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Tell me about giving birth on your back

(43 Posts)
sambababy Fri 07-Feb-14 11:58:52

I'm currently living abroad and the hospital policies here seem to be that the woman gives birth on a bed on her back, end of story. There are no options for home birth or water birth, 'midwives' only exist as the helpers at the hospital, and birth centres also don't seem to exist in my city.

I'm a first timer so I have no idea how I'll react, maybe I'll be in so much pain I won't be able to do anything except lie on my back, but it is making me nervous to know that I don't have a choice when it becomes time to push. The doc being able to see easily seems to take priority.

Isn't it better to let gravity help you give birth, like on your knees like they did in the old days? I would love to hear your thoughts! Positive or negative!

mercibucket Fri 07-Feb-14 12:05:47

where are you?
do you get to choose your obstetrician? if so, you can agree something in advance
its not a brilliant position to labour in but it could be possible to labour on your left side or hanging over edge of bed then deliver on back as a compromise

Catsize Fri 07-Feb-14 12:22:49

I wanted to do hands and knees, with hands against back of bed, but was made to lie on my back during induction. Hopeless. The coccyx moves out of the way if not lying on back. Otherwise, you are pushing against that, and without the benefit of gravity. How can your hospital have this as a policy?!

sambababy Fri 07-Feb-14 12:26:36

mercibucket I'm in Brazil. For labour I can hopefully be a bit more active, I will stay at home as long as I can cope anyway. Then they move you to the delivery room and it's back time!

My obstetrician is lovely and understands my concerns but said something about not being experienced to deliver any other way, which I imagine is a common theme.

sambababy Fri 07-Feb-14 12:33:25

catsize to be fair it is probably more the policy of the obstetricians than the hospitals, but the hospital facilities also don't offer much other option. I've even bought my own birthing ball for labour as I know they won't have them. You would've thought I could be on my knees on the bed though wouldn't you!

Egg Fri 07-Feb-14 12:40:10

I gave birth to all of mine on my back, including twins. I don't think anyone made me be in that position but it felt right for me. I didn't have an epidural and both times I had fairly fast straightforward labours. I completely understand you should be allowed to choose but giving birth on your back is necessarily going to be a bad experience for everyone.

sambababy Fri 07-Feb-14 12:46:39

Thank you egg that's reassuring to hear smile

zebbidy Fri 07-Feb-14 12:47:23

I was adamant I wanted a water birth and to give birth upright, in labour I walked around to ease the pain. But by the time it was time to deliver my baby was distressed and so the doctor needed to be present meaning water birth out the window and I was on a bed on my back , it was honestly not an issue. I too thought it would make my birth harder but my baby was born in 20 minutes and it sounds corny but the pushing was the easy part and feels like such a relief. Try not to stress about it ( easier said than done) .

SJisontheway Fri 07-Feb-14 12:48:15

I had all 3 on my back. No issues. The second 2 flew out. I wasn't flat on my back though - the bed was raised somewhat iirc

InFrance2014 Fri 07-Feb-14 13:19:01

As you can see from my name, I'm abroad too. Also been told officially that hospital policy for pushing positions are on the bed, either on back or my side. However, I really can't see them forcing this on me, i.e. pushing/holding me down, if I want something else when the time comes. Especially as my partner is well aware of potential problems from being limited to on back only, and wouldn't allow them to manhandle me (except in emergency of course).

Will you have a partner/birth companion who can stand up for you?

Midwife here suggested compromise position is possible: kneeling upright on the bed and facing the wall, with lots of cushions to lean on- doctor still gets good view, but better for you?

Good luck with everything, I'm finding whole process of giving birth abroad very stressful, but am sticking to what I want as far as possible.

ReallyTired Fri 07-Feb-14 13:24:39

If you can give birth on your side then your coccyx will have the freedom to move. I think that problems with lying on your back comes if you spend your entire first stage lying still on your back.

"Midwife here suggested compromise position is possible: kneeling upright on the bed and facing the wall, with lots of cushions to lean on- doctor still gets good view, but better for you?"

I gave birth like this with ds and it worked well.

Doctorbrownbear Fri 07-Feb-14 13:27:09

I gave birth on my back by choice and it was fine and quite a fast labour and birth. The midwife was nagging me to go on all fours but I tried it and it was unbearable and I felt more comfortable on my back.

MrsBungle Fri 07-Feb-14 13:29:37

I gave birth of to both my dc's on my back. I was far more comfortable like this. Well, I was kind of sitting upright on the bed. You couldn't have given me a million pounds to stand up or go on all fours!

DeputyDeputyChiefOfStaff Fri 07-Feb-14 13:33:19

I wondered if you were going to say you're in Brazil. They have a very high c-section rate - I wonder why! I don't really know the answer but I hope you can sort something because I think women should be abe to choose their own positions for labour and birth!

IglooisnowinSheffield Fri 07-Feb-14 14:11:00

I have had all three on my back, first two inductions so monitoring on bed for both 6 hour labour, third I tried to stand but the pressure made me vomit so I lay down and delivered no problem, not flat on back for any of them.

Second was back to back, all problem free. Good luck smile

Lj8893 Fri 07-Feb-14 14:16:05

I hadnt really thought about what position I wanted to give birth in. But when I started having contractions lying on my back was so uncomfortable so I didn't think I would give birth that way.
Untill I got examined and shocked everyone by being 10cm dilated and I didn't have time to move into a new position and gave birth on my back.
I can't really remember much tbh so I could have been giving birth while doing a headstand for all I care!

Catsize Fri 07-Feb-14 14:41:36

Bit worrying about them not being experienced to deliver any other way! Eh??? confused

mercibucket Fri 07-Feb-14 15:29:20

it is well worth reading up about c sections both planned and em if you are somewhere with such a high c section rate. do you know your obs rate for natural delivery for first time births
dont worry too much. you will be past caring by delivery and if you can labour how you want that is the main thing

HazleNutt Fri 07-Feb-14 15:39:58

I'm abroad and same here - when the time to push came, I was ordered to lay on my back, feet in stirrups. Of course more comfortable for the doctors, but in all honesty, their comfort should not take priority here.
Good news is that I didn't have any issues pushing like that and DS arrived in 2 minutes.
However, for the next one, I am not planning to do it and as you say, it's not like they can force you. If the hospital don't have any other equipment then on the bed like InFrance describes.
And don't be shy to scream tell what you want and don't want. That's the thing that I regret about my labour, that I let the nurses to boss me around too much.

derbyshire Fri 07-Feb-14 15:51:51

I naturally adopted hands and knees position for my three births - they were all back to back and being flat on my back was agonising. Midwives had to wait between contractions to examine me!
But it is different for everyone - which is why all women being forced to adopt same position is wrong.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 07-Feb-14 15:55:51

I had 2 out of 3 on my back for various reasons, you could try loads of cushions behind you so you are mostly sitting up - I think it helps.

AGnu Fri 07-Feb-14 16:00:24

The only experience I have of giving birth on my back was in an ambulance with a midwife screaming at me to push because she couldn't find his heartbeat near my belly button. She should've been looking near my pelvis by that point. hmm Can't say I'd recommend that as a birth plan! wink Weirdly, I tore less like that than my previous leaning-over-a-beanbag birth. It did feel rather like I was trying to poo him out though.

All's well that ends well though... He was fine, I recovered. It wasn't my ideal plan but hey-ho! Do whatever feels right to you. I'm sure they'll be quite used to women shouting at them if you do need to be <ahem> assertive! wink

confuddledDOTcom Fri 07-Feb-14 16:55:25

Both times I was sat on the bed with it raised. I have very long labours (as in months) and when it comes to pushing it's over in seconds and I am completely incapable of doing anything but pushing when I'm at that stage so wouldn't be able to do any other position.

I think if it was me I would be setting myself up with little tricks, using the loo a lot (actually really helps the pain just to sit on it) having birth partners who stop you being pushed around etc. Personally I would worry about a doctor who claims not to have experience in certain things - there are some procedures that you can understand it but normal birth??? They can see if they really try in whatever position you get yourself in, even if it means lying on their back on the floor. Your best weapon is going to be your birth partner with full permission to stick up for you.

sambababy Fri 07-Feb-14 17:55:49

Thank you for all your comments!

Yes Brazil has a really high CS rate, I think most women here see it as the nicer way to give birth. And my OB said most women who have a VB have an epidural, which might explain a few things.

My OH will be great at sticking up for me, as long as he doesn't get swayed by medical talk. Who knows how I will feel when the time comes but perhaps the answer is to scream and shout if I'm feeling pressured! I'm going to keep pressing this point at my antenatal appointments though and maybe there is a compromise to be had.

Maybe my OB just doesn't want me to poo on her head? Hahahahaha.

benefitofhindsight Mon 10-Feb-14 14:53:42

I am also abroad and where I am they make you give birth on your back, and everything is generally done in the way that suits the doctors. I had my first baby in that way and was not allowed to walk around for hours and was made to lie on my back being monitored. I didn't have any pain relief as the only option was epidural which I had said I would rather avoid. I then had to have an episiotomy. It was not a good experience but we got through it.

I did a lot of searching for my second pregnancy and found a hospital that was further away but that had much more progressive ideas about giving birth (the only one in this country). I had a wonderful experience and gave birth using a birthing chair but also laboured using an exercise ball and a bean bag. I think it probably is individual whether giving birth on your back suits you, but it could be worth seeing if there are any other options of where to go. My dh thought at the time that everything that was happening was normal but after my second birth he feels terrible that he just allowed everything to happen the first time and didn't stand up for what I wanted more forcefully.

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