Womb to World Conference 2013

Womb to World 2013: Facilitating physiological birth: evidence, practice, health outcomes for mothers, babies and families.

Birthlight Conference Report

Birthlight’s series of thematic day conferences ‘From Womb to World’ have been held in Cambridge since October 2010. They develop the Birthlight international conferences ‘Visions of Infant Joy’ (2006) and ‘Light on Parenting’ (2012) with focussed meetings including interdisciplinary research perspectives.

The aim is to bring together scientists, doctors and midwives, academic researchers, practitioners involved in maternity care in the hospital or in the community and also interested parents in order to explore apparent gaps between research and practice. Basically, why is the extensive research on the transition of babies from womb to world not translated into more widespread clinical and social applications? By improving communication across disciplines, thematic conferences can foster a greater understanding of the evidence on which care needs to be based as well as of social constraints for implementation of findings.

It was a pleasure to welcome Sarah Buckley and her family in Cambridge this Summer and we had organised this day around her in our Womb to World Cambridge conference series just before she returns to Australia in mid September. This time our venue was on the Addenbrookes site, where the Rosie maternity hospital is located and in it the (still new and wonderful) midwives-run birth unit. Each Womb to World event brings together researchers and practitioners committed to promote greater quality of care  around maternity in both hospital and community environments. As a GP and mother who became a champion of ‘gentle birth’ in Australia,  Sarah Buckley has put all her passion and extensive skills to the cause of helping women have optimal experiences of pregnancy, birth and early mothering.  She is a wonderfully clear presenter, drawing together all the strands of relevant research and practice that offer supporting evidence for avoiding or reducing interventions. Anyone who wishes to gain a thorough yet manageable understanding of the interplay of hormones during pregnancy and birth was certain to receive this from Sarah, with a light touch and a few good laughs included.  The term ‘inspiring’ is overused but truly applies to Sarah. She embodies a model of care that is evidence-based and viable, congenial with grassroots initiatives like Birthlight in making research findings accessible in  practical and enjoyable ways.  Other presentations planned include: old and new evidence on delayed cord clamping, the Brazelton baby assessment, Kangaroo care in practice, light on epigenetics.

This day was packed full with relevant and applicable knowledge will be invaluable to Birthlight teachers as well as to doulas and midwives.

Conference presentations:

''Gentle birth' and 'gentle mothering': the evidence base' by Dr Sarah Buckley

'On delayed cord clamping: the research evidence' by Dr David Hutchon, Retired Obstetrician, Darlington Memorial Hospital

Francoise Freedman, Wendy Gadsden and Sally Lomas will present ''From Womb to World' series research, clinical practice and community support'

'Epigenetics and early life, does it matter?' by Dr Elizabeth Radford

Midwife Wendy Gadsden shares her experiences of using Birthlight yoga in NHS practice and makes a case for a move away from cascades of intervention in pregnancy and birth

Presentation by Dr Lokugamage called 'Be wary of protocolised medicine' stimulates Birthlight discussion on birth, death and spirituality'

A Conference 2 disc DVD, £16 including UK delivery, is available from the birthlight online shop.


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