The World Health Organisation framed the ‘Birth is not an illness’ statement nearly three decades ago, identifying that at least 85% of women are able to give birth without medical intervention. In the last three decades, women in New Zealand, as in the rest of the Western world, have experienced escalating levels of intervention during childbirth and a declining ‘normal’ birth rate – the latter being recorded as 65.0% of all births in the Ministry of Health’s Maternity Tables 2013. As induction and/or augmentation of labour (51.1%), epidural anaesthesia (27.0%) and episiotomy (13.3%) are included in that rate, it is unknown how many women and babies actually experienced physiological labour and birth.
The Spirit of Birth: Nature, Nurture and the Evidence Workshop embraced the facilitation of birth without unnecessary medical procedures. It actively promoted the restoration of physiological labour and birth as an ideal childbirth culture, and the time-honoured role of the midwife as a non-interventionist caregiver. The Workshop is currently being transformed to a freely available online (open source) resource.
Dr Maggie Banks (PhD, RM, RGON) has worked in a variety of practice settings, first as a nurse (from 1972) primarily in women’s health and neonatal intensive care, then as midwife (from 1987). A self-employed midwife in home birth practice from1989, Maggie combined the role of midwifery educator with practice from 1998-2014. She has regularly taught throughout Australasia, as well as having been a guest speaker at conferences held in the Australia, US and Canada. Maggie is the author of Breech Birth Woman-Wise and Home Birth Bound: Mending the Broken Weave.
What did participants say about this workshop?
- Great presentation, I did a similar course through [another organisation], Birthspirit Moodle has a really good variety of delivery methods of course content compared to the [polytech/university]. The live classroom is fantastic. Thank you.
- Content is relevant, up-to-date and thought provoking. Thoroughly enjoyed it and very applicable to practice.
- Thank you so much for taking the time to put this all together. Excellent and will be recommending it to my peers.