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Question about Lewisham birth centre

(8 Posts)
TremoloGreen Thu 29-Nov-12 16:31:14

I am hoping to have DC1 here next year. My very vague birth plan is to try and have a normal birth, using non-drug methods and maybe gas and air for pain relief. However, I am very aware that I have no idea how my labour is going to go and how well I'm going to cope with the pain. Therefore I don't want to totally rule out the option of having an epidural if my labour goes on for days, or I just can't bear it.

My questions is, if I start off in the birth centre and decide I want an epidural, will they transfer me upstairs to the labour ward or will they try and put me off becuase I've chosen the birth centre? I will ask my midwife, but I'm scared she'll give me an 'official' answer that isn't what actually happens in practice (I find this happens quite often when I ask doctors questions). If you have any experience with Lewisham, I would love to hear what you found.

CrackleMauve Fri 30-Nov-12 08:49:20

Hard to say as it will depend where you are in your labour. They like to keep you labouring at home as long as possible, so you may decide at home that you'd rather go to the labour ward, in which case that's easy.

You might be right at the point of delivering where you tend to go a bit nuts and then it gets better, in which case they might try to talk you through it as time wise the worst bit is done and you'd have your baby before you could get an epidural.

I know a few people who had babies there and the ones who moved to the labour ward were for medical reasons rather than pain relief (me included). I don't know anyone who wanted more pain relief than they got there, if you see what I mean. They all just rave about the lovely birth pools.

DaffyDuck88 Fri 30-Nov-12 15:24:18

Hello! I just had the tour of the birth centre yesterday and they did specifically say that if as things progressed you wanted an epidural they would transfer you. But you are dependent on an anesthetist being available and not being too far along in labour for it to be too close to actual delivery. I think there is a cut off limit prior to birth for them to administer the epidural, cant remember what it is though.

If you are using the birth centre, they do suggest you stay at home until you are having contractions 3mins apart for at least an hour, so it might prove a little late.... Best to ask them, they were really lovely and helpful.

TremoloGreen Fri 30-Nov-12 16:27:32

Thank you guys, that is really helpful. Daffy how did you arrange the tour, did your midwife tell you about it? Also, did they show the labour ward too? Thanks smile

DaffyDuck88 Fri 30-Nov-12 22:24:27

Sorry for delay in replying TremoloGreen! My midwife put me down for the Birth Centre at my request, hence the tour after my risk assessment yesterday. But we also did the NHS parentcraft classes and they took you on a tour of both the Labour Ward and the Birth Centre too, although they were really busy that evening in the birth centre, so that part of the tour didn't really happen. Since then though I have heard Lewisham Hospital do regular tours on Thursdays. Otherwise your midwife can refer you or you can contact them directly:

I was quite anxious before the initial tour as I don't even like the idea of hospitals, let alone knowing I have to be in one, but in fact everyone was lovely and very reassuring. I'm approved now for the birth centre, but of course you still can't know just what little one will have in mind, so either way I am happy with the facilities Lewisham offer. I felt after the tour it was more about the attitude of the staff and as they seemed very welcoming and calm I felt reassured and ok with the thought that if a hoped for water birth doesn't happen that I and little one would still be fine.

Also if you are in the birth centre and want to have an epidural, the labour ward is 2mins away via the lift. Do speak with your midwife or call/email the hospital though - I found the tour really helpful in terms of combating at least some of the unknown! Good luck! xx

Gingersnap88 Sat 01-Dec-12 20:55:05

I gave birth in Lewisham birth centre in March. I had a good experience overall.
I had a natural labour with no tearing, we had lots of skin to skin and it was positive.

I didn't like the first midwife I had, she refused me gas & air even though I was having a back to back labour. I cried and got it in the end. The second midwife was brilliant and changed my experience to a good one. I would recommend it, just be firm, they can transfer you if need be. You will probably know if you want an epi before you get to the birth centre as you have to be quite well into labour before they'll take you.

Now that I look back on my experience, I realise how lucky I was. Good luck grin

splodge77 Thu 06-Dec-12 21:57:10

I gave birth in birthing centre at lewisham in jan 2011 & had same question as you - midwife who showed me round said yes they could transfer me upstairs for pain relief if I really felt I needed it but when I was actually in labour there i got the sense that the no-nonsense midwife I had wasn't going to let me do that! However, although the birth was intense I never got to the stage where I felt I couldn't cope - the pool really was amazing, the gas and air helped a lot and, in the end, the no nonsense midwife was actually exactly the kind of person I needed to spur me on & get me through it! I thought the birth centre was brilliant & would defo recommend it.

Diamond7 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:12:30

I had the assessment and your today. As has been mentioned yes you can transfer upstairs for an epi but it depends on anaesthetist availability but that's the same as in the labour ward.

If you are in transition and demanding an epi the midwife will try and talk you around. It's pretty much too late anyway.

I think the labour ward sends you home too if you're less than 3-4cm dilated.

What I hadn't realised is that you can have pethodine in the birth centre.

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