Mum’s concern over changes to maternity

Emma Munro and her 6 week old daugfhter Maddie. April 25th 2013 E17084P
Emma Munro and her 6 week old daugfhter Maddie. April 25th 2013 E17084P

A mum who ran into complications after giving birth to her third child has said changes to maternity services at the DGH are ‘ridiculous’.

Emma Munro had already experienced two straightforward pregnancies and thought nothing of going into hospital to deliver her third. But the 33-year-old had to be taken to theatre after giving birth to baby Maddie because her placenta would not come out.

She said, “It was a textbook pregnancy. I delivered her really well on gas and air but I then went to deliver the placenta and it didn’t come out.

“I was told had it been a few weeks later I would have been taken to ambulance to Hastings to have it removed. I never expected anything to go wrong and was not worried at all but when it happened I was petrified.”

Earlier this year NHS bosses agreed to a preferred option which is to maintain a consultant-led obstetric service, neo-natal service (including the Special Care Baby Unit), have in-patient paediatric service and emergency gynaecology service at the Conquest Hospital only and establish a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit at the DGH.

Emma, who lives with husband Dave, Maddie and their other two children Elysia, 11 and Bethany, seven, in Rotunda Road, said she would not want to go to Hastings if she went on to have a fourth child.

She added, “There was no sign of anything being wrong. I think the changes are ridiculous.

“If I did want a fourth child it doesn’t put me off but it makes you think. It’s something I’d take into account if I was told I had to to go to Hastings. I believe that I am high risk now and so that I’d have to go to Hastings next time. Having three children already means going to Hastings would make it much harder.

“What happens me shows they can’t predict what’s going to happen when a woman goes into labour or gives birth.”

A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “It is true in the case described after the changes to maternity services have taken place, that the women would be transferred to Hastings when there is a problem with a retained placenta. She would be accompanied by a midwife.

“Once the placenta had been removed and the woman has recovered she would be able to go home or return to the Midwifery Led Unit. This scenario is relatively uncommon. On review of the transfer data collected from our Midwifery Led Unit at Crowborough, only three women over the year 2011/12 had to be transferred with a retained placenta. This is a very small number out of the 327 who had their babies at the birth centre.

“We have agreed protocols in place to cover this and other eventualities that can occur during labour and after birth to ensure the safety of both baby and mother. Similar nationally recognised protocols work perfectly well in other Midwifery Led Units across the country.

“The temporary changes to maternity services are being made purely on the grounds of safety. The changes are supported by the consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists who work at the Trust, who believe, based on the evidence, that these changes will deliver a safer service for local women and babies.”