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…

Risk: what is to be done?

“[R]isk has come to be defined as narrowly as possible, while there is a real and growing sense of concrete risks which overwhelm the poorer and more vulnerable on a daily basis. Within what Nicolas Rose, another sociologist calls the…

Midwives, resilience and sustainability

A discussion paper on sustainability and resilience in midwifery has highlighted the importance of self-care, self-determination, relationship and passion in midwifery (Crowther et al 2016). The research was led by a team of authors who have worked on past and…

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…

The risks of documentation

“Documentation of care is at risk of overtaking the delivery of care in terms of time, clinician focus, and perceived importance. The medical record as currently used for documentation contributes to increased cognitive workload, strained clinician–patient relationships, and burnout. We…

The stages of labour – bunkum!

“There are only two definite, unarguable times in this messy, fluid and unpredictable process of childbirth: when the baby is born and when the placenta comes out. The rest is bunkum! Yet our computers insist we fill in boxes that…

Happy Midwives’ Day!

Happy Midwives’ Day! I’m spending International Day of the Midwife in Reykjavik where I’m discussing Recipes for Normal Birth with lovely Icelandic midwives, but I wanted to send my happy midwives’ day wishes out to my friends all around the…

Pondering placentophagy – part 2

This is the second part of an article in which I am reflecting upon our knowledge about placentophagy; an area in which we have no conclusive evidence of benefit or harm (Coyle et al 2015).  As my pondering continued, I…

The false economy of “busy-ness”

“Place shapes the ability of midwives to “be with” women. In the labour ward, strong cultural norms press midwives to engage in “busy work” while they feel more able to sit quietly with women in primary birth settings. Midwives are…

A small ‘seeding’ rant

I have been watching several recent conversations in medical and other forums about the research which considered whether transferring maternal vaginal flora to the baby is effective as a partial means of helping babies become colonised with beneficial bacteria. The…

Pondering placentophagy – part 1

I am by now used to the kind of spin that internet discussion can put on birth-related stories, and I’m not usually too surprised when, upon reading the actual research article which has inspired a headline or discussion, I find…

Pelvic checks at the 6-week check

Sometimes, the combination of my travelling and reading of the midwifery and obstetric literature highlights areas where there is variation in what is seen as standard or usual practice in different areas of the world. There are lots of obvious…

Happy Spring (or Autumn!)

Here’s wishing you a very happy spring on this day of fertility, eggs and bunnies 😀 Or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, I hope the autumn leaves are bringing great colour to your life before you bed down for…

Midwife-led care works in Manitoba!

Over the past year or three, I have shared numerous studies and respected reviews that have shown midwifery-led care to be effective all around the world in countries from Australia to Ireland. Midwifery care helps keep birth normal and it…

How are you sleeping?

In your practice, do you routinely ask women how they’re sleeping?  And if you do, what do you do with that information?  Do you use sleep-related questions as a way of triggering and exploring all manner of topics with women? …

When the simplest ideas are the best…

Many women find pelvic examination painful, uncomfortable, embarrassing or traumatic, and there are several elements of this which deserve the attention of those who recommend and/or undertake such screening tests. But a recent study by Neuhaus et al (2016) has…

A heartfelt thank you :D

I’ve got a whole stash of studies lined up that I want to write about over the next couple of weeks, but I have to briefly interrupt my information sharing in order to bring you an announcement and say a…

Being clear about continuity

I remember the first time I encountered the difference between the terms continuity of care and continuity of carer.  I was a student midwife, and a senior midwife was correcting what she felt was my inappropriate use of the term…