Film published: April 2017, review date: April 2020
More than 60% of women worry about wasting midwives’ time when raising health concerns during pregnancy.
That’s just one of our reasons for launching a new safer pregnancy campaign called #AlwaysAsk.
The campaign aims to reassure you that you are NOT wasting time or being a nuisance when raising concerns to a health professional during pregnancy.
Your knowledge about your changing body is invaluable in helping health professionals detect pregnancy complications early before they become serious. This is why it’s important to speak up when something doesn’t feel right.
The campaign film is based on a longer 5 minute film produced by King's College London. View the full animation here.
Practical tips from other women on how to get listened to and be taken seriously when you have a concern in pregnancy.
Tommy’s, King’s College London and BabyCentre have launched a new campaign, ‘Always Ask’, to empower pregnant women to overcome fears about speaking to professionals about health concerns.
In many cases the symptoms in this section can be treated easily and will not lead to a serious complication. But sometimes they are signs of something more serious.
Jo Birtwhistle had reduced movement with her first baby in 2016. In spite of being a midwife, she hesitated to report it out of fear of being a nuisance: ‘As a midwife I’m really aware of telling pregnant women that, if they have a concern, they must come and see us. Yet, when it came to my own baby, I didn’t take my own advice. I had reduced movement with my baby and delayed making that call because I didn’t want to make a fuss. When I finally did go in the hospital found that the baby was measuring small for gestational age, which meant she may not have been getting enough oxygen through the placenta. The hospital induced labour and four hours later Sophie was born. I dread to think what might have happened if I had not gone in.’
Research from King’s College London confirms that speaking up about concerns can prevent complications from becoming serious. You can read more about the research behind the campaign here.
#AlwaysAsk centres around two animated films that have been voiced by midwife Clemmie Hooper. Both animations were created with women and health professionals, and based on the real experiences of women. The first film (above) follows a pregnant woman through her pregnancy journey. It shows her fears being resolved as she speaks up about a concern. Our second film gives practical tips for talking to health professionals.
'I finally called a midwife, but even then, I convinced her I was just a worrier and we agreed to wait for my appointment the next day. At the appointment, my blood pressure was so high the midwife thought the machine was broken.'
Caroline (read more)
Tips for speaking up in pregnancy
The follow-up film gives practical tips on how to get listened to and be taken seriously when you have a concern in pregnancy. The tips have been gathered from other women who have been in the same situation. You can read more about each tip here.
To help prioritise your questions, queries and concerns, we've created a downloadable sheet to write them down. Store it inside your maternity notes so it is ready for your next appointment.
Help us spread the word - please share
You can really help to get the message out by sharing our films on social media. Please share today to empower other mums-to-be to trust their instincts and speak up. The campaign hashtag is #AlwaysAsk.
Find out more
#AlwaysAsk is a safer pregnancy campaign by Tommy’s, King’s College London and Babycentre.
The campaign is supported by NHS England, Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
'My work colleagues were begging me to make an appointment or go to the hospital.'
'I have learnt that midwives prefer it if we call them or come in. They don't view it as a nuisance.'
'As a midwife I’m really aware of telling pregnant women that they must come and see us. Yet, I didn’t take my own advice.'
'I had felt my baby move only a few hours before. It was only just too late.'
By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 May 2017 - 02:35
The medical community (physicians especially) needs the most education so they'll listen instead of dismissing patient concerns. If anyone had listened to me, my twin boys might be alive. It happened in Canada though and I thought it's a Canada thing. Then a few months later my cousin (in Buckinghamshire, UK) was consistently ignored even though she felt something was very wrong. She lost her daughter as a late term miscarriage, but it was preventable. The next year, her coworker went through the same experience in Bucks. About a year after that (recently), a friend of mine in Scotland went through that experience also and was later berated by her physician for not trying harder to make herself heard.
I think plenty of women want to ask for help and advice and stand up for their baby and themselves, but when people who should listen ignore them, treat them like fools, and chastise them, you get a lot of damaged families, dead babies, lost trust, resentment, and anger.
Thank you for sharing the article and message though. Change has to start somewhere.
By Midwife @Tommys on 18 May 2017 - 10:07
Thank you for sharing your story and the experiences of your friends, it is so sad to hear that they felt that they weren't listened too. This is why we are trying to promote this message so that women and their families can have the confidence to speak up when they have a concern or they are unsure of anything during their pregnancy. Thank you again for sharing your story with us.
By Karen (not verified) on 30 Apr 2017 - 09:40
I didn't know that I had pre-eclampsia when I had swollen legs and ankles. My midwife was supportive but there weren't any other symptoms at that time and I was advised to go back in a couple of weeks. A few days later I sought a second opinion with my GP. She knew me and was shocked at my appearance compared to normal. She sent me straight to hospital and after a lot of monitoring was induced 5 weeks early to protect baby and me. I dread to think of the price we may have paid if I hadn't taken control and trusted my instincts. Remember- it's your body and 'making a fuss' may save lives!
By Midwife @Tommys on 2 May 2017 - 15:19
Thank you for posting your story. It gives other women encouragement to do the same .
I am so glad to hear that you and your baby are doing well.
I really love the last line of your message.
Remember-it's your body and making a fuss may save lives!
Thank you Karen
By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Apr 2017 - 14:42
Thank you for your message I appreciate you sharing your story so much. It is such wonderful news to hear that your baby is thriving.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 25 Apr 2017 - 09:06
I absolutely cannot support this campaign enough, my little boy was born at 25 weeks and is a happy and healthy 8 month old with no problems... if I had not trusted my instincts he would not be here today. I was in and out of hospital from 17 weeks I knew something wasn't right, at 20 weeks I was diagnosed with a weak cervix and had to have an emergency cervical stitch it gave me 5 weeks ... but those 5 weeks I had steroids, consultant care and when the time came I got myself to the hospital in good time when I realised I was in labour ... listen to your body and trust your instincts!!