Love and Hate in Childbirth- by Rosalind Howell

In December the NICE guidelines were updated to reflect changing cultural attitudes to pregnancy and birth. They acknowledge that for women, birth is a ‘significant and emotionally intense life experience’ and also acknowledge the effects of birth are far reaching and so far little is known about this.

Having given birth three times in the last four and half years, I have felt caught between two modern paradigms, the medicalised, intervention-full hospital birth, and the gentle, pain free, (even orgasmic) homebirth. These extremes seem to reflect a cultural unwillingness to reconcile some of our most difficult and challenging feelings around birth and motherhood.

The popularity of hypnobirthing classes, as well as websites such as and, reflect the desire by many women who are pregnant or hoping to conceive to positively affect the experience of childbirth for them and their baby. Perhaps too, women are looking for a discourse Read more...