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Birth options and plans in Hong Kong: We ask 10 questions about having a baby at The Matilda Hospital

Having a baby as an expat in Hong Kong can be a scary thing to go through, especially if we lack the presence of family and close friends. So there’s a real need for external support and knowledge. To help with this, our team came up with a list of questions they would want to ask about the whole process of having a baby in hospital. We put these to senior midwife Mary Watkin to answer them on behalf of Matilda Hospital.

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At any one time, there always seems to be a large percentage of the expat population that is pregnant. I know Expat Living has been prolific in this regard, with over 36 babies being born to members of staff in the 13 years we’ve been in business!

Matilda staff have looked after people for over a hundred years, so they know a lot about delivering babies! We got some great advice from our maternity-related Q&A with a Matilda midwife here:

#1 What types of rooms are available in the postpartum/recovery ward?

There’s quite a choice: VIP rooms, private rooms, twin rooms, and standard rooms (four beds); all have ensuite bathroom facilities and bedside medical equipment. For shared rooms, there are privacy screens.

We suggest clients advise their preference when they make a maternity booking with us through their obstetricians. It does depend on availability at the actual admitting time though.

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#2 Can my partner spend the night with me in the hospital? 

Both VIP rooms and private rooms have a sofa bed. There is no extra overnight charge for one lodger in all private rooms or VIP rooms.

Partners of ladies in shared rooms will need to arrange accommodation in Mid-Levels or Central. A list of nearby accommodation options is available, so do let us know if you need it.

#3 How early will I need to register or pay a deposit to ensure I can deliver at the Matilda?

As soon as the doctor confirms the pregnancy and submits the requisite laboratory and blood test reports, the obstetrician’s clinic makes the booking on your behalf. Once the hospital provisionally confirms the booking, a deposit is needed to secure the booking.

 

#4 Are lactation consultants on call in the postpartum ward? 

Our breastfeeding rate is over 95 percent, the highest among private hospitals in Hong Kong. We encourage skin-to-skin contact right after the baby is born. New mums are also given support to breastfeed the baby within two hours after delivery.

Breastfeeding should be on-demand, and skin-to-skin contact can help establish bonding and lead to successful lactating.

There is breastfeeding support round the clock, either by lactation consultants or health professionals with breastfeeding training. The hospital’s rooming-in policy also facilitates on-demand breastfeeding.

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#5 How often can we expect to see other specialists like midwives, obstetricians and paediatricians in the days after delivery?

The hospital’s midwives and healthcare assistants are stationed at the ward around the clock. Your obstetrician will see you every day. It’s helpful to write down any questions or concerns you may have, so you’re ready to discuss them. Your paediatrician will examine your baby daily, and will also see you to discuss any questions you have regarding your baby.

#6 What special birthing amenities does the hospital offer?

Clients can use the bath-tub in the delivery room for a warm bath to relieve pain during the first stage of labour. For safety reasons, we do not facilitate water births.

Birthing balls, yoga mats, and beanbags are available to encourage mobility and support active labour. Some women find sitting on a birthing ball and rocking the pelvis helps with alleviating discomfort. It also helps move the baby to the right position for delivery.

#7 Do you have prenatal/birthing classes that we can attend?

We provide two types of antenatal courses for mothers who are planning for normal delivery as well as elective Caesarean section. Parents can call the Health Education Department at 2849 0357 or send an email to health@matilda.org for enquiries. Course details are available online.

Those mums who are keen to work on their fitness can sign up for our group antenatal Pilates classes or individual antenatal exercise training offered by the hospital’s physiotherapists.

#8 Does Matilda run hospital tours?

Hospital tours can be arranged within office hours on weekdays, with Client Relations. You can call 2849 0355 or email communications@matilda.org to arrange one. Alternatively, a coffee morning is held once every month for ladies with confirmed bookings to see our maternity facilities and meet our midwife for a question-and-answer session.

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#9 During a mum’s stay at hospital, can a newborn be in the same room at pretty much all times? Or are there only specific time slots when they are allowed in?

We encourage babies to stay with mothers in the same rooms to establish bonding and breastfeeding early. If a mum feels tired, she can use the nursery room. Babies who require phototherapy treatment for jaundice will generally stay in the nursery room.

#10 If birthing goes smoothly, are parents allowed to leave with their baby the next day, or do they have to wait a few days in hospital?

Many mothers prefer to have a rest after delivery, hence the hospital’s maternity package usually ranges from two to four nights, depending on whether it’s a vaginal delivery or a Caesarean section. Individual clients may want to come home early, to look after their other children, for example. As long as doctors have assessed a mother and her baby’s condition, and found them fit to leave, they can return home early.

Matilda International Hospital is at 41 Mount Kellett Road, The Peak. matilda.org

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