In the Waikato you have the choice to have your postnatal care following birth at home, in a primary birthing centre or at Waikato Hospital.
Your postnatal stay at a hospital or primary birthing centre is usually for 48 hours following birth. You will receive help and support on how to care for and feed your baby during this time, and can expect a daily visit from your midwife.
Your midwife will then visit you within 24 hours of your discharge from hospital or a primary birthing centre, and continue caring for you with 7-10 home visits (more if needed) during the six weeks following birth.
Here is some more information about your postnatal stay choices.
If you birth at home, whether planned or unplanned, you can choose to remain at home – unless your midwife assesses that you or your baby should be transferred to the Waikato Hospital postnatal ward for a clinical reason.
If you birth at home you can also choose to have a postnatal stay at one of Waikato’s primary birthing centres. You will need to transfer there within 2-12 hours once your labour and birth care is complete.
Birth at a primary birthing centre
If you birth at a primary birthing centre you may want to return straight home following birth. If you and your baby are ready to leave, and your midwife has assessed you as clinically able, you can leave within 2-12 hours once your labour and birth care is complete.
You can also choose to continue to stay at your primary birthing centre. The usual period of time for a postnatal stay is 48 hours following labour and birth care (or 48 hours from arrival at the birth centre). You can leave before the end of the 48 hour period if you want to. You can also talk to your midwife and the primary birthing centre about extending your stay if you have a clinical need or require further help and support.
Following birth at a primary birthing centre you can also choose to move to another primary birthing centre for your postnatal stay. You will need to leave the primary birthing centre you birthed in once your labour and birth care is complete (within 2-12 hours) and move to your chosen primary birthing centre for postnatal care.
All Waikato primary birthing centres have double postnatal rooms available so your partner or support person can stay overnight with you during your postnatal stay. Extended family can visit during the day – contact each individual birth centre about their visiting policies.
Waikato primary birthing centres
- Birthcare Huntly
- Waterford Birth Centre, Hamilton
- River Ridge East Birth Centre, Hamilton
- Pohlen Hospital Birth Centre, Matamata
- Te Awamutu Birthing
- Thames Hospital Birthing Unit
- Waihi Lifecare Birthing Centre
- South Waikato Primary Birthing Unit, Tokoroa
- Taumarunui Hospital Birthing Unit.
Birth at Waikato Hospital
If you birth at Waikato Hospital you may want to return straight home following birth. If you and your baby are ready to leave, and your midwife has assessed you as clinically able, you can leave within 2-12 hours after your labour and birth care is complete.
Many women who have their baby at Waikato Hospital choose to have their postnatal stay at one of Waikato’s primary birthing centres near their home. If you have a vaginal birth and you and your baby are well enough you can transfer to the primary birthing centre of your choice for a postnatal stay, within 2-12 hours after your labour and birth care is complete.
If you have a caesarean section and after 48 hours both you and your baby are medically able, you can go home or you can transfer to the primary birthing centre of your choice for a postnatal stay (if the end of the 48 hour period falls after 9pm you can transfer to the primary birthing centre at 9am the next day).
Having your postnatal stay at Waikato Hospital
If you have complications or you or your baby have a clinical issue that needs monitoring and/or medical care, you will have your postnatal stay at Waikato Hospital postnatal ward. The ward is a clinical environment for women and babies who need medical care.
Your stay at Waikato Hospital postnatal ward will be based on your clinical need, and you will not be able to move to a primary birthing centre for further postnatal care at the end of your hospital stay.
The postnatal ward has few single rooms that are prioritised for women with high clinical need (they cannot be requested). If you are not staying in a single room, you will be staying on a ward with other mothers and babies.
Support people and visitors
There are no facilities to enable male partners to stay on the ward overnight (there are no bathrooms or shower facilities for males). Male partners can stay overnight in some circumstances if you are in a single room.
If needed a female support person can stay with you overnight, but please note there are no beds available for your female support person to sleep in, only bedside chairs for rest.
Male partners can stay during the day and relatives can visit during visiting hours.
If you have travelled from out of town
If you have travelled from out of town and your male support person or partner wants to stay near Waikato Hospital he will need to arrange his own accommodation. This is something to think about ahead of time if you live a long way from Waikato Hospital, even if you’re not planning to birth there, as things don’t always go to plan.
Even if you are planning a home birth, birth at a primary birthing centre, or to transfer to a primary birthing centre following birth at Waikato Hospital, you or your baby could have a complication and you may need to be transferred to or stay at the Waikato Hospital postnatal ward.
What you and your baby will need for your postnatal stay
- Nightwear and day time clothing for yourself.
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, shower gel/soap, deodorant and other items for your personal needs.
- Clothing for your baby.
- Car seat and blanket for your baby when you leave the hospital.