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
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
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’!
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
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
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
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
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
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