Resources List

Ina May says stop scaring women

Need to find some information on a particular topic? Or that article we posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford or our Facebook page that we might have shared a few weeks (or years) ago that is now buried? Here are the links to some of the most informative sites, articles, and studies on any number of topics. We pride ourselves on our critical thinking and research skills and verify our sources. We include the dates that information was published so you can distinguish between current guidelines and what was said in the past; it’s always a good idea to look back at history and how far we’ve come (or not) when it comes to rights in childbirth.

The views expressed by the authors of these articles are being presented in the interest of giving multiple sources of information on various topics pertaining to birth. The opinions expressed may not reflect the views of Empowering Moms Canada or Improving Birth Abbotsford. 


Start HERE!


Dear Friend, Birth Doesn’t Have to Suck— an open letter to everyone who is going to birth or who might birth one day. Written by Cristen Pascucci, founder of Birth Monopoly and former Vice President of Improving Birth. Share this article with every mother who needs to hear these words.

Nosy, Yoga-Ball Bouncing Doctor Haters: Why I Changed My Tune— a mother who was dismissive of the “natural birth” movement realizes why this all matters. Improving Birth blog (2014)

Here’s Why Winging It Doesn’t Work for Birth— Just going to “wing it”? Here’s why you might want to read up on birth and learn your options before you go into labor with your first child. Fit Pregnancy article (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 3, 2014)

How Using Our Power as Consumers Could Change Maternity Care Forever— we have a lot more power than we realize in changing maternity care. Mothering (January 15, 2016)

15 Myths of Childbirth: Uncovering the Truth— here’s a list of myths of childbirth that are addressed here and on other birth blogs. Birth Without Fear (November 2, 2010)

Ted Talks for When You’re Expecting— Ted Talks for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

10 Ways to Give Birth Like an Anarchist— the best advice for birth I’ve ever read. Jennifer Hazi (April 6, 2018)

Birth Can Be Empowering, Enjoyable, Even Orgasmic—We Just Need to Approach it Differently– Milli Hill (The Positive Birth Movement) talks about how the deeply held cultural belief that birth has to be traumatic needs to be challenged. iNews (November 28th, 2018)


Our Improving Birth Abbotsford Videos

2018 Video Rally— due to the foul weather, illnesses, and inability for our followers to attend in person, we did a Facebook Live session instead. We talk about who we are and why we started our own IB rally location. FaceBook (September 8. 2018)

#25DaysToQuestionYourInduction— in Winter 2018-2012 ImprovingBirthAbbotsford did a video series based off of Rachel Reed’s book “Why Induction Matters”. Topics discussed include what Informed Consent looks like, BRAIN, the Decision Making Framework, Complications that would warrant a need for induction, and variations of pregnancy that might prompt a care provider to suggest induction. YouTube (2018)


Want Some Good Blogs to Read on Birth?


Improving Birth The US-based organization that ImprovingBirthAbbotsford is part of and that Empowering Moms Canada is working to become a chapter of. Contains lots of information on what IB is as well as multiple resources. Most are US-based, but a lot of information still pertains to Canada.

Birth Monopoly A birth rights blog started by Cristen Pascucci, former Vice President of Improving Birth.

Midwife Thinking An excellent, evidence based blog on pregnancy, labor and birth practices, focused on the physiological process of birth and whether/when benefits of intervention outweighs the risks.

Sara Wickham: Midwife, Speaker, Author, Researcher

Evidence Based Birth

Stand and Deliver– Rixa Freeze maintains a blog with a special interest in breech birth.

Better Birth Blog— Lauren McClain writes about all things birth related with a special focus on breech vaginal birth.

Slow Birth-– Jacquie Munro, a doula in BC’s Lower Mainland, writes about physiological birth.

Whole Woman— a whole category devoted to birth, another to feminism and other women’s health issues.

The Deranged Housewife— a childbirth advocate blogs about birth.


The Book List

Occasionally we’ll recommend a book or link to an e-book on promotion on our Facebook pages. Here’s a list of them all. 

Take Back Your Birth— an E-Book written by Cristen Pascucci, founder of Birth Monopoly and Birth Allowed Radio, former Vice President of Improving Birth.

The Positive Birth Book— written by Milli Hill, founder of the Positive Birth Movement, this book outlines your rights in birth and gives you the information you need to make your own choices. U.K.-based, but has lots of useful tips that apply universally. You can order in hard copy or e-book on Kindle.

Book Reviews and Press

Why Induction Matters

Why Induction Matters: an Interview with Rachel Reed— the author of “Why Induction Matters” and the blog Midwife Thinking does an interview with the Positive Birth Movement. (August 26, 2018)

Why Induction Matters: Book Release— Rachel Reed announces the release of her book. Midwife Thinking (October 5, 2018)



Videos and YouTube Channels


BirthPedia— Dr. Brad Bootstaylor, Perinatologist has a series of videos on everything from Induction to VBAC.

 PS From Penny— Penny Simkin talks about all things birth on her YouTube Channel

Has Improving Infant Mortality Led to the Neglect of Maternal Health?— Dr. Neel Shah shares his thoughts.


Podcasts (for when you don’t have time to watch or read, but can listen)

Evidence Based Birth on Apple Podcast— Rebecca Dekker talks about the evidence for or against various birth practices.


Documents from Medical and Midwifery Organizations (PDF)


Canadian Studies and Articles

Solving the Maternity Care Crisis: Making Way for Midwifery’s Contribution- a PDF Document created by the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health. An old study on how to integrate midwives into Canadian maternity care. (2003)


World Health Organization

Prevention and Elimination of Abuse and Disrespect in Childbirth— Guidelines published in 2014.

Caesarean Sections Should Only Be Performed When Medically Necessary— WHO statement (April 10, 2015)

New WHO Guidance On Non-Clinical Interventions Specifically Designed To Reduce Unnecessary Cesarean Sections— The new guideline, WHO recommendations on non-clinical interventions to reduce unnecessary caesarean sections, incorporates the views, fears and beliefs of both women and health professionals about caesarean sections. It also considers the complex dynamics and limitations of health systems and organizations and relationships between women, health professionals and organization of health care services. (October 2018)


Public Health Agency of Canada

What Mothers Say: The Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey— a survey was published in regards to the experiences of mothers in the maternity care system. (2009)


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG) 

Approaches to Limit Interventions During Labor and Birth–guidelines on supporting physiological birth from ACOG. (February 2017)


Taking Back Our Power to Birth: Why It Matters


The State I’m In: A Birth Story— a comic about a mother who felt pressured to induce and have a csection, but fired her care provider and hired a doula to help her. Mutha Magazine (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 12, 2015)

The Truth About That “Your Googling and My Medical Degree” Mug–“Listen, people: Googling does not mean I think I’m a doctor. It’s a sign of being an engaged, empowered “e-patient.” Society for Participatory Medicine (November 30, 2015)

The Price of Apathy— why we need to care. Three Rivers Birth Services Blog (September 21, 2015)

Nope, I Am Not a Doctor…And That’s Kind of the PointIf there is anything that I want you to take from this, it is the understanding that the medical system is a huge business that literally will fall and crumble if YOU (us) are not sick. The entire industry of maternity would no longer exist if women believed the simple fact that our bodies were made to give birth and that it is not a medical event.” Earth Based Mom (January 12, 2018)

Why Birth Matters- a YouTube video made with the Lego Movie Maker. A child explains why birth is important and why doulas are needed.

The Woman in the Bed- a mother recounts her traumatic birth where she was pushed into a c-section she hadn’t wanted. Improving Birth blog (August 20, 2014)

I’m Improving Birth Because…— a YouTube video by Improving Birth during their “I’m Improving Birth” campaign in 2013.

“But I Don’t Want to Birth In a Hospital”— why the choice of birth place should ONLY be decided by the birthing person. Whole Woman/Matter Hatter blog (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford on October 21, 2014)

Why are Medical Professionals who Deliver Babies in Hospitals Choosing to Have Their Own Babies at Home?— What does it say about the state of maternity care in the system when those working IN that system choose to opt out for their own births? Health Impact News (2014)

A License to Rape— Birth Without Fear breaks the silence on abuse in maternity care. Birth Without Fear (December 9, 2010)

I Didn’t Realize the Pressure to Have a C-Section Until I Was About to Deliver— a doctor talks about the pressure she felt to have a c-section even though her medical training had taught her that she didn’t need one. Washington Post (January 5, 2015)

Don’t Tell Women There’s “No Point” in Making a Birth Plan— why a birth plan isn’t “pointless” and why we need to stop telling women not to bother. Milli Hill, founder of The Positive Birth Movement wrote an article for Best Daily in the UK (now deleted off their site) and it was re-posted at Mumfidential. (Original article posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford January 30, 2015)

They Lied…It Matters How You Birth— a healthy MOM matters too. The Best of Baby (February 2, 2015)

Permission to Use My Vagina, Please— why is it that women have to ask permission to use their vaginas to birth their babies? Better Birth Blog (February 3, 2015)

#LiberateLabor Campaign— Improving Birth Org. (June 2015)

The One Kind of Birth Story That Makes Me Cringe— when mothers want to have a “natural” birth and their care providers undermine that by pushing unnecessary interventions in a low-risk birth, it leads to disappointment and even trauma in the births, or mothers feel they have to justify why their birth plan “failed”. Mom. Me (June 17, 2015)

All This Push for “Normal Birth”: Why I Keep Pushing— one student midwife explains why it matters. Sheena Byrom (March 29, 2017)

My 90th Birthday Gift to You: What I’ve Learned in 40 Years as a Nurse Midwife— a midwife in the US explains why birth centres are rare but hospices are everywhere. Improving Birth (April 9, 2017)

Too Much Too Soon: Addressing Over-Intervention in Maternity Care— a conference on the maternity care crisis. Maternal Health Initiative (April 24, 2017)

Fish Can’t See Water–“Humanizing birth means understanding that the woman giving birth is a human being, not a machine and not just a container for making babies. Showing women – half of all people – that they are inferior and inadequate by taking away their power to give birth is a tragedy for all society. On the other hand, respecting the woman as an important and valuable human being and making certain that the woman’s experience while giving birth is fulfilling and empowering is not just a nice extra, it is absolutely essential as it makes the woman strong and therefore makes society strong. But we do not have humanized birth in many places today. Why? Because fish can’t see the water they swim in. Birth attendants, be they doctors, midwives or nurses, who have experienced only hospital based, high interventionist, medicalised birth cannot see the profound effect their interventions are having on the birth. These hospital birth attendants have no idea what a birth looks like without all the interventions, a birth which is not dehumanized.” Birth International (November 2000)

What Matters to Women During Childbirth: A Systematic Qualitative Review— Design and provision of good quality maternity care should incorporate what matters to childbearing women. This qualitative systematic review was undertaken to inform WHO intrapartum guidelines. PLOS (April 17, 2018)

How Our C-Section Rates Got So High— a look at how we got into this mess in Canada and the rest of the developed world. The Stay At Home Feminist (May 11, 2018)

A Healthy Baby Isn’t All That Matters— We hear all the time, “a healthy baby is all that matters.” That’s simply not true—especially when, all too often, “healthy” means merely “surviving birth,” for both moms and babies. That’s not nearly good enough. Improving Birth (February 6, 2013)

Get Off Your Backs for a Birth Revolution!— Milli Hill talks about how we need a ‘birth revolution’/’cultural shift’ to fix our broken maternity care systems on an international level.

A Good Birth Is More Than The Baby Being Born Alive, World Health Organization Says— “The WHO guidelines reflect the need for maternity care providers to widen the focus – from simply making sure mothers and babies survive and towards ensuring they have the best possible physical, psychological and emotional outcomes.” Belly Belly (August 30, 2018)


Media Examples of Why It Matters


Birth in the U.S. Media

An Unnecessary Cut- A video on the rising c-section rates in the U.S. from The New Yorker (July 23, 2014)

High Rate of C-Sections Cited as an Epidemic— a radio media outlet talks about rising cesarean rates. (October 23, 2013)

Birth By the Numbers— Join Gene Declercq and the rest of the Birth by the Numbers team to explore how the United States is doing on a number of maternal and child health indicators. Are we doing better? Worse? Tune in to find out this answer and more! YouTube (August 29, 2014)

A Little Ointment is Creating a Big Rift Between Hospitals, Parents— Parents are refusing the Erythromycin ointment for their newborns and hospitals are trying to enforce their policies to force consent to it. Times Free Press (March 23, 2015)

Why a U.S. Obstetrician Says Some Women May Be Better Off Having Baby in the U.K.— Dr. Neel Shah talks about the maternity care crisis in the U.S. WBUR (June 5, 2015)

I’m an OB-GYN. I’m Not Sure Every Baby Needs To Be Born In the Hospital— Dr. Neel Shah talks about the benefits of home birth and the risks to low-risk women in a hospital setting. Washington Post (June 5, 2015)

Childbirth: A Different Way to Remove the Placenta May Save Mothers’ Lives, a Study Finds— A study finds that pulling on the cord isn’t the best idea after birth. The New York Times (March 12, 2012)

The Most Common Childbirth Practice in America is Unnecessary and Dangerous— why do doctors and patients insist on using electronic fetal monitoring? The New Republic (August 13, 2015)

Alabama Mothers Cross State Lines to Give Birth With Midwives— in a state where midwifery care is illegal, mothers who want a better option than the hospitals are willing to travel for their births. AL (September 26, 2016)

A Mother’s Right— a birth activist organized to have people sew a hospital gown to represent each mother who has died in childbirth in U.S. hospitals. Ms. Magazine (October 27, 2016)

ACOG Takes a Big Step in Limiting Unnecessary Interventions During Birth— ACOG writes new guidelines to try to limit unnecessary interventions. Huffington Post (January 25, 2017)

American Hospitals With Fewer C-Sections Have One Thing in Common: Better Design— turns out that hospitals designed for LABOUR have fewer interventions that lead to c-sections. Quartz (March 21, 2017)

Babies and Bankers’ Hours: A Shift In U.S. Birth Patterns— in just 2 generations, babies have stopped coming around the clock. NPR (July 20, 2017)

Society Shrouds Birth in Shame— Instagram’s ban on women in labor is challenged as birth activists seek to educate the public on what birth actually looks like in reality. The Guardian (March 12, 2018)

Midwife’s Arrest Shines Light on Rural America’s Homebirth ‘Crisis’— “Now many alternative-birth advocates and practitioners, in interviews with Yahoo Lifestyle, say they are looking at Catlin’s arrest as a symbol of an American home-birth culture in crisis, maintaining that overregulation, misconceptions about midwifery, and biases from the medical establishment continue to restrict women’s access to having the safely attended births of their choice — only making home birth less safe, they say, by driving some midwives underground.” Yahoo (February 21, 2019)

Cameras Secretly Recorded Women in California Hospital Delivery Rooms— A women’s hospital in California used hidden cameras to secretly record approximately 1,800 patients without their consent, according to a lawsuit. CNN (April 3, 2019)


Birth in Canadian Media

Canada’s C-Section Crisis: Why Are Rates So High?— The routine use of cesarean for low-risk mothers becomes a point of concern. Today’s Parent (November 10, 2015)

It’s Time to Stop Treating Pregnancy Like a Disease– An opinion piece talking about the rising csection rates and suggesting a reduction of those rates by returning to treating birth as a physiological event, not a medical one. Andre Picard, Globe and Mail (published June 15, 2014. Updated May 12, 2018)

Pulling Back the Curtain on Canada’s Rising C-Section Rate– Factors are discussed that could contribute to the rising rates of cesarean birth in Canada. It’s mentioned that maternal requests for a c-section only make up 2% of these surgeries. (Healthy Debate. May 29, 2014)

Is Normal Birth at Risk? The concern over rising c-section rates in Canada. Today’s Parent (April 19, 2005)

Home Birth Often Safer Than Hospital Birth, Says Midwife Soo Downe— a midwife from the University of Central Lancashire says it’s important for women to have a choice of birth location. CBC News (March 10, 2015)

There is Growing Concern About the Percentage of Women Who Deliver Through Cesarean in Canada— CBC News, The National on Facebook (April 20, 2015)

UBC Study Shows Homebirths With Midwives Are Cheaper Than Hospital Births— if you’ve been in BC long enough, you’ll know that our healthcare system is in financial crisis; not enough beds, not enough staff, and not enough funding. A UBC study has shown that homebirth with midwives is more cost-effective for low-risk mothers. Global News (August 20, 2015)

Let Midwives & GPs Attend Low-Risk Births— Dr. Brian Goldman suggests that OBs only attend high-risk births in efforts to reduce the rate of unnecessary interventions. CBC News Radio (August 24, 2015)

Plans Conceived for New Birthing Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital— the first proposed site of a birth centre. Vancouver Sun (August 26, 2015)

Moms Now Able to See Their Baby’s Very First Moments During a C-Section— a clear drape was implemented in some Canadian hospitals. Global News (October 2, 2015)

New Brunswick to Bring Back Midwives In Pilot Project— Health department to hire 4 midwives in the next year. CBC News (February 19, 2016)

Indigenous Doulas To Give Spiritual, Traditional Support Throughout The Province— special considerations into the cultural and spiritual traditions of our indigenous women shows the need for doula support within communities in Winnipeg. CBC News (March 14, 2016)

Lack of Funding From Alberta Health Services Forcing St. Albert Midwife Centre to Close— a midwife centre in Alberta has to close its doors due to lack of funding from the province. CBC News (March 19, 2016)

Too Precious to Push–Shame, Fear, and the Spike in C-Sections: “It’s Not Safer, But It’s Believed to Be Safer”— while it might be true that older mothers are requesting c-sections, the rates are far less than the media would have you believe. Take this article with a grain of salt and view it as a reflection of our cultural perception of “risk”. National Post (April 5, 2016)

Midwives to be Recognized as Healthcare Professionals in N.L.— Newfoundland gets midwifery care. CBC News (April 28, 2016)

University of Manitoba Reaches Agreement on Midwifery Program with McMaster— The University of Manitoba has reached an agreement with an Ontario school so that 14 midwifery students can continue studying this fall. CBC News (August 5, 2016)

Midwife Assoc. Pres Expects Growth— Midwives are present at the birth of one in five B.C. babies, according to Bacon. But despite increasing popularity, the profession is still somewhat misunderstood. North Shore News (October 26, 2016)

Richmond Hospital is Best in BC for Vaginal Births— Richmond takes care to implement evidence-based practices, reduce c-section rates, and support physiological birth. VCH News (August 18, 2016)

Government of Canada Announces Funding for First Nations and Inuit Midwifery— our Indigenous women gain more options for maternity care. Cision (June 19, 2017)

Too Many Medical Procedures On Women Aren’t Necessary— A recently released report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information found that up to 30 per cent of all health care provided offers no value to patients. Knowing this, it’s time to ask if women are being given unnecessary care, not only during pregnancy and labour, but throughout their lifespan. The Star (June 25, 2017)

We Need to Reduce Unnecessary Care in Obstetrics and Gynecology— more coverage of the report from the Canadian Institute of Health Information. Huffington Post (July 6, 2017)

Canadian Women Feel Excluded From Their Own Childbirth Decisions— Very few women feel they have a say in the care they receive from their healthcare team, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia’s Birthplace Lab and the B.C. Women’s Hospital and Health Centre. The Huffington Post (March 6, 2018)

BC Leads the Country in C-Section Deliveries, Data Reveals— More than 1 in 3 births in province’s hospitals is surgical; Fraser Health’s rate is even higher. CBC News (April 19, 2018)

How Richmond Hospital Went From The Highest Rate of C-Sections in BC to One of the Lowest— simple policy changes and practices have lowered the c-section rate in one of BC’s larger hospitals. CBC News (April 20, 2018)

Canada’s Doctors Want Women To Have ‘More Respectful’ Birth Experiences— “Respectful care……as healthcare providers, there is so much power at a person’s most vulnerable moments…. it is in our words, in our unspoken attitudes and in every action. Often unintentional, but it is in how we treat people that has the power to create a birthstory full of shame and trauma or one that is empowered and healing. Please speak out!” HuffPost (October 29, 2018)

Indigenous Doulas Are Reclaiming Birthing Practices Colonization Tried to Erase— The ekw’í7tl Indigenous Doula Collective is working to restore age-old customs around pregnancy and childbirth—and reestablish a traditional reverence for women and families in the process. Broadly (October 25, 2016)

Why is Ontario Cutting Midwife Funding?— The Ford Provincial Government causes problems for midwifery care in Ontario. Policy Options (February 8, 2019)

N.B. Nurse Suspected of Inducing Labour Without Consent; As Many As 120 Emergency C-Sections Investigated— a nurse was slipping Pitocin (called “oxytocin” in the article) into the IVs of mothers without their knowledge or consent in order to “speed up” labour.  CTV News (March 29, 2019)

Training Indigenous Doulas is ‘An Act of Reconciliation’ Says Participant— A new program to train more Indigenous doulas is coming to Halifax later this month and will combine lessons on birth and breastfeeding with cultural practices like smudging. CBC News (April 4, 2019)



BC Midwives Articles

Canada’s Lack of Midwives Costing Healthcare System— the shortage/lack of midwifery training in Canada leads to poorer outcomes for mothers and babies. Eagle Feather News (November 25, 2014)

Midwives Challenge Clark’s “Family First” Pledge– BC Midwives struggle to get funding from the provincial government under Christy Clark. Globe and Mail (July 23, 2014)

B.C. Calls the Midwife: Province Reports Highest Rate of Midwife-Assisted Births in Canada— B.C. has the country’s leading rate in in midwife-assisted births, resulting in estimated government savings of $4.6 million in less than two years, a new report says. Vancouver Sun (October 28, 2016)

Midwifery Reaches Milestone With its 1000th Arrival— South Delta Midwifery assists in the birth of 1000 babies. Delta Optimist (March 29, 2017)

BC Now Has the Highest Rate of Midwife-Assisted Births in Canada— more women in BC are choosing midwives. CityNews (October 30, 2016)

Opinion: Ever Mother-To-Be-Needs a Midwife— Lesley Page gives the reasons every mother should seek a midwife. Vancouver Sun (August 4, 2014)

Few Provinces Now Without Midwives As Services Begin in NB— New Brunswick joins the rest of the provinces in offering midwifery care to women. CTV News Atlantic (October 13, 2017)

Midwives Open Practice in Salmon Arm— The Shuswap region of the BC Interior adds midwifery as an option to residents. Salmon Arm Observer (December 11, 2017)

‘Cheated’ in the ‘Birth Capital’ of Canada— there are no midwives in the Peace Region of Northern Canada; women feel ‘cheated’ of their desired births. Alaska Highway News (May 10, 2012)

Midwives Set up Shop in Mile 0 City— Dawson Creek & District Hospital in Northern BC implements midwifery care in their options for pregnant women. The Mirror (January 16, 2018)

Why More Women Are Calling for Midwives in Kelowna— a brief history of how Canadian mothers/consumers gained access to midwifery services and more birth options. Kelowna Now (January 27, 2018)

Midwifery Students Upset Over Lack of Funding— funding for midwifery faces a crisis. CTV News (March 28, 2018)





Birth in U.K. Media

Women Risk Losing Ability to Give Birth Naturally— thanks to the increasing rates of intervention in normal birth Michel Odent is concerned that we may evolve to a point where we won’t be able to birth and breastfeed our children without intervention. The Telegraph (May 24, 2015)

Why One Candadian Midwife Won’t Be Giving Birth At Home— on the other side of the pond, our U.K. cousins are baffled that midwives themselves aren’t able to birth at home due to the shortage of midwifery care in our country. This illustrates the problem with our own country’s views of midwives as “extras” or “luxuries” and not an integral part of maternity services. BBC News (May 25, 2015)

Bond Between a Mother and Midwife Key To a Happy Birth: Research Women who are cared for by the same midwife throughout their pregnancy are less likely to need intervention such a caesarian sections during labour and are less likely to report a traumatic birth, research has found. The Age (October 25, 2015)

Doctors Need to Actually Listen to The Women They Treat— Milli Hill of the Positive Birth Movement points out the problems in a maternity care system steeped in patriarchy and paternalistic medicine. The Telegraph (November 20, 2015)

Why Brett Kavanaugh Matters to Birthing Women in the UK— “why didn’t she come forward sooner” was the criticism launched at Dr. Ford when she spoke out against Brett Kavanaugh. Sadly this is the rhetoric when women speak against their doctors in maternity care. Bornstroppy (October 4, 2018)

Hospital Births Have Never Been Safest – NICE is Right to Reverse This Myth— The National Institute of Care and Excellence (NICE) speaks out on the increased interventions in hospitals leading to poorer maternal outcomes. The Guardian (December 3, 2014)

International Women’s Day: What We’ll Be Fighting for in 2019— among several topics in this piece is the re-examining of the old addage “leave your dignity at the door” and how it is no longer acceptable. i News (March 8, 2019)

Meghan Markle is Being a Birth “Brat” And I Love Her For It— “controversy” arose over the Duchess of Sussex’s reported decision to have a doula and birth at home with her first child. Naturally the obstetric community had opinions. Some media outlets called her a “birth brat”. Here’s why the term isn’t such a bad thing. Metro (April 8, 2019)




Birth in other areas of the world

Six in 10 Births in Greece Are Via C-Section— a look at birth in other European countries. Ekathimerini News (December 13, 2015)

Which Countries Have the Highest Rates of Cesarean?–and infograph and article on the high rates of cesarean globally. Forbes (January 12, 2016)

A Survey of Women in Australia Who Choose the Care of Unregulated Birth Workers for a Birth at Home— why are women in Australia choosing birth at home without a registered midwife? This survey highlights the importance of a mother’s autonomy in her birthing environment, regardless of the perceived risks. Put simply, if a mother is “not allowed” to birth the way she wants with a REGISTERED care provider, it does not automatically mean she will do as she his told she “has to”. Science Direct (November 29, 2018)

Abuse and Disrespect in Childbirth 


Women Reveal the Top 11 Most Annoying Things That OBs Do— Cristen Pascucci claps back after reading a paternalistically disgusting article on annoying things patients do. Birth Monopoly (July 11, 2017)

Patients Are Not Bitches, and Thoughts on Medical Othering— a midwife overhears a care provider referring to a “difficult” patient as a “bitch” and has some thoughts on the way women are seen when they stand up for themselves (and why it’s wrong). Feminist Midwife (February 10, 2017)

Nurses: Women Are *NOT* Fabricating Birth Trauma— Responses from Labor and Delivery Nurses on the disrespect and abuse they have witnessed in the birthing room. Birth Monopoly (November 4, 2015)

International Human Rights and the Mistreatment of Women During Childbirth— Human rights standards are an important accountability tool for recognizing and protecting the human rights of women during childbirth in facilities, and for supporting health system reform to prevent mistreatment in the future. Human rights standards assist health care practitioners and policy makers to define what constitutes mistreatment during childbirth and to develop effective interventions and policies to address this mistreatment in all its forms. Health and Human Rights Journal (November 14, 2016)

When Childbirth Feels Like Assault— Childbirth should not strip a woman of the right to informed consent. But in practice, it sometimes does. Bright Magazine (November 18, 2016)

How Doctors Cross the Line in the Delivery Room— The struggle to maintain bodily autonomy—rights to our own bodies during childbirth—is real. Tonic (January 13, 2017)

Human Rights in Childbirth, Narratives and Restorative Justice: A Review— The compassion and evidence based medicine agenda in healthcare is interconnected with human rights in healthcare, feeding into the principles of decision making and patient centred care. BMC (February 2, 2017)

Treatment of Women in Childbirth— Many women experience disrespectful and abusive treatment during childbirth in facilities worldwide. Such treatment not only violates the rights of women to respectful care, but can also threaten their rights to life, health, bodily integrity, and freedom from discrimination. Women’s Health Today (July 28, 2017)

Methods used in prevalence studies of disrespect and abuse during facility based childbirth: lessons learned–Several recent studies have attempted to measure the prevalence of disrespect and abuse (D&A) of women during childbirth in health facilities. Variations in reported prevalence may be associated with differences in study instruments and data collection methods. This systematic review and comparative analysis of methods aims to aggregate and present lessons learned from published studies that quantified the prevalence of Disrespect and Abuse (D&A) during childbirth. Biomedical Central, Reproductive Health Journal (2017)

Why New Mothers Usually Don’t Sue Doctors Who Violate Their Rights— why aren’t more women suing their doctors for these violations in childbirth? A look at the US system of law. References Caroline Malatesta’s case. Learn Liberty (August 10, 2017)

MHTF Quarterly Issue 14: Respectful Maternity Care— the importance of respectful care is highlighted and disrespect and abuse is defined in this quarterly issue. Maternal Health Task Force (December 2017)

My Birth Violated My Consent and We Need to Talk About It— Two years on, Rebecca Collier still breaks down in tears as she recalls having, what she felt was, an unnecessary caesarean, which left her emotionally, physically and mentally traumatised. Kidspot (April 19, 2018)

Birth Needs a #MeToo Reckoning— why we need a MeToo movement for birth. Dame (June 18, 2018)

“The Baby is the Candy and the Mom is the Wrapper”: A Call For Humanized Birth— a look at the way mothers are treated in birth and a call to do better. Improving Birth (July 26, 2018)

Bearing Witness: Disrespectful Maternity Care— New study from the United States and Canada concludes that doulas and nurses frequently witness verbal abuse in the form of threats to the baby’s life unless the woman agreed to a procedure, and failure to provide informed consent. Dr. Sara Wickham (2018) 

Domesticating Bodies: The Role of Shame in Obstetric Violence–“Gendered shame in labor derives both from the reifying gaze that transforms women’s laboring bodies into dirty, overly sexual, and “not‐feminine‐enough” dysfunctional bodies and from a structural tendency to relate to laboring women mainly as mothers‐to‐be, from whom “good motherhood” is demanded.” Wiley Online Library (July 17, 2018)

Physician Trauma: A Doctor Answers, Why Do We Sometimes Do Terrible Things?— while it doesn’t excuse the abuse, the reality is that care providers are often dealing with their own traumatic experiences and without support they often transfer that onto clients. Birth Monopoly (August 31, 2018)

The Use of Child Protective Services and The Court Orders to Enforce Medical Compliance In The Labor and Delivery Room: How the Threats of Legal Action Limit Reproductive Choice— legally, this shouldn’t be happening. Ethically, this is strongly discouraged in the guidelines for healthcare professionals. But in reality this is all too common for women of lower socio-economic status, women of color, and other minority groups within the community. JL & G Harvard Law Journal (November 24, 2018)

I Was Born From a Woman Whose Body Was Stolen— Obstetric violence is nothing new. It has been going on for decades and decades. As more people speak up, as we continue to talk about it, may it help us inch closer to respectful care before/during/after pregnancy/birth/postpartum being the expectation and not the exception. Entropy (February 5, 2019)

Why #MeToo Matters in the Delivery Room— a woman recounts the abuse she felt in the delivery room and how it brought back memories of her sexual assault. The Establishment (March 29, 2019)

‘I Felt Violated’ How ‘Birth Rape’ Affects Millions of Mums— why do doctors perform procedures without consent? A look at obstetric violence during childbirth and gynecological procedures and how it affects those who experience it. The Sun (May 22, 2019)

Stories from Social Media

Dropped from Care at Trinity Health for Refusing a C-section— a mother posted a letter from her former healthcare provider to Birth Monopoly’s page. (May 13, 2015)

An OB’s “Birth Plan”— originally posted on The Unnecesarean blog in 2009, but no longer exists in that form. A mother shared the “birth plan” her OB handed TO HER HUSBAND with a nursing forum before the post went “viral” for a few weeks. It is every bit as paternalistic as you are imagining. This is the complete opposite of respectful care and informed consent.


In the Media

Articles showing evidence of our growing maternity care crisis.

NB Nurse Suspected of Inducing Labour Without Consent-  A nurse in New Brunswick was caught after giving Pitocin to women in labour without their knowledge or consent, and without permission from the hospital (allegedly, hospital claims to have no knowledge of this happening over two years). CTV News published March 29, 2019.

Uhappy Birthdays: Why More Mothers Are Saying They Were “Birth Raped”— Vancouver Observer (May 1st, 2012)

Obstetric Violence Infograph— an infograph on institutionalized obstetric violence. International Day of Action for Women’s Health (May 28, 2015)

‘Fractured’ System Makes Tracking OB/GYN Mistakes Difficult: Investigation— a fractured complaints system makes it difficult for investigations into OB/GYN conduct to take place, leaving families and clients without a way to file complaints and have action taken. CTV News (December 1, 2015)

“Stop! Stop!”: Canadian Women Share Stories of Alleged Mistreatment in the Delivery Room— let’s ignore the media’s choice of adding “alleged” into this title and focus on the fact that women in Canada are experiencing abuse from the people they are supposed to be able to trust to respect them. CBC (November 7, 2016)

Too Many Women Are Leaving Hospital After Childbirth With PTSD Because of Bad Care— the abuse in childbirth is prevalent in the UK too. Independent (December 7, 2016)

‘A Scene From a Horror Movie’: 9 Mothers Speak Out About Alleged Mistreatment During Childbirth— CBC News has heard from dozens of women from across Canada who say they were mistreated by doctors and nurses in the delivery room. Here are nine of their stories. CBC News (November 7, 2016)

First-of-its-Kind Study Examines ‘Institutional Betrayal’— health-care organizations need to recognize that medical errors do happen. They also need to avoid contributing to patient suffering by taking responsibility when things go wrong, apologizing, and looking for ways to prevent such errors in the future. CTV News (January 6, 2018)

There Is a Hidden Epidemic of Doctors Abusing Women in Labor, Doula Says— the silence is shattered in the wake of Caroline Malatesta’s case and many others. Broadly (May 8, 2018)

MANA Response to ACOG— at a meeting ACOG members joked that women should “use condoms” to prevent maternal mortality/morbidity in childbirth. Midwives Alliance of North America responds to these comments. MANA (May 9, 2018)

The Disturbing Record Behind One of BC’s Top-Billing Doctors— Patients who claim they were harmed by obstetrician-gynecologist Winston Tam are demanding to know how he was disciplined and why action wasn’t taken sooner. The Globe and Mail (August 6, 2018)

Misogyny in Women’s Health Care is Rampant: And We’ve Had Enough— Almost all women have felt at times that they weren’t listened to, that procedures were carried out without their knowledge or consent, or that their bodies were disrespected, or even violated. Scary Mommy (September 6, 2018)

Why We Broke Up With the Hospital (Hint: She Was a Dirty Cheat)— a doula who taught childbirth classes at a hospital finds herself leaving when the hospital insists that she intentionally keep information from clients and “ask their doctor”. Team Doula (September 16, 2018)

It’s Time to Stop Infantilizing Pregnant Women— The truth is that our health care system is still very much rooted in patriarchy and the superiority complex of medical professionals. White coats trump the innate knowing and awareness a woman has over her own bodily functions and history. Medium (September 16, 2018)


Birth Allowed Radio

Woman Records Confrontation With Hospital Re: Consent, Experts Refute Hospital Defense— a woman had an unconsented membrane sweep during a vaginal exam. She files a complaint but the hospital defends the OB’s actions. Experts weigh in at the end of the recorded conversation. Birth Monopoly (June 7, 2017)


Systemic Racism

Aboriginal Women Say They Were Sterilized Against Their Will In Hospital— Aboriginal women speak out about the forced sterilization in hospitals after childbirth. CBC Radio (January 7, 2016)

BC Supreme Court Order Providing Indigenous Mother Daily Access to Newborn Could Set  National Precedent— A B.C. Supreme Court ruling that orders the provincial government to ensure an Indigenous mother has daily access to her newborn child so she does not lose her maternal bond could impact other First Nations throughout the country, the lawyer for a Vancouver Island band says. The Globe and Mail (February 22, 2018)

Indigenous Women Still Being Coerced Into Sterilizations Across Canada, Ontario Senator Says— New research shows the forced sterilization of Indigenous women is not just a shameful part of Canadian history. Reports from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the territories suggest it is still happening. The Globe and Mail (November 11, 2018)

Indigenous Women Kept From Seeing Their Newborn Babies Until Agreeing to Sterilization, Lawyer Says— The women would be told that they could not leave until their tubes were tied, cut or cauterized, she added, or that “they could not see their baby until they agreed.” CBC News (November 13, 2018)

Manitoba Officials Seize Newborn From Mom in Hospital; Video Prompts Outrage— an Indigenous mother’s heartbreaking video goes viral. (January 11, 2019)

How One BC Community is Fighting to Keep Indigenous Children With Their Families— In the Cowichan Valley, a growing network of mothers, advocates, midwives, doctors and elected officials is trying to take a different approach to address the ‘humanitarian crisis’ of Indigenous kids in care. The Globe and Mail (January 20, 2019)

Black Women Face More Trauma During Childbirth-“But surviving childbirth is not a sufficient measure of whether a woman’s labor and delivery experience is successful, and there is evidence to suggest black moms are suffering more trauma in the course of delivering their babies than white women — in ways both big and small. Black women are twice as likely to suffer from severe complications during pregnancy and childbirth and, though obviously much harder to quantify, personal stories from black mothers who felt disrespected and brushed off during labor abound.”

“I Felt Robbed”: Indigenous Mother Says Baby Apprehension Was Wrong— a mother was coerced and threatened into a cesarean, only to have her newborn apprehended by the Ministry at birth. A doula sheds light on this dark secret in maternity wards and speaks out for indigenous mothers who have had their children stolen from them. CBC News (April 7, 2019)


Exposing The Silence Project

Bullied, Powerless, and Defeated: 45 Women Share Their Striking Birth Stories— an article about the Exposing The Silence Project. Yahoo (July 8, 2015)

Emotional Photo Essay Reveals a Darker Side to the Delivery Room as Mothers Detail How They Were “Bullied” By Doctors During Birth and “Forced” to Undergo Invasive Procedures Against Their Will— another Exposing The Silence Project article. Daily Mail (July 9, 2015)

How 2 Women Are Making Sure There Are No Future Victims of Obstetric Violence— another Exposing The Silence article! Pop Sugar (September 28, 2015)

#Break The Silence

Improving Birth By Breaking the Silence— a blog post about Improving Birth’s photo campaign. The Deranged Housewife (July 30, 2015)


Rinat Dray’s Forced C-Section

BRIEF OF NATIONAL ADVOCATES FOR PREGNANT WOMEN ET AL. AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF RINAT DRAY— the court document from Rinat Dray’s case. Advocates For Pregnant Women (January 31, 2017)

Rinat Dray: NYC Bar Association Supports Woman Who Sued Hospital For Forced C-Section— the NYC Bar agrees that it’s illegal and unethical to force surgery on an unconsenting patient. Law Street (January 19, 2017)

New York Hospital’s Secret Policy Led To Woman Being Given C-Section Against Her Will–The Staten Island University hospital (SIUH) policy offers doctors step-by-step instructions for performing procedures and surgeries without a pregnant woman’s consent if they can’t persuade her to give permission and several doctors agree that the treatment carries a “reasonable possibility of significant benefit” for her fetus that “outweigh[s] the possible risks to the woman”. The Guardian (October 5, 2017)


Jennifer Goodall’s Forced C-section

Mom Who Tried to Fight Hospital’s Push for Csection Gets Vocal Support- People rallied in front of the Florida hospital where Jennifer Goodall was told she would be forced into a csection. NBC News (Published July 26, 2014. Updated July 27, 2014)

“A Judge Forced Me to Have a C-section I Didn’t Need”: A Mom Speaks Out— An interview with Jennifer. The Stir (August 8, 2014)


Kimberly Turbin’s Forced Episiotomy


Kimberly Turbin’s Forced Episiotomy Case: The Resolution— Kimberly settles after a long court battle. Improving Birth (March 16, 2016)

Serving Dr. Abbassi— Dawn Thompson of Improving Birth (Org) serves Dr. Abbassi with the lawsuit for battery. YouTube (June 4, 2015)

Mom Shares Graphic Video of Doctor Forcing Her to Have an Episiotomy— The Stir updates their story as Kelly files a lawsuit against the doctor. (April 30, 2015)

We Will Not Be Silenced: An Update on Kelly’s Story— with the help of Improving Birth, Kimberly Turbin files a lawsuit against the doctor who cut her against her will. Improving Birth (April 15, 2015)

Caught on Video: Improving Birth Breaks the Silence on Abuse of Women in Maternity Care— Kimberly Turbin’s forced episiotomy is brought to everyone’s attention through Improving Birth’s efforts to #BreakTheSilence. This case was ground-breaking for the organization and for women to have their voices heard.

“Kelly’s” Story About Forced Episiotomy-– Human Rights in Childbirth wrote an article after Improving Birth shared Kimberly’s (then known as the alias “Kelly”) story. (2014)

Woman Forced Into Violent Episiotomy Settles With Doctor— media coverage of Kimberly’s court case settlement. Yahoo (March 15, 2017)


Lindsey Scarborough Switzer’s Forced C-Section and Verbal Abuse

Mom Sues Doctor Over C-Section Fight: “I Was Treated Like a Child”— a lawyer is forced into an unwanted c-section by an abusive care provider; files lawsuit. Yahoo (October 6, 2015)

Caroline Malatesta’s Traumatic Birth and Permanent Injury

Woman Sues Hospital Over Traumatic Birth That ‘Turned Our Family Life Upside Down’— Caroline Malatesta’s story of false advertising at her hospital and subsequent abuse that left her with permanent nerve damage. Yahoo (November 19, 2015)

Mom Sues for Bait & Switch in Maternity Care— Caroline Malatesta shares her story. Birth Monopoly (November 19, 2015)

Caroline Malatesta Opens Up About Birth Trauma, Bait-and-Switch Advertising of Alabama Hospital— more coverage of Caroline’s experience with Brookwood Hospital. AL News (August 9, 2016)


Organizations and Advocates Rising to the Cause

Humanize Birth- a Canadian Non-Profit advocating for respectful, humane birth

On “Commonsense Childbirth”: A Q & A With Midwife Jennie Joseph— a midwife works within the U.S. to make birth safer for women of color. Rewire (July 26, 2016)
Memoir of a medical rebel: A conversation with Dr. Michael Klein— a family physician talks about the growing concern of rising c-section rates in BC and his support for physiological birth and midwifery.


Press from other people about amazing advocates 

About Cristen Pascucci, founder of Birth Monopoly and Birth Allowed Radio

I Love Cristen Pascucci– Midwives of New Jersey talk about Cristen and Birth Monopoly. (August 12, 2016)

About the Positive Birth Movement and Milli Hill

Positive Birth Movement: The Group Making Labour Less Traumatic For Women Across the World— Birth is seen as traumatic, but the PBM says that’s not true. The Independent (April 18, 2017)


Statistics: What The Numbers Say And What They Mean

Perinatal Services BC Health Reports


Pop (Birth) Culture

It Isn’t Only Pregnant Women Who End Up Traumatized After Watching ‘One Born Every Minute’ It’s Midwives Too— criticism of the “reality” show ‘One Born Every Minute’ and its depictions of birth in regards to how it affects the perception of real birth.


All About Birth

Modern Maternity Care in Canada— an article about the history and current state of maternity care in Canada. Vanier Institute (September 22, 2015)

15 Things Most Women Don’t Know About Emergency Deliveries— don’t let the title fool you; an unplanned, unassisted birth doesn’t have to be an emergency. Here’s how to stay calm and prepare for the possibility that you might not make it to the hospital or the midwife might not arrive at the house on time. Baby Gaga (October 24, 2016)

Birthing Misconceptions– 10 misconceptions about birth are debunked by The Power to Push Campaign.

6 Surprising Birth Statistics That Will Change the Way You Give Birth— U.S. based article, however a lot of these stats are close to how birth is in parts of Canada, specifically BC. Affording Motherhood (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford March 12, 2015)

8 Ways to Have an Informed Birth— There is no right way to feel about giving birth—every family makes their own choices for the occasion. Having had two drastically different birthing experiences, the only piece of advice I have to give is not about where to give birth or how to do it. My number one piece of advice is simply this: be as informed as possible. Regardless of what kind of birthing experience you think you want, your best birth will always be an informed one. Mommy Nearest (February 13, 2015)

9 Changes We Must Make to Increase Vaginal Birth Rates— Many women don’t plan to birth by cesarean, but 1 in 4 in Canada and 1 in 3 in BC are birthing this way. This article focuses on U.S. and U.K./Australian statistics, however the information applies to Canadian maternity care. Belly Belly (updated June 10, 2018)

Technological vs Traditional: A Striking Look At How Childbirth is Shaped By Culture— This is a special excerpt from the new autobiography of internationally renowned childbirth educator and anthropologist Sheila Kitzinger, finished shortly before her death in April 2015. Mothering (July 6, 2015)

What Does Evidence-Based Information Really Mean?-– Dawn Thompson does a podcast to explain the terminology. New Mommy Media (August 25, 2016)

Memo to the Women of the World: We Don’t Really See Your Vagina— feeling a little self-conscious? Midwives don’t even notice your vagina the way you think they do. The Modern Midwife (April 25, 2017)

How Our Birth Culture Undermines Your Birthing Potential— the culture in which we give birth isn’t conducive to physiological birth. Suburban Sandcastles (November 26, 2016)

What Women Need to Know Before Watching “The Business of Being Born”— Danielle Lasher is back with another fantastic article on birth and birth culture. Baby Gaga (August 5, 2017)

‘Childbirth Has Become Like Choosing Schools. We’re Very Consumerist About It’— while having an informed, respectful and evidence-based birth is important, expecting a certain kind of birth outside of that regardless of individual circumstances is problematic when discussing “normal birth”. A midwife discusses the issues with “normal birth”. The Telegraph (September 3, 2017)

Positive Birth: Myths Busted!— Milli Hill busts several myths associated with “Positive Birth”. Mummy Social (February 3, 2018)

Humanizing Birth: Does the Language We Use Matter?— “Although eyes may roll at the thought of “political correctness gone mad,” the change is well founded. Firstly, intrapartum care must keep in pace with and reflect changes in societal norms and expectations. While some may mourn the days when the doctor was in charge and their advice was gratefully received and unchallenged, there are now multiple, alternative sources of healthcare advice available to women both before and after consultations. With improved knowledge among women and a renewed recognition of respect for human rights in childbirth, comes an equalisation of status between doctor and woman. [2] To recognise this, the guideline envisages “a culture of respect for each woman” and the clinician should “ensure that the woman is in control of and involved in what is happening to her, and recognise that the way in which care is given is key to this.” [1] The role of birth attendant is no longer “owner” of the situation but “facilitator” of the health services.” The BMJ Opinion (February 8, 2018)

Pregnant Women Should Have Much More Control in the Delivery Room, New Report Says— the WHO guidelines once again point out what should have been obvious from the start: women should have control of the decision making in their care during childbirth. Insider (February 15, 2018)

Hospital Birth Classes Are Sabotaging Women’s Birth Plans, Say Midwives— are hospital-sponsored birth classes teaching about BIRTH, or how to be a “good patient” in the hospital? Belly Belly Birth Blog (January 6, 2018)

Why Women Birth Differently— have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Here’s how those needs factor into birth choices. HypnoBirthing (July 22, 2017)

Childbirth Program Reduces Caesarean Rate, Could Save Health System $97 Million a Year— a program in Australia educated women about how to navigate the maternity care system and avoid unnecessary routine interventions. The Sydney Morning Herald (March 19, 2018)

5 Things Your OBGYN Won’t Tell You— here are some things you should know in order to have a more positive birth and postpartum. MotherRising (August 31, 2012)

Different Ways to Give Birth— birthing on your back isn’t the only way to do it. This video shows the many different positions you can birth in. Parenting Today (August 12, 2018)

Normal Vaginal Birth— the risks and benefits of vaginal birth and what you can do to encourage the process. The Power to Push Campaign (October 16, 2018)



Birth Trauma


Birth Trauma Tree.png

9 Ways to Heal From a Traumatic Birth— ways to heal after birth trauma. Improving Birth (March 13, 2017)

9 Things to Say When She Didn’t Get The Birth She Hoped For— sometimes we don’t have the words. Here’s some ideas when someone tells you they’re disappointed in their birth. Belly Belly Birth Blog (updated June 10, 2018)

Birth Trauma Explained for Fathers— how to explain to Dad why Mom is traumatized by her birth. Whole Woman (no date listed; originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford October 5, 2014)

Trauma, Traumatic Birth, and Recovery- Improving Birth (July 17, 2014)

What to Say to a Woman with Birth Trauma- a blog post on MatterHatter/Whole Woman. No date of publishing was given.

I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know— a mother muses on how our language around birth trauma and parenting can affect others. (August 20,2014)

It’s Never Your Fault— why birth trauma and what happened to you wasn’t your fault. Whole Woman (original post on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford October 21, 2014)

Cesarean Section and Birth Trauma— there is a link between cesarean births and birth trauma. VBAC (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 16, 2014)

You Have Permission to Throat-Punch the Next Person Who Says “All That Matters Is a Healthy Baby”— why this phrase isn’t helpful and what to say instead. Scary Mommy (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford May 19, 2015)

Vancouver Birth Trauma Facts— facts about birth trauma in BC and the Lower Mainland. Vancouver Birth Trauma (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford July 2, 2015)

The Sanitized Stories We Tell— Sarah Bessey talks about her birth trauma (September 23, 2015)

Birth Trauma: The Silent Struggle New Moms Face— trauma looks different to everyone; if YOU feel your birth was traumatic then it was, and you deserve healing. Babble (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford October 26, 2015)

My Labor and Birth Didn’t Go As Planned: And No. I’m Not ‘Over It’— “I don’t have to be thankful just because things didn’t end tragically”. Ravishly (April 26, 2016)

I Had a Shit Birth. Here’s Six Reasons Why I Really Want Others to Know— why we need to speak out about our birth trauma. Every Mum Should Know (July 31, 2017)

Do I Need to Avoid Negative Birth Stories When I’m Planning a Positive Birth?–Should we shut down negative or traumatic stories about birth? Or do we risk silencing women whose voice desperately needs to be heard? And are we missing an opportunity to clarify our own needs in preparation for a positive birth in the process? ICAN (August 20, 2017)

No, I Did Not Need My Traumatic Birth For Personal Growth— Why we need to stop telling women this was the birth they ‘had to have’. The Truth About Traumatic Birth (November 7, 2017)

Birth Trauma: Women Urged to ‘Raise Your Voices’— “Birth is not always a positive experience. And being honest about that should not be something that women are made to feel shame or guilt over.Expressing natural feelings of sadness or anger about a difficult birth doesn’t mean that a new mother is ungrateful for a healthy baby, the opportunity for motherhood, or anything else.” BBC News (August 13, 2017)

When I Tell You About My Difficult Birth, Here’s What I Need You to Do— I need you to listen. Really listen with an open mind, remembering that my trauma is different than your trauma. Please try not to judge my trauma, or me, while I tell you my story. Please just listen to me. Motherly (February 28, 2018)

Supporting Sufferers of Birth Trauma: A Pitfall to Avoid— a doula gives her thoughts on the notion that birth trauma should “teach” us something. Worth a read. Matrescence (March 12, 2019)

A Traumatic First Birth Carries Over To a New Pregnancy— birth trauma can carry over to subsequent pregnancies. Hartford Courant (January 6, 2016)



Informed Consent and Refusal: What It IS and What It Isn’t


Dear OB, It’s Not Your Vagina— it’s not hard to obtain informed consent, yet too many care providers perform vaginal exams and procedures without getting it. Amy Wright Glenn points out the problem with this thinking. Philly Voice (January 13, 2017)

Dear OB, It’s Not Your Vagina pt. 2— part 2 of Amy Wright Glenn’s article. (January 31, 2017)

Why We Need to Stop Saying “Let”— language matters. Here’s why we need to ditch this word when we talk about birth, and correct others who use it. Modern Alternative Mama (February 19, 2016)

Maternal Decision Making— The Australian Medical Association (AMA) also recognizes the rights of mothers to make their own medical decisions. AMA (March 28, 2013)

Hospital Policy: Not The Same As Road Rules— You MUST follow the rules of the road, but hospital policies are not law. Whole Woman (March 8, 2016)

Consent: A guide for Canadian Physicians This is long, but outlines ALL the details of Informed Consent as presented to physicians in Canada. Especially important to note: “Our courts have reaffirmed repeatedly a patient’s right to refuse treatment even when it is clear treatment is necessary to preserve the life or health of the patient. Physicians must at the same time explain the consequences of the refusal without creating a perception of coercion in seeking consent.” This handbook outlines the Canadian laws of Informed Consent and Refusal. (Published May 2006, Updated June 2016) 

Art of Deception in Obstetrics: Deformed Consent  “When a provider seeks informed consent, it means that refusal is also an option. If you don’t get the idea that there is space in the doctor-patient relationship, in this conversation, for you to say “no,” then it’s not informed consent.” Better Birth Blog (November 6, 2017)

Informed Consent and Refusal in Obstetrics: A Practical Ethical Guide-  Andrew Kotaska MD Published March 2017. A Canadian Doctor weighs in on the ethical issue of true Informed Consent. If you read only one article on Informed Consent, let it be this one!

ACOG to Docs: Women’s Right to Say “No” Comes First– ACOG reinforces the fact that women have a right to say NO in childbirth and be respected. Birth Monopoly (May 31, 2016)

You’re Not Allowed to Not Allow Me!- Birth Monopoly A statement of truth to share with anyone who thinks they aren’t “allowed” evidence based practices in their hospital or with their doctor due to “policy” (June 17, 2014)

Official Statement of Informed Consent in Ontario Applies to Canadian law on informed consent

Consent Guide For Canadian Physicians- PDF  Canadian law on informed consent. This is what all medical practitioners are legally supposed to adhere to. If they don’t, you have the legal right to file a complaint against them or sue for damages.

Healthcare Consent Act Another Canadian law of Informed Consent, as written in the Healthcare Consent Act

Many Women and Providers Are Unprepared for an Evidence Based, Educated Conversation About Birth— Findings from recent Canadian studies on the knowledge and beliefs about birth practices among first-time pregnant women and among obstetricians and other birth providers indicate that many women are inadequately informed and many providers deliver non-evidence-based maternity care. Consequently, informed decision making is problematic for pregnant women and their providers. Journal of Perinatal Education (Fall 2011)

Choices or Control?— Evony Lynch writes about how women are exercising their rights to birth and how she was called “childish” for supporting women in those choices. Artemis Birth School (March 6, 2018)

Birth: Who is the Boss, You or Your Doctor?— when power struggles favor on the side of the care provider, problems arise for the birthing person. Whole Woman (January 9, 2016)

New ACOG Statement Says Forcing Treatment on Pregnant Women is Unethical— ACOG had to make a statement on something that should have been obvious. Mothering (June 10, 2016)

A Doctor’s Compelling Letter About the State of Maternity Care— Dr. Chavira points out to his colleagues that it is ALWAYS the mother who should be making the decisions in her care. Improving Birth (August 31, 2016)

Informed Consent, with Cristen Pascucci— a podcast on informed consent with the founder of Birth Monopoly. Birthful (February 17, 2017)

Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment— ACOG’s statement on a patient’s right to refuse treatment. ACOG (June 2016)

The Experiences of Women, Midwives, and Obstetricians When Women Decline Recommended Maternity Care: A Feminist Thematic Analysis— A great article from Bec Jenkinson’s PhD. It is so difficult for women to decline recommendations and be respected and supported. The line in the sand should be drawn by the woman not clinicians. Science Direct (September 2017)

The Problem With Implied Consent— In this episode of Birth Allowed Radio, we talk about what it means to say no to a procedure in the delivery room, when and if implied consent overrides refusal, and who is the boss of your body. Birth Monopoly (October 20, 2017)

During Childbirth, Enduring the Patriarchy Was the Hardest Part— After nine months of misogynistic language from doctors and nurses, it’s easy to forget that you’re the decision-maker about your own body. Yes Magazine (November 2, 2017)

No One Is Free From Harm: When a Family Member Has to Coordinate the Patient’s Care— not directly birth related, but highlights the importance of informed consent and patient advocacy. Modern Healthcare (April 24, 2014)

“She’s Screaming Stop”: Forced Procedures Are Assault— you have the right to refuse a procedure. You have the right to change your mind before or even during a procedure. If the care provider ignores your request to stop, THAT IS ASSAULT. Birth Monopoly (December 6, 2018)





Choosing a Supportive Care Provider: What to Look For and Why It’s Important

Low Intervention Birth: 6 Questions to Ask Care Providers– Improving Birth article, US-based but has some good tips on what to ask a care provider in order to determine whether they are supportive of physiological birth. (2019)

Responsibilities in the Mother-Midwife Relationship- Midwife Thinking

10 Questions to Help You Choose a Care Provider— Be sure to ask these important interview questions. Fit Pregnancy article (no date posted)

Don’t Feel Supported By Your OBGYN or Midwife? Leave— a mother changes practices in the second and third trimesters for her pregnancies. Baby Rabies (posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford and our Facebook page April 2, 2019)

Twelve Signs You Can Trust Your Care— here are the 12 signs you can trust your care provider/what to look for when interviewing CPs. Improving Birth (November 6, 2014)

8 Red Flags That You Are With The Wrong Care Provider— do you see any of these red flags? Improving Birth (June 2, 2014)

Does Your Doctor Hate It When You Google?—  can we really blame patients for Googling? For taking some responsibility for their own health? For not wanting to make decisions in blind faith? Improving Birth (August 22, 2016)

Who Delivered Your Baby?— Ashley Greenwald Tragash talks about how this type of language disempowers the mother as the one birthing her baby and puts focus on the care provider. Ted Talks on Youtube (February 14, 2017)

Dutch Research Shows Communication is Crucial in Childbirth— Despite what most may think, it’s not the physical pain or serious medical interventions that make childbirth so intensely challenging. According to new Dutch research, it’s actually the lack of clear communication and emotional support that determines how traumatic the childbirth experience turns out to be. I Am Expat (June 9, 2017)

How to Find an OBGYN Provider Who Embraces Your Approach— Pregnancy should be filled with happy preparations and hope for the future. One of the best ways to ensure that your prenatal care, birth, and postpartum care go smoothly is to find an OBGYN you like and trust. Feeling safe and comfortable with your obstetrician will help generate a positive experience for you and your growing family. Here are some tips and advice to guide you. Dignity Health (May 10, 2017)

Obstetric Lie #94: We Care About Your Birth Plan— if a care provider makes you feel like you NEED a birth plan to protect you, then you are with the wrong care provider (and they probably won’t follow your birth plan). Mama Birth (March 18, 2011)

The Cost of Assuming Your Doctor Knows Best— while it’s important to have a good care provider, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also question them when something doesn’t feel right. Wbur (November 13, 2017)

New Intrapartum Care Guideline from the World Health Organization Focuses on a Positive Childbirth Experience— Notably, the guideline recommends respectful maternity care and companionship of choice during labor and childbirth for all women. WHO also states that unnecessary medical procedures should be avoided if labor is progressing normally and the woman and her baby are in good condition. The Maternal Health Task Force (February 15, 2018)

Stop! I Want to Get Off the Conveyor Belt of Birth— If you are pregnant and reading this, it is my most sincere hope that you understand that you do not have to be dragged along the conveyor belt of birth. You have options and you can make really good choices for your birth. You will have a more positive experience and that is your RIGHT. It is okay to have high expectations of your birth. It is okay to want more than to come out of your birth alive and with a healthy baby. That is the absolute bare minimum that you should expect. That is a given. BirthWell BirthRight (March 2018)

Do Provider Birth Attitudes Influence Cesarean Delivery Rate: A Cross-Sectional Study— a study finds a link between cesarean birth for a first time mother with a single head-down baby and their attitude toward birth. More evidence to choose your provider carefully. BMC (May 29, 2018)

Thanks to the Patriarchy for Standing Back— “Had he waltzed in and declared it too dangerous, it would have been show over, slice away. Luckily, the dude saw this birth for what it was; urgent but not critical — he was not needed.” Romper (October 18, 2018)


Midwifery Care

5 Things That Secretly Upset Your Midwife— there are a lot of misconceptions about midwifery care that can discourage people from thinking they’re a valid and safe option. Generations Midwifery (August 29, 2016)

The Quality of Care a Midwife Provides is Priceless— midwifery care is a personalized relationship in addition to evidence-based care. Mothering (June 13, 2016)

More Moms Considering Midwifery As An Option— as more moms become aware that midwifery IS an option, more moms choose it over “traditional” birth. Coast Reporter (December 22, 2016)

9 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Midwife— pretty standard questions to ask for any care provider, with the exception of birth location. Today’s Parent (February 15, 2018)

Does a Larger Role for Midwives Mean Better Care?— a new study, a systematic look at what midwives can and can’t do in the states where they practice, offers new evidence that empowering them could significantly boost maternal and infant health. The five-year effort by researchers in Canada and the U.S., published Wednesday, found that states that have done the most to integrate midwives into their health care systems. NPR (February 22, 2018)

6 Differences Between Using a Doctor and a Midwife— the difference between midwives and doctors in BC, specifically Abbotsford. Pictures taken at West Coast Health Collective. Creative Wife & Joyful Worker (April 4, 2018)

Let Midwives & GPs Attend Low Risk Births— These days, obstetricians attend nearly 70 percent of all low-risk births in Canada. And that number is growing, as they squeeze family doctors out of the delivery room. But a study just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says OBGYNs should not be the only option. And not just family doctors either. CBC (August 24, 2015)

‘Call the Midwife’ to Lead?— How a midwifery-led model drove growth, improved obstetric outcomes, and increased patient and staff satisfaction. Linked In (October 14, 2018)

The Results Are In! Birth Centres = Better Outcomes— According to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) study, Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns, individuals with Medicaid who received prenatal care in birth centers like The Midwife Center experienced better birth outcomes compared to the rest of the nation, on average.


How To Prepare for an Empowering Birth



Pelvimetry— all about the female pelvis and how it relates to birth physiology. Feminist Midwife (October 17, 2012)

Female Pelvis: Designed for Giving Birth— Gloria Lemay writes about the physiology of the female pelvis. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 6, 2010)

When Your Body Knows Just What to Do— is hospital or home right for you? Gloria Lemay lists off the things that affect physiology of birth and what you would need to be able to cope with if you choose to birth outside your home. Birth Outside the Box (January 29, 2017)

The Ultimate Guide to Baby Position— position of the baby affects how you labor. Optimal positioning can lead to a shorter labor time. Natural Birth and Baby Care (July 5, 2017)

The Myth of the Small Pelvis— Imagine a pregnant woman being told that her pelvis is small and that she has a big baby. It is essential that she knows her pelvis has plenty of room to birth her baby and that nobody can accurately predict the size of a baby until he/she is born. The only exceptions may be malformed pelvic bones perhaps due to an accident, polio, or genetic malformations or the presence of large fibroids. BirthWorks (March 2, 2018)

Midwife’s Guide to an Intact Perineum— afraid of tearing in a physiological birth? Gloria Lemay gives her tips to keeping the perineum intact. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 11, 2008)


Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby

Placenta Ridden With Oral Bacteria; Good Oral Hygiene Could Be Important In Pregnancy— an article on the importance of oral health in pregnancy. Medical Daily (May 24, 2014)

Morning Sickness Linked to ‘Greedy Little Embryos’ Taking Iodine, New Research Says— Nausea and vomiting are actually signs embryo is healthy and mother has sufficient iodine, U of W prof says. CBC News (December 13, 2016)


The Importance of a Birth Plan

The Rise of the Birth Plan: A Design Opportunity for Patients and Hospitals— The perception among many providers is that parents with a birth plan are unreasonable and high maintenance. When in reality, if you sit down and look at birth plans, they are tools about current, evidence-based practices and the ethical and legal obligations providers already have to uphold to their patients. Tincture (April 4, 2016)

Why We Need To Stop Saying “Plans Change”— this phrase undermines women; we need to support their desires for their births, not ridicule them. Modern Alternative Mama (June 3, 2016)

My Birth Plan— Rixa Freeze writes out her birth plan. Stand and Deliver (February 4, 2011)

Why Midwives Love a Good Birth Plan— midwife Kate Visser explains why she loves birth plans. Birth Well, Birth Right (July 2017)

A Downloadable Visual Birth Plan— one blogging mama created a visual birth plan. This is NOT the Positive Birth Movement plan however there might be icons from this one that you prefer. The Best Season of My Life (August 20, 2015)

Birth Plans Are Never A Joke: Trust, Betrayal and Misogyny in Maternity Care— Cristen Pascucci’s thoughts on the time that a group of OBs on Twitter made fun of women with birth plans. Birth Monopoly (November 20, 2017)

Visual Birth Plan from The Positive Birth Book— the visual birth plan from the Positive Birth Book. Pinter and Martin (December 2017)

Want an Unmedicated Birth? 3 Expert Ways to Get There— Women who intend to have an unmedicated labor and birth can help increase the chances of being successful at doing so by doing the following 3 basic things. Motherly (October 27, 2018)

Midwifery Care is Shown to Lead to Better Outcomes (again)— Another study has shown that receiving pregnancy care from a midwife can reduce the chance of having problems (McRae et al 2018). This time, the focus was on women of low socioeconomic position and the researchers looked at three particular types of problem: having a small baby (described in the study as SGA, or small for gestational age), having a pre-term birth (PTB) and having a baby with a low birth weight (LBW). Dr. Sara Wickham (November 25, 2018)

Why Write a Birth Plan— a doula team explains why a birth plan is important and what to put in it. Yellow Bird  Birth

Your Birth Team

Who Will Be With Me During My Birth?— it’s important to choose your birth team as carefully as you choose your care provider. Having A Baby (no date specified)


Considering Adding a Doula to Your Birth Team

How Doulas Have a Huge, Positive Impact on C-Section Rates— Huffington Post (August 29, 2014)

The Evidence for Doulas- Evidence Based Birth

Midwives and Doulas— midwives often recommend their clients hire doulas for support.

Moms Say Doulas Can Make a Difference During Delivery— an article in a lifestyles magazine on doulas. Living (December 7, 2015)

8 Truths Doulas Know About Childbirth— doulas share their wisdom on childbirth. Refinery 29 (April 12, 2017)

Why Your Midwife is Not Your Doula— women often confuse doulas with midwives. Here is the difference. Jen Conway Birth Photography (May 9, 2017)


The Last Few Weeks: Waiting For Spontaneous Labor


Your Cervix is Not a Crystal Ball


What Dilation Means in Late Pregnancy— Robin Elise Weiss says, “While being told you’re dilated toward the end of your pregnancy is exciting, keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean labor is imminent. You can walk around for weeks with your cervix at 1 cm, or go from zero to 10 cm over the course of one day”. Very Well Family (updated March 18, 2019)

You Can’t Fail To Progress Before Labour— not having any signs of “progress” at prenatal appointments doesn’t mean ANYTHING for how your labor will be. Whole Woman (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford November 24, 2015)

Can I Check My Own Cervix To See If I’m Dilating?— are you too curious to know if anything is happening, but don’t actually want someone else poking your cervix? Did you know you can check it yourself? Gloria Lemay tells you what to look for. Babble (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 26, 2015)

Your Cervix: Less Like Google Maps, More Like a Tardis— your cervix cannot tell you where it’s been at or what will happen tomorrow. Cervical dilation can change and reverse itself several times before a baby exits the womb. Beyond Birth Support Doula Services (March 1, 2016)

Evidence on Cervical Checks at the End of Pregnancy— what is the evidence for and against routine cervical checks? Are they really necessary? Evidence Based Birth (February 1, 2017)

Obstetric Lie #93: “I Need You To Take Off Your Pants”— vaginal exams are unnecessary and sometimes used as a way to establish a power dynamic. Mama Birth (April 1, 2011)

Cervical Exam for Dilation During Pregnancy: Are They Necessary?— a video on the lack of evidence for routine cervical exams in pregnancy to “predict” labor.

What We Mean When We Say Dilation Doesn’t Mean Anything (a Facebook Post)— this image shows the difference between the fundus of the uterus at dilation. Note how what is actually happening is that the uterine muscles pull UP to build the fundus and expel the baby. Nova Birth Services (January 7, 2016)


Thinking Positive

3 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts— Preparing for labor means having a positive mindset. So how do we get rid of the fears and negative thoughts that can hold us back? (November 4, 2014)


Good Reasons to Wait for Spontaneous Labor

Fetal Lung Protein Release Triggers Labor to Begin— Dr. Momma discusses the research findings. (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford August 14, 2015)

Molecular Mechanisms Within Fetal Lungs Initiate Labor— Researchers have identified two proteins in a fetus’ lungs responsible for initiating the labor process, providing potential new targets for preventing preterm birth. They discovered that the proteins SRC-1 and SRC-2 activate genes inside the fetus’ lungs near full term, leading to an inflammatory response in the mother’s uterus that initiates labor. Science Daily (June 22, 2015)

5 Reasons Why the Last Few Uncomfortable Weeks of Pregnancy Are Worth It— Ready to post an eviction notice? Here’s what your baby is doing in there during weeks 37 to 40 (and beyond!) of your pregnancy. Today’s Parent (May 19, 2017)


Is it Labor or Isn’t It? The “Niggling” Phase and Prodromal Labor



You’re Not in Labour— Gloria Lemay explains “Many women do things to “get their birth going”. This can range from a 4 hour brisk hike, to acupuncture, to eating spicy food, castor oil, etc etc etc. When the body isn’t ready to give birth, all these things do is just drag out a ‘pretend’ birth process.” Wise Woman Way of Birth (2010)


Labor–Coping Mechanisms and Support


Why Labour is Such a Pain: and How to Reduce It— the cultural influences that make us believe labour is so painful, the physiology of labour “pain” and how to cope. The Conversation (December 16, 2015)

Experts Say Innovative Labor Sling May Help Reduce Cesarean Rate and Promote Natural Birth— gravity is important in physiological birth; some care providers have figured that out. M Health (November 7, 2018)

15 Things Women Do That Prolong Labor— staying on your back, in bed. Not eating and drinking as you need to. When you work against physiology, labor takes longer. Here’s what to avoid. Baby Gaga (January 3, 2017)

Physiologic Basis of Pain in Labour and Delivery: An Evidence-Based Approach to its Management— the Journals of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines for pain management. JOGC (February 2018)

Prenatal Class Part 1— Understanding what your body needs during labour and practicing comfort techniques are two great ways to get ready for your baby’s arrival. Check out this amazing prenatal class you can watch in your PJs. YouTube (January 22, 2015)


Birth Ball/Exercise Ball

Three Reasons to Use an Exercise Ball During Labor— the evidence for using a birth ball in labor. Evidence Based Birth (March 8, 2017)


Water Immersion in Labor and Birth

Evidence on Waterbirth Safety– “although more research on waterbirth is needed, current evidence shows that hospital “bans” on waterbirth are not evidence-based.” Evidence Based Birth (Published Feb 2, 2014. Updated February 7, 2018)

Largest Waterbirth Study Proves It’s Safe For Mom and Baby— a meta-analysis determines water birth is a safe and effective option for women in childbirth. Midwives of New Jersey (December 10, 2018)

Immersion in Water in Labour and Birth— Labouring in water may reduce the number of women having an epidural. Giving birth in water did not appear to affect mode of birth, or the number of women having a serious perineal tear. This review found no evidence that labouring in water increases the risk of an adverse outcome for women or their newborns. Cochrane (May 16, 2018)


The Epidural

If You’re Planning an Epidural— Penny Simkin outlines all the options available for mothers who choose the epidural for pain relief. YouTube (December 5, 2015)

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The Potential Dangers of Epidural Anesthesia— Kelly Brogan M.D. discusses the risks that come with the epidural. Pathways to Family Wellness (Spring 2015)

15 Effects Of An Epidural Every Mom Needs to Prepare For— considering an epidural? Here are some of the side effects you need to know about. NOT wanting an epidural? Read this anyway in case you change your mind or end up needing one for medical reasons so that you can prepare if these side effects happen. Baby Gaga (October 14, 2017)

Epidural: Risks and Concerns for Mother and Baby— Dr. Sarah J. Buckley outlines the seldom-discussed risks of choosing an epidural for pain relief in labor. Dr. Sarah Buckley (published 2005; updated 2009)


Physiological Birth: Birthing Without Interference


Every Person at Your Birth is an Intervention— in order for physiological birth to unfold, mothers need to feel completely safe and supported. Choose your attendants wisely. Mothering (March 11, 2016)

Pushing for First Time Moms–  by Gloria Lemay. Evidence for leaving first time moms alone in a physiological birth and how pushing differs for a first time mother vs a mother who has already had one vaginal birth. Midwifery Today (2000)

Pushing For Primips— the same article as above but updated for 2019. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 30, 2008)

What Does It Take To Have an Intervention-Free Birth— Jacquie Munro discusses what it takes to have an intervention-free birth. Slow Birth (May 30, 2013)

Oxytocin: 15 Fascinating Facts About the Love Hormone— an article about the REAL Oxytocin that our bodies naturally produce in physiological birth when we’re feeling safe and supported. Belly Belly Birth Blog (updated April 3, 2018)

The “Slow Birth” Movement— Gloria Lemay suggests that the problem with our maternity care system is that we’re rushing birth and pathologizing “slow birth” when we should just let it unfold as it will. Wise Woman Way of Birth (December 29, 2009)

Supporting Women’s Instinctive Pushing Behaviour During Birth— directed pushing may be the cultural norm, but is it what is physiology designed for mothers? Midwife Thinking (September 9, 2015)

Are Women Pushing Too Hard, and Too Soon, During Labour?— evidence catches up to what women’s bodies and midwives already know. Today’s Parent (August 12, 2016)

What We Know About Perineal Tearing, And How to Reduce It During Childbirth— so many women fear “tearing” during a vaginal birth. Here’s how to reduce the chances of it happening. The Conversation (October 23, 2016)

Laboring at Night? Turn Off the Lights— there’s evidence that the slow to progress labors are partly due to the excessive light during the nighttime hours when labor typically unfolds. You can thank our ancestors for our aversion to light in producing oxytocin and melatonin. Preg U (May 18, 2017)

Why Are So Many Babies Born Around 8AM?–Data visualization engineer Zan Armstrong takes a close look at human birth patterns. Scientific American (June 20, 2017)

Nova Birth Services— a small blurb on how the uterus actually works in birth, with pictures. Indy Birth Services (January 19, 2016)

Do Not Disturb: The Importance of Privacy in Labour— some women don’t labour well when they’re being watched. Journal of Perinatal Education (Summer 2004)

Birth: How Leaving Home is the First Intervention— as mammals, we are guided by our instincts to find our safe space to birth. For some of us, the hospital IS felt to be the safest place and we will birth without any further need for interference. But for many of us, the hospital introduces anxiety and can hinder our progress or even reverse it. Mothering (October 16, 2017)

How Contractions Work— this is how the uterus works to expel the baby.  Liz Chalmers demonstrates with a balloon and ping pong ball. This video has been shared multiple times in birth forums. YouTube (October 30, 2017)

Out of the Laboratory: Back to the Darkened Room— have you ever witnessed a cat birth a litter of kittens? This birth analogy explains why so many women have “trouble” birthing in today’s society. Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond (April 2, 2018)

Women Who Don’t “Push” During Childbirth Are 85 Percent Less Likely To Experience Severe Vaginal Tearing— Hospital stops telling women to lie on their backs and “push” during childbirth, reduces instances of severe vaginal tearing from 7% to 1%. Return to Now (October 22, 2017)

“Somersault” Maneuver for a Tight Umbilical Cord— worried about the cord being around the neck or body? Here’s a tip to avoid cord clamping/cutting. National Center for Biotechnology Information (March 1999)

Birth Study Empowers Women–“Our analysis found that those who had received GP shared care, standard public care, public midwifery continuity care or private midwifery care were all more likely to have a ‘normal’ birth than women in private obstetric care.” Science Daily (July 23, 2018)

The Role of Hormones in Childbirth— This article describes what birth hormones do and how to work with your body during labour. Childbirth Connection (September 5, 2018)

Philly-area Hospital Reduces C-Section Rate by Implementing Simple Changes— “By simply getting women out of bed, she explains they managed to drop their C-section rate from 32 percent to 26 percent. While that’s considered low these days, Rowland says 20 years ago the national C-section rate was about 21 percent.” KYW News Radio (December 7, 2018)

Women Who Don’t “Push” During Childbirth are 85 Percent Less Likely to Experience Severe Vaginal Tearing— Hospital stops telling women to lie on their backs and “push” during childbirth, reduces instances of severe vaginal tearing from 7% to 1%. Return to Now (October 22, 2017)

Coaching a Slow Birth With the Woman in an Empowered Position May Be Less Harmful Than Routine Hands-On Practice to Protect Against Severe Tears in Birth – A discussion paper— “Evidence-based practice requires sufficient evaluation of interventions before being implemented in clinical practice as well as valuing the level of evidence when making clinical decisions. Evaluation of hands-on interventions to protect women from severe perineal tears must include not just one outcome of interest, but also an assessment of how the intervention interferes with the normal mechanism of birth, and how it affects neonatal outcomes and the autonomy of women.”

Fetal Positions for Labour and Birth— knowing your baby’s position can help you in your labour and birth. Very Well Family (March 29, 2019)

Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing— Comprehensive Report Examines the Science on the Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing and Its Implications for Women, Babies and Maternity Care. Transforming Maternity Care

Interventions in Birth— wise words from Gloria Lemay that echo those of Dr. Michel Odent. “Do not disturb the birthing woman”. Wise Woman Way of Birth (October 3, 2008)


Hospital Birth: Policies, Procedures, and Evidence-Based Practices


15 Things The Hospital is Never Allowed to Forbid You To Do— hospital policies don’t overrule your rights. Baby Gaga (March 2, 2017)

Childbirth: What to Reject When You’re Expecting— these 9 procedures aren’t necessary in low-risk birth. Consumer Report (May 16, 2017)

Early Labour and Mixed Messages— in early labor it’s common for the mother to physiologically need to get to her “safe space”. In the case of a mother wanting to birth in the hospital, she feels that is her safe place to be, however the hospital environment is not set up for early labor.How do we support these mothers? Midwife Thinking (November 13, 2013)

Eating and Drinking in Labor: Let Women Decide– A Cochrane Review concluded that women should not be restricted or discouraged from eating and drinking during labor. Science Daily (January 22, 2010)

Evidence for the Saline Lock During Labor-– Do you really need a Heparin Lock/IV port in place “just in case”? Evidence Based Birth (published May 30, 2012)

Evidence on IV Fluids During Labor— Are IV fluids really necessary for every labor? Evidence Based Birth (published May 24, 2012. Updated May 31, 2017)

Are Women’s Birth Sounds Being Silenced in the Hospital— physiological birth necessitates that a mother make noises as she needs to. Are hospitals undermining that basic need? Wake Up, Mama (July 14, 2015)

Tips for Gentle and Effective Hospital Negotiations— if you have to have a hospital birth, you can still advocate for yourself. Here’s some great tips for effectively negotiating in the hospital environment. Lamaze for Parents (October 14, 2015)

15 Things Moms Are Not “Allowed” To Do During Labor— don’t let the title fool you; even though these ARE some hospital policies, they aren’t actually allowed to not allow you. Baby Gaga (January 20, 2017)

Hospital Management Practices May Put Women At Risk For C-Sections, Complications During Childbirth— more evidence that points to hospital practices as the cause of complications, not mothers’ health. Ariadne Labs (July 11, 2017)

ACOG Finally Recommends What Many Moms In Labor Had to Fight For— ACOG finally realizes that the best way for labor to progress is to leave moms ALONE! Mom.Me (March 24, 2017)

Cascade of Interventions: The Short and Long-Term Impact on Women and Babies— This is the first of a series of blog posts in which Beverley Beech discusses the modern problem of the ‘cascade of intervention’ that occurs for many birthing women and looks at the short and long term impact of this upon women and babies.

cascade of intervention.jpg



Routine Procedures


Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring 

Evidence on Fetal Monitoring— What is the evidence for intermittent vs continuous fetal monitoring in labor? Evidence Based Birth (published July 17, 2012. Updated May 21, 2018)

Electronic Fetal Monitoring: No Benefits, Plenty of Harm— The increase in cesarean sections brought on by the use of electronic fetal monitoring during delivery has not reduced rates of cerebral palsy, instead placing women at high risk of complications and death. Cerebral Palsy News Today (December 9, 2016)

A Half Century of Electronic Fetal Monitoring and Bioethics: Silence Speaks Louder Than Words— “In the early 70’s I witnessed the Corometrics Electronic Fetal Monitor (EFM) machine roll down the long hallway to Labor and Delivery, in all her glory. A machine that very quickly removed the standard of care from routine auscultation of fetal heart rate by fetoscope and confined the woman to bed, which you can imagine, led to rapidly increased cesarean sections. And also, I watched women in labor demand more medications due to restricting movement in labor, and fear, fear accelerated by the noises, beeps, and sometimes silence of the heart rate monitor. Unfortunately, meaningless artifact, that in a few short hours disrupted her trust in birth established by intense series of childbirth preparation classes.” Bio Med Central (November 21, 2017)

OB-GYNs Do Too Much Fetal Monitoring— It’s important in high-risk pregnancies, but most pregnancies aren’t risky. Scientific American (February 7, 2019)


Membrane Stripping/Sweeping

Membrane Stripping, Membrane Sweeping: Just Say NO!— Gloria Lemay critiques a study on the effectiveness of membrane stripping. “Whether or not women underwent membrane sweeping, overall rates of induction, postmaturity, and prelabor membrane rupture were similar.” Wise Woman Way of Birth (April 25, 2012)

Membrane Sweep–6 Facts to Consider Before Having One

Pros and Cons of Membrane Sweeping— a video by Rebecca Dekker on the risks and benefits of membrane sweeping. Evidence Based Birth (February 15, 2017)

Stop Stripping Membranes! (Nurturing Hearts Birth Services)

National Institute of Health–Membrane Stripping

What Does It Really Mean to Be Offered a Membrane Sweep?— this visual shared by The Birth House on Facebook shows what membrane sweeping looks like, using a piece of fruit. Warning, may be considered graphic for some.


Cervical Exams

The “C” Word: What’s Up With Cervical Exams During Birth?–cervical exams are rarely helpful to the birthing person. Birth Takes a Village (June 3, 2012)

Alternative Methods of Checking Dilation (The Purple Line and More)— there are other ways of assessing progress without a vaginal exam. Birth Without Fear (June 6, 2013)

Feminist Midwife Scripts: Painful Cervical Exams During Labor— a midwife demonstrates the respectful way to conduct a cervical exam once the mother has consented to one. Feminist Midwife (April 4, 2016)

5 Very Good Reasons To Refuse Vaginal Exams in Labour— don’t like the idea of vaginal exams while you’re in labour? You don’t have to have one. Whole Woman (May 20, 2016)

Cervical Dilatation Patterns of ‘Low‐Risk’ Women With Spontaneous Labour and Normal Perinatal Outcomes: A Systematic Review— “An expectation of a minimum cervical dilatation threshold of 1 cm/hour throughout the first stage of labour is unrealistic for most healthy nulliparous and parous women. Our findings call into question the universal application of clinical standards that are conceptually based on an expectation of linear labour progress in all women.” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (September 2017)

Progression of the First Stage of Spontaneous Labor: A Prospective Cohort Study in Two Sub-Saharan African Countries— Cervical dilatation during labour in the slowest-yet-normal women can progress more slowly than the widely accepted benchmark of 1 cm/hour, irrespective of parity. Interventions to expedite labour to conform to a cervical dilatation threshold of 1 cm/hour may be inappropriate, especially when applied before 5 cm in nulliparous and multiparous women. Averaged labour curves may not truly reflect the variability associated with labour progression, and their use for decision-making in labour management should be de-emphasized. PLOS Medical Journal (January 16, 2018)


Labour Augmentation

WHO Recommendations for Augmentation of Labour— the World Health Organization’s guidelines for labour augmentation. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (2014)


Association of Peripartum Synthetic Oxytocin administration and depressive and anxiety disorders within the first postpartum year A study showing the link between Pitocin use in labour and birth and an increased risk of a postpartum mood disorder such as Post Partum Depression or Anxiety. (2017)

Oxytocin Should Not Be Used to Augment Labor— a debate about the merits of using synthetic “oxytocin” to speed up labor. Obstetrics and Gynecology BJOG Debate (September 25, 2015)

Pitocin is Not Oxytocin— Kelly Brogan, MD highlights the differences between real Oxytocin produced by your body and the synthetic stuff in the IV named after it. Kelly Brogan (May 14, 2015)

Pitocin, How I Hate Thee, Let Me Count the Ways— why one woman (an so many other birth advocates) hates Pitocin. Mama Birth (June 14, 2010)

Exposure to Synthetic Oxytocin May Increase Risk of Postpartum Depression, Anxiety— studies link the use of synthetic oxytocin to an increased risk of PPD. Psychiatric News (January 30, 2017)

Surprise! Pitocin is Linked to PostPartum Depression— a recent study shows the link between postpartum depression and pitocin use. Mother Rising (February 3, 2017)

Study Links Post-Partum Depression to Medication Given During Childbirth— a news video on the topic of PPD being linked to Pitocin/”Oxytocin” use. CBS New York (February 10, 2017)

High Intervention Birth and Mother’s Mood— Recent studies have found that both Pitocin and epidurals increase mothers’ risk of suffering anxiety and depression. Women’s Health Today (August 6, 2017)



Artificial Rupture of Membranes/Breaking The Waters

Breaking Waters: Amniotomy or Spontaneous Rupture?

“May I Break Your Waters?”– Information on AROM. 42 Weeks birth blog (October 2, 2013)

Artificial Rupture of Membranes- UK Midwifery Archives

In Defence of the Amniotic Sac— This post will discuss how the ‘waters’ work in labour and the implications of breaking them. Midwife Thinking (September 16, 2015)

The Perineal ‘Bundle’

The Perineal ‘Bundle’ and Midwifery— Rachel Reed critiques the recommendations for reducing tearing in mothers in Australia. Some of these routine practices have been implemented here in Canada as well, but the use is individual preference. Midwife Thinking (


Newborn Procedures

Is Erythromycin Eye Ointment Always Necessary for Newborns?- Evidence Based Birth


BC Hospitals

Giving Birth at Royal Columbian? Here’s What You Should KnowEditor’s Note: This is a post from our archives, and it’s one of our most popular posts and one that people still  find through search. Comments are closed, and many of the links are broken now, but Briana’s advice at the end of the post still stands. We’re working on updating the data in this post, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and get notified when we have the new post ready. Thanks! 



Labor Variations and Complications: Variations of Physiological Birth vs the Need for Intervention


NICE Guidelines for Intrapartum Care of Mothers and their Babies (March 2019) The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published guidelines for care of mothers with existing health conditions and complications, including VBAC and Breech Birth.

Overmedicalization of Childbirth is a Breach of Human Rights— Professor Cecily Begley opens up at the Nordic Midwifery Congress. Girls’ Globe (May 13, 2016)


Complications: actual medical issues that might warrant the need for interventions


Gestational Diabetes


The Truth About Gestational Diabetes (and Why It’s Not Your Fault)— There is some debate against the use of routine testing to diagnose Gestational Diabetes, and also questioning about giving the diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes as a label on pregnant women. Dr. Sarah Buckley recommends avoiding routine testing for Gestational Diabetes for most women. Henci Goer and Dr Michael Odent are among many pregnancy and childbirth professionals who argue against diagnosing women with gestational diabetes, citing unnecessary stress and interventions as one of the risks of the Gestational Diabetes diagnosis. Nevertheless, whether you want to call it Gestational Diabetes or Pregnancy-Induced Insulin Resistance, or just high blood sugar levels in pregnancy, some women do have elevated blood sugar levels and need some extra help. Birth Without Fear (June 24, 2013)

Evidence on Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes— Rebecca Dekker talks about the evidence in regards to the common diagnostic tests for Gestational Diabetes. Evidence Based Birth (January 7, 2019)

Helping Your Client Avoid a Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis— Gloria Lemay gives some great tips on how to avoid gestational diabetes. Wise Woman Way of Birth (October 8, 2009)

Gestational Diabetes: A Diagnosis Still Looking for a Disease?— Dr. Michel Odent’s thoughts on gestational diabetes.

G is for Gestational Diabetes— a doula compiles articles on gestational diabetes. The Modern Doula.

Are You At Risk of Being Diagnosed With Gestational Diabetes? It Depends Where You Live— There’s no international threshold for the diagnosing of gestational diabetes, meaning that depending where you live when you test, you could be diagnosed as borderline, be diagnosed with GD, or not be found to have it. The Conversation (March 5, 2019)


Placenta Accreta

Too Deeply Attached: The Rise of Placenta Accreta— the increase of cases of Placenta Accreta becomes a concern for doctors. Stanford Medicine (Fall 2013)



Australian Scientists Discover New Treatment For Pre-Eclampsia— scientists have found that a cheap drug already being used for diabetes can help treat Pre-Eclampsia. The Age (December 21, 2015)

NHS to Offer Mums-To-Be New Blood Test for Pre-Eclampsia— Pregnant women in England are offered a new blood test for diagnosing/screening for pre-eclampsia. BBC News (April 2, 2019)


Emergency Care Physician Says Vitamin C Can Prevent Patients From Going Into Organ Failure— A critical-care physician in Virginia believes he may have found a cure for sepsis. Dr Paul Marik, chief of pulmonary and critical care at Eastern Virginia Medical School, says infusions of vitamin C and steroids have saved hundreds of patients from the life-threatening infection that causes organ failure.


Variations: not yet a problem, but could, might, possibly, maybe turn into one


Group B Strep/GBS

How to Prevent Group B Strep in Pregnancy— what is GBS and can it be prevented? Natural Birth and Baby Care

Group B Strep: What You Need To Know— Gloria Lemay gives tips for GBS prevention in pregnancy. Wise Woman Way of Birth (September 15, 2011)

The Evidence on: Group B Strep— what is the actual evidence for antibiotics and GBS testing? Evidence Based Birth (July 17, 2017)

Group B Strep Resources— a list of articles and blog posts about GBS. Dr. Sara Wickham (2003-2015)

Universal Antenatal Screening for Group B Streptococcus May Cause More Harm Than Good— Based on current evidence, routine screening for group B streptococcus colonisation in late pregnancy should not be introduced in the UK, as the potential harms of unnecessary treatment with antibiotics may outweigh the benefits, argue Farah Seedat and colleagues. BMJ (February 20, 2019)


“Overdue Baby”

I Was Pregnant for 10 Months— a mother feels the pressure to induce but goes to almost 43 weeks with a healthy baby! The Guardian (October 1, 2010)

Kids Born “Late” Perform Better in Elementary and Middle School— babies born in late term and after 40 weeks were found to have higher cognitive skills, a study found. AOL (July 6, 2016)

Postdates: Separating Fact From Fiction— Is there evidence behind this practice to support the routine induction of pregnancies that go beyond 40-41 weeks? What are the usual assumptions and beliefs surrounding this? Midwifery Ramblings (September 15, 2008)

Estimated Due Dates— January Harshe talks about due dates and the evidence for leaving babies to pick their own birthdays. Birth Without Fear (November 17, 2010)

Why I Asked My Midwife to NOT Tell Me My Due Date— a mother gives reasons why her due date didn’t matter to her. Mothering (September 20, 2016)

Length of Pregnancy Can Vary By Up to Five Weeks, Scientists Discover— more evidence that due dates are just guess dates. The Independent (August 7, 2013)

I Was Still Pregnant At 42 Weeks And This Is What Happened Next— a mother goes into labor after passing her due date and shares what it feels like to be “overdue”. Pop Sugar (June 10, 2018)

A Due Date is an Estimation, Not an Expiration— what happened to trusting in the mother’s body to birth? Nancy Lucina (July 5, 2017)

42 Weeks and Counting (Loving Overdue Babies)— “Carrying a baby to 42 weeks and beyond has become such a big deal in our culture. In a healthy pregnancy, carrying the baby longer is a good sign and results in a baby that sucks well and is ready for extra uterine life. This is the information that I give to mothers who are being harassed by family and/or friends to “do something”.” Wise Woman Way of Birth (April 7, 2009)


“Big Baby”

Babies Declared “Too Big” In Utero Are Often Smaller Than Doctors Predict, A Study Says, And Here’s Why That Could Be a Problem–the perception of a big baby leads to more interventions. A study says that measurements are often inaccurate. Bustle (October 12, 2015)

Doctors May Be Telling Too Many Women “You’re Having a Big Baby”— a recent study shows that the size estimates might not be as accurate as doctors want you to believe. Huffington Post (January 12, 2016)

Mom’s Reaction to Delivering 11-Pound Baby Boy At Home is Perfect— big babies can be born at home just as easily as small babies. Pop Sugar (June 2, 2018)

Big Babies and Shoulder Dystocia— Dr. Rachel Reed talks on Podcast. Birthful


“Advanced Maternal Age”

Evidence on: Advanced Maternal Age— what is the evidence regarding routine interventions and the “high risk” label for women over age 35? Evidence Based Birth (March 29. 2016)

Grand Multiparity: When you’re on Baby #5 and beyond

Robotic Obstetrics— do women ALWAYS hemorrhage after their 5th baby? Gloria Lemay talks about how “Robotic Obstetrics” has led to fear in the birth community (and how those fears are unfounded). Wise Woman Way of Birth (August 16, 2009)


“Failure to Progress”

Can You Avoid Failure to Progress?— Is Failure to Progress really a slowly ticking timebomb? Whole Woman (October 1, 2015)

Failure to Progress, the movie— a YouTube video showing why “failure to progress” is such a problem in the hospital environment.

The Performance— another YouTube video, this time showing how true oxytocin is interfered with in the hospital setting by using sex as the example.

Progression of the first stage of spontaneous labour Published January 16, 2018. This is the “revolutionary” study that circulated the blogs and news sites stating that labour “can last a really long time and still result in a healthy baby”.  “Cervical dilatation during labour in the slowest-yet-normal women can progress more slowly than the widely accepted benchmark of 1 cm/hour, irrespective of parity. Interventions to expedite labour to conform to a cervical dilatation threshold of 1 cm/hour may be inappropriate, especially when applied before 5 cm in nulliparous and multiparous women. Averaged labour curves may not truly reflect the variability associated with labour progression, and their use for decision-making in labour management should be de-emphasized.”

Friedman’s Curve and Failure to Progress: A Leading Cause of Unplanned C-Sections— Rebecca Dekker discusses the evidence on Friedman’s Curve for labor progress and how it could be contributing to unnecessary cesareans. Evidence Based Birth (April 26, 2017)

Understanding and Assessing Labor Progress

The Anterior Cervical Lip: How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Birth— the cervical lip is often a scapegoat for “failure to progress” or forcing interventions on mothers. Here’s what Dr. Rachel Reed has to say about the cervical lip. Midwife Thinking (June 15, 2016)

Is Slow Labour an Emergency?— is a slow to progress labour REALLY a “failure to progress” or do some women just need more time? Whole Woman (October 28, 2015)

New Evidence That We Just Need to Give Women More Time In Labor— more coverage of the evidence for leaving women alone in labor when mom and baby show no signs of distress. Huffington Post (March 21, 2016)

Yes, Labor Can Last A Really Long Time & Still Be Totally Healthy, Study Finds— a study finds that the use of Friedman’s Curve in determining labor stages and timing might not be evidence-based and that interventions might be over-used. Romper (January 29, 2018)

Evidence Grows That Normal Childbirth Takes Longer Than We Thought— science catches up to what women and midwives have known since forever; you can’t put labor on a timeline. Science News (January 16, 2018)

Do Not Intervene to Speed Up Birth Unless Real Risks Involved, Advises WHO— another publication talks about the WHO statement to leave laboring women alone to labor at their own pace. The Guardian (February 15, 2018)

Women Are Needlessly Rushed Through Childbirth, Doctors Say— Every labour and childbirth is unique, according to the World Health Organization. The Huffington Post (February 20, 2018)



The Curse of Meconium Stained Liquor— when meconium is found a cascade of interventions often follows, but is it necessary in all cases? Midwife Thinking (January 14, 2015)

Meconium in the Amniotic Fluid— Gloria Lemay discusses the research and findings in regards to risks of meconium in the amniotic fluid during labor and birth. Wise Woman Way of Birth (May 22, 2009)


“Prolonged Pushing”


The Prognostic Impact of a Prolonged Second Stage of Labor on Maternal and Fetal Outcome— “There is no evidence that prolonged second stage of labor is a serious disadvantage to the fetus, if adequate monitoring is provided. Because the increase of maternal morbidity in patients with prolonged labor may be partially attributed to a higher rate of operative procedures in these patients, interventions should not be solely based on the elapsed time after full cervical dilatation”. Pub Med/ National Institutes of Health (March 2002)



Posterior Babies/ “Sunny Side Up”

In Celebration of the OP Baby— Ociput Posterior babies can be born without intervention too. Midwife Thinking (June 8,

“Cord Around the Neck”

The Nuchal Cord Myth— Dr. Berlin explains why the fear of the “cord around the neck” is unfounded. Informed Pregnancy (March 30, 2017)




14 Startling Truths About Medical Inductions— Danielle Lasher (the author behind several other evidence-based articles) tackles the truths about induction. Baby Gaga (March 9, 2017)

The Great Panic About Induction— healthy women are often told all the risks of not “acting” but are rarely told about the risks of induction. Whole Woman (August 14, 2015)

The Best and Worst Reasons To Induce Labor— here are the biggest reasons why labor induction is recommended and what the evidence actually says. Giving Birth Naturally (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford February 22, 2016)

Inducing Labour (NHS Guidelines)— the NHS in the U.K. lists the guidelines and indicators for induction. Note how they offer induction for mothers who don’t go into spontaneous labour by 42 weeks NOT 40 weeks.

When Your Doctor Wants to Induce Labor: 4 Reasons to Say No— here are the reasons you might NOT want to schedule an induction in the absence of medical complications. Modern Alternative Mama (March 6, 2016)

Everything You Need to Know About Induction— there are risks to induction; especially if baby isn’t ready and there’s no medical need for it. Baby Gaga (July 7, 2016)

Bishop Score Calculator— want to know how to calculate your Bishop Score? Perinatology’s website gives all the information.

5 Risks of Inducing Labor- 5 things to know before you’re induced. Robin Elise Weiss, PhD (updated March 12, 2019)

Induction of Labour: Balancing Risks— The risks of a post-dates pregnancy being induced vs waiting for spontaneous labour. Midwife Thinking (July 13, 2016)

How to Deal With Pressure to Induce Labor— your due date has passed, but you don’t want to induce without a good reason. How to handle the pressure. Belly Belly (June 5, 2018)

Obstetric Lie #82: Induction is Risk Free— induction is definitely NOT risk-free. Mama Birth (October 14, 2012)

Induction Overload— why have Canadian induction rates climbed so high, and is it a problem? Today’s Parent (August 3, 2010)

Cervical Ripening and Induction Guidelines Perinatal Services BC

SOGC Guidelines for Induction of Labor 2013— The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada had published guidelines for induction on their website. Unfortunately they have either deleted the guidelines or restricted access to members of the medical community (so much for transparency in healthcare). Fortunately, however, I’m a meticulous collector of PDF files and saved it. ImprovingBirthAbbotsford public files on google documents (originally published on Facebook August 11, 2017)

Ten Things I Wish Every Woman Knew About Induction of Labor— Sarah Wickham outlines the ten things that every woman needs to know before she consents to an induction. PDF file

World Health Organization Recommendations for Induction–the guidelines for induction from the WHO (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford 2017)

Don’t Let Them Induce You— Gloria Lemay critiques the study that led to routine induction. “This is an expose of the poor “science” that started the induction epidemic back in the 1990s. Women continue to be induced to this day despite the publication of this article.” Wise Woman Way of Birth (April 30, 2009)

Induction Dangers–Gloria Lemay

5 Q&A About Inducing Labor— The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses’ CEO answers questions about induction. AWHONN (July 1, 2015)

How Pitocin is Different Than Oxytocin— Robin Elise Weiss MD points out how induction of labor with Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) is different from spontaneous labor. Very Well Family (September 16, 2018)

Induction: A Step by Step Guide— Dr. Rachel Reed describes the steps to induction of labor. Midwife Thinking (March 18, 2015)

Saying “No” to Induction— journal of Perinatal Education outlines the risks and benefits of induction vs waiting, and gives childbirth educators tips on how to empower women to say no to unnecessary inductions that have become routine. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (Spring 2006)

What Are Some Factors Driving Use of Induced Labor in the US?— a list of findings on how often women in the US experienced routine induction for various indicators. Some of the information in this article does also apply to Canadian maternity in some areas. Transforming Maternity Care (2017)

8 Tips for a Positive Induction— do you need to induce for medical reasons? Here’s some tips on making it a more positive experience. Belly Belly Birth Blog (June 5, 2018)

Women’s Experiences of Induction of Labour: Qualitative Systematic Review and Thematic Analysis— “The review indicates that IoL is a challenging experience for women, which can be understood in terms of the gap between women’s needs and the reality of their experience concerning information and decision-making, support, and environment.” Midwifery Journal (February 2019)

Research Finds Women Are Being Steered Towards ‘Routine Acceptance’ of Induction of Labour— a study found that women are not being given all the information needed to make an informed choice in regards to induction of labour, with information being biased towards having the client accept the induction. University of Hertfordshire (January 18, 2018)



…for Post-Dates Pregnancy

Induction at 39 Weeks? That’s a Feminist Issue— Milli Hill criticizes the new study pushing induction for all birthing people at 39 weeks. The Positive Birth Movement (August 10, 2018)

Inducing Labor at 39 Weeks May Reduce C-Sections. Should It Become Common Practice?–“Of the about 23,000 eligible patients in the trial, over 16,000 declined to participate. This indicates that most women don’t actually want to be induced and that there is selection bias: Those who enrolled might not represent the general population with regard to desire for induction.” Quartz (August 12, 2018)

Should Every Mother Be Induced at 39 Weeks? The ARRIVE Trial— Sarah Buckley offers her wisdom in light of the ARRIVE study. Dr. Sarah Buckley (October 4, 2018)

Routine Induction of Labour at 41 Weeks Gestation: Nonsense Consensus –In 1992 a study was done on post-dates pregnancy that concluded that after 41 weeks the risk of stillbirth increased. Shortly after in 1997 these guidelines were put into place and the routine induction of all women who went past 40 weeks was established as commonplace. But how was that study actually carried out? Another obstetrician studied the raw data and found that these findings were biased. In 2003 he published an article based on his findings.

40 Reasons to Give Your Baby 40+ Weeks of Pregnancy— You’re approaching the end of your pregnancy and you’re ready to be done with it! We hear you, but here’s all the reasons why you might want to hold off on booking an induction if there’s no complications. Belly Belly birth blog (updated April 3, 2018)

Evidence on Due Dates— the evidence for and against induction of labor for a post-dates pregnancy. Evidence Based Birth (April 15, 2017)

Review Shows That “Evidence is Lacking” to Induce Labor Before 42 Weeks of Pregnancy— A review of trials comparing induction of labour with expectant management has concluded that evidence is lacking for the recommendation to induce labour at 41 weeks instead of 42 weeks for the improvement of perinatal outcome. Dr. Sara Wickham (August 20, 2018)

How Do Women Feel About Induction of Labour for Post-Term Pregnancy?— Sarah Wickham goes over the results of a UK study on the experiences of women with post-term inductions. “This review identified several negative experiences of women undergoing postterm IOL. However, the experiences of women with induced labor can likely be improved by a communicative and patient‐centered approach. To support their informed choice and shared decision making, women need high‐quality, unbiased information about IOL, alternative options, and potential outcomes, as well as time to reflect on their personal values and preferences. Women may also need supported opportunities to re‐evaluate their hopes and expectations before receiving IOL.” 

Routine Induction of Labour at 41 Weeks Gestation: Nonsensus Consensus— “An obstetrician in Winnipeg began to doubt the “science” that said outcomes were better if induction happened at 41 weeks. He asked the “science” publisher, Mary Hannah, an Ontario ob/gyn if he could have her raw data. What he found were a number of skewed results because of bias. Here’s what he published in the British Journal of Medicine.”– Gloria Lemay.  BJOG (December 22, 2003)


…for Low Amniotic Fluid

What is the Evidence for Induction of Labor for Low Amniotic Fluid?— Rebecca Dekker of Evidence Based Birth has her article published in Science & Sensibility (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford November 10, 2015)

Amniotic Fluid Volume: Too Much, Too Little, Or Who Knows?— Dr. Rachel Reed discusses the evidence for induction for low fluid. Midwife Thinking (December 2017)


…for Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (PROM)

Evidence for Inducing Labor If Your Water Breaks At Term— what the current evidence says about induction of labor for PROM. Evidence Based Birth (Published November 20, 2014; updated July 10, 2017)

Pre-Labor Rupture of Membranes: Impatience and Risk– Dr. Rachel Reed weighs the evidence for and against induction when waters break before labor begins. Midwife Thinking (January 11, 2017)


…for Suspected “Big Baby”

What is the Evidence for Induction or C-Section for a Big Baby?— Rebecca Dekker goes over the latest evidence in regards to induction for a suspected big baby. Evidence Based Birth (June 8, 2016)


“Natural” Induction

The Dos and Donts of Using Castor Oil to Induce Labour— what is it? Does it work? What are the risks and do you really need it? HealthLine (2017)




Assisted Vaginal Birth



A Brief History of Vaginal Cutting During Childbirth— It sounds extreme because it is. Today, episiotomies are rarely performed. But as recently as 1979, four out of five delivering moms were having the flesh between their anus and their genitals snipped during childbirth. What follows is an abridged version of the long, capricious history of the episiotomy. Gizmodo (June 12, 2015)

Routine Episiotomy is Harmful. Consent is Essential— Eva Martin discusses how routine use of episiotomy is not evidence-based. This article also briefly discusses Kimberley Turbin’s case. Elm Tree Medical (July 19, 2016)


Cesarean Birth


26 Stunning Photos That Capture the Sheer Strength of C-Section Moms— never doubt your strength. Huffington Post (March 6, 2017)

Forget ‘Too Posh To Push’: Doctors Are Behind The Rise In C-Sections— why we need to stop blaming mothers “choosing” a c-section for the rising c-section rates. The Conversation (January 19, 2012)

It’s No Wonder Women Opt For Caesareans Over Natural Birth When They Are Not Given a Real Choice— The announcement that women may be routinely warned of the risks of “normal” vaginal birth, along with those of caesarean section, has sparked some fascinating debates, specifically about what “informed choice” means. The Conversation (August 22, 2016)

A Proven Method for Lowering The Cesarean Rate— there were studies done as early as the 1970s on reducing csection rates and in 1998 they ran a series of studies. Doctors who preferred convenience did all they could to undermine them, sadly, Gloria Lemay explains. Wise Woman Way of Birth (published August 2009, updated July 2017)

Our C-Section Rate Won’t Budge–Is it Because We Don’t Trust Women’s Hormones?— An unprecedented new report looking at biochemical mechanisms linked to birth and breastfeeding suggests that the over-treatment in the delivery room is having lasting, harmful effects on both mothers and children. Pacific Standard (March 3, 2015)

Great Big Story— Dr. Neel Shah talks about how in one generation our rate of C-Section has gone up 500% and that’s a problem. (Video posted January 5, 2016 on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford)

Elective and Emergency: They Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean— what’s the actual distinction between and “Elective” c-section and an “Emergency” and why does it matter? Matter Hatter/Whole Woman (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford February 9, 2016)

My Scar— women share their c-section stories. Facebook video (May 19, 2017)

Doctor Nails Reasons Behind 500% C-Section Increase Since the 70s— Dr. Neel Shah speaks out about the real reasons behind the rise in c-sections and how to avoid an unnecessary one. Belly Belly Birth Blog (June 5, 2018)

The Global Epidemic of Unnecessary Cesarean Sections— the epidemic is addressed by the Maternal Health Task Force (January 24, 2017)

Caesarean Section Versus Natural Birth: An Obstetrician Examines a New Review— “Clearly, it does not make sense to compare the risk of urinary incontinence, say, with the risk of a stillbirth. Obstetricians are aware of the various risks of caesarean versus vaginal delivery and should help to guide the patient in making a decision. In order to prevent any further increase in the caesarean section trend, obstetricians need to take responsibility for how this information is conveyed to patients, taking the patient’s full reproductive life into account, and also aiming to minimise the risks for any following pregnancies.” The Conversation (January 25, 2018)

This New Term For C-Sections Gives Power Back To Moms— for some moms the term “belly birth” doesn’t fit for their experience, but for others it can be empowering. Today’s Parent (May 14, 2018)

Clinicians’ Views of Factors Influencing Decision-Making For Caesarean Section: A Systematic Review and Metasynthesis of Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Method Studies— This systematic review and metasynthesis identified clinicians’ personal beliefs as a major factor that influenced the decision to perform caesarean section, further contributed by the influence of factors related to the health care system and clinicians’ characteristics. PLOS (July 27, 2018)

The Truth Behind America’s Soaring C-Section Rate— The rise in c-sections and the huge variations in rates across the country, he believes, can be largely attributed to how delivery rooms are set up and how they operate. In many cases, he says, “You’ve got the most intense treatment environment,” presumably set up so you could be proactive in treating a problem. And yet it’s “the healthiest patients” who are being treated there. Essentially, he explains, that’s like taking 99 percent of American moms and putting them in something that’s like an ICU unit and surrounding them with surgeons. And what’s bound to happen when you’re surrounded by surgeons? “Surgery,” he says.

Anatomy of a Csection— an informative video of all the layers being cut through during a cesarean using felt swatches.


“What if I don’t WANT a C-Section but they aren’t giving me a choice?”

Obstetric Lie #86: You Need a C-Section— sometimes you don’t actually need a c-section. Here’s how to spot the times when care providers lie. Mama Birth (November 2, 2011)

Maybe You Need a Caesarean, Maybe You Don’t–Do you need a caesarean or is it safe to watch and wait? Only you can decide what you’re most comfortable with, but you need some solid information to make that decision. Whole Woman (March 21, 2016)

Consent Form For a Forced Cesarean— Dr. Fischbein (a breech vaginal birth supporter) has written up a lovely consent form for you to give to your doctor, should there be any issue over who gets to decide whether you have a cesarean or not.

Why Do Women Consent to Surgery, Even When They Do Not Want To— a journal article studies the factors that influence women to consent to unwanted cesareans. PubMed (2006)


The Risks

Caesarean Section versus Natural Birth– an obstetrician examines a new review Published January 25, 2018. “Clearly, it does not make sense to compare the risk of urinary incontinence, say, with the risk of a stillbirth. Obstetricians are aware of the various risks of caesarean versus vaginal delivery and should help to guide the patient in making a decision. In order to prevent any further increase in the caesarean section trend, obstetricians need to take responsibility for how this information is conveyed to patients, taking the patient’s full reproductive life into account, and also aiming to minimise the risks for any following pregnancies. It is an educational and ethical challenge for doctors to balance the potential risk factors of current versus future pregnancies. While women are being given more choice, I don’t think that it is ethical or advisable to let the patient prioritise between different outcomes as the authors suggest. Rather, patients should be informed of all of the risks – at all life stages, for mother and child – and assess their options based on that.”

Long-term risks and benefits associated with cesarean delivery for mother, baby, and subsequent pregnancies. –“When compared with vaginal delivery, cesarean delivery is associated with a reduced rate of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, but this should be weighed against the association with increased risks for fertility, future pregnancy, and long-term childhood outcomes.” PLOS Medical Journal (January 23, 2018)

C-section in First Birth Linked to Higher Risk of Future Stillbirth, Ectopic Pregnancy— there’s a link between cesarean birth and future complications. 14% increased risk of stillbirth and 9% increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Medical News Today (July 2, 2014)

Giant Study Links C-Sections with Chronic Disorders— study finds that people with chronic disorders were more likely to have been born via cesarean. Science Nordic (December 9, 2014)

Interview With Dr. Neel Shah, Co- Author of the Cesarean Rates Research*– *title of article was shortened. Science and Sensibility (December 16, 2015)

Study Tracks Long-Term Health Risks to Women After Having a C-Section— there are long-term consequences to the health of mothers who have c-sections. Ariadne Labs (August 9, 2017)

Women Who Birth By C-Section Face Long-Term Health Risks: Study— more coverage of the new study on long-term health risks. Global News (August 10, 2017)

Post Hysterectomy Skeletal and Anatomical Changes— one of the risks of a cesarean is a hysterectomy, especially in repeat cesareans. Here are the potential risks after a hysterectomy. Hormones Matter (April 23, 2013)

Relationship Between Cesarean Delivery Rate and Maternal and Neonatal Mortality— National cesarean delivery rates of up to approximately 19 per 100 live births were associated with lower maternal or neonatal mortality among WHO member states. Previously recommended national target rates for cesarean deliveries may be too low. JAMA Network (December 1, 2015)

Cesarean Deliver Can Pose Long-Term Risks to Mother and Child— While a cesarean delivery is sometimes necessary and can be lifesaving, it may have serious long-term disadvantages for both mother and child, researchers report. The New York Times (January 26, 2018)

New Research On Baby Poop Has Some Concerning Findings— The researchers identified three main factors that may be contributing to the decreased presence of beneficial bacteria: infant formula, antibiotics and c-section rates. According to a study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics, these three factors were linked to changes in gut bacteria that may be linked to health issues such as allergies, asthma and weight problems. SimpleMost (March 16, 2018)

Placenta Accreta Spectrum Disorders: A Critical Absence From the Cesarean Section Debate— while mothers are often counselled on the risks of vaginal birth, few are counselled on the risks of a cesarean and fewer are aware of the risk of accreta. Maternal Health Task Force (May 8, 2018)


Choosing Cesarean Birth


Reasons why moms might choose a c-section

Why I’d Rather Give Birth Via C-Section— a mother chooses cesarean birth after a traumatic vaginal delivery. Huffington Post (published November 6, 2014)

6 Reasons You May Need a C-Section— some of the most common reasons for a c-section in Canadian maternity care. Today’s Parent (November 12, 2015)

Instead of Judging Women Who Want a C-Section, Why Not Listen?— When it comes to birth planning, the woman’s needs should be paramount. It should make no difference if she asks for a caesarean. The Guardian (August 21, 2018)

Waiting for Spontaneous Labor Before Having a Planned C-Section

C-Sections Are Best With a Little Labor, a Study Says— data showed that babies born after spontaneous labor had less complications from a cesarean than babies born by scheduled cesarean. New York Times (December 14, 2015)

Vaginal Seeding

Using a Mother’s Microbes to Protect Cesarean Babies— a study was done on the benefits of vaginal seeding after a cesarean birth. The New York Times (February 1, 2016)

Researchers Test Microbe Wipe To Promote Babies’ Health After C-Sections— more information about the new testing for vaginal seeding. NPR (February 1, 2016)


Gentle Cesarean

12 Ways to Have a Mother-Friendly Cesarean— a blog post for moms who want a gentler, more family-centered cesarean birth. BellyBelly birth blog (updated June 10, 2018)

Cesarean Intersection Midwifery Today published an article on new gentle, family-centered cesarean techniques. (2013)

Mother-, Baby-, and Family- Centered Cesarean Delivery: It IS Possible— OB GYN News article on implementing gentle cesarean births into hospital practices. (2013)

Evidence for Skin to Skin After a Cesarean— The benefits of skin to skin contact after a c-section. Evidence Based Birth (October 27, 2017)

The Story of Implementing Skin to Skin in Our OR— The Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) write about how they brought the practice of skin-to-skin to women undergoing a C-Section. Life (August 25, 2015; updated December 6, 2017)

‘Gentle’ C-Sections Are Growing in Popularity— as more women learn about gentle c-sections, more women are requesting them. CNN (June 13, 2017)

The Simple Invention Set to Revolutionize C-Sections Forever— three nurses invent a skin-to-skin c-section drape to promote skin-to-skin contact after a cesarean birth. Belly Belly Birth Blog (June 10, 2018)

This Mom Saw Her Baby Being Born During a C-Section And Honestly, It’s Pretty Cool— Clear surgical drapes are part of a trend toward “family-centered cesarean sections” — sometimes called “gentle cesareans” — so that the experience is less like surgery and more like a vaginal birth. BuzzFeed News (April 13, 2018)

Skin-To-Skin Contact And What Women Want In The First Hours After a Cesarean— Women wanted their baby to stay with them and have skin-to-skin contact, even if they felt apprehensive about providing this care. An overarching theme was, ‘I want our baby’. Several subthemes also emerged: ‘I felt disconnected when I was separated from my baby’, ‘I want to explore my naked baby’, ‘I want my partner involved‘, and ‘It felt right’. Science Direct (July 2019)


Primary Cesarean

Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery— the definition for “dystocia” needs to be revised. Table 3 at the bottom of the article is a PDF file. Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (March 2014)

Repeat Cesarean (RCS)

More BC Women Choosing to Have Repeat C-Sections, a UBC Study Finds— BC has the highest repeat c-section rate in Canada. CBC News (December 7, 2016)

The High Price of Multiple Cesareans— A recent study once again reinforces the message that the more cesareans are done, the higher the risk for complications. The Well-Rounded Mama (November 2, 2018)


Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)


ACOG 2018 statement IB

Why is Our VBAC Rate So Dismal?— Unfortunately, this evidence-based support for VBAC has not translated into clinical practice in an appreciable way.  Many women are still being given one-sided counseling with an emphasis on the risk of uterine rupture with a TOLAC and little, if any, acknowledgment of the risks of surgical delivery, especially in women who want a larger family. ICAN (December 19, 2016)

VBAC Bans: The Insanity of Mandatory Surgery— Legally and ethically, a care provider shouldn’t be able to force someone into a repeat c-section they don’t need…but it happens. Improving Birth (April 14, 2014)

Vaginal Birth After C-Section: New Guidelines Say It’s a Safe Option— more press on the RCOG guidelines. Belly Belly Birth Blog (update June 10, 2018)

Informed Pregnancy Podcast: VBAC— Dr. Elliott Berlin talks with Jen Kamel of VBACFacts on podcast.

VBAC: Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill- Midwife Thinking

VBAC Sabotage: 9 Things That De-rail Your VBAC Attempt— a doula gives advice on what traps not to fall into when attempting a VBAC. BellyBelly birth blog (updated June 10, 2018)

Go In Pushing: It’s Not a VBAC Birth Plan— Whole Woman explains why the “go in pushing” advice for VBAC moms doesn’t always work. (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford October 21, 2014)

VBAC Education Project— brought to you by the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). This free, education-based program comes with modules and handouts for parents, birth advocates, and birth workers.

Midwifery Care for the VBAC Woman— care for the VBAC mother looks different according to Gloria Lemay. Wise Woman Way of Birth (May 6, 2015)

“No One Can Force You To Have a Cesarean” Is False— Jen Kamel explains why trying to have a VBAC at a hospital with a VBAC ban or an unofficial anti-VBAC policy (shown through restrictive practices and policies for “allowing” VBAC) doesn’t work. VBACFacts (January 26, 2016)

Too Bad We Can’t Just Ban Accreta: The Downstream Consequences of VBAC Bans— Jen Kamel discusses the long-term health consequences of forcing women into repeat surgery by banning VBAC. Science & Sensibility (published April 2, 2015; updated February 15. 2017)

Natural Birth After a Caesarean: New Guidelines Assure Women It’s “Possible and Safe”— new guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) state that VBAC is a safe choice for women. Huffington Post (February 2, 2015)

The Three Biggest Concerns With ACOG’s New VBAC Guidelines— Jen Kamel critiques the 2017 ACOG statement on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. VBACFacts (October 31, 2017)

Evidence of Experience: Which Matters More?— Jen Kamel discusses the problem with equating experiencing one bad outcome with a perceived increasing risk to ALL women who want to attempt a VBAC. VBACFacts (August 8, 2017)

Cinderella VBACs and Gestational Age– “This is what author Henci Goer calls a “Cinderella VBAC.” The doctor claims to support VBACs, but puts so many limits on VBAC labors that almost no one gets one. Examples: the mother must go into labor before 40 weeks, the baby has to be below a certain weight, the mother must not gain very much weight in pregnancy, etc.” The Well-Rounded Mama (February 11, 2018)

VBAC after Cesarean for Arrest of Descent or Cephalo-Pelvic Disproportion— have you been told the reason you had a c-section was because your baby wouldn’t fit through your pelvis? Are you being discouraged from trying for a vaginal birth? Here’s the facts concerning CPD. The Well-Rounded Mama (April 19, 2018)

Six Confusing Facts: What the Large Canadian VBAC Study Really Says— a study was published in Canada discouraging VBAC, but Jen Kamel breaks down the data to show what is really being said vs what is conveniently spun by non-supportive birth professionals. VBACFacts (May 7, 2018)

Belinda Was Over 6 CM Dilated And In Active Labor When She Fired Her Obstetrician— feeling like a care provider is pushing you into a repeat c-section? You can fire them in labor. Mama Mia (June 17, 2018)

Insider’s Tip on How to Have a Great VBAC— Gloria Lemay shares a post that she sent to the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). Wise Woman Way of Birth (October 9, 2009)

VBAC and Prior Cervical Dilation— some care providers use prior cervical dilation to determine if you’re a “good candidate for VBAC” but what does the evidence actually say? The Well-Rounded Mama (February 4, 2019)


VBAC Breech

Amazing Breech VBAC— a mother has a fast VBAC with a breech baby. Birth Without Fear (February 26, 2013)


VBAC and Induction

Can You Induce VBAC? The Wrong Question— while you technically CAN induce VBAC, the important question is whether you want to or if it’s even necessary. Whole Woman (March 6, 2016)


VBAC after more than one cesarean

Thoughts on VBAC After Three or More Prior Cesareans— Jen Kamel breaks down the evidence and studies on VBAC after multiple cesareans. VBACFacts (September 13, 2012)

With multiples

A Fight for a Twin VBA2C Birth in the Hospital— a mother has a VBA2C in hospital with twins! Birth Without Fear (May 26, 2017)


Cesarean Birth After Cesarean (CBAC): When VBAC Doesn’t Happen

What is CBAC?— CBAC mothers have unique emotional needs. This website is intended to address those issues and connect CBAC mothers to other resources. Cesarean Birth After Cesarean; sponsored by ICAN.

Breech Birth


Statements and Guidelines on Breech Birth


Breech rixa risk benefits calculation

C-Section Not the Best Option for Breech Birth- An article  on the disappearance of vaginal breech birth as an option for women, and how an automatic scheduled cesarean for breech is neither safer nor appropriate. Globe and Mail (June 17, 2009; updated May 1, 2018)

SOGC Guidelines on Vaginal Breech Delivery SOGC (Canadian version of ACOG) guidelines stating that vaginal breech delivery IS a valid option for women and should be offered/woman’s wishes respected. Tl; dnr: If your doctor tells you that you can’t have a vaginal breech birth and that you “HAVE TO” have a c-section, they’re lying. You CAN refuse surgery.

My Letter to Glendale Adventist Medical Centre— Rixa Freeze writes about the unethical policy forcing cesarean delivery for breech babies. Stand and Deliver (September 1, 2016)

Michel Odent on Breech— an excerpt from Michel Odent’s book, “Birth Reborn”. Stand and Deliver (October 13, 2017)

What Would Happen if All Dutch Women Had a Planned C-Section for Breech?— Rixa Freeze examines the evidence in the 2000 Term Breech Trial and how many neonatal deaths would actually be prevented if every mother who had a breech birth had a c-section. Stand and Deliver (January 28, 2018)

A Doula’s Experience With Breech Birth— Gloria Lemay shares her thoughts after a doula tells her story of a client who attempted a vaginal birth but was pushed into an “emergency” cesarean. Wise Woman Way of Birth (February 18, 2018)

Breech Birth Mostly Safe, According to Updated Guidelines— Learning several simple skills can make a breech birth safer for both mother and baby. A presentation at the 2018 Annual ACOG Meeting in Austin highlighted several techniques to enhance safety for both a planned or unplanned vaginal breech birth. Modern Medicine Network (April 30, 2018)

Management of Breech Presentation— This is the executive summary of obstetric recommendations when advising mothers for their options in breech birth. BJOG (March 16, 2017)


Breech Vaginal Birth

Breech- Gloria Lemay

Into the Breech: This Midwife Says Breech Births are Safe and Natural. Now She Just Has to Convince Doctors— Betty Anne Davis talks about the safety of breech vaginal birth. CBC (November 4, 2016)

Research on Breech Birth in an Upright Position— Upright vaginal breech delivery was associated with reductions in duration of the second stage of labor, maneuvers required, maternal/neonatal injuries, and cesarean rate when compared with vaginal delivery in the dorsal position. Dr. Sarah Wickham (November 28, 2016)

The Birth of Zoe: A Natural Breech— a mother gives birth to a breech baby (with pictures). Kate Kennedy Birth Photography (May 29, 2017)

Three Vaginal Breech Births: Hospital, Birth Centre, and Home Birth— three women birth breech babies, all in different birth settings. The Birth Hour (November 2017)

Our Perfect Breech Delivery Story— a Footling Breech born in BC. Modern Wellness Collective (January 25, 2019)


External Cephalic Version (ECV)

What is the Evidence for Using External Cephalic Version to Turn a Breech Baby?

ACOG Issues Guidance on External Cephalic Version— The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issues a statement on ECV for breech presentation. Medscape (February 3, 2016)

Multiple Births


Triplets Born To Woman Who Opts Not to Have a C-Section-– a mother in Omaha births triplets vaginally. KETV (March 20. 2015)

Birthing Twins: Natural vs. C-section–a list of reasons why you might choose vaginal birth over a c-section for twins. Baby Gaga (July 28, 2016)

Vaginal Hospital Birth of Triplets— a mother ignores the pressure of the medical community to birth her triplets vaginally in the hospital. Birth Without Fear (April 18, 2013)

Liam & Henry, Twins, 32 Weeks, Natural Birth With Breech Extraction— a video of a twin breech birth of pre-term babies. YouTube (April 24, 2017)

Twin Births: Vaginal Delivery Safer Than Caesarean— Vaginal delivery of twins is associated with less neonatal morbidity and mortality than cesarean delivery, and should be the birth method of choice when the first twin has a cephalic presentation, the authors of a large, population-based study report. Medscape* (May 9, 2017)

*You need to create a free Medscape account to view the article.


Hayley’s Story: The Twin Birth of Tobias and Maximus— a mother births 8 lb twin boys at home. Continuity Matters (June 10, 2018)

Mother of Triplets Gives Rare Birth Without C-Section at Seton Hays— a mother in Austin, Texas, births triplets vaginally in a hospital.



Home Birth


“If I Were at Home, I Would Have Died”. The Trouble With Extrapolating Hospital Birth Events to Home Birth— have you had people say this to you when you express a desire to birth at home or share your home birth story? Pathways to Family Wellness (Fall 2011)

SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines Statement on Homebirth— the SOGC’s clinical practice guidelines (2019)

Why Not Home? The Surprising Birth Choices of Doctors and Nurses— a documentary on why healthcare professionals are opting out of the hospital for their own births. Why Not Home–YouTube (September 3, 2018)

In the Media

Low-Risk Births Just As Safe At Home As In Hospital: McMaster Study— a study published in the Canadian Medical Journal suggests that low-risk birth at home is just as safe as in the hospital. CBC News (December 21, 2015)

Home Birth With a Midwife is No Riskier For Low-Risk Women Than a Hospital Birth: Study— more information on the study into the safety of homebirth for low-risk women. The National Post (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford December 22, 2015)

Study Finds No Added Risk For Home Birth in Rural Areas— a study finds no additional risk for mothers in rural areas to choose home birth. UBC News (November 20, 2017)


Mothers’ Experiences

15 Celebrities Who Have Chosen Home Birth— just for fun, here’s some celebrities who gave birth at home. Pop Sugar (January 18, 2016)

An Intense, but Healing Home Birth— the birth of my daughter and my experience with prodromal labor and confirmation that the cervix is most definitely NOT a crystal ball.

Pressure-Free Home Birth After 2 Weeks of Braxton Hicks Contractions–a mother has 2 weeks of prodromal labor. Birth Without Fear (July 27, 2016)

What It’s Really Like to Have a Home Water Birth— two women share their stories. Women’s Health (November 11, 2016)


Scientific Studies

Birth is No Reason To Go to The Hospital, Review Suggests— A new Cochrane Review concludes that all countries should consider establishing proper home birth services. They should also provide low-risk pregnant women with information enabling them to make an informed choice. Science Daily (September 19, 2012)

A Surve

Reasons to Choose Homebirth

Top Ten Reasons Why This Attorney Chose a Home Birth— a lawyer gives her top reasons she chose homebirth. Fearless Parent (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford March 1, 2015)

Home Birth: Why This Doctor Would Still Choose One— Aviva Romm discusses the reasons she would still choose home birth. Aviva Romm MD (February 4, 2014)

…After Cesarean (HBAC)

Homebirth After Cesarean: The Myth and the Reality— why women attempting VBAC are choosing homebirth instead of going back to the hospital. Midwifery Today (Summer 2008 issue)

My HBA2C Story— Joanne Crawford had a cesarean. Then, she had a second cesarean which also included pulling the baby from her belly with forceps. Then, she took Doula Training. She found out she could give birth at home and this is her contribution to YOU. YouTube (November 2, 2007)

…With Multiples


Twin Home Birth

One Extraordinary Birth!— six days of labor, 33 hours between births, two healthy babies! Birth Without Fear (July 15, 2011)


…With a Breech Baby


Footling Breech

A Footling Breech Homebirth— a mother has a footling breech at home. Birth Without Fear (August 9, 2011).

The Footling Breech Home Birth of Nylah— a mother has a footling breech home water birth. Kate Kennedy Birth Photography (November 6, 2017)



A Story of Patience; 20 Years of Waiting, 44 Weeks Gestation, an Unassisted Birth— a mother births unassisted after passing her due date by a whole month. Birth Without Fear (October 29, 2012)


AfterBirth: The Third Stage and Beyond


baby's blood belongs in her body

Evidence for Delayed Cord Clamping


Leaving Well Alone in the Third Stage— Dr. Sarah J. Buckley focuses on the importance of delayed or no cord clamping after birth. BirthSpirit (July 7, 2014)

Keeping the Umbilical Cord Intact— Gloria Lemay shows the difference between a cord still full of blood and one that is ready to be clamped and cut. Wise Woman Way of Birth (November 26, 2015)

Major Break-Through for Delayed Cord Clamping— the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists updated their guidelines to delay cord clamping for at least 30-60 seconds after birth. (December 22, 2016)

 5 Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping— there are many reasons not to clamp the cord right after birth. MommyPotamus (2015)

Midwife: ‘My 10 Year Fight to Prove That Cutting The Cord Too Soon Puts Babies at Risk’— Midwife Amanda Burleigh has spent the last decade campaigning for babies to have more time attached to umbilical cords before they are cut and clamped. The Telegraph (April 22, 2015)
Science Update: Delayed Cord Clamping May Benefit Infant Brain Development, NIH-Funded Study Finds— A 5-minute delay in clamping the umbilical cord after birth may benefit an infant’s developing brain, suggests a small study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The delay, which is a change from the traditional practice of clamping and cutting the cord immediately after birth, allows iron-rich red blood cells to flow from the placenta into the infant’s circulatory system. By 4 months of age, the brains of infants in the study who underwent delayed clamping had more myelin, a brain-insulating material, compared to those whose cords were clamped within 20 seconds. Myelin, which accelerates communication in the brain, is produced by iron-dependent brain cells. National Institutes of Health (February 27, 2019)


The Placenta

Examining a Normal Placenta— a video of a normal placenta. Wise Woman Way of Birth (October 31, 2013)


Skin-to-Skin Contact

The Danger of Interrupting Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact— A recent study found women who did not have immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding within the first 30 minutes following birth were twice as likely to experience one type of serious birth complication. Belly Belly Birth Blog (June 5, 2018)

It’s Science: Skin-To-Skin Time Benefits Your Baby Even 20 Years Later— the benefits of skin-to-skin contact are long-lasting. Motherly (January 31, 2018)



AP What???— Dr. Berlin explains what the APGAR score is. Informed Pregnancy (February 21, 2017)


Neonatal and Postpartum Complications 



In BC, a New Approach Helps Intensive-Care Babies Stay With Their Moms From the Start— the BC Women’s Hospital creates special mother-baby rooms for NICU families to stay together. The Globe and Mail (September 21, 2017)

No Baby Unhugged:  New Program Helping Nanaimo Newborns Thrive— Nanaimo implements a program where volunteers cuddle NICU babies; evidence shows they are thriving. Nanaimo News Now (January 15, 2018)


CuddleCot Education Upped at Abbotsford Regional Hospital Since 2016 Stillbirth— Abbotsford Regional Hospital has implemented the use of Cuddle Cots to slow after-death processes for grieving families. The Abbotsford News (October 12, 2017)

Post Partum Hemmorhage

Identifying the Risk: A Prospective Cohort Study Examining Post Partum Haemmorhage in a Regional Australian Health Service— In contrast to previous study findings, nulliparity, labour induction and augmentation were not associated with PPH. Estimation of blood loss was relatively accurate in comparison to gravimetric assessment; raising questions about routine gravimetric assessment of blood loss following uncomplicated births. Further research is required to investigate type and speed of blood loss associated with PPH. BMC (June 7, 2018)


Postpartum Support: A Healthy Mother Matters


The Undervalued Therapeutic Power of Rest— Gloria Lemay explains why new moms should be resting, not trying to “get everything done”. Wise Woman Way of Birth (August 20, 2009)

Why Are Our Healthcare Systems Failing PostPartum Moms?— Canadian and U.S. healthcare focuses almost exclusively on the baby, to the point that the postpartum health of their mothers is seriously neglected. Today’s Parent (April 4, 2018)

Post Partum Doulas

PostPartum Doulas Are in High Demand With Millennial Moms— as the village around us shrinks, post-partum doulas fill the role once left to our extended families. Star Tribune (November 5, 2017)

Dads Matter Too

Father-Son Duo at BC Children’s Hospital Helps New Dads Fight Depression— the team created mindfulness workshops for new dads who may suffer from post-partum depression. Aldergrove Star (March 25, 2019)


Support Services


in the Lower Mainland

Pacific Post Partum Support Society— a website devoted to helping mothers in the Lower Mainland.

Post Pregnancy Blues? Support Helpline for New and Expecting Parents Now Offers Counselling Via Text Message— for those who would rather text than call, there’s still help available. Pacific Post Partum Society offers text message support. CBC News (January 23, 2019)

in the Fraser Valley

Well Within Counselling & Education— a birth trauma counselling resource for people in Abbotsford, BC


Breastfeeding Support


Support Services

…in the Fraser Valley

Liquid Gold Lactation & Mother/Infant Support— a local lactation consultant in Abbotsford, BC


Other Birth-Related Topics


NIH Sets Aside More Than $40 Million for Study of Human Placenta— The National Institute of Health launches the Human Placenta Project. (February 27, 2015)

I’ve Always Wondered: What’s Behind the Belly Button— what happens after the cord is cut and what that weird tingle feeling is when you wiggle your finger in your belly button. The Conversation (October 25, 2017)

Babies Feel Pain More Intensely Than Adults, Brain Imaging Study Finds— a study reveals what should be common sense but sadly isn’t; babies feel pain and it’s often worse than what adults feel. How could this information influence the way newborn and infant medical care is conducted? Return to NOW (October 23, 2018)




Research from the U.S.


Rates of Major Obstetrical Complications Vary Almost Five-fold Among U.S. Hospitals— a research study done on how hospital practices may be influencing birth outcomes. (August 2014)


How Far We’ve Come: Historical Birth 


The Price Slave Women Paid for the “Birth” of Modern Gynecology— a dark look at the history of gynecology and the treatment of black women. Black Then (originally posted on ImprovingBirthAbbotsford March 11, 2015)

6 Bizarre Childbirth Myths From Ancient History— we’ve come a long way since the dark ages. Bustle (December 28, 2015)

Thousands of Canadian Mothers Were Forced to Give Up Their Babies. Some Were Told to ‘Get a Puppy’ Instead— from 1945-1971 there was a dark secret in Canada; unwed mothers were sent to maternity homes where 95% of them gave up their babies, most done so under coercive or deceitful tactics by the social workers and religious groups involved in the maternity homes. The Washington Post (July 20, 2018)


Just for Fun: Birth-Related Pictures and Stories


29 Photos That Capture the Beautiful Blur That Is The First Two Weeks Of Parenthood— Huffington Post (April 21, 2015. Updated December 6, 2017)

31 Birth Photos That Will Take You Back to the Moment You Became a Mother— Buzzfeed (April 28, 2015)

The Good Mother Project— the Pacific Post Partum Society wants you all to know you are good mothers ❤ (May 3, 2015)

58 Stunning Photos That Show the Bond Between Moms and Doulas— Huffington Post (March 24, 2016)

The 12 Hours of Labour With My Doula— a spin on the 12 Days of Christmas; perfect for sharing during the holidays!

15 Memes About Giving Birth That Provide Calm & Laughter During a Chaotic Time— here’s something fun to make you laugh. Romper (April 16, 2017)


Gynecology: Everything About Your (Non-Pregnant) Anatomy

Shared Decision-Making Framework for Pelvic Examinations in Asymptomatic, Nonpregnant Patients— the Feminist Midwife co-wrote an article on the decision making framework for pelvic examination in non-pregnant clients. Obstetrics & Gynecology (April 2019)



















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