Giving Birth in India

The typical procedures involved in giving birth in India…

Once a gynaecologist and obstetrician have been chosen, as well as a midwife or doula, it is time to prepare for the big day. The doctor should be able to arrange a tour of the hospital facilities. Most private hospitals offer en suite rooms, but it is still rare to find aids such as birthing pools and Swiss balls outside of the new, independent birthing centres.

Once the mother has gone into labour, she will be checked into the hospital and put under observation. Gas and air aren’t widely available, but most other drugs are used. This is definitely the time to be vocal, as it is common to offer only pain-relief drugs, even if they haven’t been requested. Giving birth in India is medically driven, so if the mother wants a more natural birth, it is important to ensure that this has been discussed in advance with the doctors.

Some practices that are no longer common in the west are used, such as pre-birth shaving and enemas.

Once the baby is born, they will undergo checks such as an Apgar score, to assess their wellbeing. Within four hours of the birth, a paediatrician will visit to provide an overall health check and carry out a blood test. No babies are discharged from hospital until they are at least three days old and clear of jaundice.

All babies are immunised at birth with:

  • BCG (tuberculosis vaccine)
  • Oral polio vaccine (first dose)
  • Hepatitis B (first dose)

During the hospital stay, nurses will be available to help change nappies and bath the baby. Breastfeeding is encouraged in India, but it is still unusual to have specific breastfeeding advisers.

Some private hospitals serve only vegetarian food. Generally, the food in private hospitals is excellent. A special post-birth diet will be prescribed for the mother, with food that helps post-partum healing and milk production.