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Showing posts from 2013

The Positive Birth Movement at the Birthrights Dignity in Childbirth Forum

Yesterday I was honoured to be a part of the Birthrights Dignity in Childbirth Forum, held at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

I gave a short presentation about my organisation The Positive Birth Movement, which I'm reproducing here for those who were unable to attend and might be interested to read it.

Below the presentation I'm also sharing the 'submission' that was made to Birthrights about the Positive Birth Movement, which gives more detailed information about the organisation, including some fantastic feedback from those who facilitate and attend our groups.

Please come and join the PBM on Facebook, Twitter, or get in touch with me if you would like more information or want to be involved in any way. You can find your nearest Positive Birth group on our website:


My name is Milli Hill, and a year ago this month I set up the Positive Birth Movement.

It all started with a very little idea – the thought that, as a …

"Positive, Empowering Birth? Sounds Like Bullsh*t To Me!"

I once read somewhere that the goal of psychotherapy is to reveal the secrets we are keeping, even from ourselves. We all do this. We all keep a few bits of reality out of sight, sometimes because they are painful, but more often, perhaps, simply because to acknowledge them would be a difficult admission of a lifetime of misguided beliefs, misdirected energy, and mistakes.

We see this a lot with the birth issue. Sometimes it's as if simply talking about birth in a positive way is too much for people to tolerate. The cultural attitude that birth is dangerous and downright unpleasant has become so engrained that many people seem to no longer see it as an attitude at all - they see it as a solid FACT. To challenge this would involve accessing ways of thinking that, whilst they may exist, are completely beyond everyday awareness, like rooms in a mansion that have been put under dust sheets and long forgotten.

In the media, journalists with the power and influence for positive change …

The Blood and The Beauty: Placenta Prints

The first time I gave birth, they took the placenta away. They didn't ask. They just took it, and of course, I didn't notice. I was busy, waking up from the dream of birth, and falling in love with the first creature I laid eyes on.

Weeks later, in the darkness of night, I remembered. Where was it? I had wanted to keep it. What had they done with it? Could I get it back? No. It was gone, and strange as it sounds, I cried.

Not so much for the piece of my flesh - lost. I cried for the bigger loss it somehow stood for - the birth I wanted, but didn't get.

Somehow, the birth I wanted got replaced with the birth they wanted. And, in the birth they wanted, nobody keeps their placenta. Why would they want to do that?

So I cried, for the flesh lost, and the dreams disregarded.

The second time I gave birth, they took the placenta away. They didn't ask. They just took it, and of course, I didn't notice. I was busy, waking up from the dream of birth, and falling in love with …

Cut Me Open or Send Me Home: The Lottery of Maternity Care

Pregnant women are offered medical interventions so often that it's almost hard to imagine getting through an entire pregnancy and birth without having one. Whether it's injections, induction, or an intravenous drip, there are so many choices for women to make, and often they feel, quite understandably, that the best choice is to place their trust in the experts, who are, after all, offering them 'evidence based care'.

But if midwives and obstetricians are offering 'evidence based care' - that is to say, they are making their recommendations based on good quality research - why then does the advice that individual clinicians offer, and the policies that individual hospitals and trusts implement, vary so greatly?

A new report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) suggests that the disparity between hospital statistics has finally come to their attention, although I'm not clear why it has taken them so long to notice information t…

Dan Poulter MP: Hear Women's Voices, Respect Women's Choices, Meet with IMUK!

UPDATE: 26th April - IMUK have received word from Dan Poulter's office that he will meet with them on 7th May. IMUK are grateful to everyone who helped them campaign for this.

OK, before we start, well Dan Poulter, he's the Health Minister for Women's Health. There are several different Health Ministers, all of whom report to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health. You knew all that, right? Yup, me too, me too, just checking.

So - Independent Midwives, who as we know, face becoming illegal and extinct from October 2013, have been trying to get a meeting with Dan Poulter for several months to discuss their demise and gain his help and support.

Meeting with Dan Poulter is key to the IM's campaign. And yet, not only is he refusing to meet with them, he seems to be actively avoiding them.

For example, IM's and their supporters have sent Christmas cards, Valentines cards, and hundreds of letters explaining their situation and the barriers they face in careful de…

How Men Can Play Their Part in the Birth Revolution

I was extremely delighted to have my second article published by the Telegraph on the 18th April. It looked at the recent research that has made the news, suggesting that fathers are getting post traumatic stress disorder after witnessing their partners giving birth. Reading some of the coverage, I couldn't help but notice how readily the world seemed to accept that birth is a traumatic event, and wondered, as well as supporting fathers during and after difficult births, shouldn't we also be trying to make birth less traumatising for everyone - fathers, mothers and babies too?

Read the full article here.

Writing for the Telegraph, running The Positive Birth Movement, editing my book about water birth, trying to help in the campaign to Save Independent Midwifery, and gestating baby number three whilst looking out for one and two - well, I'm spread pretty thin, so apologies to all for my lack of blog posts at the moment.

Somehow in between now and Christmas I've got to f…

Overdue? Desperate to Avoid Induction? This Method Really WORKS!

On average around 20% of UK women have their labours induced, some for medical reasons, others because they are 'post dates', that is, they have gone a certain number of days past their EDD (Estimated Due Date). How many days your care providers will 'let you' go past your EDD before pressuring for induction varies from trust to trust, but often women find that conversations about induction start on or even before their EDD, with 'sweeps' being routinely offered to encourage labour to start, and difficult to navigate meetings arranged with Obstetricians in which women are talked to about 'increasing risk'.

Getting to the bottom of the actual reality of the risk of going past 41 or 42 weeks is tricky, mostly because so many women don't actually get this far. Midwife Thinking has a great article here about the balance of risks a woman contemplating agreeing to induction must consider. Many women feel under enormous pressure once the conversations abo…