Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

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A woman in America has given birth to eight babies, and although born nine weeks prematurely, at present doctors say all of them are doing well.  The babies weighed between 1lb 8 ounces (820g) and 3lb 4oz (1.47kg) and will need to stay in Neonatal Intensive Care for some time.  It’s only the second time in the world that someone has given birth to eight babies at once, and doctors were only expecting her to have seven!

Also in the news is the story of surrogate mother Carol Horlock who has had eleven babies for other couples and also has two children of her own. I am sure surrogacy takes place in most cultures, often with the surrogate mother being a family member, of course this raises huge ethical issues not to mention the emotional issues for all concerned, but wow … this is something that I personally could never have considered, I couldn’t even have parted with my eggs, but I know many couples are eternally grateful for those that are able to help them have a family.

Today I was twice invited to speak on BBC 3 Counties Radio, partly in response to this news story and also to speak about my work as an Independent Midwife –

I had hoped to have the opportunity to discuss my new website but the interviewer was keen to discuss my blog. was launched only three months ago has already proved popular.  The site currently covers Bedford, Milton Keynes and Northampton and aims to be THE information site for all things Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.  For example on the site you can find therapists who specialise in Pre-conceptual support, pregnancy ultrasound, swimming classes for babies and even photographers to photograph your little one!  The site has a comprehensive Links section and an interesting selection of articles and the opportunity to sign up for a regular newsletter.

I have just heard about this story in today’s Telegraph.  Apparently Rachida Dati the French justice minister has returned to work, smartly dressed with make-up and high heels five days after giving birth by caesarean!

Gosh!  How do I comment on this one?  I really feel that women feel under intense pressure to be glamorous and function “normally” after having a baby.  Who exerts this pressure – well I think it is largely women themselves, and certainly this high-profile woman is sending a message to thousands of other women.

My reaction is that this is just crazy!  She has had major abdominal surgery (for that is what a caesarean is), she has had a baby and she should be at home resting and spending time with her baby.

Women obviously do vary in how they recover after a birth, but they need time to adjust to life with their new baby; their sleep will be disturbed, they will be physically tired and hopefully they will be making breastmilk and learning how to breastfeed.  Women need a “babymoon”!  There are, of course, dangers of postpartum haemorrhage (which although rare is serious), infection, mastitis and depression.  I do think that other cultures where women are cosseted and fed for up to a month after birth may have it right.

On the one hand, women are working until the eleventh hour before the birth, putting themselves at risk of high blood pressure and premature labour, and on the other hand not allowing themselves any recovery time.  I am not suggesting a return to the 10 day “lying in” period, we know that it is actually beneficial to be mobile as soon as possible (even after a caesarean birth) but shopping with a two-day old baby really!

I shall be discussing this issue later today on