Category Archives: birth

In Defence of the Amniotic Sac

Artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) aka ‘breaking the waters’ is a common intervention during birth. However, an ARM should not be carried out without a good understanding of how the amniotic sac and fluid function in labour. Women need to … Continue reading

Posted in birth, intervention, midwifery practice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 224 Comments

Cord Blood Collection: confessions of a vampire-midwife

Updated: September 2019 When I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed student midwife I was awarded with a certificate and a box of chocolates. My achievement was collecting the most ‘cord’ blood in the hospital. At that time the Local Health … Continue reading

Posted in baby, birth, intervention, law | Tagged , , , , , , | 177 Comments

Asynclitism: a well aligned baby or a tilted head?

Asynclitism is when the baby’s head is moving through the pelvis ‘tipped’ to one side. This is usually diagnosed by a vaginal examination in labour. However, asynclitism is rarely caused by the baby having his/her head tilted to one side … Continue reading

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Supporting women’s instinctive pushing behaviour during birth

This article was published in The Practising Midwife journal in June 2015 along with ‘practice challenge’ questions for midwives (not included here). Introduction Clinical guidelines recommend that women should be guided by their own pushing urges during birth (National Institute for Health … Continue reading

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Shoulder Dystocia: the real story

Updated: August 2019 There is a lot of unwarranted fear about ‘big babies’ getting stuck. The media reflects the usual story – that women are creating a problem that doctors have to fix. The incidence of shoulder dystocia does increase … Continue reading

Posted in birth, intervention, midwifery practice | Tagged , , , , , | 191 Comments

Nuchal Cords: the perfect scapegoat

Updated: February 2018 To get this blog going I decided to write about a slight obsession of mine: The fear of, and routine midwifery management of nuchal cords at birth (umbilical cord around the neck). I have written and presented … Continue reading

Posted in baby, birth, intervention, midwifery practice | Tagged , , , | 332 Comments

Vaginal examinations: a symptom of a cervical-centric birth culture

Updated: January 2019 This post is about routine vaginal examinations (VE) during physiological birth ie. an uncomplicated birth without any medical intervention. The VE is a useful assessment in some circumstances, but it’s routine use in an attempt to determine … Continue reading

Posted in birth, midwifery practice | Tagged , , | 104 Comments