1 April 2022 – 2 Minute Read

Where is the nearest hospital?

You can find your nearest hospital by using Simply type in your town or postcode, and you will be shown a list of all your nearest hospitals.

Can you choose which hospital?

Yes, you can choose which hospital you attend based on what is most important to you, such as:

  • where it is 
  • quality of service
  • your GP’s recommendation
  • previous experience
  • waiting times
  • other patients’ opinions

Should I go to the hospital?

You should go to a hospital if you are experiencing a medical emergency or need urgent medical attention. If you need care, you must go to the hospital. Do not ignore your body. Symptoms and signs you are ill must be discussed with your GP or assessed at a hospital.

Can I discharge myself from a hospital?

Yes, it is your right to discharge yourself from a hospital at any moment during your time there.

How do I get my medical records from a hospital?

You can get your medical records from the records manager or patient services manager at the appropriate hospital trust.

Can you stay overnight with someone in the hospital?

You are allowed to stay overnight with your child in the hospital. Due to COVID-19, you cannot stay overnight with someone in the hospital at the moment unless it is your child.

When to go to the hospital for labour

You will go to the hospital for labour when your contractions become frequent. It is best to call your midwife or maternity unit for advice when your contractions become regular. They must be a minimum of 60 seconds apart or coming every 5 minutes.

Contractions feel different for every woman. Some of the ways women have described contractions include:

  • like period pain
  • a dull ache or discomfort in the lower stomach or back
  • pressure in the pelvis
  • the stomach becoming hard, then soft again
  • a wave-type sensation from the top of the uterus to your bottom

What to pack in a hospital bag

You should pack the following items into your hospital bag before labour:

  • Your maternity notes
  • A fan or water spray to keep you cool
  • A phone charger
  • Drinks and snacks
  • A pillow such as a pregnancy one
  • Your birth plan
  • Loose, comfy clothing for labour (a large t-shirt), so you can move around easily
  • Books, music, magazines or podcasts 
  • Any medication you will need
  • Toiletries — such as a hairbrush, toothpaste, toothbrush, and hair ties 
  • A TENS machine (if you would like to use one and your chosen hospital does not supply one)

It is important to pack the below items in your hospital bag for after the labour:

  • Towels
  • Dressing gown
  • Flip-flops or slippers
  • Large-size maternity or sanitary pads
  • Comfortable maternity clothing 
  • Cash for buying food afterwards
  • A tablet
  • Nursing bras, Bread pads, and front-opening pyjama tops or nighties (if you choose to breastfeed)
  • Baby clothing — a hat, scratch mittens, nappies, blankets, muslin squares, socks, bodysuits, sleepsuits

How long do you stay in a hospital after birth?

You will usually stay in a hospital for a day and a half after birth if you had a straightforward labour. If you had a caesarean, you may require 3-4 days in the hospital to recover.