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

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

Meeting National Science Challenge 2 !

As per the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory Committee’s website , the 10 National Science Challenges has care of older citizens ahead of a better beginning for future generations, so as an older midwife I have written to Sir Peter Gluckman suggesting  one way of “improving the potential of young New Zealanders to have a healthy and successful life” is by national adoption of delayed cord clamping and, or cutting after birth, as standard maternity care. Continue reading

Three Stages or Bust?

What is accepted as ‘Normal Labour’?

Most mainstream sources of information about birth, including magazines and antenatal classes portray labour as happening in 3 distinct stages, the first of which progresses over many hours or even days according to whether the woman is pregnant with her fourth or first baby respectively. These informants will also advise that when the accepted ‘safe’ time limits for each of these stages of normal labour are exceeded it is a sign that the woman’s body needs to be medically helped. This help can be in the form of treatments to speed the labour up (augmentation) or pull the baby out of the woman by using vacuum or forceps or major abdominal surgery.

Equally, a labour which occurs more quickly than with-in these prescribed boundaries is called “Precipitate Labour” and considered potentially dangerous for mother, baby or both. Though sometimes stunned by this unexpected and overwhelming experience of labour and birth, women and their babies are usually unharmed by ‘precipitate’ labours, particularly when compared to the levels of trauma experienced by many women who have medical ‘help’ with slow labours. Continue reading

Home Birth is a Royal Tradition

Duchess of Cambridge, open your eyes to the home birth revolution

A seldom written fact is that the Queen had all four of her children at home. Ahead of a new ITV documentary this evening, Home Delivery, Beverley Turner, a strong advocate of such births, hopes Kate Middleton is tuned in.

Daily Telegraph, London March 21st, 2013.

The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, visits Baker Street Underground Station to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground

The pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was handed a ‘Baby on board’ badge yesterday. Photo: PA

Daily Telegraph, London 21 Mar 2013

At 9pm tonight, I hope Katherine and William Wales will be tucked up in their crested onesies, dipping chocolate brownies in their Earl Grey and watching ITV, because in the documentary Home Delivery, they will see something so rarely glimpsed that it should have been narrated by David Attenborough: human birth as a perfectly normal, rather jolly occasion, overseen by a brassy midwife in the cosy surrounds of family homes. It is a timely antidote to Channel Four’s terrifying One Born Every Minute.

I defy any woman – including Kate – not to wonder, how we’ve managed to muck up maternity services so badly, that only two per cent of British women now have such a safe, cheap and empowering birth. The type that, as Davina McCall once said of her three home births, “knocked spots off any drug I’ve ever taken. When those babies popped out, I wanted to stand naked on the highest mountain and roar with pride. I could do it again and again and again”.

Continue reading

Birth in New Zealand.


Uniquely New Zealand.

In New Zealand women can choose to have the same midwife, or doctor care for them from early pregnancy through birth and up to six weeks afterwards as part of the country’s maternity services. These practitioners are the woman’s ‘LMC’ or Lead Maternity Carer with whom she contracts to access all funded supports such as pharmacy, pathology, radiology and, or hospital services as needed, in  accordance with national guidelines. Maternity care has been free for all New Zealand women since 1938. The legislative support for women’s choice of a midwife was included in 1990, following a long campaign by women and midwives led by Joan Donley. Continue reading

Christmas is a celebration of birth!

On Christmas day much of the world celebrates a natural birth following no formalised antenatal care, in fact no professional services or interventions at all!

“Joy to the world women can birth,
Let all the nations know
That we can trust women,
To care for themsleves,
And their babies too
And their babies too”

When we support with love!

Breastfeeding; A vital health foundation ignored!

A program about poor health outcomes of New Zealand children due to poverty, which advocates drinking cow’s milk as healthy nutrition but does not mention breastfeeding, though it claims to make a comparison with child health care in Sweden is hardly a ‘special report, rather it is a selective or ill-informed report.

Continue reading

Subscribe to stay up to date!


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
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
We need to have their hearts before we can open their minds. — Dr Gordon Neufeld
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
The greatest joy is to become a mother; the second greatest is to be a midwife. — Norwegian proverb
I can promise you that women working together - linked, informed and educated - can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet. — Isabel Allende
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