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Thursday, 19 October 2017

More info about The Kindness Conference (see previous post)

Ellie Durant from and the University of Bradford present...
'The Kindness Conference: Getting Positive Midwifery Cultures To Flourish'
11th Nov, 9.60-6pm, Bradford University
Qualified Staff £29.99
Students £24.99
Discount code (limited time only!): 'KIND' for £4.99 off
To book:
We love midwifery and this conference is about walking into the uncertainty and the difficult areas together. From independent midwives, to world class
researchers on the topic of bullying in midwifery, to experienced consultant midwives, the line up is amazing!
You can also subscribe to to get the 30 days of 'Kindness in Midwifery' emails where we can explore these issues further.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Kindness Conference: Getting Positive Midwifery Cultures to Flourish 11th Nov Bradford

Bullying, investigation, blame, fear and even dismissal have all worrying become part of the culture of many maternity units, with the result that midwives, especially newly qualified ones, are stifled, made unhappy and leaving the profession.  Come to The Kindness Conference and be part of the renewal of midwifery culture.  Together We Can!

 The Kindness Conference

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

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).

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.

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.
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:

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:
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

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: 

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:

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. .  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. 

Friday, 27 January 2017

Great blog looking at indemnity insurance and the current UK independent midwifery crisis

Below is a link to Richard Chappell's blog Philosophy et cetera.  Richard and his partner are expecting their baby in March 2017 and are directly affected by the latest restriction imposed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.  He discusses the glaringly obvious point that the possession of indemnity insurance by attendants at any amount has nothing to do with the safety of women and babies as the NMC claims.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

38 degrees petition

This may reach a wider audience so please sign too!

There is widespread support for new midwifery legislation in the UK - the NMC has never once shown any respect for midwifery at any of the opportunities it has had to do so.  
  • Please join the Facebook pages The Campaign for Better Midwifery Regulation or The Association of Radical Midwives.  
  • If you are a member of the RCM, please write to Cathy Warwick expressing your concern at the systematic and relentless undermining of midwifery by its regulator. 
  • If you can get to Wigan on 18th March there is a study day/call to arms (see earlier post).

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Birthrights' letter to NMC and the RCM's

It is such a shame that we need an organisation like Birthrights in the UK in 2017 but need it we do.  They have written to Jackie Smith, CEO of the Nursing and Midwifery (sic) Council and their excellent letter can be read on their website

That a human rights organisation has to write to our professional "regulator" to plead the case of pregnant women is an absolute disgrace.  Can there be any doubt in anyone's mind now that midwifery is not safe as long as it is controlled (a much better word for what is going on than "regulated") by the NMC?

The RCM MUST lead from the front and initiate a relentless and extensive campaign to achieve separate regulation for midwives.   It cannot stand by, taking over £20 a month from the midwives of this country, and let this relentless destruction of midwifery go on.  If the NMC were interested in the well-being of women and babies, it would look at the extensive evidence-base on the safety of midwifery care and act to consolidate and strengthen the profession, not undermine it at every opportunity.

Unfortunately there is NOTHING on the RCM website about this, never mind a copy of their letter (presumably they have written one) to the NMC.  Nor have they sent out an email briefing the profession on their position.  Come on RCM, stick your head above the parapet!

Urgent - if you are living in UK, please sign petition in support of independent midwives against latest attack by NMC

UK Independent Midwives are unable currently to attend clients in labour following yet another outbreak of over-zealousness-in-the-wrong-direction from the NMC. 

IMUK, representing most UK IMs, has a statement on its website 

Ellie Durrant (Midwife Diaries Blogger) says:

"This means women who have carefully chosen an Independent Midwife for complex, personal reasons are being denied the right to have their chosen caregiver during childbirth.

This is due to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) specifying indemnity insurance is not adequate (something not identified until a few days ago).

Independent midwives are not even allowed to attend the women having NHS care during labour and birth.

The rights of women to choose who is with them in labour has been taken away.

However, the NMC are unable to specify what level of cover is adequate:

'"We (the NMC) are unable to advise you about the level of cover that you need. We consider that you are in the best position to determine, with your indemnity provider, what level of cover is appropriate for your practice. You should seek advice as appropriate from your professional body, trade union or insurer to inform your decision. You need to be able to demonstrate that you fully disclosed your scope of practice and to justify your decisions
if asked to do so". 

We suggest that the NMC reconsider their judgement or specify what needs to be done to ensure women can choose their caregiver. We understand the NMC has the wellbeing of women and babies at the forefront of their decisions but respectfully ask if this decision is in line with this.

Further information: As Independent Midwives are often women’s only option to make choices for their care (as the NHS cannot always accommodate needs such as homebirth), and many choose them due to birth trauma or other complex and distressing situations, we see this as a human rights issue.

If you listen to women reacting to this news many are talking about freebirth instead of accessing NHS care as they feel their mental and physical wellbeing being adversely affected by NHS care is not something they can risk."

Please sign and share petition through your networks.  Ellie is very kind in her judgement of the NMC's attitude to women choices and decisions.  UM has never seen any action from the NMC that has furthered women's choice or supported midwifery in the interests of women and babies.  However if anyone can pinpoint such an action, please do comment.