Q&A with Midwife Marley
Marley Hall is an award winning midwife, hypnobirthing instructor, mother of five and author of 'Midwife Marley's Guide For Everyone: Pregnancy, Birth & The Fourth Trimester'.
She has been a midwife in the UK for over 12 years, working in hospitals, homes and the community in both the NHS and private sector. She now works independently with pregnant clients in and around London and is the resident midwife for Channel mum. She has a passion for antenatal education and shares lots of pregnancy and birth related information via her Instagram page @midwifemarley.
Midwife Marley is joining us on the Live Talks Stage at The Baby Show. Marley will be talking about things you can do to help make labour smoother, shorter, and to reduce the chance of assisted birth & perineal tearing. She will be sharing tips you can do in pregnancy, to help prepare your body for birth. See her talk on Friday 4th March at 12.30pm.
How long have you worked as a midwife and what inspired you?
I have been a midwife since 2009 after beginning my training in 2005. I was actually inspired by the midwife who looked after me in 2000 during the birth of my first son. I was in awe of the way she kept me calm and looked after me, helping me to achieve a positive birth.
How many births do you attend each month and what is the percentage of hospital to home births?
I currently work independently providing ante and postnatal care so am not actively attending births. When I worked in the NHS however, I spent a lot of time on the labour ward and in the community providing a homebirth service. I worked part-time, attending around fifteen hospital births and one homebirth per month.
What percentage of your clients need to be transferred to the hospital (if planning a home birth) and what are the most common reasons?
In my career, I have transferred to hospital twice. Once was because the woman wanted an epidural and the second was because the baby was in a back to back (occipito posterior or OP) position and labour wasn’t progressing. I was fairly junior at the time and looking back, allowing time and encouraging the mum to change position at home would have helped. I know this because we got into the ambulance to transfer her and had to pull over in a bus stop as the baby was being born! The mum had climbed onto the ambulance bed on all fours and that clearly helped the baby turn!
What will happen if I go past my estimated due date?
The ‘due date’ is simply an estimation. Most babies are actually born after this date than before it. At around 41-42 weeks, many women are offered an induction of labour which may be an option that they are happy to consider. However most women would rather wait and allow baby to come naturally, to avoid the risks that come with induction. I’ve worked with some women who have given birth at 43, 44 and even 45 weeks gestation. If someone does not want to be induced, extra monitoring is often offered to ensure both mum and baby are OK.
Which aspects of being a midwife do you find the most challenging, and also the most rewarding?
I love midwifery! The only times I have found it challenging is when I have worked within the time constraints of the NHS. Things like 15 minute antenatal appointments were just not enough and I felt I couldn’t provide the care I wanted to. I really enjoy educating people about birth and what to expect in the weeks and months that follow. It’s so important to be educated about all aspects of having a baby so that women can make informed decisions about their care, along with knowing what's normal and what's not.
As I enjoy educating people about having a baby, it made sense to write a book all about it! I felt it was important to create something that covered pregnancy, birth and what to expect in those early days afterwards, as that’s when the journey is really only just beginning. Midwife Marley's Guide For Everyone: Pregnancy, Birth and the 4th Trimester brings all of the essential information that women and their partners need. It’s in an easy-to-read, fun format using my popular social media doodles as illustrations. Complete with evidence based information to really fill the reader’s head with essential knowledge, using language that they will understand. It really is the book I would have loved to have when I was having my first baby. It’s out online and in bookshops on 31st March and you can pre-order now.
What makes this book different from the many other pregnancy manuals?
There are hundreds if not thousands of pregnancy books on the market. Some are short and sweet but don’t cover the all of a pregnant woman’s needs, some are painfully wordy and complex, leaving many parents even more confused than before they started reading. In my book, the text is accompanied by fun illustrations with scenarios that resonate. The characters in these illustrations are from a diverse range of backgrounds which is essential as the book really is for everyone. The book provides important information in short snippets covering the entire pregnancy period, the birth and the first 3 months (4th trimester) after the birth which allows the reader to easily pick up from where they left. When a woman has a newborn baby, they rarely have time to shower let alone read a book so it’s important that the book gets to the point quickly and easily. It is split into simple sections which means it can be put down and picked up.
You have a section in the book dedicated to the fourth trimester, why is this so important?
So many people focus on the pregnancy and birth but neglect to consider the weeks after birth when parents have been born, along with the baby! The Fourth Trimester is the 3-6 month period after birth when the baby is adapting to their new world. It’s important to understand the changes they go through so that parents know what to expect; understanding what’s normal and what’s not with both baby and mum, along with suggestions on making this time as smooth as possible.
Don't miss the talk Ready, Get Set, Birth! - Preparing your Body for Labour with Midwife Marley on the Live Talks Stage at The Baby Show, on Friday 4th March at 12.30pm.