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Birth Centre or Hospital birth?

(14 Posts)
lemonwildflower Thu 23-Jul-15 08:59:50

I wanted to hear your views and stories around going birth in a birth centre (inside the hospital) or a hospital birth.
I am currently looking at birth centre, but I can't see the cons of going that way - can you advise?

pinkie87 Thu 23-Jul-15 09:56:28

I am 35 weeks pregnant and have decided to go to a birth centre (if all goes to plan). Obviously I can't advise on my experience yet! But I am low risk and would prefer a more active/natural birthing experience. In my case the post natal care offered in a birthing centre is much better/more supportive as they have less women in and more staff. They allow me to stay as long as I want to really if I want help with establishing breastfeeding etc.

The cons are of course that if you need intervention, you are not in the right place. For me that will mean being blue lighted to the nearest hospital. Could be stressful I suppose but as soon as they see a problem starting they will get you over there in plenty of time. The option of having an epidural is taken away from me. Obviously I don't want one, but I don't know how I will deal with labour with it being my first baby! Also if you are earlier than 37 weeks or past 42 weeks (needing induction) they won't have me at the birthing centre, and that may be disappointing if you had your heart set on it. They are the only cons that I managed to think of!

Brionius Thu 23-Jul-15 10:34:05

There's no birth centre where I am and I'm absolutely gutted. As a midwife, birth centres are amazing, truly amazing and you will have a lovely birth there! I'm staying at home (against medical advice, but I work with em so they can't really complain) but I'd love a birth centre!

HazelShade Thu 23-Jul-15 10:57:49

Birth Centres at hospitals are great. My hospital has one, and I went there for my first birth - it was lovely, calm, with a nice pool and a flat screen tv (!).

I was there for about 12 hours before transferring upstairs for an epidural smile I guess you could argue that being placed in the hospital, one 'con' is that the option of serious pain relief is just an elevator ride away, and at some point that is likely to be very tempting? But this can also be a good thing. For me the epidural was definitely the right choice - labour was progressing incredibly slowly (reading my notes back later it said 'unusually slow labour' - it took 12 hours to go from 3 to 5 cm) and I was completely shattered.

Am currently 38 + 3 with DC2 and going for the Birth Centre again - they say second labours are quicker, so fingers crossed...

AbbeyRoadCrossing Thu 23-Jul-15 13:25:30

I never had a birth centre birth as DS was born too soon as my iron was slightly low - I wanted one though!
Only cons I can think of is there are different pain relief options and no continuous feral monitoring (although most don't need / want this) and it's midwife led so no doctors.
That being said if you are in or near the hospital you can quickly move to the ward if needed.
Pros seem to be a private room afterwards and going home quite quickly but that's probably because they only do straightforward births.
I would say, try not to get your heart set on it too much. They'll assess you at 37 weeks and it can make some women sad if they don't qualify e.g. breech, big / small baby, iron levels etc are all out of your control really. But hopefully you'll qualify easily.
Good luck!

AbbeyRoadCrossing Thu 23-Jul-15 13:26:26

Sorry meant to say he was born early AND my iron was low. The iron didn't cause it!

goodnessgraciousgouda Thu 23-Jul-15 14:50:46

To be honest, I am the opposite. I honestly cannot fathom why anyone would want to give birth in a birthing centre (although obviously a lot of people do!!)

From my perspective, a hospital birth is much more reassuring because:

- It's my first time and I have no idea how it will go. A hospital is obviously much better equipt than a birthing centre.

- Whilst I am not absolutely positive I will have an epidural, I definitely want to know that the option is there. I don't understand another persons' point about it "tempting you" if you are in pain. If you broke a leg would it be "giving in to temptation" to take pain killers? Weird.

- I do tend to err on the side of caution. I like the fact that if something were to go wrong (and you never know), then the relevant stuff and people are right there, and no time would be lost in a desperate scramble to get to the right place.

- For those reasons, I wouldn't be able to relax in a birthing centre as I just wouldn't feel safe.

- Finally, I don't see any appeal in birthing centres. It's not a criticism of people who like them (just as I don't take it as a personal offence that there are those who don't see any appeal in a hospital birth), I just don't see their point, aside from an attempt to siphon women away from the hospital in order to free up more beds.

bakingtins Thu 23-Jul-15 15:03:16

I can't see any cons to a birth centre in or near the hospital. I had a fab MLU birth with DC1, and found out that the emergency team really were only seconds away when I had a major PPH after DC2.
If you are hoping for a natural/low intervention birth then it will best suit your needs, if you find you need more pain relief or interventions at the time than they offer it's a v short transfer.

beehappybe Thu 23-Jul-15 15:04:39

hi, I have the choice of a birth centre inside a hospital which seems to be the perfect option-if something goes wrong you are one lift stop away from specialist care.

It's my impression from the birth centre that you will be given a bit more freedom and space (and privacy)-for me this is important as I think I would find it really uncomfortable to be just lying on a bed, I think I will feel more in control being able to move about and choose if I want to be in the pool or on a ball... having said that who knows-I still have quite a few months to go.
I have read somewhere that your local NCT class can help arrange a tour of the facilites-I think doing that might be great-you get to experience the space and see if you would you feel comfortable there I am hoping to do that.

Good luck:-)

chocolatedonut Thu 23-Jul-15 15:05:48

I had a hospital birth and I'm glad that I did. The midwife I had was excellent. She was very supportive, encouraging and really let me follow my own instincts.
I'm glad that I had a hospital birth as very soon into arriving on the labour ward the midwife noticed the baby's heart rate dropping and I had to have continuous monitoring. There was speak of a c-section at the time but it never came to that. It was very scary though and I am forever greatful to the midwives and doctors who all suddenly appeared in the room when babys heart rate really dropped. According to DH the room filled up very quickly!
In the end I gave birth with just DH, my midwife and another midwife who had popped in for the last 5-10 min to assist when baby came out in the room.
The continuous monitoring wasn't that bad, I was restricted to the bed but the midwife was great helping me into different positions etc. I also had a drip in which made it a bit more difficult for me to move!
I think now I have seen how quickly things can start to go wrong I would have future births in a hospital. I only needed gas and air but again I felt more reassured to know lots of different options including epidural were available should I have needed it. Babies and labour are very unpredictable! I am the kind of person who needs a lot of reassurance though and knowing there was a big team of staff, operating theatres and a neonatal unit etc right there gave me peace of mind.

chocolatedonut Thu 23-Jul-15 15:08:29

Oh and I had my own room in the labour ward where there were birthing balls, wall bars etc. There are 3 pools in my maternity unit labour ward but I didn't ask to use one as I knew it definitely wasn't for me (not that I would have been allowed because of the monitoring).

I would do some research into what facilities are available in both, access to pain relief, medical staff etc and then hopefully you'll be better informed to make a decision xxx

austengirl Fri 24-Jul-15 00:24:48

The birth centre I hope to deliver in is attached to a hospital, so if I need additional intervention it's right there.

avocadogreen Fri 24-Jul-15 00:41:36

I had a birth centre with DC1 and it was amazing, such a special experience. Before making my mind up, I asked them lots of questions, including how long it would take to get to hospital in an emergency (8 minutes in an ambulance) and how many hospital transfers they had on average (can't remember the number, but the vast majority was due to lack of progress, not an emergency situation). I felt very reassured that at the slightest hint of a problem they would transfer me to the hospital long before the issue became an emergency.

During the birth I had one midwife by my side throughout. I felt very relaxed and in control. Loads of BF support and advice after the birth and my own room.

DC2 was induced in a very busy hospital. I saw at least 3-4 different midwives and was left on my own for long periods of time. Shared a room with 3 other women. Very little BF advice. I know which one I preferred.

motherofallhangovers Fri 24-Jul-15 01:03:22

Giving birth in a birth centre with a hospital attached is a great idea IMO.

Giving birth in a place where if you do need intervention or an epidural (and you may well) that it's not available is a horrendous idea IMO.

I have given birth twice, the first time in a hospital (high risk so no choice. I was induced, I needed an epidural, I was in screaming agony for a long time. The epidural didn't work) and the second time by choice (low risk, the pain was manageable).

I would want to know how long it would take to get to the nearest hospital, that would be key for me.

My local hospital now only offers midwife only. If you need intervention you are bluelighted to another hospital which is 20 minutes away on a good day, on a one-lane road. (Much longer than that in winter or rush hour). There is no way I'd risk having to do that journey, while labouring, in an emergency.

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