The Birth Talk

The Birth Talk took place at the woman’s home at around 36 weeks, attended by her two midwives, the woman and her chosen birth partner/s. This was our opportunity to bring together all the information that we had been giving the woman throughout her pregnancy, and to begin to focus on, and look forward to, her birth.

At this visit we discussed such important issues as the onset of labour with particular emphasis on pre-labour, how and when to call the midwife (and when not to call), how labour may progress and the role of the birth supporters. We used visual aids such as Birth Atlas diagrams and a doll and pelvis to explain clearly the process of labour. We showed photos of births given to us by other mothers and through these we aimed to instill in women and their families a confidence in the birth process and the idea that birth can and should be a joyful event. Photos were also useful to illustrate, for example, positions in labour and birth, perineal stretching and physiological third stage. Seeing a photo of a woman smiling as she pushes her baby out, or seeing an empowering image of a new mother kneeling and picking up her baby as her placenta drops into a bedpan beneath her can make a real difference to a woman’s belief in her own possibilities for her forthcoming birth.

And the belief that she gave me … my belief was on a thin piece of thread and she gave me the strength to believe in myself. Not just me but my husband as well … we didn’t have belief and she gave us hope, which no one else gave us …

At the Birth Talk we discussed the pain of labour, explaining about natural endorphin production and emphasising that a woman is more likely to labour well if she feels safe and comfortable and trusts those around her. We explained the difference between the normal pain of a normal labour, which we believe all women are equipped to cope with, and the abnormal pain of a dystocic labour, where pharmacological pain relief may be appropriate. Perhaps most importantly, we emphasised that we visit all women at home in labour, giving them the freedom to make a final decision at this time about where to give birth.

Debbie, a student midwife on placement with the Practice, made the following observation about the Birth Talk:

During my time with the Practice, I came to realise that although the Birth Talk is a fundamental and unique aspect of the care given by the Albany, it is just building on all the work that has gone before. From the very start of the care, the women are encouraged, supported and given real informed choice. All aspects of care build and complement one another giving women the confidence and knowledge to birth their babies in the most normal and natural way possible.