Our Midwifery Group Practice midwives will be on-call 24 hours a day for your labour and birth and will be the main health professionals who will care for you.
During labour and birth we’ll provide a private, safe, comfortable environment that supports normal physiology so you can respond to your body and channel your innate ability to birth your baby. Supported by a calm, familiar person and without any unnecessary disruption you will be able to move freely and allow the natural process of labour and birth to unfold.
If you’re a healthy person with a normal pregnancy it’s unlikely you’ll need to see a doctor but if your midwife thinks you need extra medical care they will call on our on-call team of doctors.
Our three private, home-like birthing rooms have views over the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. Rooms have their own ensuites with showers and there’s also a deep bath for comfort and relaxation during labour.
You’re welcome to visit the maternity unit and the birthing rooms. Just fill out the contact form and we’ll be in touch to arrange a time.
Can I bring support people with me?
Support people are there to care for you and encourage you during labour and birth. They should be people you trust and who make you feel comfortable.
While there’s no restriction on the number of support people you can have, you may wish to limit the number to one or two people. This is something you can talk about with your midwife as you get closer to your due date.
Your midwife will also speak to you if COVID-19 restrictions will affect the number of support people you can have.
A support person might be your partner, another family member, or a close friend. They might also be a doula.
A doula, or birth attendant, offers non-medical, physical and emotional support before, during and after childbirth. The cost of a doula depends on the provider and is not covered by Medicare.
You can bring children with you as long as they have an adult who can be responsible for their wellbeing at all times. If you are considering including children at your birth we recommend you prepare them about what to expect. Your midwife will be able to help with this.
Can I have my own doctor at my birth?
Not at Castlemaine Health. In public hospitals midwives are the main health professionals who care for women during labour and birth.
If you’re interested in shared care, where you have some of your pregnancy care appointments with your midwife and some with your GP, that’s something we can offer. Your GP will need to be a Castlemaine Health accredited general practitioner. Your midwife will still be the person to support you during labour and birth.
In some public hospitals, if you have private health insurance and your private obstetrician has a special agreement with the hospital you can choose to have your obsetrician at your birth. There are currently no obstetricians with this agreement in place at Castlemaine Health.
What support will I have to manage pain during labour?
There are a number of natural and medical methods you can use to manage your labour pain. Your midwife will be able to explain them to you in more detail and help you learn some of the techniques.
Natural pain relief
Breathing and relaxation techniques can be very helpful. Fear can be a very normal response to labour and this can make you tense and anxious. Letting go and trusting that your body knows what to do can help you relax and cope better with pain.
Keeping active during your labour is also very helpful. Staying upright, walking, changing positions, using massage, heat and water can all help ease pain naturally. We’ll encourage you to move around as much as possible and we have showers in each of our private rooms and a deep bath that can be used for relaxation and pain management during labour.
We are not able to offer water birth at Castlemaine Health.
Assisted non-medical pain relief
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
This small, portable, battery-operated device, sends small electrical pulses to the body, through wires which are connected to electrodes stuck to the skin. Some women find this helpful.
Sterile Water Injection (SWI)
For women who experience persistent lower back pain we can use a technique involving sterile water injections in the lower back. Once back pain is reduced some women find they are better able to cope with the pain of contractions.
Medical pain relief
Gas and air
A mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen inhaled through a mask or a mouthpiece during a contraction can help take the edge off the pain. It can make some people feel nauseous or light-headed but there are no after effects for you or your baby.
A strong painkiller (opioid) given by injection to reduce the severity of pain. Morphine is preferable to pethidine because it lasts longer and has fewer side effects but it can make you and your baby sleepy and may have other side effects.
We do not offer epidural at Castlemaine Health.
What happens if I need to be transferred to another service?
The likelihood of a transfer during labour is low. Women who receive continuity of care from a midwife they know and trust are more likely to have a normal birth and less likely to require surgical interventions.
However, as Castlemaine Health does not have an on-call surgical team or its own special care nursery, if you or your baby require unexpected emergency care during labour you would be transferred to a higher level service by ambulance or medical transport.
It could be necessary to transfer your care to a higher level service during your pregnancy if there was an urgent medical issue. Your care would also need to be transferred if you were to go in to labour early. As a Level 2 maternity service Castlemaine Health can only support women during labour and birth who are between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant.
You might also decide during your pregnancy care that, for personal or medical reasons, you want access to another, higher level maternity service. You have control of your care so we would support you in that decision and transfer your care without interruption.
With all transfers it may still be possible for you to come back to Castlemaine Health for early parenting care after the birth of your baby.
Visiting hours are 10am – 8pm daily, but we recommend you limit the number of people who visit you in hospital.
Your time in hospital is short. If there are no complications, your baby is feeding and you have enough support you can go home as soon as four to six hours after your baby is born.
This is a time to get to know your new baby and to ask the midwives any questions. Your main support person can stay with you, but asking other family and friends to visit you when you are relaxed at home is a good idea.
Your midwife will speak to you if COVID-19 restrictions will affect your visitors.
Meet Katy, Travis & Jude
Thanks to the whole team at Castlemaine Health for the beautiful care we received in the lead up, during the birth and whilst settling in at home. Such caring and calming professionals, we feel very grateful.