SafeMotherhood
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LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF

Dissatisfaction with your care

If you feel unhappy with the way your labour and birth went or the way you were looked after, it can help to talk it through with someone outside the experience who will listen, or to write down your birth story and include your feelings and those of your birth partner. Some people find it helpful to tell their midwife how they feel and some like the midwife to talk through their labour notes with them.

Some maternity units offer all parents a "debrief" where you can go through your birth experience with your care givers. You may find that the emotional impact of the experience lessens the more you talk about it with other people. Talking it through, however, can make you more sure that you want to do something to ensure that the problems you experienced are brought to the attention of those who can improve the system.

Having a copy of your own notes may help you work through your feelings, and if you think you might want to complain about your care it is a very good idea to have your notes.

Access to your medical notes

You are legally entitled to have copies of the medical notes concerning your care and your baby's birth. It is helpful to have them with you when you talk to the health professionals involved. For full details of how to apply for your notes click on the 'news' section above and scroll to "Medical records for your baby's birth".

Once you have the notes you may decide you want to complain. The way to do this is to write to the CEO of the trust where you received your maternity care or the trust which employs your care giver. They are required to respond to you and to deal with the issues you raise.

If you need any help then your local NCT branch may be able to support you or you can contact AIMS (Association for Improvements in Maternity Services) at www.aims.org.uk/ - they also have a telephone helpline on 0870 765 1433.

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