I am a Swedish trained midwife with 26 years in the profession. I found this book most inspiring. This autumn 2012 I will lead a book club for midwives where we read this book, chapter by chapter, and discuss what implications this may have at our work place. It will be interesting to see how the midwives can contribute with their own "tricks of the trade" in the group. It is time to acknowledge birth as the physiological, existential and social event it is. It is time to reclaim midwifery!
Frequently birth is seen as a medical event coloured by the attitude: "Anything can happen, we must be prepared and control the situation with the help of machines and interventions." We now have continuity of electronic foetal monitoring rather than continuity of care. It is easier to get a planned C-section than a planned home birth. An epidural is not questioned but a water birth is. During my years as a midwife, I have seen standing positions during birth vanish, water births disappear and alternative birth centres being lost.
Denis Walsh's book is an important tool for midwifery students and also for senior midwives in need of inspiration and re-vitalization of forgotten knowledge. Walsh has gathered recent research in midwifery care. He has also rediscovered old knowledge that now is scientifically proven. In a pedagogical way every chapter ends with a conclusion, clinical recommendations and questions to the reader to ponder upon. The book is challenging and makes a midwife question the etablished "truths" in modern maternity care. Read it!