'I knew I was in labour' – why are women being turned away from hospital during childbirth?


As a number of women recount how they were mistakenly told to go home and wait, before giving birth on the pavement or in a lift, experts warn that more investment in early-labour care is needed

Because her first baby had arrived quickly, Lizzie Hines was told at all her antenatal midwife appointments that she should go to hospital as soon as she recognised the first signs of labour. So, a couple of hours after she first felt twinges, cramps and contractions, she and her husband set off for a hospital in central London, but when she arrived, the midwife who examined her told her she wasn’t in labour. “I knew that not to be true,” she says. “I knew I was in labour.”

They were told to go home for a few hours; Hines asked if she could stay, but was told she couldn’t unless she wanted to wait in the corridor. Her husband booked them into a nearby hotel to wait it out, and they walked around the corner, with Hines, wearing pyjamas and a coat, steadying herself against the walls of the building with each contraction. It was 7am.

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Guardian Health and Wellbeing - Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:32:50 GMT

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