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Does continuous monitoring mean being on your back for labour?

(21 Posts)
aufaniae Sun 31-Mar-13 13:55:02

Last time I gave birth, I was induced with Syntocinon and had continuous monitoring. The MW made it clear she wanted me on my back, which I was really against as I wanted to practice active labour. Also the epidural didn't work and I wanted to do what I could to reduce the pain, and being on my back wasn't it!

The MW never explained why she wanted me on my back, and I've since been told that it's a sign of an inexperienced MW if they can't cope with monitoring with you in any position but on your back. I may well be induced again this time, and I had hoped to avoid the same experience. In fact I have a very short birth plan, which simply says I need a MW who will support me practicing active labour!

However another mumsnetter said she recently was told that she's been told that she'll need to be in bed if induced, and a quick google shows that having Syntocinon = an expectation of continuous monitoring = "restricted movement".

So wise mumsnetters, can anyone shed any light on what is meant by "restricted movement"? I remember from last time, although on a bed, I could have been in different positions, had the MW supported me to do so? Should an experienced MW be able to support active labour (or semi-active labour at least) even with continuous monitoring?

Or, when the hospital talk about being in bed, is it mostly because they're assuming you'll be immobile from the epidural?

I am seeing my MW on Tues, but I'm finding she's not great at giving me info unless I ask the right questions, so I want to arm myself with knowledge before then.

wfrances Sun 31-Mar-13 14:03:38

i think its because you have a drip in and being monitored at the same time cant really give you a lot of room to move about.
i stayed upright ,just walking around the bed until the last 10 minutes(carefully)

SchroSawMargeryDaw Sun 31-Mar-13 14:06:26

I had the same as you, including the agonising failed epidural but forced on my back.

Eventually they put a clip on DS' head because I was complaining about being told to stay very still so they could get a trace, I still wasn't allowed to move though.

The first MW I had was lovely though and let me go on the ball and over the bed and move about freely with the monitor on.

SchroSawMargeryDaw Sun 31-Mar-13 14:07:34

I think it's mainly because they assume you can't move much from the epidural, I could though. It totally failed and they agreed because they kept doing some test with freeze spray on me to see if I could feel it.

aufaniae Sun 31-Mar-13 14:14:20

So does it vary from MW to MW then? Are some OK with movement with monitoring and some not? If so then back to plan A which is to ask the MW i get for labour upfront if she can support me being as active as possible and demand someone else if she can't! Is this realistic do you think?

nocake Sun 31-Mar-13 14:16:50

If you're attached to a drip and a monitor you can't go very far but you should be able to get off the bed and stand up or sit on a ball.

SchroSawMargeryDaw Sun 31-Mar-13 14:17:49

I think it does, my first MW was happy and even encouraging me to move and said it's fine as she can just re-adjust. The second was a monster and wouldn't let me move at all and kept shoving a stupid wedge under my back.

I think asking is a good idea and making it known that you want an active labour.

MyNameIsAnAnagram Sun 31-Mar-13 14:21:54

The only reason I was stuck in one position was that ds hr kept dipping if I was in any other position than on my lhs. Otherwise the mws would have been happy for me to be in whatever position I was comfortable with. There are also wireless monitors you can use which give you much more freedom but the one we tried kept losing signal so not that reliable.

Fakebook Sun 31-Mar-13 14:25:50

When I was induced with the drip, it meant my contractions, my baby's heart rate and my heart rate had to be continuously monitored. So along with the drip I was hooked up to about 3 machines and the belts around my belly to measure contractions and baby's heart rate kept moving out of place if I moved around. You can't really move very far without getting tangled too. This was the reason why I was bed bound. I also ended up having an epidural so chances of active labour went out the window when that happened.

SchroSawMargeryDaw Sun 31-Mar-13 14:31:19

Fakebook I was actually pretty much the same. Had the BP machine and the heartrate finger thing, the drip, the epidural and the monitor.

Too many wires!

lightrain Sun 31-Mar-13 14:32:13

2 different things here:

1) continuous monitoring - don't nessecarily need to be on your back, if your hospital has mobile monitoring (wireless). If your hospital does - mine does 'cos I was super-worried about being on my back all labour so first thing I checked - then you can move around, even go in the water whilst being monitored. If no mobile monitoring, you are a lot more restricted.

2) epidural - unless your hospital offers mobile epidurals - mine doesn't - then you will be restricted to bed and labouring on your back because your legs won't work properly anymore!

catlady1 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:41:53

I didn't have the drip or an epidural but I spent most of my labour on my back with the monitor on because DD's heartrate was raised. I was only 3cm when I went into hospital and I don't think the midwife believed I was in as much pain as I said I was, she kept coming back in to tell me to keep very still and tutting that she'd have to keep the monitor on longer if I couldn't... I had awful back labour, I'd been in slow labour and not slept for three days before I went in and every contraction was making me contort myself like I'd been hit with a taser! I wanted to tell her to have a go and see how still she could be! I'd planned to keep active and ultimately have a water birth, but towards the end I progressed very quickly and when the midwife finally came to take me off the monitor I was fully dilated and starting to push. Everything was fine and of course that's all that really matters, but I do feel a bit short-changed.

CheeseAndMushroomToastie Sun 31-Mar-13 14:44:45

I too was covered in wires, was mainly on my back, but midwife did encourage me to get on my sides, and I did actually give birth on my knees, crouching over the head of the bed

Rockchick1984 Sun 31-Mar-13 14:54:13

My midwife was happy for me to find a position where I was comfortable (on my knees leaning over the back of the bed) but once I was comfortable I had to stay like that so not an active labour but still better than flat on my back! I wasn't induced though, so not sure if it would have been different with a drip.

pompompom Sun 31-Mar-13 15:32:23

I had continuous monitoring and a drip, wires everywhere, but was kneeling down on the floor for the whole thing. Any other position was pure agony. One MW insisted I lay on my back for an examination and it was awful. Nothing short of full sedation would have persuaded me to give birth on my back.

LikeCandy Sun 31-Mar-13 17:11:44

I was on continuous monitoring due to preeclamsia from 8pm when we arrived at hospital (contracting 3 in 10), until the decision was made to send me for EMCS at 6pm the next day.

I was upright, walking around (a little, the leads aren't long!), bouncing on a birthing ball or leaning over the bed which had been brought up to shoulder level for the first 12/13hrs.
No one suggested staying on bed, but being 'active' did mean the midwives had to keep readjusting the sensors when they slipped.
I ended up with an epidural as the syntocinon (started at 3am, so 7hours on) made the contractions unbearable - so did end up on my back.
I didn't get to the pushing stage as we only made it to 8cm, so can't comment on that!

Good luck, I hope you get the birth you want!

somethingbeginningwith Tue 02-Apr-13 10:02:39

When I was induced I started contracting on my own without the need of a drip but the two MWs I had put it in anyway and told me I had to stay on my back. They're shift finished about half an hour in and a new MW came in, took the drip off me and said I could be how I felt comfy even though both me and baby were being monitored. I'm so glad I had that MW for the whole labour instead; so in my experience it's down to the individual MW!

CitrusyOne Tue 02-Apr-13 10:05:10

I was on monitor whole way through and was 'allowed' to be on my side. Being on my back was FAR too painful.

EggsEggSplat Tue 02-Apr-13 10:11:27

I had continuous monitoring with DS and was theoretically able to move around but in fact because of DS's position (back to back) they lost the heartbeat every time I moved so I was stuck on my back. Labour was very slow to progress, uneven dilation etc I think largely as a result of my position. So with DC2 (also back to back) I refused continuous monitoring and was able to stand up & move around, which meant everything was much quicker and less painful.

LazyMonkeyButler Tue 02-Apr-13 10:15:56

Well, I've had continuous monitoring throughout all 3 labours. I also had a failed epidural with DS1. With DS1, 16 years ago, I was very much restricted to being on the bed on my back. With DS2, 12 years ago, I was given the option of getting up & walking round a bit but was so woozy on gas & air that I opted not to. With DD, 2 years ago, I spent most of my labour peacefully rocking away on a lovely rocking chair grin. With a drip in one arm & a monitor strapped on to you movement is unlikely to be completely free but the rocking chair helped me hugely with contractions, the rocking motion was very calming for some reason! I only got on to the bed for the final stage.

KatAndKit Tue 02-Apr-13 16:59:42

I had an induction and I was pretty much trapped on my back from when they started the syntocinon. Wished I'd had an epidural but left it too late.

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