"Galactic Baby" -award winning image from Cat Fancote - all rights reserved https://birthphotographyperth.com.au/
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 for my planned post retirement business, teaching women the approaches to labour and birth I’d evolved to help them have the best birth possible and running occassional courses for collegues on biomechancs. It was already clear before Covid that interest in biomechanics was going to make Optimal Birth rather more than a "post retirement business". I was spending half my life on planes and trains travelling to hospitals as far apart as the Canaries and Oban and it looked like I was in for a busy year.
Covid brought everything to a crushing halt - but only for a little while. It forced the development of an online presence - and broke resistence to distant learning. It's changed "everything". I'm talking too and teaching birthworkers around the world, have and 3500 strong social facebook group that's a lively and supportive forum for physiological birth, working with midwifery lecturers to help bring biomechanics into midwifery degree courses. I said I wanted optimal birth to change the conversation about childbirth - I hadn't quite expected to be quite so so directly involved - it's a thrilling ride and the enthusiasm and positivity I'm getting with every course I teach is more than empowering. Can't wait to see what appens next!