I have put a comment about the screening of this video at the MIPP blog.
A point that was only touched on in the discussion after the showing was the disenfranchising and deskilling of midwives in breech births. It has become an obstetric consultant ‘act’, even though every midwife should be ready and competent in spontaneous breech births. Midwife Fiona Hallinan mentioned that Box Hill hospital is setting up consultant cover for breeches – it’s all about defensive medicine. RWH refuses to support a woman’s choice, and staff will bully her into compliance with their wishes to do an elective Caesar. I was told that this is because they can’t be sure someone is competent at all times. And as Lionel Steinberg pointed out, an obstetrician goes against the current ‘gold standard’ at his own risk. The insurance will pay out for a baby’s brain damage in an undiagnosed breech birth where the midwives haven’t got a clue what to do, but won’t support the obstetrician who goes against the rules.
The video ‘A breech in the system’ made the point that the woman was lucky that the obstetrician on call at the time was competent – had learnt about breeches in India and PNG. There was great rejoicing around that fact. It’s tragic that an obstetrician needs to be given ownership of a spontaneous birth that a midwife could just as well have attended.
There was a lot of padding in ‘A breech in the system’. Beautiful underwater footage, lots of Byron Bay alternative hocus pocus – none of which seemed to make any difference. ECV (external cephalic version) got some bad publicity, and it ‘didn’t work’ either!
In the current climate of serious threat to all midwives’ right to practise on our own authority, breech births are a bit of a distraction. This video is good in that it demonstrates spontaneous birth – something we need to value and hold on to.