Birthing your baby at the Launceston General Hospital
Where do I present to if I am in labour?
Go to the Launceston General Hospital, Level 4 and follow the arrows to the Birthing Suite.
Press the intercom and you will be allowed in.
The Birthing Suite
The Birthing Suite at the Launceston General Hospital is a 5-suite birthing unit on Level 4. Adjacent to the delivery suite is the Maternity and Paediatric Wards with a Neonatal Unit and Special Care Nursery.
When to present to the Birthing Suite
If you experience the following problems, please call the Birthing Suite on 6777.8960 :
- abdominal pains including contractions
- vaginal bleeding
- vaginal loss of fluid that may be continuously trickling down your legs
- if your baby's movements are sluggish
- if you have any concerns regarding your pregnancy that you notice has suddenly changed
- if you are have gestational diabetes and you are experiencing hypoglycaemia (low sugar readings with dizziness and sweating) episodes
- if you have blood pressure problems in pregnancy and start experiencing headaches, nausea, vomiting, flashes of bright light or a dull upper abdominal ache.
When you call the Birthing Suite, you will be asked information about your due date, blood group, GBS status (if known) and who your treating Obstetrician is. If you have any significant issues in pregnancy, it is always helpful to let the Birthing Suite know. Please remember to bring any documentation provided about your pregnancy.
You may be asked to present to the Birthing Suite for an assessment on Level 4. You will be greeted by a Midwife who will check your vital signs, perform a CTG (a tracing of your baby's heart rhythm) and a basic abdominal examination if you are contracting. the Midwife will then contact your Obstetrician for further advice and/or assessment.
What happens if I'm in labour?
If you are in labour, you will be transferred to a birthing room. If you have a birth plan, please bring this along with you.
Some women will need continuous monitoring of the baby's heart beat (CTG) but if you are low risk, we encourage you to mobilise if you are comfortable to do so. You may choose to have a warm bath if safe to do so. Various pain relief options are available and your Obstetrician will discuss these with you.
Whilst in labour, you will be looked after by a Midwife. Your Obstetrician will perform regular assessments and prepare you for birthing. It may be necessary to have Paediatric staff available during the birth if you have an assisted delivery or if there are any concerns about your baby's health.
If you are planning a water birth, please discuss this with your Obstetrician. In most cases we support this option. There are certain circumstances in which this may not be possible for the safety of yourself and your baby.
Induction of Labour
An induction of labour, or 'IOL' is a process of bringing on labour artificially rather than waiting for your body to naturally start the birthing process. The reasons for needing an IOL are that you may have a medical issue in pregnancy like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia or have been on blood thinners during the pregnancy. Your baby may have slowed down in growth or may even be getting too large; there may be issues with the health of the baby or the environment of the womb (too little water, infections or persistent irritation of the womb). There is always a good reason for an IOL and the decision to have one is a mutual discussion between yourself and your obstetrician.
Every institution varies their IOL protocol slightly, taking into consideration the indication for the IOL and the staffing available to provide you with the one-to-one care when you are admitted to the Birth Suite. The process of induction as such is quite similar across most obstetric units.
Read about IOL here.
What will happen if I am booked for an IOL?
- You may have had an internal examination a few days prior to the IOL date to determine if you need a two-step or one-step induction process. The examination determines the softness of the cervix (the neck of the womb), the length of the cervix and how dilated you may be.
- You may be asked to have a CTG (a tracing of the baby's heart beat) and an ultrasound to determine if there is sufficient fluid around the baby)
- A date will be arranged for the IOL to take place at Birth Suite, LGH
- If you need a two-step induction: present to Birth Suite at 7 pm. Please bring your packed bag with your personal items and baby clothes. A midwife will admit you and perform a basic examination and CTG. Your obstetrician will attend once these have been done and recheck the internal exam findings. A flat tampon like tape (Cervadil), containing Prostaglandin (the medication that causes softening and shortening of the cervix) will be inserted into the vagina to lie just below the cervix. This is usually not painful but may be a bit uncomfortable. Alternatively, Prostaglandin gel (Prostin) or a balloon catheter (Attard-Cook catheter) may be used to help soften the cervix. You will then have a CTG again for an hour. You are then admitted overnight in case you develop contractions and go into labour
- Do not worry if it takes time for your cervix to respond to the medication. Your Obstetrician will monitor the situation closely and advice if further medications or an alternative form if cervical ripening is needed.
- If you do not need the medication the night before, you will be asked to present to the Birth Suite at 7 am the following day. Once your midwife has performed the basic examination and CTG as above, your obstetrician will attend and arrange for the water bag around the baby to be broken using a slender crochet hook like device. This is usually painless.
- An intravenous line will be inserted into your veins to administer any fluids or the hormone drip (Syntocinon)
- Once your waters are broken, you will be monitored with the CTG continuously if you have Syntocinon running intravenously.
- Your obstetrician will examine you intermittently to assess progressive dilatation of the cervix and descent of the baby's head into the pelvis.