"Incompetent midwives at the birth centre"

About: St Helier Hospital

I gave birth to my second child at St. Helier’s birth centre on the 14th of August 2015.

I would like to complain about two main issues: 1) How incompetent the midwives were and 2) The lack of a proper meal during my 9 hour stay

Regarding the midwives’ incompetence: there seems to be the following timing rule when the women in labour are allowed to go to the birth centre:

The contractions must be 2-3 minutes apart lasting 45-60 sec each.

The midwives apply this rule in all cases instead of using their own knowledge and experience to make a personal judgement. The information asked and provided about the progress of my labour was not really taken into consideration. The fact that it was my second child, that I was already 12 hours in labour, that I was coping only with hypnobirthing techniques, that my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart but lasting between 50 and 75 seconds each, that there was some red mucus on my slip, that it would take us 25 minutes to get to the hospital by taxi at midday. None of that information was really considered by the midwives by the phone. They just kept saying wait till they are 2-3 minutes apart. We did so and it was a big mistake. My waters broke in the taxi on the way to the hospital and I started to have the urge to push. It was the longest 25 minutes journey of my life. The nice, calm and relaxed labour achieved so far was over. I was suddenly completely under stress just praying not having to give birth to my baby in the taxi. Once we finally arrived at the birth centre, I met a student midwife and an experienced one. I told them full in pain, frustration and tears: You made me wait too long. I need to get in the pool right away, the baby is coming. Their answer was again: No, you are not allowed. The pool is not completely full yet and the temperature is not the right one. It was amazing! Not even that they could do right!

I did not care and I got inside the pool. 5 minutes later my baby was born. In other words and to be more precise, my baby arrived 9 minutes after we got out of the taxi.

The midwives clearly misjudged the information provided of my labour or perhaps it is more accurate to say that they did not even bother to judge it, they just followed their standard timing rule. If they do not want to think at least the procedure should define different scenarios so that the midwives can just stick to the rules but depending on scenarios.

Furthermore, the experienced midwife was rude and unfriendly. I was holding my baby and the cord was still pulsating, when the midwife started asking me to push out the placenta saying things like if you wait too long, it could remain parts of it inside. What was the hurry? As far as I know, it is still fine to expel the placenta 30 minutes after birth.

At last but not at least, I want to mention that no hot meal was offered within the 9 hours of my stay at the birth centre. The only thing I got was a cup of tea and a cold toast. That was it

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from St Helier Hospital

We're really concerned to hear how distressing your experience was and also how dissatisfied you were with your whole experience at our Maternity department. No doubt, one of our senior midwives would like to discuss this further with you; please get in touch with our Patient Advice and Liaison services (PALs) team via pals@esth.nhs.uk or on 020 8296 2508 to help discuss the matter further.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful