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Inuit women carrying their kids in traditional hooded parkas. Indigenous midwifery programs have expanded across Canada and are linked to excellent health outcomes. Spencer/Flickr

Birthing on Country could deliver healthier babies and communities

Tony Abbott spent most of this week in North East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. In the final of our Abbott in…
Women report that the birth environment is a key factor in how easy or hard it is to give birth. Image from shutterstock.com

Babies, not burgers: why we need better-designed labour wards

I recently visited a new McDonald’s outlet on the northern fringes of Sydney. What I found inside left me gawping in astonishment: soft lighting, views of nature, a mixture of private and communal spaces…
Only a handful of Australian hospitals offer continuity of care and midwives on call. Image from shutterstock.com

Call the Midwife: playing catch up with Australia’s maternity care

In the much-loved British TV drama Call the Midwife, women are offered care from dedicated midwives through pregnancy, labour and birth. The midwives are therefore able to get to know the women and practice…
Midwives can deliver many of the interventions needed to address maternal and newborn health problems. Flickr/eGuide Travel

Meeting goals for improved maternal health in Myanmar

As a regional neighbour to Myanmar, the Commonwealth government has recognised Australia has a responsibility – and the capacity – to help alleviate poverty in the developing nation. Australia is also…
It can take some time for women to come to terms with the conceptual as well as physical change of giving birth. Remy Sharp

One body becoming two: how women experience childbirth

There is a substantial literature on labour and childbirth in medical, midwifery and social scientific research. But we still don’t know much about how labouring women experience that pivotal time when…
Women who were randomised to receive midwife-led continuity models of care were less likely to experience preterm birth, the Cochrane review found. feministjulie

One-on-one midwife care linked to lower risk of premature birth

Women who have a midwife as their main carer throughout pregnancy and birth are around 23% less likely to have a premature…
BBC’s The White Queen set to feature 15th Century birth scene, when female midwives were the norm. BBC

Drunken midwives and snooty surgeons: a short history of giving birth

The history of childbirth and midwifery has seen some dramatic changes, not only in new medical discoveries that vastly improved the safety of both mother and baby but also in social trends and the way…
With inadequate resources, it’s as difficult to deliver choice as babies. Flickr: David Swift Photography

50 years on, we’re still fighting for women’s childbirth rights

For decades there has been a struggle between those arguing for women’s wishes to come first when it comes to childbirth and those who believe that a healthy baby is the only important consideration…
Many hospitals are carrying out caesareans before 39 weeks despite official guidelines. Wikimedia Commons/Mediajet

We’ve become blind to the risks of having babies by caesearean

Hospitals provide much-needed medical care and treatment for women who run into difficulty in childbirth. But many women and babies have medical intervention and treatment without good reason. We’ve become…
Research has shown benefits to mothers and babies when fathers are involved. Pixabay

Some pregnant women missing benefits from involved dads

We all have different expectations about how involved dads should be during pregnancy and childbirth. In the UK, it’s generally seen as a good thing and research is now beginning to show that it matters…
Upright births are likely to be shorter, less painful and involve fewer interventions than recumbent births. Image from shutterstock.com

Stand and deliver – upright births best for mum and bub

Think of childbirth and you’re likely to picture a woman lying on her back on a hospital bed. That’s the position most (78%) Australian women adopt to give birth birth, despite growing evidence that being…
Indian women who had migrated to Australia were more likely than Australian-born women to have caesarean sections or instrumental births, the study found. http://www.flickr.com/photos/34547181@N00

Migrant women less likely to have unassisted birth: study

Some groups of migrant women in Australia are at a higher risk of medical interventions in childbirth that may lead to health…
One in three Australian babies are born by caesarean – but we still don’t know the lifetime effects on the offspring. Image from shutterstock.com

Can caesarean sections increase susceptibility to disease?

Despite efforts to reduce intervention rates during labour, vaginal births without medical intervention are becoming increasingly rare in Australia and overseas: nearly one in three women in Australian…
You may not forget the pain, but if you’re lucky, the end will justify the means. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: women forget the pain of childbirth

In an evolutionary sense, memory of pain serves an important purpose. Pain indicates a threat to our safety or our life, and human survival depends on us avoiding things that are going to kill us. Historically…
There has been very little scientific evidence so far to support sex as a method of inducing labour. Image from shutterstock.com

Monday’s medical myth: sex induces labour

Sex. It’s what got you into pregnancy, but is it also the pathway to getting you out? Around a quarter of all Australian pregnancies are medically induced, with a third of those inductions occurring due…

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