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Your Guide To Preparing For Birth

Your Guide To Preparing For Birth

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and life changing experiences for a family. Venturing into new parenthood and preparing to meet your baby for the first time is a wonderful and magical time. So that you are able to make some important choices about your birth we have put together some information for you to consider.

Where Should I Give Birth?

There are several options available to pregnant women and choosing the right one for you can sometimes feel daunting. It is important to remember that your birth experience is unique to you. Having choices available and making the right ones for you is an individual decision that only you can make.

Luisa SweeneyLuisa Sweeney, Matron for Maternity at The Lindo Wing, who has more than 25 years experience as a midwife, says: “Choosing the place that you want to give birth is one of the most important decisions of your life. It is so important that you feel safe, confident and relaxed both before during and after the birth of your baby. The key to making the right choice is to take time to research where you want to want to give birth. You should schedule birthing unit visits and solicit opinions online and from friends with experience.”

The Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital is world renowned for its maternity services and exceptional levels of care.

What Type Of Care Should I Choose?

Obstetric Led Care

Obstetricians are experts in all aspects of pregnancy care. If you’re experiencing complications with your pregnancy or have a complex medical history it is good to know you are in the safest hands throughout pregnancy and birth. Private obstetric led care gives you constant reassurance and easy accessibility to a highly skilled expert of your choice.

Midwife Led care

Midwives are experts in all aspects of normal pregnancy and childbirth. They are trained to recognise any potential complications of pregnancy and are able to access obstetric care seamlessly. Women that choose midwife led care often seek a more natural birth with minimal intervention.

Shared Care

Many women will choose a combination of both obstetric and Midwife led care known as shared care. This means that both the Obstetrician and the Midwife will work together to provide the care that you need.
It is important to remember that the type of care you choose, be it obstetric or midwife led can change as your pregnancy progresses. You can move back and forth throughout pregnancy and birth depending on the care required.

How Should I Give Birth To My Baby?

Most women will choose to have a normal birth with as little intervention as possible. This is by far the safest mode of delivery for both mother and baby. However, for some women a normal birth may not be an option – due to medical reasons or personal choice – and they may wish to consider a caesarean section.

Whether you choose to have a normal birth or a caesarean birth, it is important to remember that you are able to dictate your birth environment be it an operating theatre, a purpose built suite or a simple side room. You can create your own ambiance with soft music and lighting, familiar faces and a relaxed approach to your delivery.

Private Pregnancy UK can help you find a private clinic or hospital for Maternity Care and/or Childbirth.

Looking After Yourself During The Last Stages of Pregnancy

Luisa advises that rest and relaxation is important during the run up to birth. Some women don’t have the luxury to take time out, but you should try to take moments and care for yourself.

There are many alternative therapies that can bring many benefits during pregnancy and there are professionals who specialise in therapies for mothers-to-be:

  • Mindfulness

    A series of physical and mental exercises that encourage a healthy body and mind.

  • Nutrition

    Nutritionists and midwives can offer advice on how to optimise nutritional benefit for mother and baby throughout pregnancy and beyond.

  • Osteopathy

    A good osteopath can assist during pregnancy with the rapid bodily changes, and help you to adapt and prepare for birth.

  • Reflexology

    Although not advised, it can help with many ailments experienced during pregnancy including heartburn, morning sickness, backache and fatigue.

  • Acupuncture

    Used for over 2,500 years to promote and maintain good health, acupuncture lasts around 30 minutes and helps release endorphins to rebalance and fine-tune bodily functions.

Thinking About Birth Positions

You never know how your body will respond until labour starts and it is important to let your body be your guide. “During the second stage of labour alternative positions like squatting or being on all fours can help open the birth canal,” explains Luisa Sweeny.

Massaging The Perineum

Massaging the perineum is recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in preparation for birth and has been shown to reduce the need for episiotomy and stitches.

What Kind Of Pain Relief Is There?

A lot of women would like their birth experience to be as natural as possible, but it’s hard to know how labour will go. Luisa Sweeny explains: “Even though you’ve planned ahead, when you’re in the moment and facing the unexpected, it can be hard to know what to do. But there are steps you can take to regain control of the situation and to support your partner.

“Your priority is to understand what is happening and what your options are. This can make a big difference to how you and your partner feel after your baby is born too. Whatever kind of birth you’re planning, you should familiarise yourself with what pain-relief options are available in case you need them.”

  • Water

    The calming effect of warm water is in itself an effective method of pain relief. The hormones that help you cope with the pain of labour (endorphins) may increase when you’re in a birth pool.

  • Tens Machine

    Although not recommended by NICE, TENS is a drug-free kind of pain relief often used by women in early labour. A TENS machine sends small, safe pulses of electrical current via leads to pads on your skin. The pulses pass through your skin and into your muscles and tissues, giving you a gentle tingling or buzzing sensation.

  • Complementary Therapies

    Acupuncture, reflexology, massage, self-hypnosis can all help focus the mind and centre your thoughts throughout birth, reducing stress and giving comfort.

  • Entonox (Gas and Air)

    Entonox (gas and air) is a colourless, odourless gas made up of oxygen and nitrous oxide – also known as laughing gas. It can take the edge off labour pain, rather than blocking it out.

  • Pain Relieving Drugs

    It is advisable to discuss pain relieving drugs with your midwife or obstetrician. Pethidine is an opioid drug that will help you to relax and reduce your pain.

  • Epidural

    An epidural is a regional anaesthetic, meaning that not all of your body is affected. Painkilling drugs are passed into the small of your back through a fine tube to the nerves that carry pain signals from your womb (uterus) and cervix to your brain during labour. An epidural numbs your belly, allowing you to retain some sensation in your feet and legs, and usually gives very effective pain relief.

Whilst the nature of childbirth in itself is unpredictable, it’s always advisable to research your options. There’s no doubt that preparing yourself for birth, mentally and physically, will make giving birth less stressful and allow you to enjoy the experience of having your baby.

Are you interested in the very best private maternity care? Find out more about the maternity services available at The Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital.

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