bar and many hot food and beverage options are available.

Financial services

An ATM is located at the main entrance of the hospital on Level 2 opposite the Information Desk.

Gift Shop

KC’s Gift Shoppe is located near the main entrance on Level 2. It is run by John Hunter Hospital Site Carers (hospital volunteers) and has gifts, toiletries and confectionery available.

Accommodation for Families

JHH has limited accommodation available for relatives travelling long distances (greater than 100km). These units provide a comfortable environment and close by accommodation for relatives of patients who require treatment and care at JHH. Please ask our friendly staff who can assist with your enquiry.

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