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Patronised during pregnancy

(53 Posts)
Sockstealer Thu 27-Nov-14 19:39:06

Please don't flame me, if I'm being daft and unreasonable I'm fine with that, but try to be nice!

I had my antenatal appointment this week, and I had bloods taken, all pretty big standard the first ones they do. They are to check blood group, check for HIV, sickle cell anaemia and other things. Now they already know my blood group, it is very, very unlikely that any of the other things have changed since they last checked when I had my first baby.

I don't like having my blood taken, I'm a wimp, I just am, and even when I pre warm medical staff they always still end up going on about horrible things while the blood is being taken, then letting me see the blood in the tubes, and I have before fainted.

I told the midwife I wasn't going to have bloods taken (the antenatal wasn't only for that), as I'd had it all checked before and I don't believe anything's changed. She told me that I HAD to have them taken and insisted that I did.

I went along with it but I really felt like telling her that I don't have to do anything, pregnant or not it is my body. But I didn't.

I've now had two different midwives lecturing me about the importance of breast feeding, despite me telling them that I'd give it a go, but will switch to formula if I feel the need to, as I did with my happy and healthy son.

They spent most of the appointment talking to dp about me in front of me.

It's not only that but I would rather like to consider a home birth, and anyone I've mentioned it to so far has shook their head, rolled their eyes, told me I'd be irresponsible.

I've had eye rolls for taking sickness medication.

I feel as though my body isn't my own anymore, yes I knew this before I got pregnant, but suddenly everyone knows what's best, everyone's got an opinion.

I can sort of see now why older people get annoyed with the ever changing medical advice, if something has worked for you before then you want to stick with it.

Sockstealer Thu 27-Nov-14 19:40:47

Gosh sorry for all the typos.

gamerchick Thu 27-Nov-14 19:46:17

They do get a bit narkey. I got loads of grief for point blank refusing the anti d injections. I think you can sign something can't you so you can't sue if things go wrong?

Poseypops Thu 27-Nov-14 19:52:59

I'm sorry this has been your experience. Whilst you are right your blood group will have remained the same since your last pregnancy your antibodies may have changed and the presence of any new antibodies (rare) can negatively impact your baby. Also Everyone feels there risk of HIV is negligible it is sexually transmitted and so is pregnancy so the national standard is to repeat the test. You are right it's your right to decline anything but it is their responsibility to make sure you are fully informed.

Most midwives are fully supportive & encourage home birth. Is there a reason they are trying to discourage you? Do you have particular risk factors?

Poor communication is rife in the NHS - tell them when you feel this way so you can discuss it together.

Sockstealer Thu 27-Nov-14 19:57:22

Posey sorry that wasn't very clear in my op, I wasn't midwives who were anti home birth. In fact that's the one thing so far that they've listened to me about and encouraged. It's other people who've been tutty about home birth, but I'm very low risk so far.

I just feel in general that being pregnant ends up with people, whether it's medical professionals or just friends and family, being very patronising.

Sockstealer Thu 27-Nov-14 20:02:05

If she'd said "we strongly encourage you to have the tests because...", then fair enough. But it was the fact that I said that I wasn't going to she laughed at me and said "no you have to".

dancestomyowntune Thu 27-Nov-14 20:07:09

Actually my midwife told me that shockingly your blood group can change! I was shocked and don't know how accurate that information is (or whether she meant antibodies even!) but it is worth rechecking it apparently!

My midwife has been brilliant. I refused downs testing/Nuchal fold scan and she told me that the ONLY thing that is compulsory in pregnancy is giving birth! None of the tests HAVE to be done but are there for you to make your own mind up about whether or not they are necessary for you and your baby.

Wrt blood tests, I'm not great with them either (I've got better after all my pregnancies though!). With my first I was told it got easier to find a vein the further on you got (I have very deep veins!). They lied!

JontyDoggle37 Thu 27-Nov-14 20:08:42

It hasn't happened much to me yet but my greatest fear is that at birth I will get a midwife who 'knows best' and will refuse to get me epidural/ whatever else I need when I say I need it. However, I have a killer death stare in my arsenal and DP is being heavily coached on exactly what I want and how to insist I get it, even if I'm out of it on gas and air or pain. If I think anything I want to do might be challenged, I try to pre-think my argument so I haven't got to come up with something on the spot. I'm in a pretty senior position at work so I'm used to doing the 'I don't take any crap' approach on people, but it does still worry me that control will be taken from me. And if anyone tries to hassle me about breast feeding they will get very short shrift and told they're speaking to the wrong person - I'm 5ft9 and have a strong brain and excellent motor and communication skills and I was never breast fed at all because my mum couldn't - clearly it didn't do me any harm at all..... And breathe... :0)

Sockstealer Thu 27-Nov-14 20:18:09

Part if my resistance might be because of my first birth.

It's was very short and quick, my waters broke first with a big gush, I phone the hospital to be told I'd probably done a wee in my pants.

I got to the hospital they tried to send me home, told me I'd be hours, there was no way first babies could come this quickly, after about half an hour they gave me a shot of pethadin and put my on a ward on my own after saying that I was hysterical and not coping. One hour later ds nearly fell out of me after sliding in and out because I needed to push but nobody came back to even check on me. I was also lying in my own shit. His head was hanging out when dp rang the emergency buzzer and I was rushed down nearly giving birth in the lift.

They then left me in all the mess and shit for over four hours.

I'm still bitter about it now, so I can't help thinking "you don't know what's best for me and my baby", whenever come into contact with midwives.

Princessdeb Thu 27-Nov-14 20:34:39


I am sorry you have had this experience. I think you are right that you do become public property when you are pregnant. Complete strangers feel it is acceptable to comment on what you are (or are not) eating, drinking, wearing or doing. And that is before you get started on family and friends. While most of the advice from them comes from a good place it can still be difficult to have your carefully thought out decisions second guessed and questioned. In terms of your ante-natal care you don't HAVE to do anything you don't want to. You have absolute autonomy over your body and any good health care professional will sensitively explore why you may choose not to participate in the usual routine management of pregnancy and find ways for you to have a safe pregnancy while still respecting your choices. If you have had a particularly difficult pregnancy and birth experience before and it seems you are really worried about not being listened to by your health care providers I would suggest you contact the senior midwife for your team and discuss and agree your expectations about how your care will be managed and communicated. Good luck xx

MrsPatrickDempsey Thu 27-Nov-14 20:39:50

Jonty - what if factors are beyond your control and they don't go your way - eg the anaesthetist is unavailable? Your senior position and death stare won't help much then (cringes at arrogance)

Pandora37 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:04:22

Your blood group probably won't have changed but it has to be recorded for each pregnancy. Don't ask me why as I have no idea but they can be very funny if it isn't recorded. The bloods are also for checking your iron level and whether you have any antibodies which may well have changed. You also might not be immune to rubella any more as it can wear off so it's worth knowing. Of course, you can refuse to have all the screening but I do believe that in that case they would have to refer you to consultant led care and treat you like you have HIV, so they'd have to don all the protective gear. I'm not entirely sure though as I've never seen anyone say no.

That's weird lecturing you about breastfeeding, we never mention it antenatally unless someone asks or if we're giving them information about breastfeeding workshops. Where do they find the time to do that, as we barely have time to cover all the clinical stuff in one appointment sometimes. I'd just smile and nod in that scenario and let it go over your head, it's not worth getting upset about.

It is true that everyone's got an opinion. I know so many women who've been told by people (not medical professionals) that their bump is too big, too small, they're carrying too high, they're carrying too low etc. If you had a very quick first labour then actually having a home birth is a sensible idea. Far better to have your baby born into the warmth and comfort of your own home than in the back seat of your car or in a lift.

Krytes42 Fri 28-Nov-14 05:53:47

You absolutely have the right to decline if you like (although there may be complications depending on what you decline). Are you able to switch to a different midwife?

MiaowTheCat Fri 28-Nov-14 08:46:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PterodactylTeaParty Fri 28-Nov-14 09:36:03

YANBU, it is infuriating. I had horrendous sickness and for ages the midwives refused to take it seriously - told me to stop taking the pills my GP prescribed and try ginger, lots of "Is this your first baby? Oooh, yes, lots of women don't understand how nasty normal morning sickness can be, but we all have to go through it!" when I was losing weight and couldn't keep down water even on the medication. I couldn't even get them to write it in my notes - all I got was "feels queasy," understatement of the year. Twenty weeks of hell until I got referred to the consultant clinic.

I also refused induction at 40+10 and said I wanted to go to 42 weeks, and got "I don't know if the consultants will let you do that." Let me? Ended up going into labour spontaneously at 40+15, (after a week of monitoring, seeing three obstetricians and induction booked for the next day), phoned maternity assessment when my contractions were three minutes apart to ask when I should be coming in, and got a midwife saying "you're WHAT? Why did they let you go that far without inducing you?" Quite proud of myself for snapping out "because I chose not to be induced any sooner, and I promise you I'm in labour now!" between contractions.

jcscot Fri 28-Nov-14 10:32:38

You can refuse all the STD screening (I did for four pregnancies) and I was never treated as though I had HIV despite what a previous poster has said. There was no protective gear etc. I was under consultant-led care but that was for a completely different and unrelated issue. I also refused Downs screening. I did consent to routine blood testing because I have a tendency towards anaemia and wanted to name sure that I could get iron supplements if necessary.

cheesecakemom Fri 28-Nov-14 10:49:07

" then letting me see the blood in the tubes, and I have before fainted. "

Why didn't you just close your eyes?


So you don't think you could have contracted HIV since you were last tested when you had your other baby? It's for yours and your baby's protection and to see if there's anything they can do for you. Of course you are within your rights to say no.

cheesecakemom Fri 28-Nov-14 10:51:01

Another thing if you ended up having a c section you need those tests!

NotYouNaanBread Fri 28-Nov-14 11:00:25

Sockstealer - that must have been infuriating, although I disagree with you that the blood tests were unnecessary.

Gamerchick - why did you refuse the anti-D? Was it because of the Hep C thing?

YackityUnderTheMistletoe Fri 28-Nov-14 11:30:48

JontyDoggle37 - you're right to be wary, and well done on training your DP up.

I had a midwife (one of the head midwives, too) who was appalling - she didn't want ANY consultant interference in her deliveries and when I ran into difficulties and asked for a consultant she ignored me.

After well over an hour of her saying 'just 2 more pushes and the baby will be out' and the baby not moving AT ALL I got stroppy about it and because she kept ignoring me I raised my voice. She then promptly turned around, said something like 'You are yelling at me and clearly not in a fit state of mind to give any instructions and therefore I am under no obligation to follow your request' or some shit like that.

DH grabbed her by the arm and dragged her out of the room, gave her a bollocking and demanded a consultant.

Turned out DS was trapped, couldn't move at all and the contractions were collapsing half way through because the body couldn't sustain them with a baby not moving.

Ended up needing a spinal, forceps, and poor DS has a scar on his head from the forcep and a scar on his nose from my pelvic bone, that's how badly stuck he was.

Luckily for me DH followed through with the complaint - I wasn't in a fit state to, and it turns out she was well known for avoiding calling consultants and he pushed for disciplinary action which she received.

She avoided me like the plague for the 5 days I was in there, wouldn't even look in my general direction. Lucky for her too because I was still so angry I'm not sure I could have restrained myself from hitting her if she had tried to be smarmy with me, or if she had tried to touch DS.

stubbornstains Fri 28-Nov-14 11:42:42

pterodactyl Oh yes, the "letting" you go overdue thing.....Because, of course they have the right to slap you in handcuffs and forcibly inject you with the induction chemicals if you refuse...hmm.

(I got to 15 days overdue with DS before I let them induce me (under duress)).

AdamLambsbreath Fri 28-Nov-14 12:01:01

Hi sock. I do feel for you. It sounds like the bad care you got with your first birth has made you lose faith in midwives and the medical profession a bit, which I can completely understand.

I hate needles too and hate having bloods done, but I think this might be one of those ones where you just have to do it. The nurse/midwife will not want you to faint - you might hit your head and at the very least it'll cause a big delay to their next appointment - so I would just say next time 'I faint at the sight of blood, so if you can please keep it covered and not tell me what's going on that would be great.' I'd be really surprised if they ignored you. I tend to stare at the floor or an opposite wall until it's all over to make doubly sure smile

As for the general public - yeah, lots of people have opinions about what you should and shouldn't do in pregnancy and for you birth. It's annoying. There doesn't seem to be much you can do about it, sadly. FWIW as this is your second child, the first was born quickly and your pregnancy is (I guess) uncomplicated, home birth would probably be a pretty standard recommendation for you. It's not a crazy off-the-wall idea.

Smartleatherbag Fri 28-Nov-14 12:07:48

Sorry you had such an awful first birth :-(, that was shocking.
You're perfectly right to not want to be patronised. Your hcps should give you information to let you make an informed choice. I know NHS is overstretched but they get it right in this geographical area so no reason not to get it right everytime.

billyokey Fri 28-Nov-14 12:24:43

Gamerchick - refusing anti-D is a bit daft! was it properly explained to you what it was for, and the potentially fatal consequences of not having it?

jcscot Fri 28-Nov-14 12:34:00

Cheesecakemom, I've had three sections (and am having a fourth in a few months) and I was never told I had to have the tests in order to get a section.

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