Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

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Well this is an interesting topic!

Basically, I think we get what we are given … but if you are in the position of having a large family with all the same sex, perhaps you might consider *trying* to alter the odds of conceiving one sex or the other.

There was a programme on TV a week or so ago “8 boys and wanting a girl” (Channel 4 21 January 2010) which evoked mixed feelings for me.  Part of me thought the families ought to be grateful to have lovely children, and part of me felt sorry for them.  You can watch it here if you are quick!

The programme talked about PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis), similar to IVF but the sex of the fertilised egg is determined and selected to implant into the mother accordingly but this in not available in the UK and some families are travelling to America and spending huge amounts of money to receive this treatment.

There are, however, less drastic measures that *might* alter your chances to have one gender or the other.  There is a book by Hazel Phillips called “Girl or Boy? Your chance to choose” and also “How to have a girl” and “How to have a boy” by J. Martin Young or “How to choose the Sex of You r Baby” by Landrum B. Shettles.

There are various theories about the timing and position of intercourse and the diet of the mother, but … it seems that the theories are contradictory.

I wish you well, but remember that all children are precious whatever gender they are!

We have had two weeks of the eight week Channel 4 documentary series ‘One Born Every Minute’.  The series follows the day-to-day life in a maternity ward and was filmed over the course of a month.  The programme goes out on Tuesday evenings at 9pm.

The programme highlights the intense experience of childbirth from the perspective of both parents-to-be and also midwives and maternity ward staff. 

The programme, for me, is very interesting and also very realistic of the pressures faced by staff and women alike, however it is edited in a very dramatic style featuring women screaming, babies crying and moments of intensity and drama (of course, this is TV!).  I have had clients contact me having been quite upset by the programme.  I just hope they also show some of the lovely normality of birth, the quiet, serene, beautiful births and not just the drama.

I don’t usually watch that much TV, that is except the odd trashy programme that I relax to, but I watched a couple of really interesting programmes last night that would be well worth trying to catch if you can.

The first is very relevant to my recent blog about the Stafford hospital investigation, it was a Dispatches programme entitled “Confessions of a Nurse” and was on Channel 4 at 8pm last night.

The programme was based around a You Gov survey which questioned nurses and midwives on their experiences.  The programme made uncomfortable viewing and called into question the conduct of some nursing staff, but also clearly showed the stressful conditions that staff are routinely expected to work under – for example no meal breaks, no toilet breaks and so on and the appalling conditions that some patients have to tolerate.  In my opinion, once again it showed a health service at breaking point.

This programme was followed on Channel 4 at 9pm by “The Great Sperm Race” which discussed the process of conception, but from an interesting angle – the programme makers magnified the size of a sperm to be the size of an adult person and depicted the journey of the sperm through to conception – really informative.