Taking a lesson from history, we should be asking what social inequalities are contributing to women's and mothers' mental, physical and psychosomatic health problems. Traumatic, stressful, debilitating childbearing should never be accepted as the status quo.
When a 14 year old Irish girl was raped and became pregnant in 1992, nobody knew that the shockwaves would still be rippling 20 years later. This week, the 'Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill' is navigating the Irish Parliament. If successful, abortion, where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, may soon be legalised in Ireland.
One of the questions I often get asked is: "What should I do to prepare my body for pregnancy?" Trying to start a family can be a challenge, and many women want to know all the facts to give themselves the best chance of conception and give their baby the best start in life
With the Duchess of Cambridge now in her final trimester, the UK is anticipating the arrival of a new future monarch this July. There has never been a better time to give birth. Really, I'm not just offering that as a platitude, the customs and advice relating to pregnancy and birth in the past make for horrific reading. Of course, the lack of hygiene and gynaecological understanding caused untold suffering but setting mortality rates aside, midwives and the fashionable male accouchers of the past had some strange ideas about what was best for their patients.
The rise is being put down to women taking the pill and having children later, though there are likely to be other factors contributing as well. Organisations are stressing for women not to worry about these figures, and for them just to keep checking their breasts for any differences in feel, size and pain. However it is not necessarily those things that will cause the most worry. instead, it is likely to be a bigger worry to younger people again.
The 5th of May is International Day of the Midwife and the UK should be supporting midwives and other maternity professionals more so now than ever before. Why? Because there is currently a baby boom, a shortage of 5,000 midwives and the UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world according to the 2011 Lancet report.
The result is positive. My partner and I are thrilled. Tears prick our cheeks and we embrace each other as we revel in the joy of our future. I tell my mum and my best friend. Everyone is thrilled. I started to get sick...
As with a lot of fertility issues, there are a lot of myths and a lot of rumours about high blood pressure in pregnancy. As a scientist, a doctor, and a mother, I firmly believe that all women have a right to know the facts about their fertility, health and wellbeing.
Water births are gaining in popularity, although some people still consider them to be rather unconventional! I personally believe water birthing gives the mother, baby and partner the best possible experience.
We have been on a journey for 13 summers. Just the two of us travelling to infinity and beyond, adventure after adventure, hiding out in makeshift dens, hopping on island cushions, gladiators on sheepskin carpets, scaling furniture, bouncing on beds, sofa snuggling, conquering long rainy days.
As we all inevitably leave our twenties and begrudgingly begin the slow pitiful march towards responsibility and self-loathing, it's important to ask the question - what next? For some it's fulfilling careers and the exciting discovery of our greatly unrecognised adult self, and for some it's children.
I don't get it. What is it with women? As a gender we seem to be our own nemesis. The rubbish we tell/sell ourselves is far more detrimental to the modern female psyche than the shit men mete out.
Questions were flashing through my mind. Who would look after my son, Rohan? What would happen to my unborn baby? How would my husband cope without me? I broke down and the cancer care nurse gave me a huge hug as I left with an appointment for scans and went home to tell my husband.
They say a picture paints a thousand words....
Childcare is more likely to be divided more equitably between parents too. Many of our mums commented that their partners are more involved than their dads were when they were growing up - and others noted that the shift towards greater sharing of the baby care workload is inevitable, given that most mums (as dads) are juggling parenthood with a career.
Over the past nine months of appointments, I hadn't seen the same midwife once. Pushed into the position of pregnancy slut - hopes for an actual relationship scuppered early on. It was never anything more than a one 'meet' stand.