This is a question I’ve been asking myself recently because I’m now 34 weeks pregnant and in a substantial amount of pain much of the time. Today I saw my midwife with the main aim of having that question answered. So, will SPD impact on my birth options?
There isn’t a straightforward yes or no answer to this. In theory, the options available to me for where, how and with what pain relief I use remain the same. That means that – again in theory – my ideal of a water birth in the hospital’s midwife unit should be fine. My midwife was very helpful and told me that nearer the due date, I should measure how wide I can open my legs and add that to my notes as well as making sure Phil knows. Sounds weird, right? It makes sense though because if they start talking about popping your legs up in the stirrup things then you can categorically tell them that can’t happen if it would mean going wider than you can physically cope with.
Another handy thing my midwife said was that monitoring of the unborn baby can be done in any position as long as you’re close to the machine. With Toby, I ended up on my back in bed because he was being monitored and it instantly made my labour much more painful. With the addition of SPD meaning that I am unable to lie on my back for more than a minute or two, my midwife has given Phil and I the confidence to say no, not to monitoring but to being on my back. I would much sooner be standing or kneeling and either of these is perfectly fine.
So taking into account all of the above, in what ways could SPD limit my birth options? Well, today I needed to hear real stories from women who have been through it. I wanted the good, the bad and the ugly in order to prepare myself for all eventualities.
Several lovely ladies told me that they had been refused access to the birthing pool, the fear of the delivery team being that should a problem arise and they need to evacuate the pool immediately, the severity of the SPD may result in the labouring mama being unable to get out of the pool and could thus result in endangering mum and/or baby if medical intervention was indeed necessary.
The good news from 99% of the women I spoke to was that their pain had eased towards the end of pregnancy and in most cases had gone completely very soon after birth.
I guess what today’s conversations have given me on confidence. Yes, should it continue to get worse then a water birth may be out of the question, but then I managed to deliver Toby without stepping foot in the pool so whilst it is my ideal birth option, I know better than to pin my hopes on it. I have the confidence to say no to being on my back and to having my legs up in straps if I can’t manage it and I know that my SPD won’t rule out a birth on the midwife led unit where they have the fab suspension rope that I clung to during Toby’s labour before being taken for monitoring!
I’m in a lot of pain and in recent days it’s gotten a lot worse, however on the whole I can manage to walk short distances and I’m handing as much responsibility as I can to Phil and my mum when possible, especially with the imminent house move and things like carrying Toby and getting him in and out of the car. I’m not on any pain relief and as of yet I’m not on crutches, so ideally I’d like to keep it that way and I’m just waiting on a call back from the obstetric physio team at my hospital about how best to manage things.
Will SPD impact on my birth options? Well, possibly. But also possibly not. Neither myself or my midwife can say whether my condition will worsen, improve or remain the same in the remaining 6 or so weeks of my pregnancy and now that I’ve spoken about it I’m feeling happy that I know the potential options and indeed restrictions that I may face but I won’t be worrying about it.