The QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City offers guided tours of the delivery suite and postnatal wards every Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. You need to call after 1pm to see if they are holding one that day as it can get busy, if you are unsuccessful they will ask you to try again the following day or the weekend after. I recommend visiting at least 1 month before you are due as you would have already attended antenatal classes so would know all about labour and delivery, many couples who attended the tour seemed very unprepared and asked the silliest questions.
It is recommended to visit beforehand so you know where to go and become familiar with the surroundings, I am currently 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant and for the past month I have been calling up the delivery suite to see if I can come on a tour of the delivery and postnatal ward, finally to my surprise it was held today.
The delivery suite is on the 7th floor accessed by the lifts that can be found by using the main entrance to enter the hospital, following the signs to wards and departments after a few minutes there will be signs that point you to the direction of the lifts. Being heavily pregnant that walk to the lifts seemed like forever, so it’s well worth a practice run before the big day to avoid panic and confusion.
When we got to the 7th floor there were at least 7 other couples also waiting, 10 minutes later at 3.10pm a midwife came to start to tour. We went straight to the delivery suite where you hopefully go to first to deliver the baby. There are many rooms, around 14 in total; two of the rooms have a birthing pool whereas the rest just have beds in them. The rooms are of average size with most of them having toilets in them or a bathroom.
Afterwards the postnatal ward for recovery is just next door, they are small rooms that consist of 4 beds all with curtains for privacy. There is a room if you want to breastfeed in private as visitors will come and go on the ward. There is also a day room where you can help yourself to tea and coffee, most of the midwives were friendly but there were some that were not very accommodating.
As someone who needs to be as organised as possible it was definitely worth the trip although the whole thing took less than half an hour. The only thing I would advise against is to park in the hospital car park, it would cost £2.90 for up to two hours which is a little extortionate if you are not going to be there that long.
Going for the QE2 maternity ward tour was worth it for me because it assured my partner and me where to go on the big day! The last thing you want is to turn up and not know where you are going and having a frazzled birth partner trying to help you and look for directions at the same time. I now await the arrival of my baby to follow up this review of what the maternity ward is really like.