Where did you give birth or where was the birth you witnessed?
Can you describe where your/the birth was?
The birth took place in the Hospital’s labour room which had three metal beds for women to lie on. There was no door but curtains could be pulled around the patient if the health professionals felt it was needed. The woman giving birth had been brought from the neighbouring room for labouring women pre-delivery. The staff in the room fluctuated depending on the stage of labour, initially with three nurses and then a couple of doctors came in to assess and perform an episiotomy. The room did not feel private and there were a lot of unnecessary people around including myself and my three fellow medical students.
Who was present at your/the birth?
Including myself, four medical students, three nurses, two obstetricans (although only one stayed after episiotomy asessment) and two paediatricians once the baby was born.
Can you describe the experience of giving birth or watching the birth?
This was my first experience watching a woman give birth outside of the NHS. There were stark contrasts although overall on reflection I think the quality of care given under the circumstances was acceptable. The most concerning difference was the relative lack of privacy. Although at this delivery there were no other women in the room, later on in my placement I saw more than one woman in the room delivering without curtains drawn between them. For my patient she was in view of everyone in the room plus anyone who walked past the entrance because it had no door. Only at the point of episiotomy was a curtain drawn.
To me this was distressing because the patient was in considerable pain and I have come to know a health system where delivering is a very private affair. There was also no family members allowed to support the patient though the delivery. she was by herself with just the comfort of the nurses that did not tend to come frequently. Although the quality of care was good and acceptable to the people working there, to me the lack of privacy made the experience hard to watch instead of a joyful occasion.