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Midwife led unit

(25 Posts)
ShoeJunkie Tue 04-Oct-11 20:02:41

I'm 20 weeks this week with my first baby and was all set to arrange my stay at the local midwife led unit rather than the local general hospital.

DH has come back from a weekend with friends and his friends wife was shocked and appalled at the thought of not going to hospital.

So now I'm dithering!

Does anyone have any opinions for and against midwife led units?

HardCheese Tue 04-Oct-11 20:16:49

I wouldn't let that influence you for a second. Some people approach birth much more medically than others, and it's possible she had a highly complicated birth that needed all possible hospital resources. I'm 15 weeks and considering a home birth, despite being 39 and pregnant with my first baby, and I feel sure that will horrify some people. Why let yourself by persuaded by a random remark from someone you don't even know? The woman might be a total idiot!

ShoeJunkie Tue 04-Oct-11 20:56:18

Thanks HardCheese.
I know that she did have difficult births so you are probably right. Obviously if something indicated that there was a likelihood that I would have any complications I'd think again.
Hope the home birth plans go well - my SIL had a home birth and thought it was the best decision she made.

spookshowangellovesit Tue 04-Oct-11 21:01:30

my local hospital is a midwife led unit i'm confused by what you mean. do you mean one of these facilities that will only take you if your pregnancy is completely normal and ship you off to hospital if there are any complications?

Toobluntforboss Tue 04-Oct-11 21:01:50

I had my 3rd baby at a MLU and it was a fantastic experience. Beforehand I had loads of other mums telling me to go to a hospital instead as they wouldn't 'risk it' but I wouldn't change a thing. I was assessed at 36 weeks to see if I was suitable and it all worked brilliantly. The midwives all had to have at least 5 years experience (at least that's what mine told me) and it really was lovely. Would highly recommend it but it is obviously very personal and you have to do what's right for you.

ShoeJunkie Tue 04-Oct-11 21:03:53

Spooks - my local MLU is in the community hospital (no drs out of hours etc). Would be blue lighted down to big hospital if any complications.

MrsHoarder Wed 05-Oct-11 04:54:07

In that case the risk is your call: how long will it take to get to the "big hospital" if anything does go wrong? Also, can you get an epidural if you need one? I know you've said its a low risk pregnancy, which makes it safer.

I have to say I'm very glad our local hospital is a major one with a MLU, wouldn't want to have to make that decision myself.

spookshowangellovesit Wed 05-Oct-11 08:14:57

yeah they dont tend to offer epidural etc, but they do offer a less medicalised pregnancy i looked briefly in to my local one but it wasnt for me i like to know that if any thing were to happen i can get the help that baby and i needed right away. the reason i was confused is because my maternity unit is midwife led also no docs allowed unless called for are not all maternity units like this?

YBR Wed 05-Oct-11 18:03:56

I know in my area they don't make the final decision whether you're suitable for the MLU until quite late, so you have time to think it all over. Make your own decision, for your own reasons.

FWIW I am planning to go to a MLU unit if possible. I am happy that:
- they will spot possible complications and will know how to either stop them developing or send me off to the Consultants;
- they have better facilities for the pain relief I want (birthing pools for example);
- transfer to the big hospital will not take too long in an emergency;
- all I hear about the MLU is wonderful, without exception; that about the big hospitals is mixed at best.
I also realize you can't have some things there (including an epidural) and am happy with that.

kiki22 Wed 05-Oct-11 18:36:35

sorry but i still don't get what a midwife led unit is?? clearly missing something. I'm going to Glasgow royal infirmary which has the Princess royal maternity hospital as part of it is that what you mean? as far as a i know in glasgow you can only go to the maternity unit in the hospital

ALotToTakeIn Wed 05-Oct-11 18:56:07

Kiki22 a midwife led unit is one that just has midwives, no Drs. Some of them are on the same site as a major hospital so if things do get complicated the Drs can be called in. Others are in comunity or cottage hospitals so no Drs out of hours and if things get complicated you get blue lighted to the nearest big hospital. That is my understanding of it.

For me our MLU is 20 mins away from a big hospital and it is not a hospital I'd want to risk ending up at. I was very reassured when I went round my hospitals maternity ward that the midwives are keen to keep the Drs away as mucg as poss so it is mostly a MLU with Drs hanging around.

kiki22 Wed 05-Oct-11 19:08:54

In that case one thing i would say is my friend had a low risk preg was 22 no health issues everything fine with baby but almost bled to death after her son was born if she had even a 10 min dash to hospital she might have died having doctors on hand saved her life. might be unlikely but i'd rather not take that risk even if it's 1% after what she went thro at the end of the day no one knows what could go wrong so for my sake and babys sake i'm staying with the doctors.

SurprisEs Wed 05-Oct-11 23:19:08

My local hospital has a MIdwife Led Unit and I was addiment I didn't want an epidural so I asked to give birth there. I did feel some sort of comfort in the fact that the delivery suit (meaning the more medicalised sextion of the hospital) was only a corridor or two away.

I'm pregnant with DC2 and am going to try for a home birth. Go with your instincts, after all childbirth is a natural physiological part of a womens capabilities. BUT it doesn't mean, as we all know that assistence and intervention won't be necessary. Assume that everything is possible and inform yourself of all routes to a safe delivery.

All the best. smile

SurprisEs Wed 05-Oct-11 23:21:52

Section and suite. Not sextion and suit.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 05-Oct-11 23:27:23

I went to my local MLU with my first baby and it was absolutely fab. When I was in labour I couldn't have an epidural but at no point did I feel I needed on. I would say, that if your pregnancy is low risk to go for it.

natwebb79 Thu 06-Oct-11 07:49:53

I'm due in a couple of weeks and really hope to birth in the new MLBU here. My midwife said that out of the first 500 births there only 2 women had to be sent to the consultant and one of those was checked and sent back to the MLBU. I'm lucky though in that the unit here is in the big hospital located at the end of the main delivery suite.

PeterSpanswick Thu 06-Oct-11 08:20:05

I had my ds in our local midwife-led unit four weeks ago and can't recommend it highly enough. Far, far more relaxed, one to one attention and lovely staff. DH was able to stay overnight with me (he wasn't allowed onto the ward with me when our first son was born as it was outside visiting hours) and family could visit whenever we wanted them to. It was a much more pleasant experience than my first, hospital birth.

I was a little nervous about the fact that there were no doctors on site but was reassured that the midwives knew exactly what to look for and at the first sign of any trouble I would be whisked out of there, similar to if I'd opted for a home birth.

Don't let somebody else's comments put you off, this is your birth, not hers and you wouldn't even be allowed to consider the unit if the medical professionals looking after you thought it wasn't safe for you or your baby.

stripeybump Thu 06-Oct-11 08:30:18

We have a lovely new MLU attached to my local hospital, I hope to give birth to my first there - currently 29 weeks - but baby is currently breech and I have a restricted size uterus so I suspect he won't turn round in time and I'll end up with a C-section instead. I think an open mind is the way forward!

I know that outcomes are excellent at my MLU - vast majority of births go much more smoothly in the circumstances they offer compared with a ward, much more emphasis on birth as an active process for the woman instead of the 'woman as patient' situation you can often get in wards. No epidural scares me slightly - you can get shipped next door to the ward if you decide you want one, they say - but I've read too much on MN about midwives being quite against epidurals to the extent of blocking a woman's wishes, so I'm a bit scared. First birth - who knows what my pain threshold is?!

SurprisEs Thu 06-Oct-11 20:03:09

At some point I begged for an epidural. God knows how many excuses they came up with. Delivery suite full (I know this wasn't true), someone is coming transfer you (100x) etc. Until I forgot about it, mainly after the midwife made me feel empowered and she did a brilliant job as at some point I remember thinking I was going to die.

I know a lot of women would've been upset, but I was ever so greatful. I had made it clear I really didn't want an epidural when writing my birth plan for several reasons. I was pleased she was so persistant and I would give birth with her as my main support any time.

stripeybump Thu 06-Oct-11 21:57:06

See I don't know how you can know in advance how much pain you can stand! I've never had an operation or been especially ill, so I don't have anything to compare labour to.

Maybe I'll be like those crazy Scientologist women who make no sound hmm

SurprisEs Thu 06-Oct-11 22:03:39

I have a very low pain threshold but my fear of medical intervention (not just in labour) far outways the pain in my case.

I was certainly not quite and peaceful! Hysterical comes to mind. blush

pookamoo Thu 06-Oct-11 22:08:05

We have a MLU in our town and the big hospital is about 25 minutes drive away in the nearest big town.

I live about 200 yards from the MLU, and my DD2 was born 10 minutes after we walked in the door... no way we would have made it to the big hospital!

DD1 was born in the big hospital and I went to the MLU afterwards for recovery.

I can't fault the MLU in any way at all. The big hospital were fine for the delivery of DD1, but they were just too busy to help with the aftermath! In the MLU I got the support I needed to establish breastfeeding, as well as being well looked after and cared for.

stripeybump Thu 06-Oct-11 22:25:09

Oh yes aftercare is meant to be much better at MLUs and everything I read on MN suggests that aftercare can easily be the worst bit in hospital.

Summerblaze Fri 07-Oct-11 11:00:55

I had my dd and ds in the same room, same birthing pool at our ML unit. It is attached to a hospital but not the womens and childrens one so if something was wrong there would be a blue light trip to the other hospital (about 15 mins drive away). My friend had her baby at the ML unit too and there was a problem with the baby but they were really good and got her the help when she needed it. She is now a bright 8 year old. My sister also went there but they had problems getting the baby out as she wasn't dilating properly so they sent her to the hospital too. My niece is now 2.

The experience there was lovely. DH could stay as late as he wanted and there was no set visiting. Also children were allowed in. At our local hospital only your own children are allowed to visit. My dd was gutted when she couldn't go and see my niece. She had been waiting for ever to meet her.

Our ML unit has now closed due to all the funding cuts. I really don't fancy going to the hospital for all the reasons above and because the after care there is not very good. I think I am opting for a home birth this time.

ShoeJunkie Sat 08-Oct-11 09:11:17

Thanks for the perspective everyone - I'll calm down now!

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