Tuesday, December 29, 2015

National Childbirth Trust

I can remember going to NCT classes when I was expecting my children.  It was run by women who supported other women to give birth the way they wanted and not what the hospital wanted us to have. Now, the head of the NCT is a male and he wants all families to have access to childbirth classes. 

"He said he wanted to offer more free or subsidised antenatal classes to families from less affluent backgrounds.  The NCT is the largest provider of paid-for antenatal classes in the country and its courses have acquired a reputation as a meeting place for middle-class 'yummy mummies'.

The courses can cost hundreds of pounds, although discounts are offered to parents on low incomes or benefits. The NHS runs free courses, but they are shorter than most private antenatal classes. Critics claim the paid-for classes threaten to exacerbate the gap between rich and poor."

Link to article

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.  Have a wonderful and safe time with your family and friends.

Love from Marie

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nursing and Midwifery training is not easy.

When I started my nurse training, as a student I was paid a salary, which was not very much but at least we were paid and the amount went up by approximately one hundred pounds at each year of completed training.  When I qualified as a staff nurse, we were paid as a 'D' Grade which were the grading structures currently in place at that time.  

All our training was done on the wards and we revised in our spare time and also, we would spend time in the School of Nursing consolidating what we had learned on the wards and sitting for exams.  

When I started my midwifery training, I was paid as a 'D' grade, which was honoured through our training and automatically became an 'E' grade once I had qualified as a staff midwife. Once again, we had a great deal of hands on experience on the wards and in the community learning to care for mums and babes.  

I came out the other end with not only a job, but also a good salary with no student loans to pay back.

Now, the training is University based and students (both nurses and midwives) are having to obtain student loans to pay for their course, at the end of their academic training, they will have to pay back in excess of UK Pounds 65,000 and NZ dollars 80,000.  This is a lot of money, especially for those students who are training and have families.  Also, it appears their training will not automatically guarantee a job at the end of their four years.  

I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have trained in an era where we did not have the stress of having to repay back student loans. 


Using evidence based care - For nurses and midwives

We all know the importance in using evidence based practice in nursing and midwifery.  I just came across this site which I thought was important to share. Follow the link to take you to Evidence for everyday Midwifery, there is also a Nursing site as well.  

Cochrane evidence for Nurses and Midwives

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Kiwi Midwives sets the worlds gold standards

This is just a fantastic video that shows exactly what we do and the love and passion we have for our work.  I love midwifery in New Zealand and the New Zealand partnership in care model.

Kiwi Midwives set the worlds Gold Standards

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How a woman's body adapts to birth

Fascinating article that shows how wonderful a woman's body is as it adapts to childbirth. If you have any questions please phone me or your midwife.

"It is the most natural thing in the world - a mother giving birth to her child.  Millions of women across the world deliver their babies into the world each year, soon forgetting the agonising pain as soon as their tiny bundle of joy is placed in their arms.

Babies can enter the world one of two ways, via a vaginal birth or Caesarean section. In the case of a vaginal birth, a woman's body adapts stretching and expanding where necessary to allow the baby to arrive safely into the world.

Now, a video animation reveals exactly how a woman's body adjusts during childbirth. 
Regular contractions signal the start of the process, occurring as the cervix dilates to accommodate birth."


Friday, October 9, 2015

The first pregnancy test designed in 1967

Not like the old days when you would have to take your urine specimen into the pharmacy or your GP and wait hours or the next day for the results.
"In the late 1960s, a 26-year-old freelance designer named Margaret Crane was working on packaging for the now-defunct pharmaceutical company Organon.
The sight of hundreds of pregnancy tests that doctors had sent into the Organon lab made her think, “A woman could do that herself. It just came to me just like that,” she tells Smithsonian magazine. And she kept thinking. By trial and error — she had no background in science — Crane created in 1967 the prototype for the first home pregnancy test.
Roger Catlin tells her story in the September issue of the magazine. The idea encountered some resistance at Organon: “People in the company told me in effect that I was evil, this was really bad, this was terrible, and I had no right to be bringing this up — and women had no right to be doing this themselves; this was in doctors’ hands,” says Crane, who is now 75. “But I really persisted. I thought this was a necessary thing.”
In 1971, her home pregnancy test — named Predictor — went on the market in Canada, and, after gaining FDA approval in 1976, in the United States. It was more complicated than today’s popsicle-stick-size instant tests, but it worked on the same principle of detecting a pregnancy-related hormone in a woman’s urine, and it delivered results in two hours instead of the two weeks required by a lab test."

Pregnancy Cravings :-)

But I do not see the picture of special fried rice covered with lashings of tomato ketchup craving that I had :-)

Pregnancy cravings have you wishing you could dive into some chocolate right about now? Or immerse yourself in all the strawberries you can handle? Art director Vaida Rasciute of Carrot Incorporations is bringing your fantasies to life.


Baby singing in the womb

Interesting article here, I could not post the video but follow the link for more information.

  • First study to show foetuses can hear sounds as young as 16 weeks
  • Pregnant women between 14 and 39 weeks took part in the study
  • Music played via an intravaginal device, and via speakers on the bump
  • Found 87% of foetuses responded directly to intravaginal sounds
  • Moved their mouths and tongues 'as if they were trying to sing' 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

A letter to a midwife’s mamas

This is  a very beautiful letter from a midwife to a lady.  Women are amazing!

"I actually hope you don’t remember my name. I was your midwife and I’ve always thought that, if I did my job well, then you would only remember how amazing YOU were when it was time to birth your baby
Birth is hard work and I hate how our culture presents it as a nice, tidy little inconvenience.
But you went against that cultural norm and chose to birth your baby with the help of a midwife, with all of the pain, bodily fluids, doubt, and triumph that come along with choosing that path.
You were beautiful. I know, I know … you hadn’t showered for two days and you threw up six times … but when you got to 8cm, there was a beautiful glow in your cheeks. … and beads of sweat on your lip.  I put a cool washcloth on your forehead, knowing that you were near holding your baby, knowing that there might still be a ton of work to do, and knowing that every moment would be worth it for you.
You frantically looked around and gasped “I can’t do this anymore.”
And I looked you in the eye and said, “You can do this. You are doing this. Don’t be afraid!”
And you believed me, as well you should have, because I was telling you the truth."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Navajo Midwives in New Mexico plan on opening the first Native American Birthing Center

This is just wonderful and very encouraging.  I believe it is so important to maintain the culture of Native American  women, in fact, not just Native Americans but also the world over. 

 “I’d like to see a nice building with pictures of our grandmothers, cedar welcoming you into the door, and moccasins for babies instead of blankets," says Gonzales. "I want a place where women and families feel welcome.”

I wish my midwifery sisters all the best of luck and love. 


Friday, May 22, 2015

Placenta Traditions Around the World

"In Indonesia, the baby's placenta is considered its twin and becomes a kind of guardian for the child. Family members and birthing attendants bury the placenta outdoors. 
The Igbo of Nigeria, some people of Malaysia, and many other cultures also consider the placenta a twin and bury it outdoors.
In Cambodia, the location of the placenta's burial is very important, as it is considered the origin of the baby's soul. Spiked plants are often planted around the burial place to keep away evil spirits.The tradition in Cambodia is to wrap the placenta in banana leaves and keep it close to the newly born child for three days, after which it is given a burial.
The Maori of New Zealand call the placenta the whenua, or "the land." The placenta and the umbilical cord are placed in a special container and buried on the child's tribal land, thus reinforcing that child's tie with their birthplace. Ipu Whenua

In many Asian countries, especially China, the placenta has long been regarded as a source of life and energy. The placenta is dried and taken as a supplement or added to food dishes for it’s health and healing benefits.

In Thailand, the placenta is cured with salt and placed in a clay pot. The pot is buried in a special site under a tree with the month of the child's birth determining which way the pot will face.

There are a few regions in South America where the
the placenta is cremated and and buried in the ground where it is believed that it will be protected from evil entities.

In America, the Navajo Indians bury the placenta within their reservation as an honour to their ancestors. Items are also commonly buried with the placenta such as books or religious items in hopes that the child will be smart or pursue certain skills or traits.

Hawaiians also practice burial rituals with a new tree planted over the placenta. It is believed that the placenta must be treated as a sacred object and that proper burial rites be given to ensure the good health of the new baby.

The placenta is highly regarded in many cultures around the world, and this sacred treatment is a testament to the significance of the placenta as an important symbol of life, energy, and spirit.

Birth control?!?
The placenta isn't exactly considered birth control, but reportedly in Transylvania, a couple who wanted no more children would burn their baby's placenta, and then the father would drink the ashes to render himself infertile (supposedly).
In the Ukraine, families avoid burying the placenta in a doorway, which could mean the couple will have no more children. Some Ukrainian midwives claimed they could tell how many subsequent babies a couple would have by examining the placenta.
It appears that humans are more likely to bury the placenta than consume it. But either way, it's clear that many cultures consider the placenta an important symbol, of life, spirit, and belonging.

Placental Traditions around the World

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Braxton Hicks and Labour Contractions

Throughout pregnancy women experiencing 'Braxton Hicks' contraction, they are painless uterine tightening's usually lasting for about 30 seconds and helps to tone the uterus to get ready for labour.  False labour is a term that has fallen out of fashion because, your body is certainly not false.  

Please note that painful uterine contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy is not normal, please speak with your midwife.  

The information below is from the baby centre and it explains how to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and when you are in labour contractions.

How do Braxton Hicks and labour contractions differ?

There are differences between Braxton Hicks contractions and labour contractions, so you should be able to tell them apart. 

Braxton Hicks contractions:

  • Are infrequent, and usually happen no more than once or twice an hour, a few times a day.
  • Often stop if you change activity. So walk about if you've been sitting, and sit down if you've been on your feet for a while.
  • Are usually irregular, or if they are regular, only stay that way for a short spell.
  • Don't last long, usually less than a minute.
  • Continue to be unpredictable and non-rhythmic.
  • Don't increase in intensity.

Compared with Braxton Hicks, labour contractions are:

  • noticeably, and increasingly, longer
  • more regular
  • more frequent
  • more painful
  • increase in frequency and intensity

We do not recommend you Google your condition, if unsure about what you are experiencing, please speak with your midwife. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Safe Sleeping and why you should not let baby sleep in a car seat, bouncer or swing.

Very important advice here - around about 28 weeks of pregnancy midwives the importance of safe sleeping for baby. Government advice recommends the following :

Baby sleeps in their own bed (no bed sharing), Face up, Face clear and smoke free.  Do not have any pillows or toys in the bed with baby.  Also, fasten the safety harness first and then put the wrap over baby.  If going on a journey, stop and have a break after two hours travel, take baby out of the car seat and let him/her have a feed and a stretch before continuing your journey.  

"Babies need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep each day depending on their age. But where they sleep is even more important than how much they sleep—and a new study set to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that “sitting devices” like car seats, swings, and bouncers can lead to injury and even death if babies are allowed to sleep in them.

Researchers examined the deaths of 47 young children under the age of 2, all of which occurred while in a device made for sitting or carrying. Two-thirds of the deaths occurred in car seats, while the rest occurred in slings, swings, bouncers, and strollers.  Asphyxiation (positional or strangulation) was the cause of death in 46 cases; 52 percent of the deaths were caused by strangulation from the device’s straps.

Related: How Safe Is Your Baby’s Sleep?
Sleep-related deaths are the number one cause of death in kids between 1 and 12 months old. To avoid injury or death, experts urge parents to never, under any circumstance, leave infants and young children unsupervised—sleeping or awake—while in these devices. They also advise that car seats should only be placed on a firm, stable surface and any buckles should be fastened correctly.

The best place for your baby to sleep is on her back, in a crib that has a firm mattress and is free from any loose bedding. To be sure your baby’s sleep environment is as safe as can be, check out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Safe sleep 

Safe Sleeping

Should men experience labour?

I have read a few articles about men 'experiencing' labour just so they can be aware of what their partners go through.  I have to agree that I agree with what is being said below in quotation marks. Men only experience just a short while of, not even labour pains, they are shocked to experience some degree of pain.  They do not experience the oxytocin release bringing with it each the knowledge that each contractions brings their baby closer and also the immense love that a newly birthed mother feels for her baby.  

"The midwife told the men to accept the pain to make it easier. Acceptance is a big part of labor. It seems far fetched however, for the men who are voluntarily being shocked. There is no great end goal they are reaching. They do not have the reward that each contraction brings them closer to unbelievable love.
This is the major problem with the experience. These men are shown a minutiae of the actual pregnancy and birthing experience. To isolate only the pain of labor cheapens the experience of pregnancy. It is a small part of the package deal. To focus on the pain alone is problematic because along with the fear, there is an excitement and joy that cannot be recreated."

Using Belly paint - Shows how the baby fits into the body.

This is amazing and shows just how wonderful the female body is.

"Despite reading all about how my babies were in my womb in the head-down position I never could quite wrap my mind around what that looked like. Even knowing it was incorrect, in my head my babies were always right-side up inside me, or at the very least laying horizontal."

For more information just click on the link below.
Belly Paint - How baby fits into the body.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Home Birth Aotearoa

Wonderful and informative website for women who are considering a home birth.

Home Birth Aotearoa

Sheila Kitzinger - Reclaiming childbirth

I began to read about Sheila Kitzinger back in the late 1970's and was a strong campaigner to reclaim childbirth as being a normal life event and not something that should be medicalised.  I was sorry to hear of her passing and grateful that she influenced women to make their own choices and fight for their right to choose.   

Sheila Kitzinger was the natural childbirth activist and author 'who taught British women how to give birth', with generations of mothers following her invaluable advice. Here, in memoirs completed just before her death in April, aged 86, she lays bare her colourful and charmingly eccentric life story.
When I was born in 1929 — in Taunton, Somerset — birth was a natural affair. Women gave birth at home so they were on their own territory, even though a family doctor and nurse were normally in attendance.
Nor were women expected to remain on a bed. My own mother recalled looping a towel over the corner of her bedroom door so she could pull on it while standing during the second stage of what proved to be a difficult labour.

Read more by clicking on the link below.  
Reclaiming childbirth

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Traditional and modern birthing positions.

"Why do women use these passive positions and not more active positions like upright, kneeling, squatting, all-fours, side-lying, or asymmetric positions, which have historically been favored by many cultures?

Recent research just published shows that these "alternative" positions offer increased room in the pelvis. And many women feel their pain is lessened in these positions. This is probably why they were favored by traditional birthing cultures.

A recent Cochrane meta-analysis shows that labors tended to be shorter, the risk for cesarean was lower, and fewer epidurals were used when women in hospitals labored in these positions. So why aren't more women taking advantage of these positions?

The main reasons are cultural conditioning (nearly every image of birth in the media involves laying down or semi-sitting positions), because freedom of movement can interfere with labor interventions, because epidurals can restrict movement somewhat, and because some medical personnel discourage alternative positions due to lack of training/comfort with them. Sadly, there are some care providers who actually forbid women to assume other positions for pushing out the baby."

These following images are used throughout hospitals around the world.  Look at the woman, legs in lithotomy, surrounded by people she does not know who are all gowned and masked, very sterile and very impersonal. Where are the family?  Where is her partner?  Where is the love?

For more information, click on the link below.
Traditional and historic positions in labour.

Beautiful Photographs of Childbirth

Follow the link to the photographs, they are stunning.  

Beautiful photographs of Childbirth