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Right to home birth

(100 Posts)
fooolofbeans Tue 11-Apr-17 04:48:47

I don't want to drip feed but likewise don't want to write an essay.
Is my understanding the European Human Rights Law allows a woman to choose where and how to give birth.
I know there was a recent trial where the midwifery team were within their rights to refuse a home delivery.
However I'm low risk and have no contraindications to a home birth. At my most recent antenatal appointment my midwife suggested they may withdraw my option of a home birth as I have cancelled two OGTTs due to work commitments. I have since had the test and all was fine. But surely all tests/interventions are my prerogative to refuse and the suggestion of withdrawal of a home birthing option seemed like a veiled threat to make me comply. I will say however if there are any issues that may contraindicate home birth I will comply with full investigations.
Any thoughts on this? Are they within their rights to refuse a home birth based on no evidence of risk but simply missed appointments which were cancelled and I have now attended?

DoubleCarrick Tue 11-Apr-17 05:23:53

If you refuse to go to hospital they will find someone to attend.

I had a home birth which I was told I was lucky to get as it had been so busy that night. I think I would have just stayed at home regardless.

Good luck, enjoy your home birth flowers

Bue Tue 11-Apr-17 05:44:07

Your midwife is talking bollocks. Absolutely no idea why she has said this.

NameChange30 Tue 11-Apr-17 05:48:11

You should find this useful, OP:
I suggest you print it and take it to your next midwife appointment!

fooolofbeans Tue 11-Apr-17 11:21:09

Thanks all! Namechange that is perfect I will indeed print it and take it along to my next appointment. It's my body and I'll be damned if they override my right to decide my birth plan. Thanks again. This advice is invaluable smile

sycamore54321 Tue 11-Apr-17 12:27:24

In terms of rights, strictly speaking, yes you do have a right to choose where to give birth. Nobody can compel you to go anywhere or do anything. However you do not have any right to compel any medical professional to attend you if they feel it is unsafe.

The NHS has developed what is frankly a dangerous policy of midwives attending all out of hospital births. This is not a "right" but under current state of NHS policy it is the case that they are obliged to send midwives to you.

How on earth do you know you are low risk if you haven't undertaken tests like GTT which can determine risks? Your body, your choice entirely. I desperately hope you won't regret it. Did you become pregnant in order to exercise rights or in order to have a healthy baby? These are not always the same thing.

fooolofbeans Tue 11-Apr-17 13:13:28

Read my OP sycamore. I've had the OGTT. It's a 3hr appointment and I have a clinical caseload that I couldn't cancel. So postponed my test. I'm designated low risk by my midwife team and have attended all appointments but took umbridge at the threat to withdraw my choice of home birth due to cancelled appointments due to work commitments. Oh and yes I got pregnant to exercise my rights, the health of my baby isn't in the least bit important to me hmm I have a right to give informed consent to all interventions and hope to keep my adrenaline low to allow oxytocin to work it's magic. Yeah but you know if the baby gets stuck and I decide to stay at home and refuse intervention it'll be a shame but I'll have exercised my rights hmm
FFS sycamore you clearly have a low opinion of people and zero tact.
I'm not entering into an argument as I can't be arsed, she will be a much loved and long awaited baby and you're comments are really fucking insensitive

sonlypuppyfat Tue 11-Apr-17 13:22:27

I had no risks in my pregnancy, but I chose the hospital. I'm so glad after my babies heart kept stopping when I had a contraction I needed an emergency c section. And while I was there a woman was rushed in from a home birth with a retained placenta. It's just not worth it being home. But I hope what ever you decide to do it all goes well

NameChange30 Tue 11-Apr-17 13:34:38

I know it's difficult but try to ignore the negative comments OP.


fooolofbeans Tue 11-Apr-17 13:47:37

Thanks namechange your kind words mean a lot halo

Mummyme87 Tue 11-Apr-17 14:36:47

As a midwife I find what your midwife has said very odd. Some midwives aren't keen on home births and will try and persuade you otherwise. If everything continues to be normal there will be no reason you can't have a home birth. Go for it and good luck!!

Mummyme87 Tue 11-Apr-17 14:37:13

Well not good luck, you don't need luck.. but you know what I mean 😂

Semaphorically Tue 11-Apr-17 14:54:55

I think I understand where your midwife was coming from, although she may have expressed it badly.

I was told when I was pregnant that if I arrived at hospital in labour but without my maternity notes they would have to treat me as high risk since they would have no proof that I was low risk and their policy is to err on the side of caution.

I imagine it would be similar rationale in your case - if you hadn't had the OGTT they would have no evidence that you don't have gestational diabetes. And the NHS can refuse to offer you support for a home birth if they have a medically valid reason to do so. I assume they had a reason to do an OGTT? I didn't have one in either of my pregnancies.

I completely agree with you about the tone and approach being off though. Too many HCPs adopt a position that pregnant women must do as they are told. I had some very unpleasant experiences in both pregnancies including blatant shroud waving when I questioned whether the policy was valid in my specific case.

Strong-arming and threatening a pregnant woman who is by definition vulnerable is a really awful thing to do but sadly it goes on all the time in our health system.

fooolofbeans Tue 11-Apr-17 15:03:05

Thanks all. I've been repeatedly given inaccurate and out of date advice and have consequently lost faith in my antenatal care team. I've made copious notes and will contact PALS. I'very now arranged for an independent midwife after a disastrous appointment this morning where I had to spell out various guidelines and recommendations.

altkat Tue 11-Apr-17 15:09:10

Good lord, my midwives were over the moon at my choosing a home birth. If you've been repeatedly given inaccurate information and out of date advice I don't blame you for losing faith. For heaven's sake, you need absolute faith in your antenatal team otherwise how could you trust them to know what to do if something did go wrong?

NameChange30 Tue 11-Apr-17 15:14:13

Sorry you had a bad experience today. Good idea to contact PALS. You could also ask to speak to the Supervisor of Midwives. Best of luck.

StrawberryJelly00 Tue 11-Apr-17 15:20:15

Sycamore what an odd comment.

I made a choice to not have the GTT tests and I am having a home birth - my body, my baby, my choice

Mummyme87 Tue 11-Apr-17 15:21:15

namechange supervisor of midwives no longer exist unfortunately

robinia Tue 11-Apr-17 15:21:24

I think you've done the right thing going with an independent midwife. I wish I'd done the same.
Like you, I had a load of midwives telling me things weren't possible, only to finally get to the consultant who said yes it was possible and 'signed off' my homebirth.
Ffwd to d-day, 1 day pre-term (ie 36+6wks), got told I couldn't have the homebirth. Ended up with the most highly medicalised hospital birth I had been desperate to avoid.
Was later told by the midwife who should have been homebirthing me that she would have come out for my homebirth if she had been called.

NameChange30 Tue 11-Apr-17 15:33:55

"supervisor of midwives no longer exist unfortunately"
Sorry didn't realise that!

fooolofbeans Tue 11-Apr-17 15:37:23

Thanks all. It's such high a strange time being a pregnant patient. It feels at times like my wishes and wellbeing don't count and its only the health of the baby that matters. However mother and baby's health are inextricably linked. PALS were great, I've itemised all the issues with references to relevant upto date guidelines and have told me ill receive a written response in approximately 4 weeks. Thanks again for all of your support flowers

pinguina16 Tue 11-Apr-17 22:09:39

Hi OP, I recommend you read Why human rights in childbirth matter by Rebecca Schiller.
My understanding is that midwives have a duty to provide antenatal care but you have the right to forgo it (tests, scans etc). You also have a right to free birth (and give birth in your back garden or in a field for example). However in that situation, your birth partner cannot take on the role of a midwife (unless there's an emergency). Free birthing or declining antenatal care also tend to raise concerns for social services. It shouldn't be the case because you're not doing anything illegal but in practice, having to fend off the authorities seems common place.
Good luck smile

fooolofbeans Tue 11-Apr-17 22:33:27

pinguina the social services involvement infuriates me. Until the baby is born, a woman's body is hers to make decisions as she sees fit. SS involvements feels another stick to threaten pregnant women to comply with the status quo. If there are concerns with baby's welfare post birth then input is understandable but pre birth it seems in contravention to women's human rights angry

NameChange30 Wed 12-Apr-17 04:05:04

To be fair there is a difference between wanting a home birth with midwives there and wanting no medical involvement whatsoever. I think the former is totally reasonable but the latter is a bit crazy.

pinguina16 Wed 12-Apr-17 07:13:40

I brought in free birthing simply to support the fact that women can most definitely have a home birth whether they followed their antenatal care or not (which was the original question).
Like with epidurals the only restriction is a practical one: can midwives get to you on time? (with epidurals: is an anaesthetist available when you need them?). You just need to be ready to deliver before help arrives. A home birth wouldn't be for me but I 100% support the availability of the choice. Same for free birthing. smile

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