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don't want a hospital birth :(

(29 Posts)
VirtualFairy Wed 12-Jan-05 13:00:09

I was told today by my doctor that i had to have my baby at st mary's hospital in london or in chelsea and westminster hospital if they could fit me in (which is apparently doubtful). i don't want a hospital birth - i hate hospitals but she seemed to imply i didn't have a choice. i would like to go to a birthing centre but have been told that my doctor does not refer to the birthing centre i had in mind even though it is closer to my home than the hospital is. Do i have any choice, can i refer myself to a birthing centre? what rights do i have to choose my own care- i am nhs patient not private
thanks for any replies

Caligula Wed 12-Jan-05 13:03:14

You certainly don't have to have a hospital birth if you don't want it - you can have a home birth. Have you seen a midwife yet? Why don't you phone the birthing centre directly and ask them what the rules are?

weightwatchingwaterwitch Wed 12-Jan-05 13:04:43

It is your right to have a home birth or to go to a birthing centre. You do have a choice, sorry your gp has been so unhelpful. Will post some home birth links if I get time in a minute, sorry, gotta go, babe crying!

morningpaper Wed 12-Jan-05 13:04:54

I've no idea about the birthing centre - that's a good question. Why not ring them and find out? I assume that it is private only which is why you can't be referred.

You have a right to a home birth even if the NHS doesn't like it because it's expensive.

I would also recommend that you visit these hospitals - I hate hospitals too but the maternity ward at my local was GREAT and all the nurses and midwives were lovely and it really reassured me.

mears Wed 12-Jan-05 13:05:53

Contact the birthing centre. You do not actually have to see a doctor in pregnancy unless you have problems in pregnancy. Contact the midwives at the centre.

Caligula Wed 12-Jan-05 13:08:50

Mears IN THEORY you don't have to see a GP during pregnancy, but when I moved house I was pregnant, and I could not get to see a midwife without signing up for a GP first. I phoned everyone in the Health Authority, but hit a brick wall. Everyone simply said get a GP first, we're not talking to you until you do.

As I was 36 weeks pregnant by then, I just had to get the first GP who had a place. No choice about it at all.

mears Wed 12-Jan-05 13:12:31

Things are moving on though. Only in the last year have we done direct booking so it is worth trying. Birthing Centre can advise regarding referral pathway.

franch Wed 12-Jan-05 13:46:24

My GP implied the same thing when I had DD. It's not true. You can choose whatever hosp you like, or a home birth. This is LAW.

If you have any problems or need advice, contact AIMS - helpline 0870 765 1433

weightwatchingwaterwitch Wed 12-Jan-05 13:51:10

Some homebirth threads here and here and here .

beansprout Wed 12-Jan-05 13:52:15

Whereabouts are you? I contacted Edgware Birth Centre directly and self referred there. There is also a Birth Centre attached to the Royal Free hospital. It is completely up to you where you give birth. I really, really didn't want a hospital birth, but ended up at St Mary's, and I have to say, all the midwives were lovely.

Good luck though - remember it your decision and the basis of that is not their convenience, no matter how much they think otherwise!

weightwatchingwaterwitch Wed 12-Jan-05 13:54:25

Another thread here . There are some good links in this one I think.

franch Wed 12-Jan-05 13:54:29

Can I just say, I chose the lovely Royal Free birth centre but all didn't go to plan and I ended up in the labour ward there. A fate to be avoided at all costs.

beansprout Wed 12-Jan-05 13:56:10

Oh no Franch, sorry to hear that. I had heard good things about the RF.

franch Wed 12-Jan-05 14:06:10

The birth centre team is wonderful at the RF. If you can guarantee you'll have no contact with the 'medical' side you'll be fine. (I had a 100% healthy pregnancy so thought I was safe!) The 2 sides are very much in opposition. I was bullied from start to finish in the labour ward and there were some disastrous errors. Ended up with lasting trauma. Two GPs at my local practice have since strongly agreed with my decision to avoid it this time round - they didn't want to say too much but have obviously come across many similar cases.

franch Wed 12-Jan-05 14:07:03

PS I'm going for a home birth this time, with antenatal care at UCH - my choice

gish Wed 12-Jan-05 21:16:21

Hello. What a shame you bhave met with this reaction from your GP. You can totally bypass your GP (actually I would recommend it!) and go straight to your local community midwives, who will hopefully be more heplful.

You can also have a look at the AIMS website or ring their helpline for advice. here

Also, I pasted this from their website:

Having trouble getting a Home Birth or Water Birth?

AIMS is compiling a log of cases where women have not been supported in their plans to give birth at home, or to use water for labour and/or birth. This log will be presented to the Department of Health.

To make sure that your experience does not go unrecorded, and for more advice on obtaining the maternity care you need, telephone the AIMS helpline on 0870 765 1433 or email

The web article Home Birth which gives information on booking a home birth, and dealing with problems getting one.


gish xx

alwayssaythanku Tue 18-Jan-05 00:24:15

I would say 60%-85% of british GPs will tell you what your doctor told you. Its a scare tactic. Visit AIMS as per the previous post or visit the Radical Midwives page which is very good. When I told my doctor i wanted a home birth, he said "i have attended home births where there is blood up to the ceiling...this isnt the 1500's anymore. Why would you want a home birth. That is the average attitude of GP's They are trained for medical problems and cant get it through their heads that birth is NOT a problem. If you encounter problems with midwives as well, (which I doubt) in obtaining your homebirth, you can speak directly to people at AIMS or contact your local Maternity hospital and ask to speak to the Head of Midwifery. IN my case they were only too happy to oblige me. Finally, write yourself a good birth plan. Write everything you want/dont want. Make sure your midwives each have a copy and one is put on your file.
Very best of luck.

rosiewitch Tue 18-Jan-05 22:33:03

I am seriously considering a home birth, particularly since my GP failed to write to my chosen hospital for 2 weeks and as a result I was refused, due to hospital being fully booked. (Also, my mum had a home birth years ago with my youngest brother and she said it was the best thing she ever did).

I stated quite clearly to the surgery receptionists that i wanted a home birth, only to be shouted at down the 'phone by all three that i needed to be booked into the hospital that i didn't want. I specifically said that i will contact the surgery with my decisions. a couple of days later, I got a letter from the hospital i didn't want, welcoming me to the maternity wing and to attend a scan - yes, my GP had referred me without my consent.

I am now being 'stalked' by 'phone if you like, by my GP surgery, insisting that i come in at a drop of a hat to discuss with the GP my 'options'. I don't want to discuss my pregnancy with my GP after all this mess and will be talking directly about the home birth with the maternity unit directly.

alwayssaythanku Wed 19-Jan-05 19:41:43

ARRRRGHHH, i can feel your pain dear. Its all coming back to me. The first thing you have to do is remember you are ENTITLED to a home birth if you want one. Furthermore, you are ENTITLED to midwives attending your homebirth. Many excuses may be made why they cant attend, but at the end of the day, it is your right to have a midwife attend and it is your right, even NOT to have a midwife attend if you so wish. Regarding your doctor, just leave him out of it, as you are already intending to do. I suggest you write a polite but firm letter to the head of midwifery in your area (see the AIMS website - Association for the Improvement of Midwifery services, they are great

Here is an example of what they say in their special homebirth bullying section:-
Home birth midwives used to be employed by the local authority, which is under democratic control. We vote for local councillors, unlike members of health service Trusts, who are appointed. Under the NHS Acts of 1946 and 1949 there was a legal duty to provide a home birth service. When the health service was reorganized under the 1968 Act, the legal obligations were not clearly stated, and, as a result, NHS Trusts now only have a legal duty to provide a 'maternity service'.

Around 1995 the Trusts realised that they had no clear legal obligation to provide midwives when called by a woman in labour. The midwives' registration body, the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (now called the Nursing and Midwifery Council), despite considerable lobbying by AIMS and other concerned childbirth groups, gave contradictory advice on the subject. On the one hand it stated:

'While the employed midwife has a contractual duty to her employer, she also has a professional duty to provide midwifery care for women and would not wish to leave a woman in labour at home unattended, thus placing her at risk at a time when competent midwifery care is essential'.'

Also, dont be intimidated into having scans if you dont want them. We DONT need them. If you are healthy and there is no sound reason to have a scan, then dont have one. They scan feotuses as a matter of course but they do not know the implications of scans. There is recent research alleging that the more scans you have the more the baby is subjected to deep tissue "warming". This could be very detrimental to female feotuses as their own eggs get "heated" up.

Having gone through hell to get a home birth in my own area and having been made to jump through a whole cascade of hoops I feel quite confident in what I am saying to you. There appears to be an institutional negativity towards h ome birth by the medical profession. Why? In my opinion Home birth is a threat to "them". When you birth your baby with no medical "help" you feel so powerful. You feel like you could do anything. As compared to birthing your baby under constant supervision, drugged and in a prone position with no input at all, which is the better option???

the very best of luck to you. Also, see the Radical Midwives web site, they are very good and you can contact them via email or by phone for further help and assistance.

alwayssaythanku Wed 19-Jan-05 19:44:11

Just one more thing. You have a mouth, USE IT. I complained like hell, and in the end I got the very best of care because I think they were scared I would complain even louder. they knew what they were doing in my case, was out of order and they dont like obstruction or embarrassment. If you show them you wont take it lying down, they will accommodate you in ways you never thought possible. They may not like you, but they will be on pins and needles to make you happy. Its a terrible way to have to have a baby, but the system sometimes works this way, especially for those of us who opt out of the system and home birth.

Frizbe Wed 19-Jan-05 19:45:33

Ah ladies I'd love a homebirth for my next baby, but we have to go hospital, as last dd had dodgy hips, so they need to assess any subsequent babes straight away.....good luck with your births!

alwayssaythanku Wed 19-Jan-05 19:55:54

Just remember that many independent midwives throughout the world have been prosecuted and imprisoned for attending home births. I know one in particular with 25 years experience, i think she lives in Canada who was prosecuted jailed, and then harassed by the medical establishment without mercy. She still practices but only attends women who know her history. She didnt do anything wrong, she just would not work within the hospital system. So it begs the question, why are midwives who attend home births being prosecuted and why arent there any independent midwives in every area. Because they know they cant get insured and they know the hospital wont help them. The whole system is set up to scare women into hospital. When you are pregnant, you are so vulnerable to what the "experts" say. Your hormones are up the left and you just dont know what is right anymore. If you truly want a home birth and if you are being bullied, the best thing you can do is stick to your guns. The medical establishment knows it has a good track record of scaring women into submission and it usually works. In my own case, I was told there hadnt been a home birth in my area for over 12 years. My response to that was, well its about time we had one then!! None of my midwives had worked a home birth and they were terrified cause they only know how to operate in a hospital setting. They are also terrified of being sued. You have to be strong if you want a home birth, unless you are very lucky and you have a supportive medical team.

Amanda3266 Wed 19-Jan-05 19:58:24

Hi VF,

Check out Angela Horn's homebirth site.
Also - if you have any further problems booking your homebirth contact AIMS (Association for Improvement in Maternity Services). They will definitely help.

You've probably been told all this already though - will read the rest of the replies now.


PrettyCandles Wed 19-Jan-05 20:01:39

Not exactly on subject, though maybe relevant to some posters, but I seem to recall reading that no hospital with a labour ward is allowed to refuse to look after a woman who turns up in active labour. So if you want to give birth in a particular hospital and your GP is being uncooperative, just ignore him and arrive at that hospital as late as you can manage in labour. Though of course you wouldn't get your a-n care at that hospital.

I really feel for you - it's so unfair! My gps refered me to the hospital of my choice without much fuss at all each time, and the hospital was right outside our borough/trust.

alwayssaythanku Wed 19-Jan-05 20:02:45

Angela is great, i forgot to mention her. Glad you did. I have spoken to her many times and she is a lot of help and support. Here is her email address:

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