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Questionnaire: What birth option is right for you?

Try the ThinkBaby Birth Questionnaire to see what kind of birthing options you should be thinking about

Posted: 4 November 2009
by Debra Stottor

What type of birth do you want?

The minute you announce you’re pregnant you’ll be bombarded with advice from friends and relatives who have been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Trouble is, we’re all different and what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for you.
So if you’re not sure whether you want to go for a home birth, a water birth or all-available-pain-relief-please birth, our light-hearted questionnaire might just point you in the right direction. Just bear in mind that what happens on the day might not be what you had in mind…

1 Who would you like to have with you at the birth?
a) My partner, my midwife – and a doctor on hand if necessary
b) My partner, my doula, my midwife, my mother, my children…
c) Midwife, doctor, anyone in a white coat – oh, and my partner as long as he promises not to faint

2 How do you feel about pain relief?
a) I’ll keep an open mind, probably start with a TENS machine, move on to gas and air, then ramp it up if it gets too bad
b) It’s for wimps – I’m doing yoga and hypnotherapy and shall breathe my way through the pain
c) I shall be calling for an epidural the minute I arrive at hospital

3 How do you envisage the atmosphere in the labour room?
a) Hopefully all will be calm and relaxed, and not too bright
b) Candlelight, incense, soft music – a serene atmosphere to welcome my little one to the world
c) Bright lights, medics everywhere, monitors at the ready…

4 What do you think of water birth?
a) Sounds promising, I might give it a go
b) Sounds like the best possible way to give birth – I’ve already ordered the pool
c) Out of the question if I have an epidural, so forget it

5 How much have you read about giving birth?
a) A few magazines and one book – I think I know enough to be able to say what I want at the time
b) Loads – books, videos, relaxation CDs, the works. I like to go in with my eyes wide open
c) A couple of magazine articles – the staff at the hospital will know what they’re doing and advise me accordingly

6 How mobile do you want to be during labour?
a) I’d like to be able to move around if possible – I understand this can help labour progress
b) Nothing and no-one will stop me from moving around and finding the most comfortable position
c) I’m happy to take it lying down so the medics can keep a close eye on me

7 What type of fetal monitoring would you like?
a) I’d prefer the hand-held monitor if possible, so I can still move around
b) Hand-held only, though I’m sure I’ll be able to tell if all is going well
c) Feel free to strap me up if you think it’s necessary

8 How do you feel about intervention, eg artificial rupture of membranes, speeding up labour using artificial hormones, episiotomy?
a) I’d prefer to avoid them if possible, but will take advice on the day
b) Only in the direst emergency
c) If it’s going to help get the baby out quicker, bring it on!

9 Who would you like to cut the cord?
a) I don’t mind – if my partner wants to, he’s welcome
b) My partner – it will help him bond with our baby
c) As long as it’s done properly, I don’t mind

10 How would you like to see your baby for the first time?
a) I’d like to see him as soon as possible, I don’t mind if he’s a bit messy
b) I’ll start breastfeeding as soon as he’s out, while the cord’s still attached
c) I’d like him to be cleaned up before my first cuddle

Your answers
Mostly As
You’re quite easy-going about this whole birth thing and that’s a healthy attitude. You’ll cope well in any setting, so it’s a case of working out what’s best for you – assuming there are no complications, a home birth or birth centre would be good options, but if your local hospital can offer birth pools and the like, and some promise of the same midwife all the way through, you’ll fare equally well there.
When the time comes, don’t be afraid to say exactly what you want, and in the meantime it may well pay to read up a little more, go to some birth classes to get a feel for what might happen and talk to your partner about his feeling s on the subject.

Mostly Bs
You’re definitely aiming for a home birth, and if all goes well, it’s probably the best place to be (you’re sure to get a better cup of tea at any rate!). If this is what you want, make sure you talk to your midwife and make sure she is with you – she will advise if there any potential complications that would make a home birth inadvisable. It’s probably worth talking to other women who have had home births so you can benefit from their experience and garner some useful tips.
There is a risk that you have idealised the home birth and that you will be terribly disappointed if it doesn’t go to plan. Having your heart set on one thing is never a good thing, so do consider how you would cope if you had to be transferred to hospital for any reason. And remember, the health of your baby is ultimately more important than the perfect birth experience. Good luck!

Mostly Cs
You want everything modern medicine can offer to ensure your birth goes as smoothly as possible. And who can blame you? A safe birth with the minimum of pain sounds good to most of us. Hospital is the place for you, as you wouldn’t feel happy without the back-up of all that technology and know-how.
What I would advise, however, is that you read a bit more, go to birth classes and talk to people about what might happen and maybe open your mind a little to the possibility of doing without some of the interventions and pain relief – there is evidence that epidurals can slow down the birth and that once intervention has started, it tends to ‘cascade’ so that an emergency Caesarean may be the only option.
You never know, on the day you might feel as though you can breeze through without too much help (but it is good to know it’s there if you need it).

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Posted: 22/06/2009 at 19:38

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