I love talking about how the cervix (and other bits of the female body) really behaves during labour and birth.
Because have you ever noticed that real women’s labouring cervices haven’t read the textbooks?
That, although we are taught that they are supposed to open in a linear, unidirectional and relatively predictable manner, many don’t actually do that?
This is something that midwives, women, families and birth workers have long known. Yet it’s barely acknowledged or written about in the textbooks. Some textbooks are still spouting out of date ideas based on assumptions, myths, and mistaken beliefs rather than physiological reality.
We need to question the assumptions
I’ve been pondering the differences between the beliefs and the reality for a couple of decades now, and it is one of the topics that I get asked to speak about quite a bit.
I have questioned many of the assumptions that have long been embedded in midwifery and medical textbooks, including some of the entrenched ideas about measurement and the myth that all cervixes need to open to exactly 10cm before the baby can come out.
I mean, really?!
This is effectively saying that all babies’ heads are the same size.
It’s like saying that we all have the same size nose, or ears or, well, any other body part.
This is what I mean about there being a big difference between the myth and the reality.
It’s important that more people understand and talk about individual variation.
We also need to have conversations about other aspects of the female body and how it works in labour and birth.
For me, the way to do that is to combine evidence-based analysis of birth-related research and thinking (which you’ll find below) with fun, thought provoking and creative ways of helping women and families learn about their bodies, their babies and their options.
And if you’re wondering how I go about the second part of that?!
In my spare time I sew and sell audio visual aids so that others can discuss the same principles in their work.
All the profits go towards sharing birth information.
This page gathers together the main articles that I have written on this and related topics in one place for anyone who is interested.
If you’d like to stay up-to-date with birth-related research and thinking, make sure you’re subscribed to our free newsletter list, which means you’ll get Sara’s monthly Birth Information Update.