Corona, Coercion, Pregnancy and Birth – Part 2

Part 2 of my blog series, Corona, Coercion and Pregnancy, looks at our recent poll from the Home Birth Support Group UK, in more detail.

Part one can be found HERE.

Our members are very supported in group to make their own choices, with our Home Birth Transfer Is NOT A Failure ethos, all our births are celebrated.

Sadly, this support for informed choice is not, in the main supported by their care providers, as their following words show.

I was told I had to have a hospital birth because :
High BMI, High BP, Previous PET, Previous big baby (9lb-er), Previous DVTs, Previous PE, 3 previous EMCS. I had 3 home water births.

Mine was large blood losses in previous pregnancies x

I voted day with a “y” in it as it is as good a reason as any.

Because my mum is type one diabetic and I have high BMI therefor I’m more likely to bleed a lot after birth. Also the medication I’m on they want to monitor baby for possible side affects.

I’ve had BMI/ PPH and GBS for reasons I can’t/couldn’t have a homebirth.

I declined bloods at 28 weeks and cancelled my appointment due to childcare. Due to this, my risk of haemorrhage has now gone through the roof as I’ve already had 2 babies, and also there’s difficulties having Entonox delivered, which is another reason not to have a home birth. I’ll add – no previous complications.

I’m not allowed a home birth because they’re cancelled and I’m high risk. Still not going into a hospital.

Raised BMI, age, small for gestational age (SGA), baby was 6 lbs 11, high risk for PPH (post partum haemorrhage), due to para (number of babies).

I got told it was ultimately a consultants decision because in my previous pregnancy I had tachycardia and he would more than likely advise against it due to my previous pregnancy’s issues (fast heart rates that’s it)…….. I’m 35 weeks nearly and never had it in this pregnancy, they wanted me to go in a hospital where I would be at risk of catching covid 19. I had to let the consultant authorise a home birth once he had checked my pulse and gone through my history, I didn’t know he was a cardiologist now as well ! So I declined told them I would happily take this further as it was ridiculous grounds to scare me on and I will have my appointment with the relevant person over the phone or I wouldn’t have it at all . Within 10 mins of me sending that email, I got a phone call and consultant on phone signed me of from Consultant led care and give me the go ahead for a home birth ! Xxxxxxx

I had a midwife tell me last week I ‘wouldn’t be able to have a homebirth’ as I’m high risk – she didn’t even look at my notes to see why I’m ‘high risk’ (solely based on bmi at booking). I immediately informed her that I would be having one, and that my last pregnancy – also deemed high risk – ended with a beautiful home birth. I’m questioning whether I should report her? Surely midwives should be discouraged from giving the impression that they dictate what you can and can’t do.

Precious 3rd degree ,4th baby ,previous pph, previous premature baby x

I’ve clicked all that count for me. But realistically, if it wasn’t for finally getting a nice midwife… being pregnant would be a reason not to home birth.

Previous PPH and age. But, to be fair, when the consultant realised I wasn’t changing my mind and WOULD be birthing at home, she at least put in my notes that if I change my mind, I can use the MLU, rather than the labour ward.

Managed to tick 7. I don’t think I’ve been given a single reason why I should have one!

I was told high BMI, previous sga (6lb 15oz 41+3), baby’s growth shunted at 34w (which wasn’t true trainee messed measurements up).

Gestational diabetes, BMI and the fact I had a tear last time.

I haven’t been told I’m high risk. This is my 4th baby. Only other thing was they want to do my bloods again to check my platelets…. if they get much lower, they might say something against having a home birth, but they’ve been pretty pro home birth from the start, so hopefully no arguments or obligations to see a consultant will occur if I choose to home birth regardless of low platelets. I might even decline bloods.

High risk wasn’t used but it was ‘suggested’ that due to my iron levels home birth should not be an option on the cards. This has now changed since yesterday though after I came away from appointment very upset and phoned and spoke to my regular midwife.

Just spoke to consultant on a telephone appointment he said he doesn’t see a reason why I can’t have a birth where I like either hospital or home… have I thought about it yet. I said I am registered under the home birth team.. suddenly it was well pending all at 36 week scan is ok then should be fine.

Because I’ve not had bloods taken at all and in on number 7 so high risk for pph. However after explaining circumstances to midwife etc the chat kind of went along…out of criteria but because childcare and trying to get to hospital etc (we dont drive) they would put it through and mlu. Conversation yesterday went along the lines of…if hypothetically a midwife was on call already, would you come to the mlu or just… I’d probably labour at home then phone up afterwards. She said it’s fine, just make sure to let them know and keep placenta attached and baby warm 🙂 amazing the turn around in attitude from no to anything other than labour ward to whatever you wish to do, just let us know once its born.

I was told that you can’t have a home birth for baby number 5 and beyond, is this true?

Type 1 diabetes .

I only had positive HB conversation so far, let’s hope it stays that way!

Midwife at booking suggested ‘losing a few pounds’ to get into the freestanding MLU in our closest town. I responded I’d be having a home birth unless I feel on the day a unit would ground me. Next midwife told me to ‘chat to the consultant upon growth scans’ regarding place of birth, a home birth isn’t ideal given transfer time to hospital (35 minutes) – told her I wouldn’t be attending growth scans simply because of BMI. Next midwife told me that MLU is definitely the place to be and to push for it- explained again I’d be having a home birth. Midwife from booking popped back into the equation after having a holiday and was happy enough for me to ‘consider’ home birth after scan (placenta placement) and a quick chat with a consultant. Went to scan- waited around for consultant who said ‘I’d of suggested a home birth as well, how tall are you? What size are your feet? (True fact!)’ and without weighing me and bringing up BMI (only risk factor) said she had no concerns re birthing a bigger baby as I had before, to stop taking aspirin if I’d been suggested it previously and to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy… signed off homebirth with ‘S is planning a home birth- sounds like a lovely idea’. Booked birth pool hire and currently thinking about toast and pâté in bed on baby’s birthday!

Yes to all three scared coerced and not given evidence for. I’m now 32 weeks.At 28 weeks I got told baby 10th percentile although I’ve been told I have a raised BMI they can’t understand why a baby is small. They were expecting the baby to be big! This is my second child. My first was 7lb 11. They said it’s could be nutrition, but I’ve eaten a lot more healthy this time around. They said it could be my placenta. Before I got transferred to this hospital so I could have a homebirth I had growth echo scan and blood flow is fine. The baby is perfect. I have seronegative arthritis in short it’s characteristics like rheumatoid but it isn’t. I was diagnosed 4 months before my first pregnancy began do I didn’t have a great pregnancy. This one has been much easier now 3 years since having my first I’ve never had autoimmune tablets I didn’t think I needed them. I have completely changed my nutrition that doesn’t include inflammatory triggers and I certainly know about it if I don’t follow it. I’ve number of tests about my digestion and seems I have some intolerances and by me doing trial and error with foods I’ve found this out myself. I keep up to date with my vitamin supplements. But I’ve had anaemia moderate since I was 18 and now I’m 33 and they couldn’t understand why other than my heavy periods. So I asked what are the risks and the consultant said it’s not risks just issues…. Still doesn’t fill me with any confidence that they are supporting a homebirth… They wanted me to have blood thinner injections from 28 weeks, I kept on explaining this is my second pregnancy I didn’t have it with my first… And both pregnancies I haven’t got GD so to be honest apart from my bmi (which I’m a lot fitter than my last pregnancy) and my inflammatory arthritis which I’ve never taken medication for and is well under control since diagnosis 4/5 years go I’m unsure why they are so surprised I want a homebirth! It’s got to the point I’m having my midwife attend my appointment tomorrow with the consultant as my hubby can’t come… It’s an anxious going into hospital as it is. But to battle your rights (although I’m all for it because I’m a very strong-willed person) it gets super tiring…

Midwife said happy for me to have home birth if I choose to but the doctor at hospital says no because I had a section 8 years ago (I’ve had 3 vbacs (vaginal birth after caesarean) since) my BMI is apparently slightly too high and risk of haemorrhage due to being number 7.

I had my baby 3 weeks ago. Although home births where still happening. My midwife and the head midwife told me to was too risky to stay home due to Group Strep B (GBS) risk and lack of ambulances. Also the fact I have 4 children at home and they couldn’t be in the house during birth due to covid risk. I live too far from any family that they could of gone to another house. I was sorta backed into a corner of hospital or hospital. In hindsight I should of fought for it more. I ended up on the ward and not in the ME unit like I agreed with them as baby had passed meconium. It all went totally out the window.

Words from members of Home Birth Support Group UK

ALL of these women are planning a home birth, most will have one, however, women should not be “fighting” with their care providers, told they are not “allowed” a home birth, that they need permission, scared and coerced.

I am so proud of the activism my members undertake, for themselves and for others, the birth world is a brighter place for them.

I have blogs on many of these topics here, birthing the placenta, large families, Am I Allowed and more on this blog.

When women en masse have to turn to Facebook groups to learn their rights, something is very, very wrong.

Women own their births, care providers offer services and are supposed to promote informed choice, it is time, morally, legally and ethically for this sort of behaviour to STOP.

If you have found my blog and support helpful and would like to support my work – you can DONATE via my donate page.

If this blog post raises questions for you please feel free to contact me or join one of the groups I co-admin which can be found HERE.

[widget id=”text-7″]

[widget id=”text-10″]

Photo of Samantha

About Samantha

Samantha Gadsden walks with women on their life’s journeys. She is an experienced Doula, based close to Cardiff in South Wales, mother to 4 children and wife to Eddie, more information can be found on her facebook page, Samantha Gadsden Doula and her website, Caerphilly DoulaSOS DoulaTelephone and online support is always available.

You can also join one of her network of supportive GROUPS.