Midwives are incredible people who are at the cutting edge of a woman's journey into motherhood. I have asked a group of midwives to share their wisdom and insight with us here at the Birthmark Sisterhood through this blog series.
Midwife - 30 years experience from Hamilton, New Zealand
1. What brings you the greatest joy and sense of purpose as a midwife?
Seeing women and their partners become strong confident mothers, enjoying their babies. Seeing them have a sense of achievement in birthing their babies, no matter how that may occur
2a. What is your role in the C-section surgery/recovery?
Support only, helping with breastfeeding
2b. Microbiome and gut health is really popular in the health industry at the moment. Is “seeding” something that you would give information to expectant mothers? No, because there is no research that is showing a bene
2c. What is the greatest thing a woman can do to enhance connection between her and her baby once baby is born? Spend time looking and getting to know her baby and breastfeed as soon as possible Yes, NICU limits hugely how parents can be with their babies
2d. How can a woman be involved in her C-section delivery? Not sure most women want to! Have her wishes listened to, eg delayed cord clamping.
3a. What challenges do women face in first six weeks, which have the potential to inhibit their journey back to health? How do you suggest these are managed?
- Pain - adequate analgesia
- Lack of support - ensure there is someone with her 24/7 most days
- Recovering from pregnancy, labour and maybe a CS is a big physiological load
- Poverty - food poverty
- Getting BF sorted - need good family and midwifery support
3b. How does a woman's mental health and attitude to the birth affect her recovery progress? A lot! Women without support feel abandoned. Many migrant women are very lonely.
3c. What differences do you see, if any, in the recovery from elective C-section verses unplanned C-section? No labour to recover from; mentally prepared, more calm atmosphere means better faster recovery by far
3d. What are signs of infection, (or any other adverse signs) you are looking for which may impede recovery? Red wound, increased pain, increased lochia, feeling unwell, odour from wound, lethargy
4a. Have you seen a change in expectations over your career towards C-section mums? If so what? Pain relief has improved hugely so women are MUCH less sore than 25 years ago! I don't think its changed too much
4b. How has the medical industry improved their care towards C-section deliveries? Yes, hugely. Much less handling of tissues and vastly better pain relief and preparation. Starving is much shorter before elective C-section now
5a. Can you describe a ‘gentle C-section’? Baby oozes out of wound by itself. mother reaches and picks up baby. Frankly I don't see/hear a demand for this
5b. What are your thoughts regarding the development of ‘gentle’ C-sections? No ides, haven’t had a demand/interest in this. I would support it if women want it and it is safe. I believe women’s arms should not be both held down
6. What does a woman need to be aware of when planning another pregnancy/birth following a C-section.
- Wait at least a year - scar healing
- Be ready mentally and practically
- VBAC advised in a hospital
- Toddler and another CS can be very hard
Note from Naomi:
A huge thank you to this beautiful midwife for sharing her wisdom and knowledge with us. First hand experience can be so empowering.
If you are a midwife and would like to share your wisdom and insight please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org