Breech Birth: Essential Skills Training


By Breech Birth Midwife Debs Rhodes

From a medicalised traumatic birth, to a beautiful spontaneous surprise – this was my introduction into breech birth. I was fascinated, and I absorbed as much information from as many sources as I could find.

The history of breech birth has been a rollercoaster. Originally widely accepted as a variation of normal, at home with community midwives and family practitioner doctors in our Grandmother’s birth time, we moved to nearly 100% caesarean section birth in most industrialised countries. And now, the strong realisation that it’s time to bring back physiological breech birth, together with a rejuvenation of understanding, and a mix of old & new skills.

Where did all the breech birth skills go?? 
As the last century turned, most breech babies were already being born by caesarean. However, evidence from the Hannah et al, 2000 research showed that c-section favoured babies’ mortality outcomes over medicalised vaginal birth, putting the final nail in vaginal breech birth’s coffin. However, over the subsequent decade it was realised that there were many flaws in this trial – not least the lack of support for physiology in the vaginal birth arm of Hannah which led to iatragenic harm that could be avoided with good breech birth skills. And, critically, when the data is considered over the two years following birth, there is no difference between the outcomes of birth abdominally or vaginally (this was swept under the carpet!)

Those practitioners that understood breech birth have kept these skills alive. With mounting evidence that safety is compromised by all breeches being born via c-section. Women’s health and lives are being put at risk, future pregnancies are being affected, and with a greater focus on the overal health of the woman and child, it’s time we regained vaginal breech skills.

I’m delighted to be able to share my own experiences of practice along with my continued learning from breech experts around the world.
Whether you want to learn from new, re-skill, update, share space with like minded practitioners, offer breech support in your own practice or just be prepared for those surprise ones that come along you’ll find the latest evidence and practice techniques here.

Workshops will be in Spain, UK, France, Slovakia, Portugal & Czech Republic.
For more information, email me, Debs Rhodes, at

Christmas Wishes for Maternity

If you had three wishes, three things that you could wave your Christmas Wand at and make happen within the maternity services, what would they be?

This article by Katharine Handel for AIMS shared her top three wishes: Honesty, Respect and Dignity. It’s fascinating to think that these basic foundations of care are missing from so many people’s births. We also know that they are missing from the work lives of many midwives, midwives who go to work and are not treated with honesty, respect and dignity by some of their colleagues.

How we work is often a habit, based on what we see and how people work around us. Sometimes, we may see ways of working that don’t feel right, or we may inadvertently work in ways that don’t match how we see ourselves. Some ways of working that might originally have been shocking can become normalised. Sometimes, it may not feel ok, but fighting it feels too hard, or too risky.

There is support out there. Looking forward to a new year, maybe we can all think about three wishes that we would have for the maternity services, and then consider how we can find the support to be the change we want to see.

Useful support networks:
The Association of Radical Midwives
Secret Community for Midwives in the Making (Facebook)
Say No to Bullying in Midwifery (Facebook)
Da A Luz Oasis