Modern mothers have overly high expectations and want a perfect birth, says Call The Midwife adviser
'Managing their expectations is like walking a tightrope,' according to adviser to TV seriesIn 1959, a third of women gave birth at home. Now just one in 50 take this maternity option
10:05 GMT, 26 February 2013
11:34 GMT, 26 February 2013
Modern mothers put too much pressure on midwives because they have such high expectations and want a perfect birth, according to an expert.
Midwife and lecturer Terri Coates, the adviser to East End drama series Call The Midwife, added that women now show far less deference to medics than they did in the 1950s.
'They know what they want and how to get it,' she said.
In 1959 a third of mothers gave birth at home, as illustrated in Call the Midwife. Now just one in 50 pregnant women take this option
'Managing their expectations
is like walking a tightrope. They expect the perfect birth, the kind
they see in magazine pictures.
'Some feel that if they have anything
but a drug-free birth, they've failed. But if they end up with a healthy
baby, they've done extremely well.'
Speaking to the Radio Times, she said women in the past were happier to be led by midwives and doctors.
'Now women are far more savvy, have apps
on their phones, mum-and-baby books and better education,' she said.
Ms Coates, whose article complaining that midwives were not represented in literature inspired Jennifer Worth to pen her memoirs, welcomed the presence of fathers in the hospital delivery room.
However, she said she was unsure about the new trend for several 'birth partners'.
used to be left at the door, but now women come with Uncle Tom Cobley
and all. The most I've had was 15 extended family members!
'Sometimes the mother can feel she has to play to an audience, which is sad,' she said.
Loss of deference Pregnant women were more willing to be led by midwives in the 1950s compared to today, according to Terri Coates
She added: 'Now so few women give birth at home, there is no knowledge that this was once normal.'
The TV series Call the Midwife revealed how most babies were born at home in the 1950s, unless the mother faced complications or her home conditions were unsuitable.
Today, most women give birth in a hospital maternity unit where epidurals are available and doctors are on hand in case anything goes wrong. Women can also opt for a birth centre run by midwives. In England only one in 50 babies is born at home.
However, a 2011 report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, stated that only women most
at risk of suffering complications – such as those expecting twins or
triplets, the obese, diabetics or those in their 40s – should have to
give birth in hospital.