June 26, 2008
Student midwife Paula Ringsell, who is spearheading the group, had brought together a range of people to help expectant mothers (and fathers) discover more about why they might want to consider a waterbirth. Paula recently had a placement with the renowned Albany Midwifery Practice in London and showed a slideshow from a home waterbirth. A woman who had travelled from the Dundee area to have a waterbirth at Montrose spoke about the lovely warm and relaxing effect of stepping into the pool and said she couldn't recommend the whole experience there highly enough.
Midwife Marian Sellar from Forth Park Hospital's midwife-led unit in Kirkcaldy explained that more women are now having a waterbirth after Caesarean section. The unit is hoping that, by publicising its work in this area, the practice will spread. A poster presentation at the recent International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) congress in Glasgow has already prompted lots of enquiries. Montrose also presented at the ICM and user representative Avril Nicoll introduced the three videos of interviews with women and staff used by the Montrose midwives. As well as showing how midwives in Montrose have improved their service by listening to and being more in tune with women, they included pictures and stories from waterbirths.
The women attending the group were keen to speak to the student midwives and midwives informally about their birth preferences. They were particularly interested in the beneficial effects of water on the perineum and the way that women instinctively change position in the water in a way they would be unable to on land. One woman who is considering a home waterbirth was advised that the midwifery supervision system could be of benefit in ensuring she is allocated an experienced midwife.
Although still relatively rare, waterbirth is growing in popularity with women and midwives and is common in the midwife-led units in Perth, Arbroath and particularly Montrose where the waterbirth rate is currently 80 per cent. The new Dundee Community Maternity Unit within Ninewells Hospital will have two fixed pools and a few women have recently had a waterbirth at Ninewells using an inflatable pool.
The next meeting of the Dundee Birth Choices group in August will consider birth plans. The group is run by Paula and student colleagues along with Karen Law, a Doula and Forfar-based member of the Angus Maternity Services Liaison Committee. The group is aimed at women in the Tayside and North-East Fife area.