Search This Blog

Friday, 18 October 2019

Caroline Flint

Caroline Flint is a former midwife of 37 years clinical experience, NCT teacher of 47 years experience, past President of The Royal College of Midwives and author.  She lives and has always worked in London, UK.   She was and is, along with Ina May Gaskin, UM's chief midwifery inspiration.

Caroline put continuity of carer firmly onto the midwifery agenda.  In the early 1980s she led the first randomised controlled trial of continuity of carer, The Know Your Midwife Scheme, which clearly showed the benefits of care by a small team.  She knows how continuity of carer works at a daily, practical level.

Now in her late 70s, Caroline's passion for continuity continues and she has made a short film to encourage those taking up the Better Births message that continuity is the lynchpin to safe and effective maternity care:

"A prophet is not without honour; save in his own country" [St Matthew's Gospel] and Caroline has not always received the recognition she deserves from the UK midwifery establishment, generally made up of less maverick, splendid and visionary people than she.  But the fact remains that we would be in a poorer place as UK midwives had she not got up and voiced women's need to know their midwives.

Caroline Flint Midwife, Childbirth & New Baby Expert ...

Monday, 16 September 2019

Another Independent Midwife before the Nursing & Midwifery Council

Being investigated by the Nursing & Midwifery Council is an occupational hazard for independent midwives in the UK.  This state of affairs has gone on for many years and is an abuse of professional regulation (in UM's honestly-held opinion).   Please follow Kathryn Weymouth's case or attend if at all able to get to Stratford, East London.  The case is scheduled to last 5+ weeks from 23rd September (yes really).

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Caesarean section is overused and underplayed

The recent unscientific attack in the UK on normal birth and the women and midwives who keep it in their sights as a desirable goal either presumes or posits that intervention in birth is safe, advantageous, scientific, and desirable to any right-thinking woman.  The pursuit of normal/physiological birth is conversely posited as a dangerous obsession, a primitive madness in a modern world or even a "cult". 

In fact, it is the over-use of Caesarean section and the all-too-ready recourse to it when labour stalls or takes longer that is becoming an increasing danger to women and babies.  No-one including UM disputes the value of surgical intervention when lives and well-being are at risk.  But most long, stalled, difficult labours are the result of women trying to give birth in uncomfortable clinical environments, in non-physiological positions, surrounded by strangers watching clocks and fetal heart monitors.  Neither the human pelvis nor the hypothalamus were designed to function outside a comfortable, free, loving, darkish and gentle environment.

The Lancet has recently (2018) published three excellent papers that really should reach a wide audience and be made known to women and their families (free to access and download).

The first paper deals with the global epidemiology of CS, the second (and read this one if you only have time for one) covers the short and long-term effects of CS in women and babies, and the third looks at interventions to reduce unnecessary CSs. 

Over 6 million excess (not medically indicated) CSs take place annually.  The fact that higher-educated women are more likely to have a CS shows how good information about CS is not reaching women of child-bearing age, and enabling them make choices that may protect them. 

The most promising "interventions"?  One-to-one support in labour, midwifery-led continuity of care and birth in non-medical settings such as birth centres.  The problem with this, of course, being that many policy-makers and doctors and self-appointed patient-safety gurus want to throw more technology at the problem rather than midwifery time.