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Giving birth

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Wherever possible we promote normality in childbirth from the start of your pregnancy.

You will be able to talk about the different choices you can make about where and how you want to give birth with your midwife so you have all the information to ensure that you make the decision that is right for you and your baby.

  • Lavender Suite

    • The Lavender Suite is situated on Loveridge ward and provides a "home from home" environment in a hospital setting with women centred, normal care for healthy women with low risk pregnancies. The philosophy we have established is the promotion of normal labour and birth.
    • If you are a first-time mum or have given birth before with no serious complications, and as long as you are healthy, expected to have a vaginal birth and go into labour yourself between 37 and 42 weeks, you can have your baby in The Lavender Suite.
    • The suite consists of a spacious relaxing area with a bean bag, Bradbury cushion and birthing pool all of which encourage mobilisation and normality in labour.
    • The use of the Lavender Suite can be discussed with your midwife at 36 weeks as some women maybe more suited to birth in one of our other labour rooms. We welcome the opportunity to assess whether this service would suit your needs.
  • Delivery Suite/Labour Ward

    • Our Labour Suite is typically for those women with complications who may require obstetric and midwifery care during labour and birth. Occasionally, if the lavender suite is in use, the labour suite can also be used for those women whose care is midwifery led.
    • The environment is both appropriate for obstetric led and midwifery led care. Maternity care in the labour suite is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including midwives, obstetricians, anaesthetists, paediatricians and support workers. All members of the team will ensure the focus is on respecting your individual preferences. We promote normality wherever possible and you are encouraged to participate fully in your care, with support from your birthing partners.
    • Delivery suite facilities:
    • 3 birthing rooms: Ocean, Woodland and Blossom. Ocean is our secondary water birth room which can be used if the Lavender Suite is unavailable.
    • The Cove - is a big bath which can be used by women in early labour.
    • You would give birth on the Labour Suite for a number of reasons, these include, among other reasons, if you:
      • Have medical or obstetric complications
      • Have had complications in a previous pregnancy or birth
      • Go into labour before 37 weeks
      • Require Induction of Labour (IOL)
      • Need a Caesarean Section for medical or obstetric reasons
      • Choose to have your baby on the Labour Ward
      • Would like an epidural
  • What to do when you go into Labour

    • If you are in any doubt as to whether you may in labour please contact Loveridge Ward - 725241 ext. 4110..
    • The main signs to be aware of to indicate that your labour is starting are strong, regular contractions and a 'show' (when the plug of mucus sealing your cervix comes away) Other signs that you are going into labour can include your waters breaking, backache, vomiting or nausea and diarrhoea. You may also experience the urge to go to the toilet which is caused by your baby's head pressing on your bowel.
    • Contractions - During a contraction, the muscles in your womb contract and the pain increases. If you put your hand on your abdomen, you can feel it getting harder. When the muscles relax, the pain fades and your hand will feel the hardness ease. The contractions are pushing your baby down and opening your cervix (entrance to the womb) ready for your baby to go through. You may have had contractions throughout your pregnancy, particularly towards the end. During pregnancy, these painless tightenings are called Braxton Hicks contractions. Your midwife will probably advise you to stay at home until your contractions are frequent e.g. when your contractions last 30-60 seconds and every three minutes (every five minutes if it is your second baby or more). If you require advice please call Loveridge Ward - 725241 ext. 4110.
    • If you are ever unsure, please do not hesitate to contact the midwives. We are happy to provide support and advice over the telephone at any time of day or night.
  • What to bring with you

    • As you approach your 36th week of pregnancy, you should start to pack a bag ready for your trip to the maternity unit. Whatever you decide to bring is your personal choice, but we have put together some suggestions below.
    • For labour
      • Any hospital notes, a copy of your birth plan and list of contact telephone numbers
      • Comfortable clothing (including something to wear in the birthing pool if you are planning to use it)
      • Large bath towel
      • Maternity pads and disposable underwear
      • Toiletries including soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and lip balm
      • Hair bands or clips for long hair
      • Dressing gown and slippers
      • Refillable water bottle
      • High energy sweets and drinks
      • Other snacks, such as cereal bars or fruit
      • Music - CDs or iPod (we have a docking station)
      • Camera
    • After delivery
      • Comfortable clothing (including nightwear and a nursing bra)
      • Baby clothes including babygros, vests, scratch mittens, hat, blanket and something warm to go home in
      • Nappies
      • Cotton wool
    • For partners
      • Comfortable clothing (remember it gets very warm in the unit)
      • Suitable indoor footwear
      • Meals and snacks (please note only mothers receive free meals in the maternity unit)
  • Pain Relief during Labour

    • There are a range of methods and options available to you to support you during your labour. The midwives will discuss the types of support available to you, including water, birthing ball and medications as examples. The midwife is also there to ensure that both you and your baby are appropriately monitored and cared for during your labour period. Talk to your midwife about the types of pain relief available to you will help you make informed choices about what is right for you and your baby through labour and birth.
    • All women experience labour differently. Whilst it is a good idea to have in mind and/or write down your preferences on your birth plan, also remember to keep an open mind. You may find that you want more pain relief than you'd planned, or your doctor or midwife may suggest more effective pain relief to help the delivery. Different ways of relieving the pain are listed below:
      • Self-help
      • Hydrotherapy (being in water), available in Lavender and Ocean
      • Gas and air (entonox)
      • Injections of opiates such as Pethidine
      • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS)
      • Epidural anaesthesia- only available in Delivery Suite
    • Alternative methods of pain relief (hypnobirthing, aromatherapy, reflexology, etc.). If you are using alternative methods please inform your midwife upon admission so we are able to fully support you.
    • Talk to your Midwife or Consultant about the various methods of pain relief to obtain more information and decide what is right for you and your baby.
    • Some top tips for being more relaxed during labour and more able to manage the pain are:
    • Learn about labour to help you feel more in control and less worried about the process; you can talk to your midwife or doctor, go to antenatal classes and ask us any questions
    • Try and learn some techniques to relax and stay calm, such as deep breathing
    • Keep moving - your position can make a lot of difference to how you are feeling, so try kneeling, walking around or rocking backwards and forwards
    • Bring a partner, friend or relative to support you. Don't worry if you don't have anyone,  your midwife will give you all of the care and assistance that you need


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