BirthRite in Qingdao, October 2015
Founding Conference of the Women and Children Medical Coalition

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I was invited to speak at the Founding Conference of the Women and Children Medical Coalition in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, on October 21, 2015. The topic of my presentation was: “Laying the foundation for a confident, self-determined and natural birthing experience”.

In my presentation, I addressed the stepping stones for achieving a reduction in the Caesarean section rate and an increase in motivation for natural, upright birth. The presentation was a great success, and obstetricians were intrigued by my animated demonstrations of the disadvantages for women when labouring on the obstetric bed. They were also amazed about the positions a midwife might need to adopt to help a woman give birth to her child while standing. Many issues were raised, including the Chinese practice of washing the woman’s vagina with a sterile solution prior to birth. My comment that “a sterile baby is a weak baby”, and the ensuing explanation why birth is designed to be non-sterile, were keenly absorbed.

In the following days, I held several workshops at Qingdao Women’s and Children’s Hospital about upright positions using the BirthRite Birthing Seat. I also ran Doula Skills Workshops which generated much excitement and laughter amongst the participants. Even the Director of Obstetric Services, Miss Zhang, participated in a workshop. I gave her the “thumbs up” for her excellent doula skills!

Qingdao Women’s and Children’s Hospital has 10,000 births per year and is very keen to shift from medically managed births to natural births. It is one of the first hospitals in Mainland China to receive accreditation for the use of the BirthRite Birthing Seat, Birth Fusion and Floor Studio. It was heartwarming to see how many husbands there take a keen interest in pregnancy and birth.

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As part of this China tour, I had also been invited by Tianjin Women’s and Children’s Hospital to give a presentation to pregnant couples interested in learning more about natural childbirth. Over 100 couples in all stages of pregnancy listened to my talk, “Why Natural?”. The presentation included a brief history of childbirth through the ages. It looked at China’s current childbirth practices and examined in detail the disadvantages of births on the obstetric bed and the widespread administration of epidurals and episiotomies in China. I then discussed the benefits of natural labour and birth, accompanied by demonstrations of breathing techniques and a variety of upright positions. Much of the information presented was quite new for the attendees, and would no doubt have generated much thought and discussion afterwards.


Back in Beijing once more, I ran another presentation/workshop with pregnant couples booked at New Century Women’s and Children’s Hospital. More than 30 couples gathered to hear the “Why Natural?” presentation and then engage in some bodywork and modulated breathing techniques. It was pleasing to see yet again so many husbands eager to learn and participate. It was a special treat that the woman who was guided by me through a gentle birth on the BirthRite Birthing Seat at New Century Women’s and Children’s Hospital in May this year visited the group and spoke about her experience. She was clearly very moved by her wonderful birth and so very proud of herself. The other couples listened to her story with much interest and excitement.

— Monika Boenigk
BirthRite



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