Why I said yes to having a student midwife at my birth
November 17, 2016
Searching 'student midwife' across birthing blogs - I am amazed at how many mums think so negatively about having another bod attend to them at their birth. Here's why when I birthed at home, I said yes...
If you live in an area with a teaching hospital, you may well find you are asked when discussing your birth preferences with your midwife at around 36 weeks if you would consider having a student midwife 'observe' your birth. This is the part that has many women running for the hills - OBSERVE ME! - oh no no no, Dr Michel Odent (head to the link at the bottom if you have not yet been enlightened by Dr Odent - he makes many birthworkers go a little swoony!) says that we should not be observed during labour, we need our privacy, we need to hold our birthing space! I had a different view.
There are huge benefits to feeling safe, secure and yes unobserved when you go into labour. It helps you stay calm, keeping adrenaline levels low and we know that sphincter muscles (your cervix acts like a sphincter muscle*) are very shy - which is why we don't invite people to watch us go to the loo!! It can actually slow labour down, even stop it if we feel anxious about who is in the room.
I suppose it helped that I had actually met a few student midwives before giving my answer to the question. But for me it really was a no brain er to have someone else be there for me, as after all - they were training to do a job who's title simply means 'with woman' - midwives like to be able to be focused on giving women centered care.
It felt safe to have another 'mother carer' in the room and I knew that being in training to do a job where-by they were to become a privileged part of families most intimate moments - meant that their intention was right. That they would be respectful to my birthing space.
I was right. She was polite but warm and friendly. She kept her distance but was helpful. She made me a drink whilst my husband was busy holding my hands. She held that drink at arms length for me, in a cup with a straw for what seemed like a long time! She was careful not to disrupt the closeness of our experience but yet was right next to me. Another pair of hands to be 'with the birthing woman'.
I was also keen for her to experience normality around birth. For her to take with her on her journey of becoming a midwife a story of a natural birth at home. To see the powerful impact of Hypnobirthing, being in water, YogaBirth breathing techniques and active birthing positions. To understand the importance of the birth environment and all its inhabitants.
This is just another point of view for you to consider when making one of your many informed decisions about your birth. The choice is yours, and through that choice you will have an empowering birth.
Join me on Thursdays for YogaBirth in Birmingham. Yoga for pregnancy and birth preparation where you can meet local mums and enjoy some gentle 'me' time in a positive birth environment.
Find me at www.mumtobee.co.uk or facebook.com/MumToBeeBirthPreparation
Dr Michel Odent speaking about Gentle Birth https://youtu.be/zBjZ5rMoHkU
I highly recommend his book - Birth and Breastfeeding: Rediscovering the Needs of Women during Pregnancy and Childbirth
* For more on Sphincter Muscles head here to hear from Ina May Gaskin. http://www.birthlore.com/class/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/sphincter-law.pdf