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A letter to birth workers who want to help

Antenatal teachers, group leaders, doulas, complementary therapists:

If you and women you work with aren’t happy with the support in your area … If you don’t feel you can tell women breech birth is an option because you don’t know if there is anyone who is able to help them … find out!

If you have a Consultant Midwife, start there. Otherwise, phone the Labour Ward Manager and/or speak with a Supervisor of Midwives (you can be put in touch with one by anyone who answers the phone). Liaise with your Maternity Services Liaison Committee. Ask questions. Find out what is done, and what could be done, for a woman interested in the option of vaginal breech birth.

There are many, many midwives out there despondent that they cannot use or develop skills to support normal breech birth. And many women who do not know how to get in contact with midwives who would be willing to support them if they asked.

One of the biggest challenges facing maternity care today is lack of continuity. Inspirational independent midwives like Mary Cronk and Jane Evans were able to develop relationships with women. Women were able to find them, trust them, and birth safely with them.

Today, most of us work in a culture which has normalised anonymous, short-lived and superficial relationships in most areas — being “nice” is not the same as being “known.” How are women to find the midwives who want it to be different? We need birth workers who are willing to help us build bridges, help link together¬†professionals and women with common purpose. Who are the midwives (and doctors) in your area that women will find most helpful in this situation? The more experience professionals get, the more confident they will feel to inspire change within the system.

Be the change. Keep asking questions. Know that although the culture makes professionals seem distant, midwives need and want connection as much as women do, and birth workers can often do a lot to help make these connections.