From the mouths of midwives - 6 things you need to know about birth


A Life's Work - Midwives, Radio 4, Wednesday 15th August 2018


If you're pregnant now. Or ever have been. Or intend to be at some point in the future. Or if you're a bloke who's going to, or already has, procreated. THIS is an essential piece of listening.

It's a proper 30min programme, which I know means lots of you won't have the chance to listen. So here are the TOP 6 THINGS to take from this programme

1) The word MIDWIFE comes from the Old English 'to be with woman'. I was talking about this last evening with Clients H&R, and discussing what that means in practical terms. It means being present in the moment; being patient; being supportive; tuning in'; listening and hearing women.

2) The UK is short of midwives to the tune of 3,500. Jon Skews of the Royal College of Midwives says '‘The NHS in England remains 3500 midwives short of the number of midwives it needs to deliver a safe and high-quality maternity service.'. Just think for a moment about what the means to women who are delivering their babies right now - in the context of what the word MIDWIFE originally meant. Are midwives realistically able to be present, tuned in, still & patient with labouring women when they are understaffed? Midwives, and the system overall, is OVERLOADED.

3) Sheena Byrom titled her book 'Catching Babies' for a reason. WOMEN do the work, give birth to and deliver their babies. Midwives & Drs catch them - even when a baby is born with the assistance of forceps, Ventouse or a caesarian. Sheena talks in this interview about her training in the 1970s. A hierarchical time when Drs were in charge and when women did what they were told. This included the dehumanising habit of shaving women's pubic hair, and giving them enemas during the early stages of labour. She now describes a feeling of shame about some of these things. They definitely contributed to women's fear of birth as a experience they are not able to control - this pervasive fear is now no longer personal, but cultural, and has a material effect on how women are led to expect to experience their births, and therefore how they prepare, mentally and physically.

4) There are now more Caesarian births in the UK than there were in the 1970s. Caesarian birth can be extremely positive for many women (including the two Client's I've recently seen who are #soproud of their births, and with extremely good reason). It's also major abdominal surgery. No one type of birth is generically *better* than any other. No One Size Fits All. But it's interesting to wonder, isn't it, why the rate has changed so dramatically when women's bodies haven't. What is going on in medicine, obestetrics & hospitals to facilitate that?

5) Dylan - the male midwife in this interview - used a really interesting phrase; "There is no thought basis within midwifery, or society as a whole, to respect the normal nature of birth". He's talking about framing, or modelling birth (see previous blogs & vlogs, ad nauseam). Currently the framework of birth that women are led to anticipate is one of suffering, indignity, pain and trauma. Where is our positive, realistic framework of normalised birth accompanied by appropriate and sensible use of technology and intervention. WITHOUT JUDGEMENT OR COERCION. My Client earlier this week actually made an unconscious apology for not wanting an epidural during our session, "it's not that I'm obsessed with 'natural' or a hippy or anything". Why should ANY woman apologise for knowing what's 'right' for her, and working - actively, and with responsibility - towards that?

6) Sofia Odugleh (pictured bottom right) talked about 'people not saying what they think'. Women wanting to be polite, and not wanting to offend. This is so British, and something I hear so frequently. If there's one thing you take from this, please let it be that your labour is NOT the time to worry about other people's feelings. It's all about YOU, Girl.

If you want to know more about hypnobirthing, or the courses & classes options I offer, PM me directly, or check out thegoodbithpractice.co.uk


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