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Are midwives supposed to help you cope during labour?


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#1 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:52 PM

Just wondering if a midwife is supposed to help you cope during labour?

When I gave birth last year I end up being induced and DS needed monitoring so was hooked up to a drip and a machine. My midwife mostly spent the entire time watching the machine, although she did help me go to the toilet and got me heat packs.

However when coping with my contractions she didn't really say or do anything or offer any suggestions as to how I could cope, just left me to it and didnt speak to me. My DH was sick during most of my labour so he was pretty useless but I had hoped he would have been more helpful.

Some of my friends who have given birth said that their midwife helped them during their contractions, talked them through, offered them words of encouragement etc. Mine didn't do this.

It didn't bother me at the time and doesn't bother me now, my DH should have been the one supporting me through anyway, but as he was sick I was pretty much left alone. She was a really lovely midwife and left just before I pushed DS out.

So does anyone know if a midwife is supposed to provide support to cope during labour?

#2 seepi

Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:56 PM

Mine didn't. i was crushed. i was really expecting them to.

#3 Onyx

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:00 PM

Mine did. Then when things went pear shaped 2 more midwives came in.
I started to lose it completely, one midwife told me to stop, calm down and let them do what they need to do, to get my baby out, then they would focus on me.
Exactly what I needed to hear at that point. She brought me back into focus.

Then when being rushed to theatre it was my OB that helped me immensely.

#4 Feral_Pooks

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:00 PM

I think so. I was ok during the first stage, so I was pretty much left to myself with DP dozing on and off and occasionally running to get a middy if I needed something. I would have thought that if I wasn't coping, she would have helped. Although I wasn't coping at all during second stage and was treated a bit like a farm animal, so I don't know.

I guess part of the problem is that what is supportive for one woman isn't for another? I know I appreciated minimal noise, light and chatter. I couldn't have cared less what anyone had to say. In second stage, I think I needed the same, plus some positivity when I started having doubts. I think if you freak out, it can have bad implications for the birth, so surely part of it has to be about keeping you "coping"?

#5 rosiebird

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:02 PM

My midwife did - she always had a new suggestion just as I was losing confidence in my ability to cope. When I was exhausted and panicky, she lay me down, put on aromatherapy candles and did visualisation techniques. When I had settled down and contractions slowed, she got me up and walking. When the pain was too much, she ran a warm bath and massaged my back etc etc. she was marvellous and I would not have managed without her.

#6 ubermum

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:02 PM

I guess they help people the way they think they would like to be helped. I know for me, when I am having a contraction, everyone better shut the hell up. Silence is what I want. Due to my needs during labour, I would probably be quiet during someone's contractions, only offering advice if they were crying out or saying something like "I can't do this". Midwives are people. They all respond to situations differently and are influenced by their own experiences.

#7 lynneyours

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:03 PM

I think they are supposed to get the baby out safely and ensure the safety of the Mum.

With DD1 - the lovely student midwife pressed pressure points on my hand which helped, and massaged my back, really low down, for a bit. The midwife in charge coached me through pushing, made me understand that the baby's heart-rate was almost stopping with each contraction and she needed to come out NOW.... 3 pushes later....

With DD2 - the midwives didn't really listen or help: I told DH to go tell them I had pressure. 10min later I said "go tell them I have pressure AND I delivered my first baby in 45min".  They came fast.  4cm, water bulging.  Broke waters.  Told them I needed to push. Got scoffed at.  11min later I was cuddling DD2.  biggrin.gif

#8 mama123

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:04 PM

I don't know for sure. Technically, she probably did all she had to. I had a similar experience with my 1st.

I had 5 different midwives. biggrin.gif

Anyway the one that was in the room for most of the time, didn't say anything as well. I had an epidural and could not stop shaking. Eventually it was time to change shifts and another older midwife came in. After a little while she looked at me and said to me "you know, if you just slow down your breathing, you won't shake and waste all your energy". I was a little panicked I guess, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. biggrin.gif

Well thank you very much! That's all I needed to know. The shaking almost stopped immediately!

I think full on coaching you through it would be ridiculous but a little tip now and again wouldn't hurt.

#9 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

QUOTE (Pooks_ @ 21/12/2012, 09:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think so. I was ok during the first stage, so I was pretty much left to myself with DP dozing on and off and occasionally running to get a middy if I needed something. I would have thought that if I wasn't coping, she would have helped. Although I wasn't coping at all during second stage and was treated a bit like a farm animal, so I don't know.

I guess part of the problem is that what is supportive for one woman isn't for another? I know I appreciated minimal noise, light and chatter. I couldn't have cared less what anyone had to say. In second stage, I think I needed the same, plus some positivity when I started having doubts. I think if you freak out, it can have bad implications for the birth, so surely part of it has to be about keeping you "coping"?


Yeah that's true. In hindsight and with this next baby I would have liked some more words of encouragement when the contractions got really bad, especially as I couldn't really be active or use water like I had hoped. I really wanted to avoid the epidural but in the end gave in because there was nothing on offer to me and I'd didnt know what to do. Like I said, my DH should have been the one providing encouragement but from conversations with my friend I was just curious if it was a midwives role to provide support as well.

I think next time I'm going to hire a doula!

#10 Goggie

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

In my experience, yes. I gave birth almost 4 months ago through a midwives program at a public hospital. I saw midwives the whole way through and an OB twice.

During labour I had a wonderful midwife who was passing me the gas and rubbing my back and talking me through it the whole way. My DH was on the other side wiping my brow and rubbing my back too. She was amazing. She calmed me down when I was screaming in agony and was there for all 4 hours of labour and only took a 10 min break. She stayed with us after he was born to help me shower and get myself organised before I went up to the ward.  She was inspiring and a true professional. I however, was a screaming mess  wink.gif  I will remember her til the day I die.

I'm sorry you had a crappy experience OP, you should absolutely feel supported during labour and it makes me sad that you didn't get that.

#11 BearBait

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

I gave birth at Freemasons in Melbourne in 2010 & 2012. The midwives were brilliant, but not intrusive. They watched & were available, when I asked for help they gave good advice, when I lost the plot they brought me back, when I needed to just get on with it they weren't fussing around. I think it depends on who you get, I was really happy. They were both more senior ladies too, had plenty of sage advice & clearly had seen it all.

#12 glowlight

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:06 PM

Mine just told me to breathe rather than scream. A bit hard to follow that advice after 20 plus hours of posterior labour. She left me to it for most of my time at the hospital and was out of the room until the pushing stage when I called her back in. She was awesome when DS was born though. She kept asking me what I wanted throughout but she was there to manage labour not hold me hand through it iykwim

#13 Soontobegran

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:06 PM

I think midwives often take their cues from their patients Sunnycat because some like to be touched, massaged and rubbed and talked to and others like to be left alone with peace and quiet during the latent stage of labour with coaching just through the pushing phase.

I also gave consideration to how much support the partner is because sometimes they are doing such a fine job that a midwife feels intrusive.

There are some midwives who do struggle with this and knowing their bounderies which can make the patient feel a little neglected as you seem to have been. sad.gif
There is a huge difference when labour is not accompanied by continuous monitoring and an IV because these do need quite constant vigilance, I don't like it when a labour becomes all about the machines and not the person in labour.

Hopefully next time you'll have a more positive experience, if you can get to know your midwife before your delivery it will often mean you are more comfortable in each others company in labour.

#14 Feral-Lausii

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:06 PM

I have very quick births and tend to go into my own little world where nothing and no one can penetrate it, unless they try to tell me what to do. So no, midwifes have been very unhelpful in most of my births, in fact some of them were just a pita trying to tell me to lay on my back and deliver and then not listening when I was telling them I was going to push baby out now. She told me not to be silly as she couldn't see baby  and turned her back on me to set the tray up. I delivered dd leaning over the back of the bed, it was lucky she fell onto the bed and not the floor.  mad.gif And this was the same midwife I told that all 4 previous births had worked to the exact same quick timetable and I was sure this one would be the same.

I swear if I ever have another baby I will just do it at home~!

#15 littlepickle

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:07 PM

well by mere definition a midwife is 'with woman' so yes they are there to support you.

They are there to ensure that you and your baby are both coping with labour.
They are there to communicate to you about what is happening to your body.
A good midwife is there when you need them but knows how to back off when you dont.
A midwife is there to help your partner to help you by showing them how to rub your back etc.
A good midwife hands you the vomit bowl ,gives you cold flannels for your face and makes you cups of sweet tea.

A good midwife shares in the excitement of the impending birth............

A great midiwfe can be the difference between a traumatic or empowering birth however it occurs.

You are entitled to ask for someone who will help you to achieve the birth you want.

good luck
littlepickle

#16 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:07 PM

The two midwives who were there when I was pushing DS out were like my personal cheer squad, so I wonder if they provide different support during pushing and during contractions.

DS was posterior as well. All I wanted during contractions was to hug someone. I bout my soft toy monkey George to cuddle and at one point the midwife took him away to show the other midwives outside while my DH was throwing up in the loo!

Hopefully next time though I'll get to go to the Birth Centre and have my active water birth.

Edited by Sunnycat, 21 December 2012 - 09:10 PM.


#17 Avocado

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:09 PM

The midwife assigned to me held my hand and rubbed my back. She would tell me when the next contraction was coming. Come to think of it i wouldn't have pulled through without her. I got lucky.

#18 Feral_Pooks

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:09 PM


QUOTE (lynnemine @ 21/12/2012, 10:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think they are supposed to get the baby out safely and ensure the safety of the Mum.


I get what you are saying, but a freaked out mum can mean problems for her and baby. Eg. Because of what was happening (which I am not going in to), I completely lost the plot and I *think* that's why they did an episiotomy. With support, I strongly feel this would have been avoided. Also, some PTSD could have been avoided. Which had implications for my and DS's health. IYKWIM.

#19 roses99

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

Mine ran away  laughing2.gif

No seriously, she did.

This was with my second. She was barely there in the early stages but, to be honest, I coped better at that stage just being on my own. Then, after a two hours of labour, I hopped out of the bath, onto the bed and told her I was ready to push. She told me I couldn't possibly be. I told her I was certain I was. She looked panic stricken and just said, "Well I need time to put my tray together". Lol. She examined me, saw that I was indeed about to give birth and ran away.

Thankfully, a much more experienced midwife arrived a few minutes later and took control of the situation. She called my OB, and really helped to put my mind at ease. She was very business-like, rather than hand-holding but that was just what I needed, especially when DD got a bit stuck and it all happened very quickly (DD was born less than half an hour after I felt the need to push).

With my first, the midwife was lovely. Not hugely big on hand-holding either (I think a doula is probably a great option if it's a birth coach you're after) but she was excellent. For me, I was most  comforted by the presence of my OB since I knew him well and trusted him.



#20 katiecoop

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:12 PM

I was booked at a public hospital birth centre and we were told at the initial info session and first appointment that the midwives would be in and out of the room - I guess I always expected they would be next to me, (figuratively) holding my hand through the whole thing. We hired a doula based on that info, although I was surprised that that was the case.
I would have been twice as surprised and disappointed if they hadn't mentioned it, and I hadn't thought to ask and they just weren't there the whole time.
Definitely get a doula! They are great, will do/say whatever you want them to during the contractions if you tell them beforehand.

#21 Roobear

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:12 PM

DD's labour - I had brilliant midwives - they rubbed my back, offered heat packs/water/flannels. They gave me lots of sympathy which made me feel better lol. And told me that I was doing fantastically. When she left us she gave me and DP a hug, visited the next day to check on how we were doing.

DS's labour - She sat in a corner on the computer. The only things I remember her saying to me (and there is lots I don't remember so it is probably not accurate) was a told her my birth plan and she agreed, when I stood up and lent over the bed she told me I "should do whatever is natural to me" and then I remember her speaking very sternly to me when I was completely out of control saying "You are being silly, you need to pull yourself together and calm down".

She is actually the reason that I am going down the IM path for the next baby. If I could guarantee I would get midwives like DD's birth I would be very happy to go public again. I am just not willing to roll the dice and end up with a crap midwife like last time as it really effected me.

#22 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:13 PM

I did not want cheerleading but would have liked a practical suggestions on positioning every few hours. I was having a hard posterior labour and aside from having a birth ball rolled at me early on, did not receive any positioning suggestions at all. My midwives were totally passive in that regard.

I have changed to my public hospital for my next birth (VBAC attempt) and while I have heard the midwives are much more hands on at this hospital, I am hiring a doula just in case.

#23 Soontobegran

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

QUOTE (Sunnycat @ 21/12/2012, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The two midwives who were there when I was pushing DS out were like my personal cheer squad, so I wonder if they provide different support during pushing and during contractions.


I'd like to think that their level of support would vary according to need. The pushing stage requires a totally different type of support than first stage labour and even then this varies from mum to mum.
Some like to be quietly whispered to when it comes to pushing, others like the cheer squad and the counting.
A good midwife should be able to recognise what type of support you require and know when and how to get you back on track if necessary without the delivery suite sounding like a football match.
I admit I was better at it after I had delivered my own children. original.gif

#24 LifesGood

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:18 PM

QUOTE (littlepickle @ 21/12/2012, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
well by mere definition a midwife is 'with woman' so yes they are there to support you.

They are there to ensure that you and your baby are both coping with labour.
They are there to communicate to you about what is happening to your body.
A good midwife is there when you need them but knows how to back off when you dont.
A midwife is there to help your partner to help you by showing them how to rub your back etc.
A good midwife hands you the vomit bowl ,gives you cold flannels for your face and makes you cups of sweet tea.

A good midwife shares in the excitement of the impending birth............

A great midiwfe can be the difference between a traumatic or empowering birth however it occurs.

You are entitled to ask for someone who will help you to achieve the birth you want.

good luck
littlepickle


I would also add a good midwife doesn't leave just as you are about to push the baby out, regardless of whether her shift has finished! OP I would think it a bit heartless of your midwife not to stay for the birth when you were so close. With DD I had a 19 hour labour and my midwife that was with me for the last 8 hours of that stayed beyond the end of her shift to see DD born. I know it must become a bit humdrum after several hundred births, but that would have upset me and made me feel a bit irrelevant.

Edited by LifesGood, 21 December 2012 - 09:18 PM.


#25 Madeline's Mum

Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:19 PM

My midwife was amazingly supportive, she was completely supportive of my birth plan, kept all the lights off, only monitored my intermittently when she needed to and always asked my permission first (I was induced), encouraged me to have showers or baths and have great words of encouragement to push me through transition.

She also knew how much I wanted to do it completely natural and during transition when I lost my zen and total focus she offered me an epidural knowing I would turn it down and give me the confidence to keep going.

She and my doula were so amazing, they made my birth choice possible and I am so grateful to them. It can make such a difference. I highly recommend a doula if you can afford it.




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