December 22, 2010
As Christmas is a time when people celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Women's Guild invited Arbroath midwife Sheenagh Howard to give a presentation on pregnancy and childbirth in the 21st century.
Sheenagh took the ladies on a journey from early pregnancy to birth. This included video footage of an early scan which, for most of the audience, was a brand new experience. She also explained the booking process and schedule of appointments throughout pregnancy.
The ladies enjoyed a practical demonstration of what happens during labour, using a doll, pelvis and knitted items (kindly provided by the Guild). They then saw video of a waterbirth. Sheenagh says, "As the baby gave its first cry, so did everyone else! This in turn stirred up some amount of emotional discussion of a personal nature, with everyone remembering what it was like for them, and how they had never forgotten their own childbirth experiences."
Sheenagh says one of the ladies told of her third home confinement, when she gave birth to a little girl. Coming home for his lunch and hearing the news, her husband said, "Oh, she'll be disappointed, she really wanted a laddie!" Within a few minutes the midwife announced, "If you hang about, there's another one in there." Before that, no-one had known she was having twins. The second twin was a boy, and their mother says their father remains shocked forty nine years later!
Another lady in the group was able to get answers from Sheenagh to questions she had had for nearly fifty years. Sheenagh was able to explain why a mother having a Rhesus negative blood group causes problems for her and her baby, and how this is overcome.
The group all agreed there have been dramatic changes in childbirth over the years. With laughter and horror they reminisced on the days of enemas, shaving and castor oil!
Sheenagh says, "To conclude the presentation, we had a question and answer session them, in a festive mood, ended the night with Christmas carols and a nice cup of tea!"