I believe that back in history the uterus was thought
To wander round the body, and when in the brain it caught
Hysteria would ensue, so any woman who dared to think
Was pathologised in an instant, abnormal in a wink
It’s since become more stable and we now think it stays put
It doesn’t travel to the ears, or meander to the foot
But other bits of A and P have changed as time’s gone by
The clitoris grew bulbs and extended in its lie
Retroplacental clots are now a distant ancient haze
And sinuses lactiferous a relic of bygone days
The baby doesn’t settle as its mother’s labour starts
It spins and moves all over; it wheels and turns and darts
We once cut people up to find out how they’re made inside
But now we have technology our gaze is broad and wide
Though sometimes I do wonder if our investigation
Is an invite to our babies to change their lie and station
Do they think, “Oh here’s the ultrasound, a study’s underway
Time for a bit of fun, I think I’ll spin around and play
And I’ll talk to my placenta and suggest a different way
To detach itself so we can have some fun and games today”?
Who knows if what we know today will stand the test of time?
Who knows if theory A or B is crazy or sublime?
Who knows how the pelvic floor will change or if red cells will stay packed?
Who knows if all our gazing’s only showing artefact?
Now research may well be interesting, gazing can be fun
But it carries implications, and it’s important that it’s done
With care and understanding, with honesty and tact
And full appreciation that it’s not eternal fact
And the students of tomorrow, well no doubt they’ll think it odd
That we believed such silly things; they’ll look at us and nod
Maybe they will understand that knowledge comes and goes
That there’s little that stays stable, however fast the research grows
In the meantime, we must stay alert for new facts that appear
Adapt our ways accordingly, embrace the new frontier
But I have a secret theory, just my proverbial two cents
I’m not sure that the babies are reading up on the evidence!
This poem was first published as an article in The Practising Midwife and should be cited as: Wickham S (2009). The Changing Face of A and P. The Practising Midwife 12(11): 33.
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