The new guidelines recommend women do not birth on their backs, but rather change positions and try standing, leaning, or on their knees, which Ms Smith says was actually common until the 1950s. The other new guideline is to coach labouring mothers to breathe through their contractions and not force themselves into pushing – letting the body and gravity help move the baby along. Pulling the baby by the shoulders is also being discouraged as of course it can put more pressure on the mother’s perineum, instead they’re being advised to support the weight of the baby.
Two midwives are present at births to ensure the programme guidelines are being met. Women who do still experience tearing go on to be scanned and assessed for possible ongoing problems.
So far the programme is having fantastic results over there. So successful that the results have been published in the European Journal Of Obstetrics & Gynaecology And Reproductive Biology, and there are plans to take it nationally.
Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand.