Bring Student Midwives into Homebirth.

By Amy Towle
Mar 2015

Nurturing our future midwives is a key part of building a strong homebirth community. A midwife who is invited into the homebirth space is far more likely to value homebirth and treat birth as normal.  Having a student midwife attend a homebirth also introduces our midwives to the continuity of care model, which is an essential part of supporting homebirth mothers.

Many women find a student midwife is a valuable support person during their birth, adding additional people to the birthing space can seem counterintuitive, but if the relationship is built from early on in the pregnancy journey, their presence can be comforting, familiar and supportive.

Midwives who have witnessed birth at home, take their understanding to all future births.

The moment of birth – By Amy Towle

As a baby descends through the birth canal, literally thousands of things are taking place.  Bacteria is seeding the immune system, twists and turns of the head and shoulders are negotiating the tight space, lungs being squeezed and prepared to fill with air, the skull bones are moulding raising the palate to aid breastfeeding, the mothers perineum is stretching, endorphins are surging at a rapid rate, and oxytocin is cascading through both mother and baby.

When a baby emerges from his mother, he is wide open.  Wide open to experience who is my mother, who is my father, and most of all, being so saturated with oxytocin they are instinctively seeking to experience and know what love is.  At this very moment the most significant limbic imprint is made.

The limbic system is the part of the brain that registers feelings, emotions and sensations.  At the moment of birth our nervous systems imprints into the Limbic System ‘what love is’, as a direct response to oxytocin.  This then becomes our subconscious program for how to give, receive and define love.

Research has shown us that a considerably large amount of both physical and behavioural conditions is a direct result of pregnancy, birth or immediate postpartum trauma.  For this reason, the moment of birth needs to be treated as sacred.  Babies need to be welcomed with loving arms into a protected birthing space.

How can this be achieved?  When a baby is born, he or she should be received, if possible, by the mother or father, and when the mother is ready the baby should be nestled in for uninterrupted skin to skin.  At this moment there should be no one else in the baby’s immediate sphere.  Allowing him or her to absorb who his parents are.  The only words spoken, should be those of the parents.  The only eyes gazing into the baby’s should be the parents.

Delayed cord clamping allows for the continual exchange of physical nutrients and encourages closeness with the mother.  And cutting of the cord should not be done hastily, acknowledge the separation of mother and child, separating with love.  Breastfeeding allows that eye contact between mother and baby, skin to skin and provides what the baby is instinctively seeking, to suckle at the breast.  Skin to skin with their father, is also a beautiful way to continue the baby’s natural sense of calm and reassures them they are surrounded by love.

The moment of birth is sacred and beautiful, yet a crucial moment in every person’s life, for the rest of their life.

Amy Towle