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Saturday, 13 January 2018

200 women freebirth annually in London (London Evening Standard 11.1.18)

It's not often the London Evening Standard publishes anything of interest (neo-liberal, property-price obsessed, consumerist, growth-addicted rag edited by George Osborne the previous Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer) but this week it had a headline (p.13) "Mothers shun midwives for "free births"".
None of the 170 to 200 women who had freebirthed in London last year was interviewed, so whether midwives are being shunned or whether medicalised care or lack of continuity is being shunned, we do not know.  You may be glad to hear that Kenny Gibson, NHS England's head of public health commissioning in London is "not unduly concerned".  Perhaps Kenny may like to stop being so complacent, look a little deeper and commission the sorts of services that women want, before jumping to his conclusion that freebirth is just another choice for affluent women (see article). 

With the Standard's usual lack of logic, there is alongside this "shunning" story, another titled "2000 choose private help costing up to £5000".
This tells us that continuity of care is hugely important to women (both a midwife and mother appear in this article) and it is very positive about Neighbourhood Midwives, a group of independent midwives working in London and across much of south-east England, who clearly aren't being shunned by mothers at all!


  1. So when affluent women do this, it is a choice to be respected, but if a woman from a poor background does it it is a Safeguarding risk and likely to result in a CSC referral for neglect.

  2. Absolutely, a worryingly odd attitude from someone responsible for securing a service for women. He says "All I’m concerned with is that these women shouldn’t be disadvantaged in not having a digital tool that helps them care for their child.” !! ALL he's concerned about?? Not that the services he commissions may not be very appealing to many women having babies.