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Promoting normal birth (whatever normal is!)

For women in labour the thought of calling birth ‘normal’ may not seem like the right term, but for midwives this is what we try and encourage from the first appointment to having discussion about where to have their baby.

Normal varies for each woman and it doesn’t mean that everyone else is abnormal! We are just thinking about the process of labour, birth and looking at ways things can go as smoothly as possible without unnecessary intervention. This is why midwives like to talk about staying at home as long as possible in early labour, talking about having a homebirths, offering tours of birth centres, thinking about water births and offering TENS hire. This is all done because we know that every little thing can help pregnant mothers have a more positive experience of having their baby.

What isn’t ‘normal’?

If you are someone that doesn’t fancy a homebirth, a water birth or want to hire a TENS machine; that doesn’t make you abnormal! Everyone has choices and we want to help everyone make the decision that makes them feel the safest.

We have become very good at knowing the difference between something going right and something going wrong, or commonly known as ‘risk assessing’.

It is making sure that everyone knows the different options available. It isn’t just labour ward for everyone and being on labour ward doesn’t mean it’s the safest place either.

Midwives are a little bit like salespeople, we are trying to sell you the idea of where might be nice to have your baby, the pain relief options are available and then we leave you to make the final decision (there is of course no pressure!)

Our challenge, is talking to a mum that had an epidural the first time, that a water birth ‘might be nice’ for this second baby… the likelihood they won’t believe you when you say 2nd babies are born much faster than the 1st and there might not be time to have an epidural! What is always good to say is that they need to birth wherever they will feel most comfortable, we are only there to make sure we have given them all the options and support them all the way.

Article written by Emily Seddon

Emily is a midwife with many years of experience. She is passionate about supporting midwives of the future. As a clinical mentor, student link and being on university interview panels, she knows what it takes to get a place!

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