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to be mightily pissed off with the Royal College of Midwives' patronising attitude towards women?

(61 Posts)
lowrib Sat 04-Dec-10 01:01:03

There's an article in the Independent today about a report which shows that 1 in 6 women are still giving birth on their backs with their feet up in stirrups, a position rightly described in the article as ""physiologically inappropriate".
(unnecessarily excruciatingly painful might have been another good description).

This is the bit that's got my goat ...

"Mervi Jokinen, practice and standards adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, said the apparent high use of stirrups may have arisen from a misunderstanding by the women responding to the survey. "I am very sceptical how women perceived this. When you are suturing a woman she will have her legs in stirrups and she may see this as part of the birth,""

I'm sorry but we know the difference between giving birth and having a suture done! How patronising angry She's heard something she doesn't like the sound of but instead of actually listening to the women in the survey she's dismissing their experiences because they must be a little confused, poor dears hmm

It's a good thing though, because it reminds me I still need to get round to complaining about the midwife at my birth, who did insist that I was on my back with my feet in stirrups. She also refused to explain why this was necessary - despite me and DP repeatedly asking her. She made it impossible to fight against in the end by simply refusing to communicate with me if I was in another position. And this was in a labour when the 5 attempts at giving me an epidural all failed, so I was in absolute agony.

What are your experiences?

Have other people found they were encouraged onto their backs and into stirrups unnecessarily? I do hope not, as it was not something I'd wish on anyone but if there are a few I'd like to send this thread to this woman so she can see it does go on, and can perhaps look at what the Royal College of Midwives can do to stop this barbaric practice.

lowrib Sat 04-Dec-10 01:02:16

Sorry that was a bit of an essay, but I'm angry!

Article here NHS Criticised for Production Line Approach to Childbirth

BluTac Sat 04-Dec-10 01:04:33

I ended up giving birth in stirrups too. Like you I'm not really sure why they thought it was necessary, but it's difficult to argue at the time isn't it?

SpeedyGonzalez Sat 04-Dec-10 01:04:52

Am astonished. Bumping for you.

sunshinestate Sat 04-Dec-10 01:10:27

I gave birth in stirrups too. No way I'm confused about that. Don't think I'll ever forget it... sad

WomanOfAbjectMystery Sat 04-Dec-10 01:20:14

It's possible the question in the survey was misleading and therefore the results are not trustworthy. What was the survey question?

lowrib Sat 04-Dec-10 01:20:43

It's so difficult to argue with at the time, and we did try - it was against everything we'd learnt in ante-natal classes. We even asked for another midwife but they were short-staffed so they said it wasn't possible.

Like you sunshinestate I don't think I'll ever forget it!

And BluTac like you I'm not sure why it was necessary either. We did keep asking but she just wouldn't communicate with me. She spent most of her time with her back to me, writing notes. It was so frustrating.

I did notice when the anaethestist came in, he turned the drip down (they were inducing me) and muttered "give her a chance".

Sorry this isn't meant to be a thread about me! Just difficult not to slip back into being angry about it!

SpeedyConzalez, thanks smile

lowrib Sat 04-Dec-10 01:22:00

WomanOfAbjectMystery, it doesn't say what the questions were, but it does say

"The survey by the Care Quality Commission, the health regulator, found the use of stirrups in childbirth had increased from 14 per cent of women in 2007. The figures excluded women who had "assisted" deliveries, involving the use of forceps or vacuum suction, where the use of stirrups may be appropriate."

Marjee Sat 04-Dec-10 01:29:42

I was put in stirrups too sad. It was horrific, I kept trying to get onto my hands and knees like I'd been taught in antenatal class as the pain was unbearable laying in that position but the mw was getting angry with me for moving.

LadyGolden Sat 04-Dec-10 01:32:23

I had 3 midwives help deliver my DS (3 differnt shifts) all had different "rules". I was very confused and I was only 18 the first midwife advised my hubby and mum to hold my legs with me the second was horrified by that idea and put me in stirrups and the third kept me there. I ended up having a vacuum suction birth and lost a lot of blood. I didn't know what to do my birth plan went out the window due to loud mouthed midwives.

tallwivglasses Sat 04-Dec-10 01:35:10

There was a thread earlier on today (that I can't find, bollocks...) about scary experiences - KNOWING you were about to give birth and the MW's not believing it.

Stirrups, my God, I knew there was no way I was going to drop unless gravity was involved smile Glad I insisted.

I'm scared to be there when DD gives birth but she wants me there and I'll fight her corner.

Marjee Sat 04-Dec-10 01:36:40

Lowrib theres a thread in the childbirth section you may be interested in about mws attitudes towards women in labour. I can't do links, sorry! Its about women who were told they were not in labour when they were actually quite far along - its really shocking how many of us its happened to! Sorry you had a bad experience sad

LutyensBravesTheSnow Sat 04-Dec-10 01:38:01

shock at these stories.

Am very thankful that I got lovely midwives who let me do my own thing. Gave birth to dd1 kneeling down. With dd2, the midwife requested I go on my back as other positions were actually slowing contractions. She didn't force me in any way, and stirrups weren't suggested...as it turned out, she was right as dd2 was born 12 minutes after I got onto my back with my feet in the air.

Marjee Sat 04-Dec-10 01:39:11

X-posted with tallwivglasses!

tallwivglasses Sat 04-Dec-10 01:40:45

great minds, marjee smile

CheekyLittleStocking Sat 04-Dec-10 02:23:40

I gave birth in stirrups on first birth due to complications. on the second birth i was given diamorphine so was advised to not walk around as it would make me sleepy so i laid on the bed but didnt have legs in stirrups.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 04-Dec-10 02:32:02

I did it in stirrups twice (2006 and 2009). I can't remember how I ended up there with my first but I know I had pushed in a fair few positions so I can't have been forced into it. Sorry but I found them really helpful and second time round I asked for them!

I actually remember the midwives looking like hmm when I asked but got DS out in a few minutes so I guess stirrups just work for me, weirdly.

PinkIsMyFavouriteCrayon Sat 04-Dec-10 08:05:06

I gave birth in stirrups, and like IHeartKingThistle , actually found it more comfortable! Midwife was fab, willing to try anything to help my long delivery, asking my permission to change positions.

saffy85 Sat 04-Dec-10 08:15:19

I gave birth in stirrups last time. They're gonna have chain me to them if they think I'm doing that again with DC2!

Sakura Sat 04-Dec-10 08:16:58

YANBU and I'm V V pro-midiwfe.
I'm shock at so many women were put in stirrups. Had 2 births at midwives' houses so no stirrups in sight, thankfully.

lowrib Sat 04-Dec-10 08:17:34

LadyGolden like you I had 3 midwives during labour. The other two were lovely! I did was on a drip, but the first midwife said we could work with that and I could be mobile as much as possible. She was lovely, really reassuring, friendly and communicative.

The second midwife was the nightmare one, and I had her for the majority of my labour. My biggest bugbear, more than being in stirrups actually, was her lack of communication. She barked orders at me, and just wouldn't explain why she was doing what she was doing. DP actually had to tell her to stop shouting at me.

I suspect the reason I was in on my back was that she wanted me there so that she could do continuous monitoring and wasn't experienced enough (or arsed) to do it another way. But I don't know because she wouldn't tell me.

I had a ventouse delivery in the end, and so I'd be in those figures that say I was assisted and so "needed" to be on my back. But that hides the fact that we only had the ventouse at the very, very end. I was on my back, or trying to get off it, for hours -at least half day.

What was so also frustrating was that the rest of the midwife team seemed lovely, and said all the right things about active birth etc. The third midwife I had for an hour while the nightmare one went on a break. She was also lovely. I begged her to stay, but she couldn't. sad

gorionine Sat 04-Dec-10 08:23:17

shock I did not even know it existed in this country! I had 4 dcs here and never was put in stirrups. My Dsis though on the continent was and I just could not believe it when sho told me. The way she described it I thought it was barbaric!

As well I tend to get cramps very quickly if stay in the same position. I would be in absolute agony coping with contractions/pushing/cramps simultaniously!

liath Sat 04-Dec-10 08:25:20

I had to beg the midwife to let me use stirrups, I found it by far the best position for pushing, bizarrly enough.

lowrib Sat 04-Dec-10 08:25:40

For me it's not the stirrups that were the problem - they came right at the end I think - it was the insistence that I be on my back while labouring for hours, and the refusal to help me do anything else - or to give my any reason why I should be on my back.

LoveBeingADaddysGirl Sat 04-Dec-10 08:27:51

I can't remember how I ended up in the as the midwife had already asked how I wanted to do it and set the bed accordingly, never did make it onto my knees probably why I ended up with a ventose and second degree tearing hmm

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