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To be worried about giving birth at poorly rated hospitals

17 replies

Happyorsad · 30/01/2024 21:26

All the hospitals in a 40 minute area need improvement or are poor rated for maternity my local is rated outstanding for overall but needs improvement for maternity. I’m worried about giving birth if it’s rated badly. I could afford to go private at a push but that would mean travelling to London as non are local too me

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

14 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
sunnyfleur · 30/01/2024 21:29

Newly pregnant and it’s a worry of mine too. YANBU. That panorama was heartbreaking to watch yesterday.

I am contemplating opting for a C section. Harder recovery, sure, but predictability and staffing is guaranteed.

Happyorsad · 30/01/2024 21:34

I know it’s really worried me probably more than it should it’s my first pregnancy

OP posts:
MrsToothyBitch · 30/01/2024 21:38

YANBU this terrifies me too. Too many risks. Making me scared to TYC tbh.

Also, whilst I appreciate that pregnancy and birth can take a toll on the body, I don't think enough respect or care is paid to the fact women need to live in their bodies for another 50 or so years after having babies.

PangramAddict · 30/01/2024 21:39

The thing is that labour and birth are such unknowns, wherever you are.

The key thing is to advocate for yourself, and be sure your birth partner will too. We asked a lot of questions, and I had a doula for my second who was amazing at saying "right Pangram, do you understand, are you happy, are you sure?"

I haven't seen the programme but I felt so much safer as I knew exactly what was going on.

Kaleidoscope2 · 30/01/2024 21:43

Its a concern and I don't think there is an easy solution. Two things I would say is private is fine (same for home birth) so long as there are no complications, as you would likely need NHS care still in that event (heaven forbid). And opting for a c section is not reliable as there could the the instance you go into labour prior to your booked date. I would say speak to your midwives, express your concerns and perhaps look at having a doula or someone experienced in birth if you feel you want someone outside of your birth partner to advocate for you.

I gave birth in the height of the pandemic in 2020, at a hospital that is being investigated for multiple failures in an Ockenden review so not in any way minimising how you feel at all but wanted to share how I would likely approach it next time.

Omma23 · 30/01/2024 21:43

Unfortunately you’d be hard pushed to find a hospital not rated poor these days (literally every one in my local trust, and the trust over). I’d recommend joining some mums groups for your area on Facebook etc and asking for recent opinions on the care they received at the various hospitals you are considering. Despite being rated poor, the hospital I had my LO at were… okay, but many of the women from my NCT group had their babies at another hospital (also rated poor) and didn’t have a bad word to say; same as other women I’ve subsequently met at baby groups. So the rating isn’t necessarily everything, better to get some word of mouth experiences.

whatishappening1 · 30/01/2024 21:51

I gave birth at a hospital which was rated as ‘inadequate’ just after my second.
I had both my babies there and apart from some smallish things like the midwife not being able to tell how dilated I was (!) I had a good experience.
I did have 2 very straight forward births however so I don’t know how that might have differed if I’d had more needs.
All I’d say is advocate for yourself or brief your birth partner on what you want / need as much as possible. Try and get experiences from others too to help you make a decision.

Your feelings are valid and it’s such an unknown and unpredictable situation that nerves are completely natural.

cinnamonbiscuit · 30/01/2024 21:51

Try not to worry OP. I gave birth in the hospital that was featured heavily on Panorama last night, in the height of lockdown in Jan 21, and we came out of that just fine. I had a second baby in the same hospital last year and actually had a wonderful birth.

There will likely always be aspects of your experience that aren't brilliant, especially given the state of the NHS at the moment, but it doesn't mean you won't have a good birth and a positive experience overall. Many midwives, in fact probably the majority, are brilliant at what they do.

LorlieS · 30/01/2024 21:55

Is this your first baby? If not, what about a homebirth? Always at least one 1-1 midwife at all times and two as labour progresses.

arecklessmanor · 30/01/2024 22:05

I get that it’s good advice to advocate for yourself, but if the resources aren’t there or the anaesthetist won’t come or you can’t have an epidural on request…what then?

I think maternity care in the UK is shocking, I had a baby in lockdown in a hospital rated inadequate soon afterwards. The post natal care was awful. I had a planned C-section for a number of reasons but including the predictability of it. Their policy was if you go into labour early you go on that day’s emergency C-section list.

In my NCT we all gave birth in the same hospital as hardly any choice locally. All very fortunate to get through the experience but some requested birth debriefs (only to be told maternity notes couldn’t be found!)

Some areas aren’t offering home births, or you can plan for it but on the day have to wait and see if it’s possible which I imagine would add to the stress.

DancefloorAcrobatics · 30/01/2024 22:13

It's so sad that it has come to this. Have you seen the maternity unit and spoken to the staff there?
I know our local hospital has a poor rating, and our neonatal care unit has been downgraded.
This is due to staffing issues and rack concrete so had to close a whole block, putting even more pressure on other wards / services in order to keep going.
It sounds like maternity services are bad wherever you are.

And they keep building more and more homes, while the plan for the new hospital is shelved

LorlieS · 30/01/2024 22:22

@arecklessmanor I gave birth at the height of the pandemic. Had planned a home birth from day one (after two really not good hospital births) but the NHS team had suspended three weeks before my due date. Partners were often missing births.
I ended up employing an Independent Midwife. I know I am fortunate to be in the position financially where I was able to but honestly - the care - both ante and postnatally was absolutely incredible. I felt safe at all times and so well listened to.
Our daughter (husband's first and last baby!) was gently born into his arms on our bedroom floor.

CrispAppleStrudels · 30/01/2024 22:24

Its so hard isn't it OP. I'm in south london - i had DD1 at a major London hospital in 2021 and since then the hospital has been downgraded to inadequate. Im still planning on giving birth there this time around but i did flag my concerns with the midwife and she arranged for me to have a call with the director of midwifery. I was able to ask lots of questions and she put my mind at ease at bit. So that could be an option for you to consider.

SoftPillowAllNight · 30/01/2024 22:28

I went with NHS for antenatal and then private for the birth and postnatal. I needed to avoid a C section as far as possible. Totally worth the money I paid.

Please Dm me if you'd like details.

Poudretteite · 30/01/2024 22:45

I wouldn't take any chances. Care can be horrendous and have a huge impact.
I went to a further hospital with a better reputation. A friend went to the closer lower-rated hospital and had unnecessary interventions that ended up with her baby having sight and hearing problems for life.
During labour you won't be able to advocate for yourself. Especially the first time you will be more vulnerable and it will probably take longer, so more time for mistakes.
I would go to a better hospital
And good luck! x

arecklessmanor · 30/01/2024 23:28

@LorlieS im glad you had such a great birth experience with your third (hopefully a healing experience too after the previous ones). For me a home birth would never be something I would want as I wouldn’t have felt comfortable without the immediate medical facilities on hand that would be available in a hospital. My ideal would have been a straightforward vaginal birth but since there were no guarantees of that, and definitely no guarantees of adequate staffing I felt that planned C-section was the choice I was on balance most comfortable with.
It was still a compromise for me to have a C-section as my DH wasn’t allowed to stay with me for long and the ward was terrible.

I just think it’s sad that experiences like yours aren’t possible for some women who would choose a home birth. (I will say some would have the means but wouldn’t necessarily prioritise the independent midwife, and some will have better luck than others with their NHS experience and just the birth they have in terms of their own body etc.)

sunnyfleur · 31/01/2024 08:29

I hate how it’s just such a roll of a dice as to what sort of experience you get. It shouldn’t be that way.

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