CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
For over a hundred years, the Dufferin Hospital has provided women of the low-income group with high quality obstetric and gynaecological services at highly subsidized rates or free of cost. 80% of the patients are treated at subsidized rates, 10% free of cost and only 10% are private patients. The most outstanding feature is that the quality of care and services provided in the general wards is of the same standard as that in the private wards. Fund raising has always been central to the Dufferin non-profit survival. With the support of the hospital's donors, the Katrak Wing has been raised to a seven storeys maternity, gynaecology and pediatric wing, keeping the original facade of the hospital intact.
PREPARING FOR PREGNANCY
There are lots of ways you can improve your chances of becoming pregnant. Staying fit and healthy by eating sensibly and taking regular exercise are the most obvious ways. Eating a variety of foods, with as much fresh food as possible, helps to ensure that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Also stopping smoking and reducing or stopping the amount of caffeine you drink are also important factors.
HELP FROM HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
You may also seek a check-up of your overall health if you are at all concerned. Your doctor can provide useful information about the best ways to prepare for pregnancy, stopping contraception and also about the impact of any disabilities, underlying medical conditions or prescriptive medicine. There may also be a requirement in some cases to be tested for German measles (rubella) before you try to get pregnant, as infection when you are pregnant can harm your baby, particularly in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Medical advice for all women planning a pregnancy is to take a daily supplement of folic acid. You should take 0.4mg (400 micrograms) of folic acid from the time you stop contraception, or as soon as you find out you are pregnant, until week 12 of pregnancy.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED
We operate a 24-hour assessment room to deal with cases of emergency which can be found on the ground floor of Katrak Maternity Wing. It is important to bring your notes to all antenatal appointments as they contain important information about your care.
Women's bodies go through a lot of changes during pregnancy. But while some bouts of discomfort and irritation can be self-managed, others should be checked out by your doctor:
While it's normal to have slight contractions through pregnancy (this is when you feel your stomach contracting and relaxing), if you experience a sudden pain that won't go away, please see a doctor at the hospital
PAIN WHEN PASSING URINE
This could be a sign of infection which will need treatment. Drink plenty of fluid and contact your doctor within 24 hours.
Whilst bleeding in pregnancy can be normal, it can also be a sign that something is wrong, especially if it is accompanied by pain. Bleeding at five months could mean that that the placenta has implanted at the lower part of the womb and this can be dangerous for you and your baby. Contact your doctor straight away or the Emergency Room at the Lady Dufferin Hospital if you are at all concerned.
While itching is common in pregnancy, severe itching without a rash (particularly in the last four months of pregnancy) can be a sign of a potentially dangerous liver disorder.
A discharge that is smelly or bloodstained may point to infection and should be referred to your doctor.
HEADACHES OR DIZZINESS
May indicate increased blood pressure which is dangerous in pregnancy. Contact us if you are at all concerned.
SWOLLEN ANKLES OR HANDS
Normally common but any sudden changes should be reported to your doctor or midwife as it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia - high blood pressure and fluid retention in pregnancy.
DIARRHOEA, VOMITING OR HIGH FEVER
Any sudden 'acute' illnesses should be referred immediately to your doctor or midwife. If at any time you feel your baby is moving around less frequently or slowing down contact us.
Knowing about the stages of labour and what to expect can help you feel more in control when the time comes.
Sometimes labour can start early, before week 37 that is. Usually you will be able to tell it has started when contractions get more frequent and stronger. Another sign of impending labour is a 'show' - plug of mucus, which is usually small, pink and sticky, that has helped seal the womb during your pregnancy, comes away. You can however have a show a few days before you actually go in to labour. If you feel a continuous trickle or large gush of water from your vagina which means your water-bag broke. If you think your waters may have broken then put a sanitary pad on and visit the hospital. If you are having regular contractions every three to four minutes lasting between 40 to 60 seconds then visit the hospital. If you have had a previously quick birth or if you have not reached week 37 of pregnancy then you should visit the hospital before the contractions get too frequent.
Labour can be induced if your baby is overdue or there is a risk to your own health or that of the baby's. Contractions are usually started by inserting a pessary into the vagina. Induction is always planned in advance so you will be able to talk it over with your consultant.
STAGES OF LABOUR AND BIRTH
There are three stages to labour. In the first stage, the cervix (neck of the womb) gradually opens up (dilates). The start of established labour to full dilation can take 12 to 18 hours for a first baby. Subsequent labours are usually shorter. If you can, try to sleep or take a warm bath to help yourself relax more readily. In the second stage, the baby is pushed down the birth canal and is born. Your doctor will help you find a comfortable position and will guide you when you feel the urge to push. In the third stage, the placenta is delivered. Your baby will then be thoroughly examined and weighed.
IF THINGS DON'T GO AS PLAN
At Lady Dufferin, we do everything in our power to ensure safe birth each time but there are times when things don't go quite as planned. Sometimes we have to induce labour if we think there is a risk to either mother or baby, or both. Similarly, if we discover a baby is breech (positioned feet first) we may advise you that a caesarean section may be the most appropriate way for your baby to be born. And if an infant is distressed, the birth may have to be assisted with the use of relevant equipment such as forceps or a vacuum (ventouse). All decisions about the safest way for your baby to be born will be made in partnership with you and your family.
In some cases, babies need special care following birth and this is done in our well-equip Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Unfortunately on other occasions, we have to support women who experience a still birth where often the causes are unknown. This is a particularly emotional and distressing time for the families concerned and, as trained professionals; we do everything we can to provide the necessary support and counselling for women.