A quick refresher: Maternity Care in the UK is led by midwives. If a midwife decides a patient is high risk, she is referred to an obstetrician and is supposed to give birth in a hospital. All other women (the majority) have the option of a home birth, a birthing centre, or a hospital.
My last NHS Maternity Care post was written six days before the baby was born. Here's the link, if you'd like to catch up. It was a basic overview of all of the prenatal appointments I had, and about receiving the good news from my obstetrician that I was not, in fact, high risk, as suggested by my mother's history.
If you had asked me before I was pregnant what kind of birth I was interested in, I would have told you I wanted to be completely knocked out -- 1950s style -- and feel nothing and remember nothing. Modern medicine is an improvement, right? Women no longer have to feel that whole pain of childbirth thing.
The minute I saw that positive pregnancy test, however, I
- was completely terrified of childbirth
- knew this creature was going to have to come out of me somehow
- remembered that I hate taking medicine of any kind, even ibuprofens
- eat organic and non-processed foods the majority of the time
- wondered how I could balance #3 & #4 with a having a standard hospital birth.
As with anything new I attempt, I turned to my favorite adviser: the library. I am not kidding when I say I read twenty-five books on labor and childbirth, from the Jenny McCarthy book to the Ina May books. I could write a dissertation on the subject, from one extreme to the other. Some books heralded the benefits of epidurals and hospital interventions; others wrote of natural childbirth. (Maybe I'll do a literature review in another blog.)
If you research something long enough, you eventually come to your own conclusion. Mine was that there was no way in hell I wanted any sort of unnecessary medical intervention.
How very UnAmerican!
This series of blogs is not intended to be a graphic description of childbirth, but to show the rest of the world how the NHS actually worked for me -- a self-employed American who has been fed the same stories about universal health care that the rest of us had. I attempt to be unbiased, but with every doctor/dentist/midwife appointment I had, I grew more and more impressed. And this blog grew more and more biased. Sorry. But it turns out the NHS was amazing. I promise to tell the downsides too though ... Previous blogs:
- Previously on NHS/Baby Abroad blogs:
- Part One: Having a Baby Abroad
- Part Two: Registration, Doctors, Midwives, etc.
- Part Three: NHS, midwives, home births.
- Part Four: Waiting Lists, Emergency Room Visits.
- Part Five: High Risk Obstetricians and Hospitals.
- Part Six: Appointment Schedule