Advanced search

Got questions about giving birth? Know what to expect and when to expect it, with the Mumsnet Pregnancy Calendar.

Language in pregnancy and birth - poster

(48 Posts)
organiccarrotcake Mon 02-Oct-17 20:58:18

I thought this poster might be useful to give to your midwife, and to also remind all of us that we have rights to our own body during pregnancy and birth!

shivermytimbers Mon 02-Oct-17 21:03:09

I like it Cake!

indigo13 Wed 04-Oct-17 07:55:45

I like it too. I'm 42+1 today and have heard just about all of the ones on the 'stop saying' list and none of the others. If only

sthitch Wed 04-Oct-17 13:16:10

What's wrong with 'delayed cord clamping' 'push' and 'I'll give you an injection to stop the bleeding' it's all a bit precious isn't it.envy

KarateKitten Wed 04-Oct-17 13:28:26

Hand it to your midwife and I'm sure you'll insult and offend her. I agree that it's all a bit precious. Though words are important I understand. So maybe this is a chart for midwife and HCP training locations.

None of the words in the negative column have any negative affect on me but I accept that they do on some women.

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Wed 04-Oct-17 19:02:38

OP, can I just ask what it is exactly about the language in the "don't say" column that you don't like? I'm not trying to be goady, I'm genuinely interested.

CherriesInTheSnow Wed 04-Oct-17 19:23:01

I think this would be great if it were provided to HCP's in training or in their clinical settings; I wouldn't personally like to hand it over to a midwife, especially in a hospital birth setting where I was pretty much guaranteed to have never met her before!

However, I understand that while the post seems "precious", it sets a good message. it seems frivolous because this language has been used for so long, but the positive language is less about semantics of words to me, and more about attitude toward the labouring lady. For example, it is far too common for HCP's in this country to do things in labour without either explaining why they think it would be helpful, or sometimes even doing things without any prior warning. Also agree with the language directed at trusting the mum a bit more, I think this happens a lot and certainly to me; MW assumed I couldn't possibly know what I was talking about when I was grunting with the effort of pushing DD out right then and there and insisted she would come and check on me in "about four hours to see if I was ready to push" confused

When you are in pain and out of your depth really many of the the last things you need are unfortunately pretty common practice in hospital births. So while I agree giving a poster of "acceptable phrases" to someone I had just met seems overstepping the line, it's useful for women to see posters like this, that portray a more positive birth experience, that they can use to for example build a birth plan and lay down their preferences at the start of labour.

I had no idea I could request or question anything the midwife suggested and I had a really bad time solely because of my perceived treatment by her, and this time I plan to go in being clear of m own preferences and limits; in practice though this is hard, especially the first time round, and it would be nice if it didn't feel like such a hard learned lesson.

I, like most women I'm sure, just want to be treated with respect and compassion in what is a fucking difficult, painful, undignified time for many.

EddChinasVagina Wed 04-Oct-17 19:25:32

Literally did not give a shit about what the midwives said, I’ll be damned if I can remember any specific words now since I was trying to push 2 humans out of my vagina and it was only 7 weeks ago. I don’t understand the preciousness of this - what do you do in social situations where you’ve no idea what words might come out of people’s mouths?

CherriesInTheSnow Wed 04-Oct-17 19:29:00

It's good that it didn't affect you Edd; I have vivid flash backs 2 years on to the midwife yelling at me that I needed to put my baby first, while she made me lie flat on the back and I was screaming in pain sad It has always stayed with me that she was belittling the horrific pain I was in and making me feel guilty.

Batteriesallgone Wed 04-Oct-17 19:31:40

Love this poster!

It's really important that midwives seek consent before carrying out medical procedures like examinations and injections. It is not ok that women are expected to just have things done to them with the only warning being 'I will just do....x'.

The fact that other women don't see the problem with consent being seen as an optional thing only highlights how important it is that midwives get this right. We are conditioned to view women's bodies as objects. It's not ok for midwives to carry this cultural conditioning into the delivery room.

Batteriesallgone Wed 04-Oct-17 19:37:18

Oh and yes I have experience of a midwife sticking her fingers up my vagina without warning (I was on all fours, didn't see it coming). THERE WAS NO CLINICAL URGENCY she just 'forgot' to tell me she was about to examine me. When I screamed she told me she had warned me. Thankfully I had a doula in the room who could without emotion say 'no you didn't say anything in advance, please seek consent before examining her'. This kind of blasé approach to consent and bodily autonomy by medical staff has to stop.

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Thu 05-Oct-17 21:41:46

God, I don't even know where to start.

The fact that people think it is being precious for a woman to expect not to be told - told not asked - when someone is about to put their fingers in her vagina or inject her with a drug..

I mean Jesus. Precious. Fuck me.

sthitch Fri 06-Oct-17 09:36:21

What is precious is that people don't want the midwives to say the word push - I mean for Christ sake, that is exactly what you need to do to give birth! Nearly all the things on the negative side I find perfectly acceptable.

Also - I think it's very rare for a midwife to not ask for permission, that's why the poster is just not required! I was examined countless times when I gave birth three weeks ago, I also had something put in my drip to stop the bleeding/injections for various things, they asked for permission every time. I wouldn't have dreamt of giving them that poster- just like in any job there are a few bad eggs that could do with further training or simply sacking but trying to say all midwives need to be given that poster is just ridiculous.

Kentnurse2015 Fri 06-Oct-17 09:40:09

As a Heath professional (not a midwife though) I find it a bit offensive. I have had 2 children so have been through childbirth. You get better and worse people in all professions. The ones that are less than brilliant wouldn't take much notice of it anyway. It just goes out to offend the ones that are really trying their best

Sandsnake Fri 06-Oct-17 10:04:41

I wouldn't hand this to my midwife. As Kentnurse said - I don't think that it would do anything in changing the attitudes of the not so good midwifes so don't think it would have a positive effect. That said, I agree that there needs to be a huge change in culture in some (not all!) midwifery settings about consent and not belittling women's pain. I watched a repeat of OBEM a month or so again where an experienced midwife was laughing on camera about a woman being in screaming agony. Somehow this was OK and I thought it was a disgraceful attitude, which remains all too prevalent.

I'm also not convinced about the organisations that produce these sort of posters. There is a definite assumption at play that all women want the same sort of birth, which is even more evident if you look at their website. Although they say they're advocates for choice / rights during birth (a very important thing) it seems that this only really applies when the woman's choice is for as natural birth as possible. What about women who don't want delayed cord clamping or a physiological third stage? Why is there nothing about access to pain relief on their poster? Why is there such a focus on a woman's right to a home birth than, say, her right to an ELCS or early epidural?

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 06-Oct-17 10:10:03

My midwives were absolutely bloody incredible, supportive warm and lovely people. I have very little idea what they said specifically but they worked hard to get my baby safely into the world while supporting me through it with such grace (while catching my Poo in a net - how they did it I don’t know!)

Lists like this generalise and vilify a brilliant profession. I would hate for them to have been made to feel awkward and scared to say a word in case it was offensive. If you’ve had a bad experience with a bad midwife then complain.

I really feel like this is so overly precious.

Threenme Fri 06-Oct-17 11:23:34

04/10/2017 19:29 CherriesInTheSnow

It's good that it didn't affect you Edd; I have vivid flash backs 2 years on to the midwife yelling at me that I needed to put my baby first, while she made me lie flat on the back and I was screaming in pain sad It has always stayed with me that she was belittling the horrific pain I was in and making me feel guilty.

But in fairness I think,though, you wouldn't wish a bad labour on anyone and she shouldn't scream at you, you do have to put your baby first. In labour I think you're sometimes a bit delirious and need mw to be firm. I expect sometimes there's no option. I think ppl would be a lot more upset if they didn't get the job done and something happened to the baby! I gave birth 4 days ago, my mw didn't particularly care about my discomfort (agony) she was nice but her priority was getting the baby out safely. I'm glad!
I don't get what's wrong with the words in the don't say poster personally.

Threenme Fri 06-Oct-17 11:24:35

Also everything mykingdom said!

Batteriesallgone Fri 06-Oct-17 11:37:43

It's pretty much impossible to get the baby out in the best way if you are being harsh or dismissive to the mother.

The mother's comfort, positioning, emotional state all directly impacts the birth and the baby. Midwives - and women generally tbh - shouldn't be ignorant of that. We aren't secondary 'vessels'. The birthing woman is the most important person in the process because the healthier and happier she is, the better the chances for the baby.

existentialmoment Fri 06-Oct-17 11:41:05

Some of those are really stupid. "if a woman says she is in labour, she is in labour".

Er no. It's objectively definable and your opinion on it is irrelevant.

sparechange Fri 06-Oct-17 11:42:26

"stop saying 'due date'" confused

Agree that most of it is very precious and OTT

Threenme Fri 06-Oct-17 11:58:56

I very largely agree batteries but I also think some women must be a nightmare! It might not always be possible to treat them with kid gloves if they aren't listening to the thing that will get the baby out safely!

CherriesInTheSnow Fri 06-Oct-17 13:12:47

Threenme there are ways to be firm, assertive, explain clearly what is happening and why without causing a woman emotional turmoil - my midwife was horrible, she was not warm and caring and attentive like the previous midwife has been, at all. As equally as we have to acknowledge a birthing woman is not the pinnacle of knowledge even on her own situation, we have to stop pretending that every midwife at every birth is completely fantastic and can do no wrong.

My baby was apparently getting in distress (I say apparently because she actually was not in distress, a clip had fallen off her head so her hear rate monitor was giving inaccurate readings) and so a doctor came in to help deliver her. His loud clear voice telling me what to do amid all the chaos and my own tiredness was, you're right, exactly what I needed in that situation when I thought it was all going wrong and I just couldn't cope any more.

There is a complete difference to that and making someone feel uncomfortable and belittling me when I was already very distressed. She could have even said the exact same words in a different tone and it wouldn't have the profound effect on me that it did, and still does. The assumption that I was not trying my absolute best to labour and that I was not already putting my baby fucking first made me so so angry and still does - it's really not an emotion that is conducive to an effective labour"

She also rolled her eyes at me when I said I was pushing (she thought I wouldn't be ready for hours) and rolled her eyes at me when I said I was delivering the placenta because she didn't think i could have done it so quickly. Why should I be made to feel like that?

Threenme Fri 06-Oct-17 13:21:09

You shouldn't cherries. I had a midwife with dd that wouldn't let me push. Only chance and very lucky intervention of a doctor stopped me getting an epidural I didn't need to stop me pushing. I dread to think what could have happened. When I said some women are nightmares it was intended to be aimed at you so I apologise if it came across that way. I know mw aren't perfect some people are better than others in ever job.
My point I suppose is that I stand by the fact some women will be a nightmares, but equally some mw are. I think some mw should be recieving training on how to talk to people like yours seemingly. I still think the poster is ridiculous.

KalaLaka Fri 06-Oct-17 13:37:59

For those who think it's 'precious,' it's not just the words. They represent a culture of not listening to women, not asking: telling, and lacking basic empathy for a person in pain and in a difficult situation.

One mw told me I was 'starving my babies' by insisting on breastfeeding my twins (almost constantly) and that it was really hard for them all to stand by and watch. She backtracked a couple of days later and said how well she thought I was doing, but I could ease off on the pumping. I couldn't win with that one. She wasn't the only mw or nurse to be so insensitive or mean. I got eye rolls when I asked for the pad to be changed post c-section, and they looked at the sheets and sighed that they'd have to change them... I couldn't move to do anything!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: