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Different Types of Birth

Spontaneous vaginal birth is natural and possible for the majority of healthy mothers and babies. A vaginal birth is associated with quicker recovery, easier bonding & attachment, breastfeeding, less need for pain relief drugs, reduced risk of tears and episiotomies.

Midwives are the main care provider during and after labour and vaginal birth. Women may choose to use particular approaches or techniques to help make labour shorter, simpler and more comfortable:

  • active birth techniques
  • waterbirth
  • hypnobirthing
  • complementary therapies

We offer a full choice of birth environment for spontaneous vaginal births:

  • homebirth
  • standalone birth centre (Huddersfield Royal Infirmary)
  • alongside birth centre (Calderdale Royal Hospital)
  • labour ward

Watch our virtual tour to find out more about our hospital facilities.

In some circumstances the mother and/or baby need additional medical input and support during birth, and therefore the safest place to birth is usually on the labour ward. In these cases the midwife caring for the woman will work in partnership with the obstetrician and sometimes anaesthetists and/or paediatricians. Some examples are listed below of circumstances indicating that medical input is more likely to be needed during labour and birth.

  • pre-existing medical conditions eg hypertension, diabetes, thyroid problems
  • previous birth complications eg caesarean section, post-partum haemorrhage
  • previous or current pregnancy conditions eg cholestasis, pre-eclampsia
  • maternal factors eg age 40+, BMI 35+, 4 or more previous births
  • neonatal factors eg baby small for dates, unexpected findings on scan
  • maternal choice for epidural anaesthesia or obstetric management

The baby may be born vaginally but after discussion with the midwife or doctor, the mother and baby might experience procedures such as induction of labour; artificial rupture of membranes (breaking baby waters); continuous fetal heart monitoring; oxytocin infusion to stimulate contractions; epidural anaesthesia; episiotomy. Wherever possible we positively encourage women to use active birth techniques and/or hypnobirthing to help the labour and birth progress naturally and contribute to a positive birth experience.

Assisted vaginal birth is rarely a planned event. When a forceps or ventouse birth takes place it is usually because the baby is showing signs of needing urgent assistance after he/she has entered the birth canal. An obstetrician will carry out a risk assessment, discuss this with the mother and obtain consent prior to the procedure:

  • Forceps - smooth metal instruments that fit around the baby’s head
  • Ventouse or Kiwi - suction cup applied to the baby’s head

During an assisted birth the mother and baby may experience:

  • enhanced pain relief / local anaesthetic
  • birth on labour ward or transfer to obstetric theatre
  • episiotomy (cut to the perineum)
  • bruising to baby’s cheek or head

What is involved in an assisted birth? NHS film:

(6) What is involved in an assisted birth? | NHS - YouTube

Elective Caesarean Section

Elective Caesarean Section - some women know from the start of their pregnancy that they will be having a Caesarean birth, others may find out this is their safest birthing option later in pregnancy. Common factors where a planned Caesarean is likely to be considered include:

  • previous birth by Caesarean section
  • breech presentation
  • placenta praevia (placenta covering birth canal)
  • twins or more

A mother opting for an elective Caesarean section may experience:

  • consultant led care
  • anaesthetic consultation
  • pre-assessment clinic
  • spinal anaesthesia
  • birth in obstetric theatre
  • 2 night stay in hospital
  • longer recovery period

The team of midwives that specialises in Caesarean care is based on Ward 4 at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Emergency Caesarean Section is indicated where birth needs to happen very quickly to keep the mother and baby/ies safe; and the mother is either not in labour or is still in the first stage of labour.

These situations are understandably frightening and overwhelming for parents because they will usually, suddenly, involve a large number of doctors and midwifery staff in response to the presenting circumstances. We have a highly skilled team of obstetricians, midwives, anaesthetists and theatre staff who are trained to carry out Caesarean sections routinely, at short notice and at speed. Our labour ward midwives will do all they can to help, support and guide parents through the experience and will continue to provide care throughout until transfer to the post-natal ward.

The mother and birth partner might experience

  • hearing an emergency buzzer
  • all available staff will attend the room to help
  • discussion and consent with obstetrician
  • discussion and consent with anaesthetist
  • preparation for theatre
  • partner to change into theatre scrubs
  • transfer to theatre
  • spinal anaesthesia
  • birth in obstetric theatre
  • 2 night stay in hospital
  • longer recovery period

Afterwards the mother and baby/ies will be transferred to the care of midwives who specialise in Caesarean birth and post-natal care on ward 4 or Transitional Care. Babies needing additional care from specialist nurses and doctors may be transferred to the neo-natal intensive care unit, until well enough to go home.

Twin Births - How will my twin or multiple births be managed? NHS films