A selection of articles from Midwifery Matters


See also UK Midwifery Archives – selected posts from our UK Midwifery discussion group, arranged by topic.



Pam Dorling A Breech Birth at Home
While this was a planned home birth, nobody knew the baby was breech until it was too late to transfer …


Nicky Grace “A baby came out of my vagina at home!!!”
How we do birth at Nottingham Home Birth Group  The Nottingham Home Birth Group meets once a month and creates a safe space for support. Despite its name, membership is not restricted to women planning home birth …

Joy Horner Can we influence outcomes in Posterior labour Part 1? –Part 2


Caroline Hollins Martin Birth Satisfaction Scale
A really useful tool for measuring women’s experience of birth.

Open letter written by multiple authors  regarding the situation surrounding the MIDIRS merger with the NCT.  MIDIRS letter


Paul Golden Protecting Midwifery in a Litigious Society
What can midwives do to protect themselves and their profession in a risk averse culture?

Irene Walton A celebration of the life of Martha Chadwick Hogg
Inspired by what she saw in her work as a midwife in Wigan, Martha became the first working class councillor



Mavis Kirkham – Modern Birth – processes and fears Fear is a major issue in modern maternity care and in order to understand this problem we need to see where it comes from ….

Elva Ainsworth Changing Childbirth Practices – An Impossible Job?
Are we powerless to change the system? Elva suggests strategies for effecting change in the maternity services


Meg Taylor What women and midwives need and why they won’t get it
Meg was almost a founder member of ARM. She had enormous insight into the psychology and politics of maternity care.  This is the last article she wrote for us.

Lynn Genevieve Let Midwives be Born Again Lynn asks whether doulas are now the real midwives.


Amy Richie Encountering anencephaly Caring for a couple whose baby is born with anencephaly

Elaine Miller Comedy and continence  Whoever thought that incontinence could be such a laugh? Cure through comedy

Donna Burns   Hypnobirthing in Ayrshire Introducing hypnobirthing into an NHS hospital

Jude Davies – Jude discusses the ongoing saga of the MIDIRS ‘merger’ with the NCT.


Susan Stephenson Politics, policy and birth  Why is it proving so difficult to change maternity services? Control of childbirth by a patriarchal State

Lisa-Marie Murphy How do midwives treat childbearing lesbians? A literature review   Do midwives treat lesbian mothers and their partners differently?


Spring (132)

How to be a Midwife : Working with women’s physiology – Jane Evans – pp 7-8
Midwives are the experts in normal birth. If we are to continue as a profession we need to get strong as a profession and really start to be vocal about our expertise ….


Observations, examination and auscultation in different positions – Sarah Montagu – pp 7-8
Overcoming some of the practical difficulties of monitoring or examining clients in different positions.

The rise and rise of the obstetric bed – Margaret Jowitt – pp 11-16
Today, in many obstetric units the obstetric bed takes centre stage …

Homebirth in Newham – Elaine Carter, Pamela Brodie, Sam Cocker, Carla Mastroianni and Kirsty Mearns – pp 18-24
An inspiring account of a homebirth in the London Borough of Newham. Woman-centred care in the NHS

Summer (133)

Midwifery in Eastern Europe – Zuzana Stromerova – pp 4-6
Women and midwives in Eastern Europe are still coping with the aftermath of a totalitarian regime

In support of Agnes Gereb – Dr Irene Walton – pp 7-9
Meeting Agnes Gereb for the first time, Irene was struck by how calm and comforting she must be to a woman in labour …

Extreme Ironing – Sonia Richardson – p 21
Read this and you’ll never see ironing in the same light again!

Autumn (134)

The Ultrasound Delusion – Due dates, scan dates and birthdays – Deborah Hughes – pp 3-4
The delusion of the scan date being the true EDB continues, despite evidence to the contrary…

Going overdue – Informed consent for induction of labour? – Holly Vincent – pp 4-6
“Discuss the indications for induction of labour and the option of conservative management and how both can be explained to a pregnant woman.” Holly was uncomfortable with her choice to deliver the standardised package of information and reviewed the evidence.

Looking after a friend in Labour – Stephanie Mair – p 14
Stephanie considers the professional, and emotional, aspects of caring for a friend whilst a student midwife

Valuing Midwifery’s Literary Past – Julie Bambridge – pp 15-16
” ..had we not some competent insight into the Theory, we could never know how to proceed to practice” Jane discovers that the principle of Jane Sharp’s (1671) statement  still rings true today.

Winter (135)

Female identity and the vulva – Judy Jones – pp 13-16
A student midwife is uncomfortable viewing the vulva of a woman she has never met before. Cultural, political and spiritual symbolism of female genitalia

Rights, responsibilities and insurance: Changes and contradictions around home birth – Mavis Kirkham – pp 17-18
Insurance has moved from being a useful commodity to dominating maternity care. How did commercial providers of insurance come to have the power to dictate practice?

Judy’s 3,4,5 A novel way to prevent postpartum haemorrhage – Judy Slome Cohain – pp 21-22
Why has PPH become so common? Judy presents her 3,4,5 protocol which minimises the risk of PPH.


Spring (128)
Cultural Considerations of Breastfeeding – Dr Irene Walton – pp 4-7

Western countries are sending out very mixed messages about breastfeeding. Irene explores society’s attitudes
Challenges of Dutch Midwifery – Simone Valk – pp 12-13
Dutch midwifery has been held up as the gold standard of autonomous midwifery  in Europe but all is not well …

A Day of Firsts – Meghan Jackson – p 14
Meghan’s first shift on labour ward presented her with a challenge

Because I am a Midwife – Emma Barnett-Mills – p 15
Today I was the midwife I meant to be …

When is a bed not a bed – Margaret Jowitt,  Elizabeth Parker – p 16
Imaginative uses of the obstetric bed

Summer (129)

An Alternative Tale of Two Cities – pp 3-5
If maternity care is based on evidence, why does it vary so much between different Trusts?

Is induction necessary for prolonged pregnancy? – Michelle Beacock – pp 6-9
Michelle argues that setting a due date is useful neither to women nor their midwives

Reflection on Augmentation – pp 10-12
This student midwife questions the wisdom of augmentation. The partogram is an obstetric tool that conflicts with midwives’ autonomy

Women need scrub midwives – Nicola Pusey – p 15
Nicola writes: “When I fulfil the role of the scrub midwife I consider it my personal midwifery responsibility to remain an advocate for the woman’s body. ”


Spring (124)

Should obstetricians learn the art of midwifery – Margaret Jowitt – p 2

Change in the air – Anne Francis – p 3-5

A new vision for midwifery in a new decade. Annie  introduces Neighbourhood Midwives’ guideline framework

Independent midwifery an option for all – Brenda van de Kooy p 5-6

Brenda outlines some of the problems facing independent midwives regarding insurance and suggests solutions

Volunteering with Project London – Morag Forbes – p 7-9

Project London aims to help people who have not been able to access NHS care

Birth from the other side – Rebecca Craig – p 10-12

Rebecca asks whether it is best to stick to the cultural norm of giving birth in hospital

Support for Sue Rose – Gloria le May – 13

A Canadian midwife shows her support for a British midwife

Searching for Mrs Pepper – Deborah Hughes – p 14-15

Deborah’s great-grandmother was also a midwife

Fire in my belly – Claire Feely – p 15

Claire relates the story of her journey to her spiritual home in midwifery

CMACE Report unasked questions – Margaret Jowitt – 16-18

How come CMACE investigated the Albany? A critical look at The London Project



Margaret Jowitt – Save the Albany. Recently, the highly regarded Albany Practice in London has been closed by management. This article debates the evidence given to justify this

Lynn Walcott – Wasn’t I made for this life? Lynn looks back over her career and discusses the frustrations that have resulted in her leaving the profession.



Janine Wynn Davies – Guilty as charged. Janine presents a fictional scenario of a courtroom drama in which a midwife is accused of promoting a medicalised birth.

Elaine Hansak – What really matters to mothers. Elaine reflects on her own experience on puerperal psychosis and offers suggestions to midwives in their care for women postnatally.

Melanie Henderson – Breastfeeding Twins. Melanie reflects on her experience of breastfeeding twins.

Anon – Institutional Discrimination. As this student midwife experiences on her 50th birth in the ‘Rolls Royce’ of midwifery practice, a birth centre, she reflects on the very stark differences between birth centre experiences for women and those they are likely to experience in the consultant led unit.


Margaret Jowitt – Bystanding Behaviour in Midwifery. Margaret considers whether the changes in midwifery practice are the result of the rise in feminism and the role of women in present day society.

Sarah Montagu – In defense of the pinard. A recent article in the British Journal of Midwifery has suggested there is no place for the pinard in modern day midwifery practice. Sarah puts the case for its continued use.


Olivia Lester – Fist breath. Olivia shares with us how to help a woman push effectively by inserting her fist into her mouth. This ensures that her jaw is relaxed, which has a physiological link with a relaxed pelvic floor.


4 Responses

  1. Hi,
    I´m a swedish midwife, PhD and clinical lecturer. I´ve been looking for som well written articles on practical information of IA for my midwifery students to learn from and found in Robyn M. Maude´s thesis a reference to Morton, F. (2010).Listen in with mother. All you wanted to know about IA but were afraid to ask. Midwifery Matters, 125, 12-14. I would love to get a copy of and wonder if it possible to get a pdf link?

    Kind regards from Li Thies-Lagergren

  2. Hello,

    I am a PG student (Midwifery Studies). I´ve been looking for Hindley, J View Author Profile (01.09.2004). “Miscarriage”. Midwifery matters (0961-1479), (102), p. 19. Could you please send it in PDF form?


    1. Hi Reem, I’m sorry for the delay in replying to your comment, it has only just come to my attention. We will dig out your article. Can you email me at please so I have your email address to send you the pdf? it may take a few days/weeks to sort! Best wishes, Nicky Grace

  3. Hello,

    I am a french midwife student and I have been looking for this article for almost a year now: Hobbs L (1998) ‘Assessing cervical dilatation without VEs,The Practising Midwife, 1,11, 34-35. Would anyone be able to send me a PDF of it?

    With kind regards,

    Elen Capucine Robert

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