Preparing mothers and families – the do’s and don’ts

Looking after pregnant women is all about preparing for the ‘big event’, labour, birth and becoming parents.

What you will realise is that there is a lot of fear surrounding childbirth, mainly because women are not kind to one another and like to describe their birth as a horror story. There are programmes like ‘One Born Every Minute, showing a screaming birth (much more dramatic TV than a calm and straight-forward one!) which can add to the stress of preparing to have a baby.

Then there is the limited time to educate about the choices and reasoning behind choosing a birth place, pain relief and other choices that just are not addressed in a limited antenatal clinic appointment.

SO…as a midwife you need to:

  • Be factual about the process of labour
  • Be evidenced based about why we offer the care we do
  • Individualise the options depending on what the woman’s needs
  • Empower women to make choices that are best for them
  • Support those who may want to explore available choices
  • Read journals so that you can talk about relevant research and how that impacts the care we give
  • Make sure when you say that you will do something, DO IT, once a woman loses confidence in the care that you provide- you can’t get that back
  • Recognise the women that need more support or encouragement
  • Be aware of the boundary between professional and friend, you will meet women that want to cross that boundary

One thing I always think of when I am caring for anyone is

“how would I like someone to treat my sister?”

That is how I care for everyone, so that everyone feels special and valued during their pregnancy and birth.

And here are some of the don’ts

  • Promise anything as it can only lead to disappointment
  • Befriend anyone on social media, that is a definite no-no
  • Talk on the bus, train (or anywhere else that is public) about work, walls have ears!
  • Offer to do too many extra shifts, as it can be easy to burn that candle and when you have annual leave you’ll end up nursing a cold.
  • Don’t forget to reflect on your learning experiences
  • Don’t throw away any thank you cards, as when you have a bad shift and you question being a midwife, you can sit down and read the cards and it reminds you how lucky you are.
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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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