Too fat for a birth pool?

Pregnant mum barred from a birth centre because her BMI was too high


A 20-year-old mum-to-be was told she couldn’t deliver her baby at a birth centre because her Body Mass Index (BMI) was over 35.


Health officials at St Helier hospital in Carshalton apparently told the mum her weight made her a health and safety risk as midwives would have to lift her if complications developed.

The pregnant mum, Kirsty Shaw, was then sent to the nearby maternity ward where she then gave birth to her third child, Lily, luckily without any complications.

The mum has since complained that the hospital discriminated against her because of her weight. She claimed her BMI was high because she had recently given birth to her son Harry.

“My blood pressure is normal and I had Harry in the same pool, which gave me a really strong bond with him. But this time they said they’d need a hoist to lift me if there were complications,” she said.

I’m devastated because I’ve been denied a choice over how I gave birth. Women should be judged on their medical history, not on their BMI.”

However, a spokesperson explained that pregnant women with a BMI of above 30 are at greater risk of complications during pregnancy and birth.

“This issue is not a trivial health and safety matter, nor are the guidelines we follow designed to be discriminatory. This is about keeping our patients safe.

“Therefore women with a BMI of more than 35 cannot use the birth centre and women with a BMI between 30 and 35 are assessed on a case-by-case basis before a decision is made about using the birth centre.”


What do you think? Should women be judged on previous pregnancy and birth histories rather than weight? Or were the hospital right to put safety first? Tell us below…


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