Wife 'brainwashed ' into home birth, inquest told

A woman who was so anxious about giving birth she hired a private midwife bled to death after her placenta was “ripped out”, an inquest heard.

A woman who was so anxious about giving birth she hired a private midwife bled to death after her placenta was “ripped out”, an inquest heard.

Claire Teague, 29, hired independent midwife Rosie Kacary when she became pregnant for the second time in 2009 after she had lost one of her twins during an emergency caesarean section earlier that year.

Mrs Teague, of Woodley, near Reading, had been planning to give birth at Basingstoke Hospital but on the advice of the midwife opted for a home birth, Windsor Coroner’s Court was told.

But following the birth in the early hours of August 1 2010, she began to feel unwell, complained of being in pain and started bleeding heavily, the hearing was told.

She was rushed to hospital by ambulance where doctors found a third of her placenta had not been removed, causing a massive haemorrhage.

Surgeons tried to stop the bleeding but she died later that day.

At an inquest into her death, Mrs Teague’s husband Simon said his wife had been “brainwashed” into having a home birth by the midwife, who reassured her it was completely safe.

But the father-of-two, whose baby boy survived the birth, told the hearing he watched his wife’s placenta being “ripped out” in an “aggressive manner” when the midwife found she could not remove it normally.

He said: “I was anxious when Rosie started to pull the placenta out. She pulled the cord six or seven times in an aggressive manner. Eventually the placenta came out with a lot of force and tugging.”

Mr Teague told the hearing how he was told his wife had suffered a minor tear, but Ms Kacary said it was not serious enough to need a suture.

The midwife, who examined the placenta by torchlight as the room was dark and the curtains were closed, told him there were bits of membrane left inside her, but reassured him they would come out naturally, the inquest was told.

However, once the midwife had left, Mrs Teague began feeling weak and complaining she was in pain.

The midwife reassured Mr Teague it was normal following birth, but after repeated contact she eventually returned to the house to find the young mother had stopped breathing.

Mrs Teague suffered a massive bleed in the ambulance and was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where doctors found 30% of her placenta had not been removed.

Mr Teague said: “When we were in the hospital she came up to me and she said, ’I should have stayed longer, shouldn’t I’. I now think if she had stayed longer she could have done something about it.”

Dr Helen Allott, a consultant gynaecologist, expressed disbelief the young mother had not been taken to hospital earlier.

“In my opinion had the placenta been examined in good light in a conventional manner it would have been apparent that a large piece was missing,” she said.

“I have looked at thousands of placentas and this placenta; I must say I was quite shocked. I was very clear in my mind that a very large piece was missing.”

Dr Allott said a placenta should never be “tugged”, adding: “Simon recalls vigorous tugging on the cord six or seven times. That’s not the correct way to deliver the placenta."

Asked to comment on Mrs Teague’s decision to have her baby at home despite her history of blood loss during her previous labour, Dr Allott said it was a high risk.

She added: “If you’ve had a previous blood loss you have an increased risk of a haemorrhage happening again.

“If I was the person advising the mother, I would want to know that I was advising her of all the risks.”

The inquest continues.

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