Mentoring Midwife: Seminar answers questions of what childbirth doctors fail to explain

Written by: 
Hannah Packard~Multimedia Journalist

Experienced midwife Alison Williams held a maternally themed seminar on Sept. 24 at the campus Stake Center focusing on childbirth. The seminar discussed the topic of childbirth and all of the not-so-disagreeable elements that can come with it.

Williams, who has been a midwife in Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand, began by stating, “A lot of doctors don’t explain anything—a lot of nurses and midwives don’t explain anything. So a lot of women actually know very little about birth.”

Several important details of delivering a child were touched on, the most important of which included the feeling of fear that permeates the prospect of labor. As Williams informed the group, “The thing that stops contractions is adrenaline, and adrenaline comes because of fear.” She went on to explain that, “Pain helps you to know how to help the baby make the journey.”

As the audience found out, this fear factor tends to exist mainly in Australia and the United States. Williams made it clear that in places like New Zealand and Holland (she has worked with many Dutch midwives in the past) views of labor and childbirth are seen as a spiritual experience and an opportunity to bond with the newborn.

In addition, the majority of births in Holland take place at home with less problematic occurrences like tearing that happen in the United States.

The influx of women attending the seminar also brought a few dedicated men. Stephen Adams, a junior in social work from Alaska, was there for the duration of the discussion to support and learn with his wife. He commented, “There were some things I wasn’t aware of at all that are super important. I feel a lot better prepared.”

Preparation was a significant focus of the meeting. Williams walked everyone through the best way to get a positive and fulfilling experience out of childbirth. She said, “So many of the problems we see in obstetrics are because we’re interfering with birth. Women are strong. They can do this.” Her comments on this topic were mainly in reference to popular painkillers, cesarean sections, epidurals, and pushy doctors.

“The class really opened my eyes to the fact that giving birth can be an empowering experience, and that there’s a lot more out there than just the typical hospital birth.” said Cara Adams, a senior in elementary education from California, who sat next to her husband at the lecture.

On the U. S. Center for Disease Control website, statistics show that the percentage of U.S. births that occurred at home increased by 29 percent from 2004 to 2009.