Tel: 01244 365 000
A very BMI focused policy. However, after returning for more information about pool use, I’ve been told that access is on a case-by-case basis, so it sounds as though you can argue your corner if you would like to use a pool in their facility.
Unfortunately, the Countess of Chester are sadly under the misapprehension that BMI ‘must be under 35 for home delivery’ which is absolutely not the case. Choosing to birth at home is every woman’s right, protected in law.
While the hospital may advise against it, they may not forbid it. Many women with a BMI over 35 (Big Birtha included) have successfully and happily birthed at home.
If your BMI is between 30 and 35, you can expect to be given a moderately scaremongering leaflet entitled ‘Information for Pregnancies with increased BMI’, which tells you all the increased risks but not by how much the risk is increased (so you have lots of nice things to worry about but no idea about how much to actually worry about them), the ‘here’s all the things that are more likely to go wrong with your pregnancy because you’re fat’ conversation, checked that you’re taking 5mg folic acid, be offered a dietician referral, be booked for a glucose tolerance test at 28 weeks, assessed for risk of high blood pressure and prescribed aspirin if you’re deemed a risk, and you will be booked into ‘Shared Care’, which seems to be a euphemism for Consultant Care.
If your BMI is between 35 and 40, you can expect the above, be told that you ‘should’ give birth in the hospital and not consider home birth, and be referred for extra scans to check your baby’s growth at 28 and 34 weeks.
If your BMI is between 40 and 50, you can expect the above, but also be given an appointment with an anaesthetist, and a presumably fairly patronising assessment of your ‘manual handling needs’ (i.e. can you get yourself out of a chair, can you wash yourself). You’ll be considered a moderate risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and be advised to take medication for 7 days after delivery.
If your BMI is 50 or over, you can expect the above, but they may also suggest that you consider elective caesarean section!? Not sure where or why they dreamt this up, but it’s not from any RCOG or NICE Guidance. Women with a BMI of 50+ are perfectly capable of birthing babies naturally and don’t need to have their abilities and confidence undermined. Fine if there is a valid medical reason, but being fat is not.
I have received no policy for IVF referral, but the covering email states that a woman’s BMI needs to be under 30 to be considered (amongst other criteria).