Here is a collection of videos I find inspiring and/or thought provoking

Although this looks like an unassisted birth there is a midwife present. This is what good midwifery looks like:

Unassisted waterbirth with a nuchal cord:

A woman births her baby while waiting for her midwife (you will need to follow the link to youtube to watch):

Breech waterbirth:

The risks of routine antenatal care:

One World Birth: watch out for the release of this film:

Find out more about this project here

43 Responses to Videos

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Your videos were helpful in your blog. Could you make videos of the comfort measures you discuss?

    • Elizabeth – I will try to do this in the future. You can download a pdf of the ‘creating space’ techniques from the ‘In celebration of the OP baby’ post. Some are self explanatory but I will try to get some videos when I can get a pregnant woman and a video camera together.

  2. Greetings:

    Just discovered your blog and like it a lot!

    I’m a filmmaker creating films about homebirth in Maine–would love to have a link–or some of my videos added to your blog. I’d be happy to cross-link your blog, too.

    Check out my site:

    Not just for Mainers!


  3. Mom Lashuay says:

    I think you have offer a lot of good information on your website, but I am not impressed at all with the “Birthsmart” video. In very poor taste, IMO.

  4. wendy says:

    Great Blog….
    BirthsMart was a great cartoon! hospital births in a nutshell

  5. I love your blog and I think the information you give is fantastic.

    I’m the film-maker behind the ONE WORLD BIRTH global film project which is all about making birth better around the world – featuring many of the “big” (and amazing) names in birth:
    Sheila Kitzinger, Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, Sarah Buckley, Debra-Pascali Bonaro, Cathy Warwick, Prof Sally Tracy, Prof Soo Downe, Denis Walsh, Prof Cecily Begley plus lots more midwives, obstetricians, birth professionals besides. And that’s just the start! Our mission is to help make change happen by connecting and promoting those who passionately care about making birth better.

    If you thought it was appropriate, I would love you to include the ONE WORLD BIRTH trailer in your video section. Here’s a link to the site:

    We’re hoping to come to Australia later this year / early next year to film – would love to film you (if you’re interested) to include you in our project!

    Congratulations once again on a great site.

  6. Toni Harman says:

    Thanks for posting the One World Birth trailer. I would love love love you to be involved in our One World Birth project!!! I love your site, I love your posts and I think you are an important inspiring voice for so many people across the world!
    Before the full-length documentary (which will come out in cinemas worldwide next year – that’s what we’re planning) we’re launching the main One World Birth site which is an online video resource featuring the world’s biggest birth experts for birth professionals to watch, inspire, connect and be involved in the whole project – so yes, once we launch, would love it if you could tell people about it! Until then if anyone is interested, there’s a “sign-up for more information” form on the website!
    Many thanks again and thanks for producing a wonderful resource!
    Toni Harman, Producer/Director,

  7. Shannon says:

    Hi Rachel, Lovely surprise to find the breech waterbirth in your list of good viewing. Even when I look at it now, three years after she was born, I still get goosebumps and find myself holding my breath while I wait for her head to be born. She and her mother taught me so much; I am so grateful to have been their midwife.

    • It is a beautiful birth – and what an honour to have been the midwife. It is great that this video can be shared and can help to eliminate fear around this variation of normal.

      • Robyn says:

        This is so beutiful, it left me shaking. My daughter was a vaginal breech but nothing like this, a small part of me feels grief that it was nothing like this but mostly I just feel in awe. Something has shifted in me recently and I can see things so much clearer, all births whether in water or not should be like this one in this video. Why don’t hospitals take into account the spiritual, emotional, cultural,and family health aspects of childbirth when they talk about safety? So many women are being damaged every day by the neglect of the system to acknowledge the implications, of not acknowledging these aspects of childbirth. If I feel empowered by watching it I can only imagine how the woman who gave birth feels. I bet she didn’t have an issue with postnatal depression or PTSD.

  8. Paul says:

    Thanks for posting the One World Birth trailer. I would love love love you to be involved in our One World Birth project!!! I love your site, I love your posts and I think you are an important inspiring voice for so many people across the world!
    Before the full-length documentary (which will come out in cinemas worldwide next year – that’s what we’re planning) we’re launching the main One World Birth site which is an online video resource featuring the world’s biggest birth experts for birth professionals to watch, inspire, connect and be involved in the whole project – so yes, once we launch, would love it if you could tell people about it! Until then if anyone is interested, there’s a “sign-up for more information” form on the website!
    Many thanks again and thanks for producing a wonderful resource!
    Toni Harman, Producer/Director,


  9. Salvador Arcas Moncayo says:

    …step by step!!! World needs a “mind-change”!!!

  10. The post and the birth videos are great but do you REALIZE that a video on rape is embedded right in the middle!!!!

  11. lisa says:

    I love your blog and site. Thank you. Can you please tell us the name of the piece of music in the breech water birth video. thanks.

  12. lisa says:

    I followed your suggestion and discovered it is toni childs two songs sequed: womb and welcome to the world. thanks

  13. kay hardie says:

    this is the first time I have explored this site and I love it! Just watched the video of the breech baby being born in water – have to say I was smiling throughout but grinning broadly when her head finally popped out. Wonderful. As a home birth independent midwife in the UK I help many women birth in water but they are head down babies.

  14. Susie says:

    Breech birth in water: Hi, I recently attended a breech study day and water births were not recommended due to the fact that a breech baby sometimes needs help after delivery. At a recent water birth study day, a breech delivery in water was also not advised. Whilst your video showed a good delivery and outcome, I wonder how many have you seen ? and do you have any advice regarding positions for mother, as the one in the video was on all fours, or kneeling, which is good for this type of birth. Would love to see other’s response to this also.

    • Hi Susie – there is ‘debate’ around water birth for breech. Some practitioners feel that gravity is an important element of the physiological breech birth… other’s feel that water allows the baby to move easily and keeps the baby and cord warm. I am NOT a breech expert and I have never attended a breech waterbirth – so don’t feel qualified to make a statement either way. I know the midwife who attended the birth on this video. The plan was to birth out of water but the mother chose to remain in the water when the time came. I guess it is about being responsive to the situation as it unfolds.

  15. Hi there!

    I’m a home birth videographer in Portland, Oregon and have a sweet and short birth video I’d like to share with you all of our first child. It showcases the great work of our trusty midwife Joy Jech and her crew. It was a smooth as can be birth and I put together a video highlighting how strong a beautiful mommas can be during a home birth. The video link is here: and can also be found at my website Hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

  16. Birgit Romme says:

    I just came across your blog through a link of the positive birth movement. Recently I was looking up natural birth videos and I came across this one in Germany. I’d like to share it with you.
    kind regards,

  17. Susana says:

    I know many felt the birth smart cartoon was in bad taste. Unfortunately all it does is represent the reality. Maybe it is the way women are treated that is in bad taste and not the cartoon. It represented my experience exactly.

  18. Isabel Stephens says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I agree with others who felt ‘Birthsmart’ was in bad test. I attended a midwife clinic where many tests were not conducted and even when I went in for an unscheduled visit at 30 weeks complaining that somehow I felt something wasn’t right, and the midwife heard a double heart rate and later on a trace would show a 4 minute interruption where my son’s heart rate was at 260bpm, and still they told me they ‘thought’ it was nothing to worry about. They ‘thought’ that it was just artefact (they baby moving around and flopping around) that had caused 4 minute interruption. They ordered no further testing to prove what they ‘thought’ it was. Furthermore, they did not ask me to come in the next day for a ultrasound to rule out anything physically wrong with my son. Six weeks later my son Nathaniel was delivered by emergency c-section when at a routine antenatal visit the doppler proved that my son’s heart was indeed beating at 260bpm constantly. He died 5 hours later when his heart gave out. Neonatal cardiologists told my husband and I that had it been take ‘seriously’ at 30 weeks and an ultrasound conducted, my son would be here with us today since 1 in 250 live with SVT Super Ventricular Tachycardia and require medication or a simple procedure to stop the SVT. Indeed the only risk would have been delivering Nate at 30 weeks so they would have given me the medication to see if it passed to him through the placenta. I am now studying to be a midwife myself, and while I still believe in ‘toward normal birth’ as I did with all three of my births, I find it hard to stomach how midwives like to brainwash everyone into believing that all babies are the same. All births are the same. When in fact all births are as unique as the babies being born. In the case of my first two births, my children were low risk. But in the case of my third child, he was very high risk but the midwives failed to believe that that could be possible since I had had two very normal births previously. To educate women who have very little knowledge of birth, and so they rely on obstetricians and midwives for advice, that no tests are needed and to do so is somehow disempowering yourself and falling prey to medicalisation of birth is absurd. I believe that to be an advocate for your baby is to make the best choice of birth place, which would be close enough to hospitals and higher medically trained professionals in the case of emergencies, and to perform the necessary test that prove that your baby is indeed at no risk or low risk at all. Hoping that ‘all goes well’ in labour and birth in my opinion is the most ‘risk’ you could take!

    • Hi Isabel
      I can understand why you responded to the Birthsmart video as you did. And I am sorry that you lost your little boy.
      You knew things were not right (without any tests) and you attempted to get further assessment and help. It is vitally important that women are taken seriously when feel concern. All tests should be offered. Simply listening with a pinnard or Doppler would had identified Nate’s abnormal heart beat and need for referral and treatment. I am sorry that this did not happen.
      I also hope that you are being supported in your journey into midwifery whilst carrying a bereavement. It is important not to let your experience influence your interactions with mothers… who may choose not to have routine tests during their pregnancies or make decisions you consider unsafe. This may be confronting for you if you are not well supported.
      Thank you for sharing your story and reinforcing the importance of mother’s expertise re. Their own baby’s wellbeing.

      • Isabel Stephens says:

        Hi Rachel,

        I guess with having both my ‘meanings and experiences of birth’ I am in a better position than most midwives to understand the lifelong sorrow and grief that is experienced by a parent when they lose a child. Others can only ‘image’ what it must feel like, and still others won’t even go there. As I have said, I am still a huge believer in ‘toward normal birth’, but at the same time can appreciate that we are lucky enough to live in a country that does have resources available to help ensure that babies (and their mothers) arrive safely into the world through routine testing and ultrasound screening. There is a midwife out there for everyone. Just like babies, I feel that midwives should not all fit into one cookie cutter image of what a ‘great midwife’ should be like or behave like. In my opinion, I would not feel comfortable with a mother who has chosen to have a homebirth and at the same time opt for no testing and in a remote location. Therefore, I would do my best to provide her with all the evidence-based knowledge I could find that would prove that being near a hospital, and having routine testing would assist in the safe delivery of her unborn child, and if she still wanted to go ahead with what she originally had planned then I would help her find a midwife that would be comfortable with her ‘expertise’. I have a woman in my support group who chose not to have any test and to birth her baby on the boat she was living on 1 hour away from closest hospital and her baby was stillborn. Now, she accepts all the testing she has to undertake to ensure her newest pregnancy goes all according to plan…which is the birth of a live and healthy baby which is what is most important above all. To answer your question of being supported, I do have wonderful lecturers and midwives who know and understand my situation and at the same time can see that I have a very special place in the midwifery world…one where I will support women responsibly with evidence-based practises, and another place where I will be able to ‘comfortably’ support parents when their baby dies or is born very sick.
        Thanks for allowing me to share my experience,


  19. Isabel Stephens says:

    Apologies, i meant ‘imagine’ not ‘image’

  20. I beleive it is important to keep a balance on everything. The majority of pregnancies are “low risk” and become “high risk” due to the sheer volume of tests avialable – this is the message that the video was demonstrating. As long as parents know the research and evidence behind each test they can make an informed decision at each point. The risk comes when parents do not understand and mearly follow guidence of the care givers. Routine care such as scans can be wrong by around 2 weeks – leaving women open to induction for post dates (yet another un eveidenced based procdedure) or open to having small/large babies. This is not to say that scans should not occur, however if parenst realised this information would they chose induction when they go past their “date” or when the baby is too small/big? Medicalisation of birth can be live saving, but try living with the effects of a medicalised birth and you suddenly realise that it can also be life destroying when used inappropriatly.

  21. Isabel says:

    While I wholeheartedly agree that a medicalised both can be traumatic for a woman, not being induced after 41 weeks and having a stillborn baby due to extended time in utero while placenta is breaking down is what is LIFE destroying. Unless you have lost a baby yourself, you wouldn’t know the difference between traumatic and life destroying.

  22. Jenny says:

    Hey Rachel, I love love love your blog!
    I’m just wondering what midwifery books you recommend reading? I had a c section after failed induction in march (waters broke on my due date) and am determined to educate myself further so I won’t be a slave to hospital policy in the future. Also have you written anything on baby’s heart beat during birth? I read so many birth stories about failed vbac’s because of a drop in the baby’s heart beat when they were going down the birth canal – I imagined this was some sort of natural reaction but would love to understand this further :) thanks so much!!!

    • Hi Jenny
      I don’t tend to recommend books for midwifery practise… text books are written based on the evidence available at the time they were written. Often by the time they are published the evidence has moved on. And standard ‘textbooks’ often just perpetuate the out-dated notions of ‘stages of labour’, ‘mechanisms’ etc… concepts that emerged from medical understandings of birth in the early 1900s and have since been found to be incorrect and unhelpful.
      I do like this book: id=521&t=Evidence+and+Skills+for+Normal+Labour+and+Birth+%2D+New+Edition

      You can read more about listening to baby’s heart beat during labour in this post: As a baby’s head become compressed in the vagina the normal physiological response is for the heart rate to decelerate. This is because the compression stimulates the vagal nerve which = slowing down of the heart rate. Once the compression is relieved (after the contraction or after the head is born depending on what is causing it) the heart rate returns to normal. If you squeeze an adult’s head the same thing happens. This is a healthy compensatory response and not a sign of distress (a bit like the heart rate going up if you move quickly). It will happen to most babies either with contractions once their head is in the vagina and/or as their head crowns and is compressed by the stretched perineal tissue. Unfortunately, many care providers respond as if it is a sign of distress… and create a complication to solve with medical intervention.
      However, there is increasing understanding about ‘normal’ physiological heart rate patterns during labour, and in some institutions the CTG trace is being interpreted with this physiology in mind = less intervention. Current medical teachings re. heart rate patterns include head compression decelerations as ‘normal’… however individual institutions and practitioners do not necessarily keep up to date and often outdated hospital policies dictate practice.

      • Jenny says:

        Wonderful, thank you Rachel!!

        I really appreciate your informative response and I will be putting that book on the Christmas list :). Do you think it’s worth reading Ina May’s inspiration “birth without fear”? One of the farm midwives recommended “hearts and hands” as well… Have you found either of these useful? :)

        • They are both good books. I also like Sarah Buckley’s Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering. However, preference is very individual and different women ‘connect’ with different books. It depends what you are looking for. As a mother you shouldn’t have to ‘take in’ midwifery texts aimed at midwives… you will be birthing, not midwifing ;) Anything that helps you build trust in your own ability to birth is great. Even if that is reading nothing – as it is for some women. You already have the knowledge. You/your body knows how to grow and birth a baby without any learning :)

  23. ragaa says:

    Do you have experience with using essential oils during labor?what do you recommend?

    • I used essential oils during my own labour and use them personally. However, I don’t recommend or ‘administer’ essential oils to my clients. I’m not an aromatherapist and have not studied oils in depth. I know they are powerful and can have effects – both helpful and not. So, if clients want to use oils I suggest they consult someone who has a good knowledge of them (if they don’t), and take responsibility for choosing and using oils themselves. It is also important to consider oils in a waterbirth environment ie. the baby will potentially get a ‘dose’.

  24. mb says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful info and videos. I’m finding them very enlightening and encouraging

    At our last OB appointment, I had asked my doc about delaying cord cutting and about immediate skin to skin contact. I was basically told I would have to decide between one or the other as the baby needed to be lower than the placenta to delay cutting and that this would not be possible if baby were on my chest. However, after watching several home births, it appears both are possible. Immediate skin to skin (even when mom was sitting upright) and delayed clamping. I would really love to hear a second opinion on this, or multiple opinions if anyone else would like to share as well.

    Also, I am almost 29 weeks with our first baby and I have been watching several home water births (starting with the ones from your site). Water births seem so much more relaxed for both mom and baby. However, my OB only delivers at a hospital and our hospital does not offer water births.

    Would you recommend a home water birth for a first timer that is 40 years old??

    • It is a little concerning that your care provider does not understand the physiology of newborn transition to extrauterine life or the current International guidelines regarding good practice. This is not opinion – evidence to support optimal cord clamping is overwhelming and the WHO advocate this approach in conjunction with immediate skin-to-skin for newborn (and maternal) health:
      After birth the blood flow between baby and placenta are regulated by a number of factors (e.g. baby crying): It is not dependent on the position of the baby Maybe give a copy of the WHO recommendations/guidelines to your doctor and tell him/her that you require this approach at your birth.

      Re. waterbirth… I don’t ‘recommend’ any type or place of birth as each woman is individual and has unique needs and wishes. However, I have cared for a number of women having their first babies in water at all ages :)

      As you research and formulate your birth preferences be sure to consider the environment and care provider you are birthing with. Are they willing and able to support you in your wishes? What is their ‘normal’ practise, rates of intervention etc. These are important questions to assist you to prepare for your birth and work out ways to navigate the system to get what you want for you and your baby.

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