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An Expat Talks about What is Was Like Having a Baby in York, UK

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

York

How recently did you give birth in the country that you are reporting on?

16 months ago

Describe your experience giving birth there. What type of facility did you go to? What (if any) type of pain management did you use? How long did you stay in the hospital? Was it a positive experience? Etc...

Aidan was my first child and was premature by 5 weeks.

I had had regular checks with the midwife at my local clinic, and had just finished all three of the pre-natal classes at the hospital.

When my waters broke I was in hospital for 4 days before Aidan was born. Had very good treatment (own room!!), good food. Very nice staff. It was a calm, relaxing area as rooms for mums-to-be are kept separate (by a corridor) from new mums.

Birth plan was written while I was in labour.

It wasn't followed as we discussed, but ok.

Pain relief: They wanted to keep me on my back for the baby heart monitor, but I was having all back labour and pushed for me to try different positions, which they allowed with some grumbling. I started on codeine, tried gas & air, but didn't like it. I had a shot of meptid, which allowed me to relax between contractions. Had the shot to help birth the placenta, which happened very quickly!

Ended up with a 3rd degree tear, was advised to have a spinal to ensure good stitching. Excellent midwife, who stayed with me during birth and after birth, stayed on after her shift was over to hold my hand during the spinal.

Aidan was in SCBU (special care baby unit) for 9 days. I went home after 2 days, but went back to the hospital after 3 days to stay with Aidan in SCBU's rooms on the ward. Here parents are allowed to take their children out of the ward (but still attached to it). Aidan had jaundice for 1.5 days and lost some wegiht. He came home weighing 4 lb. 12 oz., but gained weight within 2 days.

Overall, although a whirlwind because he was premature, it was a very good experience and I would feel comfortable giving birth at York Hospital again.

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How did you choose your doctor, midwife or other type of medical professional?

I was not given an option in choosing midwives, doctors, etc.

My only options were to go with the NHS midwife, go private or with an independent midwife. The latter two options were far too expensive.

If you were to have another child in this country, would you do anything differently in terms of preparation and/or the delivery?

I would ensure I went on maternity leave far earlier than 3 weeks before the due date! I would push harder for my birth plan to be followed or at least for reasons for it not being followed explained to me.

If a friend of yours living in the same country were expecting, what advice would you give her?

See if you can have a tour of the maternity ward before you give birth...so you know what to expect when the time comes.

I highly recommend doing some sort of yoga for pregnancy class. I helped immensely when I was in labour!

Research different pain relief options available to you at the hospital.

Make sure you fully understand what will and won't be provided at the hospital.

Ensure you understand what maternity leave you are entitled to. Make sure you keep on top of payroll to ensure you are getting the correct amount each month.

What needs to be done to get your child his/her birth certificate? Aidan's father had to come to the registrar's office with me or he wouldn't have been put on Aidan's birth certificate!

Ensure you know what nationality your child will have. (Aidan was technically American at birth as I was not married to his father. We had to get him a visa to stay in the country!)

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