How we Birth Matters!

A midwife explains labour and birth from a baby’s perspective!

The knowledge about how to give birth is within every woman.

The knowledge about how to be born is within every baby.

Labour is an instinctive dance between mother and baby !

Birth is a ‘pas de deux’!

BirthWorks Childbirth Education Workshop

The knowledge about how to give birth

is born within every woman.

Birth is instinctive!




Become a childbirth educator through a BirthWorks International


on June 15-17, 2016  ( 9:00am-6:30pm)

at 30/457 Swanson Rd Ranui 0612

 At this workshop led by Cathy Daub, president of BirthWorks International, you will:

  • Receive high quality, comprehensive training that integrates the mind, body, and spirit,
  • Learn about a Human Values approach to childbirth preparation that increases confidence and decreases fear.
  • Learn about Pelvic Bodywork, Primal Health, Grieving and more.
Thereafter work with your mentor throughout your training.
Please contact Cathy at  with any questions about the workshop and course content and costs.

For information on:  access to the venue OR accommodation options

please contact the host  Denise Hynd +64-9-832-467  or

Thank you


Connection is Everything

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.

In Pregnancy.

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.

Most women become aware of their baby’s movements from about 16 to 22 weeks of their pregnancy, depending on various things like; is this their first baby or not, is the placenta at the front of the uterus which may also be well covered with fatty layers, both form padding which can lessen the sensation and awareness of baby’s movements. These days many women do not notice the time of the first, or subsequent movements as they are busy working long hours, this lack or late perception maybe a sign that a mother needs to slow down, rest so she can connect with and nourish her baby, to help it grow emotionally, as well as physically. Those who study stillbirth in Australia and New Zealand, encourage mothers to be mindful of their baby’s behaviours, advising that as the baby grows the number and types of movements will change depending on the mother’s activity. They also warn that “a change in the number or pattern of movements may be an early sign that the baby is unwell and should be checked” with their maternity care provider, rather than waiting for the next appointment or monitoring. Sleeping on her left side during the last weeks of pregnancy will also helps to nourish and maintain its growth by not compressing her blood vessels which give the womb and baby its blood supply. Drugs like smoking, alcohol and strong pain killers are known to alter a baby’s behaviour, and this is why we need to decrease the exposure of pregnant women to noxious substances such as car fumes and cigarette smoke.

During the Birth Process

In labour, the baby is not a passive passenger but rather an active participant in starting and progressing their births, as seen in this graphic. Mothers, who are encouraged  to find positions that assist their baby’s decent through the pelvis, for example by using opening movements such as hip gyrations, lunges or squatting rather than reducing their outlet by sitting on their bottoms, have easier and more fulfilling births. Birth environments which have low lights, low noise and privacy also enhance the birth efforts of both mother and baby by aiding the production of labour hormones; morphine-like substances or Endorphins and the “love hormone” or Oxytocin.

Leaving the cord connection between baby and mother after birth, until it has stopped pulsating not only aids the baby’s immediate transition to life outside of the womb but results in a baby who is not anaemic at 6 to 12 months of age, unlike those who have this link broken earlier. Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth “stabilizes the newborn’s first breathing efforts and oxygenation, increases glucose levels (reducing hypoglycemia), warms the infant (maintaining optimal temperature), reduces stress hormones, regulates blood pressure, decreases crying and increases the quiet alert state.” Initial Skin-2-skin contact between mother and baby also helps  long term maternal efforts of  breastfeeding, settling and a host of interactions with baby by the best foundation levels of that “Love” hormone; Oxytocin.

In Infancy

Long term benefits of maternal closeness with her baby are not limited to infancy or childhood.  Many studies since John Bowlby in the 1950s, have shown that the mother-child bond is the essential and primary force in infant development; this knowledge is the basis of attachment parenting practices such as baby-wearing and elimination communication or baby-led toileting. All babies are naturally hard-wired to expect unity with their mother, and for that unity to continue after birth. “Birth no more constitutes the beginning of the life of the individual than it does the end of gestation. Birth represents a complex and highly important series of functional changes which serve to prepare the newborn for the passage across the bridge between gestation within the womb and gestation continued out of the womb.” (Montagu, 1986, 57) The mother-baby partnership sets the foundation for other relationships in life, as birth and breastfeeding are peak times of Oxytocin production; the hormone of human connection and socialisation as well as love.

The national Brainwave Trust, who are sponsored by the Ministry Of Social Development, are one of many renown bodies who explain to the New Zealand public that during the first year of life, the quality of a child’s primary attachment affects right brain growth.  he right side of the brain is responsible for processing information related to our social interactions and emotions. For the primary or first attachment to be effective in this role it requires; “the consistent interplay of a highly complex and sophisticated, but purely emotional, communication to occur between the primary caregiver and the child. Studies have demonstrated that the manifestations of right brain growth and development that occur within the first two to three years can last a lifetime and security of the attachment bond is the primary defence against trauma-induced psychopathology (Schore, 2002)…Research has shown that children who do not develop secure attachments with a primary caregiver during the first years of life later are unable to calm themselves down; they are more likely than are secure children to overreact to stimuli. Insecure children have less impulse control, less ability to tolerate stress, and less ability to tolerate frustration than do individuals who have experienced a more secure childhood (Toth & Cicchetti, 1998).
The presence of a maternal figure has been shown to reduce childhood pain and distress in unfamiliar environments and aid healing, thus most children’s hospitals world-wide, support and encourage a primary carer of hospitalised infants and older children to room-in with them 24/7. Similarly, the knowledge that a disrupted mother-baby relationship can have long term negative health consequences for the child-as-adult, with ongoing costs for us as a community  is recognised by this government child protection agency’s statement that “To successfully ensure the safety, permanence, and well-being of children it really helps to be “attachment literate.” This means knowing what attachment is, how it works, and how to respond effectively to attachment problems.”


We need to do all we can to promote, protect and support the mother-baby bond from conception into childhood and beyond, as it has life-long emotional and physical benefits for us as individuals and therefore for our families and communities.

Giving birth in a stable might be better than a labour ward

From  on Tuesday, Dec 23 2014 with New Zealand modifications by Denise Hynd

The ‘greatest birth story ever told’ has a lot to teach 21st century policy makers, writes Milli Hill

baby with a santa hat and green background

© Getty Images

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

Placenta Birth Choices.

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

Love and Fear.

There are only two feelings: Love and Fear

There are only two languages: Love and Fear

There are only two activities: Love and Fear

There are only two  motives, two procedures,

Two frameworks, two results : Love and Fear,

Love and Fear.

Michael Leunig


NZ Media and Caesarean Realities.

This Friday 13th (September 2013) saw TVNZ One News coverage of the Women’s Health Research Centres’ report on the rising Caesarean Section (C/S) rates in NZ, ignore and, or misrepresent the following facts;

1)  There was no suggestion let alone reference, or hint by TVNZ of growing international evidence and experiences which show that a surgical delivery has more risks for both mother and baby compared to a vaginal birth, in all the examples to which they referred. However the viewpoints offered by TVNZ about those situations suggest that Caesarean delivery is an equal, acceptable or even better birth option for these mothers and their babies.  Continue reading

Home Birth Safer than Hospital.

BBC News; 14 June 2013

Home birth complications ‘less common’ than hospital

Mother and newborn
In the UK, home births account for around 2.5% of all births – the figure is 20% in the Netherlands

Planned home births are less risky than planned hospital births, particularly for second-time mothers, says research in the British Medical Journal.

A large Dutch study found the risk of severe complications to be one in 1,000 for home births and 2.3 in 1,000 for hospital births.

The Royal College of Midwives said the study was further evidence of the safety and benefits of home birth. Whilst Obstetricians warn that the system in the Netherlands is different to the UK.

For low-risk women having their first baby at home, the study calculated their risk of being admitted to intensive care or needing a large blood transfusion to be small – and similar to women giving birth in hospital.

This was 2.3 per 1,000 for home births, compared with 3.1 per 1,000 for planned hospital births.

But in women who had given birth before, severe complications were found to be less common during planned home births.

The researchers, including midwives and obstetricians from universities in Amsterdam, Leiden and Nijmegen, said those figures were “statistically significant”.

In this group of women, the risk of severe blood loss after delivery (also known as postpartum haemorrhage) was 19.6 per 1,000 for a planned home birth compared with 37.6 per 1,000 for planned hospital births.

“We should be aiming to see home births at the levels of the 1960s when a third of women had their babies in their homes” said Cathy Warwick of The Royal College of Midwives Continue reading

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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
No other natural bodily function is painful and childbirth should not be an exception. — Grantly Dick-Read
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
The greatest joy is to become a mother; the second greatest is to be a midwife. — Norwegian proverb
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. — Frank Zappa
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
A loving heart is the truest wisdom. — Charles Dickens
I can promise you that women working together - linked, informed and educated - can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet. — Isabel Allende
All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. — Ellen Glasgow
We need to have their hearts before we can open their minds. — Dr Gordon Neufeld