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To expect an ETA from midwife/HV?

160 replies

smileygrapefruit · 14/07/2017 11:38

Just got home with newborn dc3 yesterday.

Was just getting out the shower and there's a knock at the door...the midwife is here. Had to answer in a towel sopping wet.

I've now remembered from the last two times how they always turn up unannounced. Am I just ment to sit in twiddling my thumbs all day? DH has taken other two dc out for the day and I was going to have a nap with dc3 but how am I supposed to do that if they could turn up at any time?!

Aibu to think they could just text to say "expect us between 10-12"?

OP posts:
RedBlu · 15/07/2017 07:59

I had my first baby two months ago and I HATED the midwife visits because they would just show up at random times. They would never give me a rough estimate of when to expect them, just between 8am and 6pm so I was told to wait in. I was visited nearly every single day for two weeks.

I had a different midwife nearly every visit and most visits it was students who didn't seem to know what they were doing or be able to answer any questions.

I hated feeling like I had to be up and ready to expect them from 8am when I just wanted to try and relax or get some sleep.

I found it very intrusive and didn't like it at all. I even had one show up when I had visitors and she proceeded to ask about my stitches and bowel movements in front of everyone the second she got in the door!

I am not keen on ny HV but at least she gives me a time to expect her!

TheFirstMrsDV · 15/07/2017 08:22

blue you are assuming that no one on this thread understands what CMW do and therefore their comments are coming from ignorance or entitlement.

That is not the case.
There are always things that can be done to prevent service users becoming upset. The simplest and most effective is communication.

People just need to know what is going on.
I hate the way that service users are deemed unreasonable, demanding and selfish by some professionals because they object to aspects of a service.

You see it all the time on MN too. Suck it up, Don't be selfish. Be grateful etc.

In many circumstances a text 'sorry. held up. will be late. poss. 1hr' would be enough for anyone.

I am amazed that anyone would be expected to serenely accepting of any professional turning up randomly at their door.

When my DD was dx with cancer I was fostering my DS. He already had an insane schedule of appointments and reviews etc.
I had SW coming out of my ears.
A week or so into DD's treatment it became clear I wasn't able to keep hanging around for SW to turn up.

I contacted them with a plan. I would put their visits in my diary but they would have to contact me an hour before to make sure I was in and not in hospital with DD.
This suggestion was met with utter incredulity.
They would have to check with me?

Well yes, surely better than me being in hospital with a seriously ill child and having to run around trying to get a mobile signal in order to fruitlessly try and get hold of a SW to cancel a visit, getting horribly stressed and usually failing to reach them so they turned up anyway?

The point is that CMW do a brilliant job. I believe they are valued and popular.
That doesn't mean the current system is working well. For a start it can't be nice for the MWs to turn up not knowing how they are going to be received?

I don't suppose this can have anything to do with this being a women's service? Women have to suck up the inconvenience and women have to suck up the hostility/disinterest/upset.

gttia · 15/07/2017 09:12

I work in a HV team, we give a morning or afternoon slot. Until two months ago we gave an absolute time. I hate saying am or pm and much preferred giving a time

welshgirlwannabe · 15/07/2017 09:28

I agree with mrsdv. It is unreasonable to expect that women MUST be grateful for any professional intervention they are given. Services need to meet the needs of the service user, otherwise surely it is an inefficient system?

It is definitely possible for community midwives to give an indication of when they'll be calling round. Mine did. I was given a vague idea of when to expect a visit: before lunch, around lunchtime, after lunch, or late afternoon. That worked fine for me. I just needed a window so I could plan my day. Even though I had an emcs I wasn't ill, wasn't anxious, wasn't struggling and did not need or want to be pinned to the sofa. I appreciate that I was lucky in that regard.

Also - community midwives clearly are overstretched and understaffed. As are a host of public sector workers. However I don't agree that this somehow means that women have to be extra grateful for the service they receive. No way. If under staffing leads to a shoddy or inefficient service than women most certainly should complain!

maddening · 15/07/2017 09:57

Surely for the overworked hv and mw making a quick text communication is quicker than making a journey to see a woman who had no clue you were coming and therefore has gone out

Snappychi · 15/07/2017 10:09

This reply has been withdrawn

This has been withdrawn by MNHQ at the user's request.

TheFirstMrsDV · 15/07/2017 10:11

Its not an exact time that is the issue. Those days are long gone
An indication of when they are coming is enough.
And not too much to ask.

TheFirstMrsDV · 15/07/2017 10:15

I had a senior colleague who used to turn up unannounced.
She was always complaining about how ungrateful they were, not bothering to be in when she arrived Confused

She would also discharge after two (unannounced) unsuccessful visits. Bloody negligent practice in my opinion.

TefalTester123 · 15/07/2017 10:39

I sense an IT opportunity for someone here. If we can track a parcel from Amazon surely we can track when a midwife might arrive. I could practically design a midwife app myself. Unfortunately it'd probably get bogged down by those people who don't want to share their medical records.

AngeloftheSouth84 · 15/07/2017 11:08

Unfortunately it'd probably get bogged down by those people who don't want to share their medical records.

More likely get bogged down by MW and HV who wouldn't want to be tracked. There's no need for medical records to be involved in sending texts.

BluetonicIvy · 15/07/2017 11:32

I totally agree with you all that it's not acceptable to expect a woman to wait in all day for a Midwife to show up and that's why I do always try my best to say I'll be there either in the morning or afternoon and I never get annoyed with someone for not being home. I just arrange to come and see them another time. I'm sorry if I sounded defensive, it's just that I spend most days chasing my tale conscious that I'm running late for something as I never seem to have enough time! The answer to this probably would be to just text everyone in the morning giving an ETA, however the trust I work for tells us not to give out our numbers as this has caused problems in the past. I know we're quite unusual doing this though and in many trusts women will have their midwives direct number. I do often ignore this though and I will text a woman if I'm running really late or if her baby is on NNU I'll give her my number and tell her to text me when she's home rather than her waiting in for me.
Our department is actually trying to bring in changes that will improve the service and provide better continuity or care and carer for women as research shows that this leads to better outcomes, so this thread has been really helpful in identifying the issues that really bother women. It's something I'll definitely be able to feed back on when we have one of the many (usually useless) meetings (where we go round in circles and the midwives suggest things only to be told by management it's not possible) so thank you xxxx

AngeloftheSouth84 · 15/07/2017 11:45

Its a bit like when they used to send out pre-booked appointments for immunisations, then wonder why no one turns up. They gave up, and instead sent out cards asking parents to book an appointment. Its as if the NHS expects parents not to work or have lives.

itsbetterthanabox · 15/07/2017 11:56

My DH works for a charity which looks at making services better for disabled young people by having them participate, review and inform changes to the services offered to them. The council use the charity and they have to its the law.
Why is this not the same when it comes to these service users?

TheFirstMrsDV · 15/07/2017 12:17

Blue does your trust tell you not to give out your work mobile number?
That is nuts.
There are ways round that though.
You can send texts without revealing a number or have an admin phone and texts can be sent out centrally in the morning.
It would mean extra work initially but would save time in the long run

Please don't think MW are not appreciated. Of course they are.

Educatingbrigita0 · 15/07/2017 12:53

TBH you can't win. We offer set times and texts are also sent as reminders but people daily forget / don't bother / cancel last minute . Then there are viSits which you think will be quick and are in 2 hrs . We have an admin team who will then let families know we are running late . Think we will move towards more clinics for all after new births. Sad but not enough of us and v v high birth rate !!

lastrose123 · 15/07/2017 17:42

10 years ago when I worked as a HV we did give times. The MW's found that more difficult as caseload was less predictable and they sometimes had deliveries to fit in as well as emergencies/ extra visits when things were not going so well.

SherbrookeFosterer · 15/07/2017 18:24

I'm afraid you have to bite it.

There is a hideous crisis in midwife recruitment and retention.

It is a miracle you even get HVs at the moment.

All the same, enjoy the early days of motherhood!

Mumtotwobs · 15/07/2017 18:44

Congratulations! I feel your pain though - after DC2 I had to have daily visits for fifteen days post delivery and once one issue was resolved there seemed to be another one popping up that meant that the visits continued. Most of the time it was mid afternoon I was visited and no indication of time scale was given. I went completely nuts and couldn't even let DH take baby out for a walk after I was given a telling off when midwife arrived one afternoon and they were out! thankfully we're both fab five years on but I can tell you at the time it was hard not to be able to get out!

ClaireSunflower · 15/07/2017 19:11

I found it annoying as you can't plan anything. I got a call from my health visitor on day 12 home from the hospital to say she was coming round in 20 mins. Had no idea she was coming that day. The call woke me up and it was a rare moment that me, dh and the baby were all asleep!

RidingMyBike · 15/07/2017 19:22

The visits are essential - my DD was admitted to SCBU from home on day five after a midwife visit found she'd lost a huge amount of weight. If that hadn't happened then she could have suffered brain damage or died - she was extremely dehydrated as my milk hadn't come in and was basically starving to death.

However, the midwives really don't help themselves - I complained about two of the community midwives who didn't listen to my concerns - one on day four who was really patronising and ignored my concerns about the lack of wet nappies. If she had acted then we could have started supplementing with formula and maybe avoided a hospital admission? They didn't seem to have much awareness of infant feeding - just kept spouting the basics about cluster feeding and on demand without looking at the individual situation (my milk didn't come in for 8 weeks).

The whole having to wait in for entire days thing was ridiculous - time slots could easily be offered. We missed one MW visit on day 10 and were made to feel like it was crime of the century - we had no idea a MW was going to visit that day and had gone to register DD at the GP.
HVs were the same re visits and totally dismissive when I said I'd been diagnosed with PND. They are almost non-existent where I am in the south east.

How many visits are being wasted because people are out and didn't know the MW/HV was going to call? How much is that costing? And how many problems are being missed because of it?

BouncyHedgehog · 15/07/2017 19:32

All those saying people should be grateful for the service- if they're not given a rough time, or even day, and the MW turns up when they're out, they're not actually receiving a service are they? You can hardly be expected to be grateful for something you don't get.

RidingMyBike · 15/07/2017 19:43

And I don't get how people are supposed to be able to access these postnatal clinics with appt times instead. The postnatal clinic in our town closed before I gave birth. My DH doesn't drive. There is a very limited bus service. How on earth would we have accessed a clinic? I couldn't get to any of the breastfeeding support clinics because there were none in my town and I couldn't face a walk to the bus station and getting a pram and a newborn on the bus to one.


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museumum · 15/07/2017 20:01

I also hated the sittingvin for hours and hours waiting for the mw.
I needed to get up and about for my sanity - lived in a flat so literally no proper daylight for either of us unless I went out to the park.
The HVs around here are all drop-in clinics which works well. We're in a high density area so catchments are all walkable. I think c-section people got home visits, but then they'd be less likely to be out anyway I guess.

smileygrapefruit · 15/07/2017 20:16

Didn't expect such a response on this subject, I was just having a little moan.
To reiterate... I was not even told they were coming that day, let alone whether am or pm and definitely not a set time. I know it would be almost impossible to give a set time and stick to it but a day and morning or afternoon would be great...and if an emergency comes up that means that changes then a quick text would be appreciated.
As has been pointed out by a couple of pp, the midwives turning up to an empty house takes up a lot more time than the time it takes to send a quick text surely.
There have been midwives post on here saying they give a call/text with a rough time so it's obviously possible, why is it not common practice?

And to those in the profession that have been upset by this post, I apologise as that was not my intention at all. The service is much needed and much valued, I just think this little tweak would make a big difference!

OP posts:
yellowgymball · 15/07/2017 20:17


I was so fed up with my first baby.

I was in hospital for 5 days, and on the last day I was given the all clear at 10am by a doctor but nobody would discharge me till 6pm due to no time for paperwork Hmm

Was told a midwife would visit at home the following day but they don't give times.

Finally got home, got settled, had a long night feeding but managed some sleep. DH and I decided we would go for a walk late morning to get some fresh air after being cooped up indoors for so long.

I got a phone call while I was out from a very annoyed midwife on my doorstep who was most put out that I hadn't stayed in waiting for her. (I had assumed they might call en route or at least with an ETA?) we managed to get back quickly as we hadn't gone far but she pretty much told me I should be housebound until they have visited for weighing Hmm

As my baby didn't get back to birth weight as quickly as they expect I had to endure this whole performance for nearly 2 weeks.

I went from being stuck in hospital to stuck in my home. I had terrible baby blues and I think being trapped in the house so much and feeling rushed to be up and showered early every day contributed to that.

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