ask a midwife
All your pregnancy and birth
questions answered with wisdom,
insight, and expertise
I’m so thrilled about your desire to have a baby and say with confidence that there are few experiences in life that top the moment when your pregnancy is confirmed! It’s always a miracle when you consider how many couples experience difficulties when trying for a baby, so our warm congratulations—whether you are just starting a family or bringing a new addition into your current family—a baby to love and be loved by.
Tune in to every passing moment and enjoy this season in your life as much as you can. Although time passing during pregnancy can feel like an eternity as the months roll on and your pregnancy grows, believe me when I say “enjoy!” This is such a special period for expectant parents and you will probably look back and marvel at just how quickly it really passed. My advice is to slow down and enjoy this chapter in your life. Before too long you will have entered into the next season following the birth—don’t wish this time away too quickly.
The word “midwife” is rooted in the concept of “wise woman” and “being with woman,” which is what a good midwife aspires to be and do. Part of the midwife’s role is to be your first point of
contact, so as soon as you confirm your pregnancy, get in touch and arrange an early appointment. It
is the desire of a midwife to remain as accessible and available to mothers and families in their care as possible, and to provide prenatal care, support during your labor, and, often, guidance during those initial weeks following the birth. Midwives view your pregnancy as a normal occurrence rather than a medical condition; however, they are also highly skilled and trained to provide support and care along with other specialized health-care professionals if challenges occur during your pregnancy, birth, or the post-birth period.
In almost every culture, village, town, and city throughout the world there have been and will always be midwives. It’s a given that even in the most remote areas of the world a midwife will exist in some form with a passion and commitment to care for women, their babies, and their families throughout this very special time of their lives— almost like a special calling or life-work! A midwife’s overall aim is to be your number one caregiver, advocate, and support thoughout your pregnancy and birth. For myself, it has been a privilege as a midwife to serve countless women, their partners, and their families for over twenty years. Today I remain an active midwifery practitioner and feel as passionate, if not even
more so, about being a midwife as when I delivered my first baby as a student midwife many years ago! It has humbled me over the years to see how women and their partners trust their midwives so completely, opening up their hearts to them about their dreams, hopes, and fears.
When midwives are overstretched and very busy, mothers and midwives feel it deeply. Most midwives are driven by a love and passion to provide excellent care and support for “their moms”—a term of endearment often used by many midwives. Your midwife understands and
often anticipates the many questions you may have
over the coming months and, no matter how trivial some of these may seem to you, they are of the highest priority to her. She realizes that if those seemingly trivial questions are not answered quickly, that gap of knowledge and lack of reassurance can lead to unnecessary worry
and anxiety for both you and your partner. When pressures of work make it hard for midwives to devote the time they would like to their mothers, this can mean that both mother and midwife are compromised in receiving and in delivering that excellent care that is in the heart of most midwives’ role—ultimately, expectant parents may have less contact with a midwife than they would really love and indeed need. Midwives accept that there is no substitute for having a midwife who knows you
well and is there whenever you need her; however, if your midwife is attending someone else when you need her, there are ways she will make sure you are not left on your own.
Ask a Midwife is more than just a book; it is your own personal midwife resource for all the family. In this book you have access to your
very own “midwife” at any time of the day or night. Arranged in an easily accessible question-and- answer format, the goal of the book is to help close the gap that may exist between your prenatal appointments, allowing you to touch base and access our knowledge, expertise, and experience right at your fingertips—night and day, twenty-four
hours a day—and all in the comfort of your own
home, work place, or when you are out and about. Access hundreds of the most frequently asked questions that expectant mothers, fathers, grandparents, family, and friends ask when they or someone else close to them is undertaking the journey of pregnancy, birth, and caring for
a newborn baby. The questions in this book are down to earth, gritty, and leave no stone unturned—often the types of questions you think about, but can’t quite find the words or courage
to ask, such as “Will I poop during labor?” There! We have asked the question that is asked by most women albeit often in silence! So now flip through to find the answer. All the questions in the book have been plucked from real-life scenarios and situations and span the period from couples first trying to become pregnant through to their first walk out with their baby in the stroller.
Ultimately, midwives want you to enjoy a safe and positive experience of pregnancy and birth and to give you the best preparation for
the early parenting of your new baby. The desire of a midwife is to share her clinical knowledge, expertise, and experience as a practitioner to equip and empower you, your partner, and your supporters with reliable knowledge and timely
and relevant information at exactly the time you need it. With this resource, you will feel more
in control and reassured and supported, and hopefully less worried and anxious during what
can feel like a vulnerable time in your life. In the
The access to midwifery knowledge and clinical experience within the book provides timely, relevant information to allay anxiety and put minds at rest
book we have taken time to provide you with answers that reflect the current best practice, and where possible we have integrated reliable scientific evidence. It’s important for us to know
that we are equipping you with the information you will need to make informed decisions that are right for you and your family, since it is this that will give you confidence during pregnancy and birth and help you stay in control.
We have come to realize that fathers often voice and experience feelings of exclusion, especially during pregnancy. Throughout the book, we have tried to be sensitive to this and wish to reassure
all dads-to-be that this is as much a user-friendly resource for them as it is for expectant mothers. We also realize that more and more grandparents are participating in providing support during pregnancy and ongoing child care following the birth and this is a helpful resource for them, too.
The questions in Ask a Midwife have been collated by a great team of midwives working with me. The topics covered relate to all areas of pregnancy and birth, from Trying for a baby and Now you’re pregnant through to Labor and birth, and A new life. Examples of the style of questions include: “I’m on the pill, but want a baby—what is the next step for me?”; “Why does pregnancy
The straightforward and accessible style aims to add to your body of knowledge on pregnancy, birth, and early parenting
make you feel so sick?“; “What does a skin-to- skin birth mean?”; and “Should I pick my baby up every time she cries?” Plus the more difficult questions that can follow the loss of a baby, such as “I feel so angry I can’t even cry—is this part of grief?”And much much more. Throughout the
book, I have also included select quotes to inspire and encourage; for example, “Visualize your dream birth and work toward making this a reality—whether a home birth, or creating a
calm environment in your hospital birthing room.”
It is our hope that we have been able to engage with you and offer our midwifery support through what can be a confusing time. Ask a Midwife is indeed a partnership between expectant parents, their families, and their midwives. Most of the wisdom within these pages has been drawn from our knowledge of other women’s experiences, paving the way for you to have a smooth ride. Our greatest wish is
that you will have a fulfilling and safe pregnancy, will have the confidence to choose what is best for you, and will have the right information to help you achieve this. We hope that your baby has a safe passage all the way to be finally enveloped in the loving arms of her long-awaiting parents.
Enjoy your own Ask a Midwife.