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Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Daily Mail

The Daily Mail, for those of you outside the UK, is a terrible newspaper - reactionary, divisive, negative, horrible, and it will basically say anything about anyone to get a sale.  The level of journalism is dreadful and, whatever the aspirations of its journalists on entering their profession, they have kissed any vision of informing the public "goodbye".  There is currently a campaign to persuade major companies to stop advertising in The Daily Mail (and similar rags) called #StopFundingHate.  
http://stopfundinghate.org.uk/

This week The Daily Fail's hatred involved a midwife, Sheena Byrom OBE, a well-known British midwife who is a campaigner for women-centred services and continuity of care.  The level of vindictive crap in this article, which is no more than a long string of inaccuracies and misrepresentations, has outraged us all. 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5098885/NHS-trusts-promoting-natural-births.html 

Many birth activists, midwives and birth workers have complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation and the Daily Mail have removed the scores of condemnatory comments that were left on the Mail Online website but not, so far, its scurrilous article.
https://www.ipso.co.uk/

Midwives and allies are coming together to end the bullying and harassment of those who speak up for woman-centred care and the importance of normal birth for the health and well-being of women and babies.  The on-line stalking of Sheena Byrom is disturbing, malevolent, and perpetrated only by those who think they know everything but understand nothing.  SAY NO TO BULLYING IN MIDWIFERY.  SAY NO TO THE BULLYING OF WOMEN WHO CHOOSE TO BIRTH UNDER THEIR OWN STEAM.
 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Oxytocin Measures - midwives taking a critical look at oxytocin regimes for induction and augmentation.

UM met a beautiful and strong midwife yesterday who is part of a small group determined that the maternity community, both in the UK and across the world, takes a long, hard, critical look at the way syntocinon is used to induce or augment labour.

This group have looked hard at the drug insert and what Novartis Pharmaceuticals, the main manufacturer of the syntocinon in use for labour acceleration, says, and have discovered that a huge proportion of women and their unborn babies are being subjected to off-licensed dosages, with potentially adverse consequences in birth experience and outcome.  They are determined to bring this to the attention of professionals, the public, and policy-makers.

Their website (still under construction in some areas) is here: https://oxytocinmeasures.com/ and they also can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015746618208  The website has a facility to sign up for updates on their work.

The group aim to produce information for women and professionals so that consent to induction can be informed consent.  Given the crudity of 21st century induction of labour techniques, having a group devoted to exploring this issue is a positive development.

Great work!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Osborne Kneeling Chair - a great bit of kit!

Margaret Jowitt, UK physiologist and long-term birth activist, has combined her skills to develop the Osborne Kneeling Chair for birth centres and labour wards everywhere.  All is beautifully shown on this short film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlHHH31US3g

Margaret has been working on this project for a number of years and has refined her design to meet all infection control and other institutional requirements, whilst making sure that her basic idea of enabling free movement and facilitating upright labour and birth are not compromised.  The final product looks astonishingly simple but has taken hours, months, years of research, design, engineering and investment.  UM wishes her all the best with getting this superb product into birthing rooms across Europe and beyond.



Friday, 6 October 2017

New AIMS book on gestational diabetes

The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (for whom we all, mothers and midwives, give thanks in the UK) have published a new book on Gestational Diabetes available from http://www.aims.org.uk/

image of Gestational Diabetes book
The author has tried to make this complicated and increasingly ubiquitous issue of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy understandable, point out where decisions, choices and issues of consent arise, and give information around these.  The book covers all areas of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period as well as longer-term issues.  There is a useful resource section and some lovely illustrations by Jennifer Williams.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Professor Soo Downe explaining in simple terms WHAT WOMEN WANT!

The link below is to a YouTube clip of Soo Downe, Professor of Midwifery Studies at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK, summarising what women want from maternity care according to research on this important area. 

Why are these findings important to hold before us in any discussion about the maternity services?  Because too many people - journalists, politicians, and general misogynists - have seen fit to pontificate in the UK press over the summer on their views of what women should want with absolutely no reference to the views or insights of women or any other experts in the field (user groups, midwives, obstetricians, doulas, hypnobirthing teachers etc).    

https://youtu.be/dZmR23_XxNg

Soo enumerates simply and effectively why misogynistic fantasies about risk-averse medico-techno-delivery will always miss their mark - women want their embodied experiences of birth to take place within a context of love, support and kindness.  The real risk of not having the latter trumps the putative risks of not having the former.  But UM doubts Jeremy Hunt and his cronies will get it, alas.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

'"Refugees from mainstream maternity care"- Australian freebirths may rise

This is an interesting update on the situation in Australia where insurance companies have also sabotaged women's choice as EU Directives (prompted by which interests? and ably aided and abetted by the NMC), have in the UK.  But whatever the reason, women are being cheated of free choice in birth and corralled into establishment-controlled births, with self-determination and ownership of one's own body and its processes being steadily taken away.  Freebirth is a powerful resistance but is itself becoming an unfree choice. 

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-29/freebirthing-if-there-was-baby-death-i-was-capable-of-grieving/8827582?pfmredir=sm

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Paracetamol and pregnancy - more cautionary research (unborn son's fertility)

Yet another research paper has been published suggesting a link between paracetamol (acetaminophen) exposure during pregnancy and damage to the male reproductive system.  
http://www.reproduction-online.org/content/154/2/145.full
This study, like those done previously, involved mice but, like other similar studies, found that paracetamol interferes with testosterone production in male fetuses.  The mice in this study were given doses equivalent to the recommended dose for pregnant women.  The findings from this latest Danish study, published in "Reproduction":

"suggest that prenatal exposure to APAP [paracetamol] may impair male sexual behaviour in adulthood by disrupting the sexual neurobehavioral programming. These findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting the need to limit the widespread exposure and use of APAP by pregnant women." 
It is worrying that advice to pregnant women experiencing common musculo-skeletal problems in pregnancy or the latent phase of labour, at least in the UK, are advised to take paracetamol with no mention of its possible side-effects (see Undercover Midwife's posts of 28.3.15 and 26.5.15).

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Call to Arms from The Association of Radical Midwives

ARM, along with other birth activist individuals and groups, is campaigning for better midwifery regulation than the NMC currently gives.  This is after the long history of the NMC's maltreatment of midwives, lack of understanding of midwifery, whittling down of the Midwives' Rules & Standards, and their mischievousness or lassitude during the unnecessary and ill-advised abolition of Statutory Midwifery Supervision.  Please read this statement from ARM and get involved in any way you can - see below:

#savethemidwife
Protecting Women’s Rights with Better Midwifery Regulation
Representatives from ARM, AIMS and other key birth organisations came together to plan the next steps of the #savethemidwife campaign. The overwhelming emotion was unity; a birth movement of the 21st century, one that brings together women, midwives and birth organisations. Women’s birth rights need protecting from the ground up. Choice must be protected both within and outside of the NHS. Midwives are with woman. Midwives are the experts of normal birth and need to be the leaders of their own profession. It is vital that those who are responsible for the safety of mothers and babies actually understand the issues women face. The NMC does not do this.
Our key priorities are:
• User and Midwifery Representation
• Regulation and Legislation
• Supervision and Safety
• Communication and Engagement

The water is rippling and now we need you to turn ripples to waves. We are calling for your help. It is vital that the campaign reaches women and midwives across the UK. We have set our priorities and created a roadmap of actions to develop a campaign strategy and communications plan. Can you spare some time to take on one of these tasks? Promote the issues among your networks? Or offer a skill that will advance the campaign?
Join ARM, Campaign, Volunteer, Fundraise, Write - Because Midwifery Matters
We can only be powerful with your support. The more people we have on board, the more effective our campaign will be.
Find out more about the issues and progress so far and keep abreast of the campaign:
www.midwifery.org.uk
e:enquiries@midwifery.org.uk
f: RadicalMidwives
f: ARM #savethemidwife
t: @radmidassoc

Check out the Association of Radical Midwives page on JustGiving and help the campaign by
donating or fundraising. Please pass the message to all your networks.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.
Kind regards,
Katherine Hales
ARM National Coordinator

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Guardian freebirth article 28.4.17


https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/apr/28/experience-i-had-a-free-birth?CMP=fb_gu

Lacey's description of her early encounters with midwives as being without joy is so interesting - they appear to have been about delivering the menu of care, the conveyor belt her GP described, inducting her into the system, and not about embarking with her on her individual journey of a lifetime, route as yet unknown.  If there is no "added-value" in antenatal care for a woman, then there is little point to it for most healthy women.  NICE has largely reduced antenatal care to one long screening exercise (with some mass medication thrown in), not preparation for healthy birth and parenthood.

Lacey's Instagram page is here in case the article disappears:
https://www.instagram.com/verylacey/?hl=en 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

What happens when lawyers regulate health professionals...

The Chief Executive at The Nursing and Midwifery Council is a lawyer and she makes the mistake of confusing indemnity with safety.  Indemnity is about insurers covering claims and legal fees in the event of legal action being taken against a health professional.  It does not offer any other protection.  Indemnity insurance is not some sort of talisman that prevents poor outcomes or even poor care or protect woman and babies from those.  Good and safe midwifery care is given by well-trained, skillful and reflective midwives.  

Outcomes are particularly good where there is continuity of care, a relationship between mother and midwife, exists:  https://www.rcm.org.uk/sites/default/files/Brief%20scoping%20of%20the%20continuity%20of%20care%20evidence%20base.pdf

What if a woman makes an informed choice to be looked after by a midwife without what the NMC lawyers decree is adequate indemnity insurance?  Obviously that is a choice she is not ALLOWED to make.  Not allowed to make by the NMC which is denying choice, autonomy and basic rights to women - to choose those who enter their homes, touch their bodies, and help them give birth to their children.

Only independent midwives provide true continuity of care in the UK.  For many women (UM included), continuity of care, knowing one's midwife, knowing who will look after one in labour, is MORE important than being able to sue for large amounts of money in the rare event that something goes wrong due to poor care.  Of course it is clearly not so for Jackie Smith with her lawyer's litigation-focused mindset, and she and her staff have effectively denied UK women the choice of assured continuity of care by preventing IMs from practising under their current indemnity arrangements.

Listen to this incredible interview of Jackie Smith by Beverley Turner of LBC radio.https://clyp.it/qwtc3pb3 .  Beverley covers the current onslaught against IMs brilliantly and shows clearly the dangers of giving lawyers power.  The law was described by the philosopher Rudolf Steiner as the most unspiritual of human endeavours and Jackie Smith and her NMC show why this is so.

Well done Beverley Turner for covering the topic so well.