Women want more information and support with decision making about induction of labour, especially when there’s no good medical reason for it
Shared decision making
The term ‘shared decision making’ implies that the practitioner gets a say in what the person decides, and that’s not quite right…
Announcing my next book…
Want to know the title of Dr Sara Wickham’s next book? Read on to find out! It’s due out in September 2023…
The Albany Midwifery Practice
A book about the Albany Midwifery Practice has been published, and here’s why it’s important…
The benefits of midwifery care
Another study has shown that receiving pregnancy care from a midwife can reduce the chance of having problems, says Sara Wickham.
GBS screening: the evidence
Dr Sara Wickham looks at studies exploring the evidence for GBS screening and treatment.
Word-thought for the day: replacing risk with chance
Holiday time, and a self-care reminder
We’re taking a short break for some self-care!
Oxytocin and birth: the latest evidence
The latest evidence on oxytocin and birth: Dr Sara Wickham looks at recent key studies on this topic.
Happy Birthday Birth Information Update!
Happy birthday to Sara Wickham’s Birth Information Update … and here’s the story of how it happened and how it continues…
The Rhombus of Michaelis
Sara Wickham and Jean Sutton describe the Rhombus of Michaelis, an area of bone which plays an important role in labour and birth.
Deciding to decline, or deciding to wait and see?
Sara Wickham considers issues around the language we use to discuss birth decisions, and highlights nuances in what people are actually asking for.
Freebirth – the evidence
Sara Wickham shares studies and discussions relating to freebirth or unassisted birth and the women who opt for this.
The theoretical risk of water embolism
Dr Sara Wickham explains how the theoretical risk of water embolism came about, and why it’s not a risk at all.
Birth in the media: what’s the problem?
We all know it’s happening We all need to be able to look critically at information. To understand the importance of not taking stories at face value. To know the importance of looking at things more deeply, so we can…
Eight things I’d like to share with midwifery students who care…
Sara Wickham offers some words of support and advice for the student midwife – aspiring, new or experienced – to take on their journey.
When I am an old midwife…
Sara Wickham’s poem: “When I am an old midwife”.
Routine induction in healthy women not supported by evidence
Research looking at the effects of induction of labour shows this is associated with few beneficial outcomes and several adverse outcomes.
Why birth-related decision making is trickier than ever…
A number of features of our modern culture have made making birth-related decisions trickier than ever, says Sara Wickham.
Less is more…
When less may be more. Sara Wickham writes about the human tendency to want to prioritise action and ‘doing more’, when this may not be the best solution.
Happy Holidays from Sara Wickham. Here’s wishing you a fabulous festive season, and we’ll see you next year!
A midwife’s guide to birth fairies
Sara Wickham describes some of the birth fairies that hide around the labour ward in a fun article originally written for the holiday issue of a journal.
A cautionary holiday tale
A cautionary holiday tale, by Sara Wickham, about labour ward risk management and how it ruined the day of Rudolph the red-nosed quantity surveyor
What’s the chance of having another PPH?
What’s the chance of having another PPH, if you’ve had one before? For some women, that’s an important question. Women who have had a previous postpartum haemorrhage (PPH, or excessive bleeding after birth) are often advised to have their future babies…
Cervical wisdom resources
Have you ever noticed what real women’s cervixes do in labour? How they haven’t read the textbooks? Sara Wickham shares her work on cervical wisdom.
Ten things I wish every woman knew about induction of labour
The most important things you need to know before deciding whether or not to have an induction of labour. There are pros and cons and no ‘right’ way.
Birthkit essentials – what do we really need at a birth?
This is my birthkit purse. It has been all over the world, and has formed the basis of hundreds of conversations. I made it myself, and I use it to show women, families, friends, students and colleagues how little one really…
Women’s experiences of augmentation of labour
A study looking at women’s experiences of augmentation of labour has highlighted problems with informed decision making and shown that having a synthetic oxytocin infusion in labour can cause an atypically painful labour and lead to negative birth experiences. Alòs-Pereñíguez…
Would you like me to email you a relevant, reliable, regular update?
Get regular, reliable, free monthly email updates on birth-related research and thinking from Sara Wickham.
When is consent not consent?
Sara Wickham highlights the problem of asking people to make a decision about additional intervention during an intimate examination.
Three things I wish every woman knew about pregnancy and birth knowledge
Sara Wickham shares her thoughts on birth knowledge, women’s wisdom and what she wishes she could tell everyone about these topics…
What’s Right For Me? Now updated and available!
Sara Wickham announces the publication of her updated book, What’s Right For Me? Making decisions in pregnancy and childbirth.
Why your estimated due date might need a rethink
If you’ve ever thought that your or someone else’s estimated due date might need a rethink, this article is for you. It’s my reflection, as a midwife and academic researcher, on what I’ve learned from researching pregnancy calculation tools. In…
Ten ways I can help midwifery students
Sara Wickham offers a variety of resources for student midwives and others studying birth-related areas.
Induction for big baby: what’s the evidence?
Been offered induction for big baby? Well, let’s start with a really important fact. Researchers admit that, “it is not clear whether it is better for women with big babies to have their labour induced or to wait for labour…
Induction for advanced maternal age
Sara Wickham notes the rather illogical nature of the recommendations made for induction of labour in older women, citing the lack of good evidence on this.
Is home birth safe?
Our home birth information hub – the latest research on the safety of home birth and links to many of Dr Sara Wickham’s articles and blog posts on this.
Screening and the consequences of knowledge
Is it always good to know things, just because we can? Sara Wickham explores this idea in a series of blog posts about the consequences of knowledge.
Which first-time mums are more at risk of caesarean?
Which first-time mums are more at risk of caesarean? There is growing concern about the number of unnecessary caesareans, and the rate of these is especially high in first-time mums. That concern is the reason behind doing the research that…
Five questions to ask if you’re offered induction of labour
What are the best questions to ask if you’re offered induction of labour? This is something I get asked a lot. So I have put together this guide to the five best questions that you can ask in order to…
Reflecting on risk assessment
Risk assessment is an integral part of midwifery and medical practice and yet also something we need to think about more. A few years ago, I spent some time reflecting on the issues raised by revised guidelines on venous thromboembolism…
Another study, another dodgy headline! Please don’t steal our coffee!
A study was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology entitled ‘Associations between consumption of coffee and caffeinated soft drinks and late stillbirth—Findings from the Midland and North of England stillbirth case-control study’. The media…
Delaying cord clamping for six minutes is safe
New research has added to our knowledge about delaying cord clamping. We know now that it is safe to wait 6 minutes after birth, even when an oxytocic drug is given to assist with the birth of the placenta. Waiting,…
The benefits of water for birth
What are the benefits of water for birth? Sara Wickham looks at two studies highlighting the advantages of this for women and babies.
May Contain Tigers
Warning: this blog post may contain tigers. As someone who lives with a serious food allergy, I have noticed some interesting changes in the information given on product labels over time. Over the years, I have thoroughly enjoyed the proliferation…
Midwifery Wisdom and Reflection
Our latest information hub gathers together classic articles and blog posts written for and about midwives and midwifery practice by Dr Sara Wickham.
Birth trauma research
Sara Wickham looks at birth trauma research which highlights the experiences of women and shows how important it is that we look at this area more closely.
Are there good reasons to induce labour?
Are there good reasons to induce labour? That’s a question often posted when I talk or write about labour induction. It’s an understandable question. I have spent more than twenty years writing about how induction isn’t always beneficial. I’ve often…
Trends in induction of labour
How are trends in induction of labour changing? And has the publication of the controversial ARRIVE Trial affected this? Two recent studies have added to our knowledge about the effects of changing guidelines and narratives on trends in induction of…
Which induction book do I need?
Which induction book should I read? I’m the author of two books about induction of labour. Inducing Labour: making informed decisions has been popular for nearly twenty years. I frequently update it with new information, so as long as you…
Labour progress resources
Labour progress resources available on Sara Wickham’s website. Everything from research challenging norms to the purple line!
Induction for gestational diabetes: what’s the evidence?
Is there any evidence of benefit for induction for gestational diabetes? That’s a question I hear a lot. Women who have been told that they have gestational diabetes are often also offered early induction of labour. But is there any…
What is a labour plateau?
As a midwife, the labour plateau is a phenomenon with which I am very familiar. I have attended mostly physiological births, and it is common to see labour slowing, pausing or even stalling. There are – to put it in…
Passing yarns forward: unravelling the dimensions of knitting and birth
I have long been interested in the links between knitting and birth. I have a childhood memory of a midwife once casting off my knitting for me when my mum was busy. A simple act of kindness which cemented my…
What time are babies most likely to be born?
What time are babies most likely to be born? As a home birth midwife, I’m well aware that a good many babies like to be born in the deep of the night. They will often wait until everyone has gone…
Post-term pregnancy and induction of labour resources
This page lists all the resources available from Dr Sara Wickham on the topics of post-term pregnancy and induction of labour.
What is a stretch and sweep?
Many women are offered a ‘stretch and sweep’ in late pregnancy. But what is this, why and how is it done, does it work and can you say no?
Women are not given adequate information about induction
Another survey has identified a continuing problem with women not being able to get clear information about induction of labour (PIF 2021). This study was conducted by the Patient Information Forum in collaboration with a number of birth charities. It…
Sara Wickham is in The Midwives’ Cauldron!
Sara Wickham is in The Midwives’ Cauldron! We’re delighted to tell you that Dr Sara Wickham has recorded two podcasts with Katie James and Dr Rachel Reed, creators of The Midwives’ Cauldron podcast. In the first, they chatted about Instagram,…
The 2021 NICE guideline on inducing labour
November 2021 saw the publication of the 2021 NICE guideline on inducing labour. The guideline “…concerns the circumstances, methods and monitoring for inducing labour in pregnant women.” (NICE 2021). The draft version of the guideline caused a lot of controversy when…