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a place to ask possibly stupid Qs about birth

(49 Posts)
PerpetualStudent Fri 09-Jan-15 03:02:35

Because, at 19+4, I have what might be some dumb questions RE childbirth. Based on my own anxieties & things I've read/heard that I don't fully understand.
Anyone who can shed light on the following, or add their own queries to make me feel better, will be very welcome!

1) Do you always poo when giving birth? Could you not circumvent this by a strong cup of coffee & aiming to, ahem, clear the decks once early contractions start?

2) Why are people given catheters after birth? Does everyone get one? Are they not horribly uncomfortable and restricting?

3) What are the main reasons for having forceps or that vaccum thing? Aren't forceps supposed to be quite traumatic so if they have an alternative, why still use them?

4) (the biggie) In your experience, how much did the drs/midwives/etc support you in the choices you wanted to make around your birth, and how much did they keep you informed about what was going on and ask your opinion if a decision had to be made?
Im starting to read about active birth techniques etc. Im of the opinion that drugs/medical intervention are not the enemy/failing, but would like to be able to move around and have an option about what position to be in (obvs assuming nothing is going wrong) - but worry I'll be all ready to kneel/pace/moo/bring my baby into the world like the powerful woman I am, and some midwife will just give me a hmm and go "pop onto your back, there's a dear"
I'll be at North Middlesex, hopefully in midwife centre, if that helps

Orangedaisy Fri 09-Jan-15 03:15:01

I didn't poo. Was spontaneously sick twice in early labour which seemed to 'clear the decks'.

Can't help with catheters/forceps/vacuum, sorry. I had a fairly straightforward delivery.

One of the best memories of birth (I had dd in a mlu) was on arrival in the centre getting in the birthing pool (didn't deliver in the water, just spent a couple of hours in there) and the midwife grabbing a chair and my notes and saying 'right, love, how are we doing this?'. She listened and we more or less did as I had hoped. I did most of the pushing on all fours/birthing ball etc. After pushing for nearly 3 hrs the midwife suggested I flipped onto my back on the bed to see if the shift in position might help get dd out. By then I was happy to take any suggestion! Ended up having a tiny episiotomy on midwife suggestion and then dd popped out in no time. So it was a great combination of her experience mixed with what I hoped to do.

Best of luck.

BananaPie Fri 09-Jan-15 03:38:22

1) not everyone poos. To be honest, you may not notice if you do (and probably won't care).

2) not everyone gets a catheter. I had trouble passing urine while labouring, and as a full bladder can make it harder to get the baby down the birth canal, I had a catheter with my first. It didn't hurt. I didn't need one with my second.

3) not sure when forceps would be chosen over ventouse. They're both used when baby is stuck and distressed and needs to got out quickly .

4) midwife was very happy to listen to my wishes, but was also quite clear about what I needed to do to help get the baby out (in midwife led unit)

katandkits Fri 09-Jan-15 03:40:29

You can't do much about pooing at the end of labour. If there is poo in your bowel, the force of the head coming down will move that poo out. You can't control if there is going to be anything in there. I had a big one early in the proceedings but there was still some there later. First baby I don't remember if I pooed or not, I was out of it on drugs. Try not to think about it, the midwives expect it to happen and just whisk it away without comment. You won't care at the time! It happens in the pushing stage so you will just want the baby out.

I never had a catheter either time. Unless you have an epidural or spinal you don't need a catheter. If you do have either of those, you are numb in the lower half so you can't feel if your bladder needs emptying.

PassTheAnswers Fri 09-Jan-15 04:23:10

I pooed during a long (and ineffectual) pushing stage. But was heavily constipated due to other drugs despite consuming vast amounts of lactulose.

Had a catheter because I ended up on a syntocin drip with epidural and finally a csec under GA.

Mw and later medical were really supportive of what I wanted either as an ideal, and during the later csec. Suggested and found alternative positions, helped keep me in the pool for as long as possible as they could see it was helping with pain relief, gave me as long as possible between examinations, and gave lots of emotional support as well. Can't fault the care I had from the mw team during labour one inch.

PotteringAlong Fri 09-Jan-15 04:40:01

I didn't poo either time!

I had a catheter after DC1 because I had a tear in my urethra and they needed to monitor urine output and let the stitches heel. I could still move around etc.

I had a ventouse delivery with dc1 too. He was back to back, a bit stuck and just needed a bit of help!

They were supportive of all my choices both times. Pro active birth (my 2nd birth was textbook) but clear when and why that couldn't happen with dc1

PotteringAlong Fri 09-Jan-15 04:42:27

Heel? Heal...

velocityofbeans Fri 09-Jan-15 05:01:15

Out of 4 births I poo'd in 2 of them although I can't say I realised it was happening at the time. The midwives dealt with it all quietly and I got on with the important stuff.

The catheter thing, I can't help you with, I never had one

Forceps versus Ventouse, if I remember, is to do with how far down the birth canal the baby is when it needs assistance, ventouse if it's nearly there, forceps if it is further up.

I have always found everyone very supportive of the choices I made, and willing to talk with me when some of them couldn't be carried out the way I wanted

Kittymum03 Fri 09-Jan-15 05:08:27

Hi,most importantly,whatever ends up happening,it will be ok smile I saw several midwives as was in there a few days before it all went wrong and I had em.c section,all of them asked about my birth plan and were supportive.i was being sick from arrival and after sickness tablets were sicked up again was having injections in the thigh that stung a little but no biggie.i was actually encouraged to sit on the ball,move around but unfortunately I couldn't go near the ball without being sick (motion) no poo but I did have wind with the internals and when I apologised I got a wave of the hand and 'it's fine' I did have diarhoea a lot and they said that often happens,so you could empty yourself anyway,(all of that was done in the toilet,it wasn't the sort where you can't reach it in time) I don't know about coffee as I wasn't really encouraged to eat or drink apart from water,once labour had started (although I was alowed a sneaky biscuit as I was looking longingly at my partners tea and biscuit and the midwife felt sorry for me) I had a catheter when they put the epidural in,it had been 2 days of induction at this point,I asked for something more than gas & air and had a really nice chat about how if I had the epidural I could get some sleep then be alert for the pushing (I hadn't slept since arriving) I didn't believe her but the needle,didn't even feel it,the catheter,can't even feel it (they removed it the next day once I was on my feet,again didn't feel anything so don't worry) and I did sleep.aah,blissfull sleep smile the last midwife I had was very supportive that c.section was the last thing I wanted but it got to the point where it needed to be done.and you do it for the baby.they won't just come at you with the forceps or vacuum thing,only if needed and if they do,don't panic smile

CaramellaDeVille Fri 09-Jan-15 05:11:18

1. As said above. It happens, you probably won't notice or care.
2. I had a catheter at both births. Not because I had any pain relief (I didn't) but to make sure my bladder was empty. It is slightly uncomfortable but not painful.
3. No idea
4. Midwives were always fantastic at listening to my wishes and only veering from them (with my consent) when absolutely necessary.
Good luck OP

softlysoftly Fri 09-Jan-15 05:15:58

1 - no idea. If I did I didn't notice (3 labours)

2 - I haven't had a catheter. I think it is only if you have a c section or complication.

3 - back to back labour or shoulders being stuck or such a long labour mum is too tired to push effectively are 3 of the most likely reasons i think. I have narrowly avoided this twice. Long back to back labour with distressed DD1 they were prepping for theatre when i had an episiotomy and she arrived without. Ditto DD3 yet DD2 was so easy she arrived on the pavement. You can't know and byv the time you need it you won't care. Do try to avoid a B2B labour by adjusting your sitting position and leaning forward a lot.

4 - In my experience they've always been good. They do have a preference for on your back no idea why. But in all my labours I've been active and DD3 was delivered with me on my side. You just need to speak up.

LittleBlueHermit Fri 09-Jan-15 05:53:22

1) Not everyone does. You probably won't care anyway by that stage, and you won't know you have unless someone points it out.

2) I was given a catheter during labour as I needed multiple IV lines. It was mildly uncomfortable going in, but insignificant in the scheme of things. It did make moving around a bit of a hassle, but I was bed bound anyway. The main issue was that my catheter was in for 4 days, and when it came out it took me nearly a week to regain bladder control.

3) I had forceps. The registrar explained at great length why ventuouse was innapropriate and more risky in my circumstances. I don't remember a word of it now though.

4) I was informed of all the risks and justifications in great detail before each intervention, to the point where I just wanted them to shut up and get on with it. (In hindsight, an excellent tactic for gaining consent!)
Even though my movement was limited by 4 IV lines, a catheter, and the fetal monitor, midwives were happy to help me move and change positions as much as I could (kneeling, side-lying, sitting). Once I had the epidural they had me in a supported sitting position to push.
I had several complications, but found the staff were stilling willing to work with me and try to accommodate my preferences. Once DDs head was out, they took off the forceps and DH 'caught'/finished delivering her and then lifted her onto my chest. Cord clamping was delayed until DH was happy it had stopped pulsing. We kicked out all staff whose presence wasn't strictly necessary.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 09-Jan-15 06:18:17

Vacuum would generally be preferred over forceps but it depends how much descent there is. If baby is really low and Dr is happy it would come with vacuum they'd use that.

If it's slightly higher they may think it won't come with vacuum and will use forceps.

So it's not like people can express a preference. It's a medically indicated decision.

Sorehead Fri 09-Jan-15 06:19:13

1) can't help with this one really as I never got to the pushing stage

2) i was struggling to empty my bladder during labour due to my baby's position so after trying to encourage me to go on my own, the midwife did an 'in out' catheter where the catheter was inserted to empty my bladder and was then removed. After my epidural I was given a proper one. Neither hurt.

3) no idea sorry!

4) I was asked about a birth plan but didn't really have one, apart from to get the baby out however was needed! I ended up needing a syntocin drip after 12 hours of non progressing labour so had an epidural (recommended by midwife but definitely my choice) but before that I was far more comfortable standing up, and the midwife was supportive of this. I felt like everything was discussed with me and that I had a choice. Even the consultant said things to me such as "I'd like to give this another 4 hours, then if there's still no progress we'll probably be thinking about c section as things have stopped progressing for a reason", rather than "We're going to...." so implied it was open for discussion although in reality, who's going to disagree?

BikeRunSki Fri 09-Jan-15 06:32:23

1- I didn't poo
2- I had an emcs and a crash section under GA, so needed a catheter as I had no feeling in my lower body/ was knocked out.
3- don't know
4- I felt supported up to the point it became clear that I needed a cs. With my second birth the monitor tracing dd actually flatlined and things moved extremely fast from there.

BiscuitsofYum Fri 09-Jan-15 06:35:23

I didn't poo in my labour.

I had a catheter, as I had an epidural. It didn't bother me one bit and i suppose one part was glad it wasn't something else I had to think about. The only bad bit was being unable to get out of bed at the end due to the catheter and epidural but the midwives are always near by.

The midwives were great! They listened when I said something was wrong in my early labour and brought me in to be checked out. When they did anything they asked and explained it all in easy language. When the midwives swopped shifts the one I had introduced the new one which made me feel at ease. And they remembered what I wanted in my birth plan!
Most of all when things went pear shaped and I had to have a emcs, the midwives and doctors were great.. I was terrified and they went out of their way to try and make me feel at ease.

Figfog Fri 09-Jan-15 06:51:32

I was all prepared and convinced I would have an active labour. It turned out that the only position comfortable for me was on my back! My midwife was pretty old school and fairly 'firm' with her manner but she really encouraged me to try to change position as it would make it easier. When I couldn't (truly it was so much more painful) she was fine and just helped me as much as possible with me on my back. I think I did make it harder for myself (and her) but it was fine in the end.

I still wonder why any other position apart from my back was excruciating for me- but I suppose it just goes to show that you can only prepare for so much!

Thelovecats Fri 09-Jan-15 07:05:23

I hAd a catheter after birth due to complicated repair job (I recovered fine btw)

Always found midwives supportive of whatever position I wanted to be in in labour. As long as they can monitor your baby when needed it should be up to you. Diamorphine was a barrier to being active first time, so I didn't/wouldn't have it again for that reason.

You can't have all the answers before you give birth, but you can trust your body to cope- staying calm is the key

PerpetualStudent Fri 09-Jan-15 09:16:01

Ah thanks ladies, this is why I love mumsnet!

It's not so much that I'm worrying about pooing, I'm sure when the time comes, like you say, it'll be the least thing on my mind - just want to know how much to expect it, iyswim?

Good to know your midwives etc were all supportive. Thelovecats I definitely trust my body, and I'm really keen to learn as many active birth, relaxation techniques etc as possible - I suppose at the moment I just don't trust the healthcare team to trust it!
I knows you can never be totally prepared, and one of the best approaches is to go in calmly with an open mind and no strict pre-conceived ideas, but reading this active birth book last night I just kept thinking "but what if they don't let me do all this?!" Your stories are all very helpful though, many thanks.

HoggleHoggle Fri 09-Jan-15 09:29:11

I'm pretty sure I did poo, but mw didn't say anything and if I ask my husband he very kindly says no. I was pushing for a long time though, and I think I did....

I did have a catheter because it turns out I had a UTI so my bladder wasn't cleared properly which was causing other issues in the labour. It was a quick in and out rather than staying in, it was just emptying my bladder to push. It wasn't the nicest sensation but in the scheme of what else I was doing, it barely registered! I think if you have an epidural you have a catheter for at least 12 hours as you are numb and wouldn't know when you had a full bladder. You need to be careful with keeping bladder control given how much your pelvic floor has already been through, so a catheter is a way of making sure you're not putting It under too much pressure. I think! (trying to remember my NCT classes!)

I had a ventouse delivery. I had a big baby especially given my own size so it was difficult getting him out and also he was back to back. I was anti instruments in advance but once you're in the situation, believe me you will so anything to make sure they're out safely. Ds had a bit of a cone head sad for a few days but no bruising etc. I saw some awful pics in my NCT class about ventouse deliveries which in retrospect I think were a bit inflammatory.

My mw were good. I felt supported. My labour didn't go how I wanted it to but that wasn't their fault. It was a combination of a big baby, a back to back baby position, and my own fault - I had done hypnobirthing prior to labour but frankly once it all kicked off I panicked and it all went out of my head! Next time I will know what I'm facing and hopefully that won't happen as much.

Given your questions I think it would be really worth you thinking about doing NCT classes. They really helped prepare me and even if things didn't turn out as planned, at least I had a sense of my options and why things were happening.

HoggleHoggle Fri 09-Jan-15 09:30:27

Just to say also that I was in the midwife led unit as you are planning and try were not at all anti active labour etc. I was in the pool for a few hours which was amazing but unfortunately slowed my contractions down which can sometimes happen.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Fri 09-Jan-15 09:36:53

I don't know if I poo'd or not, I presume that if I did the midwife cleaned it up pretty quickly.

I had a catheter as my bladder was full making the pushing stage harder. It was a temporary one which they just inserted, drained the bladder then removed immediately. During labour you don't notice the additional discomfort of them inserting a catheter!

Ventouse was used for us and DD's heart rate was dropping as I was pushing. I'm not 100% sure but I think ventouse was used rather than forceps as the baby was nearly out and just needed a little bit of extra help rather than a strong pull IYSWIM.

I didn't have a birth plan as my only aim was to get the baby out safely but the midwife seemed to realise that I mainly wanted to be left alone and not spoken to! Things were explained clearly when extra intervention/help was needed.

Souper Fri 09-Jan-15 09:39:27

If your labour is going normally the midwives will be encouraging you to do all the active labour stuff. I had laboured for a few hours upright and walking around. Then I had to get on the bed for a few minutes for the midwife to feel what position the baby was in. Once I was on my back I didn't want to get up again because I was tired, but she and dh managed to get me to get up again. I was really glad they did because I was immediately more comfortable and the birth was really straightforward with me kneeling over the bed.

softlysoftly Fri 09-Jan-15 10:50:22

My top tip then is choose a good birth partner. After DD1 whose delivery I felt panicky and out of control with I did hypnobirthing using my own choice of music and the marie mongan book.

I made my birth decisions (eg no pethidine, epidural only if necessary etc, skin to skin) made sure DH was confident in them then "handed over" responsibility. I knew he would try and make them respect their wishes, gently question interventions but ultimately work with the staff for the bedt medical decisions for us both.

That way I could just focus on my body and my calm. I put my ipod in my ears, did my breathing and tranced out.

Even with DD3 who was back to back, brow first and had gbs infection, I was detached during labour felt calm and could only hear gentle instructions from the medical team. It worked really well.

NickyEds Fri 09-Jan-15 11:23:37

1) I don't know if I pooed, but as others have said you won't care and neither will anyone else!
2) I didn't have a catheter but I think that they can do an In-and-out one just to empty your bladder (rather than leaving one in) if you don;t have an epidural or section but do have trouble having a wee. Again don't worry about it in the scheme of things.
3) Depends on the position of the baby- I think I avoided a ventouse by DS moving his head around himself.
4) Sometimes in labour you are a passenger. It can be quite hard to swallow if you've made specific plans for your birth but there it is. My waters broke with blood in them so I went to the hospital and they wouldn't let me return home. When I say "wouldn't let me" I wasn't a prisoner it just wasn't advised. I went into spontaneous labour but didn't progress so had to be augmented with the synto drip. When I say " had to" they didn't force me to but it was what was advised. I then laboured largely on my back which was incredibly painful as DS was back to back. They wanted to constantly moniter the baby and when I got up and about the moniter slipped off so I had to stay on the bed. When I say "had to" they didn't tie me to it, it was just advised. Do you see what I'm getting at??? In a lot of the decisions my wishes were taken into account but when a decision has to be made what's best for you and baby comes first.

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