Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have probably seen an episode of One Born Every Minute, filmed on the busy delivery ward at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. As we celebrate the return of the tenth series, we sat down to talk C-sections, placenta encapsulation and life on the ward with Midwife Hana Pauls.
So, first things first, what’s it like delivering babies live on TV?
Firstly, I don’t think we deliver – I always have issues with that word, I know it’s become common place but I always think we rob the woman of that, so I always say I catch or I attended the birth. But in terms of the cameras, it’s a little bit like Big Brother – they’re so hidden in the corner of the room, when you’re on a 12 and a half hour shift you quickly forget they are there!
I love that we’ve put birth out there in a way that’s never been done before.
I was actually against the whole series a first, as I didn’t feel birth was something we should broadcast on a TV show. Once I started I completely changed my mind and I love that we’ve put birth out there in a way that’s never been done before. It’s still very much a hidden, taboo topic, so it’s great that we’ve opened it up and told so many different birth stories – from C-sections to water births.
Do you ever get recognised?
Yes, all the time! It’s crazy! I was having lunch the other day and a group of women walked in and shouted ‘Oh my gosh it’s Nadiya from Bake Off’, before realising I was actually Hana from One Born Every Minute. It’s been so lovely and has helped me at work as well; I think because women have seen me on the show, a lot of them feel more comfortable and quickly connect with me.
Some of our Mother & Baby mums have sent in some questions – would you mind answering a few of them?
Not at all!
Great, so our first mum had a really traumatic first labour. She’s now pregnant with baby number two, how can she get rid of her negative thoughts and feelings towards birth?
Firstly, well done in getting pregnant again! Now in terms of getting over the first birth, there’s several things you can do. Contact your consultant midwife and ask her to discuss what you went through. Sometimes we don’t get an opportunity to do this and that can leave the mother feeling violated, or that things have happened beyond her control. Women often feel traumatised by this loss of control, so it’s important to understand what can be put in place to stop things happening the second time.
Women often feel traumatised by this loss of control, so it’s important to understand what can be put in place to stop things happening the second time.
Secondly, I think you need to look into hypnobirthing. That’s the single best tool to get you prepared and release negative thoughts. Remember, this is a different pregnancy, a different birth and you’re a different person now too. Hypnobirthing will give you these feelings of safety, confidence and calmness that will empower you to believe in your body again.
Another mum has told us she is petrified of having a C-section and asks if recovery really is as bad as people say it is?
No not at all – I had a caesarean myself. If it’s an elected caesarean, you’ll find recovery is generally a lot easier than going through labour and having an emergency C-section, where recovery is a little bit slower. I always say to women please listen to your bodies – they are a great indicator of whether you should be taking a step back and relaxing. Even if you have a natural birth, it’s all about taking it easy. Get out of your dressing gown by 2pm, but keep your pyjamas on – they say dust doesn’t get any thicker after three years so just relax!
Good point! What are your thoughts on placenta encapsulation?
Well the way I look at it is different strokes for different folks. If this is what makes you feel good about yourself and allows you to walk into motherhood with a greater degree of confidence, then I’m behind you 100%. From a research perspective, there’s a mixed camp –some will say there’s very few benefits to be had, but I’ve had lots of women who have done it and said it absolutely works.
What are your views on home births?
They say that in a low risk pregnancy, where there are no complications or difficulties, home births are the safest way to deliver your baby and I’m a big champion in that. There’s no better place than your home as a place of sanctuary, comfort, it’s a place that’s a refuge from the outside world.
There’s no better place than your home as a place of sanctuary, comfort, it’s a place that’s a refuge from the outside world.
You have one midwife in attendance throughout and a second midwife that comes towards the end, it’s calm, it’s peaceful and you have a greater degree of confidence in yourself when you’re in your own space. If I could have my baby again now It’s certainly something I would opt for and I encourage it with friends and family.
Another mum has explained that during her first birth, her placenta didn’t come out on its own. Is there a chance this will happen with baby number two?
It’s possible but it shouldn’t do – there’s no guarantee either way. It all depends on why the placenta didn’t come – there’s lots of different reasons you see. I’d advise her to try and not give too much worry or thought to this. Sometimes letting go of the placenta can be an emotional aspect of pregnancy – what we call the metaphysical side of things, for example, was this a pregnancy she didn’t want to let go of? So, I’d tell her to try and clear her emotions and be as happy as she can be that her pregnancy is coming to an end to encourage her body to release what is no longer needed.
Finally, what would your message be to anyone reading, or watching the series, who is slightly nervous about labour?
We’re all scared of the unknown, so I always say to women when you prepare for birth you familiarise yourself with it. The more you familiarise yourself with something the less fearful you are of it. Even changing the language from contraction to surges, understanding that it’s not painful it’s powerful, all these changes are so important because they give us a different perspective. We’ve stopped believing in ourselves as women, even in our ability to birth babies – we were created to do this. When women come in I always say believe in yourself, you can do this and you’re awesome. In the words of Obama ‘yes we can’!
One Born Every Minute returns on Tuesday 4th April at 9pm on Channel 4.