Media Reviews – Issue 141

Midwifery Today, Issue 141, Spring 2022.
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The AIMS Guide to Giving Birth to Your Baby. Principal author: Deborah Neiger. 2021. (London: AIMS, £8, paperback.)

During the past couple of years, the Association for Improvement in the Maternity Services (AIMS) have published several new/updated books relevant to childbirth. This book adds to information for parents and birth professionals about the second stage of labour.

Principal author and experienced midwife Deborah Neiger writes about the definitions and stages of labour, on which much of midwifery and obstetric care is based. The author also highlights that NICE guidelines do not include latent labour or the ebbs and flows of “normal” labour, concepts that lead to the time-watching and interventions that occur in so many births in the UK and around the world.

The book discusses hormonal balance and interplay, and how these hormones affect the nature of labour and birth. Simple diagrams at the beginning of the book add another element to this information. Enhancing the birth environment, position changes, and listening to your body can all have a huge influence on birth.

Neiger balances statistics, the “evidence” of guidelines, with personal birth stories aiding the reader in navigating the complexity of birth.

I recommend this book to parents, doulas, and student midwives. The value to midwives and obstetricians maybe more limited, depending on how and where they work.

Well done to Deborah for this informative book!

The Birthkeeper of Bethlehem: A Midwife’s Tale, by Bridget Supple. (Self-published, $12.16, 165 pages, paperback and Kindle.)

This book opens with the story of a breech birth, sharing the midwife “Salome’s” skills during birth, and the cultural/societal issues surrounding the birth. It then moves beautifully into the most known birth story for Christians worldwide—that of Jesus. Bridget takes us through the birth and her knowledge of culture and traditional midwifery skills, the birth line (purple line), heat changes in legs, and birth stools/stones.

We move through the placental burial and the symbolism which occurs with this action. We learn about the arrival of the shepherds, the holy men of Migdal Eder. Eventually, the “wise” men Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar come bearing their gifts and familiar knowledge.

This is such a well-written book, intertwining birth, sacred stories, and traditional skills. It is easy to read and worthwhile for any birth attendant to use for learning her craft. It provides a new slant on a well-traveled birth journey, for those of any faith.

About Author: Dianne Garland

Dianne Garland, FRCM, SRN, RM, ADM, PGCEA, MSc, developed a passion for midwifery in 1983. Her subsequent energy and enthusiasm for developing and expanding a new practice led her to teaching about waterbirth in 1989; a subject which has remained extremely close to her heart ever since. Dianne works clinically in a local hospital supporting low- and high-complex mothers and babies through childbirth.

After over 40 years in the NHS, she started her own company, MidwifeExpert, in 2005. In this role, she lectures and consults internationally, as well as offering other specialist services such as Expert Legal Witness and Care Quality Commission Inspections. She currently holds professional roles within respected public and private bodies including APEC (Action on PreEclampsia), NICE UK, Gentle Birth Guardian Education, Waterbirth International (USA), Wenzhou Oriental Maternity Unit (China), Wellness Mother and Baby Hyderabad (India), and advisory panel for MMF.

Dianne has published four books on waterbirth. In 2019, she was awarded RCM fellowship for her worldwide contribution to waterbirth research, teaching, and clinical work.

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