Birthing at Shaarei Tzedek.

Shaarei Tzedek has quite a different reputation to Hadassah Ein Kerem; offhand I can say that it is more of a hospital’s hospital, procedural, stiff. It’s very religiously-oriented in staff and patients. Less concerned with natural birth, more concerned with working with Hashem to get the baby out and move on (as summed up by the tour guide-midwife). There is no rooming-in option but it’s a better hospital for complications and premature births that require NICU.

Here are the notes I took from the hospital tour we did a while back and also the quick version of the hospital’s specs.

  • You would open a tik in the main hallway of Floor 9. The kabala is at the end of the hall. If you’re concerned about privacy and modesty, the beds here are curtained and hidden from others.
  • You’ll go into a labor room when available/necessary (4-5 centimeters).
  • Heparin lock is given and you don’t need to be connected to an IV if you don’t need it. Fetal monitor is used on and off if it’s a normal labor.
  • Pain relief: There are three methods offered. Laughing gas (nitrous) is available in every room and can be used as much as you want at your own discretion. A low form of pain relief but won’t effect the baby. The second is demerol (narcotic), which is heavier and does carry through to the baby. You’re essentially drugged and out of control. Lastly there is the lovable, huggable epidural – the localized numbness from waist-down. You are fully aware and can still feel pressure.
  • If you are going for a natural birth, tell them at the kabala so they can try and match you with a midwife who ‘jives’ with that.
  • There are 9 labor rooms and two more coming soon.
  • On any given shift there are 7-9 midwives (including at the kabala). There is usually one midwife per two women. There are English-speaking midwives. Doctors are always on staff for more complex situations.
  • Guests must leave the room while epidurals are given or vacuums are used.
  •  You can birth in any position on the bed.
  • They will put the baby on mother right away for skin-to-skin contact. Mother and baby hang out for about an hour before baby goes off to nursery. They suggest breastfeeding right away, in the labor room.
  • During the day the baby can be with you most of the time if you choose, but there is no rooming-in option.
  • There are up to three women in a recovery room in the maternity ward.
  • You are discharged at 48 hours after a normal birth.

As I said, it definitely gave me the feeling they are more procedural and rigid but in a way that if you’re into that sort of hospital experience, it can be very positive. I liked the labor rooms there much better than the ones in Hadassah, though the restrictions regarding rooming-in and the general attitude did not impress me. The staff seemed friendly; but I’m not sure it’s in my taste.

To register at Shaareit Tzedek, click here.

Disclaimer: I posted my notes to share with others who are also looking for info about birthing in Jerusalem. I know some people think Shaarei Tzedek is the devil and others think it’s amazing. At this point, all I can do is hope that I’ll have a successful birth wherever I choose for it to be.

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