If you find that there is a midwife on your team who you really do not get on with, or who you feel does not support your wish for a home birth, you can contact the local Supervisor of Midwives and say that you are not willing to be cared for by this person.
You do not have a right (in the UK National Health Service) to choose the person who looks after you, antenatally or in labour, but you can always ask for a midwife who you like. However, you do have the right to insist that someone is taken off your case if you do not want her to attend your birth.
Although it can be hard to do this and many people want to avoid confrontation, I would say that it is worth the effort. Do you want to run the risk that you will be made anxious at ante-natal appointments, and perhaps end up transferring to hospital when you would otherwise have given birth at home, just out of fear of rocking the boat? If you feel that you could not trust this midwife when you are in labour, it could lead to a dangerous situation; if she asks you to transfer for a genuine reason, you might delay taking her advice if you think that it is just a ruse to get you into hospital.
By asking that a particular midwife no longer care for you, you may well be doing her a favour too; if you don't get along, or she does not support your wishes, then the chances are that she is not exactly enjoying the relationship either. However, it is more difficult for her to ask to be taken off your case, than it is for you to refuse to be seen by her.
You do not have to tell the midwife yourself that you don't want her to attend you. You don't ever have to see her again in your life. You don't have to be aggressive or confrontational about it. Just inform the Head of Community Midwifery (HCM), preferably in writing, that you do not want to see this person. It might help if you telephoned first, to make sure that the supervisor finds you another midwife quickly, and to let her know that a letter is on its way. You do not need to be drawn into discussion - just state that you are sorry but you feel it is necessary.
To contact the Head of Community Midwifery, telephone the Midwives Office if you have been given a number for them, and ask for her address/telephone number. Alternatively, telephone the main switchboard of the hospital (number will be in the phone book) and ask to be put through to the Head of Community Midwifery's office.
Here is a sample letter you could use. Of course, there are lots of changes you could make to suit your own circumstances - this is just one example:
(Your name, address and any hospital reference number should go at the top)
Dear Head of Community Midwifery,
My baby is due on (date) and I have booked a home birth under the care of the XYZ team of community midwives.
I am writing to inform you that I do not wish Midwife X to be involved in my antenatal care, or to attend my labour and birth.
I am very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you, and really do not wish to create additional work for you or your staff. However, I feel that Midwife X does not support my aims in wishing to give birth at home/in water/standing on my head/whatever.
I am worried that her attendance at the birth might have a negative effect on my labour, and am not prepared to take the chance of this happening. I am also concerned that seeing her during antenatal appointments could make me anxious.
I do not intend to make any negative comments about Midwife X's skills; I am sure that she is perfectly competent and that she has provided wonderful care to many women. It is simply unfortunate that we do not get along/she does not appear to support home birth/etc..
I am sure you will understand that I do not wish to discuss this matter with Midwife X, or with anyone else. I would be grateful if you could arrange for another midwife to take over my care, who is supportive of my desire to give birth at home.
On a positive note, I met midwives Y and Z at previous antenatal appointments and was very pleased with the care I received from them. I would be delighted if you could arrange for either of these midwives to take over my care.
A Stroppy Mother
If you would like to discuss this option further, or have any other questions about your rights in maternity care in the UK, please do contact Beverley Beech of AIMS. Contact details are on the AIMS website (www.aims.org.uk). AIMS advises many women on the best way to get the maternity care they want; you don't need to fight alone.
Here are some birth stories where mothers felt their midwives were unsupportive:
Suzanne adored the midwife she had for her first baby, Kira's birth, but wished she had declined care from the person who attended her for Jamie's arrival.
Back to Transferring from a home birth
Back to Home Birth Stories
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