Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘Association of Radical Midwives’ Category

Following the recent screening of “Freedom for Birth” a film documentary discussing the plight of maternity services and midwifery world-wide I have put together an Action Plan of ideas that you may like to consider to support the midwives and maternity services.  Please do as much as you can to make things better for women today and our daughters in the future.


Please consider joining the following Facebook groups:

Independent Midwives UK

Fighting for Independent Midwives

The Birth I Want

ARM Conference 2012

One Born Every Minute—The Truth

One World Birth

Human Rights in Childbirth

Face of Birth


The Birth I Want:

Register an Interest in Independent Midwifery at:

The Association of Radical Midwives—Midwifery Matters:

The Association for Improvement in Maternity


The Face of Birth

Sign the petitions:


View the short version of “Freedom for Birth” available November 2012

Write a letter of support for Agnes to President of Hungary, János Áder



Royal College of Midwives (RCM), National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Independent Midwives UK (IM UK) Association of Radical Midwives (ARM) Association for Improvements in Maternity Services (AIMS) and the Albany Mums Support Group present:


Please consider joining us for this important Rally to support mothers and babies.  “Mothers and babies are the foundations of our society, what is more important than getting the foundations right?”

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity – with an election coming up – to send a very loud message, there is a real sense of all the different stakeholders being united in one voice and it could, with hindsight be seen as the turning point for the midwifery profession.

We demand that all women should have a midwife they can get to know, be able to access home birth, a local birth centre, and that there should be independent midwifery available as an option for women to choose.

Meet at 1.00PM in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Lambeth Road, SE14EQ

We will march to Whitehall to hand in a petition to the Health Minister and letters to the Prime Minister

Master of Ceremonies: Peter Duncan.  Speakers include: Professor Wendy Savage, AIMS Chair Beverley Beech, Albany Midwife Becky Reed, IM UK Board Member Annie Francis, NCT CEO Belinda Phipps, Albany Mums Support Group campaigner Emma Neamish and Duncan Fisher OBE


I have just returned from an Association of Radical Midwives (ARM) meeting.  It was great to meet up with other midwives who feel passionate about normal birth.  Tonight we viewed a film about the “Lotus Birth” of twins, in a birthpool, at home in Australia; the film is available from


A Lotus Birth is when the umbilical cord is not cut after the birth of the baby, instead the baby remains attached to the cord and placenta until the cord naturally detaches at the baby’s umbilicus.


The placenta is usually salted and treated with herbs to preserve the placenta until it separates.  The cord dries quickly and shrinks in diameter and detaches within a few days after the birth.


There may be many reasons why families choose this unusual method of managing the ultimate separation of the baby from the placenta; they may have personal or spiritual beliefs about the significance of the placenta, but also it is true that the baby extra blood, via placental transfusion, which contains iron, red cells, stem cells and other nutrients if the cord is either left intact or left until the pulsating ceases.  Additionally advocates of Lotus birth are aware that the mother and baby are more likely to be left to “bond” and establish breastfeeding with the placenta remaining attached to the baby.


This raises other questions: that of when to cut the umbilical cord, and also the question of stem cell harvesting.  In the vast majority of births within the UK the mother is given an injection of an Oxytocic to speed up the delivery of the placenta as it is believed that this lessens the risk of post-partum haemorrhage (NICE, Intrapartum Care September 2007). This national guidance is questioned by some midwives and also Association for Improvements in Maternity Services (AIMS) (Delivering Your Placenta, The Third Stage 1999)


Routine stem cell collection is not recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists or the Royal College of Midwives however it is a question midwives are often asked about.  In a routine hospital environment the cord is quickly clamped and cut after birth, however in a physiologically managed third stage the baby receives the extra blood supply and also the stem cells.


On a separate and sad note, I acknowledge the death of Hope Williams one of the conjoined twins.


My first blog, and introduction to me

I am Valerie Gommon, a Registered Midwife and an Independent Midwife and this is my first attempt at blogging.  First of all, a brief introduction to who I am and what I get up to:

I am a midwife in Independent (or Private) Practice and offer full continuity of care throughout the antenatal period, labour and birth and up to one month postnatal. I have four grown up children and live in North Bedfordshire.

My interest in birth spans more than two decades and started with the birth of my first son.  I was keen to learn more about the birth process and gradually learnt more about childbirth and parenting skills and subsequently had my next three children at home.

I became involved in La Leche League (a group which supports and promotes breastfeeding), the National Childbirth Trust, A.I.M.S. (the pressure group Association for Improvements in Maternity Services), and our local Birth Information Group.  Through my involvement in these groups I began to support other women and acted as a birth supporter and in turn began to teach birth preparation classes and sometimes supported these women during childbirth. Eventually my own children were grown enough for me to consider training to become a midwife and I worked within the NHS for a number of years as both a hospital and community midwife.  I am therefore confident in all areas of midwifery practice including homebirth, waterbirth, active birth and vaginal birth after caesarean section; I particularly enjoy parenthood education.

For the majority of women childbirth should be recognised as a normal event, I enjoy supporting women and families at this significant time in their lives.  My aim is for women to be fully informed and active partners in their care.  I believe this will empower women and their partners to obtain the most from this precious experience and can then enable them to move forwards into parenthood in a positive way.

I am an active campaigner for improvements in maternity services and am a member of Milton Keynes Birth Information Group and MK Mums. I also act as guest lecturer and mentor student midwives. Currently I am a local representative of the Association of Radical Midwives, a member of AIMS (Association for Improvements in Maternity Services), a member of IMA (Independent Midwives Association) as well as being a member of the Royal College of Midwives.

By working independently, I can offer the luxury of unhurried appointments in the comfort of a client’s own home allowing plenty of time to prepare for the birth. I like to think I am an experienced, sensitive midwife who works with clients to help obtain the best possible experience at this special time – pregnancy outcomes (types of birth, length of labour, need for pain relief, maternal satisfaction and length of breastfeeding) have been shown to be improved by having a known and trusted midwife – I believe that this is something every woman deserves and will continue to work towards this aim.

I usually work alone, but have the back up of other Independent Midwives if needed.

Please do feel free to give me a call for an informal discussion if you wish to discuss anything I have written.

Tel: 01908 511247