Epidural vs Birthing Room

Ah, when we first discussed this, shortly after meeting the anaesthesiologist, this was largely cut and dried. Then came endless antenatal classes with all their talk of ‘normal births’, which are those of no medical interventions, vs the dreaded ‘medical births’, which are either the worst thing ever or perfectly normal, depending on whether you believe the midwives or doctors. So, the pendulum swung towards as natural and calm a birth as possible, one with hypnotherapy, scented candles, a birthing pool, light music and nothing stronger than gas an air, all from the comfort of the calming and medical equipment free birthing room. Epidurals aren’t available at all in the birthing room, and moving from one room to another at the peak of labour might be complicated.

Well you know what? It turns out there’s a middle ground. Maternity wards were already making provision for more natural births, with water baths and other facilities, before birthing rooms became a thing. Which means many labour wards have such facilities on site, as well as a separate birthing room. That, to us, and the advising midwives, seemed the best of both worlds. Provision for a calm, drug free labour, but if it’s required, all the facilities of the labour ward, including the epidural should it be required. So, we can try the water bath, we can utilise the hypnobirthing, but my anxiety levels can be mitigated by the knowledge that medical professionals have everything they need, should it be required.

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