Birth suite

The Maitland Hospital Birth Suite is located directly opposite the main entrance of the hospital past the Emergency Department. 

When you arrive at Maitland, go straight to the Birth Suite reception desk where you will be met by a midwife and taken to an available room.

Travelling to have your baby in hospital

  • Contact the midwife in the Birth Suite (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.

Going home from the Birth Suite

For most women, pregnancy and birth is a healthy experience. Many women choose to take advantage of our Community Midwifery Program (CMP) and go home early from the hospital. The CMP is available to most women who live in the local area. Some women may even choose to go home straight from the Birth Suite a few hours after their baby is born. This may be an option for you if you have good family support, you and your baby are well and your baby has had his/her first feed. A physical examination of you both will be attended before you leave. All the necessary documents and supportive information will also be provided. Midwives working on the CMP usually offer daily postnatal home visits for 5 days after birth dependant on your circumstances.

Chosen support person for birth

At Maitland Hospital we encourage you to have the support person of your choice with you in labour. Women who are well supported in labour use less medical pain relief which can delay the establishment of breastfeeding.

Comfort measures for labour

There are many things you can do to make labour easier. Non-medical comfort measures can help to avoid medication in labour which may make it harder to establish breastfeeding. Staying active and moving in labour makes contractions more effective and can add to your comfort as can warm showers, warm packs, relaxing, position changes, music and any distraction techniques.

Doulas

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 the Birth 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.

Visitors

If there are some visitors you would like to visit you soon after the birth of your baby in the Maitland Birth Suite, we request that your visitors check at the Maitland 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. 

Enquiries while in the Birth Suite

To protect your privacy and confidentiality, information is not given to people enquiring about you without your consent. Encourage your family to contact your support person for any information.

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 Operating Suite, only still photographs may be taken. 

Music for labour

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

Children

There are no childcare facilities at Maitland Hospital. 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.

Mobile phones

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

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, they 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, they 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 both the baby’s legs – 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. These arm bands will be replaced as your baby is allocated a medical record number.

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 they may be taken to the Special Care Nursery adjacent to the Birth Suite. As soon as possible, you will be able to visit and care for your baby. Depending on your babies medical condition skin to skin contact with your baby will be encouraged.

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 further testing, to provide 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.

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.