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Birthing positions

(18 Posts)
LeBFG Tue 22-Jan-13 13:58:09

I'm giving birth outside UK and after being reassured by the community midwife that I'll be able to have the birth I want (naturally, all going well), the OB has just filled me in a bit more. She says hospital policy is for all mums give birth on the table legs in air, or exceptionally on the side. If I want to give birth in the position I think I would want to (squatting) she says I'll have to pay for a private midwife who'll have a birthing stool. I couldn't understand why it had to be bed or stool. OB finally said it was so the midwife could guide the baby's head at delivery!!?? Is this neccessary? Am I missing something - I thought it was fine just to give birth in any comfortable position?

clickingtock Tue 22-Jan-13 15:08:28

I would be furious. Birth should be about what you need not what suits medical professionals. You are more likely to have a successful birth I'd squatting. Both mine were born with me on all fours (in water) and I didn't need any medication or intervention.

Good luck. thanks

mayhew Tue 22-Jan-13 15:08:59

In the Uk, most midwives and obs are now familiar with the idea that in a spontaneous birth, the mother might adopt whatever position she feels is working. I do a lot of hands and knees births for example. Usually on the floor but sometimes on a bed. In the best equipped units we even have equipment to make this easier and more comfortable eg couches, birthing stool etc. Of course you can do it without special stuff, we often do at home births, improvising with what's to hand.

However, in many parts of the world staff are trained that there is a correct way to deliver and they have no experience of anything else. The idea of something different and spontaneous alarms and worries them. They have never seen the alternative. I think you need to do a bit more research about normal practice in this unit and find out what room there is for maternal choice.

GoldenGreen Tue 22-Jan-13 15:13:59

Can you afford the private midwife? If the policy is as they say you may find it hard to argue your case when you are actually in labour. I don't want to worry you but it might be worth considering having someone there who will be an advocate for you.

LeBFG Tue 22-Jan-13 15:27:13

Thanks for the replies. I was a bit gobsmacked - the OB is spearheading the new 'physiological' birthing suite too! She also says that unless I have continuous monitoring, I will have to have the private MW. All a bit sprung on me last minute. I've no idea what the MW will charge for a birth. She's the only private MW in the whole area allowed onto the labour ward...I will contact her and see. I just feel I'm being held to ransom a bit. I didn't envisage having a MW permanently in my room with all her special stools and stuff. HB is looking so much nicer...but unfortunately not possible - far too risky (40mins from hospital, no MW).

I had no idea if this stuff about the head had any medical basis or whether it was just customary (like internals are here too). I do remember reading that when they birthed breech babies the poisiton of baby's head was tremendously important. But ordinary births? Humph.

Gracefulbirth Tue 22-Jan-13 18:33:50

I can't believe you've been told this, and with not enough time to make a plan for yourself.
The giving birth with the legs in the air scenario is so outdated, and was pretty much designed for the convenience of the medical staff, and not much to do with the mother.
The best positions for birth is what you feel like doing!! You don't even need a "birthing stool" or anything fancy. Simply squatting is brilliant, and being on your hands and knees for a breech birth has been found to be the best position.

I understand though, it's all very well to have people go "what!!?? no way!! You can do it "this" way in the UK" when your own options are obviously limited by where you live!

It might just be good to chat to a midwife about homebirth, and ask her about the rate of transfer. Most midwives can tell from a long way off if a birth is going to need extra support. I totally understand you feeling nervous about that but it may be good to just revisit that option again and see if you feel more comfortable with it.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 22-Jan-13 19:02:19

Can you get yourself to the UK to give birth?

VisualiseAHorse Tue 22-Jan-13 23:32:30

I think most women have the MW in the room for nearly all the labour. Mine stayed in the background, asked a few questions (about injections after etc), but mostly barely spoke to me.

LeBFG Wed 23-Jan-13 09:04:13

Birthing in the UK isn't an option nor is homebirth - the MWs simply won't do it. Though you only have to go back 20 years here and ALL the babies were born at home! I want to rail against the system but they are completely unyeilding. Having just spoken to sensible DH, he says if I go in and refuse to lie on the bed etc, I''ll just get really stressed and even if I get my way, it won't be a pleasant experience. I think the best thing is to go through this private MW and, even if I do have to give birth on a stool (just hate the idea, but not as much as the bed), I will still be able to do lots of the stuff I want (no continual monitoring is a biggie - the hospital MWs like hook you up so they can go out for a fag). She might even be flexible about the stool, who knows?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 23-Jan-13 09:30:05

Sounds like you're doing the best you can.

I tried to give birth upright in a MLU in the UK but the mws there had me pinned down on my back, despite my protests. At least you KNOW their stance in advance.

lostlenore Wed 23-Jan-13 10:58:30

Is this your first baby OP? I agree an 'Active' position sounds much better but you may find that when the time comes you actually won't care. I gave birth once on my back (semi reclined with feet on the bed) and once on my side after desperately wanting to be squatting or on all fours as I thought it would help and hurt less, but at that stage of labour everything hurt! It's a shame the medical staff are so rigid though - where are you? I also had to be continuously monitored for both and hooked up to drips in both arms so agree, that is pants. But a healthy baby makes it all worth it smile

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 23-Jan-13 11:02:32

You can do a lot before the birth though and during labour. If you go in very late then you can do most of your labouring at home on your front in the bath, kneeling and leaning on the edge of the bed, and buy/hire a tens machine to help you through it.

When you arrive at the hospital the 2nd stage will hopefully be so quick due to optimal positioning until that point!?

binkybonk Wed 23-Jan-13 12:37:19

Hi, it is very much the same in the country I'm living in.
I had an active (and fast!) first labour in many varied positions on the floor and around the room, didn't want to go near the bed for some reason smile
Anyway, I ended up on my back on the bed, legs akimbo, like a scene from Casualty for the last few minutes of pushing and it didn't make the slightest difference to me. Mind you, I also forgot the birth ball, music, aromatherapy etc etc that I thought I'd use! It was still a lovely birth! So maybe ignore them and prepare for active-up-to-a-point?!
After the birth I had every nurse (none are midwives here) in the unit pop in to see 'the lady who makes noise'/ 'the lady who doesn't want drugs' confused
I am having number two at home (all being well) in the next two weeks or so- with a private European midwife drafted in. grin
Mostly thanks to MNetters for reassuring me that it can be done grin

LeBFG Wed 23-Jan-13 13:09:10

Depending on the outcome with the MW, I'm thinking very much along Starlight's lines grin. Hope the 40min drive when I'm 8cm won't hurt too much <ouch!>. I'm pleased I now know the situation (France btw) in advance - it's my second but first was panic epi because DS was premature. I have very good memories of it actually even though I felt the second stage was too long and I couldn't feel as much as I wanted. As this pregnancy progresses I'm visualising more and more the sort of birth I want - I suppose I hope I'm not setting myself up too much. I'm still a bit shock that there is so NO flexibility in the system. I'm not the first to want this!

Hey, good luck with your HB binybonk <envious>. Sounds like it'll be just wonderful.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 23-Jan-13 13:51:02

Are you French native? If not, lose your language skills in labour and fail to understand any instruction that does not fit in with your instinct, - close your eyes and if disturbed simply say 'I don't understand' in English or 'Leave me alone'.

LeBFG Wed 23-Jan-13 19:12:21

I see your point grin. Not native, no but they all know I can speak French. I think it would generate conflict which, as DH suggested to me, would be better to avoid. Still waiting to catch the MW on the phone for a proper talk, but her fee is only 250 on top of what the state gives her, so not outrageous price.

kaybee75 Fri 25-Jan-13 00:26:23

i used a birthing stool at an active birth centre was great - just lets you stay ina squat position without having to rely on strong quads!! Would highly recommend that option even if you have to pay for it

kaybee75 Fri 25-Jan-13 00:27:33

ps I'm sure they can't force you to lie down if you don't want to

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