The latest scientific research is now starting to indicate that if the baby is not properly seeded with the mother's own bacteria at birth, then the baby's microbiome, in the words of Rodney R Dietert, Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University, is left "incomplete". Consequently, that baby's immune system may never develop to its full potential, leaving that infant with an increased risk of developing one or more serious diseases later in life.
I cannot imagine being in labour and forced to trek miles and miles in the hope to deliver in safe conditions. One woman I met Kula, delivered her baby on the side of the road in the dark with the threat of snakes and other dangerous animals to contend with. She had walked miles from her village to the one where we met to hire a canoe. She didn't make it as far as the village before she gave birth and her baby only made it as far as the water's edge when it passed away as she waited for two hours for a canoe to take her and her newborn baby to the clinic. Kula's story shocked Kate and I to the core. We were overwhelmed with grief for her.
In December 2011 Lisa, 33, suffered an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) - which affects 1 in 10,000 births - when fluid from her womb leaked into her bloodstream. The embolism triggered two heart attacks in quick succession and caused massive haemorrhaging of her womb. Her baby, Louie, also perished. Sadly, mother and baby never got to meet.
Are you amongst the small number of parents who are thinking about what is still an unusual and some might say repugnant practice of helping reduce the risk of post-natal depression and increase your 'happy' hormones? ... There is a growing trend for placentophagy - the act of mammals eating the placenta.
As her big day draws near Kate will be feeling both excited and nervous as she prepares for the birth of the royal baby. It has been reported that Kate has been using yoga to help her through her pregnancy. The Duchess of Cambridge is one of a growing number of expectant mothers turning to yoga to help ease physical and emotional strain.
Off my face on painkillers and hormones after an emergency c. section and haemorrhage, I was repeatedly pressured by a sales rep to buy baby photographs. She kept returning to see if I'd 'made a decision'; I could barely decide which way up my baby was supposed to be. Of course this should be banned. It's borderline barbarism and places commercial factors above maternal wellbeing.
Mid way through my pregnancy, I sat opposite my midwife, the first and only time I saw her, and whilst nibbling my organic carrot sticks and sipping herbal tea, stated that under no circumstances did I want drugs or intervention, I wanted my birth to be as 'natural' as possible. She had smirked a little and nodded through her stifled giggle.
Maternity care is a journey, and all too often, there are points along the way where women are let down, left uninformed, and disempowered, and the lack of midwives lies behind this. Government directives, clinical guidance and decades of policy based around 'choice' is only worth the paper it's printed on,