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MW's Promote Natural Births at ALL COSTS

(30 Posts)
pastelmacaroons Fri 21-Oct-16 12:30:03

I have not been over to CB for a long time, but used to post here quite a bit as this section of MN really helped me after my first Birth - which was traumatic however in MW terms because there was no great psychical damage it was called a wonderful text book birth.
I sat in front of a head MW whilst discussing alternative to my requested ELC for my second , her eyes glazed over when I used words like
" emotion, mentally not strong enough" and instead she praised me on my " great birthing hips" talked of " incredible quick first labour" ( it was 6 hours) etc. I felt like I was failing to communicate with her in any effective way and that she was seeing a distorted reality - like a very brainwashed religious person.

I have been on MN for a while now and even while describing my first labour as - calm, with oils , massage etc - I have been told by Mw on here I found it hard as I was not relaxed enough - every excuse even though they were not there. I have seen same accusations leveled at other women who had traumatic labours and were told it was down to them not doing something rather than the obvious basic fact that CB is dangerous.

Sorry am rambling anyway I came across this article and it backed up my fears that there is a brain washed element to some MW training - and I think it should be known by all women who may get pregnant or who are pregnant.

The Times Oct 13th

Earlier this year a public inquiry into the deaths of 19 mothers and babies at Furness General hospital showed that at least 12 lives could have been saved with the right care.

Mrs Parkinson one of a group of that called themselves the "*musketeer midwives*" was heavily critised in the inquiry report which blamed the avoidable deaths on turf wars between doctors and midwives promoting an agenda of a natural birth at all costs.

Mrs Parkinson was given a bonus and promise she would not be investigated. She took early redundancy in return for not being investigated.

A report showed dysfunctional relationships between staff had led to inadequate care and a lack of respect across disciplines particularly between obstetricians and midwives.

Mrs Parkinson provided model ansas at one babies inquest but a later inquiry found her response was " clearly wrong" and led to a distortion of the process. She is now being investigated.

CupofTeaTime Fri 21-Oct-16 12:38:27

As a mother of one son and a daughter on the way both have/will be c-section births. My first c section was nothing short of horrendous, failed epidural leading to feeling everything they were doing, excessive bleeding resulting in drains being inserted into my stomach for two days, being catheterised for two days (due to the drains) incredible after pain, slow to heal scar, removal of staples not to mention the 6-8 week recovery time, not being able to walk very far for months, not being able to drive, ongoing muscle trauma in my stomach etc etc etc, I get really sick of people begging midwives for sections as though they are the easy option. Maybe your Midwife's eyes glazed over because she felt the same? I understand you say your first birth was traumatic but please don't think having an ELCS is an easier option

mouldycheesefan Fri 21-Oct-16 12:42:36

As you say childbirth has risks.
I was in hospital for a month after my c section, had to have further operations and was hooked to a machine for ten days.
I wouldn't see it as an option that would cause you less mental stress.
If I was you I would have an epidural. But not a section.

pastelmacaroons Fri 21-Oct-16 12:48:05


I am so sorry to hear that flowers but you cannot lump emergency sections together and a planned well in advance ELC.

I must have not made myself clear in my post.

I have had my children now - I had a brilliant labour first time - in MW terms and second time round I chose an ELC which was brilliant. It was a calm wonderful healing experience,

My post is about the mentality and training that some mw have and promote. Which in this case has led to deaths. Its worth bearing this in mind.

hopeful31yrs Fri 21-Oct-16 14:30:01

I have to agree with you OP. Women need to be consented and made aware of the issues surrounding vaginal birth also. We fill out a consent form for c section but no one fully discloses the risks of vaginal birth at any point and unless you read the guidance on ELCS then you won't begin to understand the complications that can occur.

Yes vaginal birth is natural but it can be dangerous and certainly when it goes wrong it's more dangerous than a planned and well considered c section. A woman needs to understand the risks but I've come across it many times in both pregnancies.

Ultimately, if a woman has doubts about her ability to give birth naturally it can be difficult to sway her from that viewpoint - regardless of how true or imagined it is. If something doesn't go to plan it just reinforces that issue.

A normal childbirth can be a fantastic thing and is undoubtedly the best option but everyone has to be fully informed of the risks and midwives have to support the woman as the ultimate decision maker. I myself had a 4 HR labour with no pain relief with my DD and am considered to have had normal assisted birth (forceps). Despite relaying the chaos associated with that labour it's always written that I had a normal delivery. It was nothing short of traumatic for myself and my husband who lost it right at the end despite remaining composed to the point of forcing his own fingernails into the palm of his hands to stop himself from having an outburst (he's the most laid back individual ever). I had a good outcome for myself and daughter - but my worry is the uncontrolled nature of the delivery and won't allow that to happen again. I am currently booked for an ELCS for my second but not without careful consideration of all the facts.

And yes, a section planned is entirely different and the risks are different.

Fluffsnuts Fri 21-Oct-16 15:09:44

I totally agree OP. Since my traumatic vaginal birth (which I have written about several times on here) I have since learn't that midwives are encouraged to delay interventions such as epidurals to reduce the post labour recovery time (and free up beds) and reduce costs. All at the expense of womens mental and physical well being.

In my own labor I was very much made to feel that I was being pathetic, that I was scared of the pain, I was doing something wrong. It turned out DS was back to back, face presentation. As a first time mum, my pain and concern was totally dismissed. I ended up with birth trauma due to an extended 2nd stage.

CupofTeaTime Fri 21-Oct-16 15:12:39

Ah well I'm obviously completely wrong that my planned section was absolutely horrendous as according to the people on this thread ELCS seem to be amazing and not traumatic at all. How stupid of me.

lljkk Fri 21-Oct-16 16:00:03

Friend had 3 EmCS which were fine, she felt not least upset about them.

Followed by an ElCS which was extremely (mentally) difficult for her. She dreaded it for months and every little thing that went even slightly wrong during & afterwards, was extra worry.

Not fair to tarnish entire MW profession based on one article about one MW team.

hopeful31yrs Fri 21-Oct-16 17:34:15

I'm not saying that your experience of ELCS wasn't traumatic or an easy option at all. Of course surgery comes with risks and if you're the 1 in 100/1000/10000 that it happens to then it will be a traumatic experience. What I am saying is that clinical risks should be weighed up for the individual woman/family and it should be the woman making that decision in an informed way. What we are talking about is a bias towards medical intervention being deemed as wholly unacceptable but a certain sector of the midwifery profession (not everyone) when it should be the choice of the woman involved and that should be an informed choice.

Ideally it should be addressed prior to labour and a full discussion should take place. I hate to say it but I signed a consent form and I couldn't tell you what was on there in the middle of my "normal" labour. My husband was asked to clarify that I was happy which is when he lost it. In no way that was informed consent.

OhtoblazeswithElvira Fri 21-Oct-16 17:44:51

I agree OP - natural childbirth is promoted pushed by many midwives at all costs. At the cost of the physical and mental wellbeing, and the lives of mothers and babies. Is that what people go into the profession for?

It is sad that people have lost their lives or been left with permanent injuries because of an ideology, when the technology and knowledge to save them were easily available sad.

pastelmacaroons Fri 21-Oct-16 19:01:09

I must apologise on re reading my op I have not made myself clear at all blush I must admit I did not proof it.

I have pretty much missed out a key paragraph - which would be something like - ....

I had my first child and it was a so called text book labour - it really in terms of labour couldnt have gone better and I understand this myself, and I have been told this by a few MW but also HEAD MW at my hospital. HOwever what none of them took into account was my own personal - emotional and mental feelings about the labour - ie I am not just a pair of hips.

I found the experience - painful - to painful to bear again - and I did ask for epidural but was denied one. So for my second I spoke to my community MW who was lovely and she refered me with no issues to a consultant who - without any quibbles or FIGHT, said - she understood from what I had said about my feelings for my first labour - that I should be allowed to choose an ELC should I want one, but talk to HW first.
For instance when I went back to the same hospital where I had my first I burst into tears when I saw the lift where I went up in labour etc.

However my birth was recorded in the STATS that some posters on here cling too - as a great wonderful birth.

anyway - i had my ELC and it was WONDERFUL. I was nervous and I didnt have the speedy recovery that some ladies have - however I much preferred the scar where I could see it - I much preferred being able to use the loo freely without pain and having had a good nights sleep before I felt I was on this planet when my DD was handed to me. ELC is I suppose the ultimate intervention - and so many women are made to feel afraid of intervention - and ultimalty a section but for me it was a wonderful way to give birth.

New news on the scandal today dubed the "morcambe bay scandal - of the muskateer midwives pursuing natural birth at all costs and closing ranks to outside scrutiny.

Its was really this extreme group of MW I wanted to draw attention to and remind anyone who is pregnant or about to get pregnant etc that this is what some - MW feel so please be careful and do your own research.

pastelmacaroons Fri 21-Oct-16 19:05:44

OhtoblazeswithElvira Fri 21-Oct-16 17:44:51

Phew - someone understands me, it was this group of MW I wanted to draw attention too!

It has been mentioned on here before in long discussions about this sort of thing that many women like me had a so called text book labour - but in fact we were left traumatised and yet - no one asked us our feelings or recorded it!

I also know too many women with physically traumatic labours who also never went back to complain as they wanted to forget about it.

bikerlou Fri 21-Oct-16 19:08:51

I'm fed up with the natural birth nazis, I never wanted a natural birth I wanted either a full epidural so I felt nothing or a caesarian under general anesthetic. We're not living in the 1800's surely we can decide what to have without being brainwashed.
I gave birth in the 1980's and had to threaten to sue them to get an epidural, it was extremely stressful and after that the midwives treated me like shit.
If I was giving birth today I would want a painless, organised surgical procedure and why should I be made to feel like a bad person for that. Was I a useless bad person expecting to have a general anaesthetic when I had my appendix out?
I know I can't cope with pain very well so why am I a bad mother for requesting a pain free birth?

atotalshambles Fri 21-Oct-16 19:19:38

My DC2 was found to be breech at a MW appointment, I was quite happy to have a csec after an nightmare 1st birth. The MW got me to have a chat with a senior obstetrician who pointed out all the health risks of a csec and how it would be much better for me to have baby turned. I was completely happy with a cec but felt that I had to listen to the professionals as they had a duty of care to tell me the best option health wise. Had baby turned twice which was definitely no fun. Baby was then induced to stop her turning again.

During the induction I had a brain haemorrhage (unnoticed - thought was bad headache !)but luckily baby turned again in labour and I was offered a csec. Luckily for me doctor thought I should have a CT scan as sudden headache was ununusual. Just as I was about to have csec was offered a chance to have baby turned again. Luckily by that point I had had enough and was happy to go for a csec. Baby was huge with a bigger head than me! I felt a bit deflated after the birth and asked the delivery team if I had made the right decision - only one nurse would look at me and she thought I had. CT scan showed I had had a brain haemorrhage and probably would have died in childbirth.

Herecomethesun121 Fri 21-Oct-16 19:20:37

We experienced the natural birth at all costs attitude. DC1 would not have survived birth had I not had strong instincts and fought really hard to see a doctor. Looking at the notes afterwards the MW had noticed pretty much every sign of distress that u can have: meconium, heartbeat deceleration, stalled labour, malpositioned baby, mother with instinct something is wrong. Yet she refused to transfer us from MLU to hospital. She kept saying let's give it another hour for hours after progress had stopped. Eventually she reluctantly transferred and they put a heartbeat monitor on it became clear that the situation had become very serious for DC1. Had we taken the MWs advice it's very unlikely DC1 would have survived. It's important that MWs recognise that natural childbirth is a great outcome for straightforward births but, when there are obvious risks/dangers, intervention is actually a very positive thing and potentially life saving thing. i was so relieved and pleased to have intervention as it was needed to keep DC1 safe

Herecomethesun121 Fri 21-Oct-16 19:49:42

Also when I talk about 'obvious risks/dangers' I include mental and emotional as well as physical. All are equally important. The goal of childbirth must be a healthy mother and baby (physically, mentally and emotionally). The goal of childbirth should never in any circumstance be to avoid doctors/intervention at all costs. It's really sad that this appears to have been lost on a small group.

pastelmacaroons Fri 21-Oct-16 20:34:00

atotalshambles Fri 21-Oct-16 19:19:38

goodness, I cant imagine how awful that must have been. How are fate lies in a few hurried decisions.

The goal of childbirth should never in any circumstance be to avoid doctors/intervention at all costs. It's really sad that this appears to have been lost on a small group

Of course I totally agree but its not a small group. Its a pervasive and deeply entrenched mind set, and this is why I posted, ONE group of such MW have been discovered in Morcame Bay area - sadly after 11 people - incl women and babies have died.
Many people are oblivious to this mindset and its the bottom line teaching mindset we accept.

This is why I wanted to post on here today because with my first I was clueless to this background culture.

I knew I wanted a second child but also knew I could not risk so called natural Cb again, I had an awful time in a so called great labour - how on earth would I cope if something went wrong? This is also in the context of failing hospital and one that shuts its doors.

It was then I first ever found MN - found these boards and got hand held through to my request for an ELC.
One of the first scandals if you like I ever came across on here was someone - found access to MW forum - and the comments on there.
It opened my eyes and made me realise how naive I had been - I got clued up and read, had my ELC.

ohnonotanother1 Mon 24-Oct-16 18:56:55

I think cupoftea's comment pretty much sums up what the op was trying to say - she had a horrific birth even though it was a "natural" birth and is frustrated that people keep telling her it was the perfect birth. Cupoftea had a cs and had a horrific time and is frustrated that people keep saying cs are easy.

Fwiw i planned a natural, unmedicated birth in a birth centre using hypobirthjng and essential oils etc etc, after my first contraction was begging for an epidural and had an amazing emcs 12 hours later and will be fighting tooth and limb not to have to go through a single part of the birth process naturally this time round. Everything about it - apart from the cs - was vile and horrific.

MollyCule Tue 25-Oct-16 08:35:23

I'm so glad to have found this thread! I also had a traumatic labour a recently (with my first). I was having extremely painful contractions for well over 24 hours before my waters broke and was considered in 'established labour'. Until that point I was offered no pain relief other than paraceramol (might as well have been tic tacs for all the good it did). I also recently had a debrief meeting with the hospital where they apologised for my midwife's attitude (he clearly thought I was being a wimp and not really in that much pain) and for not offering the option of diamorphine.

In the meeting I stressed that I was concernee about this ideology that 'natural' is better and 'interventions are bad'. I felt that the risks of invening were not balanced against the risk of not intervening. By the time I had my baby I hadn't slept for 48 hours and before I finally got the epidural I had been having suicidal thoughts, because it was clear to me that no one was going to help me.

I call it an ideology because I do think it's a belief system, one that I do not share. I don't believe that women need to be in that much pain in the 21st century when there should be so many options at our disposal. I was advised to make my feelings on this very clear to the community midwife if I ever fall pregnant again... big 'if'.

Imavinoops Tue 25-Oct-16 11:55:12

I'm feeling rather lucky with my midwife after reading this. On my booking appointment she asked if I had thought about where I wanted to deliver. I said hospital with a big old epidural (frigging terrified of the pain) and she said that's fine and that it's her job to make sure everything pregnant woman feels comfortable with their birthing options and to support their choices.
I'm 21 weeks and so far haven't felt pressured at all to birth out of a hospital.
Of course this could all change the closer I get to "the big day" and certainly could change when I get to the hospital and have the hospital midwives.
I'm a pretty miserable old cow though so I doubt they can ignore me whinging at them for too long 😂

minifingerz Tue 25-Oct-16 17:11:39

You should all find it incredibly reassuring then that more births than ever now involve intervention - induction, emergency c/s, forceps, ventouse, also epidural use has never been higher, regardless of the fact that most women in the U.K. are managed by midwives. In fact there are some hospitals in the U.K. where nearly 70% of first time births will involve on or more of the following: induction, emergency caesarean or instruments.

The RCOG did an audit of interventions in births earlier this year. You can have a look at the results here: RCOG

They adjusted the results to take into account the characteristics of the hospital (big teaching hospitals have a higher caseload of complex cases) and demographic (higher rates of intervention in hospitals serving ethnically diverse and poor communities) so that service users could make meaningful comparisons between hospitals.

This should help women in choosing where they have their babies.

So for example, if you live in London and want to go to a hospital where you have a very high likelihood of having a birth involving a c- section you could go to C&W (26.9% of first time mums there have a C&S) or if you want to avoid a c-section you could go four miles down the road to St George's where the c-section rate for first time mums is 16.9%.

You want to have a high likelihood of an induction? St Thomas's induce 32% of first time mums . Don't want to be induced? Lewisham (5 miles away) only induce 16% of first time mums.

It would be good if women were encouraged to access this information early on in their pregnancy and encouraged to think about what their priorities are (other than a well baby at the end of it, which is everyone's priority). There are some women (myself included here) who'd go a long way as far as pain is concerned in order to avoid needing lots of medical intervention. Those women need to be in birth centres if possible with a midwife who will do all she can to support her to have a normal physiological birth. Other women prioritise good pain relief over a straightforward birth and those women should be steered towards large obstetric units where there is a high likelihood of being able to get an epidural ASAP.

Horses for courses. But women need to know what their priorities are and to feel empowered to assert their needs in labour. And midwives should listen to them. There is no justification in failing to listen to a mother.

minifingerz Tue 25-Oct-16 17:22:55

"I don't believe that women need to be in that much pain in the 21st century when there should be so many options at our disposal."

Most women have access to epidurals in the UK if they want one, but there is an issue of capacity - because so many women are having c/s and assisted deliveries now and hospitals are so busy women who want one for analgesia often have to wait, and this is unacceptable.

It's also the case that hospitals don't have the staffing or facilities to accommodate and care for large numbers of women in early labour. Their priority is safety, which means focusing on women in active labour and women whose labours need medical intervention. They are currently operating very close to the wire. There is no spare capacity at all in most maternity units. That's hard on women and it's not fair, but it won't change without a massive injection of cash into maternity services, and nobody can see that happening in a hurry.

Flanderspigeonmurderer Tue 25-Oct-16 17:39:23

It's sad that your access to pain relief may rely on your midwife's attitude towards it. They shouldn't be pushing their own agenda.
The first time I saw a midwife in my second pregnancy she mentioned me doing it without an epidural. She didn't even ask what my feelings were towards pain relief. It doesn't leave me with much hope that I might be listened to during my labour.

Jinglebellsandv0dka Tue 25-Oct-16 17:56:46

I agree op I had a semi emergency section last Tuesday night after going in to labour early, was actually supposed to be having a planned one tomorow. My waters broke and I started having contractions. I was asked three times on seperate occations if I would consider an 'natural' birth as I was already in labour. Dh was getting really pissed off and was adamant they were making us wait to see if I'd birth will waiting. We got to the hospital at 9am and I didn't get in to theatre till 9 pm.

My consultant advised a c-section even after I played with the thought of a natural birth. I knew she was right and agreed with her. I have a tilted womb, I have big babies 9lb + , history of failure to progress and fetal distress. Even after me explaining this and it was in my bloody notes the MW still kept asking angry

I have been very fortunate with MW regarding pain relief (after the anaesthetist came and seen me and told her to get the G&A while I waited for epidural on this baby)

The lady in the bed at the side of me was in a lot of pain after a vaginal delivery and they really made her beg for pain relief, stating that if she needed stronger stuff than ibruphen and paracetamol she might not be able to go home later that day - it was 6:30 am hmm angry

I honestly feel it was a man with a broken leg or for instance my friend who had his appendix taken out - they would be falling over them selves offering real pain relief.

It infuriates me

MollyCule Tue 25-Oct-16 18:06:34

Minifingerz, I agree and certainly in my case capacity was definitely a factor as the delivery suite was very busy.

Having said that, I wasn't necessarily looking for an epidural immediately, just any pain relief. When my waters broke and they finally allowed me to have something, the anaesthetist was very busy and I had to wait a couple of hours for the epidural. But in the intervening time I was able to have gas and air which actually really helped. If I hadn't been so tired I might have been able to manage with just the gas and air but by that point I really needed a rest.

I accept that there were other patients that would have been higher priority than me. However, there were things they could have done for me, e.g. give me the option of diamorphine so I could have a bit of relief.

Another poster mentioned about psychological support from the midwife. That would have been welcomed as well... after I'd been contracting for about 24 hours my midwife told me that it could have been another 1-2 days before I went into 'established labour'. He said he told me this to help me to cope... it did the opposite, it left me panicking about how I would get through another (potential) two days of the pain.

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