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Whether to go to birth centre: no epidural

(39 Posts)
likeacrow Mon 20-Feb-17 22:36:41

I'm 38 + 3 and have been planning on going to the MLU/birth centre as it's 5 mins away as opposed to the nearest hospital maternity unit which is more like 20. It also seems like a nicer atmosphere, more one on one attention, etc. However now my due date is getting nearer and shit's getting real I'm starting to think maybe I just go for the hospital as the birth centre doesn't do epidurals. I could be transferred if I decided I needed one but by then it could be too late. I am not at all arsed about a "natural birth", I just want whatever is best/easiest/safest at the time. I think I was originally sold by the proximity of the birth centre and the fact that it seems like a less stressful environment than a hospital. I am anxious I won't cope with the pain however.
What would you do??
Thanks in advance... Oh, first pregnancy obviously.

P1nkSparkles Mon 20-Feb-17 22:44:18

I'm not sure anyone can answer this question for you... as there are so many variables & some of it will be down to your own pain threshold, personal choices etc

However I have a 4mo dd - had to be induced using an oxytocin drip due to prolonged latent labour, was told I would "need" an epidural as everyone who has oxytocin needs one - but managed fine on gas & air and didn't even come close to asking for one.... so it's quite possible you won't need one - in which case the nicer environment would be a plus.

MrsWooster Mon 20-Feb-17 22:45:52

I wanted the whole lavender oil, whale music experience and would have gone mlu in a heartbeat. I ended up with a back to back labour and would have trampled of her my own granny for an epidural THERE AND THEN. Thank god I was in a big hospital and got one not soon enough Second labour was an easy TENs birth, with dim lights, calm atmosphere, lots of laughter w birth partners... same hospital. Knowing it was there if I needed it may have helped the calm of the second time.

troodiedoo Mon 20-Feb-17 22:46:01

I have no idea but I'm in the same dilemma at 36 weeks. It's 5 min drive to mat centre or up to 40 mins to hospital. I'm just angry that you have to make a choice. It's a gamble as far as I'm concerned. Most people go for the hospital to be on the safe side, but this gives them statistics to justify closing down/ reduce funding to the maternity centre. So I'm angry about that too. I'm basically just angry. Sorry to be no help whatsoever.

MrsWooster Mon 20-Feb-17 22:48:39

Oh, and as pp said, ignore doommongers who say induction means mass pain and intervention. Both mine were induced and were totally different.

DramaAlpaca Mon 20-Feb-17 22:53:10

I can only speak from my own experience. For my first birth I knew I wanted to be in hospital where everything was available should it be needed. In the event I had a very long labour and really wanted an epidural, and I was so grateful to be able to have one.

I chose to go to the MLU to have my next baby, as I'd been through it before and felt more confident about my ability to cope. That time I was fine with just G&A.

I'd say with a first baby, the more options you have the better. I wouldn't fancy having to transfer somewhere else while in labour.

Hope it goes well, whichever you choose.

EleanorofCastile Mon 20-Feb-17 22:56:59

Oh god I could not have coped without an epidural - had a back to back to granny trampling labour too. Was coping with tens up to a point but then things went crazy. Given that you have no strong feelings about having a "natural birth" I'd go for the hospital to be on the safe side. 20 mins is doable, it's not too far if you go in and are turned away again as not 4 cm when you arrive or whatever their threshold is.

muchtodobutstopforcuddles Mon 20-Feb-17 22:57:22

I had my first in the hospital as no other option where I lived at the time. With my second I went to the MLU and am planning on doing the same with my third due in 6 weeks. I much preferred the MLU despite it being further away than the hospital. With my first because the hospital is generally busier I had to wait to be seen when I initially went in which meant sitting in a waiting room whilst having contractions with lots of strangers around. It made me very anxious and slowed my progression. I also had very sporadic attention from midwives throughout my labour. With my second in the MLU it was much more relaxed, one on one care throughout, no rush to leave after the birth, lots of support available with feeding etc. Of course there is always the option to transfer to hospital if needs be or you feel you need additional pain relief. However with my first I asked for additional pain relief and they said it was too late and that was at the hospital so being at the hospital doesn't guarantee all pain relief options being available if you are too far along anyway. If that makes sense! Hope that helps in some way. Hope all goes well whatever you decide. smile

AyeAmarok Mon 20-Feb-17 23:02:38

I've just had first baby, and I had to be induced as I was two weeks overdue.

I ended up needing the full shebang of big red button, doctors, intervention, blood transfusions, etc (although sadly no time for pain relief) so personally, I would pick the maternity unit because I have the experience of suddenly needing it and not having the luxury of 20 minutes. You just don't know how a first birth will go.

But no doubt someone will come on and tell me and I caused myself all that trauma by not going to a birthing centre and positive-thinking the baby out calmly. grin

likeacrow Tue 21-Feb-17 07:15:13

I'm sure they won't AyeAmarok. If they do they can sod off!

Some useful advice, thanks everyone. I'm still not sure but I think if I have to be induced it'll be hospital...

likeacrow Tue 21-Feb-17 07:16:17

At what point do you generally know if baby is back to back?

MuMuMuuuum Tue 21-Feb-17 07:21:21

Sometime you don't know until established labour. DD went back to back and brow presentation during labour (while I was in the pool and trying to have a calm birth) and like other have said I would have sold my granny for the epidural. I was on a MWLU adjacent to the labour wars so just had to walk over to get my epidural. But I can't play down how hideous it was.

For a first baby I would recommend labour ward based on my own personal experience. But I know many who have successfully delivered their first on the MWLU and had a wonderful experience.

29redshoes Tue 21-Feb-17 07:28:52

As others have said it is really difficult to advise as there are so many variables. With DD (my first) I decided I wanted to be at the hospital where all the options were available to me. Personally I felt that I would be less stressed knowing everything was there if I needed it.

In the end I got through it with just gas and air, and DD was back to back. I guess back to back is the same as induction, it might make it more likely that you'll need an epidural but it is by no means inevitable. I found out DD was back to back at 39 weeks, she was born at 39+5.

likeacrow Tue 21-Feb-17 07:34:39

I wish the MLU did epidurals or there was a maternity unit at the local hospital on the same site. It's little things like there'll be no problem parking at the MLU as well which make it appealing. But I'm not a martyr when it comes to pain relief. I'm happy to have it all!

SorrelSoup Tue 21-Feb-17 07:41:15

It's hard to say as it's the unknown and people are swayed by their own experiences. I went from a no problem pregnancy and labour to the big red button and "we need to see baby now", general anaesthetic and emcs. Day one of labour on tens machine, day 2 pethidine, four hour wait for epidural...

kel1234 Tue 21-Feb-17 07:44:59

I don't think anyone can answer that for you.
I knew I wanted as natural a birth as possible, and that an epidural would be an absolute last resort for me.
Also the birth centre was down the corridor from the main delivery suite, so if necessary I could have been transferred.
There's no real way of knowing how you will manage the pain until it happens.
But I have to say, even with my 4 days of contractions and the midwife breaking my waters in the birth centre and the sheer exhaustion of all the contractions day and night (which I'm sure won't happen to you so don't worry), I'm so glad I was in the birth centre.
It was so relaxed and private, with great facilities.

PossumInAPearTree Tue 21-Feb-17 07:46:56

One thing to consider now is you may not get transferred purely for pain relief. You need an ambulance and sadly these are in very short supply in some areas recently. I'm a midwife and I'm hearing tales of MLU midwives ringing for an ambulance because the woman wants transferring for an epidural and been told they're looking at a minimum 4-6 hour wait. All the ambulances are stuck in a&e unable to offload their patients.

likeacrow Tue 21-Feb-17 08:14:33

kel1234 I don't expect anyone to be able to tell me what to do, just what they would do in the same situation.

AuntiePenguin Tue 21-Feb-17 08:34:00

Like others have said, you just can't predict (especially on a first pregnancy) what labour will be like or what pain relief you'd want. I'd go for the hospital so you have all the options.

opalescent Tue 21-Feb-17 08:51:28

I had the exact same dilemma with my second baby. In the end I was induced, so the decision was taken out of my hands, and I had her at the local consultant led maternity unit two weeks ago.
I am massively pro midwife led units, and think for low risk, straight forward deliveries they are fantastic. but honestly, for a first baby I would go for the hospital. Until you have a idea of how your body copes with labour, I think it's best to have all the options available..

GemSingleton Tue 21-Feb-17 09:40:47

I wanted to have my baby on the MLU. It was in the same building as the main delivery suit just up a floor. As it turned out I had to be induced anyway. Looking back now, i would have felt much safer on the main ward anyway as stuff can always go wrong (I don't mean to scare you sorry) but I have to say I still had amazing midwifes and care while I was there. Think the difference is your own room but I go lucky and had my own room through the whole process. I was a little poorly after wards that may have contributed. Go with whatever you feel comfortable with x

MollyCule Tue 21-Feb-17 10:01:21

I can understand your dilemma. I also didn't care about having a "natural birth" but thought I'd just see how it goes. I wanted to use the birthing pool at our local hospital which meant I had to go into the MLU. No biggie as the labour ward was right next door if I wanted to move. I ended up with a very long latent phase of labour and was in agony for ages - the wouldn't let me have any pain relief or use the pool because I wasn't in established labour.

I also would have sold granny/ everything I own to have an epidural - which I did eventually. So if it were me I would definitely go for the hospital.

I also wonder whether it's actually quite difficult to have a "natural labour" unless this is something you're sort of ideologically committed to. I think many circumstances it would be very tough to forego pain relief even if it's something you really care about. I may be wrong - and of course every labour is different.

I also felt that if I had been on the labour ward to begin with that I might have been able to have some sort of intervention to speed up/ bring on my labour, so looking back I wish I had just gone straight there, and that's what I'll be doing next time. Best of luck, hope it all goes well for you no matter what you decide.

ITGurl Tue 21-Feb-17 10:07:48

Totally agree on being ideologically committed to natural birth for it to work out. You have to ride the pain and get in the zone which, in my opinion, needs a bit of mental preparation.

likeacrow Tue 21-Feb-17 10:12:02

I'm definitely not ideologically commuted to a natural birth. It's just about the proximity and one to one care/less manic environment.
If I change my mind now do I need to update my birth plan and/or tell anyone at the hospital or MLU or not?
Thanks so much for v useful advice everyone.

29redshoes Tue 21-Feb-17 10:38:47

What do people mean when they say ideologically committed to natural birth?

I tried hypnobirthing and it totally wasn't for me (I kept giggling, very immature). But when it came to labour I was very much "in the zone" and didn't ask for an epidural or pethidine even though I had been open minded about both beforehand.

To be honest I've always felt the biggest factor was that my labour was relatively short for a first timer. So much is down to luck IMO.

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