One Born Every Minute Australia: My Positive Birth
One Born Every Minute Australia has recently premiered on Channel 10 and is filmed entirely at Westmead Hospital in Sydney.
If you’re not familiar with the show from the UK or US versions, it is a fly-on-the-wall series that documents the birth of babies from the perspectives of both the expectant parents and their midwives and medical teams.
I was fortunate enough to speak to Janet, one of the mamas featured on the show, to find out what it was really like being involved and what made her decide to share such a special moment on national tv.
Janet and her husband Blake appear on Episode 3 of the show for the water birth of their third child. Janet is also a Registered Midwife.
So what made Janet decide to appear on the show?
I’d heard about the show before and absolutely loved it. We had just moved to Western Sydney and we received a letter in the mail (offering to appear on the series), so I spoke to my midwife because I was a bit nervous but she said all of the midwives were so excited about showing how midwives help people. That made me excited, and as a midwife myself, I wanted to show that too.
I’d also had two previous normal births and I wanted to show people that it is possible to have a natural birth.
Is being a midwife a help or a hindrance when you are the one giving birth?
With my first baby, I wasn’t a midwife but it made me interested in becoming one, with my second I was a student midwife and it was only with this baby that I was a qualified midwife. It was good knowing what to expect but I work in a big tertiary hospital where I see a lot of high-risk births and I see what can go wrong. That can play on your mind. But it was good, if I had any concerns I would go to work and ask someone there.
Did the cameras hinder your birth experience or were they discreet?
I didn’t notice the cameras in labour and birth (60 hidden cameras are used to film the show). I was a little bit nervous as I felt some pressure to “do it right,” like I needed to be natural and normal and “do it well.”
I was initially hesitant as to whether I wanted such a special time to be broadcast for everyone to see but they did a wonderful job and I was excited to see it.
Have you had a waterbirth before, would you recommend it?
Yes, I had a waterbirth previously and would recommend it. I find that the bath is amazing in terms of pain relief. As a midwife I know it doesn’t work for everyone but I always encourage women to give it a go.
Would you say that this was a positive birth experience?
It was very positive, my mum was able to come this time which was very special for both of us. My midwife was also amazing! She wasn’t on call but she came in anyway.
What would be your top tips for expectant mums to have a positive birth experience?
My top tips would be to choose a continuity of care model if you can; a midwifery group practice or caseload model, and look at all of your options for birth including what pain relief you will use (I found the TENS machine great) and consider Calm birthing or Hypnobirthing classes.
You can watch Episode Three featuring Janet’s story here and catch One Born Every Minute Australia Tuesdays at 8.30 pm on 10.