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Emma Booth

Award Received: 
Midwives Award
funding an in-person Biomechanics course with Optimal Birth for local midwives
Year awarded: 

Emma’s award enabled 19 midwives and HCAs to attend in-person Biomechanics training with Optimal Birth.

Emma had originally applied to fund a course for her colleagues that explored evidence surrounding induction of labour and woman-centred planning; however this course became temporarily unavailable during Emma's time window, so the plan needed to change. 

Increasing sedentary lifestyles and evolving medicalisation of childbirth mean that optimising physiology is more important now than ever. Many staff had attended online optimal birth courses during covid, however most lacked confidence in utilising the techniques during labour and birth.

This funding award meant that Molly O’Brien from Optimal Birth could come to West Wales and provide us with a face to face, hands on course.

The discussions that occurred on the day were highly topical, current and relatable, and left midwives feeling inspired to make changes in their units and question routine practices and interventions that may be causing harm.

Molly gave suggestions for further reading, social media accounts to follow, and podcasts to listen to, so attendees left with a toolkit of resources to turn to for further development of knowledge and information.

Attendees found the opportunity to practice the techniques with Molly’s guidance completely invaluable. They performed manoeuvres such as side lying release, shaking the apple trees, hip squeezes, forward leaning inversion and more, with Molly present to help fine tune positions and angles.

Those who attended the day gave excellent feedback, and feel that the hand on experience from the day left them feeling able use these techniques in practice with confidence.

Midwives left the study day feeling empowered to introduce new projects and initiatives within their local units. One team has introduced a 20 week online class discussing optimising pelvic physiology for pregnancy and birth.

Attendees have supported colleagues in practice who have attended the online session to perform the techniques and increase their skills and confidence.

The local health board is very supportive of biomechanics techniques, and midwives have created leaflets and resources for staff, women and birthing people to encourage the use of techniques to optimise physiology.

All of these things have resulted in a higher use of biomechanics techniques to optimise physiology, and colleagues feel this is having a positive impact on women and birthing people’s experiences and outcomes.

- Emma Booth and Natalie Kentish