1. At 07.29 on 18 July 2008, Nicki Pusey wrote:
Some women feel that they cannot birth within the NHS or within the Indie MW sector. This is not their problem - it is ours.
In the case of Clair, particularly, she was honest, open and up front about her plans. This was a doorway to offering support - the denial of a home birth pack indicates how bad the relationship was. If she felt disenfranchised it is our responsibility to mend fences, not to burn bridges. We may never be able to convince these women to fully accept the care we offer, but we can support them in their choices, advise, and let them know if they change their mind they will not be judged.
2. At 09.31 on 23 July 2008, Jo D wrote:
What I really liked about the programme was the way in which it acts to reframe (midwife supported) homebirth as something quite mainstream and conventional. That would be a great message to get out to pregnant women, and fits so well with the RCM's 'safe if not safer' policy on (assisted) homebirth for 'low risk' women.
3. At 08.36 on 28 July 2008, Lynn G Walcott wrote:
I think that it is very difficult for any midwife to 'support' freebirthing at least 'officially'. For example, if the local midwives had provided a birthing pack, where does their responsibility and duty of care lie? As an independent midwife, I too would not provide a pack - this does not mean that I do not respect a woman's choice, but rather, I have a responsibility to myself and my profession too. On the other hand, we should all be concerned if this spreads - why are women choosing to birth without a midwife? Many of us should look closely at how we practice if women would rather do without us.
4. At 13.52 on 31 July 2008, Ruth Waters wrote:
It says a lot about how bullied women feel, that they risk their lives in this way. It's time for midwives to go back to fully supporting home birth choice without trying to frighten women, and for health authorities to realise that they have the best possible carers in midwives and to stop trying to undermine their practice. Mind you, I think the current "say boo and I'll sue" mentality doesn't help. I can quite understand reluctance to be far from the technology in case of problems. I'm now retired but feel sympathy with the hard working midwives with little support.
5. At 18.29 on 31 July 2008, Nikki S wrote:
I've been shocked and surprised by some of the cynical responses I've heard from midwives following the programme. In the first instance I am an advocate for women - defending my profession comes a long way behind that. I was encouraged and a little surprised by the NMC's position statement on freebirth.
6. At 11.31 on 3 August 2008, Dianne Garland wrote:
I watched with interest the free birthing film and felt saddened that as midwives we could not find any common ground which allowed us to work with these women as they birthed their babies. I work on the bank in the NHS but have worked in many settings where we have been able to support mothers whose wishes stretched the service BUT we worked together. I am aware that we only saw a tiny part of the background to why these mothers chose the birth without a midwife but the scare mongering of the professionals only further highlighted we still have a long way to go!
Supporting mothers in a variety of care settings is always challenging but surely as midwives that is what we are here to do? Having attended ICM and listened in awe at some midwives who work in really difficult environments we should not find ourselves in this situation in the UK.
7. At 00.51 on 5 August 2008 Terri Apps wrote:
I have not seen this programme however I have read many of the articles that have been published firstly in the American and consequently in the Australian and UK press. I came across this subject when researching my dissertation. I did not have time to look into it in great detail, however noted that there is a particular American website which holds a great deal of unaccredited information on free birth and also provides a more historical aspect, providing press releases from the 1950s/1960s etc of women who chose to labour alone.
When questioned it is alleged many of these women reported amazement at the speed of their labour but due to the perceived problem of certifying the birth of their children, went on to call the emergency services to alert a midwife who could access a birth register and therefore ‘legitimise the birth’. There are a few examples of how women have had really unprofessional encounters with health professionals in all of the aforementioned countries when attempting to register the birth of their children when there was no midwife or Doctor present at the actual delivery.
This is an extremely interesting subject which requires further research however there would appear to be many barriers to the effective researching of this subject for example, ethic/legal aspects. I am sure that in the ever worsening climate of maternity services in the UK currently and in the aftermath of the birth (in the last 15 years approx) of the mass production centres for pregnancy birth & gynae (consultant-led care).
Yes undoubtedly some which have, what has been discussed as: compromised & provided so called midwifery-led units (next door to delivery suite), which I may add have to follow the exactly the same protocols and procedures as the mother unit. It is these options which would beg the question: is it any wonder that free thinking women who are in tune with their own bodies, who truly believe in the physiological normality of childbirth, is it any wonder they are looking for another way to achieve their choice? This being the most fundamental point: women’s choice, empowerment. It could be argued that by denying women their choice of home birth or freebirth that they are being denied their right to labour and birth their babies in the manner that they have chosen. This, I am absolutely sure will continue to be a subject of controversy for some time.
8. At 22.50 on 8 August 2008, Chris Warren wrote:
I too felt very sad that the women did not feel able to access midwifery care that would support them without being judgemental about what they wanted. I felt what they wanted, a non-interfered-with birth, was a very reasonable want. I would have been happy to provide them with that but I am an independent midwife and the women would have had to pay, and it is not right that they cannot feel confident to get a supportive midwife from within the NHS. I am not blaming the midwives but the system does not enable them to support women who want less rather than more care.
9. At 23.40 on 26 August 2008, a woman who believes women should have choices wrote:
You cannot blame women for birthing at home alone. Women don't have naturally active births in hospital, which does not mean being tied in stirrups, on your back with a fetal monitor and then moved to a delivery room etc.
The word ‘outlaw’ is wrong as it's a woman's right to birth at home and a partner should not be sued. I have told Channel 5 my feelings on the programme as well as birth in general. I hope more women birth at home with or without an independent midwife.
Women are very unhappy about their experiences and some never have any more children or don't even have children in the first place because of how women are forced to birth. Only 3% of first time mothers have natural births and 6% second time etc. This is appalling. Natural active birth is not sitting on a bed without drugs etc.
Women should be looked after by the same midwife and do everything in the same room if made to have a hospital birth.
Some midwives have left the profession because they cannot give women the right kind of birth. Births should never have left the home in the first place. You make a baby together. You should be able to birth together alone together. A kind NHS would give women choices and a back up if they really need to go in to hospital. Only a small number of women have problems. Also, it does not help with birthing centres and hospitals closing and being forced to go further afield.
New hospitals and birthing centres should be built with the right environment for women if made to go to hospital.
Women will never be equal to men until they have rights over how they birth. Women have forgotten this one area that they should have choices in.
10. At 15.02 on 4 February 2009, Student Midwife from Essex wrote:
I was so touched by this programme which stirred up a lot of emotions. In one respect I can understand why women may opt to 'go it alone' and as a midwifery student I can see the potential hazards. So much emotion has been stirred that I have decided to do my dissertation on why women may choose to birth alone. Any information anyone can provide me with would be appreciated.