9 April 2014

Antenatal Classes: Class Two.

Tom and I went to our second antenatal class last night, and again, we loved it! As I said last week, I think these are really beneficial to expectant parents and if they are offered in your area I definitely recommend going!

If you would like to see last week’s post on our first class, you can take a look here.


The Class
Following on from last week, this class was all about labour, but we spoke more about pain relief as well as what happens if things don’t quite go to plan i.e being induced or having a caesarean.

Most hospitals offer the same pain relief, but we specifically went through what is on offer at our hospital. We are one of the few hospitals that do not offer epidurals, which is OK by me as I didn’t particularly like the idea of them, but I know some people in our class were a little disappointed by this. Here’s a brief summary of what is on offer to us, and what affect it has on us as well as the baby:

Entonox (Gas and Air)
This is a colourless, odourless gas made of half oxygen and half nitrous oxide. It takes the edge off labour pain, but does not block it out completely.

It is available in all hospitals, and is self-administered via a mouthpiece or mask.

We went over the advantages and disadvantages of this, which I will list below:

Advantages
·         Easy to use.
·         You control how and when you use it.
·         It won't directly interfere with your labour.
·         It doesn't stay in your system.
·         It's safe for your baby and the extra oxygen you breathe in may even be good for you and your baby.
·         Your baby doesn't require extra monitoring while you're using it.
·         You can use if you're  in a birth pool.

Disadvantages
·         It's only a mild painkiller.
·         It may make you feel drowsy, light headed or nauseous.
·         It dries your mouth out if you use it for long periods.
·         Keeping hold of the mask or mouthpiece may stop you from moving around and getting comfortable.
·         It is not available for a home birth.


Diamorphine
This is a powerful opiate that is injected into your thigh to relieve labour pains. Although the plant this comes from is the same plant as heroine, it does not give you or the baby any dependence on the drug.

Advantages
·         It can be given by a midwife, so there's no need to wait for a doctor.
·         It can help you to relax and get some rest.
·         It won't slow your labour down.
·         It can be used for a home birth.
·         You can still use a birth pool
·         It is more effective than Pethidine and is less likely to make you feel sick.

Disadvantages
·         It only provides limited relief from the pain of labour.
·         If it crosses the placenta, it may affect baby's breathing for a few days/interfere with  breastfeeding.
·         It may make you feel drowsy or sick. 


Meptid
This is very similar to Diamorphine, but is a works for a shorter amount of time. you can however have two injections within your labour, rather than the one Diamorphine.

Advantages
Meptid has the same benefits as Diamorphine and other similar drugs though it:
·         May be less likely to make you feel drowsy.
·         May be less likely to affect your baby's breathing.
·         May be quicker to take effect.

Disadvantages
·         may be more likely to make you feel and be sick.
·         Is less commonly used.

After we spoke about the different types of pain relief available, we also talked about birth plans, and although they are a good idea, they can very quickly change if being induced.

If you are to be induced, it means that the midwives and doctors may need to intervene more which can lead to a change in your birth plan. I won’t go into this in too much detail as it is very different for each person (and I would be writing forever going over every option!) but it was great to go over all the scenarios so that if it were to happen to us, we would feel like we knew a bit more about what was going on.

We also spoke about caesareans and what the procedure is for these.


We left the class again feeling really positive, and felt a lot more informed about what type of pain relief was on offer, as well as feeling prepared for what could happen if we were not to have the birth we hoped for.

I would recommend speaking to your midwife about what can happen when being induced, as it is quite a lengthy topic. But as I said, if these antenatal classes are on offer to you I really recommend going!



Next week we are learning all about what to do when the baby arrives – I’m really looking forward to this one! So be sure to check my blog next week for a post about that. I’ll also put the link up on Twitter and Blogger – you can see where to find me in the links on the right hand side of this page!

I hope this post was helpful, and if you have been to your local antenatal classes I’d love to know what you thought of them!

Thanks for reading :)

Nicola xx
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