How does your midwife really feel?

How do UK midwives feel about their patients. If you believe those who post at The Midwifery Sanctuary, they feel tremendous contempt for women who need pain relief.

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Fairy Naff:

… I appreciate that (a) I’ve not personally been through it and don’t completely get how difficult pregnancy and labour can be and (b) people are just scared when in pain or seeing loved ones in pain, I do think – Hang on – you chose to get pregnant (or do the deed that gets you pregnant). I didn’t ask you to – please take some responsibility for your actions and accept that I dont’ have a magic wand.


Lots of women are great but I find it hard when someone expects a totally pain free experience and screams at the first bit of period type pain. I know there can be a lot of fear etc etc etc and the whole fear pain thing…. But at times I do want to say “get a grip”. In days gone by women feared DEATH. Now we fear a labour more than 10 hours.

bombproof RM:

You hit the nail on the head when you say that you want women to take responsibility for what has happened/is happening to them…

My one biggest bug-bear is the woman who demands to be utterly, 100% sensation-free during childbirth. Not just pain-free, but totally numb. Then when the epidural fails, or works but doesnt relieve pressure, or wears off and needs topping up.. she is shocked.

And Im thinking (a) whoever told you that childbirth was pain free?? You must have KNOWN that this was an unrealistic explanation …

Back to Fairy Naff:

Haha – I can see this thread turning into a rant fest for midwives and students struggling to maintain a patient and caring facade!!! …

… When a woman is in pain and wants an epidural, you can tell her all the risks and disadvantages in the world and all she’s thinking is “yeah, yeah – just get on with it and take the pain away” …

Last night I took over care of a primip who, if she had gone home in the latent phase after SROM-ing instead of insistng on staying, might well have progressed better. Instead the fear and frustration mounted in her and her family, who wanted someone to take the pain away for hours and hours and hours and couldn’t understand why we didn’t…..she’ll have had a section by now, on top of her epidural and resultant interventions….and when it comes to her 2nd baby she’ll sit in front of a consultant and demand an elective section because she can’t face the same experience.

And it may have been her own “fault”…

According to Hobo RM, when describing her birth experience such a patient will say:

“…I went in and this midwife examined me and said I was only a cm, well I knew at that point something wasn’t right because I was in so much pain, anyway they tried to send me home, but I stood my ground because I just knew something wasnt right. They then wouldn’t let me on to delivery suite and made me go for a walk if I wasn’t going home, I managed about 10 minutes and I was in absolute agony, plus I was exhausted because I’d been contracting now for 10 hours and they wouldn’t give me a bed to lie down on. I went back to the midwife and she refused to examine me again and told me again to go home!

I’m going to put in a complaint about her. So this other midwife had a chat to the doctors (thank god for sensible people) and they said I could come onto delivery suite as they could see I was obviously in pain and something wasn’t right. I demanded an epidural straight away and although my midwife on delivery suite was nice she was a bit young and had obviously never had kids as she said that I wasn’t in proper labour yet …

I demanded my epidural, I was exhausted and crying and in pain and I couldn’t do it anymore, they finally agreed I was allowed (my body my choice anyone???) and the blessed anaesthetist came in and worked their magic… I could see the midwife wasn’t happy as she had to keep stepping over them but I desperately needed them both there for support.

Anyway they examined me again in four hours and I was still only 3cms so they asked if they could start the drip as apparently my contractions were still too far apart, well I’d only been on the drip 2 hours when the epidural started to wear off and I was in agony again, of course by this time the baby was in distress because my labour had gone on for too long and nothing was happening.

The midwife finally got the doctors in and they decided I needed an emergency section because the baby was tired. Imagine if I’d gone home when they told me to? Me and my baby could have both died???”[paragraphs created for readability]


Last week I had two women who looked at me with sad puppy eyes when I told them (in latent phase) that they could definitely NOT have an epidural on the antenatal ward! One had had 3 previous normal births and the other one had had an IVF pregnancy. The para 3 mystified me, but the IVF pregnancy – I can’t understand if you have gone through the long, heartbreaking months/years of trying to conceive, investigations, referral and finally fertility treatment, you are not then patient enough (there was definitely a lack of patience more than fear) to let labour happen, when it finally happens, at its own pace?


I nearly posted something last week about a girl at work but thought you would think I was being cruel and a shit wannabe. Anyway she is a primip, 6 months. I stupidly asked if she had thought about the birth. She informed me she was planning on going to hospital for an epidural straight away, when I said that may not be possible and she should be aware of other reliefe like water ect she said it doesn’t matter as she ‘has a plan’, god only knows what that is.

Then it progressed to her saying she would demand a CS anyway as it’s less painful…..other carers chirped in what bollocks that was with the recovery etc, I then said some people find breast-feeding difficult after CS, cue ‘fuddle off, I’m not a fuddle animal’ I managed not to blow her simple little mind with the fact we are animals….

Barbara RM:

I have been getting tired of this can’t do attitude many women have. Labour ward is full of it. I don’t mind a bit of a moan if u are getting on with it but if your moaning is actually stopping u from moving it really gets my goat.

This appalling level of contempt appears to be a direct result of the emphasis on “normal birth.” Midwives are evaluating patients on their “performance” and their views are ugly indeed.