Special needs pregnancy and birth
If your baby has been diagnosed with a medical or health condition, then your birth is likely to be managed more closely than it would be otherwise.
Your consultant should inform you exactly what will happen well in advance. Depending on the situation, you may be advised to have a c-section instead of a vaginal birth.
Before the birth
If possible, ask to visit the hospital and familiarise yourself with the neonatal unit, or wherever you are advised that your baby may have to stay for a while. Discuss with the staff what treatment may be required. Discuss your feelings about feeding your baby, and how your wishes will be carried out.
"When my son was born, the immediate rush was to find out whether he had a unilateral or bilateral cleft lip and palate - not the normal counting fingers and toes that we all dream of!" fairyjay
On the one hand, when your baby is born you will be able to properly discover what medical care he or she may need, but on the other, it can be hard to let go of the 'control' that you currently have, keeping your baby safe and warm inside you.
As one mum said: "Having the baby means scans and tests and maybe discovering something we don't want to find out."
But giving birth will also mean that your baby can start receiving the best medical care - and knowing about any problems antenatally means your hospital will be well prepared for your baby's birth.
"Now she was out we could determine the exact effect her heart defect would have on her and more definite courses of action and support could be organised and provided. Unfortunately, I was only able to see my daughter in passing, as she was taken straight to intensive care, so that was a little disappointing, but she was here and my baby and I knew we would get through whatever we had to." eidsvold
Mumsnetters' birth experiences
- When my son was born onto my stomach, I drew him straight to my chest / breast and didn't even look at his legs (where we knew there were problems). His Apgar was OK and eventually the paediatrician gave him more of a once over, and his little foot became noticeable, and they checked for all the other things that had loomed over us in a very discreet way. paediatrician
- Comparing photos of me the day before my daughter was born, to ones the day she was born, you can just see all the worry falling away, even though she still had lots of tests ahead of her. They gave me a lovely senior midwife and my consultant wrote to the ward manager explaining the circumstances and requesting that I have my own room, plenty of privacy etc. The staff treated me very well. mrsdarcy
- I had a great pregnancy and a really great birth. The second she was passed to me I took one look and almost my very first thought was: 'She's got Down's syndrome.' I pushed it away though, too scared to do anything else. But as I breastfed her and the midwife was doing her thing I looked at her eyes, the large space between them, the big deep fold round the back of her neck and it seemed so obvious, so I said it out loud. I didn't think for a second the midwife would agree, or maybe I knew she would, just prayed she'd disagree. But she said: 'Yes, she does, doesn't she?' Thomcat
- As I watched her, this teeny tiny naked body in an incubator, wires everywhere, ambulance men wheeling her along, a crowd of people in white coats, my heart doubled in size and the shock was replaced by an overwhelming urge to protect her. We got back to the local hospital I held her for the first time since she had been born. I felt so proud of her and as I sat there feeding her I fell in love and I knew everything would be OK. Thomcat