Thursday, 1 June 2017

Having a Doula in Labour

Happy International Doula Month!
Post from the wonderful women at Orgasmic Birth.

All the time, I hear from women that they aren’t hiring a doula - because they have a great partner, the nurses will be there, they have a midwife, or that their hospital is great.
I like to ask - just because your car is safe, you trust the driver, and the weather is perfect with nearly empty roads - do you not wear your seat belt anyway?
Doulas are the seatbelts for birth - the continuous, supportive, agenda free safety net that is there only to honor and protect your birthing space. 
Not only is a doula there to protect your memory of birth, science and research supports the many benefits including shorter labor, less use of interventions, and healthy MotherBabies.
“Peace on Earth Begins at Birth”

 Doulas are what midwives used to be before all the paper work was heaped on us. We used to be able to rub backs and work with women in labour instead of sitting down writing about women in labour. And yet I have found that only Jewish women, who take birth very seriously, have a doula during their labour and birth. I love them, they do everything I wish I had time to do and they really help the women take control of their labour and as a consequence, labour much better than most women who do not hire a doula. I do not know how much they charge, could a normal lancashire lass even afford one? Please let us know if anyone out there has knowledge on how much you can expect to pay for a doula during your labour. Thank you.

Pain Free Labour Books available to download from Amazon.
All the information for free from web page

MUM'S UP AND MOBILE for labour


Research by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust found that when they got mums off the bed and let them move around in labour. freely adopting positions that they felt comfortable in, their normal delivery rate rose from 59.9% to 64.7%.

At Last! A trust that is giving woman centred care instead of work load led care. They should be given a medal!

OK, my blog has been telling women for the past 6 years that they should never lie down in labour or allow themselves to be laid down by hospital staff who do not give a toss if they get a normal delivery or not. Now I am backed up by the whole of Gloucestershire. Yay.

For women who needed a trace of their baby's heartbeat due to a risk factor they used CTG machines that were wireless. However, I have found that even if you only have the wire CTG machines, you can still get your Mum Up and Mobile, you just have to be a little more inventive.

Comments from mums who took part in the project: "Moving more during labour really helped me as I had a quick labour due to me walking all day and using the ball."
Invited to move around as much as I wanted to, informed about wireless monitoring to enable easier movement." 
"Felt able to move as much as I wanted and I was encouraged to find comfortable positions for myself."
It was nice not to be confined to the bed!"
I was encouraged to move around in labour by my midwife but chose not to."

Hopefully, this initiative will spread and become a UK wide project. This will happen faster if women actually mention this research in their birth plan and ask to have the choice of movement during their labour. Giving women back control has been found to empower them to feel confident that, yes, they can do this. They are not just a piece of meat waiting to be processed. They have a choice. A real one.

No matter what you see on One Born Every Stupid Minute, get off the bed, it is no place to labour!
Pain Free Labour Books available to download on Amazon.
Or get all the information free on web page

Thursday, 13 April 2017

One Born Every Minute

 Just had to share this blog with you on a normal midwives view of One Born Every Minute. All the midwives working on OBEM are simply Obstetric Nurses. Do not trust them with your labour!

Midwifes view of one born every minute.

Kemi Johnson
Seriously OBEM midwives are you dumb???? IT'S 2017!!!!!!!!! Why are you still pulling babies out by their heads from women in stranded beetle position? You are supposed to be the experts in normal birth. Do any other mammals lie back with their legs in the air? Do you poo lying down??? You are promoting a drive angle of the baby right at her perineum creating a higher chance of wounding. You are causing babies to cry when many babies could birth themselves from upright women without a murmur. You're deceiving women into thinking that they couldn't have birthed without you.
And now that all of the defensive comments have started rolling in, some clarification. Some midwives are the best thing that ever happened to a birthing woman. But I refuse to collude with those that blame editing and pressure to work a certain way. Midwifery, for the moment in the UK remains an autonomous profession. It is a very old one. We have access to knowledge, experience and research. There are plenty of midwives around enabling healthy birth without having their hands all over a woman's perineum, encouraging her into an unfavourable birth position and exposing her to a harder labour with more risk of tearing. The health and future health of all takes priority over feelings. I would rather be considered rude on my own profile page than politely steer women into pushing uphill, potentially suffering increased trauma to their perineums that I 'rescue' them from with my hands on their private parts whilst they lay vulnerable on their backs. This treatment of women in childbirth has gone on long enough. It is coercive and unnecessary. Midwives get together and say NO to practices that you KNOW make no sense. We sign the register to keep women and their children in the centre of our care. I won't be silent.

Well said Kemi, we are with you on this one, yay.

Pain Free Labour books available to download from Amazon. 
Free information on having a PFL available on web page:

Friday, 10 March 2017

Spiritual Midwifery in Argentina.

Painting by Annie Ibanez

After reading an article in Midwifery Matters Issue 151 Winter 2016 I was deeply moved by the experience of a newly qualified midwife's experience working her elective in Argentina. Annie Ibanez chose to work with the Awaike school of midwifery in the mountain province of Cordoba. They train lay midwives in the ways of tradition and they celebrate the spiritual journey of motherhood and birth.

The students there are taught anatomy and physiology but also the use of local herbs, songs to be sung during labour and rituals almost lost in the relentless medicalisation of care spreading throughout the world. Annie recognised that the science directing midwifery care in the UK has all but drowned out any traditional 'with woman' care that takes into account the spiritual meaning of labour and birth. The fact that giving birth is intrinsically linked to emotional processes is all but ignored in our high tech obstetric led hospitals today.

The Awaike school is focused on recovering and conserving the wisdom and rituals from native peoples of Latin America. Women in their care develop a trusting relationship with a midwife, a luxury that is often missing in our overloaded GP clinics today. Women are encouraged to rest, bond and feed their baby and are given this opportunity for 40 days after the birth. What a wonderful concept, how high would our breastfeeding rates be if our women were given this time to truly engage with their newborn.

Annie comments that the women she saw in labour were using instinctive behaviour surrounded by the rituals of birth including song and that seemed to be "a powerful analgesic judging by the way women responded". Perhaps the women felt so loved and cared for and free to move, eat and drink as their body dictated that they were simply not afraid of birth as women in developed countries have learned to be. By now all my readers know how damaging adrenalin is in labour. Perhaps women cared for by the Argentinian midwives did not know any fear at all and were free to have a pain free labour as most women could achieve if society would stop treating labour and birth as an illness to be cured.

Annie concludes her article by saying that we need to truly listen to women and honour skills and intuition, to value our ancient as well as our modern midwifery tools. Thank you Annie.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Can women orgasm during childbirth?

Article by Julie Revelant, health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She's also a mum of two. 

The grueling, intense pain that (can) come along with labor is something pregnant women are warned about and told to prepare for and fear. It’s how childbirth is almost always portrayed in movies and a part of most women’s birth stories.
Some women however, say labor and childbirth doesn’t have to be this way and the experience can be pleasurable— even orgasmic.
When Kenya Stevens, of Asheville, North Carolina, went into labor with her first child, she was prepared to use meditation— which she’d practiced for years— to help her through her planned home birth.
Something the now-42-year-old hadn’t prepared for however, was that when it came time to push, her contractions stimulated an orgasm.

“I was laughing and crawling around the room as if I was intoxicated,” Stevens recalled. “I am in bliss,” she recalled telling her mom during the birth.
With her second child, she labored quickly but the feeling was the same.
“I felt like a tiger in the forest, just pushing and enjoying the flow,” she said.
When she gave birth to her third child, Stevens labored in the shower and enjoyed the water running down her back and the pleasure that ensued.
“Because I had the breathing techniques and the understanding, I could easily shift into orgasm the third time,” she said.
Orgasmic birth and “birthgasms”
“Giving birth is a part of our sexuality as women,” said Debra Pascali-Bonaro, director of the film “Orgasmic Birth,” and co-author of “Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience.”
“The term ‘orgasmic’ also includes all kinds of pleasure from experiencing birth with joy, ecstasy, intimacy, connection [and] bliss because so much of our language around birth is about pain and fear and we don’t give voice to the many other emotions that can be felt,” she said.

Not only are there women who say they have orgasmic births, but some report having an orgasm during birth or as Pascali-Bonaro calls it, a “birthgasm.”
According to a survey by the Positive Birth Movement and Channel Mum, 6 percent of women said they had an orgasm during birth.
Midwives say they’ve attended approximately .3 percent of births where the mother had an orgasm, according to a survey published in the journal Sexologies.

Although it’s not entirely clear how an orgasm is possible during birth, experts say it makes perfect sense from a physiologic perspective.
“You have a baby that’s moving down, through our bodies, through our vagina and many times hitting the G-spot, which is certainly a place, as women, many of us know from bringing great pleasure that can also sometimes trigger orgasm,” Pascali-Bonaro said.
Although a “birthgasm” can be triggered by a kiss or the touch of a partner, most occur from G-spot stimulation while the baby descends or as the baby is delivered. Some women may even choose to masturbate and use a vibrator.
“Pain and pleasure really travel on the same pathway. Women are literally taking things into their own hands,” Pascali-Bonaro said.
Instead of reporting pain, these women describe labor as “intense” or “challenging.”
Hormones also play a significant role. Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” is the same hormone responsible for both bringing on labor and having an orgasm.
To get labor moving, midwives will often give the couple privacy to kiss, and have the partner stimulate the woman’s nipples and sexually arouse her.
“Often that will initiate regular contractions,” said Dena Moes, a certified nurse-midwife and writer in Chico, California.
Experts agree that in order for women to experience an orgasmic birth or a “birthgasm,” they must feel safe, unobserved and given the same level of privacy they would have while being intimate with their partners, whether that’s at home, in a birthing center or at a hospital.
“We should be creating environments and giving women and their partners more intimacy and birth would be easier,” Pascali-Bonaro said.
In fact, when women feel afraid, they are more likely to feel tense and experience more pain, something that’s referred to as fear-tension-pain syndrome.

Pascali-Bonaro said. “Giving birth is an incredible day in our lives and every woman— however birth turns out for her— I hope feels pride in her achievement to bring life into the world,”
Find out how to use relaxation techniques during labour to aid orgasmic births!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Babies remember their birth language.

Dr Jiyoun Choi of Hanyang University in Seoul led this research into how talking to a baby in any language during the first year of life can imprint on them the individual nuances of different languages. Dr. Choi advises all new parents to ''Try to talk to your babies as much as possible because they are absorbing and digesting what you are saying.''

The process of acquiring language starts extremely early, even while the child is still in the womb. Babies have learned their mother's voice by the time they are born.

If you have any friends or family members who speak a language taught at school then invite them over to talk to your baby so that when they are at high school, learning French or German, they will have a natural advantage.

One young lady I met in pregnancy had a toddler with her and she told me that she only spoke English to him even though she was from France. I advised her to speak both languages to him as this was the time that children picked up the flow of language and it would not in the long term confuse him. I do not know if she ever took this advice but turns out I am now backed up by science! Yay.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

It was like looking at midwifery care from the 1950's.

The article 'Where to now?' published in the Autumn 2016 issue of Midwives Magazine was a very interesting read on how to deliver continuity of care in today's cash crippled NHS. However, the illustrations to accompany this piece were draconian and outdated to say the least. All five of the pregnant women shown were lying submissive on hospital beds. It was like looking at midwifery care from the 1950's.

The care givers are all stood over the women in positions of authority and seem to be totally disempowering them. There are some token birth balls and birth pools scattered about but none of these are actually being used. If this is a reflection of how we view women today during birth then it is a very sad picture indeed.

I gave birth to my children in the 1980's when women were just a piece of meat to be put through the system. No thought was given to our physical or psychological needs at all. It took champions like Sheila Kitsinger, god rest her beautiful soul, and Sally Inch to fight for the rights of women during all aspects of pregnancy care.

The fact that such a demoralising illustration is being presented to us in our own Midwives Magazine is very disturbing. Society as a whole treats pregnant women with distain, constantly teaching them that labour WILL BE a very painful and traumatic event to be feared. Television programmes like One Born Every Minute do a great disservice to women by editing and highlighting births that appear very disturbing in order to win the rating wars. They often show midwifery practice at its worse. The hospitals who take part in these programmes should be ashamed of themselves and have set birth emancipation back decades.

It sometimes seems to me that pregnancy and birth is the last hurdle we have to overcome in a patriarchal society that takes every opportunity to treat women as 2nd class, keeping us in our place. Showing such illustrations does not help feminist aspirations concerning birth or any other aspect of pregnancy care. Has anything in the last 30 years really changed or do we just give the same old authoritative care, only now are we being taught to do it with a smile on our face to soften the insult?