5th May, 2015 0 Comments

Grill The Midwife

posted by: Stephanie

I thought it would be fun to put some different kind of questions to a midwife. Here is what I found out...

Q1. If you could whisper something into the ear of every woman in labour - other than “push", what would it be?

A. "He's nearly here; try and remember these last few moments being pregnant."

Q2. What would you say to a first time mum who is very anxious about what is to come?

A. The sensation of a contraction is exactly the same as the 'burn' you get with serious exercise. As soon as that muscle stops working that sensation goes. That said, would you take strong pain killers before exercise? It's the fear we have from years of hearing unrealistic horror stories that makes labour and birth scary for some women. (Is that where I've been going wrong with exercise?)

Q3. In your experience, Is there a difference in the needs / worries of a first time, second time, third time (etc) mum? 

A. None at all, everyone and every pregnancy is as individual as the last and the care needs to be tailored to that.

Q4. If you could say one thing to a pregnant woman when they wake up every morning for nine months, what would say? 

A. "Take two more minutes in bed on your own, close your eyes and just breath slowly, this is your time with your baby, no one else's."

Q5. What have you found to be the biggest myths around pregnancy and giving birth?

A. That big babies are harder to give birth to, they're actually quicker and easier (on average.

Q6. Complete this sentence - "If I have gone home at the end of the day and can say I have ________ then I have been a good midwife."

A. Put myself in their shoes totally, listened to their concerns objectively and helped them plan their care.

Q7. Is there really anything we can do if we go overdue to bring on labour?

A. Eating dates has had some effect and nipple and clitoral stimulation (rolling nipples and masturbation) are also methods the research has found may work. From a clinical point of view having a membrane sweep may also be effective in shortening the pregnancy and avoiding induction of labour too. Hot baths, curries and divination don't work I'm afraid but if you're partial to any of them they certainly won't do any harm.

Q8. What are your top tips to new mums in regards to breastfeeding?

A. Have a Babymoon. Spend as long as you can just you and baby tucked up together feeding and having plenty of skin to skin. Don't feel guilty about doing nothing, you're not, you're doing something that no one else can do so why should you do anything else.

Q9. Is there such a thing as a 'perfect labour'?

A. Some women may describe their labour and birth as that but it's a very personal thing and varies from person to person.

Q10. How important is a supporter during birth (whoever that is)?

A. Labour and birth is an extremely vulnerable time for women and during that time you really need a birth partner who can make sure the things you want and don't want are done/not done. Education and the acquisition of knowledge for birth partners really is vital to ensure that they feel prepared and up to the task.

Q11. Do you meet women who seem to breeze through pregnancy, women who literally glow - and the other end of the spectrum - pregnant women who hate every moment of pregnancy (like me)? In other words - who do you get through your door?

A. I meet everyone on the spectrum from women who didn't know they were pregnant until labour to those women who need so much medical and hospital support that they must feel like they live there. I've also met women who've loved their pregnancy, others who hated it.

Q12. Who is your favourite type of patient?

A. Someone who needs support, encouragement, education, confidence. Someone who needs me to use all my skills as a midwife.

Q13. Is there any important advice you would give to women for after they have had their child?

A. Don't try and be super mum, you've just had a baby, the calories alone that you've used up are phenomenal. Your body needs to recover and repair and in order to do that it needs food, water and rest. Ask friends who offer gifts to give their time, one or two hours each by asking them to add their names onto a calendar of when they can help. That way you'll know who's coming over and allocate them housework etc.

Q14. What do you find is the number one worry / concern for pregnant women?

A. That they'll poo themselves.

Q15. what do you tell them to ease this worry?

A. Don't worry, everyone does - and the bacteria in it is good for your baby!

Anything else you would like to add?

My most important point is always to educate yourself; join forums, attend antenatal classes, both NHS and independent. It's your birth, your body and you should be in control.

About our midwife 

Lesley Gilchrist is an Independent Midwife based in Harrogate, owner of Bespoke Birthing Midwifery Practice and author of The Bump, Birth and Baby Bible available on Amazon. You can follow her @MidwifeLesley

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