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Going on BBC breakfast on Monday a.m to talk about male midwife who thinks women have too many epidurals... your thoughts please

(73 Posts)
carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 12-Jul-09 22:20:01

Hi all
We've been invited on BBC breakfast tomorrow to give Mumsnet's view on this article

We said we thought you might have a few choice words on the subject wink

Please post your pithy thoughts here tonight, and we'll try and get as many of them across tomorrow am.

Thanks all


FenellaFudge Sun 12-Jul-09 22:22:06

He's right. It's supposed to hurt. Epidurals are for neurotic wimps.

Mintyy Sun 12-Jul-09 22:22:32


Wasn't there a really long thread about this earlier today?

expatinscotland Sun 12-Jul-09 22:23:51


carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 12-Jul-09 22:25:17

Hi Mintyy - if there was could you link to it? Sorry - been away all weekend....

expatinscotland Sun 12-Jul-09 22:27:43

carrie, i linked the thread.

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 12-Jul-09 22:27:46

Thanks - just found it myself - amazing the power of search blush

Sunday nighters... please feel free to add any other thoughts here - thanks

littlelamb Sun 12-Jul-09 22:29:16

Give him a slap for me grin
On subkect though, epidurals have their place. I had one with dd and was bloody glad of it. I was induced (pretty needlessly looking back) and had had no warning of the immediacy of the pain. I was strapped to the bed because of all the monitoring so had little choice but to lie down. WIth ds, it was completely different and I managed a back to back labour by myself. The difference was that I stayed at home as long as possible, had a fabulous midwife who was with me the whole time, didn't have to keep popping out like with dd, and I believed that I could do it. It was a fab birth, I said to the midwife as soon as he was born that I felt so priveledged, that everyone should have a birth like that. I think that if they had the right support, more people would have a birth like that. They should start giving Ina May Gaskin books out with the pregnancy Bounty pack and take Miriam Stoppard for a long walk off a short pier wink

fishie Sun 12-Jul-09 22:30:33

i do understand what he means, keeping it real would hopefully trip in a whole load of endorphins to make a happy mother / baby delightful jollity experience.

but instead we get shoved through protocols and refused various drugs while having others foisted on us. i even had an utter stranger come in the room with a hook and i let him shove it up my vagina.

fishie Sun 12-Jul-09 22:31:30

oh perhaps i should mention that this was during a syntocin induction without epidural.

toolly Sun 12-Jul-09 22:32:17

OOh where shall I start.
The dreadful state of midwifery services has got us into this. Instead of one to one midwifery care, and obs taken, you are constantly monitored on your back. This is why the epi rate is rising. From personal experience with three 'normal' deliveries. The first was long and slow mostly at home and I was upright, managed on gas and air, but was knackered. Second, shorter, birth pool, completely at home, used on the gas and air. The last one, because I was overdue was done in hospital. I was flat on my back,(due to monitoring) screaming in agony, begging for an epidural, (which I got). Midwife was darting between three delivery suites. IT ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH!!

PortAndLemon Sun 12-Jul-09 22:33:28

I think he's been ignoring the shortage of midwives -- see this recent article, for example (sorry, it's the DM, but I knew it had been linked to on MN so I found it easily).

If you are in a situation where one newly-qualified midwife has fifteen women to look after, you are not going to reach a situation where the majority of women use yoga, hypnosis, massage, support from their partners, hydrotherapy and birthing pools. I think everyone I know in RL who had an epidural-free first birth had a dedicated independent midwife (or two independent midwives).

littlelamb Sun 12-Jul-09 22:34:31

COmpletely agree- if and when they ever get one woman, one midwife into place, they will see the epi rate go way down. My hospital had much improved in the 4 years between dd and ds. I was so surprised when the midwife came to visit me at home when I'd rung the labour ward, and she told me she was with me now til the end. I didn't even know the names of all the midwives who kept coming and going throughout dd's birth

pinkteddy Sun 12-Jul-09 22:34:35

How about investing in more midwives and more birthing centres, then we might be getting there. At my local hospital we only had one birthing pool and only about 5 places in the midwife led birth centre so if you were unlucky and it was full you automatically had a more medicalised birth. Disagree totally on the needing to experience pain thing but wonder if he has been quoted slightly out of context?? Or maybe I'm being too kind!

expatinscotland Sun 12-Jul-09 22:35:37

He's your basic bureaucrat/administrator: putting the cart before the horse.

Also trying to qualify a type of pain of which he has no experience, nor will have, and influence policy based on that non-experience.

edam Sun 12-Jul-09 22:36:04

Carrie, most important point is that midwives and docs should support women in labour - few hospitals have enough staff at the right time - middle of the night when most women give birth - and the right environment to make women feel comfortable and safe (as comfortable as you can be, but being somewhere cosy helps).

Being scared and being in an unfriendly environment is bad for women giving birth - animals don't see out bright lights, hard surfaces and noisy, busy places full of other animals, do they?

littlelamb Sun 12-Jul-09 22:38:33

yy, I should add that one of the things tht changed in the 4 year gap was the building itself. The new one is much more homely feeling, obviously still hospital-like (wipe clean sofas, niiiiice), but the lights were dim-able, there was a private toilet and shower to every room and I never felt on-show, where as with dd I swear everyone including hte cleaner came in for a good look.

MollieO Sun 12-Jul-09 22:46:37

Carrie, please would you say to him what I said to the senior midwife who congratulated me on my 'natural' labour - Fuck off!

I wouldn't wish what I went through on my worst enemy.

Shame you're not on Newsnight as then I'd see the interview and your choice of language could be broader.

PinkyRed Sun 12-Jul-09 22:48:50

Soooo wrong, hard to know where to start, but one of the most witless things he said seemed to be that the pain of childbirth prepares you for the responsibility of having a child. Could only be said by someone who has never been pregnant. The final stages of pregnancy, feeling your body change, slow down, the aches and the sleeplessness etc etc - if weeks of that doesn't let you know that life is changing, then a few hours of pain isn't going to do it.


Tommy Sun 12-Jul-09 22:49:46

the article just reminded me of that classic line in Friends when Rachel says "no uterus? no opinion"


(agree with all the other sensible answers about funding/MWS/ birthing centres etc - have fun tomorrow! grin)

godzillasbumcheek Sun 12-Jul-09 22:51:45

Does the pain relief he is against include pethidine and entinox (you can still feel pain and push the baby out through those)?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Sun 12-Jul-09 22:57:04

Tell him that he needs to push a watermelon out of something the size of his nostril and see how much pain he's in. Until he's done this he can't possibly comment.

If men had the babies the whole human race would die out!

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 12-Jul-09 23:01:19

Thanks all

Just read other thread and have plenty of opinions to go in with! Off to attempt to get some beauty sleep before early morning call

thanks again

moaningminnie2020 Sun 12-Jul-09 23:05:27

I read it and was surprised by the slant the Observer had put on it, it read like something in the DM. I know of Denis Walsh and he was somewhat misrepresented IMHO, although some of the 'quotes' in the article were a bit dodgy to say the least. Eg a 'successful' spontaneous vaginal birth probably does help with bonding but to suggest pain helps with ''preparing a mother for the responsibility of nurturing a newborn baby.'' WTF??

I understood his point to be that with better antenatal support and better care in labour, less women would feel that they needed epidurals, and that the pain of labour IS different to say, a broken leg for example, in that it is normal, and temporary, and part of a healthy process. I think the article did him a disservice really

NigellaTufnel Sun 12-Jul-09 23:12:53

I don't think I would be allowed to write what I really think about this man's opinion on MN as I am coming over all Malcolm Tucker...
--but I would like to shove a stethoscope up his beeping beep--

Two things really stick out:

Emerging evidence [shows] that normal labour and birth primes the bonding areas of a mother's brain better than caesarean or pain-free birth"

• Pain prepares women for the demands of motherhood

So, let me get this right... you're thirty six hours into labour, experiencing a medieval level of pain, and someone will now feel justified in saying to you: 'I can take this pain away, but it will make you a shit mother.'

Or, in another happy situation: 'Your baby is stuck, heart rating dropping, we think a c-section, but frankly it means that you won't bond with your baby as well as a natural birth.'

I know the second is an extreme case, but it is a thin end of the wedge.

What a Beep

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