Giving birth at Gaslini Children's Hospital in Genoa: What's it like?

Italiano qui.

I had the honor of attending a birth at Gaslini Hospital in Genoa in May of 2017. The birth world continues to amaze me, surprise me, and feed my soul. Little by little I am learning what relaxes people and eases their minds in birth. Sometimes it's a simple touch, a little music, or just simply being there makes a difference.

In this post I'll give some practical information about Gaslini Children's Hospital in Genoa and I'll explain some of their protocols related to birth.

Building 12 is where you go for check ups and also if you are in labor. (I think those are wolves on the sign?)


There's a cute little playground in front of the entrance to Building 12 (Padiglione 12).

If you are at 40 weeks gestation, they will advise you to go in for monitoring every other day. If you are at 41 weeks and 3 days, their protocol is to induce labor with synthetic oxitocin (usually via IV).

If you are in labor, you will first go to the 5th floor. On this floor you'll find obstetrician-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) and midwives that will take care of you. They'll show you to a shared room. 

This room has four beds. There are two beds in front of the two pictured in the photo. These beds are both for women who are at the beginning to middle stages of labor as well as women who have just given birth. So, yes, you could be in labor and be in a bed next to a woman and her newborn baby.

It is possible to have a private room for a fee. It's also possible to have your own midwife who is employed by the hospital, but unlike the others who are on a rotating schedule, yours will always be with you. You can also arrange this with the hospital staff for a fee.

While you are in your room for the beginning and middle stages of labor, more than one person is allowed to be there supporting you. During visiting hours, you can expect friends and family of other people to enter this shared space.

The view from this shared room is not bad!

When you transition into the advanced stages of labor (in our case the mother was dilated 7 centimeters), you'll go down to the fourth floor to the delivery room (sala parto). This room is private for everyone. There is a bed and a birthing pool with a warm light overhead. You can choose to give birth in water or simply labor in the water.

The floor lamp is for vaginal check-ups in which they need to see really well.

 If you choose epidural anestesia, this is the time and place that they'll probably administer it. If your labor slows, they may suggest an I.V. of synthetic oxytocin. In this case, protocol requires continuous fetal monitoring with this system.

The above machine is attached to a special belt that you'd put on around your belly. The belt has two little sensors on it that read the baby's heart rate (on the left) and the intensity and duration of your contractions (on the right).

This is the view from the delivery room. It was raining that day. I was looking out the window while this strong mother rested between one contraction and another. She was allowed one support person and she'd chosen me. What an honor.

The midwife (he was a man, is there a masculine form of the word midwife in English?) asked if the mother wanted the lights dimmed or some music. He encouraged her to stand and to move her hips as if she were hoola hooping. After a while we used a special chair. The mother sat low on the chair and I was behind her. She leaned back onto me.

A few minutes before the baby's grand entrance, three or four more people came into the room. When the baby was born, they put him on her chest right away. He stayed there for 2 or 3 minutes before they took him away for a quick wipe down and I think they weighed him. They gave the mother a shot of synthetic oxytocin in her thigh to facilitate the birth of the placenta.

After 2/3 hours of rest, mothers and new babies go back to that first shared room. The baby can stay with the mother day and night, or you can choose to send him to the nursery. The midwives are available for breastfeeding support.

Here is some basic information (in Italian) about giving birth at Gaslini published by the hospital itself.


Have you given birth at Gaslini? Do you have any information to add? Any questions for me to research?