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Old 20.05.2007, 11:21
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Pain relief during childbirth?

We're moving to Geneva mid July and with our 7month old daughter and we fully intend to add to our family whilst in Switzerland. But after reading a post on another forum it has thrown up this question:

Is gas and air/entenox/nitrous oxide available to women during childbirth in Switzerland?

Someone replied that they stopped using it due to concerns it was making babies drowzy. I just can't believe this. I used gas and air and a tens machine during my labour - I refused pethidine due to its well documented effect on the baby, and an epidural as it slows labour and tends to lead to greater interventions. I've never heard anything negative about gas and air (I used to work with it!), and am now rather anxious about the prospect of labour without it!!

If it is banned does anyone know:

Why?!
What other painrelief is available?
Does it vary between cantons/hospitals?

Many thanks in advance

Kate
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Old 20.05.2007, 13:36
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Hello Kate, a friend just has a beautiful little Girl, but pain relief was given in the forms of Homeopathy caps & acupucture, No gas/Air, from the conversations i've had here, the Swiss keep it natural,

Good luck.
Storm
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Old 20.05.2007, 13:48
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

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Hello Kate, a friend just has a beautiful little Girl, but pain relief was given in the forms of Homeopathy caps & acupucture, No gas/Air, from the conversations i've had here, the Swiss keep it natural,

Good luck.
Storm
my wife was offered the option of an epidural but opted for acupuncture etc ...
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Old 20.05.2007, 15:26
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Carrys Gwendolin is now 3 weeks old... Andrea my wife also had the homeopathy for pain relief , Carrys was also turned the right way round by a fantastic natur doctor here just a day before the birth ...

Your right swiss like to keep it "drug" free
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Old 20.05.2007, 15:46
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Audiodruid - congratulations to the pair of you.

Kate,

Don't worry, it's really not that bad - that's the voice of experience, having encountered it twice.

Have to admit that it wasn't through choice , I was all for having everything on offer (and more), so it came as a bit of a shock when I discovered during the first labour that there was no pain relief, but the second time I knew what I was letting myself in for.

See.... I actually chose to have a second knowing there would be no pain relief, if that's not proof enough that it's not so bad, then I don't know what is.
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Old 20.05.2007, 21:54
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Audiodruid - congratulations on the birth of Carrys!

The acupuncture and homeopathy sounds lovely

We planned a homebirth for our 7month old so I'm quite happy to go the natural route - everyone in UK considers that I did since I only used Gas and Air!

Just seems a bit strange that between natural remedies and an epidural there is ... nothing!

Oh well...

Kate
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Old 21.05.2007, 12:05
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

I had two babies in Geneva in the past three years and I can confirm that epidural is practically the only pain relief they offer routinely here. Gas and air is not used at all, apparently it is not considered safe, but they told me that you can get in over the border in France (Annecy, for example). A midwife I consulted showed me a TENS machine (I understand that TENS and gas-and-air are widely used in the UK but not here). In the end I did not want to use anything (and it is not because I am a masochist).

Please do not be so anxious about pain, I know that it sounds trite, but childbirth pain is not like injury pain and it is there for a reason. Swiss hospitals are generally quite good, there is a birth centre near Geneva and you can even have home birth attended by a professional midwife. These two last options are not very common, but you do have them.

It seems to me that your anxiety has more to do with the impending transition in your life and culture shock than childbirth pain relief options. It is normal, we all went through this, you will move and settle here and sort out everything in due time. Good luck!
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Old 07.11.2007, 12:07
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

ljm, do you have any more info on this birthing center near Geneva? I had thought your only birthing options here were hospital or home birth.

Also, I must say that my impression from the few tours I've done and talking to a few local moms, that the Swiss Germans prefer birth to be natural, the Swiss Romande however are much more traditional as far as giving pain meds and monitoring and all that jazz. For some reason there is a bit variation between the 2 areas.
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Old 07.11.2007, 13:12
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

I heard the same thing, but can not confirm it because I don't know what it is like in the German part. But I know that epidural is the norm in Geneva and people often think that you are a masochist if you say you don't want it. Also, the rate of C-sections is very high, especially (again, unconfirmed rumours) in private cliniques. If you opt for home birth or birth centre, midwives are usually quite understanding, but even so don't expect to easily find an Inna May Gaskin here. But even if you opt for a hospital birth, you can draft a birth plan, find a doctor that you trust will at least take you seriously enough to try to follow it and negotiate with hospital midwives to be a bit more relaxed regarding things like routine IV, nil by mouth and continuous monitoring.
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Old 07.11.2007, 13:35
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

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my wife was offered the option of an epidural but opted for acupuncture etc ...
Has she not learnt that a little prick doesn't do the job quite as well?

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Old 15.11.2007, 15:13
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Hi all,

We are expecting our first baby in March (I am in my 12th week now) and will be moving to Geneva soon. I have no idea how things are done in Swiss hospitals so I need advice

I must tell I am very nervous and always thought about having a caesarean but now I am pregnant and I want the best for my baby so my opinions are changing (still not completely changed though ). I started to think about giving a natural birth but using epidural to feel less pain and have a less stress during labour. But I heard a lot of stories; some say it was the best decision ever and some say the dose of the drug was too much so they couldn't be able to push

Did anyone try using epi? I read that they do offer epi but I don't want to feel like I cannot push anymore in the middle of the labour because of overdose (I need the right dose to be able to feel the right time to push) so I'd like to see a doctor with a lot of experience on this subject, does anyone know a doctor with the relevant qualifications / experience?

I don't mind going to a private hospital as long as I see a doctor that understands me. And to be honest finding an experienced doctor is very important for us so the expenses are coming at the second place. My hubby already arranged a private insurance for me so going for private shouldn't be very costly.

Your help will be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 15.11.2007, 15:15
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Imeant in May, not March
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Old 15.11.2007, 17:33
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Sedazh-

I don't have a specific recommendation as the OB I was seeing for the majority of my pregnancy I'm not quite as happy with, but if you go to the Know-It-All Passport website you can download a file with a list of English-speaking doctors in the Geneva area, and this includes OBs and pediatricians : http://www.knowitall.ch/ (click on the link that says "Doctors and Dentists on the left menu). BTW, the Know-It-All passport book is a great guide with tons of useful info about the Geneva area, and lots of family/child-friendly info!

It sounds like one of the private clinics will be your best bet-- that way you'll get to have your chosen doctor in attendance for your birth. The public hospital has a policy of only allowing their resident doctors to deliver babies there. You can then choose a doctor you trust, pick his/her brains about epidural options, and know you'll be getting what you want.

The epidural should allow you to feel enough to push if it is administered correctly. There is also something called a "walking epidural" where you can still feel your legs, that seems like a lighter dose but will still numb the parts you want numbed, I'm not sure how available that is here but it's worth asking about.

The clinics I've heard the most praise about are Hopital de la Tour, Clinique des Grangettes and Clinique de Beaulieu
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Old 15.11.2007, 19:14
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

My word, kudos for anyone who goes down the natural birth route with just a handful of dandelion leaves and a drop of rescue remedy on the tongue.
For me it was a general anaesthetic and a caesarian. I fully endorse those. I was offered a local ie. epidural, even while on the theatre table waiting for the big syringe full of milky stuff. I declined. In a past life I worked as a nurse and trained as a midwife..........................
I should point out that the only offspring of our combined loins was born in Oman.
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Old 16.11.2007, 11:00
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Two doctors that I can recommend: Eric Antonelli and Taima Lahlou. Don't worry, they can all do Caesarian, they were trained to do it.

Epidurals are administered by anesthesiologists, not gynecologists, in private hospital you will either get one or you can hire your own.

All private hospitals are more or less the same thing, but some people are reassured if they are surrounded by as many machines that go 'ping' as possible, in which case Grangettes would be the institution of choice.

I am not going to try to convert anyone to anything (and I found the comment about dandelion leaves hilarious, especially coming from a trained midwife), but please remember that there is no such thing as free lunch and no miracles saving women from the pains of childbirth one way or another.

I would, on the other hand, strongly advise you to read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. You will at least be able to make a more informed choice.

Good luck and enjoy your pregnancy!
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Old 21.11.2007, 11:45
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

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my wife was offered the option of an epidural but opted for acupuncture etc ...
Hi Polorise,

How effective was it? I would like to use acupuncture instead of the epidural- can you recommend a specialist, please?

Many Thanks
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Old 21.11.2007, 12:32
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

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Has she not learnt that a little prick doesn't do the job quite as well?

Very funny! I also had the epidural so that was one big prick but it sorted out the pain. No point in going through all that pain when there's a way out. Would definitely recommend an epidural. There's none of the dead-legs problem; I was able to walk to the loo or, later on, the delivery room with no wobble at all.

The gas and air in Switzerland definitely seems a no-no. They didn't even offer it in the Hirslanden clinic and the midwife said it was very unusual to find it anywhere in the country.
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Old 21.11.2007, 12:44
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

My wife had both our kids in the U.S. and opted for an epidural both times, no prolonged labor, no numb legs or anything. Highly recommended. With my limited medical background I'd be very weary of laughing gas as the baby will get some of it through the blood supply.
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Old 21.11.2007, 12:50
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

Hello Kitty K8te,
The current and next issue of the Mothering Matters journal deals with "Birthing Matters". Go to: www.mmjournal.com to get a free sample issue.

I gave birth to both my daughters in CH (the last one in Hirslanden) and I do remember getting "pain relief" with some gas - but don't remember which - this was 20 years ago.... I don't recall if there really was any pain relief for me - I was too caught up with the labour...Now both daughers are "grown" and still being a pain...in a different way ;-))))

regards, and good luck! D.H.
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Old 28.11.2007, 20:56
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Re: Pain relief during childbirth?

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Is gas and air/entenox/nitrous oxide available to women during childbirth in Switzerland?
Kate
I am due to deliver in Geneva any time now. I attended a childbirth class at one of the private clinics (La Tour), and an English classmate asked the same question. We were told that gas is not available, at least not anywhere in Geneva.

The pain relief here is pretty much only epidurals. La Tour said that over 80% of their patients opt for an epidural, at Clinique Generale-Beaulieu (where I will deliver), they told me about 90%. If you have an emergency C-section they will give you spinal anaesthesia (general anaesthesia is very rare here now, even for emergencies).

Caesareans are also very common. The La Tour midwife quoted me a Caesarean rate of more than 30% at that hospital, around 25% at the public hospital, and almost 50% at Beaulieu (the midwife at Beaulieu would not quote me a rate, which is a sure sign that it's pretty high).

Despite those numbers, I am trying to have a natural birth at Beaulieu. I ended up changing doctors at 36 weeks in order to change to someone more natural-birth friendly. (If anyone else is searching for a similar obstetrician, I can highly recommend Dr. Evellyn Floris.)

I was also advised by the midwife at La Tour that if you truly want a natural birth, opting for a home birth with a midwife in attendance is the best way to go in Geneva (the French part of Switzerland is much less natural-birth friendly than the German part). This is almost a must if you want birth in water, as none of the hospitals will allow this (the birthing house near Nyon may, I didn't inquire there as my insurance doesn't cover it).

Also, La Tour does not offer walking epidurals, and I think the same is true at Beaulieu. (And La Tour is under construction for at least the next year; their maternity ward is in a temporary building.)

Hope this helps somewhat - as an American living in Geneva, I went through a lot of confusion trying to find out what is and isn't available/normal here...
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