Thursday, 13 December 2012

Even a future Queen to be is still ‘just’ a Mother to Be.

The exciting news was announced that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first baby; whilst the Duchess recovered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (a debilitating acute from of morning sickness) and amidst all the excitement and media hype, was the devastating outcome of the ‘prank call’ and the everlasting ripples from the fall-out:  not the most positive start to a pregnancy for any couple, yet alone a couple who are prominently held in the public eye.

So what next for the Royal Couple? Well, just like any other new parents-to-be, before any of the screening, bloods, ultrasound, place of birth, type of birth choices they make, they might like to consider who they invite to care for them; they may choose to have their care with a private obstetrician, or they may choose to use their local NHS system, or they may seek a known midwife to support them in their pregnancy; but they do have a choice over all of these.   Essentially, having someone to talk to might make negotiating all those choices a little easier!

If I was Kate’s midwife (as her midwife, I would call her Kate, and she may call me Angela), I would spend time with her talking through her options; in-between appointments (that would be in her own home, and at convenient times, with appointment times that William could also come to) I would encourage her to read widely; some books I might suggest to her would include ‘Ina May's Guide to Childbirth’, Childbirth without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth ’ and ‘What Every Parent Needs to Know: The incredible effects of love, nurture and play on your child's development’, as well as giving her up to date information on nutrition, screening and normal pregnancy ailments.   (I did google pregnancy books for Royalty, but it just found the Royal Free in Hampshire!)  We would drink tea together, share concerns, and build a trusting relationship, and she would feel secure in knowing that she would be well supported in her choices, and that on the big-day, someone she knew would be at her side when her baby was born.

This type of midwifery care enables women to really make choices; we also know that they are more likely to have a normal healthy pregnancy, a  normal straightforward birth, more likely to establish breastfeeding, and less likely to experience postnatal depression.   Pretty compelling reasons as to why one-to-one midwifery care is so important, and why it is essential that women know that this is the care they should receive as the norm, that they should be shouting loudly for, and that shouldn’t only be open to those whose NHS trust is forward thinking, or those who can engage an Independent Midwife like myself, and whose way of working is under threat.

The hype around the beginning of The Duke and Duchess’s pregnancy will hopefully settle and they will be able to look forward to the next 8 months or so (albeit it being very much the talk of the nation).   Expecting a baby, is for most people, a joyful, exciting event;  but every woman, whether it’s her first, second or subsequent baby, may still have the same anxieties, the same pregnancy complaints’ and may have to make some of the same choices that other mothers will – even if she is a future Queen!  

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