Where we used to attract European midwives and nurses, we now repel them – as well as hundreds leaving the NHS, just 33 registered to join us in the last year
Shohfah-El Israel is charged with the 21-year old midwifery student's murder
The midwifery student has not been seen since Boxing Day.
Last week my partner gave birth to our daughter in our living room - the culmination of a pregnancy that was extraordinary only because we received the highest quality of personalised care - all from the NHS.
During your baby's second night in the outside world, s/he realizes they're not in the familiar home (your womb) of the past nine months anymore. This new environment has light, loud noises, no more water, changes in movement and touch, including cuddles from strangers.
One argument seems to be that it makes some women feel abnormal if they don't give birth naturally. Given the statistics, this would make the majority of UK mothers 'abnormal'. The term 'normal' is not a judgement on an individual, but a statement of physiological fact about a particular bodily process.
Our maternity services are seeing women with more complicated pregnancies than we have had before. Factors including rising levels of obesity and higher numbers of older women giving birth all mean that our services need to ensure these women get the safest possible care and attention.
I will never know for sure, but I think a big factor in my birth experience was my feeling of confidence and self-efficacy. Thanks to the women who shared their positive birth stories with me, I could so clearly visualise a calm, positive birth of my own. I'd played it out in my mind that many times, is it so surprising that the reality was just that?
Having a baby is an exciting, life-changing event and one that every mother wants to be a positive experience. Midwives play a vitally important role in this; they are the first port of call when you have a question and help you to make informed choices about your pregnancy and birth.