Category: Articles

Regulation threatens women’s rights

The UK Nursing and Midwifery Council has been deemed to be acting irresponsibly by denying choice to women and “directly jeopardi[sing] the health and safety of the women it is supposed to safeguard”. On January 13th 2017, the independent midwifery…

The madness of modern measurement

Cassie, who has given me permission to tell her story and who chose her own pseudonym, became pregnant via IVF. She was thus one of those women who know the exact date when they conceived, and she and her midwife…

To feel, or not to feel?

A midwife friend asked me recently whether, during a baby’s birth, I routinely felt for the cord around the baby’s neck as it emerges. I replied that I didn’t, not least because I tend to be quite ‘hands-off’ about catching…

Midwives matter more than monitors

I had only been a midwifery student for a few months when I first heard the late, great Marsden Wagner speak about the lack of evidence for electronic fetal heart monitoring (EFM). At the time, he told us, more than…

The importance of everyday birth wisdom

I love research papers that tell me things I already know. I especially love those that tell me things I already know about everyday midwifery practice that I don’t think about on a daily basis but which, when I read…

Let there be mood lighting…

There can’t be many midwives or birth supporters who don’t already know about the advantages of low lighting for labour and birth. While we are still learning about whether and how darkness and light relate to the release of oxytocin…

The ALTE mysteries

I [have previously] shared my frustration regarding the bias against normal birth and the ability of women’s bodies to grow, carry, birth and feed their babies (Wickham 2016). As is often the case when one starts to pay attention to…

Whatever happened to the precautionary principle?

Is anyone else feeling disgruntled at the ongoing trend in the research literature towards attempting to justify earlier and earlier induction of labour?  A year or so ago, I unpacked a meta-analysis which claimed that, contrary to the experience of…

A cautionary holiday tale

Rudolph the red-nosed quantity surveyor looked up at the camera as he pressed the bell which would let the midwives know that he was at the labour ward door. A friendly but almost unintelligible voice greeted him over the speaker…