Conditions that threaten women’s lives in childbirth & pregnancy


Age at interview: 36
Age at diagnosis: 35

Brief outline: Lisa's was a high risk pregnancy due to osteogenisis imperfecta and symphysis pubis dysfunction. After a long labour her baby was born safely, but she then started to haemorrhage. Doctors were unable to stop the bleeding and performed an emergency hysterectomy to save Lisa's life.

Background: Lisa, a 35 year old instrument maker, with one child. She lived with her partner. White British.

Audio & video

Audio onlyText only
Read below

<p>Lisa&rsquo;s life threatening event took place 13 months before her interview, during the swine flu epidemic of 2009. Her daughter survived and is well. Lisa had high-risk pregnancy due to a condition called osteogenisis imperfect (a condition causing extremely fragile bones.) and symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) which causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis causing inflammation and pain,which left her wheelchair-bound for last few weeks of her pregnancy. She developed cholestastis (build up of bile in the blood stream) and was asked to go in to hospital to be induced at 39 weeks. She arrived on a Thursday night, her labour did not progress for 3 days. When her labour did finally start, she was exhausted, in extreme pain (with no pain relief) and felt as though she had been ignored by staff for days. She asked several times both before the birth and during labour for a caesarean section, but was refused. She was finally put in stirrups and forceps were used to deliver her daughter, despite these being written on her notes as not advisable.&nbsp;</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Lisa was given her baby, who started breastfeeding immediately, but she soon started haemmorhaging. Lisa was rushed off to theatre and went on to haemorrhage three times. She woke up in intensive care (ITU) three days later. Staff bought her newborn baby to see her in ITU and were very kind, helping her to try and breastfeed. But once she was back on the maternity ward (in a single room) she felt the midwives discouraged her from breastfeeding, and she wasn&rsquo;t able to re-establish breastfeeding. She felt the care on the maternity ward was not good, and after about a week she discharged herself in the middle of the night. Lisa was wheelchair bound for a long while, did not go out of the house much and could only walk for 15 minutes at a time. Her GP had been very supportive and she was offered counseling.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div>


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email