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What is the difference between maternity ward and a midwife lead unit?

(6 Posts)
Pipbin Sun 21-Dec-14 23:43:43

I'm pregnant for the first time at the grand age of 39. Assuming all goes to plan I'll be 40 when I give birth.
I have my booking in appointment tomorrow. Will they ask me about where I want give birth? I don't have the information to make that choice yet.
I would like a home birth but I think my age, IVF pregnany and being overweight will render that unlikely.
Looking through the notes I see that my local hospital has a midwife lead unit or a maternity ward.
What are the benefits of each option?

FishWithABicycle Sun 21-Dec-14 23:48:08

If you think you'd like an epidural, you want to be on a maternity ward with obstetricians and anaesthetists. If you are likely to want a birth pool, whale music and hypnobreathing then a midwife led unit would be more likely to help you there. But to some extent it depends on the individual hospital so you'll need to ask them...

TheOnlyOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 21-Dec-14 23:48:38

Congrats on the impending arrival
In VERY brief - maternity unit has doctors and is for any complications/risks and is usually close to a theatre.
MWL unit is a home from home -with birthing pools and balls and can offer low lights -and you have less pain relief options there. Usually for low risk pregnancies.
all the proper blurb is here HTH and congrats
Have a fab Christmas fgrin

Pipbin Mon 22-Dec-14 00:33:13

Thanks Olivia and Fish.

I'm guessing I have time to decide, I won't have to decide once and for all tomorrow?

FishWithABicycle Mon 22-Dec-14 00:37:17

It will depend on the policies of your local nhs trust but given the risk factors you mention the midwife may strongly steer you towards obstetrician-led care and may arrange a consultation for you at the hospital to discuss that. But no unchangeable decisions will be made at,the booking in appointment, no.

whosafraidofnaomiwolf Tue 23-Dec-14 21:14:56

Hmmm, I would disagree with fish, my take on it is:

"If you think you'd like an epidural then you want to be on the MLU and then transfer to maternity (Labour) ward at the point that you actually want the epi'. That way you get to labour in more comfortable surroundings for as long as possible, you can have the epidural when you want, and you might just surprise yourself with just how far you can get without it. you give yourself the best shot at it. If you want a "water pool, whale music and hypnobreathing" you can do that in either place (circumstances allowing for the pool).

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