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How to have a baby- help please!

(43 Posts)
Harriett Fri 24-Jun-05 17:07:48

I am due (my first) in a few weeks and am starting to get a bit nervous about the whole thing- I find it difficult to discuss my feelings with the midwifes as they are so matter-of-fact about the whole thing, ie. don't worry, you'll be fine, happens all the time etc.
I have asthma and am concerned about having an attack in labour, especially as the last m/w told me that salbutamol is actually used to slow down labour- so obviously made me worry that it would prolong labour and be very distressing.
Any tips on how to stay relaxed would be very gratefully received as I think it would be my best chance of staying in control and avoiding an attack.
Thanks!

nailpolish Fri 24-Jun-05 17:12:51

first of all, congratulations on your pregnancy!

have you been to your antenatal classes? did you do the breathing techniques? how did you find them?

are you allowed to use gas and air? if you are, then i would recommend it for staying calm as well as taking you through the pain. would also recommend diamorphine for pain control, and i have heard this slows down your breathing, although i dont know how this would affect your asthma.

when you feel a contraction, dont hold your breath, as you will panic more, breathe through it normally. concentrating on your breathing through the contraction will help you take your mind off it too

music is also quite good, or have you thought of a water birth? maybe a bit late in the day to organise that though

starlover Fri 24-Jun-05 17:13:05

write a birthplan so that the midwife with you knows how yuo want things to progress.
who will be with you at the birth?

have you asked the midwife what will happen if you DO have an asthma attack during labour?

i think the key thing is to be well-informed. you will panic if things start happening and you dont know what is going on.

TRY and go with the flow (easier said than done). this DOES happen every day, and you WILL be fine!

nailpolish Fri 24-Jun-05 17:16:11

i mean, dont hold your breath through a contraction in the first stages, when you are pushing you have to hold your breath! and pant in between breaths

these are the things i did cos i was panicking, and it seemed to help

cant believe your mw's are so unhelpful

have you spoken to the physio? they deal with some chest and breathing problems

starlover Fri 24-Jun-05 17:17:01

yes definitely breathing through contractions helps.

moondog Fri 24-Jun-05 17:18:50

It is so scary the first time round,I agree. I never wrote a birth plan as I didn't see how I could plan something I hadn't yet done, but it may help ypu to collect your thoughts.
Slow steady breathing throughout really helped me (and contrary to popular opinion on MN, I'm no earth mother!)
Gas and air and diamorphine were brilliant,as was a pool second time around.

Another thing that helped was thinking about it being a consrtuctive experience,even the pain. You will get your very own baby out of it all-how exciting is that???

Midwives can be brusque, probable because they've seen it all a thousand times,but voice your concerns and I'm sure they'll be happy to talk it through properly.

Best of luck! XXXXXX

Harriett Fri 24-Jun-05 17:19:50

thanks nailpolish! Yes, we went to antenatal classes but there were no breathing techniques taught, they said that they didn't have to tell women how to breathe anymore as most can do it perfectly well themselves!
I have optioned a water birth on my birth plan but am a little concerned about the pain, so if I go for an epidural at say 3cm, they won't obviously let you in the pool at 5cm. I am a big wimp and would rather be totally numb than feel the burn!

alexsmum Fri 24-Jun-05 17:21:04

Have been told about sos breathing at your ante-natal classes?
sos stands for sigh out slowly and it really helps! well-helped me anyway! and i use it whenever i'm having smears or bloodtests or whatever.Basically, take a deep breath in through your nose and 'sigh it out slowly 'through your mouth.really relaxing.
have you chosen some of your favourite relaxing music to listen to? maybe take some lavender oil to sniff.
what worked best for me was to stay upright as much as possible-pacing the room and holding on to dh round his neck when the contractions came.as it got worse, standing leaning on pillows piled on the bed.i had to lie down at one stage for monitoring and the contractions slowed right down and were less intense- not good if you want to get it over with!
it does hurt but its so worht when you've got your lovely baby to hold!( oh yeah, what about using the birthing pool for labour-again very relaxing!)

Harriett Fri 24-Jun-05 17:26:33

thanks for the tips so far.
I think my main concern is that it will just go on and on and I will start to panic. I have read threads about water birth and they all seem such positive experiences- can you really do it on just gas and air though? or can I sneak some drugs in there too?!!

starlover Fri 24-Jun-05 17:28:16

harriett... mine went on and on and on and on!

i can only say though, that it didn't seem as long as it was! you honestly don't think about it when you're in labour... you're just focussed on your breathing and contractions and getting that baby out!

i have to say i didn't like the gas and air, but a lot of people do just fine on it!
you can book the birthing pool, and if you find that you're not coping you can come out and have an epidural

alexsmum Fri 24-Jun-05 17:29:27

i laboured in the water with ds1 and used gas and air and towards the end got out and had diamorphine. with ds2 i just did the pacing and moving about and used gas and air-mainly to keep my breathing steady and stop me getting panicky. first labour was 10 hours start to finish , 2nd was 6 hours-but more intense.

Harriett Fri 24-Jun-05 17:32:21

you hear these horror stories of it being 'too late' to have an epidural... maybe I should stop watching desperate midwives and maternity ward on living tv!

starlover Fri 24-Jun-05 17:33:15

hmmm... well i had my epidural when i was about 6-7cm i think

i was 3-4 when i got to hospital, and didn't have it for HOURS

Harriett Fri 24-Jun-05 17:36:13

did you choose not to have the epidural until then or did they make you wait?

nailpolish Fri 24-Jun-05 17:39:57

oh god yes, stay off the bed, does nothing for you at all. if you have to for monitoring, get off as soon as they are finished. pace around, squat on a ball, go for a walk around.

write a birth plan if you like, but best is to tell your birth partner (dh?) everything that you want/dont want. because if the mw's need to ask a question, sometimes you are unfit to answer (in pain, whatever) so your dh can answer for you

also, make sure everyone knows you are asthmatic

starlover Fri 24-Jun-05 17:41:35

i had pethidine first. then fell asleep. then woke up and it was wearing off... then turned into screaming banshee because it HURT SO MUCH... then had to wait for anaesthetist!

starlover Fri 24-Jun-05 17:42:11

i actually realised afterwards that i was in transition when the pethidine wore off, it was really very odd

Ruthiebaby Sat 25-Jun-05 11:50:03

Don't be suprised if they give you co-codamol at first if you're in the maternity ward for the pain. I had my first nearly five months ago and I was induced and in agony - all they could give me was co-codamol as I wasn't dilated enough to go to the labour ward. I was quite shocked.

They encouraged me to get in the bath to help with the pain.....I know it helps some people, but the pain was too bad for anything to help.

I had a ball with me, and that didn't help, I found it excruciating trying to bounce on it.

I had a CD with me, surf & spray, and I tried to 'ride the waves' of my contractions. I found it worked best if I lay in bed, with my headphones on, and visualised lots of big white horses galloping through waves with white spray everywhere whenever I had a biggie contraction. This helped. I breathed through them too - big deep breaths through my nose and out through my mouth.

When I finally got taken to the labour ward they made me walk - agony - couldn't cope with the pain then as I couldn't relax and use my visualisation.
But then, everyone is different - you will find what works for you.

Finally had pethidine and gas & air and things seemed a bit better then (still really sore though).

They tried to get me to move off the bed but I just couldn't do it - couldn't cope with the pain if I tried that. I was ok lying there trying to breathe and still use the visualisation. It didn't do much for my labour progression though but thats a different story.

Ended up with more pethidine and a second tank of gas & air. Finally had an epidural several hours later and WOW !! MAGIC !! Epidurals ROCK !

(ended up with a C-section after all that grrrr)

Anyway - good luck to you. Try and get some CD's and think of something that you could visualise - that's my best tip for the first stage.

Nik72 Sat 25-Jun-05 12:16:06

and don't fret about the asthma too much - the dose of salbutamol that slows labour is far higher (and given intravenously) than the puffs you'd need for asthma.

Littlefish Sat 25-Jun-05 12:23:45

Hi Harriet

Congratulations - you're nearly there!! We took a very long time to conceive so when it finally happened (against all medical opinion!), I was absoultely determined to enjoy every single stage as much as possible. DD may be the only child we have, so this might be our only chance to experience pregnancy and birth. So many people tried to tell me horror stories about terrible labours etc, but I just stuck to my own thoughts.

Yes, it is painful. Yes, it can go on a long time. BUT at the end of it, you will have an amazing, incredible baby who will enrich your life forever.

Although my contractions were painful (I had them for 4 days before she was born, because dd was lying spine to spine), I just kept telling myself that they were my baby's way of telling me that she was coming to see me soon.

When I got to the hospital, I put all my trust in my DH and our discussions about the birthplan. I took my big bean bag with me and spent my time moving between a warm bath and kneeling in front of the beanbag. During contractions I walked around, hung onto my DH or waggled my bottom in the air while kneeling over the beanbag. Keeping active definitely helped me. I also used a tens machine which helped to distract me.

I had a waterbirth using only gas and air (yes, it's definitely possible!) and would really recommend it. It was a very positive experience.

Do you have a birthing partner/DH/DP going with you? Do they know what you want? It you are happy to have an epidural or pethadine, make sure they know it. If on the other hand, interventions like that are your last resort, make sure they know that too. You may need them to explain to the midwife if you don't feel up to it.

Giving birth to my DD was the most amazing thing I've ever done. The euphoria I felt afterwards took all memories of the pain away, which is probably why I feel so nostalgic about it!

Shayla1 Sat 25-Jun-05 23:49:15

Hi Harriett.
I too had worries about the birth of my DD my mum suffered from really long labours the shortest being 32 hours and everyone said to me that daughters followed mothers patterns and length of labour (i know now this is untrue). i spoke to my midwife when I was approx 32 weeks coz it bothered me that much I couldn't sleep. I found her really understanding. She explained everything that goes on during labour and birth the types of pain and how they do different things (If this makes sense) I found she really put me at ease and my labour only ended up being 4 hours 23mins and I had no pain relief apart from two puffs of gas and air the whole time (didn't like the way it made me feel so threw at DP when he told me to use it!) I think you should talk to your midwife or someone else who you trust and you know can tell the facts about what's going on and help to inform you about whats happening to your body. I wouldn't focus on the asthma side of things it's quite a common condition so medical staff will be used to asthmatic women giving birth just let them know. Hth

KiwiKate Sun 26-Jun-05 13:01:10

Hi Harriet, I too decided to focus on positive stories I'd heard. I only plan on two children, so I knew that my opportunities to experience childbirth would be very limited.

I learned breathing relaxation technieques (you can buy a video or audio casette - there are plenty of good yoga ones about that focus on breathing). This really helped.

For me, the best things were moving around (walking slowly) and keeping on breathing and relaxing throughout the contractions. I did have some gas and air mid way through the labour.

Believe it or not, our bodies produce hormones which are natural pain killers. I chose to view the pain as a positive sign that baby was coming soon. I am very glad I did not have other pain relief. Do discuss your wants with your birth partner, though. My mw decided to give me an epidural without even discussing it with me, but I had told DH ahead of time that I did not want one, but that I'd let him know in labour if I changed my mind - So he double checked with me and I did not want or need it. In fact, my labour was so far progressed (mw did not realise how far along I was) that it would not have kicked in before baby was born anyway!

It is your body. Trust your instincts, and make sure people around you know your preferences.

Good luck

motherinferior Sun 26-Jun-05 13:55:14

Hmmm, I have slightly different advice: don't rule anything out. If you want pain relief, you are not a failure. If your birth does not end up exactly the way you planned, you are not a failure.

The most constructive advice I have had on childbirth was from Sobernow, whose midwife told her 'if you run from the pain, it will only follow you: if you try to tackle it, it will meet you halfway'. Breathing helps. It means your body does not tense up and panic itself into a worse state. It will not eradicate the pain (sorry, Kiwikate, I fundamentally disagree that our bodies rid us of the pain!) but it will help you tackle it. But none of us 'fail' birth.

KiwiKate Sun 26-Jun-05 23:38:35

Hi MI - I absolutely agree with you! There is no failure in childbirth (I don't think that any woman who has had a baby would argue with that!!).

My point is really that many women do give birth without pain relief and whatever someone decides should be THEIR choice, not foistered on them by the mw or whoever (as mine tried to do to me). A woman's body is DESIGNED to have babies, and although you may not personally agree, it is a physiological fact that your body does release natural pain killers during the birth process (it is part of the biochemical changes that take place in your body during birth). These are certainly not as strong as the drugs out there, and do not mean that labour will be "pain free", but they do exist.

There are many scare stories about birth out there, but there are also many positive ones. It is totally individual and no two births are the same.

You need to do what is right for you. And I absolutely agree that you need to have an open mind and go with whatever happens on the day. Things never work out exactly as you planned/hoped and to be too set on something is setting yourself up for disappointment. I found it helpful to have a preferred plan, but that did not mean that I would not have had intervention if it had been necessary.

Anyway, no one knows in advance what is going to happen, and you might well end up needing a cs or other intervention. You aren't any less a woman or a mother if you need intervention, or decide to have pain relief. But if you choose not to have a particular pain relief (and there is no medical or personal reason that you should have it) then you should have that choice too.

homemama Mon 27-Jun-05 08:43:01

Hi Harriett, I just wanted to let you know that I too was terrified having heard so many horror stories and watched too much discovery health channel!

My midwife told me there was no scientific evidence but lots of annecdotal evidence that preparation makes a difference. She suggested the raspberry leaf tea and massaging the perineum with wheat germ oil. She also told me to keep upright and moving for as long as I could bare it.

Despite being huge, I walked miles in the last week and when they started, I used tens and the birthing ball which was fab.
Finally went to hospital when they were 2mins apart and too painful to cope with at home. One and a half hours later I was fully dilated and 50mins after that, he was born. Gas and air and no stiches.

It did hurt, but strangely you cope with it much better than you imagine when you are actually there. My midwife told me that every contraction is one closer to seeing my baby and that really helped.

Go with an open mind. Be prepared to take pain relief if you need it - thats why it's there. It bloody hurts but it's also the most exciting and amazing experience.
I would say, prepare as much as possible, keep as active as possible and do what ever you need to make it the best experience possible.
Good luck. x

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