Blog by Gill Houghton, Consultant Midwife For Normality, 26th April 2016
Thank you to all the beautifully strong women featured in tonight's programme, watch out it's an emotional one! You all demonstrate perfectly how it is so important for women to be supported by other women, not only around the time of birth, but in life generally.
Health Care Assistant Olwen shares her journey through breast cancer with her colleagues and viewers. I am sure Olwen will save some women's lives tonight with her poignant reminder of the importance of being aware of any changes to your breasts and who to ask for help if you are worried at all. For more information please go to http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1740.aspx?CategoryID=60&SubCategoryID=182.
Olwen you are a truly inspirational woman, who despite your personal challenges are always there for every mother, baby and colleague (including me) with a big hug and smile, we love you Ol.
Sam is very emotional but manages to stay strong as she approaches the birth of baby Jessi-Zitta without the much needed support of her own mum. Your mum would be so proud.
Charlene and Jess receive brilliant support from close family and friends. Having a woman you trust with you during childbirth is so important. Not only so you can share the special moment of birth together, but it can actually affect how you feel during labour and this is more important than you may imagine.
Research shows that when a woman feels safe and well supported during labour this make the process run more smoothly. This is because when women feel emotionally and physically "safe" in their birth attendant's presence they feel more in control and become more confident they can do it. Women who receive continuous support during labour are more likely to give birth 'spontaneously', i.e. without a caesarean or vacuum or forceps. They also seem to need less pain medications, are more likely to say they are satisfied, and have slightly shorter labours. This is why current UK guidance is that women in labour are provided with a midwife who can provide continuous support throughout labour and birth. In practice many women also choose to receive additional support from a female family member or friend.
Tonight we see two close members of Charlene’s family provide her with excellent support.
The relationship between Jess and Lauren is very special and I am sure played an important role in helping the labour go well. Real girl power in action!