We started of by covering the role of the midwife, and what kind if checks we do; they played with my sonic aid and listened to each others hear rate; they guessed if one of the mum's BP would be high or low, and they giggled as they 'explored' their own pelvis - finding their coccyx and poking around their bottoms!
Children are brilliant (well mostly brilliant, unless they are annoying or I am having a bad day), but on the whole brilliant. They see things so clearly, and haven't been dis-illusioned by adult-hood, and are still naturally thinking out-side the box - this, I am delighted to say, made teaching them great fun.
After they had labelled up some large pregnancy charts, we looked at the physiology of how the cervix opens, how the baby descends through the vagina and how the baby rotates and fits (perfectly) through the pelvis. Having tired of the poor messages passed to children (and adults) about birth, I used positive language: I talked about the intensity of birth, and how women cope really well with this and can rest between surges, I talked about how the baby is squeezed and 'cuddled' by the uterus with every surge, I talked about how the baby is pushed out and it feels like a huge urge to pooh! They got it, and accepted it, and asked about it, and then there was this Eureka! moment: to help the children visualise the size and weight of a growing baby, I had created a basket with different items weighing approx weights at different gestation. I had an orange for 20 weeks (200gms) and so forth, with the final weight of the basket about 3200g (7 1/2 pounds ish in old money). Using the pelvis, I showed how easy it was for the orange to get through when the 'mummy' was kneeling or on all fours, then I turned the pelvis into semi-recumbent and......... the Orange just sat there. Eureka!
..."but that is just silly! why would you do that?!....."asked a 9 year old. Why would you do that? Why would a woman give birth in the most physiologically challenging position you could choose? Why would a woman shut her pelvis and work against gravity? Why would we do something so silly? Well if a 9 year old can get that, then why are the vast majority of women giving birth on their backs? Why are student midwives qualifying having NOT supported women in 'alternative' (don't get me started on that phrase) positions? Why why why?
|One for Mr Marr!|
I feel there are many reasons (sadly) why this continues; the medical mode of birth, the use of pharmacological pain relief, ease for the midwife, the images of birth that are portrayed in the media? None of these of course make it OK, or acceptable, but I do think the latter is a huge influencing factor. It's almost as if women expect to birth in that position - the children did, as that is what they have seen - until shown otherwise. So perhaps then, it is the Film and TV producers of the world we should be talking to? Certainly, in the opening issue of Andrew Marrs' History of the World (a brilliant programme I might add) the ancient African homosapien is seen to birth in the 'typical' semi-recumbent position. Historically, women birthed upright; using trees, kneeling, squatting to give birth; not sitting with their bums and vagina's in the dirt. It would have been much cooler Mr Marrs if your production team had shown that!
Perhaps it's time to remind ourselves of the Wonderful Female Pelvis, to remind women, doctors, parents, teachers, children, and the Film Industry of how perfectly designed we are to birth and how women - when well supported - will adopt the 'alternatively brilliant' birth positions that aid birth naturally. Perhaps it's time for a new slogan:
'don't take it lying down!'..... 'knees for ease!......'using the (all) fours of gravity!...... suggestions please!
and here is a little something to share: (catch it here too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MswFqXdOq2U)