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Experiences of getting an epidural in Norfolk? Private or NHS?

(13 Posts)
PearlyFish Wed 23-Apr-14 15:14:29


I am currently thinking about having a second child and would be really grateful for any information about what it is like trying to get an epidural in the Norwich area.

My first birth a couple of years ago was a homebirth using hypnobirthing techniques and gas and air. I know a lot of people swear by hypnobirthing, but my experience was such that I would not be prepared to give birth again unless I am in hospital with access to drugs, preferably an epidural.

Given that it is impossible to guarantee an epidural on an NHS ward I had been thinking about trying to go private if we can afford it. I would therefore be really interested in any information about where / who / how much this costs in the Norwich area.

Also, as I only moved to Norfolk fairly recently, I was wondering if epidurals are actually that hard to get access to on the NHS in this area? We probably can't really afford to go private so this would be the best option if my chances of getting an epidural are fairly good.


PearlyFish Thu 24-Apr-14 07:46:18


fishesgirl Sat 26-Apr-14 08:40:42

Don't think there's any private hospital facility for giving birth in Norfolk. You could try these people - they offer private services but all work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital so should know. NNUH is notoriously busy which I guess may influence availability of epidural although has an excellent reputation.

PearlyFish Sat 26-Apr-14 14:44:05

Thanks for the information fishesgirl, I will get in touch with them.

5madthings Sat 26-Apr-14 14:51:45

I had all five of mine at the n&n, only had an epidural for number one, but I didn't want one with the others. I was offered an epidural with another of them, the anesthatist actually came to my room and I told him to go away.

They have a more midwife led bit and then the Labour ward, you would need to be on the Labour ward for an epidural.

It will depend on how busy they are but I know lots of people who have birthed there and all got an epidural if they wanted one. It does depend on staffing etc.

Der speak to your midwife and maybe ask to speak to a consultant re your request, it may be worth asking to be induced ad they can book you in when it's less busy etc, rather than if you go into normal Labour overnight or at a wkend etc. Also depending on how quickly you Labour if it's fast there may not be time but if induced you can insist the epidural is set up before they get going iyswim?

Congrats and good luck!

PearlyFish Sat 26-Apr-14 15:29:49

Thanks 5madthings, it's good to hear your experience and that you also know others who got epidurals if they wanted them.

A bit of me thinks I shouldn't worry too much, because second labours are often easier and my baby was quite badly positioned the first time, so I might not want the epidural when it comes down to it. The midwife-led unit does look really great from the website too. However, I think I want the reassurance that I can have one if I need it, so it will have to be the labour ward.

Your idea about the planned induction is interesting too. I will give that some thought, thank you.

5madthings Sat 26-Apr-14 16:27:00

Even of you start on the midwife bit you can move to the Labour ward, it's across the corridor!

But yes you mAy want to request you start of in the Labour ward.

5madthings Sat 26-Apr-14 16:28:57

I have friends who have quick labours but wanted an epepidural so they were induced so that they could get the epidural set up and working before Labour began and also avoids the risk of delivering enough route to hospital in a quick labour.

All options to discuss with your midwife and a consultant.

Raxacoricofallapatorius Sat 26-Apr-14 16:33:59

I have had two emcs at the NNUH. First time round I'd transferred in after an attempted homebirth using hypnobirthing and a pool. I'd been fully dilated for 4hrs and the baby was badly malpositioned but as she wasn't distressed, I had to wait for an anaesthetist as they were very busy with emergencies (late at night and short staffed). It took 90 minutes to free up an anaesthetist. In between dcs one and two, they were refurbished, couple of new wards and had opened the midwife led bit (was all consultant led when I had dc1). I laboured for a long time again and had another stuck baby. At the point that they decided to move to theatre, an anaesthetist was located immediately. It was quite a different experience and a lot of it had to do with the different staffing levels and the time at which I required the intervention (late at night vs middle of the day). I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it though. Second time round in particular. Staff were all up to date with their bfing training, ward was brand new and I positively enjoyed every second.

Raxacoricofallapatorius Sat 26-Apr-14 16:37:22

There's King's Lynn too (I live near KL but opted for the NNUH so you can choose if you want). It's an older hospital, very different in feel but there are some reasons why people prefer it. It has fewer staffing issues and it has private rooms for you to use postnatally. Plus, their visiting hours are 8am-8pm iirc. NNUH still has a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon. Plus, a slot in the evening for partners only. I've had friends who've preferred the KL way of doing things.

Sleepyhoglet Sun 27-Apr-14 16:25:16

Interesting to hear about the kings Lynn experiences. Anyone know about the j paget?

PearlyFish Mon 28-Apr-14 22:29:56

Thanks Rax, that's encouraging to hear about the improvements post-refurb, and also interesting to think about the King's Lynn option.

Thanks again 5madthings, it's really reassuring to hear that you have friends that have gone with the induction option. I will definitely look into that. I would be interested to hear from anyone reading who has opted for an induction in order to ensure an epidural and doesn't mind sharing their experience...

mollysmum2012 Sun 04-May-14 22:36:34

as an anaesthetist, my advice would be to make it clear to midwife from the start that you want an epidural and especially with 2nd baby, don't be shy to ask for one early on. If they know you are specifically wanting one, it can be easier to get it in early. It means there's not a big rush when you are really sore or the baby is about to be born, both of which mean there may not be time for an anaesthetist to be freed up or to get it in and working for you when you need it most. If you ask pretty much as soon as you hit labour ward, chances are good that you will get one. Hope this is helpful and good luck x

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