A report compiled by Save the Children has concluded that the UK is the 23rd place to give birth. It’s a bit shocking when you look at the table and you see Estonia, Greece and Singapore above us.
The best place is Finland and Sweden – which adopts a very holistic approach to birth is second.
Apparently in Sweden acupuncture is just one alternative therapy that is routinely offered to pregnant women and women in labour.
I think the big problem for expectant mothers in the United Kingdom is the lack of time. Midwife appointments, although perfunctory are just that. There’s no TLC or even time for a chat. I teach about 20 pregnant women a week and many say they learn far more when they attend pregnancy yoga than they ever do when they go to their midwife.
I’m struggling a little with water retention at the moment and mentioned it to my midwife at my last appointment. Her answer, was the standard; “Oh yes that happens..” – Okay so what can I do about it?! Luckily I’d read up on it myself and spoke to her about nettle tea, to which she said yes it’s worth a go. Great, but it would be nice to be given some advice sometimes rather than always having to do the research myself.
During labour many women complain that they see so many different care-givers throughout the birth that they’re disorientated and confused. I know even midwives have the right to go home but I do think there should be more continuity so a woman feels that she’s in safe hands with someone who has actually got to know her. Again, back to Sweden, women see the same midwife throughout their pregnancy and get to meet the person who will be there during labour. The person who is there supporting you through birth has a tremendous impact on the outcome.
I’ve decided to hire a doula for the birth of my second baby, I’m a real advocate of having a woman there during labour and as I can’t be sure which midwife will be there for the birth it will be good to know there is at least one familiar face.
According to evidence, hiring a doula reduces the caesarean, forceps and epidural rate as well as shortening labour and improving mother’s satisfaction. If we invested a bit more in a slightly more holistic approach we would actually SAVE the NHS vast amounts of money – and women would have a better and empowering labour.