The problem of diagnosing active labour is that objective assessment through cervical dilatation and assessing behavioural cues via telephone or even in person do not always accord with a mother’s lived experience of labour. Mothers are often told it is in their best interests to stay at home longer. As a result some mothers are left feeling neglected and some go on to birth unexpectedly away from their chosen birthplace. Midwives are acting as organisational gatekeepers to a restricted service and are not always responding to the expressed needs of mothers. This is a safety and quality issue and some mothers are at increased risk as a result. Helen will tell the story of her research exploring these issues, and how she used cognitive dissonance theory to make sense of her findings. She used feminist and collaborative methods to both raise awareness and engage participants in the research process.