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Is it possible to have a 'calm and straightforward' birth in hospital?

(58 Posts)
samstown Thu 02-Jun-11 20:16:34

I am 29 weeks pregnant and my thoughts are increasingly turning to the birth of my baby. I have joined the NCT and have started to go to one of their Yoga classes (which is excellent). I have already decided to give birth in hospital rather than at home. I love the idea of a home birth but I just cannot get the thought out of my head that if something went wrong and I was at home rather than in hospital and couldnt get transferred I would never be able to forgive myself. I know that lots of women have wonderful home births, but I think, this time at least, it just isnt for me.

However, I have been reading all the stuff from the NCT which seems to suggest that if you have a hopsital birth it will be difficult to have a straightforward birth etc etc. I really like the idea of a birthing pool but I dont know if my hospital has one (Lister in Stevenage in case anyone does know!) I also want as little intervention as possible really, although if it was necessary obviously I will go with whatever is best for me and my baby. I really want a calm and quiet birth and really try to use the breathing techniques that I have started to learn, but all I have really seen on programmes like One Born Every Minute is women labouring on their backs and screaming in pain! I am also unlucky in that there is a midwife led unit at my hospital but it isnt opening until the autumn so that is not an option either.

I am rambling here, but what I guess I am asking is have any of you had a calm and straightforward birth with music, breathing, water etc and all that stuff that goes with a homebirth, in a hopsital environment?

Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 02-Jun-11 20:20:31

Yes! I had 3 such hospital births! Used the pool for pain relief, but preferred to get out to actually deliver. No intervention, and all 3 times pretty relaxed and unhurried. With no's 2 and 3 I also had a 6 hour discharge, so was home by lunchtime- best of both worlds! By that evening I was sitting with my lovely new baby and a chinese take away.

I know it doesn't work like that for everyone, everywhere (I'm in Scotland, so don't know about your local hospital), but it can happen! Good luck!

Jojay Thu 02-Jun-11 20:21:52

I had a calm birth with DS2 in hospital. I didn't want a pool, water etc, but DH and I were very much left to it, to allow things to progress as we wnated. The midwives popped in discreetly every now and again, until I started pushing, when one stayed with me until the baby was crowning, then another appeared.

Monitoring was minimal and they certainly didn't insist I stayed on the bed or anything like that.

It was a good experience and I didn't feel bossed around or pressurised into anything. G&A was given when I asked for it, but no other pain relief was asked for by me, or offered by them.

Remember on OBEM, it's the shouty ones that make good TV!

themildmanneredjanitor Thu 02-Jun-11 20:26:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jetgirl Thu 02-Jun-11 20:27:00

I had a lovely birth with DS, at the hospital where OBEM is filmed! My midwife throughout my pregnancy delivered him, let me get on with how I wanted to labour and I had 2 lovely student midwifes too getting me drinks of water etc. I really do look back on the experience fondly smile

domesticslattern Thu 02-Jun-11 20:28:22

Yes it is.

I gave birth in a hospital, on all fours and no interventions whatsoever. Same as you, I wondered why in 'One Born Every Minute' they were all on their backs- that wasn't what I wanted and my MW was totally supportive. I decided against a home birth for the same reasons as you. While I couldn't exactly describe it as a calm and quiet birth (I was swearing my head off), it wasn't bad at all. I found this CD very helpful BTW- sounds like it might be right up your street.

Can you quote the stuff from the NCT which "seems to suggest that if you have a hospital birth it will be difficult to have a straightforward birth" because that sounds like bollocks, and it surprises me. Clearly being in hospital makes it statistically more likely that your birth will have interventions (all kinds of complicated reasons for that, including that higher risk mothers will be dissuaded from home births) but it certainly doesn't mean that it will. The NCT is meant to be all about informed choice and is often (unfairly IMHO) accused of getting it wrong, so I'd love to see the exact quote.

GoldenGreen Thu 02-Jun-11 20:36:24

Yes, I had pretty much exactly the birth I wanted with ds, but some of this was down to luck - it was quick, the birthing pool was available, the same mw stayed throughout etc. And the mw was very experienced and hands off - just what I wanted.

rubyslippers Thu 02-Jun-11 20:39:34


Both of my births were straight forward and intervention free in hospital

My second was particularly good - water birth, very hands off midwife, just gas and air and a physiological third stage. I had an hour of skin to skin before she was even weighed wonderful

boysrock Thu 02-Jun-11 20:41:04

Yes, I had 3 such births one of which was in a consultant led unit due to antenatal haemorrhage. The other 2 were in the midwife led unit next door to the consultant led one.

All of them were calm and positive and with no intervention in the end. I think the 2nd and 3rd were so calm because I knew that if anything went wrong I would have immediate attention.

MakemineaGandT Thu 02-Jun-11 20:41:58

Of course. Most hospitals have a "midwife-led" unit which is very much the same experience as a home birth......except you get to leave the mess behind and you have the reassurance that you are already in the right place if anything is to go wrong.

trixymalixy Thu 02-Jun-11 20:44:58

Yes, I was in a lovely room with a birthing pool although I had to get out to give birth, but it was very calm, uncomplicated and straightforward. A lovely experience.

samstown Thu 02-Jun-11 20:50:45

Thank you for your messages. Domesticslattern, thanks for that CD recommendation, I have actually already got them!
Wrt to the NCT stuff, it was just an info sheet about 'Ways to help a straightfoward birth' and on the list was 'Book to have your baby at home' which seems to suggest to me that by having a hospital birth you are decreasing your chance of a straightforward birth. Later on on the sheet it says 'if you are having your baby in hospital....' and it feels like they are saying preceeding that with a firm 'tut tut'! Now actually, the rational side of me knows that this is not actually what they are saying at all, I am just being silly, and like you said, it is just stastically more likely that intervention will be needed in hosptial. However, just reading the stuff almost makes me feel guilty that I am not having a home birth, especially when in many ways, I would love to have one!
I never thought I would think about this stuff so much - I always thought I would just have it in hospital, no questions asked!

BigGLittleG Thu 02-Jun-11 20:55:37

Had a calm and wonderful hospital birth here as well. Had to be induced for medical reasons and had an epidural alongside but it was just the smoothest most positive experience. Husband and I spent day in delivery room chatting while lovely midwife popped in to check on me regularly.

Went in at 9, baby was out by 3 with a very straighforward vaginal delivery -- hate to say it but except for the 45 minutes of pushing I barely broke a sweat. Have a huge amount of admiration for all the ladies here who try natural birthing. I was sitting up with legs in stirrups and baby pretty much slid out.

Very different, although no less wonderful if you are serious about going natural. As long as you go in positively feeling as though you are in control all will be well.

Best of luck.

bonkers20 Thu 02-Jun-11 20:58:32

I've never had a home birth but my hosp. birth with my second was calm and straightforward. I arrived at 8pm, got checked over once, got onto the gas and air and DS arrived at 9pm. The pool was full by about 9.10pm so I got in and had my tea in there. Just me, my lovely midwife and lovely birth partner sister. This was not the midwife led unit (which I wanted to go to, but was not open that evening), but I was lucky that the birth pool room was free. She never told me how dilated I was, just let me get on with it. I was on all fours.

I could have gone straight home, but I wanted my night in so they could look after me and I could look after DS. I got my own side room as there were no beds on the ward and had a very good nights sleep.

Flowerista Thu 02-Jun-11 21:02:14

My NCT leader was actually quite anti hospital and midwives and made a number of snide remarks along the lines that your choices would be limited. My experience was the polar opposite. Pre birth we had an arranged tour of the maternity unit, could and did ask loads of questions and on the day the midwives, registrars and consultant was absolutely excellent. We had a plan which they respected and when that went a bit awry they were there to get things sorted.

wilkos Thu 02-Jun-11 21:06:23

I had one, a straightforward calm water birth with DC2 at the QE11 in Welwyn. It was so wonderful that I feel a bit teary knowing that now we've moved I won't be having DC3 there sad

AnathemaDevice Thu 02-Jun-11 21:12:32

I had 2 very straightforward hospital births. DDs in particular was easy (well, as easy as childbirth gets, anyway-though that was probably because I'd already doen it once and I was feeling quite confident). I arrived at the hospital at 8.20pm, she arrived at 9.32pm.

All the midwives did throughout the whole labour was hand me the gas and air when I arrived, and catch the baby! The first midwife I had tried to tell me to get back up onto the bed, but I was very firm that I wanted to stand up, and I would get back up when I wanted to, and not before.

There was a shift change just as I started to want to push, and I ended up with 2 lovely midwives (one was a student) who stood back, let me get into the position I was most comfortable in (on all fours), and get on with the job in hand. Mind you, I was only pushing for 12 minutes, they didn't really have time to intervene.

I'm more than happy with the way both my labours went, and would be happy to go into hospital again should I ever have a 3rd DC.

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Thu 02-Jun-11 21:47:08

I think the NCT are incredibly thoughtless in the way they present hospital birth when some women have no option other than a very medicalised, intervention-heavy delivery.

Really, I don't think it's the setting of the birth which creates or prevents calmness or straightforwardness... these things are about attitude and confidence.

wasabipeanut Thu 02-Jun-11 22:06:19

I don't think the NCT help their own public image at times. If it is your first birth and you've had a straight forward pregnancy then IME your hospital will want to intervene as little as possible - it's cheaper that way. Hospitals don't have a secret agenda to try to medicalise births as much as they can. Sometimes I think the NCT does rather give the impression that doctors stalk the corriders trying to sell epidurals onto labouring women. In reality I'm afraid the situation is rather the opposite.

My second birth was a VBAC in hospital and was as natural as I had wished for. No music or subdued lighting admittedly but I was left alone at about 11.30pm "to see how things progress over the next couple of hours" and bar the midwife popping her head in a couple of times that was it - until DH went in search of someone to tell them I wanted to push several hours later. DD was born just after 3am.

Don't get too hung up on how perfect you want the birth to be. In the event you may not care about the environmental factors as much as you think you will. Good luck!

jasper Thu 02-Jun-11 22:08:18

of course

NonnoMum Thu 02-Jun-11 22:10:44

I think you need to ask your midwife if you can have a visit of the maternity unit at your hospital. Then you will be able to ask questions about pool, active labour, birth positions etc... You may find that the current practice at your hospital is much closer to NCTishness than OBEM.
Good luck

teenyweenytadpole Thu 02-Jun-11 22:15:22

I'd say yes it is possible but you need to do your prep, find out what kind of birth unit it is (do they do tours or could you just pop along and ask for a look see?). Can your midwife or GP advise? Find out about their routines, what their protocols are etc. No good having a birth pool if it is never available because of short staffing. A birth plan is good, not set in stone or seventeen pages long on lilac paper but just a simple statement of your goals and preferences. A doula can be an enormous help especially if she is familar with the hospital. Spending as much of your (early) labour at home is also useful (again a doula can help with this).

CravingMarmite Thu 02-Jun-11 22:29:23

Completely able to have nice natural birth in hospital, especially on a midwifery led unit.

I have found the NCT a very useful resource when I had my first child, especially in meeting mums to be several of which I still see 3 years dwon the line and hubby is now godfather to their 2nd child.

However the way that pain relief , augmentation and c sections are taught in my experience, was in a very negative light - for example to try and explain the experience of going for a c section and who may be in the room everyone got assigned a role (mum, anaestetist, obs consultant, reg, midwife, paed, ODA etc) and then instead of explaining why this is necessary it was more of a "see look how impersonal and busy this is, yes it's not nice is it ladies...." I am a doctor so is hubby so this lead to some great sport for us debating and challenging certain points.

samstown Thu 02-Jun-11 22:38:54

Thank you everyone, it is so great to read so many positive stories!

cory Thu 02-Jun-11 23:12:38

I think labouring women often sound worse than they actually are. Not all the noise is because you are in unbearable pain, some of it is just because you're working hard- or because screaming actually makes it easier.

I gave birth in the Princess Anne (where One Born Every Minute is filmed) and I did not have the experience that you were forced to stay on your back or having medicalised births foisted on you. Mine was fairly medicalised because I was a high risk case and there were some problems with my babies, but if I did labour on my back for part of the time it was simply because I felt more comfortable that way.

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