A short course for midwives, antenatal teachers and obstetricians in simple non-invasive techniques that can reduce pain antenatally and during labour and to manage labour made difficult by malposition.
“Good beginnings make a positive difference in the world, so it is worth our while to provide the best possible care for mothers and babies throughout this extraordinarily influential part of life”
Ina May Gaskin – Midwife
Take a moment to remember the reasons why we chose this profession. The words that will probably spring to mind will include: compassion, holistic, positive, nurturing and supportive care. Midwives and maternity care workers want to witness, support and celebrate the exquisite, unique birthing process.
Sadly, providing this type of care, being with woman, is becoming harder to achieve. Many midwives work in an environment that is the antithesis of our philosophy. This course offers solutions to difficulties in giving real midwifery care during labour that can be used in any environment.
There’s no doubt that everyone wants a healthy baby. It’s equally important to have a healthy mother. A mother who has had a positive, dare I say, joyful experience of birth will make an easier recovery and feel stronger and more powerful in her adjustment to motherhood. Is this what we’re seeing? Unfortunately, no. Physiological birth rates are low. Medicalised, caesarean birth and instrumental births are rising. Women are suffering physical, emotional and psychological trauma. This is verified by rising postnatal depression and post traumatic stress disorder figures.
Many of these interventions are avoidable. WHO advises caesarean birth should be no more than 14 or 15% yet we are commonly witnessing rates of more than 30%.
What lies behind the steep rise in caesareans and other interventions?
Malposition is one of the main factors leading to medical interventions which can include some or all of the following:
- artificial rupture of the membranes
- oxytocic augmentation
- Increased use of pain relief such as epidural
- continuous monitoring
- restricted movement
- restricted diet
- instrumental birth
- lithotomy position
- caesarean birth
How can midwives help women avoid these interventions and have an easier more comfortable, less traumatic birth.
Midwives often say to mothers that baby is ‘naughty’ or awkward. This suggests a misunderstanding about the basics of biomechanics (the mechanics of biological and musculoskeletal activity as in locomotion). For example, if the mother’s pelvic floor has some twist or tightness it reduces space for the baby, he or she will contort themselves into a position that works for that situation – resulting in a malposition. It’s not the baby’s “fault” but, most commonly, an imbalance in the pelvis.
There are techniques to help reduce long, hard, painful labours that mothers often suffer when their babies are in a malposition. These include:
- Rebozo (shawl)
- Postures and positions that release muscle tension, tight ligaments and help align the baby
- Upright positions
- Birth balls
- Peanut ball
- Strategies that support neuro hormonal balance
The “Moving for an Easier Birth” course has been created following requests from colleagues who have witnessed the effectiveness of these techniques. It offers midwives the chance to fully support women, helping to resolve malposition the gentle and logical way, by attending to the root cause.
Following this course you will feel confident in offering solutions that help the baby navigate the journey through the pelvis and birth canal in an optimal position. You will learn techniques that can help
- problems in pregnancy, like backache and pelvic girdle pain.
- troubleshoot problems during labour including a slow birthing stage.
- reduce the length of labour,
- reduce the need for pain relief and
- help increase positive birth experiences by supporting physiological birth.
Most of all you can help the women to help themselves to a joyous birth – isn’t that the reason you became a midwife?
“Respecting the woman as an important and valuable human being and making certain that the woman’s experience while giving birth is fulfilling and empowering is not just a nice extra, it is absolutely essential as it makes the woman strong and therefore makes society strong.”
I am a mother of three and grandmother to one. After over 20 year of practice I hope I’ve become an experienced midwife. I’m also a hypnobirth and birth preparation teacher, an associate university lecturer, created multiple courses for midwives, campaigned for midwife led birth units, and been a passionate student and enabler of and for normal birth.
I love my job, but like most midwives working in maternity care institutions, I feel frustrated by the obstacles to providing excellent care, and sadness for the many women whose birth experiences bring them painful memories instead of joyful ones.
My frustration has lessened since 2010 when I introduced midwifery skills that can help resolve long difficult labours. This voyage started with the discovery of www.spinningbabies.com, courtesy of my daughter in law, who was searching for information to help turn her breech baby, my grandson Otto.
He didn’t, and that’s another story but spinning babies made sense. I was already employing optimal fetal positioning strategies I learned from attending midwife Jean Sutton’s course almost 20 years ago, but it wasn’t enough. American midwife, Gail Tully (spinning babies lady!) was filling in the gaps and providing new strategies and tools. I’ve attended 2 of her workshops, the last one was earlier this year, an advanced course that introduced myofascial release methods.
Being a birth junkie, i’ve immersed myself in articles and books that add to this knowledge. The Labour Progress Handbook by Penny Simkin and Ruth Ancheta is falling apart with use.
The Rebozo, a Mexican shawl, is another helpful tool for a practitioner hoping to enable normal birth. It is used for comfort but has additional benefit of helping the baby into an optimal position. I have attended 2 rebozo courses held by Sophie Messager and an online course by Gena Kirby.
These tools and strategies work! I have witnessed rapid and dramatic progress during the birthing process following the use of the positions i’ve learned during my studies.
This is the art and science of midwifery and has to be shared. Women and midwives deserve it!
Indeed, the slogan is “midwives changing the world one baby at a time” and I believe that when we help women, when we help them to come to that sense of empowerment and that sense of a new self-definition, we are impacting the future, one baby at a time.Sameerah Shareef