Things to consider when choosing where to deliver your baby

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When deciding where you will deliver your baby, it is important that you and your partner have all the information you need to make your decision. This informs my post today.

Depending on your circumstances, your options regarding where you are going to have your baby are likely to be in a local health facility under the care of a midwife or in a public, mission or private hospital supported by a maternity team comprising of a midwife, an anesthetist, a pediatrician and an obstetrician.  I cannot entirely rule out home birth because most women, especially in rural areas, still give birth at home under the care of traditional birth attendants. However, delivering in a health facility is always the best option because of availability of expert staff and equipment to help you, whatever happens during the birth of your baby.

I delivered my son at the Kenyatta National Hospital private wing. This is a choice I made way before I was even in my second trimester.

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I choose Kenyatta National Hospital because of a couple of reasons: it is affordable; it has a fully fledged neonatal unit that can handle emergencies; my Doctor has admitting privileges and is very respected at the facility so definitely I could not be mishandled;  the best of it was the availability of a nutrition and lactation expert who by the way offered invaluable help and advice to kick-start breastfeeding.  She was patient and understanding and offered the much-needed support and motivation considering that I stayed for 3 long days before milk started flowing.

Choosing where you will give birth is one of the biggest decisions you will make. You don’t need to rush into it because you do have time to do some serious research. Remember, where you decide to give birth affects your experience.

The following are a few factors to consider:

  1. Cost

Are you paying cash or using a health insurance scheme? If you are using a health Insurance, remember most companies have a limit of how much they are ready to cover.  Once you know how much they are willing to pay, compare the prices of different hospitals.

We all do not mind delivering in an A-list maternity suite where you get a pampering spa getaway experience, luxurious linens, a kitchenette, food delivered by a tuxedo-wearing food ambassador and even a concierge that can arrange anything from a stylish hairdo to manicure, pedicure, and massage. But remember all these come at a cost! If you can afford it fine but If you cannot afford it please cut your coat according to your size choose a facility you will comfortably pay without auctioning your properties, taking a loan or inconveniencing friends and relatives to finance your luxurious maternity experience.

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2. Essential facilities

Pause for a minute and consider a possibility of giving birth to a premature or sick baby and ask yourself, does the hospital have a functional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to handle such situations? By a functional NICU I mean the one with special medical equipment like incubators, feeding tubes, phototherapy lights, respiratory monitors, cardiac monitors and well-trained staff to care for very small or ill babies.

In addition, consider if the facility has a blood bank in case you bleed excessively and need to be transfused. Consider also if there is  an ambulance service should you or the baby need to be transferred to a bigger or better hospital that can handle complicated emergencies. Cases of babies alone being transferred to a better hospital with better facilities are very common.

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3. Distance

Surely, you don’t need to book a hospital in Rongai yet you stay in Thika! Can you imagine the traffic on Thika Road added to the traffic on Langata road all the way to Rongai! The message here is, the closer the hospital is to your home, the more convenient it will be in case of an emergency remember, any delay during an emergency can be fatal and besides, you don’t want to give birth to your precious baby on the roadside do you?

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4. Your unique needs

For example, does your doctor have admitting privileges at the hospital of your choice? Or are you happy with the hospital(s) they have admitting rights to?

If you are a CS mum or you just need help during your stay in the hospital does your spouse or a helper allowed staying with you in the room? What accommodations does the hospital have to your partner or helper?

Do you prefer a room with four mothers, two mothers or a private room where it is just you, your baby and the few hospital guests?

The best way to find out about the facilities you want to deliver your baby from is to ask your doctor, family, friends or contact the hospital or facility directly. There are groups on Facebook such as Pregnant Mom Support Group where you can also ask members and be sure to get real feedback and real experience from real people.

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Above all, it’s a great idea to tour each of the hospitals on your shortlist to see everything first hand and ask the sort of questions that will help you make a decision.

When I conceptualized this post, I asked a number of moms what informed their choice of hospital. Below is a sample of the feedback from them…

My choice was informed by the fact that I had lost my first baby in a hospital that lacked specialized maternity care. In my second pregnancy, I chose MP Shah Hospital because the nursing care, the food, the doctor, customer service are all top-notch. My baby was born premature I stayed in the hospital for ten days but I loved every step of the way. The nurses took very good care of baby and me and also taught me how to wash, handle, breastfeed and generally care for the baby.  But now the bill😱😱😱😱😱GHAIIIII!!! They are damn expensive if you do not book before 30weeks or you happen to be an emergency case like me.

When I was going for delivery we didn’t have much money. My husband and I opted for South B hospital and I went with my Doctor. Everything was OK but the bill escalated due to complications. The midwives were OK and corporative.

I choose Nairobi hospital because when I was admitted there when I lost my 1st pregnancy, the nurses were so supportive and caring. During my second pregnancy, I went into false labour at 24 weeks with the help of my doctor, I checked into Nairobi hospital and they quickly attended to me. From that time I made up my mind I will give birth there and during my four days stay my baby and I were well taken good care of. My visitors were allowed to see me even past the visiting hours. I loved ringing the emergency bell and the nurses respond in a split second!

I opted for Coptic Hospital after advice from my doctor who said they have a well equipped and clean theatre, a pediatrician on delivery and a neonatal unit. Their costs were okay too for one with no insurance.

First, I considered all costs because deliveries can be complicated and the cost becomes unbearable. Secondly availability of doctors on call and lastly proximity to my house

I chose Nairobi hospital because the insurance cover I was using would sort the bill. I had visited their maternity and Nursery before delivery and liked what I saw. They have a functional NICU so I was assured in case of any emergency baby would be taken care of. Lastly, I had been admitted in their general wards and maternity wards before and I was happy with the services offered, the nurses and the food.

There you go! So where did you deliver your baby? What informed your choice? Let’s continue the conversation and help a mom who does not know where and how to start.

 

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