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Modern midwives have worked diligently to become part of all maternity systems. In some countries, they have been a vital part of their maternity system both attending hospital and homebirths.

At the same time, midwives see themselves as primary care providers in pregnancy and birth … with a caveat … for low risk, normal pregnant women. And here lies the issues.

  1. Lots of pregnant women would love to have a midwife regardless of their health risks
  2. Pregnant women would love continuity-of-care midwifery care and have obstetrical when necessary.
  3. Every pregnant woman, her family and birth professionals want the mother and baby to move through pregnancy and birth safely.
  4. 100% of pregnant women will give birth one way or another
  5. Pregnancy and birth are a normal part of life and the word ‘normal’ can mean anything that can happen might happen in birth.
  6. There’s no way to know what birth will be like.
  7. Birth is always an activity each pregnant woman does with her baby
  8. Midwives consider birth to be safe unless proven otherwise
  9. Obstetricians consider birth possibly unsafe until proven otherwise
  10. Regardless of all circumstances, every pregnant woman will do the activity of birthing her baby.
  11. Midwives believe women know instinctively how to birth because pregnancy and birth are normal life events and therefore do not need skills
  12. Obstetricians agree with the truth: ‘You don’t know what your birth will be like and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for it’
  13. Giving birth is always an activity. Every activity is best done with simple, effective skills. Humans feel confident and competent when skilled to do any activity.
  14. Midwives don’t encourage pregnant women to self-learn skills but encourage them to make ‘choices’. But, babies don’t come to plan and birth is always an activity each woman will do.
  15. Obstetricians don’t encourage pregnant women to self-learn skills because they have medical tools to deal with the natural occurring pain of labor as well as any health issues. Whether a woman is coping or not or whether the father helps the birthing woman to stay in control is not their role.

Obstetricians do not care if you have birth skills. They have medical care to help you if you can’t cope or you have a problem so they just do not care. Teaching you to become skilled is not their job, it’s yours. If that’s fine for you then dont’ become skilled. If you want to feel in control during your baby’s birth no matter the circumstances then learn birth and birth-coaching skills.

Midwives just don’t believe you need skills because their philosophy believes women instinctively know how to birth. If you believe you’ll know instinctively how to birth then you won’t learn skills because your midwife is re-inforcing that belief. If you believe that birth and birth-coaching skills will help you cope however your birth unfolds then you’ll learn birth and birth-coaching skills.

Midwives can lead the way

  1. Midwives should be encouraging all pregnant women and expectant fathers to self-learn birth and birth-coaching skills for one reason alone … birth is an activity each woman does.
  2. Birth is also an event, experience and happens to each pregnant woman yet those 3 words leave women passive.
  3. Birth is always an activity that makes women an active participant when she has simple, effective birth skills to do that activity in her birth regardless of the circumstances.
  4. Midwives should be the primary care provider for all expectant women with obstetrical support working alongside skilled birthing women and birth-coaching fathers/others.
  5. The new midwifery philosophy should be simple: “Your birth is an activity YOU will have to do and you’ll do that activity better when you are skilled”. And, midwives can add: ‘Here’s a hand-out of all the skills-based methods to choose from. Choose one or more and self-learn birth and birth-coaching skills.” Then they can add: ” Start learning skills around 24 weeks and we’ll mark in your notes what skills you’ve learned each month. When birth unfolds, we’ll praise you when you’re coping well because you’ll be using your skills and encourage you to use them if you appear overwhelmed”. 

Your job

Don’t wait to be asked to become skilled. This is your baby’s birth. Self-learn, practice, and use both birth and birth-coaching skills so you can do the activity of birthing your baby with dignity and capability no matter how your birth unfolds.

Birthing Better skills were developed by hundreds of dads and moms because they could not wait for their obstetricians to care or their midwives to change their beliefs. Birthing Better skills are housed in Common Knowledge Trust and available in online birth classes.