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So sick of patronising and dismissive midwives

(50 Posts)
Bee513 Thu 09-Jun-16 13:32:10

Just have to get this off my (ever expanding) chest.
Why are midwives consistently known for not listening, taking women seriously and just not being interested? There is something seriously wrong with their training and management, because I've experienced a total of two midwives in two whole pregnancies that buck this trend.
Any tips on how to constructively see this change? Or are your experiences totally different? I have never been so talked down to in my life before by the medical profession.
(Feel a bit better now wink)
Any organisations I could contact to see this change?

Highlove Thu 09-Jun-16 13:45:04

Sorry to hear you've had such a negative experience - that's rotten. I have to say though, it is totally at odds with what I've experienced - currently nine weeks from delivering DC2. With a single exception of one who was a cow to me during a home visit after the birth of DD, I've found them helpful, sympathetic, interested, supportive, etc. I've not felt patronised or talked down to at all. Sometimes stretched but that's not their fault.

Is my experience unusual?

Bee513 Thu 09-Jun-16 13:47:25

Well, that's good to hearsmile at least. Most of my friends that I talk to say they have mostly had negative experiences with occasional positive ones, but happy to hear other experiences smile

Roobix04 Thu 09-Jun-16 13:50:45

My midwife with dc1 was awful. As soon as she found out we lived in a council flat she was horribly snobby. I was asked if this was my second or third pregnancy right off the bat despite it being my first and she wouldn't believe dp when he said he didn't have any other kids with other women. This was just at the booking in appointment.
She was snobby and patronising for the rest of our appointments but I suspect that's cos she was a bitch rather than because she's a midwife.
Best thing is guess who's my midwife with dc2. Yup it's her again.

MrsSpecter Thu 09-Jun-16 13:52:10

This wasnt my experience at all. All the midwives i came across in two pregnancies were fantastic.

Roobix04 Thu 09-Jun-16 13:52:36

She also was very dismissive when I was struggling to breastfeed but luckily she went on holiday when dd was a few days old and a lovely midwife replaced her who I credit with finally getting the hang of breastfeeding.

MrsSpecter Thu 09-Jun-16 13:52:59

And nor would I say that midwives are consistently known for what you describe.

Mrsfancyfanjango Thu 09-Jun-16 13:58:31

I had a lovely midwife throughout my third pregnancy, genuinely wish I could of carried on with my appointments post-birth blush
However, first pregnancy I didn't see the same midwife twice and none of them were particularly nice either.
Second pregnancy I moved area just before I was due, went to see new midwife and she reported me to social services and actually lied to them shock! I had moved area because of DV and she told SS I was thinking of going back.. Was I fuck hmm best bit is she came and done my post birth home visit, boy was I glad to see her.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Thu 09-Jun-16 14:00:31

Bee I'm with you. My experience is limited (1 dc) but I fell foul of both midwives and doctors on the maternity suite in particular.

During my induction I was getting more and more frustrated with being talked to like a hysterical simpleton. A midwife would come in and say "ooh, heartbeat nice and fast, good active baby, very happy in there" and an hour later another would say "nice calm baby you have, lovely slow heartbeat, clearly very relaxed in there" ...and this went on and on with everything being a sign he was "clearly very happy in there" until his heartbeat crashed, they smashed the panic buttons and everyone came rushing in. C section in the end incidentally.

I even heard them discussing me outside my room saying "oh, the lady in number 2, she's just the anxious type. Just tell her everything's fine with the baby and she'll be alright". No! No I bloody won't! I'm a 31 year old grown woman and I'm not a bloody idiot; I'm anxious because I'm here trying to birth the baby I love and I want to make informed decisions, be told objectively how that's going - how you deduce that - and what, if anything, you recommend; and I feel like no-one's giving me a straight bloody answer! Even if the answer is "sometime's this is a good thing, sometime's it's a bad thing, only time will tell - but for now we see no reason to worry" that would have been fine.

Ugh, sorry, vent. bringing it all back. I would also like to see a change.

SpeakNoWords Thu 09-Jun-16 14:01:06

The vast majority of the midwives I've seen during 2 pregnancies have been absolutely fine to me. Only encountered a couple of horrible ones on the post natal ward, who were totally un-empathetic towards me. But they stuck out as unusual, and the midwife I had throughout labour was amazing.

I wonder though if it depends on where you are, and the usual demographics, as to how the midwives decide to interact with you.

Bee513 Thu 09-Jun-16 14:03:41

MrsSpecter, that's fair enough. Just seems to be most conversations I have with new mothers express a disappointment with the way they have been treated... Wonder if it's an overstretched London NHS problem then...

Bee513 Thu 09-Jun-16 14:08:03

eatsleephockeyrepeat, that's is how I felt with my first, too. Just total lack of good, informative communication. Sorry you had a rough time of it. I'm trying to stay really positive about this 2nd one (due next week) but after my recent appointments, found I was feeling really low about having to fight to be heard again.

MrBensMrs Thu 09-Jun-16 14:19:59

Not seen the same midwife twice yet.

Had pretty pants experience at my first scan (not sure if she was a midwife though) a nice 16 week appointment with a great midwife who told me she's swapping to another practice so I won't see her again sad

Have also seen two consultants who have prescribed me aspirin and when I told one about severe PGP/SPD pain told me it would only get worse, nothing I can do, do I want codeine - no thanks! I have seen an osteopath privately who has helped a lot!

Am only 23 weeks with my first so can't comment on delivery midwives or my new midwife at the doctor's yet!

MrsSpecter Thu 09-Jun-16 14:28:38

Yes could be due to different areas being over stretched where others arent and staff morale isnt as low.

makingmiracles Thu 09-Jun-16 14:32:49

I've been really lucky on the whole.
First dc midwife in labour was terrible, 18m post grad and very young and didn't want to interact with me, just sat there in the labour room writing notes and minimal conversation, when I really would've liked some reassurance as it was my first and induction to boot.
Dcs 2/3 great midwives. Birth 4(surrogacy) terrible midwife in labour, put me on the scales as I arrived in full labour, wrote in my notes not in any pain on arrival-I was 7cm and felt like I was going to birth him in the corridor, took me 5mins to walk to room!! Not in any pain?! Then called social services and my com midwife in the early hours, despite telling her this was unescessary and a plan of care had already been arranged and wrote up by SOM previous to the birth. She then told me she wouldn't allow me to have a water birth because of my Bmi (despite 2 previous ones and same Bmi each time) so was left bawling my eyes out and petrified of birthing on the bed, she also took 10 mins to figure out how to turning the gas and air- not great for inspiring confidence in her. Thankfully I know she won't be about this time I give birth as she's retired to TF!!

daisywhoopsie Thu 09-Jun-16 14:35:46

I had absolutely fantastic midwives right up until the one that was with me when I was giving birth which was a shame.

malvinandhobbes Thu 09-Jun-16 14:53:11

I have also had wonderful and supportive midwives. I've found health visitors hit or miss, but have never had a negative experience with a midwife.

dramalamma Thu 09-Jun-16 14:55:43

I generally find the midwives better than the doctors - some are better than others but they generally try and help (once they've stopped telling me what I'm "allowed" to do). The doctors on the other hand have all had a total god-complex and the bedside manner of attilla the hun! Am going in for round two with the consultant tomorrow - am rather looking forward to telling her I've changed hospitals cos I don't think they have enough experience to treat me safely.

wigelspigels Thu 09-Jun-16 14:58:52

This makes me cross.
It is one one of the most caring roles you can take on. I have had lovely experiences with all my midwives. Actually saw some of the same ones from my first pregnancy 8 years ago at a midwife unit, DS2 2.5 weeks old. I had a Homebirth with DS2 and had both the midwives at my birth. Only one on call from the 2 at a time, but the other decided she wanted to be at my birth too and attended on her day off instead of another from the midwife unit. My care transferred to them at 28 weeks and I love them both. The most caring and kindest midwives they followed my birth plan 100% as there were no complications.

Buttwing Thu 09-Jun-16 15:15:40

I have 4dc and have seen loads of midwives the majority have been amazing especially the ones who have delivered my babies. I think they are bloody amazing and I think it's really unfair to say midwives are crap based on meeting a few. Some people are arseholes,it's not their job that makes them and arse it their personalities.

The midwives I've encountered have supported me,looked after me, help me understand things, sympathised with me, told me to pull myself together (when I needed telling!), fought my corner and listened to what I wanted.

I'm just very sorry I gave birth to dc4 during your strike but he wouldn't waitblushwink

eatsleephockeyrepeat Thu 09-Jun-16 15:18:45

Oftentimes I don't think the problem is not caring, or deliberately belittling the women in their care; I think more often than not it's that some seem to see all those women as just "pregnant women" - a bit little cattle - dumb beasts to be herded along through childbirth; all hormones and irrational shrieking and the like.

That was my overarching memory of pregnancy really. That now I was carrying a baby my brain was no longer capable of functioning as it used to and that I either wouldn't understand all this complicated "having a baby" stuff (so not to bother telling me), or that I was so hormone-addled and hysterical I didn't know what my own body was telling me - which only makes you more hysterical trying to convince somebody that you do!

It's like all that pertinent information about this really big event in your life, no-one wants to share that with you because either a) you won't understand in your knocked-up state or b) you'll go so extremely over-the-top in your reaction to any information because, you know, PREGNANCY, that's it's best for everyone if the professionals handled it and just passed you the baby when it was all over.

That's the attitude I'd like to see change. Just a little "remember these women are just like you and me; just normal, intelligent women who may well be under stress at the time you meet them but are no less aware of themselves and their bodies then you are now. They're no less deserving of being heard and what they have to say is no less important. They are also relying on you to give them knowledge they need to be confident in you, their bodies and the process they're going through so don't assume they just want to hear everything's okay. They're not that dumb." Just a little bit of a reminded that although this is every second of every day for a midwife, this is a very rare and special occurrence for the women they look after.

Querty12345 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:26:08

Hi bee I'm very much in agreement, I'm pregnant with dc2 and dreading bringing up elective cesaerean with the midwife... I'm sure it will go down like a lead balloon 😑

(It is for good reason, prolapse from previous birth only 5 months ago)

HP07 Thu 09-Jun-16 15:44:52

Generally speaking all the midwives I have come in contact with have been good and my assigned midwife is fantastic. Couldn't be more caring, helpful and friendly. I think your experience is unusual op as I have met a lot of midwives due to a complicated pregnancy so far and they have been great.

ItsyBitsyBikini Thu 09-Jun-16 15:52:52

I have had 2 lovely midwives during my pregnancy and only one baf experience with a 3rd who was covering. She basically told me my son was far too small, why had I not had a growth scan, he was I danger of being severely prem etc when my previous midwife had explained everything to me clearly. I'm 2 days overdue and at last appt baby was perfectly average size so I think she was just a scaremongerer.
Such a shame not everyone has good experiences though. I think the whole system is so overstretched

slug Thu 09-Jun-16 16:08:50

Oh Lordy...YES!!! From the midwife who started a conversation with "Well, you know your baby is floating in water..." hmm That would be amniotic fluid I think. To the one who told me that God meant women to suffer pain in childbirth as a punishment for Eve's sins, I don't think I encountered one who saw me as a separate, thinking human being.

The only time we ever had any communication that was beyond baby talk was when they read through my notes and got to the part with my partner's contact details. You could always spot the point where they read that he worked in a very famous children's hospital. Suddenly the level of language would shoot upwards.

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