After forty-one years of midwifery practice, the last 8 in New Zealand where manyacknowledge that maternity care is in crisis, I have created a petition that respectfully requests that the New Zealand Ministry of Health:
Develops an accessible, practical campaign to promote, support and protect natural or physiological birth throughout New Zealand.
Widely publishes data on all New Zealand place of birth outcomes to foster informed maternity choices.
Provides dedicated funding to ensure equitable access for well women to local community oriented, physiologically appropriate and culturally sensitive primary birthing units.
Publicly promotes, encourages and supports birth at home with experienced midwife for well women.
Engages with women, their whanau and national media as well as representatives of all maternity care providers toward achieving the aforementioned goals.
From the soft-edge focused front cover photo to the series on the back cover, this is a book which shows through the words of mothers, their midwives and family members, as well as pictures, what is possible when experienced midwives have a philosophy centred in trust of women and their bodily knowledge, motivating and informing their practice. The pregnancy and birth experiences of this book happened as part of the Albany Midwifery Practice which “ran from 1997 to 2009 in Peckham, South East London, caring for an all-risk caseload of local women within the NHS. The unique model of midwifery care included continuity of carer with two named midwives and choice of place of birth. The midwives looked after over 2500 women with excellent outcomes, achieving a home birth rate of over 40% alongside a low perinatal mortality rate”. Continue reading →
“Why not Home?:The surprising birth choices for doctors and nurses” is a new and beautifully produced US documentary exploring the experiences of several family nurse practitioners, obstetrically trained doctors and midwives who choose to deliver (as they call birth) their babies at home, rather than in a hospital. This film reviews the history of birth moving from home to hospital in the USA, the rising and internationally high US caesarean section rates and 2 sets of research about the safety of home birth compared to hospital delivery; all of which are some of the reasons behind these US health professionals asking “Why Not Home”. Continue reading →
Beginning with a cheeky baby on the cover, ‘Bump’ is packed with wonderful cartoons; many laugh-out-loud funny ones, some hauntingly beautiful which accompany an at times irreverent yet sensitive, evidence based and yet visceral text; a combination which authentically depicts many of the roller-coaster rides of womanhood today. In “Functions of the Orgasms” Michel Odent said “the function of joy in pregnancy is to protect the unborn child against the effects of the harmful stress hormones”, and “to transmit from generation to generation the capacity to be joyful”, thus I recommend this book to all but especially to pregnant women. “Bump” covers the full gamut of reproduction issues; through pre-conception to trying to, or not trying to conceive, early to late pregnancy development and possible losses, preparing for the baby, birth options and rights. Continue reading →
Growing knowledge and awareness about the physical and emotional implications of the mother-baby connection, and how our actions from conception to early childhood can help or impede this relationship, is resulting in promotion of practices which support this relationship.
Authorities are beginning to acknowledge that parenting begins before birth, and possibly before pregnancy. There is mounting evidence from scientific experiments, and personal stories of children and adults about their experiences before birth, which makes us realise that memory, learning and communication begin in the womb; a long time before we acquire language. Babies in the womb have a fast developing sensory system which allows them to react to individual voices, stories, music, and even simple interaction games with the mother from about the second month (8 weeks) of pregnancy.Therefore the quality of the emotional, as well as the physical uterine environment is affected by the parents, their behaviours and their lives.
When it comes to giving birth, maybe newer, shinier and more technological isn’t necessarily better. The world was baffled recently when new UK guidelines for pregnant women stated quite clearly that hospital was the LEAST safe place to give birth – how very mysterious! Could it be that those beeping machines and vigilant docs, which we’d all been led to believe epitomised progress and were so very essential to our labours, were actually making things worse?!
It seems like the world is finally waking up to the fact that birth is something so fundamentally human – like eating, sleeping, making love – that it does not benefit from the interference of modern technology. With birth, we need to go back to basics, and to allow ourselves to be mammals. And so, although the straw might be a little spiky on the knees, a stable might be just the place to have a baby. Here’s why: Continue reading →
More Auckland screenings of Microbirth will happen in 2015 -if you would like to host one please contact Denise
“Microbirth” examines evidence which links modern delivery practices with the reduction and loss of some critical biological processes making our children more susceptible to non-infectious diseases through-out their lives. For example recent studies have shown that babies born by Caesarean have an increased risk of developing asthma, type 1 diabetes, obesity and other diseases linked to the immune system;up-to 30% higher than children born vaginally. Other research also shows that the process of vaginal birth which involves a cocktail of hormones for mother and baby in labour, sets the best beginnings for our immune system and subsequent health. International experts in the film also forecast that the current escalation of these non-communicable diseases is a potential world health catastrophe which could bankrupt many nations!
Auckland hospitals Caesarean Section rates in 2013 are; National Women’s 30%, North Shore 30%, Waitakere 24.6%, Middlemore 22% !
Further explanation of the Microbiome and its implications on pregnancy is here; Midwifethinking
The placenta and its care is a vital part of a healthy pregnancy and birth, as together with the baby’s cord, amniotic fluid and 2 membranes or sacs, it is “The Fetal Life Support System” until the baby is living outside the womb.
Each baby and its placenta, cord, amniotic fluid and membranes develop simultaneously following the union of the ovum (egg) and sperm. Placental function begins from implantation until the baby has moved to life outside the womb, if we allow it to complete its work. Continue reading →
The greatest joy is to become a mother; the second greatest is to be a midwife. — Norwegian proverb
Trust children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves and most of us were taught as children we could not be trusted. — John Holt
A loving heart is the truest wisdom. — Charles Dickens
We need to have their hearts before we can open their minds. — Dr Gordon Neufeld
Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers – strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength. — Barbara Katz-Rothman
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. — Frank Zappa
I can promise you that women working together - linked, informed and educated - can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet. — Isabel Allende
Nothing in life is to be feared it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so we can fear less. — Marie Curie
No other natural bodily function is painful and childbirth should not be an exception. — Grantly Dick-Read
All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. — Ellen Glasgow