"Dundee Midwifery Unit's "relaxed" attitude, Ninewells"

About: Ninewells Hospital / Maternity care

(as the patient),

If you have a low risk pregnancy in Dundee you are expected to have your baby in DMU, which is a midwife led unit within Ninewells.

I was told in my antenatal class that doctors are not allowed in the department.

Six days overdue, with an induction date booked I went into labour at 4am. I called dmu at 6am once I was sure I was in labour and was told to come in once my contractions were 3 minutes apart or 3 contractions every 10 minutes. I was made aware I could call dmu anytime I felt I needed to until then. I did call a few times with questions throughout the day. I was having difficulty passing urine and had a large painful lump at the bottom of my bump. Dmu's advice was to drink two jugs of water as I must have been dehydrated, this lump in fact was my full bladder which was blocked by the babies head!

My waters broke at 7. 15pm, until then I had had contractions continously every 6 minutes (since 4am! ). I felt the pain was unbearable at this point and I also began to feel sick so called to ask if I could go into hospital for pain relief - I was told it was a shift change and could I wait until 8pm-she could apparently tell over the phone I wasn't too far on in my labour. After this call I had some bleeding so called to say I was going in straight away rather than waiting the 45 mins.

Upon my arrival to dmu, I was frantic due to the bleeding (the bleeding turned out to be harmless) and was met by a midwife who listened to my babies heartbeat and told me I was worried over nothing and with contractions every 6 minutes probably had a while to go. Once my bladder was drained via a catheter I was examined and they discovered I was fully dilated -so much for a while to go! I was told during the next two hours in the delivery room I was not allowed a fan on ( I was so hot, too hot for a water birth) and I was too far into labour for any pain relief (I didn't like the gas and air)but luckily my child was born healthy and perfect.

Two midwives examined me following my child's birth and confirmed I had only a first degree tear which was really just "grazing" and no stitches were required. I was delighted, drug and tear free birth.

Three days later I was examined by my community midwife who along with two doctors suspected I had in fact a third degree tear which would require stutching with a spinal anaesthetic. They were amazed I had coped with the pain for 3 days. I spent a night in ward 38 where I received excellent care by the doctors and midwives however I then spent 4-5 days in extreme pain which contributed to difficulty in breastfeeding and ruined my first few weeks as a mum.

I did complain to Ninewells regarding this as stitching tears following childbirth should be second nature for midwives however I found the response somewhat disappointing. The letter stated that the midwives who delivered my daughter noted "a second degree tear", when my notes clearly stated first degree. There were other elements of the reply stating the senior midwife involved requested more training and so on - after the discrepancy about my notes I knew I was just being fobbed off.

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


Response from Tracey Passway, Clinical Governance and Risk Team Leader, Clinical Governance and Risk, NHS Tayside

NHS Tayside are very sorry to hear about the negative experiences you have had, and if you would like to meet with the Head of Midwifery to discuss what you have raised please do contact our Complaints and Feedback Team:

E-mail: complaints.tayside@nhs.net

Freephone number: 0800 0275507

  • fls doesn't think this response is helpful
    {{helpful}} other {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} think it is helpful