Category: Articles

The Changing Face of A and P

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…

A midwife’s guide to birth fairies

“A couple of years ago [and the rest – this is a re-sharing of an article that is now a few years old!], as a result of my having written a tongue-in-cheek article about a handful of pixies and a…

Curiosity and the Caul

Carrie was having a fairly fast and furious labour, and had spent most of it journeying between the sink and the toilet in her upstairs bathroom. The toilet was her ‘best’ place, and she spent so much time on it…

Distractive Practice

“Please imagine, for a moment, that you are on the labour ward caring for Annie, who is in labour with her first baby. Let’s say that Annie went into spontaneous labour at 41 weeks, has had a happy and unproblematic…

Hands-off midwifery and the art of balance

“There does not seem to be a clear theoretical definition of what ‘hands-off’ practice means, although it is a term whose meaning might seem fairly obvious to most people. In relation to midwifery, it appears to be used in at…

What is a stretch and sweep?

Is a ‘stretch and sweep’ a useful low-tech intervention which might prevent the need for induction of labour, or an unnecessary interference in pregnancy?  A “marvellously effective way of preventing the need for medical induction of labour for post-dates ……

Celebrating my Nanny…

Yesterday would have been my lovely Nanny’s 94th birthday.  Nanny passed on recently, and I wanted to celebrate her life, her birthday and her contribution to midwifery by re-sharing an article that she and I co-authored in her 80th year;…

Supervision and attendance: control or compassion?

Among other things, the word ‘supervise’ can mean to oversee, to manage, to control, to run, to direct, to watch, or to observe.  The midwifery literature has included ongoing discussion about whether midwives need to be supervised, given that a…

Is APGAR scoring a flexible friend?

It is now over fifty years since Virginia Apgar created the scoring system that led to an increased focus on babies in their critical first moments (Apgar 1953).  It led to her being honoured on a postal stamp and posthumously…