Dear Mothers-to-be

A survey on home births by the National Childbirth Trust has revealed w orrying trends. A spokeswoman for the NCT reflects on the things GPs tell mothe rs-to-be

Let me tell you a story about pregnancy, childbirth and choices for women in these modern times. When I say "story", I don't mean that what follows is fiction; sadly, it's the real-life, everyday story of mothers across the country who wanted a h ome birth. When they went along to their doctors to exercise choice, as is their right under the Government's Maternity Services Charter, it seems support was very much a lottery and depended on their doctors' willingness to tolerate their wishes.

"What about the rights of your unborn child?" one doctor quoted in the survey demanded, adding, "The last woman who had a baby at home bled to death and that's what will probably happen to you."

Obviously, this GP is not aware of the most recent research by the National Perinatal Epidemiological Unit, which states: "There is no evidence to support the claim that the safest policy is for all women to give birth in hospital."

And let us hope you are fortunate enough not to meet the GP who unhesitatingly told a mother-to-be that if she persisted with a home birth, he would call in the police and have her other children removed.

Many doctors remove mothers-to-be from their lists rather than meet their wishes: "My GP struck myself, my husband and my four-year-old daughter off his list because I was considering a home birth, and I wasn't informed until my antenatal appointments

failed to arrive." On the other hand, you may be one of the all too few lucky ones. A doctor from Gloucester, for example, whose patient is quoted in the survey, was "a bit hesitant at first as he had never done a home delivery and he seemed quite nervous, but on the day he was great".

Here are some facts. If you want a home birth, you do not need your GP's "permission". A community midwife can provide all your care, referring to a hospital doctor if necessary at any time during pregnancy or labour (many community midwives work closelywith local GPs).

Be armed with information. Point out that on page 23 of Changing Childbirth, the report of the Expert Maternity Group chaired by Baroness Cumberlege and published in 1993, it says categorically, "Professionals cannot quantify the enriching experience which some women feel when they have their baby in the place of their choice. The job of midwives and doctors must be to provide women with as much accurate and objective ... information as possible, while avoiding personal bias or preference."

You can also explain that the Expert Maternity Group finds that asking women and their families to transfer to another GP's list to have a home birth "is an unacceptable practice which must cease".

And remember, dear mother-to-be, that the recommendations in Changing Childbirth are now Government policy.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager required for a busy company in...

    Recruitment Genius: Controller / Mobile Inspector

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This leading security company requires a prof...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A sales person is required to join a lea...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy