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 - 32 years experience, Hamilton New Zealand
1. What brings you the greatest joy and sense of purpose as a midwife?
Seeing women become mothers.
2a. What is your role in the C-section surgery/recovery?
To maintain baby and mum contact undisturbed until mum is out of recovery. To advise on safety
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? Yes . I would explain it is an option but has currently no proven scientific research to support it. Also I would explain the importance of undisturbed skin to skin and the fact that baby is now back to mum within 5 minutes which helps with seeding to mus skin flora.
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 much as possible whether with mum or in NICU.
2d. How can a woman be involved in her C-section delivery? Reduce physical barriers. Allow photography or video. Baby to mum asap.
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?
- Doing too much too soon.
- Lack of family help and assistance with household tasks .
- Being too aware of body changes and wanting to get back to body fitness too quickly.
- Lacking awareness or advise regarding the body needing to recovery from major surgery
3b. How does a woman's mental health and attitude to the birth affect her recovery progress? Physical health is directly linked to mental health. So this is vitally important to have emotional support
3c. What differences do you see, if any, in the recovery from elective C-section verses unplanned C-section? Emergency CS follows the physical demands of labour so the woman is physically exhausted prior to the surgery
3d. What are signs of infection, (or any other adverse signs) you are looking for which may impede recovery? Ongoing pain. Wound break down.
4a. Have you seen a change in expectations over your career towards C-section mums? If so what? They are expected to go home earlier and do not get as much help these days. Also there is more guilt put on CS mums, especially guilt regarding birth.
4b. How has the medical industry improved their care towards C-section deliveries? More information given. Including mums in their care. Talking through the stages of CS during surgery
5a. Can you describe a ‘gentle C-section’? Yes. Baby is birthed straight to mum. Low light no talking
5b. What are your thoughts regarding the development of ‘gentle’ C-sections? This is becoming more normal and hopefully will become the norm
6. What does a woman need to be aware of when planning another pregnancy/birth following a C-section. Depends on the surgery. The surgeon will recommend the spacing needed next pregnancy needs to birth in hospital due to danger of ruptured scar
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?
Enlist the help of family and friends to do all housework. Just look after the baby. Sit and be present with yourself and your baby. Remember the surgery. Give yourself permission to grieve lost birth dreams but then move on and see yourself for the powerful woman you are.
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 email@example.com