forced consent to vaginal examinations(259 Posts)
This is my first post and I'm posting as I really need help.
I'm going to have my second baby soon. My first labour was horrific, abusive and traumatising. Before that I had a history of sexual abuse. I've also subsequently had a traumatic botched coil fitting which ended up requiring hospital treatment.
As a result this time I'm refusing:
- all vaginal examinations
- any medical staff to touch or look between my legs
- assisted third stage of labour (I'm want the physiological option)
- post labour examination for tearing.
I've been seeing a midwife councellor and I have a consultant because this birth will be a VBAC. All staff at the hospital are adamant that my consent will be sought before any proceduce and that they will make it as comfortable as possible but that I am not permitted to not consent. Does that make sense? In effect I have to do it! Finally today, after much harrasment from me and from the staff they have agreed to my wishes but say I must come in to hospital and sign a document saying all negative outcomes (ranging from maternal and/or fetal death to tearing) are a direct result of my choices. I've also had one midwife tell me that labours without vaginal examinations usually result in dead babies.
I've provided the hospital with NICE, WHO, Lancet and Cochrane Report papers to support the safety of my decision and provide information on how to make things safer but they won't read them.
I'm glad they've finally agreed not to force me (this happened with my first labour) but I stilll need support to help find alteratives to make things actually safer and make me feel safer, calmer and less under seige. My baby will need NICU observations after birth so I'm keen to give birth in the hospital with the NICU. My babies consultant says her complications won't effect the actual birth.
Please help. Does anyone have similar experiences or information.
I am so sorry that you have been through such terrible things .
I do not really have any useful advice - except that you are absolutely within your rights to refuse to consent to these examinations.
Are you sure that vbac is right for you? Would a CS not avoid a lot of these issues?
Don't get me wrong - it is absolutely up to you how you choose to give birth...but I know someone who has some similar (although much less severe) issues and has chosen elective CS.
Lovey, just have a c/s.
< awaits avalanche of pasting on my head >
All staff at the hospital are adamant that my consent will be sought before any proceduce and that they will make it as comfortable as possible but that I am not permitted to not consent.
They are wrong. Consent is not just a formality. You have every right to not consent.
I've also had one midwife tell me that labours without vaginal examinations usually result in dead babies.
I don't believe this at all. This strikes me as pure emotional blackmail.
I'm with them. Just have a cs. A VBAC without examinations is not, umm, ideal.
AnyFucker makes a good suggestion.
I refused all internal exams for my 2nd baby. Midwife was totally fine about it. Baby is just fine.
Contact BirthRights, they might be able to advise you on the legal situation.
I would say you would be an excellent candidate for an elective c/s. Traumatic birth is a valid reason for ecs.
Op sorry to hear of your traumatic first birth. I too am wondering why you don't just opted for a CS. I had an ELCS and no one came anywhere near me with regards an internal examination.
I didn't have an internal when I was giving birth to ds, but they did break my waters (not quite the same), and he was healthy.
I'd worry about the tearing. The last thing you need is third degree tears which are left untreated. A c section sounds like the way to go.
I'm with AnyFucker
If you already know that your baby will need NICU obs after birth then it might be the safest option for your baby and the best way to avoid anyone needing to be between your legs. I can't explain why but it worries me that you are so against physical help in labour, although I do acknowledge you are fully entitled to bodily autonomy
It is a shame your baby will need nicu after birth otherwise I'd suggest a home birth. I had one and ds1 didn't want to wait for the mw. So I laboured completely without any exams. I also had a physiological third stage (not my choice) as I had also unknowingly delivered my placenta by the time the mws did get here.
The only things I can suggest are making it crystal clear (block capitals and highlighted if necessary) on your birth plan and make sure you have a very supportive birth partner who will advocate on your behalf when the medical staff start making you feel co-erced.
I'm so sorry too. A friend suffered PTSD after birth of her DC1 and her GP referred her to a consultant psychiatrist and Obs consultant with a special interest in mental health. Consultants were amazing apparently and said she could have an elcs if she wanted. In the end she had a really calm, vaginal birth with v experienced MWs and no internals.
Just wondering if your GP could get you a similar referral? Your current team doesn't sound v. supportive.
I had an elective c section for the same fears and reasons as you. My first birth was traumatic because of extremely painful vaginal examinations. My second birth (10 years later) - the section - was amazing. I would recommend an elcs to anyone in your situation.
I think you would do a lot better with a CS and some council long rather than going for a VB and refusing all exams. Potentially fucking dangerous for your baby of it's stuck and needs forceps or anything.
Refusing all vaginal examinations is absolutely your choice, And to link that to fetal well being is ridiculous.
As your having a vbac, will they be monitoring baby throughout labour? Is that something you are happy with? Could they accommodate you being in a pool/ is that something you would want? Water can be a great privacy tool, and gives u physical distance from everybody.
I would also consider what u would want to happen if there was an emergency. Shoulder dystocia or if you bleed following birth, in which case they may need to examine you, and it may happen quickly, are these things you would consent to?
When you say you have provided information about making it safer, is that about assessing progress in labour without using vaginal examinations, or about the logistics of a midwife not looking as the baby is delivered, because unless u want to catch the baby yourself, am really not sure how that would happen.
Can I just say a) OP I am very sorry for your experience, you have been through an awful lot and b) to those suggesting an ELCS - she will have to have a catheter both fitted and removed should she goes for ELCS.
I'd opt for a c section in your circumstances. Have you thought what you'd like to happen if they need to stitch a tear or if baby needs any help getting out? I'm not saying these things will happen obviously but there's always that possibility.
Sorry to read everything you've been through OP. Sounds very tough.
I'm with anyfucker. I had the most beautiful ELCS 7 years after a horrific first birth that left my child with Cerebral Palsy. It was a complete revelation, and removed all the anxiety and stress of the unknown. I had skin to skin/BF all very very positive. If you are pondering a section, it really really can be an incredibly positive experience, especially when not in an emergency situation. I was able to stipulate exactly how I wanted everything done.
I also want you to know, that having an ELCS is not taking the easy way out. There is alot of pressure sometimes on women NOT to have one, and to try for labour, but you need to choose what is best for you.
And if I'm really honest, i would be really worried about something being missed, especially with a VBAC if I wasn't being examined.
I'm really really sorry that you've had such horrible experiences xxx
The OP may have her own reasons for not wanting another cs and thats fine, as is her birth choices.
OP if they hadn't checked you during the last labour, and you hadn't had a c-section, how would it have ended up?
So sorry about your past, I can't even imagine how horrendous that must be to have to deal with every day, let alone when you are pregnant and giving birth.
(I've had an ELCS after a traumatic birth btw, and it was 100% the best choice and a great experience - but just wanted to mention that it won't happen without some touching in that area)
and yes, a catheter will need to be fitted. But that is predictable, and can be planned for...which I hope would maybe be more manageable.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.