Vaginal birth can seem a bit scary when you have difficulty moving about and parting your legs. However, if you have a supportive team with you, it can be a very manageable and even enjoyable experience, and avoids the risks and pain associated with a caesarean section.
Most hospitals have a range of facilities available such as a birthing pool, beanbags, birthing balls etc, and these can make life much easier if you have PGP as they support you in keeping active and managing your pain. One of the main aims is to remain mobile and avoid lying on your back with your legs in stirrups, which is when most strain can be put on your pelvis and seems to be the cause of more long-term problems for many women.
Water birth is particularly helpful for women with PGP as it allows you to move around easily and change position, as well as giving you the normal pain-relieving effects of water.
Some midwives are concerned about getting women in and out of the pool. This is easy – perch on the edge of the pool with someone standing behind you, and ask another helper to help you to lift your legs together into the pool. To get out, reverse the process. If the rim of the pool is too narrow, you can put a high stool or perching stool next to the pool and do the same thing. In an emergency, they can get you out in the same way they would evacuate anyone else (and this very rarely happens anyway).
If you, or your midwife, are concerned about being able to use the pool, ask to speak to the Supervisor of Midwives who is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She is there to promote safe practice and woman-centred care, so will be able to discuss the pros and cons with you.
Make sure that the people caring for you know about your PGP and what you can and cannot do. You can use your birth plan to do this. It is a really good way of giving information to the team looking after you by describing what you can and cannot do. See our Birth plans page for guidance.
When you arrive at the MLU or labour ward, tell the midwife that you will need extra help on the ward. You should be offered a room with en-suite facilities if one is available. Mention that you need an adjustable bed and cot, and any other equipment you need. Don’t forget your crutches if you have them, as distances on the ward tend to be much greater than at home.
Food and drink
Let the housekeeping staff know that you cannot collect your food from another room; they will then bring it to your room. Write your order on the menu form each day. If anyone is awkward or unhelpful about this, do not take it personally. Wait for someone else to come along. Taking proper care of yourself now should reduce further damage to your pelvis and should speed up your recovery.
Ask to have a bedside cot and an adjustable bed for when you return to the ward. The cot is bolted to the bed and makes it easier to get your baby out, especially if you’ve had a caesarean section. There may also be adjustable-height cots available so try asking to be given one of these. Alternatively, ask for a side to be put on your bed (a cot side) so that you can have the baby in bed with you safely.
Ask to see the physiotherapist while you are in hospital, so that he/she is aware you are there and can raise the awareness of the midwives caring for you (unfortunately, in most hospitals the physiotherapists are not available at weekends). Also, it may be an opportunity to see an occupational therapist (OT) if you have not already done so and ask for some equipment/advice.
Make sure you get enough pain relief and that it is given regularly so that you are comfortable. This is particularly important after you have had your baby. Beware that pain relief masks pain (which sounds obvious) and that you should therefore be wary about rushing about doing more until you have stopped taking pain relief and are confident that you really are pain-free. Otherwise you may irritate your joints and not discover this until you reduce your pain relief.
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