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Birth centre or maternity ward?

(13 Posts)
beansbananas Tue 14-Feb-17 12:03:09

Hi I just wanted to get a second opinion about choosing a birth centre over the ward. I much prefer the idea of being in water, and in a more personal environment. However I'm genuinely concerned the pain might be too much for me and I will want an epidural. Did any of you change your mind half way through? Was this fairly straightforward to do? In terms of labour with only gas and air for your first time giving birth... how did you manage to get through it? I'm starting to feel really apprehensive about it... actually I'm terrified!!!

PeachBellini123 Tue 14-Feb-17 12:38:44

Everyone's different but I used gas and air in labour (first baby) then got in the pool. It was incredible the pain relief I got from being in water, I didn't bother with the gas and air (which I loved!) after that.

It still hurt of course but I found the pain totally manageable in the water.

Personally the birth centre was the right enviroment for me but mine was attached to the hospital. Bear that in mind: will you feel anxious about something going wrong?

PeachBellini123 Tue 14-Feb-17 12:41:35

Oh and I was terrified as well. My DS is now 4 weeks and I'd go through it all again tomorrow, he is so worth it smile

lornathewizzard Tue 14-Feb-17 13:44:46

Our hospital has a midwife led birth centre type place and the labour ward next to it. First birth was long and after 10hrs or something I wanted an epidural so moved. However whilst I was waiting on the Doctor to do it midwife checked and I had shot to 9cms so we just carried on without it.
Second birth I was keen to stay in the birth centre bit and managed on gas and air. It was manageable but also much quicker. If midwife hadn't said he would be here within the hour then I'd have wanted to move. Not that she was right but she wasn't far out.
My point is, find out how easy it is to transfer if you need to, and just go with it smile

FlowLikeAHarpoon Tue 14-Feb-17 13:53:21

I chose the birth centre, and wanted a water birth, but I was comforted knowing it was all one floor away from the regular labour ward, in case of difficulties.

Really look carefully at how busy your chosen hospital is though - I didn't get to use the birth centre (let alone a pool!) as there was no space on the night I went into labour. Got sent to the last empty room on the regular ward.

I was also the last person in that night, and the women after me were sent to a different hospital. I don't want to be all doom and gloom, but it's best to be forewarned rather than get a disappointing shock at a time when you are rather vulnerable.

polkydot Tue 14-Feb-17 14:00:18

I'm booked at a birth centre for my second birth, in the next few weeks. I was on a labour ward last time as I needed inducing, and didn't have an epidural but did have two doses of pethedine, which worked brilliantly for me. Pethedine, or something similar is available at birth centres, so you wouldn't be solely dependent on gas and air/water for pain relief if you did find yourself struggling.

beansbananas Tue 14-Feb-17 16:14:18

My hospital has both, so i guess it would be easy to move to the ward in the case of an emergency. I always thought I'd go for all the pain relief available, but I know a water birth would be much more relaxing for me if the birthing pool is available. It's just that if it is too much for me, I'd hate to not be allowed to get additional pain relief as required. Your stories are all very reassuring and you sound amazing to me to have got through it!

Bluebellevergreen Tue 14-Feb-17 16:16:41

OP I am 40 weeks and some now. My hospital has both so the plan is to do birth centre. They said that if then at any point I want the drugs to just say it and they transfer me to the ward next door

So ask becauSe it might be the same

lornathewizzard Tue 14-Feb-17 17:30:14

Also our birth centre you can get a morphine jag (just one) so not just gas and air

Boomies Tue 14-Feb-17 21:16:30

In our local hospital the midwife led 'birthing centre' is adjacent to the obstetric unit. This turned out to be brilliant for us as I'd planned a natural water birth and started in the midwifery unit but when baby needed more monitoring and things were not completely straight forward I just hadn't to walk through the double doors into the obstetric unit and didn't have the stress of ambulance transfer etc. My advice would be do what feels right for you. I didn't have the birth I had planned (epidural and forceps in the end) but I have a beautiful perfectly health baby and in the end that is all that matters.

StandardNameHere Tue 14-Feb-17 21:56:50

I had my first witching gas and air in the pool.
I remember I had a brief cry whilst saying I couldn't do this anymore but then I go in the pool with the gas and air and it felt so much better (not saying it was like reading a book in the bath but manageable)
The water helps take the pressure off and get into my comfortable positions.
I was on a MLU and if I have another I would def want to go there again

kel1234 Tue 14-Feb-17 22:13:54

I wanted a birth centre because I wanted as natural a birth as possible. The birth centre was in the hospital, straight down the corridor from the ward, so i could easily have been moved if necessary. The room was quiet and had plenty of room, as well as an en suite.
I also liked the variety of choice for pain relief- there was a proper pool, ball, a sort of seat thing, gas and air, a large bed.
I knew an epidural would be an absolute last resort for me, so I wasn't worried about that.
It was my first baby, I had contractions for 4 days, and then had a sweep. My waters didn't break naturally, so the midwife broke them in the birth centre. I gave birth 4 hours later.
I got through the first 3 and a half days of irregular contractions with nothing. After the sweep I started using a tens machine. It was so good for me. I didn't want drugs if possible so I was glad it helped so much. That's all I used from before I left for the hospital until I got in the pool.
I did try a bit of gas and air, but it made me feel really sick and gave me a bad headache, so I didn't use it. I got in the pool for an hour as well. That really helped.
In the end I had a pethadine injection, because I was physically exhausted, and struggling to keep awake, which made it feel a lot worse.
When I have my next baby, I intend to choose a birth centre again. And plan to use my tens machine as long as possible, then the pool (may or may not give birth in the pool, depends how it goes).
But everyone is different. Maybe discuss the options with your midwife.

annlee3817 Tue 14-Feb-17 22:25:16

Wanting to stay on the birth centre was what stopped me asking for pain relief. I couldn't bear the thought of being wheeled downstairs after already waiting down on the labour ward reception to find out if the birthing centre had space for me. I felt calmer on the birthing unit, I did try two puffs of gas and air but didn't like it. I also utilised hypnobirthing techniques to keep me calm, it was a good experience. Not pain free obviously, but very positive. I did go in with an open mind regarding pain relief.

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