About

About me

I am many things but mostly I’m a mother, midwife and educator. I live in a forest on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia with my husband – our son and daughter have flown the nest. We moved to Australia from the UK in 2005, and apart from the state of the maternity system, we love it.

I qualified as a midwife in 2001 after completing a BSc (Hons) in Midwifery (I’m not a nurse but I am a Doctor). I have worked as a midwife in a large regional referral unit, a community midwifery team (homebirth and hospital birth), a private hospital, and a small public hospital. In Australia the only way I can work to my full scope of practice, and provide the care I believe women deserve is to work as an independent homebirth midwife – so that’s what I’m doing. I am finally learning about how birth can be, and will be forever grateful to the women who teach me so much by sharing their birth journeys with me.

My other passion is teaching and learning, and I am a Midwifery Lecturer at my local university. I completed a PhD in 2013 and my thesis ‘midwifery practice during birth: rites of passage and rites of protection’ is available online here.

You can find out more in my resume and read an interview with me at NaturalChildbirth.

About this blog

The aim of this blog to stimulate thinking and share knowledge, evidence and views on birth and midwifery. The posts reflect my own perspective and opinions… not necessarily everyone, or anyone else’s. I welcome debate and I’m happy to be wrong – so feel free to comment and put me right if required (preferably politely). My posts are not intended to provide advice or recommendations for individuals.

I update posts with new research and resources fairly regularly.

The Sunshine Coast Hinterland

142 Responses to About

  1. Rosemary Weckert says:

    Hi Rachel
    It’s nice to read about Australian midwifery. Many sites are international which can be stimulating but it is good to see some Australian content. I work as a midwife in Alice Springs. Goodluck with you studies and I will be ‘listening in’ on your blog from time-to-time.
    Regards
    Rosemary Weckert

  2. I absolutely love your blog. :) So cool. I’m going to add it to my blog roll.

    peace,
    Kelly

  3. Katrina says:

    Hi there…are you able to practice as a homebirth midwife in Qld? I live in Brisbane, as I understand it there is some kind of legal issue (which is terrible) with attending homebirths…are women in Qld able to have midwife attended homebirths?

    I understand if you can’t comment explicitly about your own scope of practice. Thanks :).

    • Hi Katrina
      Yes I can still practise as a homebirth midwife in Qld. The only change for me so far is that I have to purchase insurance for antenatal and postnatal care (mws are exempt from insurance for homebirth for 2 years because it is unavailable). However, midwives who want to be eligible to access medicare provider numbers (which I don’t) need to have a ‘collaborative arrangement’ with an obstetrician. It’s all a bit long winded and complicated but basically the AMA and RANZCOG have been very influential in determining what ‘collaboration’ is and the resulting legislation means eligible midwives will be regulated by obs. So it will be impossible for women to access the care of a homebirth midwife and claim medicare rebates for the care. However, women can still have a midwife attend their birth legally… for now.

      • kay hardie says:

        hello rachel, I practice an independent midwife in the UK and was interested reading your comments above as midwifery here is facing a crisis. Currently it is not mandatory to have indemnity insurance, but from October 2013 because of an EU directive it will be compulsory and likely to be a requirement to be on the register. But as an independent my union RCM doesnt cover me and its impossible to purchase any on the open market because of the perception of ‘risk’. So independents are facing extinction here. Shocking for women’s right to have choice of care provider and that of midwives to deliver woman centred care.

        • It is terrible what is happening in the UK. It is similar here i.e. insurance requirements have been implemented and it will probably result in many midwives being unable to practice in the way they want… and the way women want them to. :(

  4. Lara says:

    Hello Rachel,

    I’m a doula practicing in the UK and I want to thank you for your excellent and well-presented information. I particularly appreciate your links to research and have just printed some of the induction material to take with us tomorrow, for the dreaded post-term induction conversation at the hospital. My client really wants to avoid intervention and it’s good to have the research to hand when advocating for normal birth. I feel prepped, as does my client, but I’m still secretly hoping for baby’s arrival tonight, on the 42 week mark :) Cross fingers X

    • Hi Lara
      Good luck with the hospital appointment. I would love to know how it goes… Or the birth went. It is good to hear that the UK has doula services (there were practically none when I lived there). Women need doulas to help them negotiate the system.

  5. It is saddening that our society (I am in the USA) does not trust nature to take care of us. I thought about using a midwife 18 years ago with my first, but was really pressured into believing that it wasn’t safe (being a registered nurse, I had more exposure to friends that were hospital staff, not midwives) and that I was “odd” for even thinking of using one.
    Thanks for allowing women to see that the birth process is one that is not complicated unless you make it that way, and how much sense using a midwife makes to both mother and child.
    While my 2 birthing experiences were uneventful, I would have definitely opted for a midwife if I had a bit more moxie.
    I only wish I could turn back the clock!

    • There are lots of us who would love to turn back the clock and birth with our current knowledge (me included). However, our experiences good and bad make us who we are. All we can do is spread the word and help future mothers make changes.

  6. JMT says:

    I stumbled onto your blog and read the whole thing … at work at my desk job … woops. Thanks for the wonderful posts, pictures, and videos. Please keep writing. I’ve subscribed on my reader and will look forward to future posts. I’m a student in public health in Massachusetts and love reading about midwifery care around the globe.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I just found your blog–I forget how–but I am enjoying it and had to write and tell you how much I love the header picture! Wonderful! I am a midwifery student in Portland, Oregon, USA, which is a great place to practice midwifery. I look forward to reading more about your experiences!

  8. Helena says:

    May I copy some of your posts to share with my students? I see you are licensed under creative commons and I will most definitely attribute your work to you. You explain things very clearly! Would love to collaborate with you and Gloria Lemay and others on a new guide to birth.

    • Of course you can share the information with your students! The whole purpose of the blog is to get information out there and generate thought and discussion. The more of us reinforcing women’s birthing ability and power the better :)

  9. Nik says:

    Thanks for your awesome, informative blog. I’ve been following it for months and am starting midwifery studies this year (in SE Qld).
    I’m wondering, are there any books that you’d recommend for people who are aspiring to be a homebirth midwife? Books that promote a non-medicalised understanding of pregnancy and birth…to supplement what’s studied at university which I imagine *may* be fairly medicalised?
    Cheers and thanks :)

    • Congratulations on starting your midwifery studies!
      Textbooks are improving (slowly) and I would guess you will have an anatomy and physiology book on your list along with ‘Midwifery’ by Pairman et al. The books I like and use for teacher are:
      - ‘Normal Childbirth’ Downe (ed)
      - ‘Childbirth, Midwifery and Concepts of Time’ McCourt (ed)
      - ‘Birth Territory and Midwifery Guardianship’ Fahy et al.
      The best way to learn is to get involved in the birth community and if you aspire to being a homebirth midwife connect with others involved in this scene. We can learn so much through sharing experiences and wisdom, and listening to birth stories. Ultimately women are our greatest teachers. Enjoy your studies :)

    • Linda Stegeman says:

      Sarah Buckley – Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering, Anne Frye’s series of holistic midwifery books – antenatal, birth and postnatal are good. There is Ina May Gaskin and her birth books including spiritual midwifery. Dennis Walsh, Soo Downe, Sarah Wickham have are British midwives who have written really good stuff and will lead you on to other midwives such as Mavis Kirkham.

  10. thank you for your blog – it is just wonderful. i’m not a midwife, but i did have an amazing midwife-assisted birth just about 3 years ago and have since felt the need to soak up as much information as i can to pass along to my peers. sadly, i am so far the only one amongst my acquaintance to have had a remotely positive birth experience, and to me it seems no coincidence that i am also the only one who had midwives to cheer me on. it’s so hard to explain to other women that birth is mostly done by your body – even the closest friends dismiss my experience as “lucky” or “flaky”, rather than my own characterizations of “natural”, or even “incredibly well-researched” (especially that last one, as i was someone who initially had NO idea how birth could even physically work, and it was actually all the outcomes literature that made me check out midwives in the first place.)

    i basically feel like i need to be armed to the teeth with technical knowledge whenever i engage in even the most casual conversation about birthing. hence, the brilliance of your blog for me. plus, it’ll prepare me in case i ever want to change careers – yours seems like the way to go.

  11. Bobbi says:

    I dont know how I found your blog either, but have also had to sit down and read the whole thing. I am a doula in Vancouver, BC and I felt like a sponge just soaking up all the info that you have provided. It echos so much of what I feel about birth but had never seen supported or substantiated before. I will definitely be recommending your blog as a great resource to my clients if that is ok?
    Thank you so much for sending all this great information out there into the birthing world!! Please keep it coming! You are an inspiration!

  12. Thanks Bobbi
    This is exactly what I want to achieve with this blog. Many of us ‘feel’ and ‘know’ that physiological uninterrupted birth is usually the safest way to birth. However, we live in a world where intuition, gut feelings, experiential knowledge etc. are dismissed. Knowledge must be rational (whatever that is) and scientific to gain respect – although of science is far from rational or non-biased in reality. Anyhow, my aim is to try and support and substantiate what we ‘know’ with science and rationale. Not because I think we should have to, but because it helps us get heard. If I’m in hospital talking to an obstetrician it helps to speak their language. If you can provide good evidence for wanting something or not wanting something it makes life easier in the ‘rational’ world.

  13. Johanna says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I just wanted to thank you for writing this blog. I really enjoy reading it, since I am a mother, too and on my way to become a midwife.

    Thanks for investing so much time and thought :)

  14. Emily says:

    Hi,

    I have just sat and read your blog from start to finish. It is so great to have all of this information here. I am 34 weeks and preparing my birth plan and it just feels great to be armed with information so I can ask my midwife lots of questions before birth and really discuss with my husband what our options are. Just having the knowledge of pro’s and con’s for so many elements of birth is empowering. I just want to be calm going into labour and confident as well, and so much of what you have written has really helped me. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog, I’m sure many people will find it really useful, I know I have.

    I found your blog via someone linking to it on a discussion on Bubhub, and I am so grateful to have been able to read your stuff. I love that women are so keen to share positive information woth each other via forums/websites/blogs etc.

    xx

  15. Hi Emily
    I am pleased you are finding the information on the blog useful. I also think it is great that there is so much positive information online – women sharing their experiences and knowledge. I hope that these ripples turn into a wave of women who know and trust in their ability to birth. Happy Birthing! :)

  16. Sara says:

    I didn’t know where to ask this, and I don’t *think* that it is anywhere on your blog, but I was wondering about your thoughts on the RhoGam shot for RH- mothers during pregnancy. I’ve read a lot of conflicting information about it, and it seems that even very “crunchy” and non-interventionist midwives are pretty supportive of it. I really respect everything that you post, though, so I’d love to see your take on it. I am glad that I don’t have to worry about it, since I am not RH-, but I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I am interested in the shot, knowing that it is a blood fraction product and it is generally considered a conscience matter as to whether a mom would accept the shot.
    I guess I just really believe that the Creator would not design a system that didn’t work really well, so what is the chance in a birth that is not intervened in that the mom’s and babies’ blood would mix?
    I am hoping to train to be a midwife in the very near future, and I really love love love your blog! I shared it with my doula class earlier this month.

    • I haven’t written about routine Anti-D (RhoGam) administration. I might in the future. Sara Wickham has written a book on the subjects: http://www.amazon.com/Anti-D-Midwifery-Sara-Wickham-Hons/dp/0750652322 and I have been lucky enough to hear her speak on the subject. There are a number of concerns with antenatal administration.
      - it is a blood product and often women are not told this (which is particularly important for JW women)
      - there has been no research to examine if it is safe for a Rh+ fetus to be exposed to Anti-D
      - it is the only drug administered prophylactically to 2 people (mother and fetus) for the possible benefits of a possible future person
      I’m not sure why in the last decade we have moved from only giving it after birth (or for AN bleed) IF needed to routinely giving women doses in pregnancy…. money?
      The blood between mother and baby very rarely mix.

  17. Sara says:

    Thanks for the recommendation and your insights. I hadn’t thought of it like you put it-
    “- it is the only drug administered prophylactically to 2 people (mother and fetus) for the possible benefits of a possible future person”

    Interesting thought!

  18. Pia says:

    Hi
    Thank you for at very inspirering blog. I found you because I was searching for info on how the cervix works as a sphincter. I am familiar with Ina May Gaskin but since you are more aproachable i would like to ask to your experience as a midwife.
    I am a midwife myself but havn’t practice in a few years. I live in Scandinavia by the way.
    I am curious to know if the cervix in your experience is more soft and eager to open than we usually think. I have read that the cervix migth get tigth and rigid if the woman is affraid. But i have not had the opportunity to examin this myself. So to claryfy – is the cervix by nature able to let go easy and with no pain?

    I have also stumbled upon websites – american and european – that states that a totally painfree birth is possible if you use the breath (different kinds for the differnt sites!) and the change your beliefs about birth. What is you oppinion on that?
    best wishes from
    midwife Pia

  19. Hi Rachel, just wondered…would you fancy speaking about any of these topics, or anything else for that matter, on the Virtual International Day of the Midwife on May 5th? http://internationaldayofthemidwife.wikispaces.com ? cheers Sarah

  20. Jane E says:

    Hi,
    As someone who is obsessed with birth and babies, and still debating whether to retrain as a midwife, I really enjoy reading your blog!

    Have you had any experience of silent labours?
    Let me briefly share my story. I had my first baby in December 10, and went into the hospital after a bleed at 38weeks to be told to my surprise that I was 5cm dilated! I didn’t believe them at first until the monitor showed I was indeed having contractions. 30hrs later I was 7cm and still not even being able to tell when I was contracting. I was completely comfortable! However my blood pressure was high, and I was exhausted after a sleepless night on the wards, so I had an ARM and my son arrived 3hrs later.

    I’d never heard of a silent labour before and didn’t know it was possible. I have struggled to find any information about it since too. I don’t know the implications for a future birth and if I could get to fully dilated without knowing it or how much warning I might get. I don’t know how common a silent labour is, and for someone who likes to know how things work I don’t know how I could have not been able to feel contractions and to not know that I was labouring. If I hadn’t gone to hospital after that bleed, who knows when/where I would have realised I was in labour.
    Can you shed any light on this please?

    Jane

    • Hi Jane
      I wish I could shed some light on this for you. I have never personally cared for a woman who experience this, although I have heard other midwives talk about it – so you are not alone. Did you feel any sensations at all as the baby moved through your vagina ie. pressure, stretching etc?
      For future births it might be an idea to stay home and have a midwife come to you. It is unlikely that you would labour without a ‘show’ of mucous, waters releasing, or blood at some point (as you experienced). This might have to be your cue to call the midwife rather than waiting for contractions. If you did feel pressure and stretching at the end with your first, then this could also be a cue. Otherwise be prepared mentally and physically to catch your own baby if you are alone and your midwife doesn’t make it. Lots of women actually plan to be alone during birth.

      • Jane E says:

        Thank you for your reply!

        Hopefully my blood pressure won’t be as high next time so the home birth will be an option. I did feel the pressure and cramps once baby started to descend, and I did get the spontaneous pushing reflex too.

        I’ve never heard of women planning to be alone during birth before, but I know that this could really happen to me next time. Hopefully I will be able to be provided with a kit to keep near me just in case.

        Would there be any monitoring that I could have to give a little prior warning?

        Best wishes,
        Jane

        • Jane E says:

          Oh, and I live in the UK!

        • Hi Jane
          There is probably no monitoring that could predict when/if you were in labour. If you got pressure then that may be your only warning unless your waters release or you have a bloody show. Do a search for ‘freebirth’ and check out this site: http://www.unassistedchildbirth.com/
          At least if you get comfortable and confident about birthing on your own you will feel better about the possibility of not getting your midwife there in time. If your baby arrives before the midwife you can relax and enjoy him/her and the midwife can help clean up when she gets there :)

  21. Pingback: proper prenatal care | Dharma Talks

  22. Jen says:

    Hi Rachel,

    do you have a private email addy you can send to me? I’d like to pick your brain if you happen to have a few spare moments in your life.

    Thanks,

    Jen

  23. Fidelle Luciano says:

    Greetings!

    My name is Fidelle Rosa Del Rosario Luciano, a practicing midwife in the Rizal Province, Philippines. I am very interested in migrating to Australia and would like to take the Migration Skills Assessment for Midwives. I would like to request for learning resources in preparation for this.

    I got interested in migration thru relatives who are Australian citizens and residing in Sydney.

    The focus of my Midwifery studies in Unciano Colleges, Antipolo was Public Health Care. I have two years experience in home and clinical maternal and child care, mostly in the rural areas. Since I have studied Midwifery and Public Health Care in the Philippine setting, I find my knowledge of Midwifery in the Australian perspective very limited.

    I have been researching on how midwifery is practiced in your country and would like to request for more learning resources. Where can I get books, pdfs, or websites dedicated to Australian Midwifery?

    I am very happy and excited to learn more about your country and your medical practices.

    Thank you for your kindness.
    Fidelle Rosa D. Luciano, R.M.

    Cainta, Rizal, Philippines 1900

  24. hi,i’m puspita, i,m midwife …i’m from indonesia…..nice to meet u…n please share with me all about mother n baby…..thank u so much…..sorry my english in not good…..

  25. Evelyn says:

    This is a really great blog. Thx to the auther

  26. Lili says:

    Hi,

    My name is Lili. I am a miudwife about 3 years of experience from Iran. I will move to Australia in about 6 month time . Could someone please advise me if i can work as a midwife in Australia as i am not an Austuralian registered midwife .
    I undrestand that 5 years of experience is required for midwifes from other country in order to get registered in Austuralia.
    Could someone please advise me How and Where i should start .

    Thanks
    LiLi

  27. Melissa says:

    I have a question. I recently had my first child, (at home! Woot!). After my son came out my contractions completely stopped. Concerned, my midwife gave me an injection, (I can’t remember anymore what it was), to jump start contractions again. When my placenta was coming out it didn’t initially detach completely, and my uterus was pulled down with it. The long and short of it is that my uterus is now where it ought to be, and my midwife tells me that I’m fine physically to have more children. I’m wondering if you have any opinions on whether or not this prolapse could have been caused be the medication I as given to “jump start” my contractions again. I’ve researched and am unable to find ANYTHING on this subject. Thoughts?

  28. Melissa says:

    Rereading what I wrote I don’t know if I made it clear — my uterus almost came out, but through the skill of my midwives they were able to keep it in my body where it belongs…

    • Hi Melissa. It is impossible for me to say what caused your uterine prolapse. If the placenta is still attached pulling on the cord can pull the uterus down. However, many women experience a prolapse without any pulling. The injection is unlikely to be linked except that once it is given you are then supposed to pull on the cord to get the placenta out.

  29. Simone says:

    This blog is incredible-your work, your research, your voice is an asset to any pregnant woman or birthworker. Thank you so much for this! if it was a book-I’d buy it!

  30. Daniela de Oliveira Figueiredo says:

    Hello Katrina,
    I’m from Brazil, have been doing midwifery course with Michel Odin and Brazilian nurse Heloisa Lessa, and currently I am on my 3rd year of nursing school. I’ve been assessing the possibilities to study obstetrics because here the situation is really getting out of hand, as far as unnecessary caesarians. Also thinking about doing my masters in a year and a half somewhere else.
    I’d just like to let you know doula and midwives here in Rio have been recommending your site.

  31. di diddle says:

    hi rachel,

    great website & great info. i will definitely be adding you as a link to my www & look forward to reading more of your posts…..

  32. US/Mexico border in El Paso Texas. the link to the trailer is here if you and your contacts are interested!

  33. I’m sorry, the last post didn’t work!

    We have just finished working on a documentary about midwives living and working on the US/Mexico border. I included the trailer for you and your contacts to check out!

    Thank you for all your awesome work helping women and babies !

  34. Thanks for replying! The documentary is in the screening phase of production. We are looking for dedicated people to help us organize screenings all over the country and hopefully in Mexico as soon as the translations are done. Do you have any suggestions to who I can contact about setting up screenings? I’m trying to reach out to as many women as I can about this.

    It will be out on DVD Fall of 2012 we hope.

  35. Please keep on writing, Rachel. I have been checking this blog almost every second day for about 9 month now – which no blog ever made me do without constant input being posted.

    You are an amazing woman and I would love to read more from you.

    • Thank you… I will write more. I am having a very busy period with births, teaching, preparing for conferences/workshops, writing articles and a book chapter and finishing my phd. You can subscribe to save yourself checking – then you will get an email when I post :)

  36. Hi Rachael, Are you still blogging? No pressure, just thirsty for more :D Also, do you have any support against routine active management of placental delivery? (looking for info for a birth prep client) Many thanks and please keep ‘em coming.

  37. Hi Rachel what a joy it is to find your blog. Thank you for making such valuable information available in such a succinct way . It will become a treasured resource for our Dial a Doula students.
    I look forward to being a regular visitor.

  38. Raquel Oliva says:

    One of the best blogs I’ve ever read! Thank you for sharing!

  39. Pingback: Induction of Labour: balancing risks « Mommy Baby Spot

  40. Ella says:

    Hello!

    I just stumbled across your blog, thanks to “my ob said what.” I’m impressed by your commitment to evidence based medicine, your extensive citations, and your excellent writing. Especially your excellent writing. I’ve seen a lot of dry, formulaic, convoluted, and downright boring writing by PhDs/PhD candidates, even when they’re trying not to sound academic. Your blogs are a pleasure to read.

    One thing that I’ve been wondering about is plancental expulsion in a physiological birth. I’m in the US, and hear lots of stories of docs/midwives yanking on cords to pull out the placenta. Most people say that hurts. A quick google search only mentions ‘normal’ expulsion time and a decreased risk of hemorrhage if expulsion is helped along.

    What is your experience and knowledge of placental expulsion? Is this another place where docs see ‘normal’ and think ‘necessary’? Or is there actually a reason for them to yank it out? Any chance you could write up a post about it at some point?

    Thanks!

    -Ella

    • Hi Ella – Thanks.
      When attending a physiological placental birth ie. no medication it is best to leave everything well alone. The woman will birth her own placenta when it is ready. The usual hospital approach is to give an oxytocic drug and then pull the placenta out. The theory being that pulling reduces the chance of haemorrhage (and you have already interfered by giving a drug). However, this recently hit the news: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/health/study-says-umbilical-cord-shouldnt-be-pulled-during-labor.html?_r=2&src=tp
      Even when an oxytocic has been given women can push their own placentas out… or even pull them out. A woman is not likely to rip an unseparated placenta out of her uterus. I might address this in a post in the future. I have a hectic month ahead then some space to write :)

  41. Hi,
    I love your blog, and I’d love it if you would write about placenta delivery! I’m a transgender guy and I had a home birth, but there were still many unnecessary interventions that continue to bother me. My midwife convinced me to let her rupture my membranes (I regret this so very much!), she directed pushing (I tore, grrrr), and since the placenta was very slow coming out I was given oxytocin and the cord was pulled to get it out of me. I write my own blog about my breastfeeding journey as a transgender man – please check it out if you have time: http://www.milkjunkies.net Perhaps you could write a guest post some day for me!!

    • Thanks Trevor. I checked out your blog – very interesting. I will pop back when I have more time to read more. Yes I will most likely do a placental birth post sometime soonish… just need to get through these busy months and find some space :)

    • Melissa says:

      This same thing happened to me! Horrible! In the end I had a prolapsed uterus that had to be held in place manually until my body would accept it again. My midwife then wrote in my records that my placenta came out spontaneously! What in the world! Still a little emotional about it all even though it’s been over a year now.

  42. Dear Mid Wife Thinking,
    Your blog is wonderful!
    I wanted to introduce my work to you, I am an underwater portrait photographer who specializes in mommy’s to be.
    I would love to submit my photographs for consideration to your blog!
    http://www.erenashimoda.com
    Thank you so much for your time,
    Sincerely yours,
    Erena Shimoda

  43. Thank you for your informative posts. Have you written anything about hte evidence surrounding increased risks in pregancies of mothers over 40? Are the risks statisically real? Pre-eclampsia, hypertension, IUGR and still birth. Even in my unit there is conflict between obstetricians. Thought you may be able to make it all clear! Thank you

    • I have some future posts lined up. Statistically there are increased risks for mothers over 40. However stats are only general. They don’t fit an individual woman. An individual 45 year old may be healthier and have less risk than a 20 year old. Personally I ignore age and look at the whole woman/picture.

  44. Olicha says:

    What a great blog!
    So informative and inspiring!
    I am currently living on Gold Coast, preparing for a home birth after cesarean (not even pregnant yet hehe). I hope you don’t mind if I translate and share your articles on one of russsian parenting blogs. The information you give needs to be heard!

  45. Linda Stegeman says:

    Hi Rachael,
    I attended one of your weekends at Daylesford recently which I really enjoyed. I read your info about placental birth and would like to make a couple of comments. Having come from a practice where I had many physiological births I have found that it is very difficult to support this in Australia within the hospital system. A long list of issues seem to preclude the safe support of this starting from a lack of time within antenatal visits to discuss pretty much anything (if you want to spend time “with” the woman just asking her how she is), multiple care-givers while birthing, constant interruptions by everyone on the floor, the huge amount of medicalisation or should i say the paucity of physiological birth. I keep thinking about “the first do no harm” theory and grieve fairly strongly at times. I know you know all this but I am worried at how many people caring for women consider the culture normal and safe. I strive at each working day to make a difference and it is exhausting. I have just read the latest Essentially MIDIRS and Lorna Davies suggests in her time wise survival guide to “not take work too seriously”……seriously!! Most of us wouldn’t be here if we didn’t take women and birth seriously. Just wanted to say. Also – I have a BMid and was wondering what you would consider I would need to look at joining a faculty for teaching mid. I gather that many tutors here also provide care as private midwives.
    Cheers,
    Linda Stegeman

    • Hi Linda
      The maternity system is broken and far from woman-centred which is what we as midwives are hopefully striving to be. I can’t offer a survival guide because I could not survive long term in the system and I think the ‘cycle of grief’ adequately illustrates what I and probably many others experience. I also find it impossible to not take work too seriously.
      If you want to teach midwifery then there are a few things you can do… send your resume to universities and offer sessional tutoring; continue your own studies (Masters, PhD); Study ‘adult education’ ie. course/cert/diploma.
      Good luck and don’t ever become complacent about women and birth :)

  46. sara says:

    Hi Rachel,
    What a great Blog. Well done. I am a Midwife and an Osteopath in the UK (www.perfectbalanceclinic.com), I work privately as an osteopath and NHS for midwifery but there are not many of us. Do you have any osteopaths that are midwives also in Australia? Do you have any experience with Osteopaths and their techniques that have a more structural approach in labour instead of just utilising the subtle cranial techniques commonly seen?

    • Hi Sara
      I don’t know of any osteopath midwives in Australia. I also don’t have much experience with osteopaths. I have cared for a few women who see an osteopath. Do you bring your osteopath knowledge/skills into your midwifery practice? I’d be interested to know more about how osteopathy can enhance midwifery practice :)

      • ivana arena says:

        hi I’m an italian midwife I’ve quickly red some of your posts and I agree on everything. I became a midwife after a CS and had a VBAC after graduating as a midwife in year 2000. now, after 8 years in hospital, I finally do what I became a midwife for, only home births! thanks for your posts i’d like to keep in touch
        ivana

  47. irene says:

    Hello Rachel, I am a student midwife and came across your web page here, which I must say I am liking alot. I have a question regarding your site here, how often do you post/update/access your site?
    Thank you, Irene

    • Hi Irene
      This year I have been lecturing full time, travelling with workshops/presentations. attending births and writing my phd thesis… so my postings have taken a back seat. I update posts with new links/research about once per month and access the site regularly to respond to comments. I will be posting a new post within the next 2 weeks – so watch this space… or better still subscribe so you get to know about new posts as I put them up.

  48. Shanti says:

    I just want to thank you, whoever you are, for your intelligent communication and for making this information accessible to all – it must take a considerable amount of your time, and I am grateful to have it.

    Your articles are fascinating, stimulating and inspiring and written with clarity and honesty. You make no secret of your own private beliefs, yet you do not allow them to cloud the issue you are discussing nor prevent you from delivering factual information transparently.

    This lack of highly emotional bias makes for very interesting reading that one can feel more confident in, as you quite fairly bring both sides if an opinion to the readers attention. In doing so, the reader gains a greater understanding of the processes you describe, and give the issue deeper and more critical thought.

    This is of particular assistance to the layman, birther

  49. Shanti says:

    I accidentally pressed submit before I’d finished!

    I just wanted to say, after all I’d said earlier, “thanks” for supporting & encouraging women who have the faith in themselves and their babies and bodies; who prepare and inform themselves well when choosing their birth path; who are willing to take responsibility for their pregnancies, births, babies and choices; and who wish to see other women as empowered and able to stand up to the systems that have eroded our rights and silenced our voices.

    It’s time to take it all back, one healthy, happy, blissful, free or midwife attended home birth at a time…

    Thank you for reigniting my desire to empower and support more women to do this.

    I am an exoerienced birther – one C-section @ 35 weeks, first hospital VBAC at 37wks, natural & drug free, 2nd hospital VBAC (couldnt find a home birth midwife) at 41.4 weeks, natural & drug free, one midwife assisted home birth at 36 weeks, on planned free birth at 40 weeks.

    I started training as a birth educator following my first VBAC, wishing to help others to birth naturally amd safely afrer caesareans, but the Org I trained with deconstructed due to lack of funding.

    I started training as a breastfeeding counsellor, with ABA (then Nursing Mothers), but gave it up when family structure changed and I again became a sole parent.

    After deciding I didn’t wish to train as a midwife because the system and I would clash too constantly, I decided to train as a doula, so that I might help others to be confident in their ability to birth.

    After my final “free birth”, this desire to educate women as to the benefits of birthing alone made me rethink that position, but I came back to the idea that a doula can be instrumental in a free birth!

    However, I also considered that HAD I trained as a midwife, the experience and knowledge gleened from working within the system could have been very useful in educating women towards considering home birthing, and I could have used that in practice as an independent. Too much thinking, not enough doing, and suddenly it felt like it was too late!

    So back to Doula training!! BUT…

    My confidence to work as a doula took a beating following the highly intervened birth experience of my daughter’s first birthing in a Sydney hospital.

    She birthed identical twins, hitherto identified as fraternal, at 33 weeks, with every intervention and constant, and I mean constant, harassment – over 24 hours of labour, she was not permitted to sleep until I became less doula and more hysterical mother – and in the end a horrific Caesar with the epidural almost completely worn off, ensued.

    I felt I’d let her down, and failed to navigate her safely through the system. I think I had given up a bit.

    Reading your latest post led me back to re-reading previous posts in your blog, and while I now feel it may be too late to train in midwifery (I’m 43) I might still serve as a voice and support to women (especially young and single women) if I am a qualified doula.

    Thank you for the inspiration and motivation. You are doing such a marvelous job – women have been conditioned for so long to believe they do not have the right to take responsibility for their bodies and their babies, yet it is not only our right but our DUTY as parents to do so.

    Education is the best means for re-empowering women, and you are really fulfilling this need in many ways.

    You deserve formal, narional recognition for this most valuable and selfless work, and I hope one day you will receive it. In the meantime, I give you my thanks!

  50. Annie Frogley says:

    Love your work. Always fabulously thought provoking. Thank you :)

  51. Emily says:

    Thankyou so much for your blog, it’s so inspiring! I am about to embark on my third year of nursing with goals to do midwifery when i am finished. I am so passionate about home birthing and i know in my rural area there is a huge demand, but unfortunately there are not many around and i am finding it had to get in contact with someone local to ask my many questions. I don’t really want to train in a clinical setting and have thought about doing midwifery through correspondance, but is it better to learn in a clinical setting first? Is there any course is Australia that teaches natural births? I have so many questions!

    • There are lots of pathways into midwifery. If you want to be a registered midwife then you need to complete an accredited program. This will involve placements in clinical areas. Generally in university you will learn about physiological births but you are unlikely to see any in a hospital setting. This is the struggle that student midwives have – access to experience of genuine midwifery and physiological birth.
      Personally I find my clinical experience (years in the system) helpful in understanding how the system works and assisting women to navigate through if they end up there. It was not helpful to my understanding of physiological birth or midwifery – except ‘how not to’. I had to relearn lots when I left the system for homebirth. Having said that I am currently working with a newish graduate midwife doing homebirth. She feels more confident having spent some time in ‘the system’ and is a wonderful homebirth midwife. Good luck with your future :)

  52. Laura says:

    Hi I have just found your blog as it was passed onto me by my doula here in the UK. I am currently in the process of starting visa applications etc for a move to Brisbane and am delighted to have found you! Your blog is amazing and so informative. A breath of fresh air.
    I have one son at the moment born at home in a water pool through hypnobirthing. I am planning to have more and wondered if you have the time to explain a little about Australian maternity system as well as whether you could either yourself or recommend a doula/midwife for future births. I would greatly appreciate any information and support.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Laura
      The maternity system here is in a state of great change. I am reluctant to outline the complicated goings on as they may be very different when you are here and looking at your options. Perhaps once you get here connect with local mothers/birth groups and find out what is available in your local area. At them moment there are midwives and doulas working in Brisbane and I could recommend some. However, as I have said – things change a lot and the future is unknown. I may not be practising myself in a couple of years due to the changes. :)

  53. Quest says:

    I wanted to ask you a question but didnt see no where to email but ill just write here lol So i have a question about cerival swelling. My son was op and my water was broken early because I was laboring fast enough then came pitocin epi and swelling anyhoot i ended up with a c-section. I did have the urge to push at 5 cm but i fought it made it to 8 cm and felt like i was in transition but i started to swell and kept fighting the urge to push because the nurse on the last shift told me not to.
    Is there a way to tell what can cause cervical swelling?
    And for my personal notes what are techniques that can be used during labor to help reduce swelling?

    Im such a parnoid that my baby will be OP again or ill have cervical swelling… I know its slim that it can happen again but i want to be prepared. Im already making the decision to go through a hospital cnm b/c dh isnt comfortable with homebirth but thats for the near future he could change his mind.

    Thanks for reading…

  54. Leslie says:

    A wonderful blog…..and an amazing resource that is not funded by large corporation. namaste

  55. Isis says:

    I love your blog. I am a Spanish midwife and I would love to dedicate to home births but it is difficult because very few women (though growing) are willing to give birth at home. Typically the society call you “crazy” or tells you that you are risking their lives.
    Congratulations on your work.
    Sorry if my English is not good :)

    • Your English is much better than my Spanish :)
      Women are considered ‘crazy’ in Australia too. Whenever women are empowered enough to think their bodies can work without medical intervention they are considered crazy. Society is crazy in my opinion!

  56. Laima says:

    Hello,

    I’m a student Doula from Lithuania and I have one request i’d like to ask you personally.
    Can i contact you in any way?

  57. Liz Fletcher says:

    Modern midwifery is a very demanding job, which is why it requires the skills and knowledge of a university graduate. The BMid midwifery degree lasts three years and gives you everything you need to begin your career as a midwife. If you are interested in studying a BMid Midwifery University Degree then look no further than The University of Southampton, Hampshire where students will acquire work experience across a range of settings, including hospitals, birth centres and the wider community.

  58. Myrna says:

    Thank you for your blog, I started this pregnancy hunting for an Independent midwife, found that they had all been ousted ( obs all very anti HB here), got kicked out of midwife program for having GDM and am now in “shared care” but don’t see any midwives. This is my fourth child, and my fascination with birth process started with NO.1. I’m also lucky to have had very uneventful straight forward births. This one I’m stressing about being able to advocate for myself with the “scary GDM” ( Induction has already been proposed prior to growth scan- but one look at my face and the doc backed down to lets see how the growth scan goes), as well as the trip to hospital ( half an hour drive on dangerous roads- normally) with a prior labour only taking half an hour from start to finish. think classic Hollywood drive and entrance to hospital. Your blog is giving me the confidence that things will be ok, no matter what, and my instincts will help pick up if something goes wrong on the way.
    Still disgusted with the reduction in birth options for mothers, but not sure how to promote my disgust to government legislators.

  59. Jeanne Lane says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your research and opinions. I’m a student midwife, pursuing my CPM in Texas, USA. Your posts are always thought provoking!

  60. Jaclyn says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I was wondering if you had any research or an opinion about vitamin k after birth?! Would love to hear your thoughts! :)

    P.s. love love love your blog! My new bible!

  61. Valerie says:

    I am just loving your blog! I have had two medicated, unnatural vaginal births ;) and then, more recently, an all natural unmedicated birth (also at the hospital because of low platelets) and I am now completely interested in all things birth!
    I appreciate all your articles and I am learning so much.

    I would like to know if I can quote you (and give a link to your blog, of course) for an article I am writing about birth in the caul. You said, “During a contraction the pressure is equalised throughout the fluid rather than directly squeezing the baby, placenta and umbilical cord. This protects the baby and his/her oxygen supply from the effects of the powerful uterine contractions. When the membranes have ruptured the placenta and baby get compressed during a contraction. Most babies can cope well with this, but the experience of birth for the baby is probably not as pleasant. When the placenta is compressed blood circulation is interrupted reducing the oxygen supply to baby. In addition, the umbilical cord may be in a position where it gets squashed between baby and uterus with contractions. When this happens the baby’s heart rate will dip during a contraction in response to the reduced blood flow. A healthy baby can cope with this intermittent reduction in oxygen supply for hours (it’s a bit like holding your breath for 30 seconds every few minutes). However, this is probably not so great for an extended period of time, or if the baby is already compromised through prematurity or a poorly functioning placenta.

    Eventually the force of the contraction and the movement of the baby will rupture the sac as the baby’s body is born. You don’t need to worry about the sac holding the baby back. A baby and uterus are stronger than the membranes.”

    I just don’t think it could be said any better, and the information would be a great addition to my article. Would that be alright with you? :)

  62. Hi Rachel,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now, and really loving it. I appreciate the way you provide the physiology, the pathophysiology and then both a medical and midwifery approach. As a nurse-midwife in training, you address some of the very topics I’m interested in, and I always enjoy reading your posts!

  63. michelle Salem says:

    hi Rachel. I am a midwife, I work with Kerry Ruston. (I have left this message on your facebook account too ) I follow your blog, and I am involved in the international promotion of delayed (or optimal ) cord clamping.
    In England at the moment, some DCC friends are trying to put together a petition to stop cord blood banking, which is in the process of being pushed forward.
    don’t know if you are already involved, but I was just chatting to Kerry about it, and maybe your promotion of the petition via your blog? when finished would be of some use. and your British routes, and your connections with across the pond, can only help spread the word
    If you are interested I can have you added to a discussion that is going on at the moment in the face book world

    Michellle x

  64. Jessica alexander says:

    I love this blog of yours! So informative and easy to comprehend. If I have a question for you, how would I contact you?
    Thank you for your time!

  65. I can’t believe this is you. I’ve read this blog so many times. I just knew you’d make a difference there without the need to lock doctors out of the room.
    I moved to Harrogate in 2006 and have two children now, Frankie (5) & Ru (3). Out of sheer madness, in january 2013 I started a masters in clinical research methods, wrote a book and set up my private antenatal education business. Hope you’re well, keep on touch

    Lesley
    (RVI 2003-2006) xxx

  66. Rebecca says:

    Hi Rachel,

    You really have a brilliant blog, it has certainly opened my eyes I can tell you!

    I have been looking for someone to tell me from a Midwife’s perspective if our social media network for families, 23snaps would be a beneficial asset to documenting a child’s birth and growth?

    We really want new parents to be able to share their experiences in a secure and private way with the rest of their families. Please tell me what you think.

    Here is a link to our page:
    http://www.23snaps.com/

    Thank you,

    Rebecca

  67. Pingback: Guest Post on Balancing the Risks of Induction of Labour - Gillian Sims | Tauranga Midwife

  68. Michaela K. says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I loove your articles and often use it as a source of information. I am desperately looking for some articles or studies talking about placenta aging. I heard it is a myth but cannot find anything up to date to talk about it in detail. It is very often used to scare women into an induction. Tx. M.

  69. Maria Paxton says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I’m writing to you from London College of Osteopathy, one of the few schools to offer an Online Master’s Certificate in Osteopathy to wellness professionals. A growing number of practitioners worldwide are seeking training in this holistic medicine as it shares similarities with many complementary therapies.

    Osteopathy determine health by one’s physical balance and emotional well being
    Postural alignment, joint mobility, and diaphragmatic flexibility are essential components of good health
    The human body, given the right support, has an inherent capacity to heal itself

    The Master’s Certificate Program builds a solid body of knowledge in the osteopathic approach allowing health practitioners to enhance their scope of practice.

    We are very interested in your site and the possibility of presenting our program(s) to your readership.

    Please contact Gabriel at marketing@lcocanada.com to discuss a future collaboration.

    Sincerely,
    Maria Paxton

  70. germaine says:

    Dear Rachel

    Thank you for your sharing your passion and work here. I am preparing myself for what is routinely a very medicalised birth in Singapore. There are no midwifery led units here and home birth is practically unheard of (“Are you nuts?” and “what’s wrong with you?” or the worst, “how can you be so irresponsible?”). My previous two deliveries in the UK were natural, with no intervention, no drugs and both mid-wife led. My husband remembers the senior mid-wife exchanging glances with the junior mid-wife and both of them nodding before dropping their paperwork, just when i was ready to push. They just knew from the change in my voice (apparently, i began braying like a donkey) and my body that the baby was imminent.

    Anyway, I am now in Singapore and the system, sadly is not yet ready for mid-wife led births. In fact, a natural birth is considered “alternative”. Whilst I am confident in my body’s ability to progress in labour and deliver the baby (and the placenta), i find i battle my own Obstetrician in justifying my choices – which she challenges. E.g why i do not want to be induced, or why I don’t want syntocin and duratocin (for the afterbirth) and why i am insisting not to be hooked up to a CTG, or why i insist on skin-to-skin. I find your blog a good resource to explain that I understand my choices and I want to have the choice and not be frightened into having an injection.

    I don’t know how many more women there are like me here but I really wish there was a mid-wife here who would deliver my baby at home!!

    Kind regards,
    Germaine

    • It is so difficult when you are limited by the options available to you. Will you be able to take a doula or friend into hospital with you to advocate for you whilst you are in labour? This is your third baby and you will likely labour well regardless of where you are – you are the birthing expert here. It will be a case of finding strategies to be left to do your thing. Let us know how it goes.

  71. Danielle says:

    Shalom from the US!
    We are seeing an increase of mothers- some of them multigravda w no prior history of nursing problems- having trouble w milk quality. Their babies are not gaining weight!!! These are loving mothers who have resources to be and eat healthy and have nurtured and cared for multiple beautiful children. We suspect gut issues arising out of problems w stress (environmental, some have had big life changes but not all, etc) and in particular GMO grains. Many of them eat healthy (GF, organic veggies, etc) although not all of them. All of them to date that we know of have made sure they are drinking plenty of water, red raspberry and other good teas, plenty of coc oil, calories, etc. They have healthy relationships w their spouses.

    What do you know about this? What is the role of choline (possibly depleted during times of stress) and gut issues in nutrition absorption ? Is there a connection between GMO grains– even possibly altered organic GF and gluten grains and nutrient absorption by mother…. Then obviously effecting quality of milk (not quantity) and baby’s nutrition?

    Love your posts!! Hoping you might have additional thoughts on this!
    D

    • Hi Danielle – not sure… Even very poorly nourished women produce breastmilk. I’d be questioning what the ‘nursing problems’ are and how the quality of the milk is being assessed. Are the babies being fed on demand and growing?

    • Ahlam Najjar says:

      Shalom! If its not a inconvenience would you be willing to participate in this survey.

      I, Ahlam Najjar am currently a Year 12 studying Community and Family Studies (CAFS) . As apart of the course I am required to do a major task, an Independent Research Project (IRP) which involves me gathering primary and secondary data in relation to my focus question the method I have chosen to use to gather data is a questionnaire and an interview.

      The focus question in which my IRP is centred around is:
      Pregnancy and Wellbeing which falls under the syllabus point as Parenting and Caring and Resource Management .The question that I have decided to do is “How significant is the role of the midwife during child birth?”.The reason why I have chosen this topic is because I have always wondered how important the role of the midwife is during. What I hope to find from this research project is how does the role of the midwife contribute during childbirth to the wellbeing of the mother, baby and the families.

      Pregnancy is an important time for most people and so this makes it an available topic that I feel will be accessible to interview people about and of interest to many other people who have undergone this process, involved with this process on a daily basis working in that field or have no knowledge at all but are willing to partake and provide a personal opinion on this focus question in my interview or questionnaire.

      You are reading this letter as I wish to seek your approval to voluntarily partake in my primary data collection. All data collected will remain confidential if results of this study are published or presented, individual names and other personally identifiable information will not be used. All results found will only be used for the Independent Research Project. If you agree to participate in my research, I will conduct a questionnaire with you at a time and location of your choice. It should take no longer then (5-10min) along with your personal and honest view on the questions relating to my focus question. Your time and cooperation is greatly appreciated by myself as it will help assist with the primary data collection.

      https://docs.google.com/forms/d/18tJZiEUpKYLRlJ4bW0Qoa8smXfkkxEp7vAU4_ldl7qQ/viewform?usp=mail_form_link

  72. Ahlam Najjar says:

    Hello Rachel, I was wondering if you are willing to particpate in my Questionnaire?

    Dear Participant,

    I, Ahlam Najjar am currently a Year 12 student at Mount Carmel Catholic High School studying Community and Family Studies (CAFS) . As apart of the course I am required to do a major task, an Independent Research Project (IRP) which involves me gathering primary and secondary data in relation to my focus question the method I have chosen to use to gather data is a questionnaire and an interview.

    The focus question in which my IRP is centred around is:
    Pregnancy and Wellbeing which falls under the syllabus point as Parenting and Caring and Resource Management .The question that I have decided to do is “How significant is the role of the midwife during child birth?”.The reason why I have chosen this topic is because I have always wondered how important the role of the midwife is during. What I hope to find from this research project is how does the role of the midwife contribute during childbirth to the wellbeing of the mother, baby and the families.

    Pregnancy is an important time for most people and so this makes it an available topic that I feel will be accessible to interview people about and of interest to many other people who have undergone this process, involved with this process on a daily basis working in that field or have no knowledge at all but are willing to partake and provide a personal opinion on this focus question in my interview or questionnaire.

    You are reading this letter as I wish to seek your approval to voluntarily partake in my primary data collection. All data collected will remain confidential if results of this study are published or presented, individual names and other personally identifiable information will not be used. All results found will only be used for the Independent Research Project. If you agree to participate in my research, I will conduct a questionnaire with you at a time and location of your choice. It should take no longer then (5-10min) along with your personal and honest view on the questions relating to my focus question. Your time and cooperation is greatly appreciated by myself as it will help assist with the primary data collection.

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/18tJZiEUpKYLRlJ4bW0Qoa8smXfkkxEp7vAU4_ldl7qQ/viewform?usp=mail_form_link

  73. Hi Rachel! I really love your blog and refer to it ALL the time. I am an Australian currently living in Bosnia-Herzegovina where maternity care is incredibly poor quality. Home birth or birth centres do not exist and in hospitals it seems like they are using an actively managed approach to labour and birth including routine shave and enema, frequent augmentation and artificial rupture of membranes, restriction of movement through drips and continuous fetal monitoring and restrictions to eat or drink. When it comes time for pushing, women are taken to a special delivery room where they must lie flat on their back attached to a CTG and are instructed to push. If they don’t push the baby out in two pushes, there is a lot of panic and the doctor or nurse applies strong fundal pressure to increase the force of maternal effort. Routine episiotomy for almost all mothers is then carried out. Doctors seem to believe that these interventions are really what is best for mums and babies. Women in general accept that this is normal and don’t seem to question it, though a small natural birth movement is only starting to emerge. I am trying to help this movement by setting up a website in the local language. Right now, I am trying to write an article about why they seem to be so concerned about having a short labor and delivery (especially short 2nd stage) and am looking for evidence that a long labour and a slow birthing of the baby does not necessarily put the baby at risk. Can you refer me to any literature about this? Many thanks! Melissa, a wanabee birth activist and future midwife (maybe) xxoo

    • You already are a birth activist!
      The risks associated with the ’2nd stage’ of labour are for directed pushing. When directed pushing is taken out of the equation there is no evidence regarding ‘safe’ timeframes. I worked in a hospital in the UK with a policy of ‘no prescribed limits if wellbeing and progress were happening’. As midwives we informed the OBs if we got to the 2 hour mark with primips but then they stayed away unless we really did need them. Most babies were out within 2 hours but occasionally 4 hours. Of course this is spontaneous pushing – not directed. As for research – you will find supporting research re. length of 2nd stage in the literature review in my thesis which you can download from the link in the post. Good luck :)

  74. Joy Jones says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Do you have any articles about blood tests for the newborn?
    What is a normal BG for newborns?
    Which birthing interventions affect the BG of newborns?
    (I have heard that IVs given to mothers during labor can make the newborn BG appear to be too low)
    How can mothers avoid unnecessary interventions regarding the BG of newborns?
    (ie unnecessary treatments if a certain range of “low BG” is normal)
    How frequently do mothers need to nurse in order to keep the newborn BG at normal levels?
    Joy Jones (US)

    • There is intense debate about what is a ‘normal’ BG for a newborn. Hospital guidelines usually state less that 2.6 = hypoglycaemic but many LCs would argue that lower BG levels are normal. This is not my area of expertise…
      Fetal distress significantly effects BG and most babies who require resuscitation will have low BG due to burning all of their glycogen stores. I haven’t heard of IVs effecting newborn BG. If the baby is not symptomatic at birth and there are no ‘risk factors’ then a BG should not be taken. Generally an ‘at risk’ baby or a baby with known low BG should be encouraged to drink colostrum regularly – permanent skin-to-skin to encourage this, syringe/finger feeding if baby is not interested. Every hour initially and then every 3 hours. Colostrum is very nutrient dense and a few drops can make a significant change to BG levels.

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