Our Birthing Unit is on Level 2 of Wollongong hospital, in Block C
If you are over 20 weeks pregnant and you think you are starting labour or need to talk about a pregnancy concern, please call us on
You can have your baby at Wollongong Hospital from 33 weeks pregnancy. If you are in labour before 33 weeks, you may be transferred to another hospital, for example to Royal Hospital for Women (Randwick). Sometimes we have to refer women to another hospital for higher level care if concerns arise.
Support people will be asked to record their details as per Government requirements during COVID-19. Please refer to this link for current visiting restrictions.
Where are we in Wollongong Hospital?
Please scroll down to video below.
Who can come with me to birth?
You may bring 2 birth partners with you to hospital. This could be your partner, husband, mother, sister, doula, wife or other person.
Due to COVID restrictions, please clarify the number of people who can come with you before you arrive.
Ph. Birthing Unit 4222 5270
If you are not in labour and need to stay overnight, we will ask your support person to go home overnight so everyone can get some rest, then they can return at 8am.
If you go into labour overnight we will call your support person to come back into the Birthing Unit.
What do I bring?
From the 'Having a Baby' booklet (NSW Health)
• nightdresses or large T-shirts and a dressing gown
• some loose, comfortable day clothes
• comfortable footwear
• several pairs of comfortable underpants
• maternity bras and/or maternity singlets
• breast pads
• sanitary pads – either ‘super’ size or 'maternity' size (you can buy maternity pads in supermarkets)
• something to wear while you’re in labour if you choose to wear clothes – a big T-shirt or an old
nightdress, warm socks
• clothes for you to wear when you’re going home (you won’t be back to your normal shape yet and
may still be in maternity clothes)
• anything you want with you in labour (e.g. music, massage oil, snack food).
For your baby:
• nappies and clothes for the baby to wear
• cleaning products for baby, nappy wipes or cotton wool for baby’s nappy changes and soap or non-detergent wash for baby’s bath
• if you have a long distance to travel, you should also pack a change of clothes for the baby
• baby blanket
• baby capsule in your car
Your partner or birth support person may also need to have a bag ready:
• food and drinks for them during labour, as well as for you. This may include juices or other drinks,
soup, and foods that are easy to heat or ready to eat
• swimmers and towel (if you’re going to a hospital with a large bath, and you want support in the
water while you’re in labour)
Am I in labour?
Every labour and birth is different and varies depending when it starts and how long it takes.
Your midwife or doctor can answer any questions you might have about your labour and birth and
what you and your partner can do to prepare.
Labour takes time. The time taken for each stage will vary from woman to woman. Everyone is different.
Stage 1 - when your cervix is opening
Stage 2 - when baby is being born
Stage 3 - when placenta is delivered
Have a look at p71 in this book for more information
How will you know if you’re going into labour?
Most women experience one or more of these signs when labour is beginning:
• regular contractions/ period-like cramps
• a ‘show’
• waters breaking
Please call the BU if you think you are going into labour on Ph. 4222 5270
For more information, have a look at the "Having a baby book" given to you at the hospital or click here for an on-line version.
Active birth benefits (+ video - the work of birth)
What is active birthing?
In an active birth you have the freedom to move around the room, be upright and change positions that feel comfortable to you during labour to help you manage contractions and progress in labour.
Active birth is pushing or giving birth naturally in a position of your choice. Being upright and active helps your body's natural ability to give birth. Lying on your back on the bed is not active labour.
Active birth is backed by research and evidence and is known to have important benefits for women and babies in labour and birth.
All Midwives at our hospital are trained in active birth and how to use birth props to assist active labour and birth. Birthing props available include birthing balls, birthing stools, Cub Chairs, birth mats, Rebozo, double-headed shower and birthing baths. You are welcome to bring your own birth props with you.
There are some known benefits of Active labour and birth. These include:
- reduces the risk of medical interventions including inductions, epidurals and caesarean sections: squatting or hands and knee positions help to open the pelvis, allowing more room for baby to travel through.
- shorter labour time
- labour is less painful, contractions are more manageable when moving around and upright
- women feel more in control of their birth process for comfort
- better oxygen flow to baby: being in upright positions for birth allows for a better flow of blood to the baby
- make the most of gravity: it makes sense to utilise gravity during labour. Pushing in an upright position allows gravity to do its job and help baby travel down through the birth canal. Lying on your back in the bed goes against gravity and is not optimal for pushing
- your partner may feel more involved and actively participate in supporting you. It also creates a rewarding and bonding experience for all.
- has the potential to result in less trauma to baby: because an active birth can result in fewer interventions, less likelihood of stress to the baby or a longer than necessary labour.
Supporting a woman in labour (video)
Skin to Skin after birth (+ video)
Skin to skin is an important first step in getting to know your baby and keeping you both calm and relaxed. We will support you to have skin to skin with your baby immediately after birth or as soon as possible if baby is separated from parents due to medical concerns.
A bare chest is a warm and safe place for baby to start life outside the womb. Babies can hear a heart beat and feel you breathe while they smell, touch and get to know you. They can also use their instincts to help them feed from their mother during this time.
Skin to skin in the first hour of life:
- Calms and relaxes both mother and baby
- Regulates heart rate, temperature and breathing in the baby
- Stimulates digestion and feeding behaviour
- Protects baby from infection as baby’s skin is colonised with mothers’ healthy bacteria
- Stimulates the release of hormones to support breastfeeding (more milk!) and mothering
- Promotes bonding and the relationship between parent and baby
Preterm and unwell babies - skin to skin can help keep baby warm, fight infection, have less pain and stress, grow and develop breastfeed earlier and be discharged from hospital sooner.
Skin to skin with both parents is important. It keeps baby calm, begins their relationship and helps with
What is the Perineum and how to protect it
Everyone worries about having perineal tears . The perineum (peh-ruh-nee-um) is the small area of tissue between the opening of your vagina and the opening of your back passage.
Why is it important to minimize or avoid causing perineal tears?
From this information leaflet, around 85% of women will have some perineal tearing during vaginal birth. This can cause pain and discomfort after birth.
For some women , sexual intercourse can become uncomfortable or painful for a short while. If this persists beyond 12 weeks it is important to see your doctor.
How can I avoid the damage?
Perineal massage can help reduce perineal tearing. Please speak to your midwife or doctor about this document on Antenatal Perineal Massage.
Pain Relief Options at Wollongong Birthing Unit
Experiencing pain in labour is common and is felt in different ways by all women during labour and birth.
Understanding the choices of pain relief are an important part of getting ready for the birth of your baby.
Although having a baby is a natural process, every woman is different, and every birth experience is unique, so the need for pain relief varies.
There are different ways to manage pain during labour.
Available pain relief options in our Birthing Unit include:
non-medical forms of pain relief include:
- Active Birthing - being active and mobile during labour, and using birth props (Birthing Balls, Birthing stools, Cub Chairs, Birth Mats, Bean Bags, Silk Rebozo). Please see more information about Active birth benefits in the tab above
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) - you will need to provide your own machine.
- Heat packs - provided by the hospital
- Double headed showers - warm water in every bathroom.
- Three bathtubs are available for water immersion and birth at Wollongong Hospital.
medical forms of pain relief include:
- Sterile water injections (SWI's)
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
- Morphine injection (medicine)
- Epidural (patient controlled) and peanut balls
Please click here for more in depth information on pain relief in the "Having a Baby" book.
Induction of labour
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) have a factsheet for more information (click here)
What is an Induction?
When labour starts on its own, it is called spontaneous labour. An induction of labour is when labour is 'induced' with medical treatment when mother or baby may benefit from an earlier birth.
RANZCOG suggests the most common reasons for an induction of labour are:
- mother has a specific health concern, such as high blood pressure
- baby is overdue (more than 41 weeks)
- there are concerns with baby (e.g. less movements, low fluid, not growing well)
- your waters have already broken but your contractions have not started naturally
If you have an Induction of Labour, your doctor or midwife will discuss all of the details with you as you will be asked to sign a consent. Discussing induction of labour before birth is important so you can make a free, prior and informed consent.
An induction can be done in a couple of different ways. Your doctor or midwife will give you more information when they book a date for you (if required) and you will be provided with the information pamphlet below.
An induction of labour may be booked between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.
Induction of labour usually involves medicine (oxytocin) combined with the breaking of waters in front of the baby’s head.
The lower part of your womb (cervix) is assessed to see whether it is ready for birth. Your doctor or midwife will talk to you more about this if you are having an induction of labour. You will receive an information leaflet and asked for your consent.
Checking the baby
Before and after we give you medicine for an induction of labour, we will check your baby’s heart beat with a device which records baby’s heart rate on paper (cardiotocograph: CTG) to make sure your baby is well.
You will be watched for:
- Having more than 5 period like cramps every 10 minutes, whilst you are being monitored.
- Having any stomach pain that feels quite painful (note: period like cramping is a side effect of the treatment).
- Broken waters without warning. If your waters do break on occasion this is not unusual.
- Any signs of too much bleeding ( a few blood spots after an internal examination is normal and expected).
- For any changes in your baby’s heart rate pattern
What things should make me alert a midwife or staff member whilst in hospital?
- If your baby’s movements reduced at any time, please alert staff
- If you have contractions or any other abdominal pain
- Broken waters, please note colour
- Any vaginal bleeding
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Any other concerns or you feel unwell.
Prostin gel and Balloon catheters (tubes) have been used for cervical ripening consistently within maternity services and are considered safe for you and your baby. If you have any concerns regarding this treatment please discuss this with the doctor or the midwife.
*Please note: sometimes a planned birth may be rescheduled, please be aware that if this happens it will be in consultation with maternity unit managers and consultant obstetricians for reasons relating to activity, acuity and service capabilities at that time. If this happens, new times will be discussed with you by managers as close as possible to the cancelled date.
GBS - Group B Streptococcus
Group B Streptococcus is also called Group B Strep or GBS.
It is one of many bacteria that live inside your body. About a quarter of women carry GBS in their vagina, you won't know it's there and doesn't normally cause problems.
It is rare but GBS can pass on to your baby at birth and can make your baby very sick. We know that by giving mum’s antibiotics in labour 4hrs before delivery and watching their babies after birth, we can stop most babies becoming sick.
GBS is diagnosed through a urine test early in pregnancy or a swab at around 36 weeks gestation.
Please click here for more in depth information on GBS in the "Having a Baby" book.
I'm having an elective caesarean
Your doctor or midwife will talk to you about any risks and care during and after your caesarean operation.
When your caesarean is booked:
- You will be given a date for your baby’s birth.
- The consent for the operation should be completed by a doctor.
- You will be given some blood forms. These tests are to be attended at Wollongong Hospital 48hrs (2 days) before your operation. This should be arranged for you at Wollongong Hospital.
On the day of your operation.
- If you are having a morning operation (8am) you must not eat or drink from midnight. You come to the Maternity Unit (C2 West) at 6am.
- If you are having an afternoon operation (1pm) you must not eat or drink from 6am. You come to the Maternity Unit (C2 West) at 11am.
- Gestational Diabetes / Diabetes - your diabetes educator, endocrinologist, doctor or midwife will talk to you about your tablets or insulin before your operation.
Arriving on the Maternity Ward
- Please remove all makeup, nail polish and jewellery before coming to the hospital.
- Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, baby’s position and heart beat will be checked.
- The area near your bikini line will be clipped. Please do not to shave or wax this area in the 10 days before your operation as it may increase your risk of wound infection
- When you arrive on the ward you will need to have a shower in a special skin wash. This includes your hair, underarms, stomach and groin area.
- You will then get dressed into a hospital gown, be measured for special compression stockings for your legs, identification bands will be applied and you will be asked a series of questions by the midwives in preparation for your operation.
- Then you wait for your turn in the operating theatre and will return to the same room.
- A single support person can accompany you to the operating theatre and be with you if you are awake for the caesarean operation. Baby will be placed skin to skin as soon as possible after birth with mother or partner.
- It may take up to 2 hours before you are back on the Maternity Ward (C2 West) after having your baby.
After your baby is born
The midwife that accompanies you to the operating theatre will assist with taking photos, feeding and encouraging skin to skin. Your baby will be weighed and measured after it has been fed. Staff will ask for your consent for Vitamin K and the Hepatitis B vaccines for your baby.
General post operative information
- You will have a drip in your arm until you are drinking well.
- You will have a tube in your bladder until you are able to get up to go to the bathroom.
- You will have ‘calf compressors’ on - these reduce the risk of clots occurring in your legs after an operation.
- Your stockings will still be on. These should be used for 6 weeks after your operation.
- You will be encouraged to take regular pain relief. This helps you in the first few days after the operation and helps you to care for your baby.
- You will be assisted to feed and care for your baby on the ward.
- You will be helped to shower 8 – 12hours after your operation.
Looking after your wound
- When you shower, use a skin friendly soap and allow the water to run over your wound.
- Do not rub or scrub your wound, be gentle and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Place a dry clean pad between your wound and underwear and change any time it falls out or any time you go to the bathroom.
- Do not use powders, creams or gels on this area
- The wound dressing will be removed on Day 5 after your operation.
Reducing the risk of wound infection
After the dressing is removed, it is important to look at your wound regularly for signs of infection. This includes signs of redness, swelling, discharge or ooze, increased pain or you have general feelings of being unwell.
To reduce the risk of infection it is important to wash your hands before and after nappy changes.
Looking after yourself
- Normal healing takes up to 6-12 weeks so be careful twisting, lifting, stretching or with any sudden movements. You will be able to care for your new baby.
- Try to eat well, get plenty of rest and accept any help that is offered.
- Adjusting to parenthood is exciting and challenging. Be kind to yourself.
- Arrange follow up with your doctor at your 6 week postnatal check.
- Remember there is support for you in the community. Child and Family community-based services provided throughout the ISLHD include: Child and Family Health Nursing clinics and home visits, Allied Health and Diagnostic Assessment specialities, in addition to Aboriginal, maternal infant and child services and family care centres, child protection and wellbeing, and a variety of groups across the services. Interpreters are available free of charge as required.
*Please note: sometimes a planned birth may be rescheduled, please be aware that if this happens it will be in consultation with maternity unit managers and consultant obstetricians for reasons relating to activity, acuity and service capabilities at that time. If this happens, new times will be discussed with you by managers and doctors as close as possible to the cancelled date.
Tips for before baby arrives - e.g. baby seats
New parents have found doing these before your baby arrives can make a big difference:
- plan a date night before baby arrives
- learn about breastfeeding - ISLHD Feeding your baby pages, Australian Breastfeeding Association information
- prepare and freeze meals
- finish any projects around the house
- take a hospital tour and book into childbirth education classes
- stock up on groceries and other supplies (don’t forget sanitary pads)
- organise a baby capsule- All babies must travel in a baby capsule or restraint in the car. You can hire a capsule or restraint or you can buy one. For more information about baby capsules and car restraints for children, click here or search at www.rms.gov.au
- know what's normal for babies - see Raising Children
- put phone numbers of your support people in your phone or on your fridge for the grandparents, for example Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellors - 1800 mum2mum, the number for your GP
Tour our Birthing Unit
Going home from Birthing Unit
Speak to the midwife looking after you if you plan to go home from the Birthing Unit. You will be required to stay at least 4 hours after birth.
Vaccinations for baby
With your consent, at birth, your baby will receive their Hepatitis B vaccination and Vitamin K injections.
Click here for more information about Hepatitis B vaccine
Click here for more information about the Vitamin K injection
R.E.A.C.H out to us
How to get to the birthing unit in Wollongong hospital:
Need an Interpreter? Professional interpreters are available if you need help to communicate with staff. Our staff can also ask for an interpreter. The service is free and confidential. We will book the interpreter for you. You can also call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 if you need to speak to us before your appointment. Click here for more information about the Illawarra Health Care Interpreter Service.