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To ask about labour on induction wards

(47 Posts)
guinea36 Wed 05-Apr-17 10:21:25

I had DC a month ago and over the last few days have been reflecting on the birth.
I was going to pass my thoughts to the hospital but was wondering whether my experience and the experience of a friend who gave birth around the same time was normal.
I was induced and admitted to the special ward as DC was two weeks overdue. When I arrived there were a couple of other women with their partners and relatives. It turned out they had been on the ward a few days but were yet to go into labour. One of the women was playing music really loudly on her phone. It was a normal ward, bright lights, noise and curtain cubical. The family group were noisy and excited - although to a normal extent. However I later realised that some other patients behind curtains were clearly in labour and in a lot of pain. Some of them what sounded like fairly full on labour through the night while some of the other women's partners were snoring. They were left like that for several hours at least.
The next morning I went into labour. I would have loved to have done this stage in privacy at home and not behind a curtain on a dusty ward. A couple next door had arrived with loads of friends and relatives. I had to listen to one of them talking about how they were going to order chicken nuggets from McDonald's while I had painful contractions inches away!
I was eventually admitted to the delivery suite because of other complications after about 5 hours and the staff were fantastic. But a friend who was induced the next day was left on the same ward with no pain relief until she was 10cm dilated. She said she was gnawing a pillow so the other women didn't hear her screams.
I know the NHS is stretched but the more I think about it the more I feel it isn't right that women are left for hours to labour pretty much in front of strangers with little or no pain relief. Even if you are not yet 4cm dilated you can really in a lot of pain.
However I'm not sure what the solution could be. Private rooms for women in the early stages are probably not practical. Perhaps a calmer quieter area for women where labour is starting. I'd be keen to hear others' suggestions about how things could change and whether these kind of induction wards, where women in labour are left next to those waiting for things to kick off for hours, usual practice?

thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 05-Apr-17 10:29:37

I don't know what I'd suggest but I can empathise. I spent the night before my ds1 was born lay on an induction ward, listening to a 19 year old girl labour on her own throughout the night. The midwives visited her once. I went to them several times and said how distressed she was. In the end I just talked to her through the curtain. When they came to her st 8am she was 9 cm and they whisked her off to delivery. It was really harrowing. It affected my own labour too as 1) it was very stressful and 2) I was exhausted as I hadn't slept a wink all night. I think they thought she was making a fuss and as she's only just had the pessary didn't think it could be 'working' yet. I really felt for her.

Unfortunately all labour and new baby wards are noisy. I'm not sure there's anything they can do short of giving everyone a private room.

lorelairoryemily Wed 05-Apr-17 10:36:02

I was admitted the night before my induction as my waters were leaking. There were 2 other women in the ward and 3 empty beds. I was brought to a room in the labour ward to be induced, a single room and I had it I myself all day, until I was brought to theatre for emcs. I woke up back in the ward, which had filled by then but it was fine

Werkzallhourz Wed 05-Apr-17 10:42:15

I have never experienced this kind of set up, but my deliveries were under unusual circumstances so I'm not sure what happens in a normalish labour and delivery.

What I am surprised at is women being left to labour in an environment where a number of strangers are present. It's generally accepted that the presence of strangers affects the labour process, and I noticed that if an hcp I didn't know entered the room when I was in labour, my contractions were significantly worse.

The fact that your friend was left without pain relief and monitoring until she was 10cm is troubling, to say the least. It suggests no one was monitoring the patients on the ward at all.

goodpiemissedthechips Wed 05-Apr-17 10:46:23

What I am surprised at is women being left to labour in an environment where a number of strangers are present. It's generally accepted that the presence of strangers affects the labour process

This this this.

I can't believe they do this! (I gave birth outside the UK.) Women need to feel safe and be a trusted environment in order for labour to progress properly. Insanity!

People might argue that it's a money-saving tactic but it's important to note that delayed labour and interventions (up to and including CS) also cost money, not to mention the effects of birth trauma (which I was unfortunate enough to suffer) and which can all have a direct knock-on financial effect on the NHS!

RaeSkywalker Wed 05-Apr-17 10:46:25

Yep, this happened to me too- induced and laboured on the ward until I was ready for delivery. Hated every second as the couple opposite were playing music on their phones, going out to smoke, and bringing in fast food. Then at about midnight, they brought in a woman who was clearly having quite serious issues- only 24 weeks pregnant and in a very bad way. It was all incredibly stressful. Obviously I'd learned relaxation and massage techniques- none of which I felt able to use on the ward.

I do think it affected my labour, as I couldn't relax. I ended up having a half dose at pethedine once in established labour, because the midwife felt it might help me to get some rest.

I was also aware that I was the only woman in labour on the ward, and didn't want to disturb/ distress the others.

I suppose there's nothing they can do though- ideally, I would've laboured at home. Because I was being induced, the NHS had to provide room for me, but the sheer numbers of women in my situation mean that the provision of a private room just isn't possible.

OhDearToby Wed 05-Apr-17 10:56:54

I was induced with my dd1. To be honest it was a bloody nightmare.

I was in a normal antenatal ward so the other patients weren't there to be induced. Most of them were in the early stages of pregnancy. I went into labour very quickly but was left on my own, ex-p had gone home as it was night time. It was awful. The midwifes didn't believe I was in labour (so no pain relief, guidance, checks etc) until I felt my body pushing so crawled into the corridor outside the room and collapsed. When then checked I was 10cm dilated and gave birth within half an hour. Dp only just made it back in time. I was pretty traumatised by the whole experience, I really thought I/my baby was dying.

I don't know what the solution is. Obviously you can spend days being induced so couldn't be in a labour room for all that time but there must be a better solution than being in a room with strangers and no help.

corythatwas Wed 05-Apr-17 11:02:19

I was probably lucky because I had already been in hospital for several weeks with both pregnancies and a couple of the other women in the room were also old-timers. By the time I was induced, we had bonded and having them there actually felt like support. But appreciate that will be far from most women's experience.

alltouchedout Wed 05-Apr-17 11:04:01

I was induced with ds1, but I was lucky- after having the pessary inserted nothing happened (that I could feel anyway. According to the midwives when I was being monitored on the machine there were big contractions happening but how big can they have been if i didn't feel them?!) for over 14 hours, then all of a sudden my waters went, proper full on contractions started and ds1 was born 2 and a half hours later. They moved me from the ward I'd been on to the delivery suite pretty damn fast because it was the middle of the night and they didn't want me to wake anyone up. They didn't believe me that I was in full on labour though, kept saying I'd have hours to go and needed to calm down. They didn't look so calm themselves when I screamed at them I was going to push, they had a look and I was 10cm and ready, not 10 minutes after I'd had a patronising lecture on this only being the very early stages and to stop making such a noise as it wouldn't help.

3boys3dogshelp Wed 05-Apr-17 11:13:50

With my first labour I was induced in the delivery suite (complicated pregnancy so I had to have constant monitoring). I think because of the worries re ds I had a very experienced midwife who literally didn't leave the room until I had him! Amazing experience, very calm and supported.
Ds2 induced on postnatal ward in a private room as no room on antenatal ward and I was an urgent case - fine except there were babies crying everywhere when I went walking to try to encourage contractions and I felt bad disturbing people. I felt like I was fobbed off and not moved to the delivery suite soon enough until a lovely midwife came on shift and whisked me downstairs (asking me not to have ds2 in the lift!!). I had him an hour earlier than the time they had said they could move me downstairs.
Ds3 horrible horrible antenatal ward - very noisy, no privacy, having contractions behind a curtain inches from a man visiting his wife. When they agreed I needed to move to delivery I had to wait another half an hour and got quite stroppy blush. Should have been by far the most straightforward induction and labour as baby was healthy but turned out to be the worst. Labour was approx double the time of ds1.

Lules Wed 05-Apr-17 11:17:39

I didn't have to be induced, but came close it to and it would have been on the labour ward so in a private room. I didn't realise that was so unusual.

Lunde Wed 05-Apr-17 11:23:12

I don't think it is a new thing for induced labours to be started in the ante-natal ward. Indeed a relative actually had to deliver there as there were no delivery rooms available when the time came -this was almost 25 years ago

ItWentDownMyHeartHole Wed 05-Apr-17 11:25:34

There shouldn't be groups of people in there. Or music playing. Or stinky food. You should have been in a calm, quiet, more private space.

I was in an induction ward for three days about twelve years ago. It was packed with visitors. Had to have endless poking and prodding with no sense of privacy or calm. When I had the first really strong contraction and I yelled out in pain a man (part of a big group) visiting the woman in the next bed laughed. It was grim.

I hope you are enjoying your little one. As for complaining to the hospital, I think it would be a good idea to detail the exhaustion and stress of that environment. They could change it instantly by refusing more than one visitor per bed. I wish I had had enough about me to write and tell them how bad I'd found it. Instead I spent six months waking up in the middle of the night with cold sweats. Traumatised!

Alittlebitofthis Wed 05-Apr-17 11:28:31

On the admission ward in the hospital where I was, you were only allowed your birthing partner. No other visitors.

Rossigigi Wed 05-Apr-17 11:44:17

When I went into labour with ds1 at 19 they at first on the phone would not accept me to the delivery suite as I had only had a show and few contractions. My mum argued so they reluctantly said I could go in for a check up. I arrived at his delivery suite at 8:30am and my son arrived at 9:30am.
Got taken to the ward and I felt great, could have done it again, however there was a lady opposite who had gone through quite a rough time and each time she was going to the bathroom her nigh clothes were soaked in blood and not once did any nurse come in to ask her if
She needed help changing etc.
My dp and other dads were also present and it must have been so humiliating for her when she got up.

DuggeeHugs Wed 05-Apr-17 11:55:00

I was induced with DC and admitted to the general maternity ward after a night in labour ward HDU. Maternity was four to a bay and mixed, usually 2 pre-birth and 2-post birth. Lots of visitors 24/7. The induction took 5 days before I was finally given an EMCS. Everyone heard when I was having excruciating examinations or crying in pain. Likewise, I heard everyone else's pain and tmi stories. Like the patient whose friend was explaining to the patient's mother that the patient was pregnant (according to the boyfriend) because she 'sat down at the wrong moment'. It was a very long week.

I don't know what the solution is though.

Joinourclub Wed 05-Apr-17 12:04:48

Yes, sadly my experience with dc1. I was in a lot of pain, and vomiting but felt I had to suppress my screams because others were trying to sleep. I wanted to move about, to moan and groan. But I was stuck behind a curtain with 3 other women metres away. I didn't get taken to delivery until I was really advanced. And I gave birth with half an hour of being in the delivery suite. I was very unhappy with this aspect of labour. My second child was induced too. So I spent more time in the ward and actually witnessed two other women's waters break!

ragz134 Wed 05-Apr-17 12:09:56

That sounds horrible! I never went on a labour ward, straight to delivery room with two of mine (planned home births, had to go in last minute) and a home birth with my second.
I can't believe there's so little privacy!

mirime Wed 05-Apr-17 12:25:50

I guess I was quite lucky in that I needed an ARM so was taken to a delivery suite for that, but the two days before that of pessaries I was on an antenatal ward with a mix of people, including the poor lady opposite me who's induction failed and they made her go through it all a second time and another woman who had given birth, gone home and had to come back as her blood pressure had shot up.

It was distressing when the pessary hyperstimulated my uterus and I had to be on a ward with a bunch of strangers in agony and unable to get up and walk around for hours while they monitored me.

Mamabear14 Wed 05-Apr-17 12:33:33

I was left 4 days after my pessary before being moved to labour ward and having my waters broke. The pessary did nothing and I had to take it out myself after 24 hrs. 15 people leapfrogged me as their waters broke and mine didn't. The woman next to me had strep b and was having the antibiotics and kept trying to convince the midwives she needed to go next not me, as I wasn't in pain. I hated every second. I have never ever cried so much it nearly broke me, 4 days of being told you're next, gearing yourself up and then not being 15 times! I didn't sleep due to people being brought in/moved to labour ward etc. I did have a 8am shout at a poor student midwife on the last day which wasn't one of my finest moments. Then I cried at her.
Once I did finally get to labour ward the care was excellent however as was it when we were called back for DD to have phototherapy.

PotteringAlong Wed 05-Apr-17 12:38:10

I was induced two out of three times and both times had a private induction room - no induction ward at my hospital! This was NHS.

Spudlet Wed 05-Apr-17 12:38:24

I was induced but had a side room. I had no idea this wasn't just standard!

My gripe was that I was left totally alone as the ward staff wouldn't call my dh when I started having contractions, and were so dismissive that I felt I was being stupid and needy - so I didn't call him myself and laboured all night, totally alone. I was in a right old state by morning.

PotteringAlong Wed 05-Apr-17 12:39:44

spud me neither! I assumed a room was standard.

Allshadesofpinkie Wed 05-Apr-17 12:49:14

It's not unusual. I had pessary induction for second baby and gave birth in the observation ward after a nurse/midwife told me it was far too early for it to have worked. I think my partner was more stressed as I was in the giving birth zone but he was aware of everything. It took me saying he'd have to catch the baby for them to send a midwife in. Poor guy, he's really squeamish.

Sillygoof Wed 05-Apr-17 12:54:31

I was induced with both of my children. The first I didn't go into labour until I was in delivery anyway. The second - I was admitted onto the ward and it appeared to be similar to what you are describing and I hated it, hated having strangers near me. I talked to the midwife and explained that it was going to make me anxious so they found me a place in a two person room which was much calmer.

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