According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, it would be beneficial to increase the number of out-of-hospital births (www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14145862). As a Private Midwife I have a number of Student Midwives who choose to spend time with me as part of their elective placement and are struck by how calm I am! I am convinced that being an effective Midwife means building your skills and experience of working with women so that you are in your comfort zone. By working with in your comfort zone you keep your own adrenalin levels down and are therefore able to assist women to remain calm throughout their birth. It is when Midwives are working outside their comfort zone that their own adrenalin levels rise and all the symptoms of stress will be manifest.
Since the release of adrenalin is highly contagious, the main preoccupation of a homebirth midwife must be to maintain low levels of adrenalin when close to a labouring woman. How this is done best is by one on one care, so that the woman and the midwife are able to form a relationship of trust .The midwife can gain all the information about the woman’s health, family history and most importantly gain knowledge of her hopes and fears long before the onset of labour and thus can work through them prior to the birth.
The midwife will help the woman gain tools to help her work through her birth, relying entirely on her own natural hormone release and in labour the same familiar midwife will help comfort and support the woman, protecting her from situations that can inhibit the release of these hormones.
Language is the most powerful stimulant of the neocortex says Michel Odent and he urges midwives to use words of encouragement and mannerisms of gentle support. So come on let’s all remain calm!