Making you comfortable

Whether at home or in hospital these tips may be useful for you:

  • Low fat foods are recommended to avoid nausea and sickness. Your partner may need to bring in some food for you—the restaurant on the lower ground floor is open between 7:30am and 7pm. There is also a coffee bar on the ground floor of the hospital and a cold drinks machine on the Labour Ward. There are plenty of places in Fulham Road where you can buy hot food and drinks when the hospital restaurant is not open.
  • Flannel, sponge and water spray may be useful for cooling off.
  • Lip salve, toiletries and hair accessories keep your hair out of your face.
  • Oil for massage—this can be very relaxing and help with pain relief such as backache although not all women will find it helpful.  Please discuss with your midwife.
  • Old shirts or t-shirts to wear for labour and warm socks.

Birthing positions

We encourage you to find the position which is most comfortable for you. Many women prefer to stand. Some like to sit on the bed propped up with pillows. Others like to be on all fours on the floor or on the bed. We have birthing balls and stools available.

We also have two birthing pools. Many women find it more relaxing to labour in water and, if labour progresses normally, go on to give birth to their baby in the pool.

What to wear in labour

During labour we suggest that you wear loose clothing which allows you freedom of movement.  We have hospital gowns, but most women prefer to wear a large T-shirt or an old nightdress. You are free to wander around while you are in labour, so you may want to bring extra clothing in to keep warm.  Please wear slippers or footwear when walking about.

Pain relief in labour

There are many ways of helping to relieve pain and discomfort during labour. These can range from simple things such as relaxing in water, walking about and TENS machines to Entonox (gas and air), pethidine and epidurals. You will be given a separate leaflet on pain relief. All women are different and one method of pain relief may work well for some and not for others. It is best to keep an open mind and, if something is not working well, try something else.

Please discuss the different kinds of pain relief available with your midwife, doctor or the anaesthetist. It will also be discussed in antenatal classes.

Acupuncture, reflexology and homeopathy

If you wish to arrange your own complementary therapies, please ask your midwife for advice.  If you would like your own practitioner to come in with you when you are in labour, they will require an honorary contract and will need to contact the Head of Midwifery Services to arrange this.

Eating in labour

If all is well in your pregnancy and labour we advise women that, if they feel hungry, they should eat and drink a light diet.  We advise that you avoid heavy foods and fatty foods. Low fat yogurts, pot noodles, banana sandwiches, etc are suitable as are sports drinks.  It is very important that, if you do not feel hungry, you should drink regularly throughout labour.

If at any point your labour becomes complicated or if you have pethidine or an epidural we recommend that you should not eat anything further.  Your midwife will advise you if this should happen.

Enquiries and visiting

While you are in labour lots of people will want to know how you are but any telephone enquiries to Labour Ward could be blocking the lines during an emergency.

Each labour room is equipped with the Hospedia telephone service which has a unique number for each room. We therefore ask that you give out this number to your relatives and friends to contact you directly.

Support at the time of birth is very important for women and so visiting times are unrestricted on the Labour Ward.  We advise that you should choose from your family and friends who you want to support you in labour, and inform the midwifery staff.  Other visitors who you do not wish to see at this time will be asked to contact you at a later time.

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