About this service

When birth doesn’t go to plan

Sometimes, your birth experience doesn’t go as you wanted or expected it to. The ESNEFT  birth reflections service is a team of experienced midwives who can provide information about your care, whilst acknowledging your thoughts and concerns. You may find it useful to email our Ipswich birth reflections service, or email our Colchester birth reflections service particularly if you have experienced one of these events.

Shoulder dystocia

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have published a leaflet on their website.  The leaflet has information about how shoulder dystocia may affect you and your baby.

RCOG Shoulder Dystocia information web page (Opens in a new window)


Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) – heavy bleeding after birth

PPH can be primary or secondary

  • Primary PPH is when you lose 500 ml (a pint) or more of blood within the first 24 hours after the birth of your baby. Primary PPH can be minor, where you lose 500–1000 ml (one or two pints), or major, where you lose more than 1000 ml (more than two pints).
  • Secondary PPH occurs when you have abnormal or heavy vaginal bleeding between 24 hours and 12 weeks after the birth.

PPH can occur for a vast number of reasons, many of which are out of your control. Talk to your midwife about your own personal PPH experience, and ask them to explain further so you can understand why PPH may have occurred.

How will I feel after PPH?

You may need a longer hospital stay.  If tests show that you are very anaemic or if you are feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed, we may give you a blood transfusion or an iron infusion.

When you go home you may still be tired and anaemic, and you may need treatment with iron. It may take a few weeks before you make a full recovery. Your GP may offer you a blood test in 6 to 8 weeks to check your blood count.

Following birth and a PPH, you may find yourself feeling exhausted. You may feel shaky, weak, and look very pale.

Resting and looking after yourself is very important, but with a new baby this can sometimes prove to be a challenge.

Extra support at home at this time will help you focus on getting stronger and allow your body to recover.

After a PPH, breastfeeding is still encouraged. Some people find that their breastfeeding journey is affected following a PPH, and extra feeding support from a feeding professional normally benefits both parent and baby. Should you experience any difficulties or have any concerns contact your GP, or use the phone number on your hospital discharge information pack.

You and your birth partner may have found the experience distressing and it is often helpful to talk through the events. You will have the opportunity to discuss what has happened before you leave the hospital. You may be offered, or you can request, a further meeting with a specialist birth reflections midwife.

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