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Your Stay

Ashford Hospital is committed to providing excellence in maternity care before, during and after the birth of your child. We recognise that each of our expectant mothers have different needs and expectations. Every birth is unique and each journey a personal one.

We are dedicated to providing you with a personalised experience in a nurturing environment while offering a full range of services to support you through pregnancy, birth and into motherhood.

Being a parent is a rewarding experience, but it can also be a challenging time if your baby isn’t settling or feeding well. Prior to your admission, you may like to review some of the resources available for new parents.

The South Australian Government website, “Parenting and Child Health” includes a number of guides for parents with newborns or babies aged up to twelve months old.

There are two booklets that we particularly recommend, available to download below.

For Mothers:

  • Antenatal pregnancy record
  • All current medications
  • Comfortable day and night attire – loose fitting and front opening tops are helpful when breastfeeding
  • Nursing supplies– sanitary napkins, breast pads and maternity bras
  • Toiletries –deodorant, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and toothbrush

For Baby:

  • Baby wet wipes
  • Nappies for newborns and nappy cream
  • Sleep suits in a range of sizes
  • Baby blanket forgoing home
  • Baby clothes forgoing home
  • Car restraint installed in car for travel home

Most women feel their baby move between 16 - 20 weeks. These are felt as a kick, flutter, swish or roll.

Movements may not be felt regularly until 26 weeks gestation. From 26 weeks, if you think your baby’s movements may be reduced, please contact your Obstetrician or you can contact us on 08 8375 5237.

Your Obstetrician may recommend that you attend Ashford Hospital for an assessment. During this visit you will be assessed by a Midwife, which may include fetal monitoring.

If you have been assessed and allowed to go home and reduced movements occur again, you must contact your Obstetrician or our Midwives again. Never hesitate to contact us, no matter how many times this happens during your pregnancy.

The signs of labour are different for each mother and it can be difficult to tell when labour has started. You are welcome to call Ashford Hospital on 08 8375 5237 at any time and talk to one of our experienced Midwives. This phone call is important as it assists us to prepare for your arrival.

For any other health issues unrelated to your pregnancy please contact your General Practitioner.

When you arrive please enter the hospital via the main entrance located on Marleston Avenue, Ashford. Please proceed to the reception desk to notify staff who will organise your admission.

Parking is available in the multi-story car park adjacent to the hospital.

In consultation with your Obstetrician, Ashford Hospital is prepared to support you and your birthing choice, and will be here for you along the way.

Our experienced team of Midwives will provide you and your family with personalised care, advice and support. We encourage your partner and / or support person to participate.


Labour Suites

Ashford Hospital is equipped with six Labour Suites fitted with state-of-the-art technology, including fetal monitoring systems, which enable your Obstetrician to keep updated as labour progresses.

Our fetal monitoring systems can be connected wirelessly if you wish, enabling you to walk freely during the early stages of labour. Your Obstetrician can log-in and securely view your monitor remotely at any time of the day. The wireless system is waterproof allowing you to labour in the shower if you choose to.

The Labour Suites are spacious and comfortable with beautifully appointed facilities. Each suite features multifunctional birthing beds and a variety of therapeutic comfort tools such as birthing balls, mats and stools. One of the Labour Suites contains a large spa bath available for use in the early stages of labour. Please note, due to safety considerations, we are not able to support water births at Ashford Hospital.

The suites also include ensuite facilities, television, radio, telephone and access to Wi-Fi. A kitchenette is on hand for you and your support person.

Mothers and babies usually stay a few hours in the Labour Suite following the birth before being transferred to a private Postnatal Maternity Suite.


Caesarean Section

Caesarean Sections are undertaken in the Ashford Hospital operating theatres located on the ground floor.

The attendance of your partner and / or support person in the operating room during a Caesarean Section is encouraged, at the discretion of your Obstetrician and Anaesthetist.

Please note the following:

  • Support person must be 18 years or over
  • Up to two support persons may be nominated to be present in the operating room at any one time, at the discretion of your Obstetrician
  • At all times the support person must follow the instructions of the Obstetrician, Anaesthetist or hospital staff
  • If there is an emergency the support person must follow the instructions of the Obstetrician, Anaesthetist or hospital staff – this may include leaving the operating room until the emergency is resolved


Pain Relief

We offer a variety of effective ways to relieve pain in labour. Many factors play a role in the degree of pain, including the intensity of uterine contractions and the position of the baby as it moves down the birth canal.


Pain relief options include Nitrous Oxide, Epidural or other analgesia.


Pain relief options should be discussed with your Midwife, Obstetrician and Anaesthetist (if required).


Cord Blood

Some families may choose to collect cord blood and tissue at birth to store for potential future use.

If you wish to collect cord blood we request that you organise this prior to your admission. For further information regarding cord blood and tissue collection please click here.


Neonatal Care at Birth

While Paediatricians do not routinely attend vaginal births unless requested, they do attend elective and emergency caesarean section births and in some cases, delivery of multiple births, premature babies, breech deliveries or other previously identified issues.

Soon after birth your baby will be weighed and measured and will have two identification bands put on his or her ankles. With your consent, Vitamin K, is also given to babies soon after birth.


Birth Photography

Still photography is welcome but due to safety considerations, video recording is not permitted in the Labour Suites or operating theatre without prior consent of the hospital General Manager.

Birth photography can be provided by the approved hospital maternity photographer only. Due to safety considerations no other external professional photography services will be permitted without prior consent of the hospital General Manager.

Once your baby is born, you will move into a private Postnatal Maternity Suite. Your baby will stay with you unless they are being cared for in our Nursery. Each suite is equipped with ensuite facilities, electric bed, television, radio, telephone, access to Wi-Fi and a call bell for assistance. Should you require any support or advice at any time, our Midwives are only a call bell away.

During your stay, you will also have full access to all of our services and amenities including a kitchenette and lounge room for parents and their visitors to spend time in.

Following a vaginal birth, mothers can expect to stay for three to four nights, however this will be determined according to your individual needs. Following a caesarean section, mothers can expect to stay for four to five nights.

Please note the following:

  • Suitable night attire can be worn in the evenings but day clothing must be worn at all other times
  • Remember to wear footwear whilst walking around the ward or throughout the hospital
  • Please remember that you are in a hospital and a Midwife or staff member may enter your room at any time during the day or night
  • Partners (or your support person) are welcome to stay overnight
  • Other children are not permitted to stay overnight

At Ashford Hospital, we take the safety and security of your baby seriously. Your baby will have two identification bands on after birth. These bands will be checked frequently and contain the following details:

  • Baby’s name
  • Date of baby’s birth
  • Gender
  • Baby’s hospital identifier number

The mother and partner (or support person) will also be required to wear identification bands.


Cot Safety and Safe Infant Sleeping

We recommend that you adhere to the following guidelines for cot safety and safe infant sleeping:

  • Always have the cot lying flat
  • Place your baby on their back to sleep with feet to the end of the cot
  • Place your baby in the cot when you and your baby are sleeping
  • Leave your baby’s head uncovered
  • Do not place toys, including soft toys in the cot
  • Avoid the use of a bumper, quilt and pillows
  • Keep baby in a smoke free environment
  • When walking around the ward, please ensure that your baby is placed in the cot

For further information regarding safe sleeping and infant wrapping follow the links below:


Staff Identification and Infant Safety

All hospital staff will wear photo identification, whilst on hospital grounds.

Our policy states that parents should:

  • Never leave your baby / child in your room alone
  • Do not hand your child over to anyone that you do not know
  • Request to see staff identification if you do not know the staff member
  • Keep your baby’s bassinet / cot away from the door leading out of your room


™Kidsafe is a trademark of Kidsafe, Incorporated

We understand that there are many things you need to learn about your new baby and the Midwives at Ashford Hospital are here to help you. Our Midwives advocate breastfeeding. If you choose to breastfeed we have dedicated Lactation Consultants available to support the establishment of breastfeeding.

Like anything you do for the first time, establishing breastfeeding can be either smooth or challenging. The Midwives at Ashford are dedicated to supporting you at this special time, providing consistent evidence based education.

For further information regarding breastfeeding we recommend the following resources:

Child and Youth Health- Breastfeeding Your Baby

Australian Breastfeeding Association

Unless there is a special reason, a newborn does not generally need to be admitted to our Nursery.

To help you establish a good relationship with your newborn, we encourage you to provide care in your room, with our support as needed. Our Midwives will assist you in all areas of care for your newborn, helping you learn techniques for swaddling and settling, bathing, feeding and changing baby’s nappies.

During your hospital stay the following care and checks will be undertaken for your baby, generally performed on the third day:

  • A blood test, called the Neonatal Screening Test or Guthrie, is carried out on all babies born in Australia to detect metabolic disorders after birth. This test consists of only a heel prick to obtain the blood required.
  • A hearing test, called the Newborn Hearing Screening Test, is carried out by our Midwives before you leave hospital. The test is generally performed in your room, or in a quiet location. You are welcome to stay with your baby throughout the screen.
  • On the same day, your baby will be vaccinated against Hepatitis B as part of the national immunisation program.


Ashford Hospital is proud to work with a team of experienced Paediatricians who specialise in the care of children. While Paediatricians do not routinely attend vaginal births unless requested, they do attend elective and emergency caesarean section births and in some cases, delivery of multiple births, premature babies, breech deliveries or other previously identified issues.

Your Paediatrician will examine your baby usually within the first 24 hours to check their overall health and they may visit you and your baby on a regular basis during your stay. If required, your baby may be admitted to our Nursery for further support and care.

Your Paediatrician may also offer to see your baby several weeks later, to check normal developmental milestones are being achieved.

You may receive a separate account for your Pediatrician’s service and this usually includes an out of pocket gap payment.

The choice of the Paediatrician you use is entirely yours. The options can be discussed with your Obstetrician or you can find out more information regarding our Paediatricians here.

Ashford Hospital has a team of highly experienced Women’s Health Physiotherapists who will visit you after delivery and undertake a postnatal assessment.

The Physiotherapist will provide advice and education that will assist your recovery, such as:

  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Caring for your bladder and bowels
  • Appropriate abdominal exercises
  • Assessing abdominal separation
  • Caring for your back
  • Guidance with returning to your pre pregnancy activities / exercise
  • Management of mastitis (in conjunction with your Obstetrician and Midwife)

Ashford Hospital aims to provide you and your partner (or support person) with a selection of appetising meals.

We understand the different dietary requirements of our patients and have a range of options to choose from including a vegan / vegetarian menu. Other special dietary requests can be met if required.

Breakfast is buffet style, served in the kitchenette between 7.00am and 10.00am, for your convenience. Other meals a reserved to your suite at the following times:

  • Morning Tea 9.30am
  • Lunch 12.00pm –1.00pm
  • Afternoon Tea 2.30pm
  • Dinner 5.00pm –6.00pm
  • Supper 7.00pm

Your partner is welcome to stay overnight to provide assistance and support.

Our rooms are designed to cater for an overnight stay and provide a lounge chair that converts to a sofa bed.

Partners are welcome to enjoy our buffet breakfast and order lunch and dinner from our kitchen. Partner meals are complimentary for the entirety of your hospital stay.

If your partner wishes to stay overnight please note the following:

  • Suitable night attire can be worn in the evenings but day clothing must be worn at all other times
  • Remember to wear footwear whilst walking around the ward or throughout the hospital
  • Please remember that you are in a hospital and a Midwife or staff member may enter your room at any time during the day or night
  • Other children are not permitted to stay overnight

Staying overnight is a great opportunity for you and your partner to develop your relationship as a family.

We understand how important visitors are during this exciting time and welcome visitors to our Maternity area seven days a week between 11.00am – 8.00pm.

The initial days following delivery can be tiring. If, at any stage during your stay, you would like a rest, please inform our staff who can assist you.


Children

Children are welcome visitors at Ashford Hospital. Please make sure children are supervised at all times.

A hospital approved professional photography service is available for use if you wish. Options include:

  • Birth Photography Session
  • Fresh 48 Session
  • Hospital Newborn Session

Further information is available here. Charges will apply.

Due to safety considerations no other external professional photography services will be permitted without prior consent of the hospital General Manager.

Once you have been approved to go home by your Obstetrician and your baby’s Paediatrician, we ask that you aim to discharge by 10.00am.

It is normal for new mothers to feel anxious about taking a new baby home. Ashford Hospital holds regular Parents & Babies Information Sessions that you are welcome to attend following your discharge from hospital. Further information regarding these sessions is included here.

There are many community supports available to help you with your transition. You may find the following links helpful:

Child and Youth Health
Beyond Blue
Breastfeeding Association

Child Restraints

We recommend that you have your child restraint installed correctly prior to going home.

It is the law in Australia that all children are restrained according to height and age when travelling by car. The restraint should meet the Australian and New Zealand Standards.

Further information regarding Child Restraint is available at the following link:

Red Cross - Child Restraint Guidelines

We understand that there are many things you need to learn about your new baby and the Midwives at Ashford Hospital are here to help you. Our Newborn Support service is also available for you when you leave hospital. This service is available:

  • Tuesdays by appointment
  • Fridays you can“drop in” between 10.00am and 2.00pm

If you would like to make an appointment, or if you require further information regarding this service, please call 08 8375 5218.


Our Assistance

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