Over the past few years, there have been times when the debate about childbirth and especially choices about how and where to give birth, have become deeply polarised. As always, the media have been quick to reduce the debate to extremes, pitting dire warnings of “certain death if a baby is born at home” against "natural birth at any price".
While these extreme views do exist among birth practitioners they are rare, but any birth practitioner not blindly wedded to the guidelines will acknowledge there is much about the status quo in many obstetric units that work actively against "a good birth". It’s also recognised that challenging institutional drivers of practices can be very difficult, even those with little or no evidence to support them.
As a midwife my role is to help women have the best birth possible. I understand the medical model plays an important role but I also believe many interventions are used inappropriately. All too frequently attempts to question mainstream practice tends to degenerate into a “natural birth versus managed birth” argument. That’s the wrong debate. It should be “how birth practitioners can embrace best practice to make sure all women can have an optimal birth”.
This site was initially created to publicise my planned post retirement business, teaching women the approaches to labour and birth I’d evolved to help them have the best birth possible. Events have pushed me from antenatal teaching into a roving trainer for professional colleagues who are motivated by the same urge to help women have an “Optimal Birth”. It's taken over my life over the past 18 months - one of the positives of the enforced break is having time to develop online resources for both pregnant women and colleagues - no more excuses for delays!