New seminar series – Birthing and Early Motherhood

Birthrights and the Open University are hosting, from January 2014, a series of six seminars on the subject of ‘Birthing and Motherhood’.

The seminars aim to bring together researchers, health professionals and all those interested in the subject to generate research agendas on the themes of the birthing experience, early motherhood, and the concept of dignity in childbirth. Each seminar will present a paper outlining new research and thinking, and participants will have an opportunity to talk through the findings and think about new directions for research.

Please contact Deborah Talbot for further information, to register interest for the purposes of catering, and if you would like to present a paper.

Seminars are free to attend.

Seminar 1: 29th January 2014, 1-3pm

Elizabeth Prochaska (Birthrights) and Nicky McGuinness (Freelance qualitative social researcher)
Researching respectful care in childbirth

Room 1AB
Open University Camden Centre, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP

Seminar 2: 26th February 2014, 1-3pm

Dr Deborah Talbot (Open University)
Exploring the relationship between birth experiences and early motherhood

Room 1AB
Open University Camden Centre, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP

Subsequent seminars 26th March, 30th April, 28th May, 25th June, 1-3pm, Open University Camden Centre.

Women’s Institute and NCT Report Highlights Key Rights Concerns

Yesterday’s report by the National Federation of Women’s Institute and NCT highlights key rights-based concerns facing UK women accessing maternity services. The report, which looked at the care received by 5500 women over the past five years, concluded that choice of place of birth remained “an aspiration, not a reality” and paints a picture of “fragmented” antenatal care and lack of postnatal support.

The report followed on the heels of this week’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Patterns of Maternity Care paper, which found substantial variations between hospitals in numbers of inductions of labour, emergency caesareans, instrumental deliveries and other common intrapartum procedures.

At Birthrights we are only too aware of the profound impact that denying a woman choice of where to give birth can have on her physical and mental wellbeing. When compounded by feeling “let down” by the care received, the experience of childbearing within the current UK system can be unbearable for some and lead to long-term consequences.

There are many within and without the current system working hard to promote change and to deliver care that respects women’s rights. We look forward to hearing from many of these innovators at the forthcoming Dignity in Childbirth Forum in October and are currently calling for submissions on this subject. Reports like the above serve to highlight the importance of cross-professional discussion and collaboration in this area and underline the importance of our work.



US research reveals widespread mistreatment of pregnant women

A study just published in the USA finds horrifying mistreatment of pregnant women based on misguided application of ‘pro-life’ laws.

The groundbreaking research reveals how attempts to create a separate legal entity for fetuses have led to arrests, detentions, and forced medical interventions on pregnant women.

Co-authored by Lynn Paltrow at National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an inspirational organisation fighting hard to resist the rising incursions on pregnant women’s autonomy in the name of their unborn child.

Shocking report into use of force on pregnant immigration detainees

The Guardian has reported today on the UK Borders Agency refusal to stop its security contractors (the notorious G4S) using force to remove pregnant women from the UK. Pregnant women have reported being mistreated by G4S staff – including being pushed in the stomach and dragged around the floor.

The Prison Inspectorate reported on mistreatment in October and recommended that the use of force ceased.

Medical Justice, a charity investigating healthcare abuses in immigration detention, is doing great work about the treatment of pregnant women detainees.