Coercion And Reasons Not To Home Birth
I think a significant proportion of our nearly 2000 members are being told not to home birth for one reason or another. Most of our members go on to home birth regardless and although this blog was supposed to be a tongue in cheek look at why we are told not to home birth, instead it paints a very sad picture of coercion, lack of respect for informed choice and regular use of the “dead baby card” by health care professionals and sometimes our own families (which I know is emotive language but its a stark fact).
My blog “Home Birth Transfer Is Not A Failure” deals with transfer in more detail.
Because we’re not in the 1950’s anymore.
Because I’ll kill my baby not being near a doctor.
They thought I wanted this child, why do I want it to die.
Because my life insurance would be void and I’ll die in childbirth and leave my partner and child with nothing.
Think of the mess!!!
It’s disgusting and old fashioned.
I won’t have access to pain relief and its naive and stupid not to want any.
Someone told me her baby would have died if she’d been born at home. Her baby was born early, at no time did I say I wouldn’t go to hospital if I went into labour prematurely, I wonder did she think that once I’d said I wanted a home birth I wouldn’t be allowed into a maternity hospital?
Today one of the home birth midwives said she wouldn’t recommend home birth because my road is difficult to find and it could put me and my baby at risk if I have to transfer.
I was told not to as I was having a big baby who was back to back with his hand over his face. He came at a whopping 7lb3oz and was out within 2 hours from midwife arriving.
Because it makes a mess.
Midwife – “worst case scenario is obviously your death”.
Me: “yup, that’s what the Consultant Anaesthetist said to me when he talked me through the caesarean consent form”.
Because I’m overweight.
Because I’d had a previous caesarean section (VBAC, HBAC).
Because I’d had previous big babies.
Because I ‘possibly’ had GD (gestational diabetes).
Because I would have a dead baby.
I have a dog.
I don’t own the house.
Because of the snow.
They also got me to sign a form, which amongst other things mentioned the possibility of needing a symphisiotomy (a barbaric practice carried out in Ireland in the not too distant past).
Because it was my first baby…
I had had an epidural with my other two. Surely I’d need one this time….
I was induced last time so would need the same again.
Because I had other children at home.
Because I wasn’t getting rid of my dog for the birth.…
The list continues however my battery power doesn’t.
Because my iron is low and I WILL bleed out.
Because I am a first time mum.
Why have a home birth with my first? Have a good second birth instead.
Baby 1. Waters were approaching 24 hours and baby measuring small.
Baby 2. Baby so tiny needs a bed in SCBU, (special care baby unit), however born at 7lb 6oz !!!
Baby 3. Reduced movements so tiny wanted to induced 5 weeks early (not helpful to grow in my opinion) water went had meconium, still tried to send me in but I had a beautiful home birth baby.
I’m too fat!!!
My autistic child may cause problems!!! (words fail me on this one).
You are so close to the hospital you may as well have baby in there anyway.
The best one…you’ll make orphans of your other children…from the last consultant I ever saw.
They tried to put me off with shortage of midwives and no-one might come, as well the over 40 line. A guideline based on research with questionable statistics which was not implemented by any other country.
Because you have suspected GD and your baby’s shoulders will get stuck we’d have to rush you to theatre to deliver. Precipitous labour 2 pushes no shoulder dystocia.
Husband lost his sight suddenly a few months ago, so we decided a home birth was the way forward for us as it made everyone feel comfortable and confident. When I said this to someone they were horrified and said ‘what?! No! No! Oh god.. no! They will need to induce you, so you can be booked in. Or actually, no go for a c-section. Then they can just get baby out. No, no.. much safer in hospital!’
ETA: midwives in my area are very pro-home birth so I am grateful for that!
Click HERE for more information on National and Local Birth Pool and Tens hire.
1 – Because she was breech and even when she did finally turn they were worried she would turn back again due to baby no 4 born vaginal breech.
2 – I had a retained placenta and small haemorrhage with baby no 2, baby’s predicted weight was 7lb 2, at 41 weeks she was born 4 days latter weighing 8lb 7.
I was told I couldn’t home birth because I was high risk due to vbac (vaginal birth after caesarean) mainly and was constantly scare-mongered with how scar rupture was high risk and how my weight would make it worse I had a battle on my hands to stop them from suggesting elective c sections to me. Until I had a doula I had no idea I could have gone for home birth regardless of what they told me. By the time I knew it was an option I was too worried about all the risks and too unprepared. I didn’t end up arranging a home birth although I would have loved one, however I did manage to have as natural a birth as I could in a chilled out hospital room.
Because I had “more upholstery than DFS”. (Wow to this one – its such a disgusting comment about someone’s appearance and size – Big Birthas on facebook is a great evidence based resource).
I wasn’t allowed (plain and simple).
I have too many children (see Joey’s homebirth story of baby no. 9).
Because I will die at home.
Because the midwives will not be libel for anything happening to me (so it’s a no).
One midwife said because I had a high BMI and I was going against medical advice and made me feel like if anything happened, ie, shoulders getting stuck it would be my fault and I was at a higher risk of a big baby even with being cleared of gestational diabetes, even though I was told by my midwife it wasn’t a concern and I’d still be able to birth at home they would just need baby to be checked over afterwards at the hospital (understandable).
I moved at 38 weeks and was told because I was overweight I’d need to be instantly Consultant Led and they didn’t like that, I refused then broke down in tears over it after fighting for the clearance, met the consultant midwife and because I hadn’t put on any weight through my pregnancy (from stress of the other trust midwife) and having previous simple pregnancy and births I was cleared again :).
Because it’s “dangerous”.
Because its a vbac (my 4th I may add).
Because I am a first time mum…best to have first baby in hospital.
I was discouraged because I was a first time mum. The consultant basically said have this one in hospital you can have the next at home. Also because she was going to be big I had to see consultant midwife (who was fab) was predicted to be 11 lb she was 7lb 10oz. Second consultant appeared to understand that I wasn’t going to be persuaded and seemed really supportive saying I didn’t really need any more sizing scans but then wrote in my notes that I’d refused scans and agreed to have baby in hospital. Luckily my community midwife was really on board and questioned this.
I would increase baby risk of death by 60%.
1992- 1st baby “you have size four feet so you will probably need a CS (caesarean section)”
1998- I birthed a 10lb6oz fourth baby on living room floor after three unnecessary hospital births.
‘If you don’t take these iron tablets you won’t be able to birth at home.’ I’d explained to her that last time I’d changed my diet by eating vitamin C rich foods and loads of green leafy vegetables. The midwife was having none of it and wanted me to take the tablets! As it turned out, I needed another iron test. In the time it took to wait for the test, I changed my diet and guess what, my iron count was then totally normal. I changed care provider after that!
I ticked the first two as there was a 13 year gap between my last two births so I was kind of classed as a first pregnancy plus “geriatric”(at the grand old age of 38!)
I was under a consultant and initially all concerned were cautious and said they’d prefer a midwife led unit but the pregnancy went perfectly and in the end I had the home water birth I so wanted with their full support.
My baby was predicted huge. And he was, but it made no difference to our outcome, everyone other than me was worried, and I had to fend off intervention very firmly.
I was actually discouraged from a home birth not for a medical reason, but because the consultant said it was “messy”!!
7 high risk factors according to the NHS…still home birthed 3 times without a single issue.
I planned a home birth against medical advice, none of their reasoning was an issue with me or baby at the birth but I did give birth in hospital in the end!
I was subtly put off the idea by my midwife over a few appointments without realising what was happening until later. “They were really busy and didn’t want too many, it happened to a few others at the same time”. Always planting seeds of doubt.
I was told mine were average and they were nearly 10lbs. I consider that huge but it wouldn’t have changed what I wanted to do.
Supported by midwives, consultant strongly advised not to homebirth as suspected big baby. She was big, and did get a little stuck, but midwives knew what to do. So pleased I stuck to my guns.
“My home birth plan was supported before I went into labour.
However when I was in labour and the midwives arrived, they looked at my chart – said I should have had a growth scan and that it was a reason for transfer.
My husband and me were both resistant to this, as I’d been measured by a different midwife for the measurement they were querying. They called a doctor at the hospital for advice who I’m guessing said it wasn’t an issue, as I continued at home.
To me it felt like they didn’t feel comfortable at a home birth and wanted an excuse to transfer”. (Nothing like being told mid birth you need a growth scan!!)
I did end up transferring as undiagnosed breech, but since found out that I didn’t really need to do that either as my baby wasn’t in distress and I was at 9cm.”
Samantha says – The South Wales Village Birth Circle and South Wales Home Birth And Hopefuls Group can also support you in your choices. These comments include, fatist, sizeist, disablist comments, alongside, unevidence based information, scaremongering, sometimes homebirth is not to be – however this needs to be discussed with women so that they can make their own informed decisions. My blogs looks at these issues in more detail, “This is not informed consent”, Sweeps and Induction Making Informed Decisions and Big Baby Links.
Dr. Michel Odent said in his recent presentation (I was there in the presence of his greatness) at the InnerMost Learning Sypmosium, that there are 2 places to birth – “home and everywhere else”. He has also said the first intervention in birth is walking out of your own front door. Medical intervention saves lives – but it needs to be for the few who need it – not the majority who don’t and the balance has tipped too far.
I'm melting – ze uuman bebe!. Amazing.Posted by Samantha Gadsden Doula on Tuesday, 17 September 2019
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 Doula. SOS Doula, Telephone and online support is always available.
If you are interested in writing a guest blog or sharing a life or birth story please feel free to contact her HERE.
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