Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Starting to develop social media guidelines for the Australian College of Midwives

At long last I have started work on the development of draft guidelines for the use of social media by midwives, on behalf of the Australian College of Midwives. This work is partly driven by the upcoming public consultation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and following the furore of AHPRA's initial draft consultation document.

At this stage, I am reviewing the social media guidelines of other midwifery and health organizations, both in Australia and internationally.

I am looking for examples of guidelines that:

  • are proactive ie acknowledge that social media is here to stay;
  • supportive of the use of social media by midwives/health professionals;
  • give examples of good practice and practical tips for how we can use social media professionaly;
  • doe not take a punitive approach.
If you have any suggestions of guidelines that you think may help me, please let me know. 

Image: 'twitter_Good_Bad'
Found on

Monday, November 12, 2012

Should waterbirth be offered to all women?

The Australian College of Midwives is asking for feedback on its draft Position Statement on the use of water immersion for labour and birth - click here for details of the Statement and how to submit your feedback.

I have to admit, there are two areas that I feel a tad uneasy about and am looking forward to seeing how others feel - these are my own opinions and I am not reflecting the Australian College of Midwives.

The first thing I have reservations about is the opening statement "The ACM supports the choice of all women at term to have the opportunity to access water immersion for labour and/or birth."

I think there are instances when women have risk factors that would preclude them from water immersion, so I am not sure "all women" should be in the statement. Having said that...if water immersion is restricted to just low risk women, we would be preventing women with conditions such as diabetes, who are labeled "at risk" but actually would be fine to labour in water.

I believe that every woman needs to be assessed individually at the time, and I am not sure this is reflected in the Position Statement. At the same time, we do have a lack of evidence about water immersion and the outcomes for so-called "high risk" women, so it is difficult to give an informed opinion.

The second issue that I am a little uncomfortable about is the point "All maternity services to be encouraged to provide women with access to water immersion in labour and/or birth including telemetry as required". Note: telemetry is the monitoring of the baby's heart beat using water proof equipment. Thus, women who require continuous baby heart rate monitoring can still have access to water immersion.

I just need to be's not telemetry I have a problem with...I think it's fabulous if it supports more "at risk" women to have access to water immersion. What I am concerned about is that the minute it is included into the ACM Position Statement, some midwives and doctors will take it as an opportunity to push continuous fetal monitoring for all women, including "low risk" women, which is not evidence based practice, but widely supported in areas.

What do you think?

If you have any comments about either these issues or any other aspects of this Position Statement, please make a submission as per these instructions.

Image: 'untitled'
Found on

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My big fat bum!

I grew up hating my bottom. Right through to my adult years, I was forever hearing someone say (usually my mother!)..."you've got your Granny Gammon's bottom"...and it wasn't meant as a compliment. At the same time, I was told I had good childbearing hips...whatever that meant! At 16, you are more interested in whether you can get into a pair of skinny jeans...not that you can push out a 10 pound baby!

Needless to say, I  have had a complex about my bum all my life, especially as a young woman. And it hasn't got any better over the last few years as I have put on weight. I have always done my best to cover it up, and in my mind's eye, it has been as huge as a mountain! I never asked my hubby "does my bum look big in this?" because I always thought I knew what the answer would be - to be fair, my hubby has never said my bum looks big.

But now I have lost weight, I am down to the size I was when I was in my early 20s, and it's dawned on me that my bum wasn't fat at all. I spent all those years hating my bum, and having a poor image of myself, but really, my bum was a perfectly normal. Now, I regret those wasted years...instead of worrying about my bum, I should have been out and about enjoying it.......shaking my booty!

I am not going to hate my bottom any more. I'm going to embrace it and love it, and clothe it in tight (well...not too tight) jeans!'s a lot saggier than it was 30 years ago...but I am going to make the most of it, because in another 20 years, I'll definitely have something to worry about!!

What part of your body do you love....and hate?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shame on the Warriors rugby team!

I generally do not take much notice of what's going on with rugby league because I am more a union girl - go The Highlanders!! However, news about the latest sponsorship deal that The Warriors have recently negotiated has got my dander up.

Earlier this week, The Warriors - the biggest New Zealand rugby league team - announced they have struck a sponsorship deal with the Chinese-owned New Zealand formula milk company, Fernbaby. This deal includes the Junior Warriors wearing the company's logo on its shorts next year, with The Warriors wearing the logo on their shorts 2014-2015. This news not only has implications for New Zealand, but also Australia, because obviously The Warriors spend a lot of time playing in Australia.

There are several reasons why I am concerned about this move.

Firstly, this marketing move contravenes the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Many countries have enacted the Code into legislation, but as far as I can tell (and I'd love to be put right if I've got this wrong) the New Zealand and Australian governments support the Code but have not integrated it into legislation.

Secondly, by endorsing Fernbaby, The Warriors will be encouraging its fans to use formula feed. Keeping in mind that many of the fans of the Warriors come from communities who need to be encouraged to breast feed for as long as possible as a means to reduce health problems such as diabetics, obesity, asthma and SIDS, this is hugely problematic.

I am not the only person concerned - the Infant Nutrition Council has stated that this move clearly contravenes voluntary as well as regulatory marketing codes. The snag is that Fernbaby is not a member of the INC, so I would imagine the company isn't terribly worried about adhering to any voluntary  codes.

What really annoyed me was the arrogant attitude of The Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah who said he wasn't concerned about "how breast-feeding advocates and the general public might react to the Fernbaby sponsorship."

Well, I disagree! I think he should be very concerned. If he wants to attract more women and families to games, then he's going the wrong way about it. And, as for The Warriors being supportive of the community,'s clear they do not give two hoots about the community. All they are interested in is making money, and not promoting a "breast is best" message, which would be far more beneficial for their fans...let alone the poor people they will be targeting in Asian countries, where both Fernbaby and The Warriors want to increase their market. 

I am thinking about what I, and the rest of the midwifery community in New Zealand and Australia, can do to lobby against these sorts of cynical marketing ploys, and put pressure on The Warriors to think again about this sponsorship deal. Any ideas?

Image: 'Skyline'
Found on

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How can I keep veggies growing in pots hydrated during Canberra's hot summer?

I am living in a flat on the 6th floor of an apartment in Canberra. Luckily we have a really decent balcony, so I should be able to grow some veggies in pots this summer. Apparently the summers in Canberra get quite hot so I thought I'd have a go at growing chillis, capsicums and cucumbers - all plants that were not so easy to grow when I was living in Dunedin.

The only snag is that I will be away for periods of time during the summer and am concerned about how I can keep the plants hydrated, so they do not die while I am away.

Any suggestions about how I can manage this problem?