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Postnatal Ward Hell

(268 Posts)
MoneyM Thu 27-Feb-20 01:47:15

AIBU in suggesting that postnatal wards are literally hell on earth? Baby born today - stuck in a room with snorers, loud texters, newborn babies being left to cry it out...not to mention the incessant succession of beeps and buzzers. And the intense heat!!

Rememberallball Mon 02-Mar-20 09:29:19

I was obviously very lucky. We were moved to transitional care ward post twin c section and given single room (ward had 3 x 4 bedded rooms - 1 for mums whose babies were in NICU - 1 x 2 bedded cubicle and 4 single rooms). Ward run by 1 x midwife, 2 x nursery nurses and 1 x MCA per shift. Cleaners came twice a day and cleaned every surface at least once, bins emptied both times and wash basin cleaned; separate cloths and mop head used for each room. Bathroom, shower rooms and toilets were spotless. Ward temperature was around 20c in August so not unnecessarily hot and plenty of windows which opened!!

Yes, if you were mobile, you had to go to the dining room for main meals but the housekeeper brought it to you if not or if feeding during mealtimes so you didn’t go without. Tea trolley x3 rounds daily with snacks, biscuits, cake or fruit available; sandwiches and salads available overnight if wanted/needed. Midwife would make time to see mums for breastfeeding support - really helpful that 2 were twin mums too.

All this in the UK in 2019 at a ‘normal’ hospital - which is doing ‘ok’ due to CQC so nowhere particularly special!!

tiedy Mon 02-Mar-20 02:50:11

I had my last baby at a public hospital in Australia. There was no post-natal wards but a series of individual rooms each with 2 beds. I had a room all to myself. Much better.

winniestone37 Sun 01-Mar-20 20:40:11

Crazily when my son was born there was no beds so I was put in a private room, I don’t think I realised how lucky I was!!

Chinks123 Sun 01-Mar-20 13:36:02

I’ve never been on a postnatal Ward, I was given a private room after dd, but this was before partners could stay so I was on my own. A nurse came and took dd at 11pm because she said I had to “stop staring at her and sleep.” They brought her back to me at 8am. This was 7 years ago, I’m not sure if it’s common practice?

Ds 6 months ago, had him at 6am and we were allowed home 6 hours later so I never went up to the ward.
Ds was born in 15 minutes (luckily we live next door to the hospital!) so they’ve said I need to plan for a home birth if we go on to have any more.

Localocal Sun 01-Mar-20 12:58:04

Yep. Post-natal ward with my first was just awful in every possible way.

Lynda07 Sun 01-Mar-20 02:34:40

RaisinsRuinEverything Sat 29-Feb-20 14:21:54
Lynda07 didn’t mean to scare you sad If you have a straightforward birth you’ll be out the same day or next day. They don’t keep people in unnecessarily because there’s a shortage of beds (at least in my area). I had to stay in for 5 days because DD was group B strep and on antibiotics. Plus I was struggling with breastfeeding —and very tempted to give up just to get out—
I'm very flattered, raisins, but this cannot be directed at me. I'm well past childbearing :-). I do feel for others though, didn't have the problems they had and are experiencing, went home next day.

OhTheRoses Sat 29-Feb-20 21:22:34

One has seriously to question the personal and professional standards of the people running these places. No doubt the government is repeatedly assured by hospital ceo's and directors of children's and women's services that all in swimmingly hunky dory.

Stressybetty Sat 29-Feb-20 19:20:20

I had my DD in 1994 and spent 4 nights on the postnatal ward. I was only 21 and the birth process and pain was a huge unexpected shock, no internet to research other experiences and know what to expect. Had a normal delivery but was completely drained and exhausted after which didn't improve, I just wanted to sleep.

My MIL then overheard ward sister telling the other nurses not to give me any help as she thought I was faking it. Couldn't even lift baby without help and trying to breastfeed alone was a nightmare.

DH now ex couldn't drive and was limited to a long bus journey and spending only a couple of hours a day with me. Physically couldn't pee for the first 24 hours so had a catheter in.

Saving grace was a lovely night nurse who was so sympathetic and brilliant I cried when she first came. After couple of days of being treated like scum by the day staff I fell unconscious and caused major panic.

Doctor shouting at the ward sister because he wasn't called in earlier and they'd left me in that state. 24 hours blood transfusion later I was fine and discharged. Midwife walking me out mak8ng bitchy comments 'heard you caused quite a stir, well I wonder when you lost all that blood'

Whole thing caused problems bonding with DD to start with, pmt leading to depression and anorexia over the next 2-3 years.

Complained to HV and apparently it went back to the hospital but never heard anymore. Always thought having a good experience with a second child would help but never happened.

DoveOfPiss Sat 29-Feb-20 18:09:59

These accounts make me so sad at the state of some of the maternity wards.

I worked in the one at my local hospital for 6 years after they'd built a new Women's Centre with a mix of 4 bedded bays and single rooms, a separate midwife led unit for low-risk births with no medical intervention, a SCBU and NICU and delivery suite for C-sections with HDU beds. It's amazing.
On the post natal ward, there were MCAs who changed beds, held babies, fetched food and fluids, a nursery nurse who did baby obs, a team of breastfeeding peer supporters and lactation consultants, and a cracking team of midwives who although busy, were allocated 1 per 4 bed bay, and 1 per 4 single rooms.
I hate to think of any new mum experiencing what most of you have described.

Before they built the new building, I had 2 of my children in the midwife led unit which was awesome, and 2 at the old delivery suite. The post natal ward wasn't as good as it is now but was nothing like some of your experiences.
I count myself lucky.

We have a 2 hour discharge policy for low-risk births with no complications, it works well.

Alsohuman Sat 29-Feb-20 17:23:49

But less people in UK then!!

And a higher birth rate.

ChristmasFluff Sat 29-Feb-20 16:54:39

You are not being unreasonable.

I had a room on my own, and it was 2001, so fewer beeps etc, and it was still the same hell. With an added 'midwives criticising a perfectly good latch' thing. Every time. I mean, bloody hell, I might have been a piss-poor mother every other way, but I was a natural at breastfeeding - and I knew it!

I lasted 18 hours then left - didn't discharge myself, but I would have if the consultant had been later coming around.

amispeakingenglish Sat 29-Feb-20 16:37:39

My advice, if they still have short stay wards ask for that, I viewed the maternity wards as hell on earth, no way was I going there with any of them, heard awful stories of interventions etc, even if on short stay if you want to stay you could as in my previous post. One midwife said one day, why are you still here & my midwife who was visiting replied ,she has 3 more at home, the first midwife said O I see , that's fine then as long as we don't need the bed!! Midwives were very understanding! The community ones were great.

amispeakingenglish Sat 29-Feb-20 16:32:32

.not to mention the incessant succession of beeps and buzzers. And the intense heat!!

I totally agree with this, had to stay a week recently on a ward and it was HELL HELL HELL, dementia patients, (i know they can't help it) I took so many migraine tablets, felt worse, mattress so bad Nurses uncaring AWFUL discharged self against doctors orders in the end, for my sanity.

amispeakingenglish Sat 29-Feb-20 16:29:11

But less people in UK then!!

amispeakingenglish Sat 29-Feb-20 16:28:56

Sounds awful, glad I had mine in the 90s, own room (free) with ensuite for first, this had been privatised by the time had second, but was in short stay, then with following 2 I CHOSE to stay in as had 2 then 3 little ones at home as all close together but it was really quite quiet and it was me who had to be woken by nurse in the night when 3rd one was crying, I just went back to sleep and had to be woken again!! Midwives happy to let me stay as long as they didn't need bed ,with 3rd & 4th I took books and choc in with me and stayed a few days! So not a busy place and its one of the busiest hospitals in UK

B0bbin Sat 29-Feb-20 16:22:59

Yanbu. I still have bad dreams about being trapped there. (Over 3 yrs later). It was awful. X

JuanSheetIsPlenty Sat 29-Feb-20 16:17:49

But are men allowed to stay over in the maternity ward? And also what was their reasoning for it?

Sweetpotatoaddict Sat 29-Feb-20 16:11:09

They built a new super hospital in Glasgow, all single rooms..... all except the maternity unit. hmm

JuanSheetIsPlenty Sat 29-Feb-20 16:00:30


bingbangbing Sat 29-Feb-20 15:54:17

Wouldn't need them 24/7 if we had enough staff!

JuanSheetIsPlenty Sat 29-Feb-20 15:52:34

Yes I think if all visitors were restricted to just a few hours then wards could be kept. I know from lots of previous threads though that many women do want their partner to be able to stay 24/7 which for me should only be allowed if in private rooms.

bingbangbing Sat 29-Feb-20 15:49:38

I'd actually like to keep wards.

But I'd like reduced visiting hours (like for only three hours a day, including fathers).

That way we could open the curtains and talk to each other. I felt incredible lonely in that cubicle for five days. Only people I spoke to were the HCAs who brought food until discharge-for five days. My DS was born my emergency section under GA. Only found out he had been resuscitated in passing.

No idea at all why I was in for all that time. Think they forgot about me!

JuanSheetIsPlenty Sat 29-Feb-20 15:32:29

It would improve if every woman who complains on a forum was also to formally complain to the hospital, copied to their MP. It has happened due to the culture of gratefulness in relation to the NHS.


Ideal PN ward for me would be individual rooms with ensuites for all- door opening into a communal mothers lounge where the nurses station also was. Partners allowed to stay over in the rooms only and only allowed to use the ensuites- no other bathrooms. Visitors allowed in rooms only, during visiting hours only. Partners and visitors Not allowed in mothers lounge at all.

Polyethyl Sat 29-Feb-20 15:32:23

I had a good experience. Sort of. At Kings, in South London. When I arrived they were full, so I got put in a post labour ward whilst I was in labour. (Back to back). Every contraction I would scream. Inbetween contractions I called out an apology to the new mothers in the surrounding beds and through the curtain a kind voice replied "No worries, we were the same a few hours ago."
After I had my baby I was in the post natal ward for 3 days. The occupants of the surrounding beds all behaved reasonably. I must have been lucky!

peaceanddove Sat 29-Feb-20 15:23:56

When did they get rid of matrons? My Mum's best friend was a matron back in the day. When she visited me in hospital she was disgusted by the levels of noise, mess and large family groups all over the place.

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