How to birth

“Birth in Focus: Stories and photos to inform, educate and inspire.”

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

“Bump: How to make, grow and birth a baby” by Kate Evans

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

How 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’!

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

Labour, everything is possible!

In 1975, in her book “Spiritual Midwifery” Ina May Gaskin first wrote  about a labour which went backwards. That birth story was possibly only one example in her women-centred  practice which led to her proposing ”Sphincter Law” as a means to explain why some labours do not fit the accepted ’3 progressive stages’ definition of labour.  In that instance the woman’s labour, as measured by vaginal examinations, reversed after she heard comments, and became fearful that her labour was progressing unusually fast. As I suggested in a previous blog, trying to determine how much the cervical muscle or sphincter has dilated is one common way labour is disturbed. This is because the understanding that labour can go backwards or stall depending on what is happening to, around or for the woman is rarely appreciated by most maternity carers and institutions. Continue reading

Women Can Birth!

The Herstory of Birth.

Birth Images from Ancient Times is the first of 4 YouTube videos titled the Timeless Way created by Mother’s Advocate, which show images and explain birth practices from as far back as 20,000 years ago. This ‘herstory’ is one of communities knowing that women can give birth, because until the last 100 years or less (especially in rural communities), birth was part of everyday life and birth was women’s domain. Continue reading

Hands off the cord!

Even before the fertilised ova, or egg embeds in the womb, there is a division of cells into those which will become baby or placenta. Both placenta and baby need to be healthy, connected and functioning as naturally as possible for the pregnancy to result in the birth of a baby and placenta at about 40 weeks gestation.

Due to its significance for Maori, most New Zealanders have learnt to respect the placenta once it is delivered, still most babies here, as elsewhere, are having their cord cut before its vital work has finished. Yet Maori acknowledge that ‘the place where one’s umbilical cord was severed is ….a place of special importance for each person…………their place of first emergence into the world, of first maturation and foundation.’  This cultural perception is consistent with the physiological reasons why the cord should be left to finish its work. Similarly those who practice Lotus birth or leave the cord and placenta to separate naturally, do it for a variety of reasons which acknowledge the united origin, life and history of baby, cord  and placenta. Continue reading

Get Off The Bed!

This week’s “One Born Every Minute”  again showed women painfully, agonisingly labouring and birthing on a bed despite using pain relief measures such as gas.
Sadly many were on a bed at the direction or encouragement of a midwife, even after they had tried to get  off as their discomfort was directing them to do.

Labouring and birthing on a bed is not how birth is intended or should be. Continue reading

One Born Tragically Every Minute.

Perhaps the UK series; ‘One Born Every Minute’ shows examples of why a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Expert Advisory Group said;  “Too much care is provided within secondary and tertiary settings. Too many babies are born in the traditional ‘hospital’ setting. We need to drive this care back into the community with the appropriate provision of facilities and professionals with appropriate skills.” Continue reading

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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
No other natural bodily function is painful and childbirth should not be an exception. — Grantly Dick-Read
Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. — Frank Zappa
A loving heart is the truest wisdom. — Charles Dickens
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
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
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
We need to have their hearts before we can open their minds. — Dr Gordon Neufeld