In honour of the fact that I’ll be getting ready to speak on the subject of risk for Homebirth Australia as this post goes live, I decided it was about time that I posted up more of my past work in this area. The first post on this topic, along with links to a few risk-related editorials, can be found here.
I wrote several short pieces on this subject while writing my ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ column. One of my personal favourites – not only because it was so much fun to write, but also because of the correspondance that I received as a result of writing it – is The Risk-Managed Birth Ball. I had a couple of brilliant letters from midwives who said how much they loved the article but could they please urge me to not give people ideas, and another one from a midwife lamenting the fact that her unit WAS actually risk-managing the birth balls! (I want to stress that this process had begun before my article was published and is therefore not my fault, thank you very much! 😉 )
Other articles that might be of interest include Risk: the game of life, in which I was delighted to publicly take back a previous comment I had made in the light of the experience of a woman who had birthed at home despite having what was perceived to be a significant risk factor. This article was first published in 2004 and it is rather timely to be writing the post almost exactly ten years on and remarkable to consider how things have changed in this area over that time. In The Flukes of Hazard, I compared the riskiness of a number of activities, including skydiving, bungee jumping,aeroplane travel, seeking Western medical care and giving birth. While the data I used then will have been updated, I am not certain that the order of risk of these activities will have changed that much.
Finally, I offer May Contain Tigers, an editorial in which I describe my current concern that, in many fields, there is an over-citing of possible risk (perhaps because of a perceived need for self-preservation and/or legal disclaiming) which I find really sad when so many people understand that there is no certainty but are simply seeking reassurance that everything seems to be normal at that point in time. I have riffed in this article about some of the possible ways in which we could reframe the issues and perhaps reduce some of the fear that seems to be overwhelming certain areas of the maternity services (as well as other walks of life) but would, as ever, welcome your thoughts…