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The birth environment at public hospitalBookmark this page

Your birth environment can affect your experience of labour and birth. The ideal labour environment is one where you feel safe, have access to pain relief, have privacy and feel secure and well supported.

Many public hospitals have air-conditioned birthing suites, usually with ensuite and shower and often a bath. The birthing suites might also have birth balls, heat packs, electric oil burners and other equipment.

Many public hospitals also have birthing pools in their birthing suites.

In the birthing suite, staying active and using upright positions might help your labour to progress and help you avoid interventions. Using mats, beanbags, cushions, water or birth balls can help. Talk with your midwife before the birth about how you’d like your birth environment to be.

You can bring things like:

  • music
  • essential oils or aromatherapy
  • a TENS machine
  • pillows
  • blankets or rugs
  • special food or drinks.

Many women prefer soft lighting during labour and birth. You might be able to use dimmer switches or lamps to adjust the lighting in the room. It’s OK to ask if you can close doors or draw curtains for privacy. Music might help you focus. Covering visible clocks might also help you to be ‘in the moment’.

Check with the hospital about having family, friends and/or other children at the birth if that’s what you want. You and your midwife can let support people know how they can help you.

Public postnatal wards (where you stay after the birth) often have double, single or twin-share accommodation, with ensuites or shared bathrooms. You might be able to have a private room and/or double bed, depending on availability.

Public postnatal wards might also have:

  • televisions (you might have to pay to use them)
  • telephones (you might have to pay)
  • small kitchens.

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