The Midwife Guide to Hospital Birth

How to have a positive birth experience in hospital.

Midwife Guide Masterclass Series

What you'll get from the Midwife Guide to Hospital Birth

The Midwife Guide to Hospital Birth is is part of the larger Due Date Club Community and one of the comprehensive Courses on offer. 

In this course you will learn how to navigate the hospital environment and how to make the most of every interaction you have with your birth team. 

This course is structured to give you an understanding of the interventions that are available when there are complications and how to avoid them unless they are medically necessary. 

What you can expect to learn about


  1. How to choose a care provider and a birth setting that have low rates of using common interventions.
  2. Understand the cascade of interventions
  3. Know how to discuss & negotiate interventions during pregnancy and labor. 
  4. Understand the concept of  “watchful waiting” (doing nothing and waiting for labor to move along or for issues to resolve on their own) or using simpler, less invasive alternatives.
  5. Know that you have the right to accept or refuse procedures, drugs, tests and treatments, and to have your choices honoured. 

The Midwife Guide to Hospital Birth

This course is essential if you are planning a hospital birth with minimal interventions. You will learn which interventions are common and why they are done. You will understand common complications that arise in labor and what you can do to avoid them.

Course Overview

Informed consent is not always a form or a signature. It is a process between you and your care provider that helps you decide what will and will not be done to your body. For example, a vaginal examination. Although this is a common procedure that is done in almost every maternity case at some stage of the labor, very often it is taken for granted by the staff that it is a procedure that is necessary and they do not get your informed consent.

“Evidence-based maternity care” means using results of the best research about the safety and effectiveness of specific tests, treatments and other interventions to help you make decisions about your maternity care. While health care systems strive to ensure that the care they provide reflects the best available research, they are busy and it is hard to keep up with and understand the large and ever-growing body of research on any given maternity topic. 

Even when they understand lessons from the best available research, it can be hard to change established beliefs and routines and even policies of care. 

Your main care provider will influence your overall experience, so its vital to choose one who shares your beliefs and respects your wishes.  In this module you will learn about what role each person you will see during pregnancy plays and the factors to consider when exploring your options.

It is never the intention of an intervention to cause harm, but it is important to accept that many maternity care interventions have unintended effects, or they may or may not have the effect that we want, and sometimes they have unplanned and possibly unwanted effects. 

There is a fine line between interventions that prevent unexpected complications and those that can lead to complications in a normal physiological labor that is progressing well. This section is here to help you put plans in place in advance that will help avoid potentially harmful interventions.

In every interaction that you have with your care provider (doctor, midwife, nurse or ultra sonographer) the questions and answers should be a two way process. You both need information from each other to ensure the best outcomes for everyone concerned. You are not questioning their ability or experience, but rather you are trying to deepen your own understanding so that you can make the best choices and decisions based upon the answers given, and with the benefit of their insight and expertise. You are merely requesting that they meet you half way, explain their thought processes and discuss various options.

Even so, it is important to know how to frame and pose your questions so that you can get the answers that you are seeking without seeming confrontational.

  1. Induction of labor without any medical indications. 
  2. AROM or Artificial rupture of the membranes surrounding the baby before or during labor.
  3. Augmenting  a naturally progressing labor with synthetic oxytocin (Syntocin or Pitocin) to make labor move faster.
  4. Giving medications for pain relief when not requested by you, with a full understanding of the risk/benefit ratio. 
  5. Being confined to bed during labor versus being upright and moving about.

If you opt to have a hospital birth, you will most likely be faced with the choice to either consent or deny the placement of an intravenous catheter  or IV. This is inserted into a vein in your hand or arm and will either be hooked up to some fluid, like normal saline or closed off with a little cap called a saline lock, or hep lock. Once you have the hep lock in, it can be used to give you fluids or to administer medications. 

In the movies, labor always begins with a dramatic version of the water breaking, usually in a public place and everybody goes into a state of panic. The baby is born soon after, without any sign of labor between the event and reaching the hospital OR by the time she reaches the hospital, both she and her baby are in grave danger and they are miraculously saved by the fast acting ER staff. In real life, there are 4 ways that your water bag or membranes might break. 

An induction of labor is a series of interventions that attempts to mimic or replace the natural processes that happen during the last weeks of pregnancy, only it tries to do it in a few hours. Induction of labor techniques work on your cervix, your contractions, your membranes and your hormones. In this lesson you will compare natural labor to induction of labor. 

Prolonged labour, often called “failure to progress” has become one of the leading causes of unnecessary c/sectons, particularly in first-time mothers. Augmentation of labour is the process of stimulating the uterus to increase the frequency, duration and intensity of contractions. It is different to an induction in that it happens only after spontaneous labour has begun, and only in the event that it slows down significantly or is not progressing as expected. The contractions are stimulated with the use of intravenous oxytocin infusion/ Syntocin or Pitocin and/or the artificial rupture of your membranes AROM. 

Is A Natural Tear Better Than An Episiotomy?

Current evidence doesn’t support the use of routine episiotomy. In most situations, if any tearing is going to occur, natural tearing has less risk and often heals better.

Routine episiotomy increases the risk of severe tears, and long term perineal, vaginal, pelvic floor, and anal sphincter damage.

An episiotomy rarely has benefits over a natural tear. There are two exceptions: in the case of medical emergency, where baby needs to be birthed quickly; or where a natural tear goes upwards towards the urethra. Learn methods to prepare your pelvic floor and perineum and the one essential conversation to have with your doctor.

For most of you, this is not the preferred option, but I urge you to stay open to things not always going as expected. Plan and prepare for what you want, but not to the exclusion of what you don’t want. Remember that a c/section is a birth option and one that can potentially save you and your baby from a traumatic birth or prevent a poor outcome. If you know and understand why and when a c/section may be necessary then you can do your bit to prevent it, with the understanding that there are certain factors that are out of your control, that could lead to requiring a c/section. 

In this lesson you will learn the 4 most common reasons that a cesarian is performed and what you can do during pregnancy and during labor to avoid them. I urge you to do this lesson together with your partner so that they are able to be your advocate if required.
Pethidine is a common form of analgesia used during labor. Learn how to assess the risk benefit of using analgesia, when you may need it and how to maximise efficiency if you choose or need to use pain medication.
An epidural is a special type of local anesthesia; it numbs the nerves which carry pain from the birth canal to the brain. For most women, an epidural gives complete pain relief. It can be very helpful for women who are having a particularly long labour, or who are becoming very distressed. Learn how epidurals work, common side effects and when it may be necessary.
The key to having open discussions with your birth team lies in being able to ask open ended questions. Any procedure that is recommended you would like to know The benefits The risks The alternatives The timing Key phrases and open ended questions to help you: I don’t understand (situation/intervention) Please explain this (situation/intervention) to me more clearly. What could happen to me or my baby if I do or do not do what you are suggesting? What if I take no action, otherwise known as “watchful waiting”? Is this safe in my situation? Would you care to share some research to support what you’re recommending? Do I have time to gather more information before making my decision? I have some information I’d like to share with you. I’m uncomfortable with what you are recommending. What are my other options? I’m not ready to make a decision yet. I’m thinking about getting a second opinion.

Don't just take it from me, listen to what others have to say...

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Some of our Guest Experts

In the Due Date Club we guide you to become physically birth fit with weekly live online prenatal yoga plus discount offers on prenatal fitness programs. There are a lot of myths about exercise during pregnancy. Gift yourself an hour to watch this video with our Guest Expert Vicky Warr of Bump and Beyond Fitness.

The truths, myths and misconceptions about exercise during Pregnancy

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You don’t want to spend precious time worrying and anxious.
Pregnancy is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed.

Every milestone, all the highs and even the low points are important and will be remembered.

In The Due Date Club we make them memorable TOGETHER!

This is truly the secret sauce of The Due Date Club…

The Due Date Club is online virtual, in your phone or on your computer, accessible and available 24/7 wherever you are. Listen on the go, or binge watch video tutorials like a netflix series. Find members in your area and women around the world who share your excitement, joy and concerns. The Due Date Club is a safe and private online space to explore the choices and options available when you’re pregnant. 

The moment you get a positive pregnancy test! While everyone tells you not to do anything until the end of the first trimester – that’s exactly when you need support so that you know what to do if you experience spotting or cramping. You know that saying ‘start as you mean to go on”? At The Due Date Club we actively encourage you to start with the right information and to find your support network before the overwhelm and fear sets in. 

You can still join! Whether you are all last minute dot com or wanting to cram as much info and support into a short space of time, you will find what you need in The Due Date Club.   You will have access to all the courses as well as our extensive library of resources and hot pregnancy topics. You may even have time to sneak in some yoga classes and enjoy some live Ask The Midwife sessions to get straight to what you need. It’s never too late to join. See you there!

You don’t want to be alone if you lose your baby. Despite the immense sadness and loss, you will have questions and concerns about what to do next and if it will impact future pregnancy.  You will be surrounded with love and support and Midwife Karen and her team will guide your healing process by answering your questions, sharing essential resources and referring you to the right team for follow up care and physical recovery. You can choose to stay in a group to be supported by others who have shared similar loss or place your subscription on hold until you are ready to join in subsequent pregnancy. 

Nope. Membership is monthly and you can cancel at any time. Of course we want you to stay so we can watch your amazing transformation and  keep you updated with all the new information as each week brings new learning opportunities.  We make sure that you are plugged into the right resources so that you can make healthy choices for you and your baby by sharing the right Information at the right time.

Absolutely! In fact being part of a larger community means you will have the opportunity to meet other women with similar risk profile. Knowing you’re not alone and having someone who understands your challenges somehow normalises it and makes it easier to navigate the challenges you may face together. 

Yes! The information, courses and live events in The Due Date Club provide a balanced view of all your options and methods to optimise your health and well being during pregnancy.  The focus is on a positive birth experience rather than a specific way of giving birth. 

You'll join for access to our amazing content and stay to be part of our amazing community for the duration of your Pregancy.

Hosts and Instructors:

 Karen Wilmot

Karen Wilmot


Individual Courses

Not sure if the Membership is right for you and only want a specific course?
We have you covered, purchase the course you want and enjoy. 

The Midwife Guide to Hospital Birth

This course is essential if you are planning a hospital birth with minimal interventions. You will learn which interventions are common and why they are done. You will understand common complications that arise in labor and what you can do to avoid them.

View Full Course info

The Midwife Guide to Pregnancy

This course takes you on a journey through your changing body, guiding you to become aware of how every organ and every system is designed to nurture and protect you and your growing baby so that you can move beyond fear and into deep trust.

View Full Course info

The Midwife Guide to Pain Management

This course will radically change the way you think about birth by understanding the cause and function of pain and the influence of fear on your experience. It is the foundation course for birth preparation and will ensure that you go into labor feeling calm and confident.

View Full Course info