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  • 4 Post By Mango_pudding

Giving birth in Queen Elizabeth Hospital

  1. #1
    Mango_pudding is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Giving birth in Queen Elizabeth Hospital

    During my pregnancy, I was looking for reviews of birthing experiences at Queen Elizabeth hospital, but didn’t find many, so I thought I’d share my experiences of birthing there earlier this year in case anybody is looking for this information.

    Why I picked QE: Safety. It is one of the only hospitals that has facilities for dealing with neonatal emergencies, no private hospitals have this (in case of emergencies, private hospitals transfer the child to a larger public hospital).. I did not feel the need for birthing in a fancy environment and safety for my child was simply my number one priority.

    Pre-natal care: There are regular check-ups in the ambulatory care building. These consist of listening to baby’s heartbeat, sometimes ultrasound, screening for Down’s syndrome, strep infection, diabetes etc. These will be done by different doctors/nurses/midwives each time, but that was fine with me (I never felt the need to see only one particular doctor – I found the system at QE just fine for me). I found the quality of the pre-natal care quite good.
    Pre-natal class: There was a two-hour pre-natal class in English. Didn’t find it particularly helpful or informative. Personally, I learned more about birthing from books and videos.

    Laboring: When you are in active labor, you may be admitted to the ante-natal ward until you have progressed far enough to go the the actual labor room. While your husband can join you in the labor room, he is not allowed into the ante-natal ward, which means you are pretty much on your own until you have progressed enough. The ward is well-equipped with things for pain management such as TENS machines, birth balls etc. However, for me (and I guess this goes for most pregnant women) what I needed the most for dealing with the pain was my husband. So I did find the no-husband policy there really problematic and not conducive to a good birthing experience. I would recommend you to stay at home and labor on your own as long as possible before going to the hospital.

    Birth: Once I was 1cm dilated, I was moved to the labor room where my husband joined me. The labor room is really well equipped in terms of allowing for different kinds of deliveries – you are thus not forced to deliver simply lying on the bed. There are birth balls, mattresses for the floor etc. available. You will be asked to fill out a birth plan earlier on in your pregnancy where you can jot down some of the wishes you have for birthing positions. While I found that the doctor and midwives were professional during my labor, I did find that they severely lacked warmth and compassion. They did not motivate me, nor provide any emotional support. The tone in the labor room was very harsh, and I was told things such as ”no need to scream!” and ”you are hurting your baby!”. I was pretty shocked that anybody would talk like this to a person in labor.

    In terms of pain managment, there are different options available. I managed just with gas and air from a mask. Epidurals are available if there are no other major emergencies taking up doctor’s time. In my experience, it is best with a wait-and-see approach in terms of whether or not to get an epidural. I was very set on getting one before getting birth, but during the birthing process, I didn’t really need it.

    I read and heard that Hong Kong doctors and midwives generally push for episiotomies (cutting ”down there”). This might just be a myth. In my case, they did not give me any episiotomy, and there was nobody pushing me to get one.

    After giving birth: baby is immediately placed on your chest. You can have skin to skin contact for a good while (while you are getting stitched up etc.) before they start weighing and measuring baby. My husband and I spent an hour like this in the labor room with our baby. After that, I and the baby were taken to the post-natal ward. Again, in the post-natal ward, husbands and other visitors are only allowed for two hours every night. I found this to be the most problematic part of my experience of birthing at QE. After a long and painful birth and finally recieving your baby, what you want the most is to talk about the experience and enjoy the baby WITH your partner. However, in the post-natal room you will just be lying in your bed with your baby all alone – while they will check on your bleeding, nobody will talk to you, check on your emotional state, ask about your birth or in any way ”be nice” to you. They pretty much do nothing to ensure that you have a good start with breastfeeding and that baby and mother start off with a good attachment. They pretty much just leave you there to yourself, not allowing you to have your husband at your side for support. I find that this aspect of ”no warmth” is the most important to consider when you decide whether or not to pick QE as your birthing hospital.

    In terms of breastfeeding, the hospital is filled with posters stating how much they support it. However, I did not get much help or support at all with breastfeeding –again: I was just pretty much left on my own. Support may be of a better quality if you speak Cantonese though. Maybe the reason they did not really help me was the fact that they had to talk to me in English.

    Summing it up: In sum, my birthing experience at QE was acceptable, but nothing more than that. The medical care was excellent, but what was really, really lacking were things such as empathy and emotional support during the actual birth and during the time in the labor ward. For moms who have given birth before, QE might be an acceptable place. However, first-time moms need to be prepared for the fact that the tone of doctors/nurses is harsh, that they will be alone both in the pre-natal and in the post-natal ward, and that there is no emotional support available from staff at all.

    I hope my experiences can help other pregnant women make an informed decision about whether or not QE would be a good birthing hospital for them.
    Claire-, ddum, Pritam and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
    Claire- is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Thanks so much Mangopudding! Hope you and your baby are doing well x

  3. #3
    mrskim is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Thank you for the info. I am due this January and will be giving birth at Tuen Mun Hospital. Goodluck to me as this is my first time.

  4. #4
    Christelle Thea is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Jinju, South Korea
    I had similar experiences to you... however I had a c-section due to complications (planned) and so had longer recovery time. I found that I just needed to ask for help with breastfeeding etc and sort of demanded when I needed someone to do something for me or help me with the baby. I felt very safe and well taken care of, but you're right, it was pretty clinical. It was a relief to come home.

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