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?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Pain Free Labour web page.

At last, after months of work the Pain Free Web Page is now live at

It contains all the most relevant posts from this blog and more to help women find what they need.

Hoping that the new web page will help to spread the word about pain free labours and change how women approach labour so that the first stage can be pain free.

Let me know what you think. Thank you.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Clare's Home Birth After Caesarian

 I read an interesting article in Midwifery Matters magazine by Clare Caro who jumped through all the hoops put in her way to have a home birth after a previous caesarian section (CS). She was traumatised by her first birth where she says she was in labour for 3 days which ended in an emergency CS.

Women who are in labour for such a long time have mainly adrenalin to blame. As soon as women start to have contractions they become afraid and anxious. This is because society has taught them that labour WILL be painful and pain is to be feared, hence the fear. Watching One Born Every Minute should be banned for all women as it plants the seeds of fear that sprout and grow as labour approaches. Adrenalin, the natural result of anxiety, 'sticks' to the human cervix and makes it harder to open so labour goes on and on and on.

Just like me with my second, Clare lied about her due date from her last menstrual period so that she would have extra time to go into labour before the INDUCTION word would be mentioned. She justifies this by saying “I felt slightly bad for telling a lie, but if women are being told a date that has a 7% chance of being true, then who exactly are the ones being lied to here?

Clare says that home births are a natural choice when giving birth as you feel safer in a place “free from intruders, dark, warm and quiet. A place that harks back to the cave, where for thousands of years our ancestor's would have found safety from the world outside.” She goes on to explain how as soon as she reached hospital with her first they insisted on performing a vaginal examination (VE) and how this made her feel violated as she was put under pressure to have one. All women who present to a hospital in ? Labour are expected to undergo a VE, if you do not want one then you will not be allowed onto the labour ward. Some birth centers do not perform a regular VE, they use their experience of labour to assess the contractions and watch the woman's body language to decide if someone is in labour or not. A VE is very useful information for midwives and lets us plan your labour. However, if you decline then you should not be punished for it. Also lying down in labour is very uncomfortable and may make the contractions become painful so ask the midwife to be as quick as possible as you need to be upright for a pain free labour.

Clare explains that when you are at home you can relax and feel safe so that your brain can enter a theta frequency which is the deepest level of conciousness that we can experience in a waking state. This is what relaxation techniques taught in this blog and outlined in the books strive to achieve, a level of total relaxation whilst still being awake.
Eating Miso soup in labour was a new one on me. Apparently it contains all the 9 essential amino acids, is high in Vitamin K and minerals. This is the beauty of being at home in labour, you can eat and drink what takes your fancy and move around, adopting different positions to suit your own personal labour.

Clare had her home birth with no problems at all with a midwife she knew and her own doula in attendance. Whilst pushing her baby out in her bathroom after a nice warm bath she states “There was no time for thoughts right now, I was my body not my mind.” This is how women who are totally centered on their labour feel, no one shouting PUSH at them, just going with the flow of a fast moving stream delivering your baby to you.

hot flannel (on the perineum to help it stretch) and immense contractions, and with just one of those contractions out came a head and body – slipping right into my hands, I placed the baby gently on the towels in front of me. Nick and I got to know our girl, touching her, holding her and holding onto each other. Here she was, at the end of the journey.”

See the post VBAC AT HOME? ( ) for why a home birth could be the best way to avoid a second CS. However, an interesting fact that Clare brought up was to do with how hospitals in the USA sew back together a uterine opening, they do it differently to our surgeons in the UK rendering their CS scar weaker and more likely to rupture. Do they do this on purpose so that they can keep on getting more dollars for performing section after section and to hell with what the woman wants? Would not be surprised. 

Pain Free Labour Books available from Amazon.