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Home birth in a flat?! Any thoughts?

(39 Posts)
earlgreyismynectar Tue 04-Jan-11 09:47:29

I'm 35 weeks and planning a home birth and although the idea of being in a flat rather than a house doesn't bother me in itself, it is inhibiting me from going the route of getting a pool for a water birth (I'm hoping to go without pain relief). Has anyone had similar relief in a hb situation from a bath? Apart from that I am very happy with my choice, I have great neighbours(!) am 5 mins from the hospital and have a Doula lined up too. The midwife is coming over on Thursday so I'll find out more about what I need then. I'd be really interested to hear from any other home birther's in a flat situation & what I ought to think about and also from those who chose not to use a pool and what helped with pain relief / getting comfortable!

OmicronPersei8 Tue 04-Jan-11 10:06:01

I have a friend who had a hb in a flat (first floor) - with a pool. Can I ask why being a flat is an inhibiting factor with reference to using a pool?

I bought a pool to use in a planned hb in a flat (DC2), but due to being overdue didn't end up using it (induction in hospital instead - which was fine). I did use a pool for DC1, in a midwife-led unit, and it does give more actual back-coverage (I am quite tall) so was more effective than a bath. That said, a bath is still lovely, especially with a shower attachment that can be directed onto your lower back.

I did have gas and air with the first birth, didn't bother with the second. I only used a tens machine with the second, I'd say keep as mobile as possible, lean forward. I found breathing really helped too, if you are anywhere near London I'd highly recommend a breathing class I went to - it's only 2 hours, covers hypnobirthing breathing ideas but for only about £40.

I would say though that I also didn't go any further with pain relief as both labours were pretty quick - 5 and 1.5 hours respectively. If I'd been labouring for 24 hours+ or if they'd been back-to-back I think I may have seen things a little differently!

With the quick second labour I did realise I wouldn't have had much time in the pool if it took an hour to fill - it would also have been a distraction with DH faffing with it instead of supporting me (and would have possibly been an extra source of stress for him).

No idea if my ramblings are of any use. Hope it all goes well.

hazchem Tue 04-Jan-11 10:10:00

I'm planning a homebirth in a flat with out pain relief. I'm planning on using a pool. i'm on the first floor. My partner has informed the landlord lord that we are doing that and have had no word from the landlord saying we can't. do you have a spesfic reason you you don't want the pool

I watch my brother being born at home and my mum had no pain relief. she did stay in the bath a long time and when out of the bath we had load of hot towels. basically nappies in very hot water that we held to her back and tummy.

I'm also trying natal hypnotherapy as I've heard really good things about it.

Good luck

EdgarAleNPie Tue 04-Jan-11 10:22:20

you don't need a pool - and they can get in the way.

walking helps to progress the birth (if you like, put down plastic sheet over the carpet) and if your birth partner massages your lower back for you it really can help ease the pain...

earlgreyismynectar Tue 04-Jan-11 10:37:25

Thanks very much Omicron, that is really helpful to hear. I have a few concerns about using a pool in the flat due to the weight of it (comedy moment, the idea of which my midwife planted in my mind!) however being a solidly built Victorian structure I'm sure it'd be fine. Also though, I have recently sold the property and we move out at the end of Feb which is 3 weeks after my due date & it's just the thought of any potential water damage / any thing going wrong with it which puts me off. A bit irrational I know... I'm really encouraged by your thoughts on the bath / shower head being effective, all do-able. I'll try to remain active & forward leaning too. I laboured in an upright position with DD1 though was less active so will definitely try to be more mobile this time. Incredibly fast labours Omicron! That's amazing! I was 12 hours the last time so hope it may be under that this time! Unfortunately I'm not near London but will look further at breathing techniques as I can see how important that would be. Thanks!

earlgreyismynectar Tue 04-Jan-11 10:41:57

Thanks very much Omicron, that is really helpful to hear. I have a few concerns about using a pool in the flat due to the weight of it (comedy moment, the idea of which my midwife planted in my mind!) however being a solidly built Victorian structure I'm sure it'd be fine. Also though, I have recently sold the property and we move out at the end of Feb which is 3 weeks after my due date & it's just the thought of any potential water damage / any thing going wrong with it which puts me off. A bit irrational I know... I'm really encouraged by your thoughts on the bath / shower head being effective, all do-able. I'll try to remain active & forward leaning too. I laboured in an upright position with DD1 though was less active so will definitely try to be more mobile this time. Incredibly fast labours Omicron! That's amazing! I was 12 hours the last time so hope it may be under that this time! Unfortunately I'm not near London but will look further at breathing techniques as I can see how important that would be. Thanks!

OmicronPersei8 Tue 04-Jan-11 10:51:31

Second labours can be much faster - I hope you're pleasantly surprised! It really made such a difference that it was over so quickly.

I can understand your reluctance to use the pool, I think I'd worry about it too if I'd already sold the flat!

I found a birthing ball and a tens machine the best things in the second labour - I leant on the ball and rocked my hips through each contraction.

earlgreyismynectar Tue 04-Jan-11 10:58:38

Great to hear Hazchem & EdgarAleNPie (love the name!) really helpful to hear. There isn't a lot of room here tbh so it would definitely get in the way! Walking & being active will be what I'll aim for & it'll be great to be able to do that in my own home. The bath too will be in use, hot towels is an interesting idea which I wouldn't have thought of. I'll check out hypnobirthing, good luck yourself! Thanks!

earlgreyismynectar Tue 04-Jan-11 11:04:03

Oh I hope you're right Omicron! It's part of the reason I'd rather not transfer as I left it pretty late on the last time. I have the birthing ball and will try TENS this time too! Good to feel more confident about the idea of doing this without a pool! Thanks

MoonUnitAlpha Tue 04-Jan-11 14:20:32

I planned a homebirth in a second floor flat (birth was actually at hospital in the end) and did have a pool - it was a birth pool in a box mini, I just put shower curtains down on the floor and there was no mess or water damage. I used the bath earlier in the labour and it provided some relief, but nothing like as good as the pool to be honest. The combination of pool and gas and air was amazing.

hastingsmum Tue 04-Jan-11 19:28:01

I had a homebirth in a flat last time, although it wasn't planned. As someone said second time around can be a lot faster and my second came out only 4 minutes after the ambulance people arrived.

The only thing I found a bit annoying was that my hubby had to run down and unlock the front door (we were on the first floor) and I felt very alone and scared, but I suppose that wouldn't be the case in a planned homebirth with a doula and a MW.

Also, we had no plastic sheets or anything but everything cleaned up just fine after.

earlgreyismynectar Wed 05-Jan-11 06:38:29

Thanks moonunit, this too is a 2nd floor flat, it's good to hear others have planned in similar circumstances! I haven't even looked into pools tbh but I suppose there would be no harm in seeing what's out there, mini it would have to be! Cost is an implication too. I agree that ideally it would be great to at least have the option, it just doesn't seem realistic all things considered!
Hastingsmum, great to hear! I've been enjoying reading the other thread here on unplanned homebirths! Good for you! I remember the days of having to run down to open the main front door! I would've felt the same in your situation! We have the luxury of an intercom now! Great to hear mess was minimal too, I really don't know how much mess to plan for!

pupuce Wed 05-Jan-11 12:45:49

As a doula I've been to many water births... not yet have been a problem in terms of damage, spillage etc.... Pools are very sturdy and it's not the same as a bath or a shower... the feeling is very different I think.
Good luck what ever you decide

msbossy Wed 05-Jan-11 17:46:04

I didn't have suitable room for a pool in my house so we didn't bother. I managed fine with a bath and gas and air. Although I do have room this time around i'm not planning to use one this time either.

anastasiak Wed 05-Jan-11 20:45:07

homebirth is mental full stop, whether in a flat or not. Our baby would have died had I not been in hospital, and being monitored, and therefore in the right place for an EMCS. good friends of ours were not so lucky and their baby died - get yourself to hospital.

earlgreyismynectar Wed 05-Jan-11 21:13:21

Thanks pupuce, good to hear from a Doula point of view, I can imagine it is a whole different experience altogether. I'll look at options available to me & go from there. Msbossy, great to hear you managed without a pool too & are now planning without! Anastasiak, thanks for your comments, I appreciate hb can be a contentious issue & fully appreciate your personal experience which you bring to this but I have given this a great deal of thought and have chosen this route for a whole variety of good reasons. I don't need to go into those now as that isn't the issue up for discussion. Thanks for your thoughts anyway.

EdgarAleNPie Thu 06-Jan-11 16:05:55

anastasiak respect others birthing choices.

being at home reduces her chance of an EMCS by half, and of othe birthibng injuries..

there is no additional risk t mother or baby over a hospital birthh.

so gafy

anastasiak Thu 06-Jan-11 21:45:34

Gosh Edgar! aren't you rude and unpleasant!!

anastasiak Thu 06-Jan-11 21:48:12

And, I should have added, illiterate as well. A winning combination.

thisisyesterday Thu 06-Jan-11 21:54:35

pupuce!!!! i haven't seen you for years (it seems!) you gave me great advice when i had my first baby (nearly 6 years ago, and under a diff name)

Margles Fri 07-Jan-11 00:41:39

No anastasiak homebirth isn't mental.

For many it's a very safe choice and offers the attention of one midwife rather than sharing between 3 or 4 other women or labouring unattended in a corridor because they are busy, and no exposure to hospital infections. If interventions do become necessary it's because of medical need and not because the clock or hospital protocol dictates it, or because they want to speed things up because the labour ward is busy.

And babies die in hospital too - some of whom might not have died if the said interventions for hospital expendiency hadn't occurred.

I had a forceps birth with my daughter and some might say that this intervention saved her life, but I will always feel that the poor quality of care endangered it in the first place.

There was no way I was going to risk this the second time round and went for the safety of a homebirth with an extremely experienced community midwife.

I don't know you or your circumstances but have the grace to admit that what you thought was right for you is not necessarily right for everywoman.

Porcelain Fri 07-Jan-11 16:55:37

The problem i had with the bath (a standard bath) was finding a comfy position when putting weight on my tailbone was really sore.

A wide bath or corner bath might be ok, or even one that had a free end, not against a wall, to lean on when on your knees. Some buildings do have strong enough structure for a pool on an upper floor, but I'm not sure of the details, worth asking a pool expert.

Porcelain Fri 07-Jan-11 17:05:39

Incidentally, I had a emcs, which we both would have died without, but I still laboured at home for 2 days, with a trip to hospital and back for a scan, and eventually, when we recognised he was in distress, transferred to hospital with hours to spare. Midwives are very good at preempting problems, and in an emergency, an ambulance can usually get you there in the time it takes the surgical team to get their act together.

earlgreyismynectar Fri 07-Jan-11 21:50:21

Thanks Edgar, Margles & Porcelain for your input. The discussion has moved onto safety & I fully appreciate your eloquent replies which I know are based on hard facts. It is good for all of those out there who are considering hb or weighing up the options. I have researched home birth and have no doubt as to it being the best choice for me. Safety for baby and myself is paramount in this decision. My first hospital birth 4 years ago where I experienced hospital time restriction for the second stage has influenced this decision. I have been told by two very experienced midwives that I am the ideal candidate for hb and my flat was covered yesterday in a check list and has been deemed to be absolutely fine for it. Back to my original question, I can fully appreciate that a bath can be restricting for labour, mine is standard sized so quite narrow and the only access is one length, not the ends. I think for early labour it will be fine but I realise it will be too limiting for later labour. My community midwife who assessed the flat yesterday said that I would need to consult with a structural engineer re the weight of a pool on an upper floor and she has only known them to be located on the ground floor. I'm sure in reality it would be fine but the fact that I've sold this property is also influencing this decision! If I do decide to transfer to the lovely brand new pool facility in the local hospital, it is just 5 minutes away making the decision to home birth gives the best of all options.

Margles Fri 07-Jan-11 22:08:31

Isn't it said that if the floor can take the weight of 15 people then it will be strong enough for a birth pool? Also you are supposed to put them in a corner because the joists will be stronger there?

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