"Mixed experiences"

About: The Royal London Hospital

The maternity unit is new and mostly very clean (apart from one clinic room in MFAU which had blood on a wall). The receptionists are pleasant. The clinicians are very busy but mostly professional and caring.

I had one bad experience with a midwife. I had been experiencing a feeling of reduced fetal movements for several days along with abdominal pain. I tried everything I could to manage it myself. But as I remained concerned I decided to seek advice from a midwife. As it was after 8pm I called Maternity Triage and spoke to a midwife. I clearly explained I was feeling reduced fetal movements but that they had not stopped completely. Just they had appeared to have lessened. And that I was calling for advice about this. Their exact response was "you've got to come in now for a trace". I understand that it may be difficult to advise over the phone so I followed their instructions and went to Delivery Suite. On arrival I was happy to wait patiently as I understand that the staff were busy dealing with women in labour and babies who take priority. I was eventually called in by a midwife who said "so you're the lady with no fetal movements"? I explained that I had some movevements but they felt reduced and that I had simply called up for advice and was told to come in. They replied in a somewhat frustrated tone "so you do have fetal movements then"? I said yes but it felt very different and I was also getting abdominal pain and I wasn't sure whether to be concerned or not and again said I told their colleague who told me to come in. The midwife then rolled their eyes and looked cross. They made me feel like I was overreacting. They put a monitor on my tummy and observed the baby's heartbeat for about 1 minute and then gave the monitor for me to hold on my tummy whilst they left the room for about 5 minutes. During that time the fetal heartbeat decelerated from 160 to 70 several times (and remained at around 70 for at least 10 seconds on at least one occasion). When they came back to the room I told them this and they observed the heartbeat again for about 1 minute and said its just dropping because the baby is moving. They kept saying "can't you feel the baby moving?" in an incredulous voice as if I was making it up. I said I wasn't feeling much but they said "the baby is fine and moving" so I accepted what they said. However they really made me feel like I was wasting their time. I also didn't understand why the fetal heartbeat could decelerate so dramatically from the baby moving. They said that everything was OK but I would have to wait for the Dr. After a total of 3 hours I saw a Dr who was professional and did their best to explain what was likely happening.

The midwife was rude and dismissive. No pregnant woman should be made to feel she is a nuisance by a midwife, who are employed to reassure and assist pregnant women. They were also unprofessional in appearance. Did nothing to inspire confidence!

Story from NHS Choices

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