What Indiana’s New Religious Freedom Restoration Act Means for Women 

When is it ever really right to base laws on religious belief? This reduces choice for women and families and anything that does that cannot be a positive thing.

Girls' Globe

Today, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) allowing for individuals and companies with “sincerely held religious beliefs” to refuse service to individuals who do not align with their beliefs. Although the Governor and his Republican colleagues refute the claim that this bill legalizes religious discrimination, it clearly does.

For example, the law protects Christian bakers, florists, and photographers from punishment if they refuse to participate in a homosexual marriage. (Same-sex marriage was legalized in Indiana in October of 2014.) Now, that might sound seemingly harmless. After all, if same-sex partners are looking for wedding day caterers or other services, they could always choose another, more LGBT-friendly company. Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done when 80 percent of Indiana’s population follows the Christian faith. But that’s beside the point. The point is that they shouldn’t have to look elsewhere. (Before students staged the 1960 Nashville sit-ins at Woolworth’s lunch counter, the…

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(image credit: Science Blogs)

If sex and orgasms offend you or your sensitive nature, then please, turn off your computer, the internet is not for you. Especially a page that is about being a student midwife – I mean, babies appear in the majority of cases because sex has preceded them approximately 9 months earlier, and usually someone has achieved orgasm (some think it can even improve your chances of conceiving!).

So let me get straight to the punchline: I think that female sex aides should be part of the holistic tool kit available to women to boost contractions.

Read that sentence again if you like, it still says what you think it says.


(Image credit of Oxytocin as a molecule: Wiki)

As a midwife, or a student, there will probably have been some point in your training or career where you have explained the miracle of oxytocin to women (and their partners) and its wondrous effects on birth. You haven’t? Don’t fib. I know I have, because I like to give women actual information due to my sciencey, facty, “this is why” nature.

I get a fair amount of feedback about how much information I give women – not that I shouldn’t give it, but that I need to find a more concise way to convey it AND I need to judge when that information is really needed (in my opinion, it’s always needed because informed choice, but hey, I get the point). So my explanation of syntocinon is a little like this:

It’s a synthetic form of oxytocin, and that’s the hormone that gets your uterus muscles to contract.

Pretty snippy innit?

Oxytocin explanation?:

Your cervix being stimulated, especially by baby’s head pushing against it, acts like a “release button” every time it’s pushed, it tells your brain to release oxytocin to get the uterus contracting – it’s why we ask you to be active, to go for a walk, to use the stairs – gravity is going to help that baby’s head press the button.

A fair mix of fact and colloquial, in my humble opinion.

So as for the activity advice some units (ours does) provide birthing balls for women, it takes pressure off their coccyx it bounces baby a bit to get it downs wards onto the cervix. We have a huge set of stairs in the unit that women are encouraged to use, and an even bigger set round the corner in an adjacent unit. I’ve lost count of the number of times that women have told me that these stairs have been responsible for the onset of labour for them. We also have essential oils available for women to use including clary sage, which is provided with the information that it aids uterine contractions.

All these things working because OXYTOCIN.

We offer syntocinon as a synthetic option to get labour going, but what if we offered something else to release a massive shot of oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine? All the good birthing hormones, the enemies of adrenaline.

What if we offered something like this:

clit stimulator

No it’s not C3-PO’s appendix, it’s a clitoral stimulator. You can get one here if you’d like from Ann Summers, only £5.

Clitoral and nipple stimulation to induce an orgasm is a win-win for a woman in labour, banishes those pesky stress hormones and potentially jump starts what should be happening more often.

(Gif source: giphy.com)

You’re either laughing now, or thinking, “What in the effing Jeff is this post about? Is she serious.” Why yes, yes I am.

An orgasm releases all of those chemicals and as Ina May Gaskin said (ish) What got baby in will get baby out.
I wrote about something similar towards the end of last year, the couple who were interrupted by a domestic while having sex in the woman’s hospital room. The spokesperson said that it was an encouraged method of starting contractions and they have no issues with it, but ask people to put a “Do not disturb” notice on the door (although I maintain that if the woman had knocked and not  had permission to go in, she should have stayed outside…didn’t I make a joke about “Come in” of course I did. Too good an opportunity for a pun to be missed there).

Anyway, let’s get back to what I was saying: I think that for the low price of £5 a woman could make used of evidence based research to help her labour. Is it really that ridiculous? I have mentioned it to a couple of people and been met with laughter and then “Wait…you’re serious? The NHS giving out vibrators to women?!”

Imagine the awesome birth boxes people would keep “This is your name band, this is a picture of your dad changing your first nappy,  here’s your umbilical cord, and this is the little beauty that helped mummy get you out into the world!” Would it be more embarrassing than seeing that your mother kept your foreskin? Who knows.

So the evidence is there, the price is lower than a birth ball, and perhaps the cost of a syringe of syntocinon (is it? Actually I don’t know how much that costs) AND the woman would get an orgasm – I’m not seeing the negative here. It can work for women whose membrane have ruptured as there’s no vaginal insertion required. I reckon this is a Million Dollar idea.

Of course, it could be completely mad. I haven’t decided.

What do you think?

Heather xx

ps – just in case you didn’t get the Rabbit picture reference > Rabbit

Positive beginnings.

This is a lovely piece, please have a look at her work xx

Cordy's Blog

To say I got my ticket for the roller coaster that is positivity from my life events is maybe too sentimental and almost silly . Yet I believe that is how I became a positive person. Now I am not declaring that I see everything in a positive way and react with positivity in every situation but I feel that being positive is vital to my well-being. After the loss of my baby and the passing of my dad I had no positivity . I walked the path of grief and got very lost. As I write this I think back to that time when I was so confused. When positive things happened to the people around me I did not feel, I looked at them and smiled then I congratulated them on their joy. I knew my life was negative. I did not want to accept my broken life…

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Everyone has that difficult second album

Or year.

There’s a saying that drifts around about the second year of the course – if you haven’t had a nervous breakdown, you might not be doing it right.

Well I had mine, epic proportions, I forgot how to midwife, god damn it, I forgot how to adult. It might, however be changing. After a massive crisis of confidence, those who know better than you will help you get back up and carry on.

My cohort is made up of incredible women, led by incredible women (and a chap!), working with incredible women, and caring for some absolute rockstars. I mentioned in a previous post that it was the words of women I was caring for that really bolstered my confidence, well it all came tumbling down a little after that again…but hopefully it’s on its way back.

You see, part of our course is the “School” bit – and that means exams. Good. We SHOULD have exams, we should be tested on what we know. I don’t worry a huge amount about exams, but these are so important, that it would be glib of me to not worry at all.

At uni we have a facility for practical assessments and training – much like wards and hospital bays, a birthing room…we’re really lucky. We also have a day of inter professional working with some medical students from a nearby uni. The morning consists of theory, recapping the things that we have learnt in theory, ready for the four station practical session in the afternoon.

I really enjoyed most of this, my colleagues were confident, swift and informative – we were going great guns…until it got to me to lead and suddenly I had no clue what I was doing, I felt like I’d just turned up off the street and was some sort of imposter. Actually, an imposter might have done a better job. It really affected the flow of what was happening with our team and I felt like I’d massively let everyone down. Even though the feedback we all had after that scenario (maternal collapse) was that I had done the right thing, and that I had just needed to rationale why I was doing those things) I still felt absolutely crap. I messaged my friend to apologise for being such a moron and she said not to be so daft, nice words, it was nice…couldn’t shake the feeling.

Went back into placement the next day and I might as well have been a GCSE work experience person – I felt like I knew nothing I didn’t know what order everything had to be in, I was a mess, and it got harder to shake. The women I was caring for were still lovely, and grateful, but I found myself gabbling, talking too much (as per usual) and I think I was almost seeking out their approval through informing them, and being nice.

In reality, what I Was doing was chatting for too long – about relevant things, but still, too much information; this impacted my list of tasks and had a knock on effect. I didn’t realise this until my tutor arrived to do my mid point, tripartite assessment and my mentor fed it back in a very positive way, and I realised that by oversharing my time with some women, others may have felt neglected.

So it’s about drawing the line, being kind in gestures, but for those gestures to be useful to both the woman and the management of all the other things that need to be done. I have to learn this quick smart. I go back later in the year to that placement, and it will be completely on me if I don’t take that to heart and do something positive about it.

Even this post is now a bajillion words long!

I’ll let you catch up and carry on pretending that I’m a comic book anti-hero (that’s a long story…we’ll get to that another time)