Nice little tips - please add and share!(211 Posts)
I heard a nice little tip the other day that I am going to try to do:
- sleep with your newborn's blanket in the last few weeks of pregnancy, so that it smells of you when you wrap the baby in it at the hospital
I wish I had done this last time as I found it hard to cuddle my newborn for a number of different reasons so she was in a cot in a hospital blanket.
Anyone got any other easy little things to add that don't take much effort but are a nice idea?
Another one I heard was to ask for the room to be silent when the baby comes out so that the first thing it hears is its mothers voice. Not for everybody I know, but please share any other suggestions x
I absolutely love the blanket idea, and this thread. I can't wait to hear what everyone else suggests.
My tip is to buy Tizzy Hall's book about sleep from 0 to two years. Her advice makes sense because rather than just give you a routine to follow she provides reasons as to why the routines work or fail because of how you intervene with the baby.
One thing that worked for me in labour was to count during my contractions - as they're coming thick and fast and it feels like theres no end, I started counting when one started and then at the peak of the pain could rationalise that by the time I'd got to the number 10 this one would be over, helped break them down into manageable chunks
Put a sports bottle of water, 3/4 full, in the freezer. Remove on way to hospital and top up with tap water. Continue topping up and having lovely cold water for hours! The one thing I couldn't have done without in labour.
Not remotely sweet, in fact pretty much overshare, but: if you have a long labour and the baby is low, the head will press heavily on the bladder. You will need to pee a lot, but doing so will be genuine agony.
If you're still at home, get a big tupperware container/old icecream tub on the floor, and get down on all fours over it. The baby will drop down into the bump, off the bladder, so you can pee into the container without pain. It sounds a bit crazy until you are suffering sharp, twisting, agonising pain every pee. This means you don't feel any at all.
If this happens in hospital then the same principle, but ask for a special pee/sick tray.
I had a 3 day latent stage, and it was strong latent. Fairly big contractions every 20 minutes, with a very low baby. That tupperware was worth every penny of binning it after (had come from Lakeland. DH grabbed the nearest when I asked, not the cheapest!).
I also took an eskie with ice cubes into hospital for the final hours of labour. Chewing on the ice was lovely.
perfectstorm as a first timer that sounds like a fantastic tip. Right come on. People I've got my notebook and pen ready...
Yeah, sorry it sounds a bit gross, but I was actually crying with relief when I had my first pain-free pee in hours! It was like a minor miracle.
You may be the type who has a baby in 4 hours start to finish, of course. In which case you don't need to know the tupperware trick!
Great idea for a thread...I'm due next week so will watch and take notes
warm fluffy socks
stops you getting foot cramps so badly (I had lots in pg and in labour with DS1), take off when you've given birth and tucked up in bed
make sure your husband/SO sleeps enough before the delivery so they can be supportive all the way through?
whoops - hit "post" to early. With number 1, I woke DH with the first contraction (well, maybe the third) at 11 pm and he was proper exhausted already when we went to the hospital the next morning - I should have let him sleep a lot longer...
I was a lucky one 2 hours 24 mins lol can only hope for the same this time round! I was rushed to theatre for the whole day last time after though didn't. Cuddle my dd for 14 hours so wish I done the blanket thing so she could smell me while others cuddled her! Also love the silent room mummy and daddy's voice being first thing they here I am def gonna do this this time around! I froze Capri Sun drinks and took them to hospital they stay. Really cold! Good luck little x
Oh I thought of some more re stitches and after birth - if you have stitches or even are just a bit bruised/battered down there, ask for some saline sachets whilst in hospital to take home. Pop them in the freezer and when frozen, take one out and wrap in baby wipes and put in your knickers - will help ease the pain and speed up healing. Just throw all away afterwards.
Oh and peeing - get a sports water bottle, fill will warm water (can add a drop of tea tree oil too) and pour over yourself while peeing, will take the 'sting' of those first few days away
Lol at silence at the moment of birth. That was on my birth plan. Which DH used as a bookmark and never made it into theatre.
Last words spoken before birth were:
Me: am I going to die? Am I alright? ( haemorraging madly) where is my fucking baby?
Anaesthetist: if you weren't alright I'd be coming at you with this <waves mask>
Surgeon: ok, well that didn't work, let's try the forceps
Surgeon: thank fuck for that
Me: is everyone alright now? Is it my girl? Is she alright, am I alright, can someone count her fingers?
With DH (also c-s)
Me: oh, I like this song, can you turn it up. I'm having a baby YAAAAAAAAY
Lol verity that's hairlarious lol
Peeing after episiotomy and stitches is the only bit I remember about the early days so I second the pouring water 'down there' whilst going for a wee.
I warn you though, do not just use a jug and leave hot tap running as it burns.
i second the jug of water in the bathroom if you end up with stitches down there or it hurts to pee oh and don't do what i did and look down there right after you give birth as it looks like a horror show. Also try not to keep looking at your belly after you have the baby as it goes all creased and saggY (like when fat people lose loads of weight) and i thought i'd be like it forever lol.
Oh and if u have a boy the minute u go to change a nappy they will PEE everywhere, as soon as their willy hits the cold air! so have a muslin cloth near by cos it will happen at some point lol
Buy in a bottle of witch hazel for sloshing on your maternity pads after the birth. Soothing and cooling.
Get one of those
deeply attractive towelling hair wraps for when you wash your hair. The number of times I managed to grab a quick shower but didn't have time to dry my hair afterwards before feeding recommenced. At least the wrap kept my hair out of the way and stopped it dripping cold water on the baby or me.
take flip flops to use in the shower. if you're bleeding all over the tray, chances are so were the five other women who got in there before you.
Take a bag of dried apricots to eat after labour. Helps with energy levels, and also helps that first scary poo!
Make sure coming up to your due date you have a clean house and full cupboards cook your favourite meals and freeze them for ease once baby is here
Good idea re: freezing ahead scaredmummy, I remember eating a lot of food that I could fork straight into my mouth with one hand (spag bol on penne pasta, curry, stews etc.) as I couldn't hold the baby and cut up my own food... and the baby did always seem to be particularly in need of a cuddle whenever DH delivered my lovingly prepared tea.
Don't buy disposable pants for after the birth. Buy big, cheap, cotton ones from Primark.
Get some Epsom salts and lavender and have shallow baths in this after birth to heal your fanjo.
Start shouting for the epidural as soon as you hit the labour ward I had to wait 4 hours and when the guy arrived to do it, my midwife wasn't there so I panicked and started screaming "dont let him leave!"
But don't buy your big pants too big. Leads to chafing....snug fit to keep everything in place much better
When they say "push down into your bottom" they mean push like you are pushing a poo out of your bottom. Having had DD I only realise this now & wish I'd known in labour, I was just trying to push with my lady bits still, there is aways next time.
You may get exhausted during thr last bits of labour but be totally unable to eat. A spoonful of honey, placed in your mouth can give you just enough energy to push on through.
Ps. A soft weaning spoon might be safer if you are off your head and likely to bite down
There's a certain point on your lower back which, if it is rubbed really hard, actually eases the pain of contractions. Friend told me, and tried it during my second labour - does actually work.
Any tips on hurrying things up? My waters went at 10am this morning and I'm still waiting for something else to happen!
Actually useful advice (as opposed to my own anecdotes)
1. Do not let DH use your birth plan as a bookmark.
2. Accept you might go a bit crazy.
That is all.
Good luck! Get ready to meet your baaaaaaabbbbbbyyyyyyyyy
<would actually be broody if there was any way of having another baby without (a) having to be pregnant again (b) having to give birth again (c) more children at the end of it all)>
Wantanorange - good luck! If it were me, I'd try and get some sleep now, then start jogging up and down stairs tomorrow morning.
I second the witch hazel on sanitry pads. Really helped my healing
As often as pos a 1min blast on the cool air setting of hair dryer ( down there ) also speeds up healing.
Pee sitting the wrong way on loo.
holland and barrets do great energy snack bars. for labour.
- Get the free contractions app. Partners get to feel useful, it accurately records timings and will prompt you when they get close enough together to be taking action.
- If you're not agile enough with the jug and end up pouring water on your feet whilst tying to pee, just time your wees for the end of bathtime or showers (I had loads of showers in the first few days post episiotomy)
- A few drops of lavender oil mixed with a little milk, then added to the bath in the days post birth. Might be psychological but seemed to help with bruising down below (milk apparently helps the oil emulsify rather than sit on top of the water). If nothing else it means the smell of lavender now evokes lovely baby memories for me!
- When you go to bed in the early days after having baby home, take a hot water bottle with you, then when baby wakes an hour or two later and you scoop them out of their basket, you can pop the bottle in to keep the bed warm whilst you feed them - less likely to wake than if placed on cold sheets. Not really childbirth but just a good tip I received from a midwife with my first.
- You will be grateful for food & drinks during (maybe) and post birth (definitely). You will probably not need all the other paraphernalia I took into hospital three times, and brought back three times (face spritz/magazines in case i got 'bored'!/face masks etc). Pack two bags; one smaller one which comes into hospital with you and contains enough for a day/overnight stay. Leave another, larger bag, in the car with more clothes etc in case something happens which warrants a longer stay (unless you already know you'll need to stay longer).
- It took me three attempts to discover gas & air is from the gods rather than a con. With my first two, I wasn't doing it right so didn't feel any pain relief benefits (I'm saying this as advice because I wasn't really advised how best to use it). I ended up having my third child on the ward so never actually got any pain relief (my poor husband is never allowed to mention if anything is painful without a withering look!), but had gas & air both in labour and being stitched and found it amazing. Really deep breaths through the 'tipsy and just had a couple of vodkas but might throw up' stage, and then keep regularly dragging on it to keep yourself at the 'I'm gorgeous and could dance on tables' stage of drunkenness'. I think the mistake I made before was just puffing on it when pains were present, by which stage it's too late, it needs to be in your system and topped up.
- Take in or send something nice for your midwives (basket of muffins/chocs/handcream etc). We tip our hairdressers for cutting our hair (even if we don't like it), yet we often don't acknowledge the people who bring our babies safely into the world and work hard looking after us (it may not have been all whale music & peaceful vibes, but healthy baby and Mum are a good outcome in the scheme of things)
I was told that there's no reason to push consciously, that involuntary contractions will do it for you and that paralysed women give birth vaginally (Abigail Witchells has twice, apparently) as a result. It was my experience. I actually found trying not to let the urges to push too strongly was my priority because it made me less likely to tear.
The jug when you pee is essential, IMO. Single most important post-birth tip. Soft pants help as well; who wants paper ones when you're all sore?
Freezing one-fork meals, too. I didn't get around to it and I wish to God I had. If you can afford it, buy them in from Cook instead. I buy vouchers for friends now instead of flowers/teddies/babyclothes when they have a baby! I've seen a lot of other Mumsnetters suggest it as the perfect gift, for a bloody good reason.
Finally, I was terrified of giving birth. Genuinely terrified to the point I was almost having panic attacks. When it happened, I honestly enjoyed it. So don't assume it will be bad - in my case, it was one of the happiest experiences of my life. It never hurt unbearably, and it had the same focused energy as running a marathon, where despite some pain you're doing really well and are in or near the lead the whole way through. So be open to the possibility that you may enjoy it!
Seconding what sittinginthesun said.
The only relief I got during labour was when my exmil rubbed my lower back at the base of my spine. The pain practically disappeared.
DP has been well instructed for this time
I would also say relax. When you are in pain you automatically tense. But that makes it worse. So aswell as doing the breathing, make yourself relax. Shoulders down etc.
And for anyone who has never done it before, when you get to the pushing stage, it is nothing like tv. Dont scream. That wastes energy. Take a breath, put your chin to your chest and push.
Sorry if thats too basic, but I was clueless about all that first time round.
Really deep breaths through the 'tipsy and just had a couple of vodkas but might throw up' stage, and then keep regularly dragging on it to keep yourself at the 'I'm gorgeous and could dance on tables' stage of drunkenness'. I think the mistake I made before was just puffing on it when pains were present, by which stage it's too late, it needs to be in your system and topped up.
Yes, yes and yes. I was lucky; my midwife had just had a baby and told me exactly the same. Once I started using it like that, it provided all the pain relief I needed (together with a pool) to have an almost 9 lb baby and actually enjoy it.
Actually looking back on it I'm not sure it was the birth I enjoyed. It might just have been the being so monumentally and unexpectedly poleaxed. DH tells me that at one point I beamed at him happily before carefully enunciating, "I haven't been this stoned since I was nineteen!"
If you have to go to the postnatal ward after delivery, it'll be hotter than hell. Soak a towel in cold water and tie it to the head of the bed, so you can wipe yourself with it for hours, even if you aren't up to moving and reaching your drink.
Buy lactulose and have a dose until that first postnatal poo happens, and a dose a day for the next couple weeks until all is working more easily again (as prescribed after dc2, but recommended to anyone)
Take food with you for after birth. Esepecially important if it turns out that at your hospital that postnatal tea+toast is a myth...
Epidural - request immediatly as overreaction said You will have to wait and you don't want to get to 9cm and be told "oh they are in theatre"
What perfectstorm says about it not having to be terrible and terrifying. I had a similar experience with my DS, relatively little pain, my body pushed him out and I had the most astonishing rush of hormones afterwards that left me deliriously happy.
Also if you have perineal stitches they can tug/pull the skin as they heal and where the stitches go in your skin can be very painful. After my first birth with DD the midwife checked them after five days and said 'they are healing nicely, would you like the stitches out?'. Say yes. Its uncomfortable and not pleasant for about two minutes but dear god, the relief from that itching, pulling, tugging sensation was brilliant. I could sit down comfortably and not gingerly and everything. Second time around, after a week I went to the doctors and asked her to remove mine. I hobbled to the surgery, had my unpleasant five minutes and honestly had a little skip and dance as I left the surgery as I felt so much better.
Last tip. If you have a TENs machine make sure your DH/birth partner either knows how to use it or make sure they are forbidden to touch it ever.
I still harbour a lot of resentment for being electrocuted just as DS's head was emerging- apparently he was only trying to show my mum how it worked and didn't mean to turn it up so far.
My grandma made me a load of barley water to drink, it made peeing so much easier without having to faff around with pouring jugs of water down there.
Also agree about banging on about an epidural as soon as you get there if you know you want one. They make you wait for ages otherwise.
Oh and make sure you have a very fluffy comfy pillow to sit on afterwards. Sitting down is so scary, the pillow does take some of the edge off.
Totally agree about not pushing.
Try it on the loo the next time you go. Just smile and breathe a poo out, don't push! Smiling apparently helps relax all sorts of muscles 'down there' too. I haven't pushed for a poo for about a year now ;)
Oh. And trust your body and your baby. Both are designed perfectly for birth and they will do what they need to do. But you need to trust and relax. Don't fight it.
Ive not had a baby but ive been on midwifery training courses and have learned the following which may help:
Take something to eat with you, even a sugary sweet. You'll need to energy
When they say 'have a lavender bath'. They aren't trying to fob you off. It will help
DON'T let any midwife TELL you what position you should be in. Do whatever feels best for you. Too many women are told to lie on their backs because its easier for the midwife. Do it standing up if you like, she'll just have to get down!
Get someone to bring you lots of lovely, fresh fruit like strawberries and raspberries (even out of season) after the birth. It feels wonderful to eat something easy and super-fresh, and helps so, so much with that super-scary first
poo toilet trip.
Get all your pubes waxed off before labour (can't remember the salon term for that sorry).
After the complete carnage down below (I agree, don't look, you won't recognise yourself, and that was after 3 days) the icing on the cake was all the blood clots (sorry if TMI) which tangled with my pubes so that every time I went to the loo I felt like someone was scalping me down below.
And order that epidural BEFORE you think you need it. Marvellous.
Yes to the position bit. I was lying back in the bath and DS' head was appearing and disappearing with every contraction, when my midwife suggested that gravity would help if I leaned over the edge of the bath, squatting. She was right, and he was born 3 contractions later.
Pushing uphill is a lot harder than a heavy baby doing the work for you.
Oh god yes to the don't look
I looked after a episiotomy and forceps delivery of a 9lb 1 baby
I went into actual shock. Literally.
DH was possibily the loveliest he had ever been at that point.
- don't ring family and friends straight away
- before birth, make yourself aware of your options. Look at pain relief, their side effects and think about how you think they'd affect you. Most of the time this goes out of the window, but midwives will try and get you to try other forms bar the epidural.
- if you do get a TENS, don't give up on it if it doesn't work right away! Keep going with it, it does take time but can be really effective.
- beforehand, have a exploration into alternative pain reliefs like homeopathy and aromatherapy (just make sure you check with your midwife first). Some women find these really useful, even alongside medical pain relief.
Don't bother with super-sized sanitary pads, the lochia (sp?) is a lot more than you expect. Use Depends - the pants type not the pads - at least overnight. They don't leak.
Take a lolly (the ones with a stick), to suck on - you need a bit of energy from the sugar, and the stick means your DP can whip it out of your mouth when a contraction comes on.
Take an insulated cup full of ice cubes, it's lovely to have ice cold water in the ridiculously hot maternity unit!
Lavender oil and a couple of drops of carrier oil (almond / olive / whatever) rubbed into the small of your back can help get contractions going again if you are beginning to slow down.
Eat. And if you really can't eat, sip a cold sugary drink.
Afterwards - put sanitary towels in the freezer
I had a third degree tear with DC2, and the midwife suggested freezing a condom full of water, and sitting on it (not like that!). I never did try it as there were no condoms in the house funnily enough, but it sounded like a good idea.
Yy to lavender baths. Camomile is great too. Also great for bathing sore nipples.
Gosh, what great tips.
I agree with:
- cheap cotton pants, not paper pants
- taking food / drinks you like into hospital
- flipflops for the shower
- your own pillow
- get into whatever position you feel like, not where it's easiest for the midwife. I quote the midwife from my friend's birth: "if you're standing the baby could drop on the floor so you'll need to get on the bed". I really wanted to say, "Well get underneath her then!"
- the fact you bleed an awful lot more than I ever expected after the birth. Many large sanitary towels are needed.
- having someone else there who's not your dh. A female friend or mum who's been through it all before.
- Topping up the painkillers after the birth too. I think I moaned so much they stuck something up my bottom. It can continue to hurt a lot after the baby's come out as your uterus contracts down + also if you've had an episiotomy it can be very sore. In fact, even if you haven't.
Clary sage oil is brilliant for aiding contractions, but please avoid this whilst pregnant, just use it during labour!
Rose oil can do the same but not as strongly. But rose is brilliant for calming emotions and as an antidepressant.
Oh and remind those midwives that they aren't 'delivering your baby', they're helping you to birth your baby
Have a c section.
My stitches needed repairing after first dc so would say don't soak in the bath if you have had stitches it prevents the wound from healing well. Just pee in the shower every time once home and have lots of cheap face cloths for patting dry a bit of air drying also a good idea when practical!
Don't have a suppositryto help with first poo put up your bottom just before leaving hospital or could be a disaster!
I briskly walked around the hospital room for 3rd baby to deal with contractions lying down was agony. However if baby is facing wrong way for delivery and you have spent all your pregnancy lying on your left side try lying on your right side for a bit. I had agonising contractions doing this with 2nd and 3rd labour but both times baby turned.
Goldship funny you mention rose oil, With 2nd and 3rd babys I went a week or so over then had a bath with a couple of drops of rose oil in and told the baby it was time to come out and both times had baby next day!
I've always said rose oil is amazing and in your case it's worked brilliantly! Mega expensive though!
£15 for about 1/5 of a bottle. The guy in the shop thought I was mad when I said I was going to use some in a bath but then he has probably never been induced
have a student midwife with you as they will be able to monitor you. they will also want to stop with you and as they are supernumary to the ward will be a supportive prescence in the room (mine was brill!!)
When you are told you can start pushing, really try to push as hard and as long as you can. I remember thinking if I didn't push as hard, it wouldn't hurt as much. My midwife must have read my mind as she told me that it would take longer if I didn't "try".
I got put off an epidural by a midwife saying I'd probably need more stitches, as I came out with just one maybe she was right.
You bleed so much afterwards, when I got off the bed to go and shower, it was like I'd chucked a bucket of blood on the floor. You need a pack of maternity wipes a day for the first week or two. And also recommend some primary big knickers rather than paper ones.
Buy a watch with a rubber strap. I spent hours chewing on mine through contractions, and there is not a single tooth mark on it. It really helps - it got me right through to the pushing stage, when I finally plucked up the courage to ask the scary midwife for gas and air!
GoldShip - How come you don't recommend phoning family and friends straight away?
Make sure your DH knows the difference between your hospital bag and your work handbag.
<baby wore a hospital towel for first day of her life but at least I had my Oyster card and blackberry to hand>
when it comes to the pushing bit, don't forget to take your tights off
sittinginthesun is absolutely right get DH to practice rubbing the small of your back just above your bum.
I think it's where the nerves to the legs branch off.
Babies squash them, makes your legs hurt and it impossible to move. Seriously crap. Ended up with an epesiostomy (sp) because I couldn't get off my back.
DH rubbed my legs, which helped
Having had sciatica since I've discovered the small of the back is better. Seems to stop the nerves sending their pain signals.
Managed to keep moving about having DD2 and was able to crouch to deliver her, much better.
My tip: Visit your MIL and get her to say (in as condescending a voice as she can muster): "Of course he / she won't be born today!" DD was with us four hours later.
Marking my place! I've done it before but it's been five years and I'm a bit nervous to do it again in May.
Marking a place too, I'll be revisiting in march hopefully!
I had a CS but my friend showed up her her son's toilet seat insert and some old ice packs in socks she had previously used for her cooler. She said it enabled her to sit after delivering his sister. Sounded like a good idea to me!
I had DD here in the US and they glued my scar. After 24hrs I exposed it to air as much as possible. The lacation consultant told me to do it to help calm the area down and it did.
Pixiecake, like yours but in reverse. After your little one has worn there babygro and it smells of them keep it with you and smell to help bring your milk in or if you want to express, also look at a photo if you can not see your baby.
Buy a thermal mug so you can have a warmish cuppa.
Ditto a drinks bottle with sport lid to fill up in the night to drink whilst you are feeding, take it and pop it where you will feed baby in the night means you will not spill a pint of squash over baby in your sleep deprived state.
During labour get DH to massage your sacrum, big movements from very bottom of your spine up over your saddle bags, also kneading your buttocks - not for everyone but found if he applied pressure to my shoulders alternately with pressure on sacrum through contractions it really helped.
Focus on out breath, really exhale as long and low as you through each contraction.
If you can bear moving, sway through your contractions
<disclaimer hippy homebirther!>
afterwards keep tea tree oil & lavender next to the jug to add to water to pour over you when weeing, also put witch hazel (though tea tree worked for me and didn't sting) on maternity pads - second get well fitting big knickers to hold everything in place!
Have a mini changing station set up by the bed when you need to change at night - small tupperware box with nappies, cotton wool, squirty bottle with fresh warm water to squirt on cotton wool (or just wipes if you're not precious!), disposable changing mat so you don't have to get out of bed at all (know where your bin is to aim well!)
Talking about the oils immediately thrusts me back to that first week or two. So so sad my baby making is over!
oh yy to take painkillers every 4 hours for at least 48hours after birth! Especially if number 2 and beyond - afterpains so so much worse the second time.
get in a lot of prunes to help with first poo (the fear is worse than the event though!)
I played music at both of my children's births.
At DS's it was Bob Dylan's Plant Waves,
And for DD it was Erasure by Erasure.
I suppose I was fortunate in having two fairly uncomplicated births, and therefore no difficult memories, but both albums have very profound meaning to me now, and listening to them evokes some very special memories and feelings
Girl That reminds me... stool softeners. Take them with black decaf coffee. Gets things moving. If you have CS then no gas making foods. Don't even think about sushi until the baby is 3 months old. I had sushi at 7 weeks and was doubled up in pain from the gas. Never again.
mame its nice for mum dad and baby to get some alone time before family start coming fussing.
Best bet.af ever goldship! At least 2 full days at home together
Make sure you have some nice munchies for just after the birth. I felt like I had just run the cross country 10 times and was so, so hungry.
Luckily my Gran had pre-empted this and blagged her way into the labour room with a bag full of Cadbury's fingers and other goodies for me!
I have two tips - one for VB and one for ELCS.
Whilst in labour with DD1 and when contractions were peaking, the midwife said: "Imagine you are pushing an empty pram up a very tall hill. Your baby is at the top. Each contraction walk you a bit further up that hill; a little closer to your baby."
For ELCS (could apply to EMCS), enjoy the procedure for what it is - your baby's birth. Your baby is delivered to you without all of that pushing and shoving!
Not quite sure how, but try anything you can to make sure that you're emptying your bowel regularly around the time you're due to give birth. I've become a bit obsessed about this , but I'm completely convinced that having a full bowel was one of the main reasons I couldn't deliver DS1 (eventual ventouse). I never felt the urge to push, and it was as if he never dropped right down low enough for my muscles to engage. And the day before, the MW had told me that my bowel felt quite full while she was doing a sweep. Second time round, I had the same experience, but after trying to push (but again feeling no 'urge' to push IYKWIM) for about an hour, I finally managed to empty rather a lot of poo out of my bowel. After that, muscles engaged with baby, and it was suddenly completely easy. If I were doing it again (which I'm not!), I would try to demand an enema in early labour (they always used to give you one, apparently).
I was surprised to see someone recommend Tizzy Hall's book upthread - for one thing, it's not about birth, and for another, it recommends controlled crying for newborns, which is a little controversial...
My book tip would be to get your dh, or whoever will be yr birth partner, to read Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner. It has a huge amount of detail on the process of birth, what decisions you may make, what may happen, how you may feel, what interventions are possible - think it remains the best baby-relared book I've read, and dd is 19months now.
I was really glad when someone told me that you could book a private room with a sink for about £70 a night which meant that your DH could sleep in the room, on a fold out chair with you. Mine had a shower room directly outside and no one else really used it as they assumed it was for me . You can normally pay as you go along. This gives you some peace and much needed rest and £70 is not much in the scheme of things.
Practise those breathing exercises they give you and make your DH do it with you.
First time I dismissed all that nonsense.
Second time I was willing to try anything, I made DH practise with me, started using it as went into labour fully expecting to have to abandon it later, but it kept me calm and focused and took me all the way through.
That and the exercise ball I was given when I arrived. Again I dismissed it initially as pointless, but bouncing gently on this holding onto the side of the bed whilst dong my breathing took me calmly all the way to pushing.
And I'm no hippy type.
I had two sections, but I would say take food with you. Hospital food is disgusting. Luckily, we have an m &s food hall down the road from hospital!
ahh how sweet about the baby blanket will try that!
" For ELCS (could apply to EMCS), enjoy the procedure for what it is - your baby's birth. Your baby is delivered to you without all of that pushing and shoving! smile"
Again, lovley thanks for that!
I am another for saying I didnt do any " pushing" myself, my animal body took over during the whole thing really, I didnt know when to push, no one told me too....alll of a sudden my body just had huge strange ....convulsion? and it happened two or three times, at one point the MW said - hold it - which I did....then she was born...it just did it all by itself....23 mins and a first timer....
I am sure no one else would worry about this - but I was worried about DD being frequenlty startled once out...for instance asleep she would suddenly jerk...and I thought something was wrong with her - but of couse its just being out in the world and not contained with lots of sharp noises etc....
also, try hypnotherapy, apprenlty - lots of women are now trying it and they are soooo calm when calling the hospital in labour - the MW's dont belive them because they sound so calm so there must be something powerful to it!
My top tips:
1. Read Ju Ju Sundin's "Birth Skills: proven pain management techniques for labour and birth"
2. Rent/buy/borrow a TENS machine and at least give it a try
3. Drink lots of raspberry leaf tea starting around 4 weeks before due date
If you do nothing else then read JuJu's book.
For after the birth - stock up on maternity pads, you will need loads more than you imagine! And if you're planning to breast feed get some Lansinoh (MWs often have trial size samples to give away and you need so little that there's enough in a couple of these to see you through).
And remember a straightforward birth is normal, not lucky.
Relaxation will make it easier - in particular relax your mouth, force it to be loose and relaxed, if you are gritting your teeth you will be tense down below.
The best book for me was Ina May's guide to childbirth. Thats where the mouth tip came from. I had cs for dc1 but a natural birth for dc2. Only painkiller was some paracetemol when contractions first started.
Relaxed mouth, hovering over the toilet and then standing against the bed with DP massaging my lower back. No tearing or cuts required.
When the midwife handed over at the end of her shift she said - 'she just breathed him out'.
Oh and he did fall on the floor, but luckily she'd put a pillow between my legs!
I remeber the first afternoon and night of contractions. All of the pain was in my hips, felt like someone was trying to rip them apart. Walking when I was having one seemed to help. And making pancakes. The amount of sugar I put on them kept me going for ages! Dont forget a clean nightie. I did and got to wear a lovely hospital gown. Erm, peeing in the bath was great for me, it became my best friend for 3 weeks. Try and get some ural sachets. I only managed to get them from another country, but they are amazing.
Enjoy those first cuddles as much as possible because you dont get them back.
Is you have an epidural, try not to tell the anaesthetist that you love him, and that if you weren't already doing it you would have his children.
They find that pretty scary.
1. If you want to try a particular method of pain relief, don't just put it in your birth plan, make sure your DP knows you want it and will demand it if you're in no fit state. (I wanted gas and air but it wasn't offered until late on - it was there but no one pointed it out and we didn't know what it looked like! - and instead they gave me pethidine which made me violently sick so I ended up dehydrated.)
2. If you need to push, tell the midwife. If she says you can't possibly be at that stage yet, you or DP should insist she checks before giving you something to stop the pushing (says she who went from 2 cm to fully dilated in under 2 hours, with a first baby in a posterior position, which everyone said was impossible!).
And two for after the birth:
1. If anyone tells you iron tablets don't cause constipation, they're lying.
2. Be demanding! You can be polite about it, but keep asking for what you need until you get it - pain relief, help with feeding, a shower, to be discharged ...
I'm loving this thread, loads of great ideas! I shall keep watch :-)
Food, food, food for after you've given birth. Then more food. Also food for your OH. FOOD!
Agree with Lapin about trying to empty your bowel - I became fixated on this during labour as I didn't want to poo in front of DP so was trying to get it all out in the loo. The more fixated I became the harder it became to roll with the contractions and I got very weepy! I did manage a big void at one point though and felt better afterwards <overshare>
Pushing a baby out of your vagina feels like you're having the world's biggest poo. That's just what it feels like but people will be too polite to tell you this until the last minute. So push there accordingly. Forget about your vagina, if that makes sense. You're doing a giant, very cute, poo.
When you're in early labour, kneel and lean over your Pilates ball if you have one. This is a really comfy position. If you're not sure whether you're in labour or not, consider posting an 'Am I in labour?' thread on MN. this seems out of the question, you're in labour.
If they offer you a meal in the later stages, say yes but secretly give it to your birth partner. DP was very grateful
and so was I as it meant he had no reason to leave my side
When you're in early labour, kneel and lean over your Pilates ball if you have one. This is a really comfy position.
Didn't work for me. I ended up with the worst pain in my legs and none of the positions that were supposed to help worked.
Elizaregina - Re involuntary pushing ... Im with you on that!
My DD was an epidural so couldn't feel any urge to push. DS was a natural birth and I was expecting to feel something and then consciously make a decision to push it out, and then push.
Whereas, actually it was much more like throwing up - sort of happened all by itself with each contraction.
I remember the contractions at transition started to get "pushy" - still achy and throbby, but with a but of convulsing in there too. As we got into pushing proper, the aching contracting feelings reduced and were replaced by giant convulsing/expulsing feelings - like throwing up your entire internal organs!
I didnt do any pushing my head down in my chin or pushing down into my bottom. I didn't do anything at all actually!
That was a real surprise.
Oh yes, same here with involuntary pushing!
After dd was born, they were staring at my fanjo waiting for the placenta and after a while, looking a bit worried, they asked me to push. I was a bit as to what to do, but I made like doing a poo ... and out it popped. No pushing for the baby though!
I fifty-third having a bottle or jug of water to pour over you when you pee afterwards. First time DH heard me he thought I was having real problems
I had maternity pads provided by the hospital (despite them telling me they didn't so having bought loads). Lovely midwife told me to pee whilst pouring water then use a pad to "blot" myself dry rather than using paper and/or wiping (pad then thrown away).
Where I gave birth (hospital in Paris) it was standard to be given painkillers (which are compatible with BF) - so I had painkillers 4 times a day whilst at hospital (5 days) plus a prescription for the next 2 weeks. I was told to take them for 10 days and then after that if necessary. A couple of days after giving birth I remember musing to DH that bizarrely my lower back had started hurting, then he pointed out I'd forgotten to take my painkiller. Apart from the odd chink of pain like that I had almost no pain after birth, despite an episiotomy and 5 stitches.
As I said I was in hospital 5 days and I really wish I'd had the courage not to go to the "nursery" every time I needed to change DS's nappy. Next time round I am definitely just putting a towel on the bed and changing the baby there.
I never worked out how to pour water over myself while peeing
Re: sanitary pads post birth - do NOT buy always/similar, ONLY buy maternity pads. The sanitary ones don't allow air to get to you as easily (or they have a chemical on them or something) and that encourages jock itch/ringworm (which will go with liberally applied Sudocrem, fortunately - I speak from experience!). I'd second buying some incontinence knickers - not for actual incontinence, but they are big, strong and will hold two or three maternity pads in one go which is great for the first couple of days
when the bleeding is like nothing you've ever experienced.
when your contractions intensify, manage them by 'walking' up some stairs one step at a time, then back down. each step takes you closer to your baby.
Lots of great tips.
I am very glad that I packed a iPod with little portable speakers. Being able to listen to music really helped me relax.
I'm currently four days overdue with DS1 - these tips are excellent, thank you so much to everyone who is contributing!
Fabulous thread, thank you, looking forward to using some of these tips for DS3 in April. I never thought about the involuntary pushing before, but with DS2 that was what I did. I was a bit because the midwife moved me from on all fours, where I was comfortable, to on my back in styrups, but when the time came to push, I closed my eyes and did what my body asked me to. I went from screaming banshee to serene birthing mother just by relaxing and listening to my body, and managed to deliver a 10lb 3.5 oz baby with just gas an air [proud emoticon] (will be using all the tips on stitches this time, I may have a big baby again )
Keep the tips coming ladies
My hospital said no water or food in the delivery suite (for me).
I dutifully obeyed but being a nice person I made sure I packed food for DH.
(I asked him what he wanted a few weeks before, he said nothing but then I pointed out he was quite likely to miss a meal or two so he changed his mind!)
Anyway, my tip is not to pack food that smells nice! It was torture when I was hungry and thirsty when DH opened up a pack of sweets which smelt delicious!
But do pack nice food for you afterwards.
If you stay overnight in the hospital, make sure you have drinks and snacks to hand. The first night I didn't and had to get up as I was starving. The next few nights I settled down for the night with lots of eat and drink next to me
Baaart how awful, my hospital insisted, and when we ran out of snacks (very long labour) they went foraging for me and gave me more to eat!! Absolutely insisted on it.
My friend was in for a while before being induced and I took her a DVD box set (she had her laptop there) which she said was the best thing ever
Also took in icy cold drinks and prepped fresh fruit and snacks (m&s) as the food was horrible and she didn't want anything stodgy
Luckily I live close by and was happy to drop off food supplies (and the next 2 series of the box set when she had watched them all in 48hrs..)
Marking place, am due in a couple of months! at You are doing a giant, very cute, poo.
OhGood I told the dr who gave me the epidural that I planned to name the baby Martin after him.
He said he got that all the time.
princess it was awful. I wasn't allowed food or drink until in my room...so that's 3 hours after the birth then!!! I don't know why I obeyed, but I did get DH to keep spraying water from my face spray into my mouth!
Box of nutrigrains for labour (I ate 7 in 12 hours!).
Something to bang. I found that when I had a contraction I needed to bang hard on the floor/wall/anywhere. Cheapo maracas belonged to my toddler and some stress balls saved my arms! The maracas were noisy which was good for distraction.
A clary sage soaked flannel. Not quite gas and air but a decent second best when you have nothing and got me all the way to pushing.
Take blinking paracetemol in your hospital bag. Took hours for anyone to bring me any in hospital and those stitches stung. Also, don't ask how many stitches you had, it doesn't help. And don't look at your business area until it's healed for heaven's sake!
My DD was yanked out by forceps just in time for me to avoid a section, so we were a bit surpised when DS plopped out while the midwife was making a cuppa. First time second stage - six hours. Second time scond stage - six minutes. Still had stitches though.
They wouldn't let my best friend eat in labor either! It was around 30 hours with no food. I tried to make them but they wouldn't.
I am going to be a labor partner for another friend and I am by-damn bringing food in with me for her.
My mw told me that the uterus was a muscle and as it was working so hard it needed fuel!! Yank take many many snacks, sod the rules!
They never said anything about snacks or no snacks to me, but right at the end they kept saying to my ex to go get me some lucozade from the vending machine.
Hes a total dope and just walked back to my room and lifted his warm stale bottle from earlier and brought it in. There was only about an inch left in the bottom fgs.
This time I will be taking loads of drinks and cereal bar type things in just incase I need a boost at the end!
This thread is fab - thank you all! Think I need to print it off..
Take dh's toothbrush in case he procures himself smelly food.
Pre-birth - pregnancy yoga, I had a great teacher and kind of went into a 'zone' once labour was established, was all up for any pain relief going but in the end didn't need any. Also helps with positions, I gave birth on all fours, felt natural.
Labour - fruit pastilles - shot of sugar every so often and you can chew and swallow in between contractions. But take plenty for you AND the DP AND the midwife apparently...... I was also given milkshakes as my blood sugar dropped even in a short labour so a bit about places where they say no food, unless it's a case by case decision? Threw up at first with the speed my labour came on but once settled was ok.
not read all of thread so sorry if been said before.
Take throat sweets and paracetamol with you in your hospital bag. Gas and air dries out your throat, mine was agony the next day.
And paracetamol for the afterpains. I asked a MW if I could have some parecetamol, she said "yes, no problem" and went to get some. She came back an hour later with some.
I know they are busy with much more important things than fetching paracetamol so I wasn't bothered, but I was very glad I had some in my bag and had taken my own immediately I had got the green light from her rather than waiting an hour!
When having a waterbirth one of the midwives asked if I would like her to help try to ease the discomfort,obv I said "too right" she started pouring water from a big jug over my tummy every time I had a contraction. It was amazing whether it was a distraction or what am not sure but boy it really dulled the pain.
There's absolutely no way they should say no food and drink. I understand if anything bad happens then its best if you've ate nothing but your bodies going through a massive strain and you need energy! Especially water fgs. It's like running a marathon with no water. No chance!
Mummyplonk I've also heard the same - that during a water birth pouring water over your bump can help. I'm 36 weeks and will def be giving that a go when my time comes!
re food and drink: I was allowed it at first and the MWs brought me lots of tea and toast, but if your labour starts to get prolongued they start thinking that you might end up with intervetions and maybe surgery so at that point they say nill by mouth (like most people going in for surgery for anaesthetic reasons)
In the hospital I gave birth in its NBM once you have an epidural, or have been in labour over X hours, not because theres any harm in eating with an epidural in, but because once you have an epidural you're more likely to end up with a C-section
you can ask for a fluid drip
Agree with food, the vending machines hadn't been restocked because of the snow storms, so nibbles were limited. Sandwiches were vile, no marg, so the cheese and onion was really dry or tuna mayo, and I don't do tuna. Had to ask DH to bring some in on his next visit. MiL bought me lots of nice fruit and sweets.
Pain relief, I had SPD in the later months, GP had issued me with superstrength ones, which I took with me, really were fab. I made sure I had enough for 2 weeks supply, which was a good job as we were pretty much snowed in for 2 weeks.
I peed in the shower everytime, we have a shower in the bath tub, so meant I could sluice with warm water each time. I had quite a few stitches, so a bath wasn't ideal. I pinched one of the soft sponges bought for DD to help rinse of all the yuck. I'd also dab lightly to dry and a cool blow dry too. Arnica helped with the bruising. I also used DH's beardtrimmer to tidy up my bush before hand, trimmed it all down to a short fuzz. Really helped to keep it all clean after.
Also, everyone feels labour pains in different places. Mine was all in my thighs. It felt like restless legs. It took me a while to realise I was actually in labour and not just really restless legs.
I took my ipod and speakers with me, was fab to listen to some music, whenever I hear the songs now, it reminds me of that first hour with DD.
Ooo and straws, they were a real help, in labour, on the ward and at home.
You can take paracetemol and Ibuprofen together after birth - helps with afterpains. Also, take a bendy straw with you so that you can drink your tea without having to move too much the next day. Everything ached after DD1 and the bendy straw was my best friend.
Yes kellestar, everytime I hear Alicia Dixons Breathe Slow Im right back there
Music can really break up the time.
Dearest by Buddy Holly, it makes me get all teary as it just came on as she arrived.
Take food! I wasn't allowed to eat for over 40 hours. Was hell - ended up necking the best part of a family size bottle of apple juice whilst the MW wasn't watching to try to get some energy.
Have a mantra which you say to youself when contractions are peaking, can be anything inspiring, easy to remember and say and something witha beat, or rhythm, maybe even a line of poetry or a lyric from a song.
1. Lip salve, as if you are puffing and panting your lips will dry out.
2. Carton of apple juice (jolly nice during transition).
3. Nighties for the newborn rather than babygros. They are so floppy, nighties are so much easier to get on them.
be careful with lip balms/vaseline etc unless everything is going text book, generally not recommended in hospitals because if you end up on oxygen for whatever reason your lips can burn (the parafin is flamable)
Tea tree oil drops in the bath are good for sore stitches post partum.
Ask for the room to be darkened. The silence is a fantastic idea--wished I'd thought of it. Both of my girls were born in the wee hours and I asked the midwives to turn off the overhead lights both times. The glaring fluorescence is bad enough for us, just imagine how baby feels seeing that crap light for the first time!
And feel free to say no to any visitors and have some 'coccoon time' with your new family. Your family and friends will be excited to see baby, but this is your family and it's the best feeling to settle in together. No phones, no bells. And when you are ready, have someone you really love (my best friend in my case) come for a visit. Be selfish. You'll never have this time again.
I had a great birth, but had to have an epidural for stitching much much later. DP looked like death warmed up so I sent him home before I went up to the ward.
So my main tip is - make sure your partner comes up onto the ward with you to check you can reach things - like the baby!
I eventually managed to reach her out of the crib thing despite my semi-paralysed legs, but there was a bit when I was really holding the blanket not her, and I could have dropped her.
And, on a related note, be prepared to be proactive about what you need, even if they are busy, even if it is the middle of the night.
That is what I would do different.
And lots of other good tips on here.
Be prepared to lose all of your dignity (and clothes).
I lost massive amounts of blood during labour because my placenta started coming away. Then due to exhaustion and shock I projectile vomited all over the place.
I also had a lot of liquid (my waters) around the baby which gushed out with every contraction.
In the end I got the midwives to cut my nightie off (I was full of drips and things so couldn't take it off normally) and gave birth completely naked. It was the best decision I made. I felt much more comfortable
I'd got for a sports bottle of water to direct at your bits as you can...um...direct it rather than slosh it everywhere in panic.
DEXTROSE SWEETS!!!! You can get them from Boots (or other pharmacies I guess) with the diabetic stuff. I always end up throwing up in labour (sorry) and can' eat. These helped with the nausea, gave me energy and as they dissolve really fast you don't have to spit it out when you have a contraction. And they taste nice.
Wear two maternity pads at a time to start with after the birth (though I like the incontinence pads idea- sounds better TBH!
If you've had stitches then aloe vera durex lube is really soothing - made all the difference.
Tena lady disposable pants are much more comfortable than maternity pants.
Ask for Lactulose post birth - the first poo is scary!!!
Make sure the person stitching has plenty of local -mine ran out half way through! Ow! Ow! Ow!
Be aware that mastitis can begin through a cracked nipple. I thought is was just blocked ducts. Practise good nipple hygiene.
There are circular wound shields that are anti bacterial - keep in the fridge and use instead of nipple pads. Ask midwife for some.
great tips here already, I only add
-keep moving/upright as long as you possibly can, and let gravity help you move the baby down.
- if things seem slow, go sit on the toilet of get into a (supported) squat- often helps to speed things a bit
- jasmine oil is good for strengthening contractions
- google 'accupressure points for labour' for more detail on the pressure points that others on here have referred to- they're wonderful.
- labour is often slowed by noise and light, so don't be afraid to turn the lights off and tell everyone to be quiet!
- rescue remedy is great if you have a tendency to panic or are very nervous, and it's very handy to have when you're in transition
Gosh I love this thread! Mine would be to wear the hospital gown after birth the wrong way round. It is easy to bf and is long. Alo second flip flops for shower- they are filthy! Well mine was.. And food- we were given free range of a fridge with horrible garage sandwiches. Get your dh to bring soup in a flask and pasta/ lasagna in tubs. It will help get your milk down.
I engaged the bloke doing my epidural in conversation about school- he told me he bunked off a lot to which I accused him of getting his degree on the Internet and he was an imposter- cue me screaming for security.
Oh, and think through what options you want - you don't have to agree to be induced if your baby isn't ready at dead on 40 weeks. Be informed
Women labour better in the dark, so yes drop the lights if at all possible.
Food and drink for you and birth partners - I messed this up with dc2 and nearly fainted when carrying baby to the car having not eaten for 24 hours.
Cheap cotton nightie to labour and give birth in.
Keep your phone charged up and don't forget it nor the camera.
I couldn't pee in labour, despite knowing that I needed to. Midwife kindly did a catheter thing, which cleared the way for the baby to come.
Even if you have a free range, organic intervention free birth, it still HURTS. I didn't have any pain relief until afterwards when the midwife recommended a pain relief suppository, which was fantastic.
If your waters have broken but nothing much is happening, the best thing to do is to walk around. I was up and down the hospital corridors stopping occasionally to hang off a windowsill/Dp when the pains started. Got things moving quite quickly
Really try and clear your bowels as much as possible, as being constipated can make the whole birth a lot harder, plus it has to come out somehow! I had an enema, did the trick but had to make sure DP stayed away....
Make sure your DH/DP is well catered for in the delivery suite. Our midwife brought me a nice comfy matress to lay on and an occassional cup of tea and a biscuit in the quite periods.
Well it was 12 hours after all!
Having the lights low with DS2 was lovely and I found music wasn't helpful at all. It was nice to be quiet with the lights down low in the small hours.
I laboured on a birthing ball with DH on a rocking chair so we rocked in unison. Sounds strange but the rocking was a good thing to focus on. It did lull my DH to sleep though!
Big cotton pants are much better than the horrible disposable ones. Not tried the tena lady ones.
That first cup of tea is the best ever. Savour it as it never tastes that good again (until the next baby)
Oh my god, this thread is making me broody!!! And DS is only 4 months old!!!
The scary first poo is a lot less painful if you ask them for movicol. It, um, acts as a softener.
To give birth in a kneeling posiion but with arms supported on something, like a sofa. Gravity is then helping.
Definitely take lactulose after the birth to soften your poo so you just don't have to worry about pooing. That stands whether you have a tear or not. Also try to let some air get to your bits whenever possible, and don't turn over or scoot your bum about on the bed too fast if you have stitches, I somehow managed to do this, tugged my stitches really sharply and it was agony!
Just to reiterate, fgs DON'T look at your bits
ever again afterwards. It will look sad, knackered, saggy and may have new strange bits which you don't recognise and will scare you. (It gets better eventually!)
Hospital has the best maternity pads. Obviously take your own good quality ones, and plenty of them, but if they offer theirs, do accept! they are way bigger, softer, wider, and they don't leak. Don't try to make do with sanitary towels, they won't be able to handle the volume of fluid lost. Think "barbie mattresses".
When you get up to use the loo after birth for the first day or so, you will leak a lot, on the floor if you aren't careful. Black leggings/tracksuit bottoms and a fleece dressing gown are your friends. Don't bother with beautiful pastel pyjamas, they will get blood on. And you will have to walk through the ward like that, potentially mopping up blood drips as you go (sorry)
Pack a biggish plastic bag or two in your hospital bag to carry all the presents/flowers and extra food you'll accumulate when you leave. And if you have older dc coming into the ward to see you and the baby, make sure the baby is in the cot and you spend time cuddling the older dc before making the introductions. A present "from the baby" doesn't go amiss either. Choose something predictably crowd pleasing and not too noisy as they will want to play with it immediately in the ward, baby forgotten. :-)
Don't have a bath in early labour stages unless you are sure you can get out of it. Especially don't use anything that makes the bath slidy . Not a good start!
From another thread:
Remove nail varnish well before going into labour. If you need an EMCS it might need whipping off at the last minute as they monitor blood oxygen circulation through your nails in operations.
Make up or make up remover, - tbh I hardly ever wear any, but on labour day l had mascara on and I remember hearing 1 midwife saying 'its all running down her face' to the other midwife ...... I cared not,...... HOWEVER, looking back at the pictures, I am very glad I wiped my face with cleansing wipes after. Obviously you have other things to think of at the time, but ...just sayin'! Oh and on the subject of photos--remember to take lots. Didn't take so many last time and kind of wished we had more.
Unbleached maternity pads are less likely to chafe your sore bits than bleached ones. I only found that out after the fourth birth!
lean forward like putting your head to the floor when peeing. this really was the only way i could pee without crying. then rinse with tepid water.
Have a birth plan -but don't stress if everything changes when you get in there.
I ended up with no epi (v quick labour) and a ventouse. Neither of these were planned. It was still amazing.
Talk to birth partner lots in the lead up to labour. My DH and I read Juju Sindin's book together and went through loads of exercises in it during last trimester. Even though I didn't end up with an 'active labour' but an induction, the fact that DH had been there through all the practices definitely had an impact. He knew how to respond to my contractions, and how I felt about things, and was an amazing support to me, as well as being my spokesperson/advocate to the medics.
Don't panic. Don't be scared. But if you do, and you are, don't feel bad about it - you're doing something amazing and there's no need for guilt.
Oh, and have a wee in the bath afterwards.
It can ease the pain of contractions to kneel down and lean on your gym ball, but don't do it on a carpet in bare knees; carpet burns were the most bizarre side-effect of my labour...
Stock up on maternity pads, even if your bleeding gets quite light, the padding makes sitting down a lot more comfortable, normal sanitary pads don't.
Flip flops are useful for the hospital shower but arrive wearing shoes or pack some shoes / slippers in case you end up in those delightful compression stockings.
Don't combine cooking spicy foods to bring on labour with filling your freezer for post - birth quick meals, as you'll end up with a freezer full of meals you don't fancy eating when you're new to breastfeeding.
i'd second all the fabulous tips on here and would add:
* take a couple of folded carrier bags to put dirty washing in
* take a bottle of squash - the water is usually rank as it has added fluoride and stuff that makes it cloudy
* take a present and card from baby for children, especially youngsters, will keep them occupied and pave the way that baby is friend not someone to be jealous of
good luck everyone - I'm gonna pack my bag this week
Take enough babywipes for yourself as well as baby, as hospital loo roll can be scratchy. I used them rather than loo roll for all toilet visits for the first week, and for all poos for about the first six weeks. Much more comfortable.
If your waters go early, you'll presumably want a pad on. Don't use one with the dry weave top, like always. I did, and the midwife wanted to check my pad to ensure it was waters and not wee. She couldn't, because of the type of pad, so she had to examine me instead. You might be able to save yourself an internal if you wear a maternity style pad.
Oh, and seconded to whoever said about iron tablets messing your bowels up. They did me, and I'm quite frankly the duchess of shitting- never constipated in pregnancy, emptied bowels totally as soon as my waters broke and didn't poo in labour as there was nothing left, first postbirth poo only two days later and fairly untraumatic preens. But the iron tablets bunged me up after a few days. The midwife suggested I finish the course but just take 1 or 2 a day. So if you end up on iron tablets, consider asking if you can take a lesser dosage for a longer period. Obviously if your iron is really low this may not be wise, but if it's just slightly low it could be an option.
Start taking arnica tablets as soon as you get contractions and keep taking till you healing nicely after.
Have baths with tea tree oil or lavender oil to help healing.
When you ring hospital make sure you ring during a contraction, if you can speak during contraction they ll tell you to stay at home, so if you desperate to go in make sure you can't speak!
Agree with your partner before hand what you want to do about visitors to hospital/home as can be over whelming when everyone wants to descend on you, especially if you have mother in law champing at the bit ringing every 5 mins for news - you can guess what she ll be like once there is news lol!
Along with sleeping with blanket to get your smell on, sleep with a t shirt and put over mattress in Moses basket.
Putting a clock in basket/cot or leaving radio on can help with sleeping as they used to lots of noise in the womb.
On iron tablets, I had same problems with constipation and a few other mums recommended Floradix a natural alternative,you can get in syrup or tablet form. I found it worked much better than iron tablets and no constipation! :-)
not sure if already been said but shave! Nothing quite like a midwife coming at you with a cheap disposable razor to make an EMCS seem just that bit worse!
meant wax not shave!
Don't, for the love of god, choose to go to the labour ward unless
a) you intend to have to have an epidural
b) you are high risk and they won't let you use birth center/have a hb/there is no birth center within reach.
I really can't get my head around why low risk women choose to go to the labour ward when they have a perfectly good birth center to hand (unless of course they want an epidural, in which case they have no choice).
Oh, and don't try to be a model patient, or brave. Yes the staff are usually very nice and hard working, but YOU are the one who has to push a baby out, so they need to put your needs ahead of their need to drink tea and laugh over people's birth plans in the corridor.
If you have an epidural, make sure the midwife drains your bladder intermittently with a catheter as you won't know if and when your bladder is full. This tip comes from a conversation I once had with a continence nurse who has lost count of the number of women who have bladder problems due to this being neglected/forgotten when in labour.
shagmundfreud I'ld strongly disagree there, I'd say count out stand alone MLUs all together and only consider home birth or hospital. you get more monitoring at home and there's nothing you can get at MLU that you can't get at home but at least at home if things aren't going to plan someone is STUCK IN YOUR HOUSE with you to notice and transfer you and not off at the desk answering phone calls not your call bell!!
Halloweeny most MLU or birth centres are attached to hospitals, and they can also give you pethidene which you can't get at home. Most women who have given birth in MLU rave about them, in studies.
I gave birth in one, but knew consultant led care was just one floor above. The home from home atmosphere plus that medical reassurance was great for me. And the birthing pool was amazing - way better than any inflatable one, let alone my own bath. I'd never have been a candidate for a home birth as very unfortunately a family member was one of the rare cases where things went wrong. I do appreciate people differ, and some women will like the brightly lit clinical environment, but personally I would choose a MLU for advanced labour every time.
Also MLU in my experience offer 1 to 1 care all through, unlike consultant led. Is that not standard?
"Most women who have given birth in MLU rave about them, in studies"
think about that sentance, it does not include people who STARTED in MLUs then had to be transerred out! ask THEM how they found it!
it is quite common for the midwife to not stay in your room with you at a MLU
I have no problem with MLUs attatched to hospitals so long as its a hospital with paeds and obs (not all do, some hospital MLUs are not attatched to the same hospital you need to be in if you need to be stepped up!!), and you get properly watched like you would at home, but many are an ambulance transfer away from the "step up" and you'ld be better off at home with proper supervision because at home its more likely that the need for hospital transfer gets noticed sooner!
if you were not a candidate for home birth you would not have been a candidate for stand alone MLU anyway!
Also, you CAN get pethidine at home, you just have to mention to your regular midwife that you would like some available. AFAIK, there's nothing a MLU can give you that a homebirth can't - they are both staffed by midwives and not doctors, but at home you will generally get 2 midwives and you can relax in your own environment, you don't have all the to-ing and fro-ing if things aren't as far along as you thought at the beginning. I guess the only benefit of a MLU might be if it's closer to the hospital in case you need to transfer, and the support available afterwards. Same transfer time from my house to hosp. as from local MLU, so no contest for me, and I would rather my DH can be with me and his new child full time instead of being sent home at night which I think is the most outrageous thing about MLU OR hospital birth.
Still pregnant, grr
Yep Yomping is right, a midwife can administer pethidine at home.
actually a MW can only administer pethidine at home if the hospital they're tied to allows it. Eg CMW from St Thomas' will not administer pethidine because the hospital doesn't
My MLU waterpool was a giant bathtub with hot and cold running water. I could float in it. I could brace myself across it midsection. It had a sloping back I could actually lie down on. They even had a weird colour phasing LED light "focus object" above, which made me chuckle, but apparently lots of women love. 'Twas bliss. The inflatable home type is a lot less comfy. MLU having one was a massive boon - the level of pain relief that pool afforded was immense.
I wasn't a candidate for a homebirth because my niece almost drowned from the home pool and ended up in NICU for a week in an induced coma afterwards, not for medical reasons. My CMW said that the fear something could go wrong would cancel out the benefits of a relaxed setting. And personally, I found the MLU lovely and relaxing, plus better equipped for labour than my own home once it was too advanced for DVDs to distract me much. Soft lighting, big beds with nice sheets, just a pleasant room to be in with all the birthing aids you could want really helped me. Other women did transfer upstairs and I agree that having a MLU unit attached to a CLU is the best of both worlds, but I don't understand the hostility to a MLU of itself. There is one near us (the only stand-alone I've heard of, actually) that people love - it's a halfway house between a home birth and a hospital one, and some find that the perfect compromise. What is so wrong with allowing women options?
""Most women who have given birth in MLU rave about them, in studies"
think about that sentance, it does not include people who STARTED in MLUs then had to be transerred out! ask THEM how they found it! "
A statement which applies equally to home births - more so, if you want to look at the maternal satisfaction scores from the Netherlands, where home births are the norm and mothers very much less than happy. And I don't know if you were patronising me intentionally, or if it was inadvertent, but either way, I'd be appreciative if you stopped? It rather impedes a friendly and informative debate, in my view, if people start implying different views are inherently valueless or mistaken, certainly when the debate is by its very nature opinion-based and not subject to proof.
You say most MLU/Birthing centres are stand alone, and not attached to a hospital. What are the statistics for that, please? I agree it makes more sense to have a unit as part of hospital provision, but the majority of those I know are set up in exactly that way.
When I gave birth, local midwives were not allowed to administer pethidene. No.
At home, that is - they were in the MLU.
Not sure why then because midwives are allowed to administer it as they see fit, so why wouldn't this apply to home births? It might be their NHS trust that doesn't allow it.
girl that's a bit different to them not being able to do it at all though. How come they don't allow pethidine at that hospital?
"What is so wrong with allowing women options?"
the resources (i.e. staff) that go into the stand alone MLUs come OUT of resources that could go into home births, here because we have a stand alone MLU everyone is discouraged from home births because the community MWs spend their night shifts at the MLU. I was told that I could have a home birth if I had my baby during the day but if it was at night they couldn't spare 2 MWs away from the MLU
there is nothing you can have at the MLU that you can't have at home, some inflatable birth pools are basic and some have slopes, seats, lights etc, same as the range of birth pools you might end up with at a MLU
(I know you can insist, but TBH it doesn't give you a good feeling about the birth if the MWs treat your option like a ball ache because the MLU is just more convenient for them (they have a room to sleep in when THEY think you don't need them!)
(the pool I had at the MLU was a crappy solid uncomfortable thing, I've seen much better inflatable ones)
Good midwives will encourage home births, but I can understand why it would be a pain in the arse for them. Staff is short enough in the hospitals unfortunately.
It would be good if people having a home birth could afford to pay for an independant midwife. But then again why should they have to...
No winning really. The government needs to sort their shit out and allocate more money for midwives. Every woman should have one to one care but unfortunately it just isn't available.
"Staff is short enough in the hospitals unfortunately" because they keep increasing the hospital "options" so there's less for HB options
its in the name of choice but actually its giving us less choice really
we now have 2 stand alone MLUs in a drivable distance (one is attatched to a hospital, but not a hospital with any obs or paeds provisions), plus a MLU attatched to a hospital with full obs/paeds/SCIU provision
- so they use up all their staff on keeping the fecking MLUs staffed! There's not enough left for them to be happy to provide home births! so stand alone MLUs represent LESS choices and more women institutionalised for their birth (even if the decor is pretty in the MLU, its still neat and an institution and "their territory!)
I repeat that I am NOT talking about MLUs joined on to CLUs (or on the next floor etc), I am talking about stand alone MLUs or MLUs in hospitals that dont have a CLU step up!
so you see how the MLUs actually in reality mean there are less community MWs available for HBs, and therefore there is less choice for women. They're just a neat and convienient way of fobbing off women with a "home from home environment" (bollocks!) so they don't have to/can't spare 2 MWs and can do other work (man the phones etc) instead of giving you full attention
anyway back to tips, because I'm finding them quite useful for packing for no2
i second the bottle of water in the freezer tip, and evian water spray
You do not need a bounty pack to get your CB form so don't let them tell you that you do when they bother you on the post natal ward. you can order it in advance or get it from the registrar!
TMI I go against popular opinion and DO rate paper pants, I bled a lot and found it handy to just rip the sides when sitting on the loo and chuck the bunch in the bin each time rather than peeling off saturated pads and peeling soaking pants down my legs
buy a range of different breast pads, plastic backed ones are not great for 24hr use as the lack of breathability can encourage thrush, but I found them nice and flat for out and about (the comfy ones had bulky outlines that poked out through clothes), and when my nipples were really sore the washable ones were the most comfy, but was good to have a variety for different times of day - the big thick disposables were good for night time (not plastic backed!) and they were also good for making poultis (?spelling?) to place on CS scar with boiled water, tea tree and lavender
don't pack one big bag, pack 3:
postnatal bag for you and baby
birth partners bag
it helps to have them separate if your birth partner needs to take bits home and bring in other things for you
car park change! don't forget car park change!
In the most polite way possible, what you're saying is a bit ill informed to be honest. It's not like that everywhere. Maybe for your trust/hospital, but not all. Increasing options? You mean increasing the amount of maternity units because they are NEEDED.
Of course they're going to use the midwives to staff their maternity units, that's what they're there for. And even those are understaffed with the midwife to woman ratio being a bit stretched. Actually some hospitals are failing to meet this standard ratio at all.
Fact of the matter is more women want hospital births, although there is a rise in home births which is great. So obviously they need to meet the demand for that, and as far as I'm aware no-one is stopping anyone from having a home birth are they?
More midwives are needed all round. Maybe it'd be bloody easier for people like me to get onto the degree course then too! Instead of 1350 people going for a 25 person course.
Goldship, I don't know, I agree it's unreasonable. My neighbour decided against a home birth in favour of the MLU on that basis, actually, because she was scared of a birth with only gas and air on offer.
Halloweeny, in my old trust the hospital attached MLU was sometimes closed because there were insufficient midwives to staff it. I sympathise with your own choices being constrained, too, but surely that applies to any woman's choices if funding and midwife cover is at issue - why privilege your own preference as a universal, and argue to reduce choices available to others? That doesn't really seem very balanced. [[http://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/related_documents/MS2Midwife-ledunits-1.pdf MLU generally show high maternal satisfaction scores, and I'm sorry your own experience didn't bear that out, but as mine did, and the plural of anecdote is not data so neither experience can offer more general application, perhaps the best position is that women should be supported in giving birth where they feel most comfortable, confident and supported - wherever that might be? Personally, I would hate to give birth at home. I'd be one of the Dutch women angry if that were enforced. Nor would I want a CL birth - just being checked out in that environment made me tense, and increased the pain levels markedly.
I loved giving birth. I really enjoyed it. I was at home for 3 days, but then it was absolutely not the right environment for me - and nor was the CLU, where I had a check after 48 hours. The MLU was perfect, and I absolutely intend to give birth there this time around, too. So please, stop arguing that that option shouldn't be there for women it suits, just because you personally wouldn't favour it. The two stand alone MLUs in this region - one in Oxon, one in Glos - are much loved by the women who use them. They deserve support, just as home birth options do.
So obviously they need to meet the demand for that, and as far as I'm aware no-one is stopping anyone from having a home birth are they?
In our Trust (since moved) nobody could be denied a home birth, but plenty were a MLU one. That was what was closed when midwife coverage was low.
The answer isn't closing MLU, IMO. It's more midwives.
" if funding and midwife cover is at issue - why privilege your own preference as a universal"
I'm not, didn't you see in my post that there are THREE MLUs here? many women that would have preferred a HB were rail roaded into one or other of them
I'm not against all MLUs just stand alone ones
Yes they need more midwives, but MLUs require less midwives per women so instead of increasing midwife numbers they are increasing MLU beds as its a more "efficient" way of getting women to pop em out!
(it was actually shagmundfreud who started this by the way by.. I would like to see more tips personally)
I think you're conflating two issues: funding for women's choices when giving birth, and the benefits or otherwise of MLU.
No woman should be pushed into giving birth in a way that doesn't suit her. But as many women really like MLU as a model, and they incidentally save the NHS money, then as long as it remains a choice, and we don't go the Dutch route and force women to birth the one way the state deems cheapest unless it's actively dangerous (home births, incidentally - provision of the birth setting costs a lot more than midwife salaries, given you still need midwives and 1 to 1 care in that setting) then I don't see a problem.
I wouldn't like any birth setting to be forced on anyone - I believe quite strongly that my own confidence in my care and setting helped me have a happy, easy birth (though obviously the biggest contributor was luck). And I wouldn't personally like to give birth without high-tech medicalised care close to hand. But people really are evangelical about how wonderful the two stand-alones locally are, so why argue against those options being available? Why shouldn't women have a range of choices, so they can work out what suits them most?
Curious about the "rail roading" - does your PCT deny home births to women? How do they do that? It's pretty shocking, if so, I agree.
Nobody I know in this area has ever got an NHS home birth, never met a single one who has even in passing! met lots that WANTED one though, the ones that wanted one either ended up in the MLU because we're told "women like it" or else paid at least 3k for private MWs to attend (obviously not an option for everyone)
there are in reality only 2 choices or, CLU or MLU. most of the resources go into the three MLUs, what's wrong with leaving the MLU attatched to the CLU in place, and diverting resources (in the absence of more MWs which is ideal but lets be real!) from the stand alones to HB so that there are THREE choices rather than two?
That's terrible, absolutely agree. In all 3 of the areas I know well, home births are on request, no problem at all unless you have genuine health issues that make that problematic for mother or baby.
I used to live in the East, and my lovely CMW set out that she supported any choice at all as long as the person was happy to talk it through, so she could be sure there were no misconceptions. My birth plan set out that if I was overdue/breech I wanted an elective section rather than an induced delivery/vaginal birth, and she said she agreed that that was what the evidence indicated, and wrote it up as being with her full support. And I knew a lot of people who delivered at home, too. Also know one who had an elective section because she was phobic of natural birth, and that was quite calmly and supportively arranged.
Currently live in the West Country and again, I know a fair few people who've had home births. If it is being denied on anything but medical grounds then that's unacceptable, I agree, and it's also contrary to NICE guidelines too, but I don't think there's any need to blame MLU per se, as they do suit many women beautifully. It's the lack of genuine choice that is appalling - whatever that choice may be.
But the problem with diverting resources from 3 units down to 1, incidentally, is I doubt quite that number (2/3) would prefer homebirths to MLU ones, and if you remove alternative beds then you are forcing them into it. Which is the Dutch model. Offering women a choice of a home birth is pretty different to their being insufficient beds for anything else.
The reality is that we have too few midwives, too few midwifery places, and a climbing birthrate. It's a problem. The answer isn't, really, to shuffle the choices to those that suit some women, and not others. That isn't solving anything, just altering the unhappy constituency.
What happened to our lovely light hearted sharing tips thread?? I was enjoying that!
Feel I should add something now I've delurked.
Most useful things I had in my hospital bag were bendy straws for labour and moist flushable toilet wipes for after - they are now top of my list!
I second the moist toilet tissue, especially after that first scary poo, very soothing!
What is nice about this thread is that you pick things up that you haven't thought about before. I have had two babies and pregnant with no 3 and moist toilet wipes have never crossed my mind. Genius!
I don't like how political this has all got but I have had two intervention free hospital births. The second was particularly calm and relaxed. Birthing ball, lights down low with minimal MW intervention. Out in six hours and could not fault it. Will now back away from the thread.....
I'll add a nice little tip: don't forget your phone charger so you can
keep up to date with MN call your mum when you're on the Post Natal ward.
And don't forget your slippers!
If you phone has a camera all the better, if not take one in then you may feel less inclined to have them by the
ridiculously expensive bounty photo lady who prays on your hormones
If you have older children take a ready wrapped present from the baby as a hello and thank you for being my older protective sibling makes them feel special, helps them bond with baby from the word go and keeps them quiet while others coo over the baby x
Invent an email address and a fake name for the Bounty woman.
They say they'll tick a box so you get no spam - in my case, they lied. She wouldn't accept my "no, I'm not interested" and kept insisting that I could opt out of the spam, so in the end I gave the info with that agreement just to make her go away. I then had so much postal junk the floor was covered every day for weeks, and I had to change my email address altogether after several years of it before.
I'm normally very assertive with salespeople (and they just want your marketing info, as new mothers are worth a FORTUNE to direct marketing companies) and I didn't want a bag full of crap - and I knew you could get the child benefit form online, so her repeated telling me "the bag has your child benefit form in..." especially annoyed. But after labour, birth and with my newborn by my side, in the end I gave her the info she was arguing for just to make her go away. This time around I plan to invent the lot. They will be selling a bouncing email address and an imaginary postal one.
It makes me angry that the hospitals let them in, TBH. I know they get paid a cut for the harvesting of our data, but it would be hard to imagine a more vulnerable group.
good tip re bounty....
the whole bounty thing makes me un easy - it felt so horrid when was accosted last time, the way they come at you as though you have to do it - .....its a gov thing etc...really sinister.
It really makes me laugh that Bounty are currently advertising for women to harass us, grab our data and flog us an expensive snapshot, and they're actually calling the bags their "infamous Bounty packs..."
Dear Bounty: in case you ever read this? Infamous does not mean exceptionally famous. It means famous for being exceptionally evil.
Who knew. There can be truth in advertising.
I gave an old email address & changed my mobile no by 1 digit.
Sorry to whoever's no I gave out: I was flummoxed by bounty.
Just tell the Bounty woman to fuck off. Saves your valuable sleeping time. There's nothing in the packs you need. If she tries saying you won't be able to claim child benefit otherwise, tell her that is a lie - you can claim online or get the paper form from the midwives.
If she then pretends to ask her superior if that's ok, but actually hides on the other side of your glass door for a min before returning with it, laugh lots and threaten a written complaint.
I'm gonnna make a laminated "no Bounty" sign.. but doubt that'll stop em from waking me!, last time she said "I have to take your details otherwise people will think you're trying to scam extra bags" err fuck off I don't want any of your bags!
Halloweeny the cheeky cow!
Notcitrus I planned to tell her to fuck off. Honest, I did. I'm usually really good at it, too! But after 3 days of labour I just gave in to make her shut up and go away.
I may sign myself Minnie Mouse, residing at Stop Your Junkmail Drive.
Tell you what, THERE Is a campaign I'd like MN to get behind - stop Bounty being allowed to exploit exhausted women who've just given birth. If they're that keen for us to get the bags, they can give them to GPs or midwives for the post-birth checks, and signups to marketing crap be opt-in.
Damn right, Perfectstorm.
Some lovely tips here (this will be DC2 but still a lot of this stuff is new ideas to me!)
Bounty bags were just given to us by the midwives on the ward after, no mention of signing up to anything!
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