I was recently asked to give a presentation at the Childbirth: Naturally event in Florence Italy (October 27 – 29, 2011). The full presentation is included in this article, as a slideshow.
This was an event attended by approximately 130 midwives and obstetricians, and celebrated 20 years since the first event on the theme of “humanising” birth was held in the Tuscany region. Italy has the highest rate of Caesarean births in Europe and is amongst the top three in the world.
In 1980, a group of concerned professionals came together to explore what could be done about the highly interventionist style of medical care that pregnant women suffered. Soon after the first birth centre opened, followed by a few others in the following years. This has not stopped the Caesarean rate from falling, but it has given Tuscany the leading edge in Italy for natural birth rates.
The Conference was held over three days, with the opening session in the Vecchio Palace (right next to the Uffizi Gallery) in the main hall, a magnificent venue resplendant with frescos, friezes, sculptures and paintings. The following sessions were located in the meeting room at the Instituto degli Innocenti (the receiving home for foundlings in bygone eras) and now the home of UNICEF.
Other international speakers included: Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives; Marlene Sinclair, Professor of Midwifery Research, University of Ulster, Belfast; and Rosemary Mander, Emeritus Professor of Midwifery, University of Edinburgh.
It was a broad statement of my vision and was intended to remind those in attendance of the bigger picture that is often forgotten in the rush to adopt the latest technology. You can view this presentation: