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 - 11 years experience. From Wellington, New Zealand
1. What brings you the greatest joy and sense of purpose as a midwife?
Seeing people recover well and start their life as a family
2a. What is your role in the C-section surgery/recovery?
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? At our DHB they encourage women to research/do themselves, so only if they ask.
2c. What is the greatest thing a woman can do to enhance connection between her and her baby once baby is born? Skin to skin as soon as possible, early BF, support in however she chooses to feed.
2d. How can a woman be involved in her C-section delivery?
Depends how much she wants, some want to look, some don't, I always offer to take photos. Quick skin-to-skin if possible, good atmosphere in theatre
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, tiredness
- Breastfeeding issues
3b. How does a woman's mental health and attitude to the birth affect her recovery progress? Hugely, debriefing is important, especially if birth not what they hoped for, early recognition of mental health problems
3c. What differences do you see, if any, in the recovery from elective C-section verses unplanned C-section? Elective - tend to recover faster, have had time to prepare and no labour prior
3d. What are signs of infection, (or any other adverse signs) you are looking for which may impede recovery? increased pain, also redness/discharge around wound site
4a. Have you seen a change in expectations over your career towards C-section mums? If so what? Not really, I think the pressure women put on themselves is huge
4b. How has the medical industry improved their care towards C-section deliveries? Skin to skin in theatre, delayed cord clamping etc; more woman/baby focused.
5a. Can you describe a ‘gentle C-section’? Yes, have seen a few but very dependent on circumstance/what women want.
5b. What are your thoughts regarding the development of ‘gentle’ C-sections? It's a good option for families to have
6. What does a woman need to be aware of when planning another pregnancy/birth following a C-section. Wait 18-24mths before getting pregnant again, careful recovery, work on
7a. Do you have any further comments you would like to add that could empower, support and enhance the recovery journey for C-section mothers?
Don't expect to be able to do what you could before - especially for previously fit women. Going up/down stairs is harder and requires more muscles than you think, later on box step ups/jumps (much later ha ha) as they are super hard, keep trying. Focus on pelvic floor and abdominals and movement and the rest will come.
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