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Midwifery on TV

March 29, 2013
Television by Andy Beez

It’s been a week of birth being featured in the media.

As it’s heading for the long Easter weekend, here’s a quick selection of some of the coverage you may have missed (with some links for catching up).

Home Delivery

Homebirth was in the spotlight last week as ITV’s Home Delivery followed Midwife Virginia Howes as she cared for three different couples preparing to give birth at home.

I loved this programme so much I watched it twice.  It’s rare to see normal (intervention-free) birth on mainstream television and the families were so generous in allowing access to the cameras.

There were some lovely moments – the mother explaining to her son what the sieve was for in a waterbirth; the husband who adored his wife and was so tender and protective towards her.

People often think that homebirthers are taking a ‘risk’, but the programme also demonstrated that when things don’t go as planned (a baby having trouble starting to breathe) that the Midwife is still on hand to help and have additional medical assistance on standby.

I also loved the moment when Virginia was saying that she wasn’t sure if she could see the baby’s head.  “It is the head!” said the Mum.

A timely reminder that women are the experts in their own bodies.

Home Delivery is available to watch on ITV Player for the next few days – and if you liked the programme and want more like it, you can email a request to ITV’s viewer services.

Midwives on the March

Virginia Howes is an Independent Midwife, so the airing of Home Delivery was topical in a week where Midwives, parents, Doulas and other birth supporters were marching on parliament to demonstrate against the ending of Independent Midwifery.

The protest sparked a debate on the English language service of The Voice of Russia.

OK, I say ‘debate’.  It was pretty one-sided, but interesting nonetheless.

You can hear the programme online – it’s about half an hour long.

Virginia was also featured as part of an item on BBC Radio 5 live’s Bump Club (26th March edition) – it starts at about 10’40” in.

Mothers and experts discussed Midwifery care and agreed that continuity of care is an important factor in pregnancy and birth – although it’s becoming rarer on the NHS.

Delightful Doulas

Continuity of care is something important to Doulas – and may be the secret of their success!

The 21st-28th March is also World Doula Week, which meant that Doula UK got a lot of coverage on social media.

(Doulas are birth supporters who provide emotional – but not medical – support to women in labour and in the period after a baby is born).

There were numerous videos posted to YouTube from clients explaining how a Doula had helped them.

Doula UK has also announced a partnership with Hestia, a charity for women who have suffered domestic violence.

Women involved in the project spoke to Jenni Murray on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.  I learned a lot from the feature – including that women who are pregnant are more at risk from domestic violence.  It’s awful to think about but good to know that Doulas in London are going to be able to offer their services for free to women in this situation if needed.

The World Doula Week celebrations continued on Facebook, with numerous posts about the work Doulas do and an active hashtag on Twitter – #DUKWDW.

So all in all, this Birth Geek has been in media heaven!

Thanks to Andy Beez for the picture of the television.

Did you catch any of the coverage?  How important is the image of birth in conveying information to parents?  Have your say in the comments below!

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From → Doula, Media, Midwifery

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