Friday, September 19, 2008

Promoting normal birth through BaBs

I have added babs-ies a new blog to my blog list, so I would like to tell my readers a little about babs.
BaBs stands for Birthing and Babies Support.

The Goal of BaBs is to be "a Health Promotion charity, which enables pregnant women and new mothers to increase control over, and to improve, their health in pregnancy and birthing, and in the nurture of their babies."

BaBs was born in 2006, after brainstorming meetings I had with two lovely young mothers, Erika and Deb. A quick stick-figure sketch that I did became the 'babs girls' At the time I was an executive member of Maternity Coalition (MC), and BaBs was set up as an organisation under the umbrella of MC, in a similar way to MIPP. Meetings began at Clota Cottage Neighbourhood House in Box Hill. Since then BaBs groups have been set up in other locations in Victoria and Queensland. BaBs is now incorporated, independent of MC, to enable growth.

The mission of BaBs is to "establish local peer support groups for pregnant and parenting women and their families in their own communities. We work to support women to make informed choices, take action about pregnancy, birth and parenting, to feel empowered and confident in their choices to improve their health, parenting, and life skills."

BaBs groups have been successful in obtaining small grants from local councils to buy books and other material, to print brochures, and to help with the costs of room hire. There is no attendance charge for BaBs groups - a donation is welcome, but not required.

BaBs groups depend on the voluntary support of mothers and midwives who work together to plan and facilitate the program in their own local neighbourhood. I am involved in the Box Hill group, which is close to my home.

I would like to encourage all midwives reading this blog to find a way by which you can make a commitment to mothers in your community - not just the mothers who pay you as their midwife, or the mothers at the hospital where you work. A midwife's duty of care includes to 'promote normal birth' [ICM Definition of a midwife]- and it's a bit late to do that when you arrive for a shift and are told to work with the woman in room 3 who has a Synt drip and an epidural.

I would like to enocourage all mothers who read this blog to find a way to meet with other mothers and midwives with the purpose of promoting health in birthing women and their babies. Normal birth includes a whole raft of 'normal' or physiological activities, including normal attachment and breastfeeding. There is no safer or better way to give birth than the way our bodies were designed, and there is no safer or better way to nurture a child than the physiologically normal way.

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