Help!

Hi

I was wondering what other people's experience of the healthcare profession was during pregnancy? I have been shocked at how I have been dismissed and ignorwd, often with doctors talking over me when trying to explain something. It has left me increasingly frustrated and depressed.

It startes with extreme sickness to the point where I was being sick 30-40 times a day and was unable to eat. I was repeatedly told by doctors that i couldn't be that sick, that it was just something pregnant women had to deal with and to stop over reacting and to try ginger tea. It took 6 months of this before finally speaking to my midwife and getting diagnosed with hyperemesis and receiving the treatment I needed. Even now when I go to get more tablets I find myself having to say to doctors that yes I am still being sick and having them look at me disbelievingly and having to fight for the medication I need to function whilst they try and persuade me to do without.

On top of this I have also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes which I have been controlling through diet and exercise. However, contrary to my hyperemesis experience, in this case the consultants are really keen to put me on medication despite me managing to keep my sugar levels down through diet and exercise. Every week the consultants accuse me of lying about my results and (bizarrely!) I also get accused of smoking (which I don't). The only struggle I have had with the GD has been the morning fast measurement which is often higher than before I go to bed. As a result of this my last appointment I got told I had to take metformin or my baby would be 'big and weak and stillborn', again I was accused of lying about what I eat, when I eat and how much. I was told I was naughty, and then got shouted at when I tried to discuss the risks v benefits of metforming. At no point was my medical history checked or other medication that I am on.

I am exhausted and anxious and depressed at being repeatedly patronised, dismissed and accused of lying by antenatal doctors and consultants. I am concerned that I am now taking medicatio without proper checks being done and how this will affect my baby. I wanted a water birth but have been told that being on metformin means I can't have this. I am so utterly fed up with the lack of care. I just want to be treated like a human being! I don't know what to do anymore or where to go next.

Has anyone else experienced treatment like this when pregnant?

Thank you for reading and sorry for the rant!

Aa

9 Replies

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  • Hi, goodness although this is by no means the first time I had heard of women being treated like this you seem to have it in succession.

    That is ridiculous it took them 6 months to diagnose hypermeresis! I also had it and it took them some convincing but was given tablets after about a week. It's a bit late now but there is an organisation called the Pregancy sickness support who can help women having issues with HG and Drs not listening aswlel as support in general.

    I have no idea why being on metformin would deny you a water birth. I think you need to ask to speak to the supervisor of midwives.

    Sadly my experience of health care professionals and listening to mums is not dissimilar in many cases. Just wait til you have the baby, for example the NHS in general has awful breast feeding support (the area I work in).

    As you have GD I would recommend talking to your midwife about ante natal expressing. Otherwise mums often get pressured to use formula (sometimes when it is needed but sometimes not!) When they have diabetes.

    I work with so many ladies who have been told completed myths and old wives tales, told they can't feed on certain meds when they can.

    Oh and then there's tongue tie. I have come across so many women who have been made to feel like they are failing their baby when actually 4 or 5 'health care professionals' have missed a tongue tie.

    So sadly I can totally see how what has happened to you has.

    I would firstly be writing a letter to complain to your gps practice manager about how they did not recognise your HG which can be dangerous!!

    Then I would get a meeting about the birth you want. Do some research beforehand to find out what you can choose not just what you are being told.

    X

  • Water births are normally midwife led and for low risk women only. Due to GD carrying a higher risk of complications (forceps/c-section) it wouldn't be offered, as its putting baby at a higher risk. the issue is the GD not the metformin.

  • Although that's true, some women who aren't totally low risk are able to deliver in the MLU for example if it's in a hospital rather than a standalone unit and if they have water proof monitors. So sometimes they can work around things a bit more.

  • i think they try to be flexible where they can (my experience at least). However there are reasons why they don't let everyone has water births and I don't think nor you nor I can comment about this lady's risks. Personally I wouldn't opt for anything that was riskier for my baby. I don't remember much about my labour 15 months down the line... I might be controversial but for me the birthing experience wasn't about what happened to me but about holding a healthy baby

  • That's why she should ask to have a meeting. I've met so many women who have done this and they have allowed more options or come up with compromises - for example one friend was allowed to labour in a pool but not give birth. And if they don't allow entry to the MLU then atleast they have been able to get their questions and concerns answered and feelings valued rather than being told what to do. Which can then mean the woman can hopefully feel a bit more positive overall.

  • I'm shocked as a pregnant woman herself and someone who works in the NHS that you have been treated like this!! I strongly recommend you speak to PALS (patient advice and liaison service) tell them your concerns and they will look into it for you. They are brilliant. Every NHS has one. Hopefully the rest of your experience is better!

  • Poor you for being treated like this. It's totally unacceptable. I am in shock hearing your story as my GP & midwife are just amazing (I was throwing up for few days so I went to see GP and he did urine+blood tests and he prescribed me meds straight away.)

    One thing I have read is that often gestational pregnancy ends up with a bigger baby, but you said you're controlling sugar levels so maybe it won't affect baby's size so you'll be able have the natural water birth.

    I hope you'll have soon better experience with doctors and practitioners and someone will sort out the many prescription pills you're taking - in a case you actually don't need them.

    Sending big hug,x

  • Hi,

    Sorry to hear you have had such a bad experience. I too have been suffering with extreme nausea and vomiting (more like 8-10 time a day where I am actually sick). However, unlike you I am only 12 weeks in.

    So far my experience of the NHS has been very positive. I have low iron levels and an underactive thyroid to complicate things and have found that midwives, GPs, and everyone I have had contact with including consultants have been very helpful, supportive and that everything has been processed extremely quickly and efficiently.

    With regard to my sickness, I have possibly just been lucky (?) in that I have seen 3 different GPs so far and that they have all been very caring, believing of me, and prescribed medications without dispute. The first one I tried was metoclopramide. Sadly, this didn't work and just made me very, very sleepy to the point I would fall asleep afternoons. The second one I tried was Cyclizine. Sadly, this didn't work either for either the nausea or the vomiting and also had the side effect of making me fall asleep whenever I sat down and got comfy or lay down for "5 minutes rest". The GPs I spoke to weren't resistant to prescribe me medication, they explained that these medications have been sufficiently tested and found to be safe in pregnancy. They didn't try and dissuade me from taking them. (However, I have stopped taking everything now as it didn't work for me). I have tried so many different things to help myself off my own bat, including Sea Bands (useless for me), dietary things (have found that eating what I feel like helps as well as eating small and regular mini meals to stop blood sugar crashes). I have tried all types and kinds of food too. Stodgy food like rice, baked potatoes, crumpets, cereals etc., seem to work best and really seasoned stuff like garlicky stuff or stuff with herbs in makes me most repulsed. I am surviving, day by day but I do thing there is nothing healthcare can do for me. I have always been able to find periods in the day when I can keep down food and fluids though, so have not lost weight or anything and certainly have not needed to go on a drip etc, like some poor women do.

    It's awful that you have felt questioned about your sickness - that is really the last thing you need, in my experience. I have felt sick of being told it is "par for the course" and a "sign of a healthy baby" etc. This is little comfort when I have actually felt close to my wit's end at times! Maybe they are confused about how much and when you are able to eat as you have also developed the gestational diabetes? I don't know much about it but doesn't it indicate high blood sugar? Maybe they are wondering how that can be so with you vomiting so many times a day.

    Maybe it would be good to request a different GP/midwife etc. and see if you get on better under other health care professionals?

  • Thank you to everyone for your help! We went down today and I spoke about how I felt (with a few tears!). I spoke to the head midwife and she was amazing, my baby's size is fine, he's in the middle on the charts. My numbers are fine and I can just use the metformin as backup if they get higher. She also got me into a meeting with the head obstitrician (sp) there who was really supportive about the water birth,I am lucky as they have a pool on the labour ward and I should be fine to use it for labour, although may not be able to actually give birth in it.

    I am so relieved and glad that I said something! Thank you for all your advice and support, I'm not sure I would've been brave enough to say something without it so thank you xx

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