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Transforming Birth - Salford's reputation attracts international speakers

Mar 28, 2018

Around 250 people flocked to Mary Seacole last week (21 March 2018) for a midwifery conference organised by the Student Midwifery Society which formed five years ago. Transforming Birth saw a range of key note speakers talk about new developments in midwifery and included a special welcome by expert Professor Hannah Dahlen via video link from Australia, a Bake Off competition and poetry by Kati Edwards.

There were stalls from sponsors GMEC, Maternity Voices Partnership, Ingleside Birth Centre, Association of Radical Midwives (ARM), Pinter and Martin and Beyond BEA.

Keynote speaker Jacque Gerrard highlighted the new personalised maternity care budgets and how they were transforming choice for women. She also commended Ingleside Birth and Community Centre who had recently opened a home from home birthing environment in Salford.

Alex Heazell, Professor of Obstetrics and Clinical Director of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre gave some useful advice to midwives who were supporting parents who had lost their baby in utero or immediately following birth. One to two percent of mothers would sadly lose a baby and this was the one chance midwives had to get it right – small things like using the baby’s name, assisting the parents to hold and wash the baby if they wanted to – made such a difference there and then and when the mother had future pregnancies.

Kathryn Gutteridge, President of the Royal College of Midwives who spent much of her earlier career as a community midwife was next up. She said she had come to the University of Saflord several times and always liked coming because the students were empathic with the mother, the family and their cohort and lecturers. She said “I am a human being like you – what you bring is unique and has the potential to be transformational for each woman whose baby you help deliver. The birth is the start of a physical separation from the internal world to the external world. That memorable for midwives when we release a deep breath as the baby and mother move into the next phase.

Amanda Burleigh gave the latest updates around optimal cord clamping and talked about her successful campaign #nomoreshoelaces. Leaving the cord attached for at least a minute was now proven to positively affect a baby’s later development. She also showed a bedside recovery product that she had helped develop so that mothers could remain with their babies and recovery could be carried out with the cord still attached.

Jenny Clarke, known on social media as @JennyTheM had the audience in stitches as she gave a passionate presentation around the “skin2skin” campaign and the ways in which this could be introduced into hospitals which culminated in her “giving birth” on stage to music. Midwives ideally should stay with mothers for one to two hours after the birth to keep them and the baby warm and calm and stimulate breastfeeding if possible. She advised the audience to think about their practice and to share their experiences with other student midwives.

Jude Jones, founding member of the University of Salford Midwifery Society  was particularly proud to have been invited to speak. She had set up the group five years ago with 42 members and was delighted to see it was still going strong.

Closing the event, delegates heard from Mary Newburn, advocate and leader of the service user voice in maternity services who spoke with passion about transformational women and the difference good midwifery care and maternity services can make.

She said: “What makes this group so special is that it is made up from students across all cohorts and it is the students who drive it and decide what we should focus on.”

Head of Midwifery, Lisa Bacon from the School of Health and Society spoke for all staff in congratulating the students who had pulled off such an inspiring and well-organised conference.

She said “It is all credit to them and their reputation as future midwives that we have seen the top names in maternity services come to Salford to speak to our students. I can’t wait for next year – it’s been inspiring from start to finish and I am sure our students and those who attended from other universities have gained a great deal from being here today which will benefit their practice when they graduate.”

To see how the conversation developed on social media, click the link below.