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to complain about midwife (internal/assault)

(274 Posts)
Hensinthehedgerow Wed 31-Jul-13 14:41:17

I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section. I'm in search of some opinions. This may not sound like much to complain about to some people. But this has really affected me and my marriage and I can't seem to move on.

In summary, I had a birth plan, it said no internal examinations and everything done needs to be explained to me. I thought she was doing an external examination, but instead did an internal which was very painful and basically in public view after my husband had been sent out of the room. I wish I had kicked her in the head and screamed and called the police, but I was holding my newborn baby and didn't hmm I want to cry, I can't sleep.

I raised these issues with the som who said it shouldn't have happened an that she would speak to the midwives. Then emailed me to say the midwives agreed more communication would have been helpful to me wft

I have no idea if making a formal complaint will help. But can't let this go. Aibu to complain. The midwives were horrible and essentially bullied my husband. I guess it's wwyd? Sorry for the ramble.

Whothefuckfarted Wed 31-Jul-13 15:19:02

For anyone asking about a labour and birth without an internal, yes it's absolutely possible. An internal examination only tells a midwife what stage of labour you are at at that exact moment. Nothing more, nothing less.

A good midwife can assess what stage a labouring woman is at through a few different indications. One of which is the dark purple line that appears at the top of the bum crack.

The noises a woman makes can help too. There is absolutely no way you MUST have an internal.

ICBINEG Wed 31-Jul-13 15:19:20

other thread: here

sweetiepie1979 Wed 31-Jul-13 15:23:02

Hi I'm sorry your feeling so awful about this. I didn't have any internals when I gave birth but they did give me a good check when all was done so they could decide on stitches. I had a home birth. When you say assault did it hurt?did she purposely try to cause you pain? do you feel violated?like did she check you and feel you up at the same time? Just trying to understand what kind of examination it was.....

LePamplemousseMousse Wed 31-Jul-13 15:25:21

I'm really sorry that this has upset you OP, and agree that if you are unhappy with the response to your complaint to call PALS. Childbirth and early motherhood can make you feel extremely vulnerable and the various medical interventions can feel really invasive.

I promise I am not being provocative - this is a genuine question (not necessarily for the OP, but in general) about the difference between an internal examination for progress of labour (which as many people have said can be managed without) and a check for damage or other genuinely 'medical' investigations during labour or post-birth.

I've had one labour and while it was progressing naturally I think the midwives only did an internal examination twice, both times with my consent, which I admit I was OK with but they were very clear about reasons etc. Once I was moved on to the track of emergency forceps delivery on the obstetrics unit I didn't have a clue what was being done (as I couldn't feel anything from the chest down, for one). This included an episiotomy, stiches, managed removal of the placenta goodness knows what else. I was also given several drips that I was unaware of until I got up to the ward. No one asked my consent for any of it.

I had assumed that all of this was normal practice, even though it was very dehumanising.

Because she felt assaulted Annabelle.
Good luck Hens - remember your main purposes taking this forward - perhaps to talk it over, to get an apology, to receive some counselling, and/or to make things better in future for others.
Just think about what will help you most moving forwards after the birth with all its experiences, good and bad.

ICBINEG Wed 31-Jul-13 15:32:47

sweetie if someone sticks there hand inside you without warning explanation or consent then it is assault regardless of whether or not it hurt.

Hensinthehedgerow Wed 31-Jul-13 15:42:25

It hurt, I was breastfeeding at the time. I was bullied into it with my husband sent away by the me. I was a piece of meat

The som actually said to me that it was because i didn't have any pain relief, and that usually I wouldn't have noticed .. And that they weren't used to examining women who hasn't had drugs shock

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 31-Jul-13 15:47:29

Medical procedure performed without consent is assult, even if patient is unable to object consent is sought from husband or next of Kin. So yes complain. If it was deemed necessary op should have been informed. A food outcome doesn't excuse it.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 31-Jul-13 15:47:39


HaPPy8 Wed 31-Jul-13 15:50:22

I don't think there is enough information here for anyone to be able to answer your question. There a are so many things that could have been happening (for example bleeding heavilyt and pressure being applied to the leaking blood vessel - a potentially life saving intervention) that it would not be right for anyone here to say. But if you are not happy about what happened then of course you can complain so that it can be investigated by people who can look at the full facts.

LazyFaire Wed 31-Jul-13 15:52:01

I am feeling sick at the thought of how many post-birth, drug addled new mothers they may have abused in this way without consent. they basically said "It would have been better if you were too out of it to notice"!

angry shock angry

Hensinthehedgerow Wed 31-Jul-13 15:52:30

There was no emergency, to check for grazing apparentlyl?

thebody Wed 31-Jul-13 15:52:36

see the link to the assault thread in labour.ICBINEG has it.

we were discussing this topic just yesterday and you are most defiantly not alone and she was wrong not you at all.

your consent should have been asked for. it wasn't.

Pinupgirl Wed 31-Jul-13 15:57:12

Yeah because midwives must love sticking their hands up a women's fanny.Ffs they are just doing their jobs and imo if an internal is needed then you put up and shut up.Assault-really?

Am so sorry you felt disrespected as well as assaulted, so soon after giving birth as well.

Clearly they should have talked to you about any medical examinations considered advisable, sought your consent, and conducted sensitively at an appropriate time (such as not whilst breastfeeding your newborn)

Hope you find taking this further brings some helpful conversations (and an apology) and helps you with moving on after such an unpleasant experience.

FuzzyWuzzywasaWoman Wed 31-Jul-13 16:03:26

Put up and shut up Pinpup REALLY? Wow you really sound like you have no respect for your own body or what happens to it.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 31-Jul-13 16:03:32

Put up with it?


No one touches my vagina without my express consent. Ever. Medical profession or not.

jammiedonut Wed 31-Jul-13 16:05:55

Pinupgirl even if its necessary they still need consent, otherwise it is deemed assault. As with any other procedure.You may be happy to go through with it but many are not. Just that extra moment of consideration can make all the difference.

Hensinthehedgerow Wed 31-Jul-13 16:09:35

Wow shut up and put up. I'm not sure what to say to that

I really just wish I could, I really just want to erase it from my mind and move on and I've tried. Tried ignoring it. Tried to talk about it which is not easy. I really want to move on and wish someone could just tell me how. I had a problem with this before birth hence it being in my birth plan now I just can't stand the idea of any hcp touching me in anyway at all

ANormalOne Wed 31-Jul-13 16:11:03

Yeah because midwives must love sticking their hands up a women's fanny.Ffs they are just doing their jobs and imo if an internal is needed then you put up and shut up.Assault-really?

Nice and insensitive there.

How about I shove my hand up your vadge during a medical appointment, without telling you I'm going to do it and without your consent and then tell you to put up and shut up?

Silly woman.

thebody Wed 31-Jul-13 16:11:07

Pinup, hope your not a midwife?

disgusting attitude and post.

rowtunda Wed 31-Jul-13 16:13:58

Bloody hell I would much prefer a midwife to do her job and check that I don't need stitches rather than walking away with a second degree tear.

Come on ladies seriously?

Yes limit the number of unness internals during labour and if clearly documented in notes fair enough but the midwife was just doing her job - she asked if she could 'check' by the sounds of it which personally I thought would have been self explanatory seen as you've just had a baby and yes it was painful - because you have just had a baby.

I'm sorry that you feel that you weren't given enough information to fully consent but I think you are being pretty unfair on the midwife who at the end of the day was doing her job and making sure that you left the hospital healthy - imagine leaving the hospital with a tear that became I infected because she hadn't

sweetiepie1979 Wed 31-Jul-13 16:15:03

Ok I'm still a but confused at why this is been called assault.... So it dosent signs good that she sent your husband away while she did this to you... Are you feeling that this is linked and she wanted him out of the room in order to touch you? Some one has said that she stuck her hand up you is that what it felt like? Can you explain what she did? I don't know what she did that hurt? When I gave birth I didn't have any drugs the examination was not sore after.... I can't understand why it was sore what on earth was she doing? Her reason for it been sore is rubbish and I wouldn't accept that.

Ohh, Hens. I'm thinking maybe having some counseling to talk it all through as much as you feel able to/ want to might be the most important thing to do.
And alongside this you can take the complaints process further and hope that that will bring more closure eventually too.
I think this is an area of maternity care that definitely needs further clarity and improvement in practice. I think they should always make it clear that you can ask them to stop the examination at any time if it becomes too uncomfortable, painful, or difficult as well. That would help in many cases too I think.

LazyFaire Wed 31-Jul-13 16:17:29

Pinup, thats what I did in my first labour, assumed they were necessary. They weren't and it wasn't until a little while ago that mumsnet made me aware that they weren't. I would not have allowed them if anyone had said to me that I had a choice. My birth and post-natal care all went very smoothly and I think they were an unnecessary intrusion at a very personal, physical level at a very personal and vulnerable time.

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