|Maternity staff push for normal birth|
|Written by Communications Team|
Midwives and doctors at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey are working hard to support women who want to give birth naturally after previously having one or more caesarean sections. Mr James Thomas, Consultant Obstetrician, said: “Whilst they have come to be seen as routine, a caesarean section is still major abdominal surgery and that comes with risks. Particularly when a woman has two or more caesarean sections, the risks of bladder injury, adhesions and problems with the placenta in future pregnancies increase.”
Often women think ‘I had a caesarean last time so will need another one this time’ but that’s not always the case and frequently a normal birth is a viable option. Not only is the recovery time quicker, but it’s often a nicer experience for the mother and there are far less risks to their long term health.”
Sarah Ettienne, 32, from Walton-on-Thames gave birth to her son Lucien on 18th July at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey. She has three other children, twelve year old Pierre and eight year old twins, Cody and Anais who were all born by caesarean section. Sarah said: “I really didn’t enjoy my previous experiences of giving birth so when I found out I was pregnant again I was determined to try and do it naturally.
There were a few hurdles along the way, such as when the baby turned into a head-up breech position which makes a natural birth difficult. Luckily he turned back the right way and with the support of Mr Thomas and the team at St Peter’s I managed to have Lucien naturally.
My midwife, Laura Santos, was absolutely fantastic. Knowing that I was anxious after my past experiences, she barely left the room and stayed by my side throughout the labour. She asked me about my birthing plan and really listened to what I wanted. When the contractions came on fast and strong, she kept me active and helped me cope without an epidural.
The most special time was after the birth, when Lucien was given straight to me for skin-to-skin cuddles and I breastfed him. It was very different to my previous experiences as it’s hard to comfortably hold a baby after a caesarean, when you are flat on a bed with a screen up and can’t feel much from the spinal block!
With three other children at home, it was great that I was able to leave hospital that night and take their new brother home. If I’d had another caesarean I wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed for several hours and would have needed to stay in for at least two days. Overall, I can’t rate my experience at St Peter’s highly enough – they supported me every step of the way and helped me have the birth I’ve always wanted.”
Mr Thomas said: “I’m really pleased for Sarah and would like to congratulate her on the safe arrival of baby Lucien. We strive to support and encourage other women like Sarah and run special clinics and discussion groups for those who want a vaginal birth after previous caesarean. In addition, we also offer a procedure called external cephalic version, which can turn breech babies back into a head down position, avoiding a caesarean delivery.
The whole team at Ashford and St Peter’s is really driven to offer local women the best care and with a recent increase in the number of midwives we are able to provide more one-to-one care during labour, which makes a big difference to women like Sarah.”