Monday, 8 June 2015

The Low-Down on Birth Choices

So as I'm now in the third and final trimester of my pregnancy, naturally I am beginning to think about the big event.....LABOUR! Eeeeeeeek!
Alarmingly in a recent Which? survey 34% of mothers said they knew nothing or not much about their choices on where to give birth and this is something that absolutely has to change.
I think it is so so important for expectant mothers, whether having your first or fifth child, to be provided with the knowledge to make a personal decision on where they would like to have their baby. Of course every pregnancy and mother-to-be is different and while a traditional birth in the labour ward of a hospital may be perfect for one woman it may be the absolute last thing another lady would want so to feel like you have no or little choice in the matter must be awful.

To be honest although I am quite aware that other birthing options are out there, until this week I hadn't really given much thought to any option other than having Squishy in a hospital setting.

The lovely people over at Which? very kindly sent me three birthing boxes* in the post last week each designed to help me with my decision on where I would like to give birth. The boxes I received were: Hospital Birth, Birth Centre Birth and Home Birth, each one full of various products that may be useful in each setting.

The first box I opened was the Hospital Birth box which contained the following:
- iTunes gift card
With Squishy being our first baby it's possible that labour could go on for a long long time and be slow to start so it's definitely a great idea to load the iPad up with films & music to keep us entertained during that inevitable waiting period.
- Eye mask & ear plug set
Again this may be useful if I am in labour for a long time and need to try & get some rest. Particularly in the muddle of the day or on a busy labour ward.
- Charging cables
Inevitably we will be sure to take cameras, phones and iPads galore to the hospital to capture Squishy's first moments and let everybody know once she has arrived so a multi-charger device like this will come in super handy.
- Lip balm
I've heard that using the gas & air during labour dries out your lips like crazy so this is something I actually meant to pick up for my hospital bag anyway.
- Battery operated fan
I'm so so happy to have received a battery operated fan. I was looking out for a small handheld one to pop in my bag but this one has so much more power to it. I've heard lots of stories from friends where the hospital has been "unable to find" a fan when they really really would have appreciated one during labour so this will definitely been coming along with us.
- Healthy snacks & beverages
- Water bottle
Again if I'm in for a long labour healthy snacks and plenty of water will hopefully keep me going. Nevermind keep G occupied as well. I'm actually really looking forward to stocking up on one of my favourite drinks Pink Lemonade Lucazade for labour because I'm trying to be good and have avoided it during my pregnancy as it has a lot of caffeine.
- Flipflops
Something I'm sure a lot of people forget to pack in their hospital bags. These Haviana flipflops will be ideal for showering after I've had the baby. Or just as something easy to slip on and have a wander round the hospital to get things moving along - as Squishy is due in August I am expecting hot weather and swollen feet so these may be the only things that feet on my feet by then!

Next up was the Birth Centre Birth box which contained the following:
- Hair ties
Very practical, essential in labour when you have as much hair as I do and something every girl needs more of right?
- Thermal spring water spray
I have heard amazing things about this La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray so cannot wait to try this out when I need cooling down.
- Hot water bottle
I use a hot water bottle a lot for my gallstone pains at the moment so I'm hoping it will help me in early labour while I'm still at home.
- Dressing gown
- Slippers
Both essential in my opinion for a bit of comfort & dignity after the event. This dressing gown is also lovely & light so won't take up too much space in my bag like my big fluffy ones at home.

And last but certainly not least the Home Birth box which contained:
- Plastic sheeting
This is an item I hadn't really given much thought to until a friend recently mentioned them. Should I chose a home birth I would honestly imagine keeping things clean and tidy is the last thing on your mind but if I don't then a waterproof sheet would certainly be useful to protect our mattress from any waters breaking anyway.
- Aromotherapy room spray
- Receiving blanket
This blanket is gorgeous and so so soft. Perfect for Squishy's first cuddles.
- Birthing ball
All of my friends highly recommend birthing balls during the later stage of pregnancy and labour so I am definitely keen to give this a try.


If you are still feeling like you don't know much about your birth choices and options I can highly recommend the Which? Birth Choice website. They have gathered so much information into one space I really have learned a lot even in just a short amout of browsing time.
The website has a handy birth choice tool which asks you a few questions about your expectations and hopes for your labour and then recommends the best place for you to give birth based on your answers.

For me personally the birth choice tool recommended a labour ward or a birth centre alongside which hasn't surprised me. A birth centre birth definitely does appeal to me and I like the idea of the whole labour being more relaxed and calming than perhaps a hospital environment would be but the 
hypochondriac can't help but want the medical side of things in place should I need it. I think if I have a positive experience with labour this time round I would certainly be more open to a birth centre birth if we decide to have any more children after Squishy.
Once the birth choice tool has given you your results it also lists the details and addresses of your local birth options based on your post code which is so so helpful. It details the distance of the birthing centre or hospital from your house, the size of the unit, how many times it has been closed in the last year, who can give birth there, how you will be looked after there and lots more great information.

There are also other parts of the website where you can get expert advice, a frequently asked questions areas and much further detail on all aspects of labour whether that be pain relief options, more about the birthing pool or the pros and cons of each birth choice.

After weighing up the pros and cons of each type of birth choice I still think we will be going with a Hospital Birth. Im not keen on the idea of being transferred to a hospital during labour, should should need arise, and for me & G it's important to know we are in the best place and in the safest hands should something medically go wrong. Before falling pregnant with me my mum had a stillborn baby full term so subconsciously this is something that is at the back of my mind and along with my gallstone problems we definitely feel a hospital is the best place for me to give birth.

The hospital birth box seemed to contain lots of practical items to be used both during and after labour which I like. There are also plenty of items that seem geared towards a long labour which, as I mentioned, as a first time mum is something I am conscious may be quite likely. For that reason I actually think all of these items will be assisting me during labour at some point. Both the birth centre box and the home birth box also contained items that I think we will still use in a hospital environment but they definitely lean more towards providing comfort rather than practicality.

So it seems like all is left for us to do now is get packing mine & Squishy's hospital bags!

Where will you be giving birth to your little ones? I'd love to hear about your choice and the reason behind it?

If you're enjoying our pregnancy updates I'd love you to follow our story either here or on Bloglovin'
Are you around the 29 week mark? I'd love to hear from fellow August mummy-to-be's


  1. Eek so exciting. I've just put my first wash of baby clothes on to get organised and start packing our hospital bags. I've moved house this week which has been stressful as it's a completely different county & doctors too. Nursery next then I feel a bit more prepared! I don't know about you but it's flown by!

    Paula ♥ | xo

    1. Thanks for the comment Hun.
      Eeeek you're making me feel really unorganised now! I really need to start on the hospital bags and baby clothes washing. I keep putting it off and putting it off!
      Definitely! The last few weeks have really flown by. On the home stretch now :)