Another set of risks…

“Much, though by no means all, of what has been written and spoken around childbirth revolves around fear. Policies and practice at both national government level and local hospital level have frequently been based on the idea of ‘risk assessment’.…

We’re headed down under!

Suitcases are packed, liquids are corralled in the obligatory ziplock bag and – perhaps most importantly of all for me – my craft case is full to bursting with projects for me to make on the plane and while I’m…

Nobody is normal

“In short, normality is all about context. What is normal for one individual could be insufferable for another, and the same individual could be normal in one environment yet not in another. Just take a look at inborn differences in…

A woman’s decision…

I find it really sad that midwifery regulators don’t seem to understand the enormous value that there is in continuity of care, which has been described as central to gold standard midwifery care. Nor is there much recognition that the…

Is this going to change your management?

I have found, over quite a few years of teaching midwifery, that people who are learning midwifery and similar arts often like to have building blocks in the form of rules, lists and principles that they can learn and explore…

Help Save Independent Midwifery!

A few weeks ago, I posted about the worrying situation in the UK, where the actions of midwifery regulator the NMC have led to midwives in the UK not being able to practice independently. “The impact of this ruling extends…

Defining active labour

An article published in Birth has added to the debate about the different guidelines relating to the diagnosis* of active labour, considering which of them leads to the highest number of caesareans. *Before I move on, I’d like to quickly…

Celebrating the Albany Practice Outcomes

This week, an important paper has been published (currently in draft form) in Midwifery. Titled ‘Midwifery continuity of carer in an area of high socio-economic disadvantage in London: a retrospective analysis of Albany Midwifery Practice outcomes using routine data (1997–2009)’,…

A true place of knowing…

“Holding on to what we have been told is true is not the same as having a true place of knowing.” – Jeanne Ohm If that thought interests you, I’m going to be re-posting some articles that I wrote a…

Question holding…

“The baby comes from the womb relatively germ-free, and yet within one hour, scientists say the human baby has been colonized with millions of microbes. The question is, whose microbes? One person should be doing this “seeding”, and it is…

Regulation threatens women’s rights

The UK Nursing and Midwifery Council has been deemed to be acting irresponsibly by denying choice to women and “directly jeopardi[sing] the health and safety of the women it is supposed to safeguard”. On January 13th 2017, the independent midwifery…

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!  This is my last post of 2016 … as ever, we are going to turn off our computers and turn on the festive away message over the holidays. What a year it has been! We’ve had so much…

What do women think of due dates?

A survey of pregnant women planning a hospital birth in Australia offers interesting food for thought in relation to women’s views and knowledge about the ‘due date’ and the timing of birth. As many readers of my work will know,…

The madness of modern measurement

Cassie, who has given me permission to tell her story and who chose her own pseudonym, became pregnant via IVF. She was thus one of those women who know the exact date when they conceived, and she and her midwife…

Research on breech birth in an upright position

A new and groundbreaking research study has found that, “Upright vaginal breech delivery was associated with reductions in duration of the second stage of labor, maneuvers required, maternal/neonatal injuries, and cesarean rate when compared with vaginal delivery in the dorsal…

To feel, or not to feel?

I’ve had a few requests recently for an article that I wrote several years ago about the practice of feeling whether or not the baby’s cord is around its neck during birth. Here’s the text of that article, in the…

On burnout…

“Health-care organisations should move beyond a culture of endurance, which overvalues stoicism and dismisses complaints as signs of weakness, and help clinicians be better at self-care than they are at present. 21st-century patients demand more than in the past, rightfully…

Midwives matter more than monitors

I had only been a midwifery student for a few months when I first heard the late, great Marsden Wagner speak about the lack of evidence for electronic fetal heart monitoring (EFM). At the time, he told us, more than…

A much needed revolution

“Centralisation, standardisation and market economics have been the dominant concepts in maternity care over recent years. Organisationally, NHS maternity care has been centralised into large units based on an industrial model where care is highly fragmented. Standardisation of services is…

Birth in Focus

I get sent lots of books, because of what I do. I always tell people who ask me, you’re welcome to send me your book, but regardless of whether I know you or any other factor, the independence of my…

EFM and conflicts of interest

“So the question is why would the BRPOs* of the world ignore obvious evidence of EFM harm, ignore informed consent, ignore the violation of mothers’ bioethical autonomy, and ignore the reality that most of the birth profession is lying daily…

The importance of everyday birth wisdom

I love research papers that tell me things I already know. I especially love those that tell me things I already know about everyday midwifery practice that I don’t think about on a daily basis but which, when I read…

Let there be mood lighting…

There can’t be many midwives or birth supporters who don’t already know about the advantages of low lighting for labour and birth. While we are still learning about whether and how darkness and light relate to the release of oxytocin…