Comment, Janine Smith, Latest Posts

After the Ockenden Report

the Ockenden Report

After reading the Ockenden Report and the experiences of the families involved, I have reflected a lot on the births of my own children, on the births I have attended as a doula and on my practice.

I have experienced and witnessed amazing care which was compassionate, supportive and kind, which made a difference and I have experienced and seen overstretched student midwives, unsure of their role, along with rude staff who have been dismissive and who have made unnecessary comments.

The system will never be perfect, its people will never be perfect but the catastrophic errors that have been highlighted in the Ockenden Report should never have happened and should never happen again.

person holding baby s hand

– after the Ockenden Report –

If you experienced anything upsetting during your pregnancy, birth or as a new mum, feed it back. It’s not easy and none of us like to complain but nothing changes unless we speak up. It doesn’t have to be formal complaint, just feedback.

Talk through the birth of your baby – you can talk to someone like me to have the time to focus on making sense of what you experienced. If you feel traumatised by the birth of your baby, psychological support can be needed.

If you have experienced any kind of pregnancy loss or baby loss, talk it through it, support can make an enormous difference, raise any concerns and please do feedback any issues.

Ockenden Report

I always try to listen to and learn from parents, it impacts my practice and how I work with expectant and new parents. While maternity units and staff have to do their bit, to be safe and supportive, there are also things you might be able to do.

A huge focus for me is encouraging you to be at the centre of your care, to be involved, to ask questions, to speak up when needed. In pregnancy and birth, you need to feel safe and informed, you need to be communicated with and listened to. And sometimes you need to make yourself heard.

  • If you have any worries, questions or concerns talk them over with your midwife – see if you can make another appointment if you need to see her sooner, find out if there are any drop-in sessions to speak to a midwife . If you are under consultant care, ask them questions as well.
  • Go to any appointments prepared with questions and – Covid allowing – have someone with you to for support and to ask questions.
  • If you are have any immediate concerns about either you or your baby, please get checked out at a pregnancy assessment unit.

As part of your preparation for birth, good courses and conversations can make all the difference, not just for knowledge and skills but also for real expectations, options, confidence and assertiveness.

While this won’t fix the problems in the maternity system, it’s a way of being as involved as possible, to make your voice heard and to have a say in your care.

Good birth preparation is also about gaining perspective – there isn’t one perfect birth, there is your birth to manage, with its unique challenges to work through.

prepare for birth

To enhance your labour and birth preparation, you can complete a course or workshop and book consultations with me. My job is to build you up, to give you the space to talk, to discuss and ask questions and to have more confidence

You can message me below with any questions or queries.

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Working with parents since 2002 | Working with families everywhere

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This entry was posted in: Comment, Janine Smith, Latest Posts

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An experienced specialist in pregnancy, birth & early parenting, I have worked with parents since 2002. I am based in the North East so I regularly work with parents from Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and across North Tyneside. Face-to-face sessions will continue with North East parents but digital courses and online sessions means I can work with parents everywhere.