You have endured the tension those nine months could cause, and experienced the joy that lies in the anticipation of becoming a new parent. However, have you chosen the right place to welcome the young one?
Yes, it is important. Choosing a hospital where the would-be-mom is comfortable is of utmost importance and should be planned in advance.
While some of the would-be-moms choose to be with one hospital right through their pregnancy, there are a few who end up delivering at a different hospital with a different obstetrician, as they change doctors or hospitals towards the end of the pregnancy.
Reasons for this vary. It can be due to factors like complications that can arise during pregnancy where a specialised obstetrician at another hospital needs to be consulted; or due to women spending the last trimester at their maternal home and choosing a hospital nearby for delivery.
What to look for while choosing a hospital
In any case, choose a hospital that has a team equipped to handle birth of a baby efficiently. Examine all facilities required to deliver a healthy baby with no complications. This is important, as the would-be mom has to be healthy and has to be in a safe environment.
Giving birth to a baby is a time-tested natural process. It is therefore important to choose a hospital or an obstetrician who believes in encouraging women to go through natural deliveries, unless a medical condition dictates a caesarean delivery.
Says Dr. Fatima Poonawala of Alfa Clinic, “A good hospital or a good doctor’s credit in case of deliveries lies in facilitating natural deliveries for moms-to-be in a safe environment so that the mother and the baby can be safe. One needs to have a check on the credentials of the obstetrician, how long the obstetrician has been practicing and availability of the doctor in one or two hospitals. Also it is advisable to see an obstetrician with a birth plan and discuss fears, concerns or any apprehensions during one’s consultations to be comfortable on the final delivery process.”
Poonam Bhandari, a mom to one-year-old Jia, says, “It is of immense value to have the comfort level with the gynaecologist you will be seeing through your pregnancy. I was looking at a hospital that adhered to basic cleanliness, had NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) as I knew I will be having a premature baby and a doctor who could patiently listen and understand my concerns.”
According to Dr. Anu Sridhar, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, “Good maternity hospitals should have maternity set-up in the form of fully functional labour unit with trained staff and doctors specialised in Obstetrics. It also requires 24-hour anesthesiologist, pediatricians, OT and blood bank. “
Yoga during pregnancy
Says Vaishnavi S, yoga expert at Rangadurai hospital, Basavanagudi: “Women should understand that they need to be fit during pregnancy and yoga plays an important role in helping would-be-mothers in pre-natal and post-natal care. The body becomes more flexible to adapt various positions in labour and again helps mothers to get back into shape post-delivery. Again problems like excessive bleeding, loss of bladder control can be addressed through yoga.”
A few pointers to consider when choosing a maternity hospital
Your comfort with your Obstetrician: In your first few meetings with your obstetrician and gynaecologist, you will be able to gauge if your doctor has time and patience to answer your questions calmly. Obviously you want to be with an obstetrician who can make you feel comfortable about your pregnancy, help you build that trust and give the assurance he or she will be with you to handle any concern during pregnancy.
Credentials of the obstetrician and ability to handle complex deliveries: It is essential to choose a hospital and a doctor who has a philosophy and attitude towards birthing that matches with yours. If yours is a normal pregnancy with no other ailments like overweight, diabetes etc., then you have more options on choice of hospital ranging from basic to luxury ones. However if you have any ailment, it is advisable to approach an obstetrician who has experience in handling complex pregnancies, regardless of other facilities like AC rooms and other pampering which is optional for moms-to-be who want to cherish this phase.
Transparent attitude: Again it is important for your obstetrician to be open and talk to you about all stages during your pregnancy. Even in the case of a complication, your obstetrician should be able to take you through with confidence and ensure the best is done regarding the pregnancy and baby.
Availability of NICU and adult ICU at the hospital: Most deliveries happen without requiring the baby to be placed in Neo-natal Intensive Care Units (NICU). However if you do not want the last–minute shift in transfer of baby or mother for a critic condition (which is rare, but can happen) then you can choose a hospital that has both NICU and adult ICU at the hospital.
Proximity to your home: Choose a hospital that is near to your home, as right through the pregnancy there would be many check-ups and routine tests. Shorter the distance, easier it would be for you. However according to Dr. Fatima, the distance does not really matter regarding birth of a child as long as one is taken care under a good obstetrician.
Feedback from various sources: Make it a point to obtain feedback on the doctor, nursing team and hospital in general from various sources like relatives or friends, online feedback etc. and then decide.
Hospital Care during night hours, holidays and emergencies: It is very important for a would-be mother to consider emergencies, and check if there would be sufficient staff during odd hours. Also discuss with your doctor during the later stages of pregnancy – how soon can she be with you when the labour pain begins, so that you know your lead time before your doctor takes charge of your delivery.
Other added factors that can help you make the final choice
- Availability of a pediatrician at the hospital.
- Fitness programs like aerobics, yoga which can help in smooth pregnancy phase and even in post-natal care.
- Courteousness of staff like the reception and at the general attitude and approach of nursing towards moms-to-be.
- Cleanliness, hygiene maintained at operation theatres, NICU, and Labour Recovery Room- the room where you will spend the three days with your baby. You may not choose a fancy boutique hospital but do check on hygiene and basic facilities that can help you go through the birthing process smoothly.
- Availability of Lactation Consultant, Nutritionist and a Physiotherapist at the hospital
- Whether you want your partner to be with you in the labour room and does your hospital support that opinion.
- Availability of 24X7 hot water. Traditionally a new mom is not supposed to touch cold water. Bangalore is known for its cold weather, so hot water is a must for both baby and the new mom.
To wrap up, choose a hospital where you feel as a gut-feeling that you and your baby will be taken care well at the hospital. Good Luck to step into happy motherhood.
What to pack for the D-day?
(Do check with your hospital what essentials do they provide to moms-to-be. There are quite a few hospitals now, who provide a lot of essentials along with additional pampering.)
For the Mother-to-be
Pyjamas and Slippers: A two piece pyjamas or a night gown that has front buttons to aid breast feeding.
Underwear-Medium to Large size: You can buy cotton underwear-not the fancy ones about 6-8 of them and if you are buying inexpensive ones, you can always dispose them as they can get a bit messy with leaks. There are also disposable underwears available for this purpose, which come in a set of 6-8.
Sanitary pads: Pick about 8-9 for each day. Go in for normal sanitary pads and not the ultra-thins or tampons. Some hospitals provide maternal sanitary pads meant for the occasion, which are also available in medical shops.
Toiletries: You can take soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, a hair band to keep hair off the face and a few bands to tie the hair. Avoid using deodorant during your stay in the hospital and in the initial days of breast-feeding. Even babies like mom’s body smell than anything else.
Maternity bras: It is a natural phenomenon that you will be leaking milk, so buy appropriate maternity bras – about 6 of them for your three-to-four days stay at the hospital, and later. Take a stole/shawl or a nursing wrap if it would make you feel comfortable during breast feeding.
Clothes to go back home: Most luxury hospitals offer gowns for the new mother and a wrap for the baby. You can however opt to take your own set of clothes including three sets of front –button tops and pyjamas and a comfortable outfit to go home with the baby. You can even carry along an outfit in your packing bag for professional photo-session that are done in many high-end hospitals.
For the Baby
Nappies: It is better to have a rather large reserve of nappies when it comes to your newborn essentials. Keep a few cloth nappies as keeping the baby constantly in disposable nappies can cause irritation to the baby’s skin.
Baby wipes and powder: It is best to use cotton wool and water for a newborn due to its sensitive skin, but a few wipes can be handy as well.
Jumpsuits: Grow suits or jumpsuits of newborn size are a good option as they cover the entire body of the baby. An additional wrap or two can be taken with the set of clothes to make the baby feel comfortable when held by mom or others.
Bottles: If you plan to bottle–feed as a top-up or due to a medical condition where you cannot breast-feed, carry sterilized bottles–around four of them. However do note, that breast milk is ‘the’ healthy food you can give to your baby for the next six months