Category Archives: Birth

Help – it Hurts! … Get Me The Complementary Therapies!

help it hurts

by Andrea Robertson Why does pain in labour scare us so much? Everywhere a pregnant woman turns she is confronted by messages that she will need “something” to help her get through the trials of labour. Trying to “suffer” the pain of contractions without assistance is being unnecessarily “brave” now that there are so many […]

“Just listen to your body …”

Just Listen to your body

by Andrea Robertson How many times have you heard this said (or said it yourself) to women during labour? We harbour this fond belief that women will know how to tune in to the rhythms and feelings within themselves during labour and birth and gently exhort them to “let yourself go” as the contractions build […]

TENS – a marketing triumph

TENS a marketing triumph

by Andrea Robertson I am fascinated by the popularity of using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices during labour. This handy little piece of technology arrived on the maternity scene many years ago, and is now particularly entrenched in Britain (it may have been introduced into other countries but has not taken hold there with […]

Making it Real

Making it real

Childbirth educators should be realistic about what might happen during labour. One of the reasons parents come to prenatal education programmes is to find out ‘what birth is all about’. They want us to tell them what to expect so that they can be prepared for the events that lie ahead. They assume that knowledge […]

If Your Baby is Breech

Is your baby is breech

by Andrea Robertson Most breech babies will turn naturally before labour. You will probably be referred to an obstetrician as these days few midwives will undertake a breech birth, even though in the past most midwives considered this within their scope of practice. There are still some midwives who are happy to assist with this […]

Are midwives a dying breed?

Are midwives a dying breed

by Andrea Robertson Enabling a woman to give birth physiologically must surely be every midwife’s aim. The whole philosophy of midwifery rests on the knowledge that birth is a normal bodily function for a woman that requires a conducive environment and an experienced companion to watch for problems that may occasionally develop. This “experienced companion” […]

The pain of labour – a feminist issue

The pain of labour - a feminist issue

by Andrea Robertson Pain in labour is universal: it hurts to give birth. Since this is such a common experience it could be seen as comforting, a bond among women, a fundamental truth that confirms our special biological role and affirms the importance of our contribution to society. More often, however, it is seen as […]

The Outcome of Perinatal Care in Inukjuak, Nunavik, Canada 1998-2002

The Outcome of Perinatal Care in Inukjuak

by Susanne Houd Abstract Introduction. From the 1950s women in Nunavik were transferred to South Quebec to give¬†birth. Since 1986 women have had the opportunity to give birth in Povungnituk, Nunavik, and the education of community midwives began. Inukjuak, a small community in Nunavik, was included in the project in 1998. There is no possibility […]

Reclaiming Midwifery Care as a Foundation for Promoting ‘Normal’ Birth

Reclaiming Midwifery Care as a Foundation for Promoting 'Normal' Birth

by Maggie Banks This paper identifies some essentials of midwifery practice and looks at how the woman who may have additional care needs receives woman-centred care. Breech presentation will be used by way of example to demonstrate the latter. Childbirth is neither ‘normal’ nor ‘abnormal’. It is, quite simply, a childbirth journey – a unique […]

Nitrous Oxide – No Laughing Matter

no laughing matter

by Andrea Robertson Nitrous oxide (often called ‘laughing gas’), in combination with oxygen (50% of each gas), has been in use for two centuries as a simple anaesthetic agent, and in obstetric care since the 1930s. It is the most popular form of anaesthesia in UK labour wards, where it is available in 99% of […]

Pain in Labour – Your Hormones are Your Helpers

Pain in labour your hormones are your helpers

by Dr Sarah Buckley Imagine this. Your cat is pregnant, due to give birth around the same time as you are. You have your bags packed for hospital, and are awaiting the first signs of labour with excitement and a little nervousness. Meanwhile your cat has been hunting for an out-of-the way place – your […]

Epidurals: Real Risks for Mother and Baby

Epidurals: Real Risks for Mother and Baby

by Dr Sarah Buckley Epidural pain relief is an increasingly popular choice for Australian women in the labour ward. Up to one-third of all birthing women have an epidural1, and it is especially common amongst women having their first babies2. For women giving birth by caesarean section, epidurals are certainly a great alternative to general […]

Fish Can’t See Water

Fish Can't See Water

By Marsden Wagner (MD, MSPH) The need to humanize birth in Australia This paper was presented at the Homebirth Australia Conference, Noosa, Australia, November 2000 Humanizing birth means understanding that the woman giving birth is a human being, not a machine and not just a container for making babies. Showing women – half of all […]

Getting What You Want for Your Birth Experience

Getting What You Want for Your Birth Experience

by Doris Haire A good childbirth experience should be happy and gratifying, as well as safe. You are much more likely to have a good experience if you establish early a good communication with your doctor or midwife. Sometimes it is the expectant parents who must take the lead in establishing a rapport, but don’t […]