Monday, August 13, 2007
Said in Scotland
I gave a talk today at the Edinburgh International Book Festival about my book, published in the UK as Birth: A History. In the front row of the event sat Gillian Smith, head of Scotland's Royal College of Midwives. At one point, the audience and I were lamenting the lack of one-on-care women often receive during labor in the hospital, and how this was feeding the trend, in western countries, of women hiring doulas. Ms. Smith, however, quickly pointed out that in Scotland -- unlike England where there is a severe midwifery shortage -- women DO receive continuous care from a midwife during labor and birth. "How?" I asked. "Is it a function of the modest size of Scotland's population or the government's understanding of the value of such care and its support of having enough midwives to service the population. (Don't forget, they have nationalized medicine here.) She credited the government's evidence-based view that continuous care leads to better labors and easier births.