When I first said I'd do this blog a few friends asked if I would do a "real time" labour blog. They thought it was a great idea. I'm still not 100% convinced as I imagine it would be along the lines of…
(Done with a Geordie "Big Brother" style voice over)
<Day One on the labour ward. Anna has just arrived.>
<Midwife – You’re not in labour.>
<Day Three on the labour ward. Anna is here for the twelfth time.>
<Midwife – You are able to go home!>
<And so on until.>
<6:35 On the labour ward… Daddy is eating a sandwich>
<…I don’t know what all the fuss is about!>
<…Easy peasy easy peaseeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy> <…aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!>
<----Blog has been terminated-->
I don't really know much about what labour is going to be like and to be honest I'm a little bit scared. I decided to check out the Medicine for Members event on Pain Management in Labour that took place at the Women's on Thursday evening.
The audience consisted mostly of bumps and their entourages and the session was led by some of the midwives.
We kicked off with a presentation that ran through labour and the different types of pain relief available (and the pros and cons of each). We were able to ask questions as we went along and it was quite good to hear the other bump-bearers' questions, particularly as some already had children and their questions were based on their own experiences. Others were first timers who had clearly been doing their research.
The room was set up with tens machines, epidurals, gas and air, aromatherapy oils, birthing balls, a mobile birthing pool and a chair that looked like a toilet seat! After the talk we could have a little nosey and ask any further questions. We also went up to see the birthing pool and labour rooms.
I think the main thing that I took away from the session was that there are a lot of options around to help survive labour and not to rule anything out just yet!
I'm glad I went.
Cathy Atherton Head of Midwifery
So glad you found the medicine for member's event useful, and your summing up of the advice on the night is perfect! Know what's on offer and do not rule anything out! Labour is individual and its best not to be too set on what to use or not use.
We are considering running this session again as the general feedback from those who attended was good. The majority of pregnant women are interested in this topic and want to discuss all the issues which helps to make individual informed decisions about how to manage labour.
One of the issues discussed on the night was in relation to preparing yourself for labour. That is trying to get all things balanced i.e. resting, keeping mobile, eating well etc etc. Also when you think labour may have started then contact Liverpool Women's for advice. In the early stages it helps to keep upright and mobile as well as having small high calorie foods to help keep your strength up. Remember the first stage takes time as your body prepares for the birth, BUT that does not necessarily mean you are in lots of pain. Getting your partner to massage your lower back, moving your hips, getting in the bath and taking paracetamol are all really useful techniques when labour is establishing. Once contractions are regular and gaining in strength you may be starting to consider other options. We discussed the value of using the birth pool at this stage. The Intrapartum NICE guidelines highlights water as a good analgesia during labour. We also have birth pools for hire if you wish to have your baby at home.
As you rightly point out try to get information on all available types of analgesia. Also discuss this with your birth partner so that they can help you during labour by telling your carers what your preferences are if necessary. You may also want to write down your wishes on your birth plan too. Finally, remember to discuss all your questions with us so we know what is important for you. We want to help this to be the best birth experience for you.