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Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

Pregnancy Birth & Beyond, where stories, science, traditions and new ideas meet.Visit us at www.pbbmedia.org and www.facebook.com/pregnancybirthandbeyondradio

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Revolutionising Home Birth with Dr Melanie Jackson

During this pandemic, there has been a huge increase in the demand for home birth in Australia and private practicing midwives are being flooded with calls from women and birthing people looking to birth outside of the hospital system. However, the regulations and education pathways for private practice midwifery are yet to change, and issues around accessibility and affordability remain. So how did we get here? When the research continues to show that home birth is the safest option for birth place, and continuous midwifery care the safest model, how do we need to revolutionise maternity care in this country to truly meet the needs of all birthing people?In this episode Kirilly Dawn is joined by Dr Melanie Jackson as we unravel some of these questions and take a deep look into the history of home birth, where we are today, and where we need to go. Dr Melanie Jackson is a private midwife living in the Blue Mountains in Sydney who has been attending women giving birth at home for 13 years, and has two homebirthed children herself. Melanie has completed a PhD called ‘Birthing outside the system’ and she also works as a midwifery researcher at western Sydney university. You can find out more about Melanie and the mentorship she offers for midwives wanting to enter private practice at www.melaniethemidwife.com, her YouTube channel Melanie the Midwife, and on IG and Facebook @melaniethemidwife

1hr 1min

12 Oct 2021

Rank #1

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Eva Rose: A Life in Birth

In this episode, Oni Blecher interviews Eva Rose. Eva Rose is an internationally renowned Norwegian birth photographer, videographer, documentary filmmaker, doula, and by virtue of all of these things; an activist for many birth issues. Eva is a third generation photographer, and in 1999, when she was 19, Eva Rose started her career in birth photography for a magazine called ‘Pregnancy’. Eva has wholly dedicated her life to being with birth. She’s been showing the wider public the intimacies of birth for over 20 years, and through the beauty of this exposure, has normalised many parts of the huge moving picture of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. With her decades of experience, Eva has seen all kinds of birthing experiences. Now she has a huge instagram following with her grateful followers vouching that her photographs and stories create accessible education. Eva and her partner’s video ‘The Birth of Purdie’ has had 1.9 million views and counting. In her work, Eva frequently sheds light on birth related things people don’t usually talk about; including practices of clinicians, cross cultural ways of birthing, early birth, still birth, and sharing a plethora of various birth stories from her followers. Last year, Eva and her partner OJ started filming a birth around the world documentary until their filming was cut short by COVID. Now, she is doing other very inspiring things in her home country of Norway. I have been following Eva for a long time now, and was so excited to speak with her. She is passionate and the fire lit inside of her is warm and illuminating. I hope you enjoy this conversation. If you haven’t already, check out Eva’s instagram and her incredible birth photos. Find Eva at @evarosebirth evarose.carrd.co/ and Youtube: Eva Rose Birth

1hr 23mins

2 Jun 2021

Rank #2

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The Grave Impact of Maternity Care Meconium Policies on Women.

It’s 21st May, 2021 and some months back I caught up with Tori Heath, mother of four with a background in psychology, who has worked in child protection and executive recruitment. We meet to recount the story of her first birth experience. At the time, Tori was a young, fit and healthy pregnant woman, growing up in outback Australia on a 14,000 acre farm, heading to girl’s boarding school in Sydney for high schooling. She later stays on in Sydney for University, eventually meeting her husband and then becoming pregnant with her first child. Tori is a resilient woman by all accounts. A well educated woman, she was relatively well informed and chose a continuity model of care for her maternity care along with other support. Options that at the time, and even now, are available to few women in Australia. Even with all that, Tori’s experience of childbirth was traumatic. Tori’s family nearly lost her and her baby. Now mother of four, a clear picture emerges from her first birthing experience - unnecessary interventions from ill-informed policies and those being imposed on her and her body at the wrong time, leading to grave lasting harm that lives on today. The price of this harm being paid by mother, child, family and the wider community - but with very little awareness from the medical systems involved.Meconium present during the last leg of labour engaged a policy that failed to protect from harm and directly caused further harm to mother and baby.Follow the link to Dr Rachel Reed’s blog post to find out more about meconium during labour: https://midwifethinking.com/2015/01/14/the-curse-of-meconium-stained-liquor/This podcast was recorded on Bundjalung Country, an area encompassing Byron Bay and surrounding flatlands, hills and rivers. We pay our respect to elders past, present and those emerging and deeply acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land whose cultures and customs have nurtured and continue to nurture this land and waters for over 60,000 years and upon which we now work and live. We recognise that the sovereignty of the pre-colonial peoples of these lands was never ceded and that recognition of culture, connection to land and waters and the sovereignty of all indigenous peoples across Australia is a matter of current and vital importance.First published on Speaker on 21st May, 2021.Guest: Tori HeathProduced and presented by Annalee AtiaOriginal Music by Romy Agam Romhttps://www.romyagamrom.comAll rights reserved.www.pbbmedia.org


21 May 2021

Rank #3

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Birth Experiences Study: The Biggest of its Kind! What is it and how to get involved.

If you are someone that understands how important maternity care and the perinatal period are for mother, baby, family and community health and wellbeing, tune in today to learn about vital new research into mothers experiences of maternity healthcare and childbirth in Australia and find out how you can support the study reach more people and become an even more powerful force in improving experiences and healthcare.Today on Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, Oni Blecher speaks with Dr Hazel Keedle researcher at Western Sydney University and Annalee Atia, National President of Maternity Choices Australia and co-founder of our very own PBB Media about a critically important new study looking into the birth and perinatal care experiences of mothers in Australia. The Birth Experience Study (BESt) can be completed here, only complete this questionnaire if you are Australian and have given birth in Australia in the past five years: https://surveyswesternsydney.au1.qualtrics.com/CP/File.php?F=F_3FeQerXzd8yoeI6To donate and support the study head to the Community Funding Campaign: https://gofund.me/c92a1829Maternity Choices Australia: www.maternitychoices.orgGuests:Dr Hazel KeedleAnnalee AtiaProduced & Edited by Oni Blecher and Annalee AtiaPresented by Oni BlecherThe Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond show is part of a wider nonprofit community media and journalism project, PBB Media.All rights reserved. www.pbbmedia.orgPregnancy, Birth and Beyond comes to you from Bundjalung Country at Cavanbah or Byron Bay and we acknowledge with respect and reverence the Arakwal people of the Budjalung nation, neighbouring clans and people for caring for this country since time immemorial.


27 Apr 2021

Rank #4

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Reclaiming the Rebozo with Mayte Acolt and Montse Olmos

In March 2021 Totonaca Indigenous birth companions Montse Olmos and Mayte Acolt started a petition titled 'Removing Rebozo Teachings From Doula Trainings'. It was a call to the international birth community and large training organisations, to stop their participation in the cultural appropriation and misuse of the sacred textile, the Rebozo.In this conversation Montse and Mayte generously share on the cultural use, meaning and place of the Rebozo in their Indigenous communities and in traditional midwifery practices in Mexico, and how this knowledge is traditionally passed down. They share why they started this petition, and why proper training with Indigenous birthworkers is necessary for the Rebozo to be used safely and with respect, acknowledging it as an intervention. They also speak to being in relationship with the communities we learn from, the importance of accountability, how birth work and anti racism work go hand in hand, and give us points for necessary pause and reflection.Montse Olmos and Mayte Acolt are Totonaca Indigenous birth companions and migrants in the United States. Mayte is a traditional Sobadora since age seven, taught by her grandmother. Montse was raised by her family elders who practiced herbal medicine, Sobadas and energetic healing. They host "What You Didn't Know About the Rebozo" together and share about the history of the Rebozo from an Indigenous perspective, while connecting it to the work of anti-racism, Indigenous liberation and becoming an accomplice to historically oppressed communities. Mayte and Montse began a movement in March 2021 to remove Rebozo birth techniques from Doula Training Organization in the U.S., as a result of the excessive and inappropriate use of this sacred textile amongst Doulas and Midwives. They conduct this work with genuine concern for the commercialization and dilution of the Rebozo and propose that extensive mentorship and hands-on learning from expert Elders is necessary in order to practice Rebozo body-work in an ethical way.Link to the petition titled "Removing Rebozo Teachings from Doula Trainings"http://chng.it/K5NyHqD4XDMontse and Mayte also host a bi-weekly workshop about cultural appropriation of the Rebozo titled "What You Didn't Know About the Rebozo". Any information regarding the workshop can be found on Montse's Linktree: https://linktr.ee/montsedoulaYou can follow Montse and Mayte on Instagram here:Montse Olmos @mujer_dela_tierraMayte Acolt @maytethewombdoula

1hr 49mins

22 Apr 2021

Rank #5

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Optimising Menstrual Health and Fertility; an Ayurvedic Perspective

In this conversation, Oni Blecher speaks with Dylan Smith. Dylan Smith is a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and holistic health educator based in Sydney, Australia, where he runs and operates the Vital Veda clinic for patients and for those who love to nourish themselves with precious herbal elixirs.Aimed at uncovering the root cause of ailments, Dylan shares wisdom through podcasts, teaching programs and travels the world to teach patients to effortlessly integrate foundational techniques into their daily life so they can thrive.Regularly travelling to India to train with an internationally renowned family of Ayurvedic doctors, Dylan is devoted to learning, sharing and radiating this ancient knowledge for everyone to utilise and enjoy, to experience total wellness and bliss. Dylan has a passion for treating, a Passion for Education, and a for Herbs and Nature.Staying and learning from his Guru (teacher) in India for 6 month periods started a beautiful and purposeful learning teaching relationship. revolutionised Dylan’s Ayurvedic practice and increased the effectiveness and success rates of his treatments and prescriptions profoundly.Since then until today, Dylan continues to travel back and forth to the Raju Clinic in India to work and receive advanced teachings and initiations.In this conversation, Oni chats to Dylan about health pertaining to the menstrual, pre conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum health. We also speak more broadly about Ayurvedic wisdom through the nature of the doshas and the masculine and feminine and how finding balance can positively effect partnership and parenthood. At the end, Dylan lists some of his generous free resources for these periods of life. Enjoy this conversation ! And please leave reviews and feedback to help us produce more of what you need !


6 Apr 2021

Rank #6

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PBB Bulletin - Improving Maternity Care in Australia with Alecia Staines

PBB Special Bulletin/Interview with Alecia Staines, Director of Maternity Consumer NetworkIf you are tuning in from Australia, this is an important message to women, people, families and community members accessing maternity healthcare services. A federal election is coming up and your voice is needed in improving maternity care! Welcome to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, I’m Annalee Atia with a special News Bulletin for Australians listeners today, Tuesday 30th March. I’m speaking with Alecia Staines, Director of one of our largest maternity consumer advocacy organisations - Maternity Consumer Network, she is also the host and creator of the podcast ‘Birth - the forgotten Feminist Issue’ (check it out, its excellent), a Hypnobirthing teacher and mother of five. We caught up last night after one of Alecia’s classes to discuss our upcoming Federal elections in Australia and how we can use the opportunities federal elections bring about to improve maternity health care services. Some of you might know that I am also the National President of Maternity Choices Australia, our longest standing maternity advocacy organisation and this is the first time I have had the pleasure of interviewing Alecia, after many years of crossing paths through our work. Join us for a fast-paced and illuminating discussion on how you can participate in improving maternity healthcare services in your area, and why its so important that you do! Share this interview with friends and family, write to your local MP and keep us posted about your progress! All the details are in the show notes following. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE MATERNITY SERVICES: Get in touch with your local federal MP and candidates and let them know that maternity care matters to you! HOW TO DO IT:Look up the Federal PM for your electorate (your town/where you live is located within a specific electorate). You will also want to look up the candidates for this seat for the three major parties. Email them with your personal note and attach the Brief (see below) if applicable. You can request a meeting with them to ensure they understand just how important these issues are. In your email and within the brief, add your name, contact number and postal address (this will ensure a reply). Follow up with a phone call to your MP.->> Keep up posted about your progress! Email hello@pbbmedia.org or management@maternitychoices.org.au you can also let us know via socials! Use the hashtag #BetterMaternity2021 and we will find you on FB, IG, Twitter etc!WHO CAN DO IT?Anyone who cares about our Australian maternity healthcare services, especially health consumers (people who access healthcare services) and support people. THE BRIEF / AKA what to ask your elected federal MP's and candidates to commit to this coming election (you can also find this online at www.maternotyconsumernetwork.org.au under campaigns):Background:Current maternity spending by government is about $7 billion per year. The current birth rate is around 300,000 births per year. Outcomes:Despite having such high financial input, outcomes are relatively poor:* 1/3 women have birth trauma. 2/3 of this is due to disrespectful treatment* Only 8% of women can access continuity of midwifery carer- the best type of maternity care* Caesarean rate 36% - more than double the recommended rate by WHO* 43% of low risk women having their labour induced. Many are reporting not having informed consent. * 11-fold variance in 3rd/4th degree tears * Preterm birth rate of aboriginal babies is between 2 and 7 times that of non-indigenous babies. Solutions (what to ask your MP to lobby for)1. Increase continuity of midwifery carer to:-Reduce unnecessary intervention -reduce preterm birth rate for Aboriginal women and babies-increase breastfeeding rates-reduce birth trauma and PNDAThis is outlined in the 2019 National Strategy for Australian Maternity Services. The Federal Government provides continuity of midwifery carer to women via private midwives. 2. Bundled Funding as suggested by IHPA in 2017, national strategy in 2019 and MBS review of Participating Midwives report in 20193. Published data on hospital and clinician outcomes including: Patient Reported Experience Measure and Patient Reported Outcome Measures. Woman Centred Care:To ensure regular monitoring and evaluation of the National Strategy for Australian Maternity Services, consumers need to be involved through consultation and decision-making processes. Contact: Add your personal details here!For more information about this brief and if you need any support with the process, you can get in touch with Alecia directly:Alecia Staines, Director Maternity Consumer NetworkPhone/text: 0401033348 Email: management@maternityconsumernetwork.org.auShow Links: Maternity Consumer Network - https://www.maternityconsumernetwork.org.au/usPodcast: Birth - The Forgotten Feminist Issue with Alecia Staineshttps://open.spotify.com/show/6bHPMCtZ7B3GhafyYotbL0?si=N_iPY5LUSTinTIK_l3DmhwContinuity of Midwifery Carer:https://www.midwives.org.au/midwifery-continuity-careWoman-Centred Care - the new Australian Strategic Directions for Maternity Care (yet to be fully implemented and requires constant nudging to move forward in each state): https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/woman-centred-care-strategic-directions-for-australian-maternity-servicesPrecolonial history of Gadigal people: https://www.centennialparklands.com.au/getmedia/e32ae90a-e730-4c28-82c4-4b17e9e3c5e1/Appendix_S_-_Pre-colonial_Archaeology_report_Val_Attenbrow.pdf.aspxThis podcast was recorded on Gadigal clan lands, an area encompassing the Centennial, Queen’s and Moore Parklands. I pay my respects to elders past, present and those emerging and deeply acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land whose cultures and customs have nurtured and continue to nurture this land and waters for over 60,000 years and upon which we now work and live. I recognise that the sovereignty of the pre-colonial peoples of these lands was never ceded and that recognition of culture, connection to land and waters and the sovereignty of all indigenous peoples across Australia is a matter of current and vital importance.Recorded on 29th March, 2021Guest: Alecia StainesAlecia is a mother-of-5, maternity reform lobbyist, Director of Maternity Consumer Network, former classroom teacher turned birth nerd and lives in Noosa, Queensland. She's received all her maternity care through continuity of midwifery carer in a range of settings- hospital, birth centre and home. She passionate about politics, birth and feminism and ensure women have access to care that supports their needs, allows them to make informed decisions and autonomy in how and where they birth.>> hashtag #BetterMaternity2021Produced and presented by Annalee AtiaAll rights reserved.www.pbbmedia.org


30 Mar 2021

Rank #7

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Beyond the Birth Plan: Getting Real About Pain and Power

In this podcast episode, Oni Blecher speaks to Rhea Dempsey about her recent book launch of 'Beyond the Birth Plan, Getting Real About Pain and Power'. Rhea Demspsey is a childbirth educator, counsellor, doula trainer, and birth attendant, having attended more than one thousand births in hospitals and home settings over the past 30 years.Rhea runs birth preparation workshops, pre-natal classes, personal birth counselling sessions and speaks in presentations and seminars around Australia and internationallyRhea’s passion is to educate women about the impact of our birth culture on the outcome of our births. Instead of fear, she wants birthing women and birthing people to go into their labour with confidence in their body and their support people, and the knowledge that will give them the best possibility of natural physiological birth.Rhea has written two books ! Her first, the popular ‘Birth With Confidence: Savvy choices for normal birth’ and now her recently released second book ‘Beyond the Birth Plan: getting real about pain and power’. I consider both of these books must reads for any person interested in birth, whether that be birth attendants, midwives, pregnant women or people, birthing partners, fathers, parents, or anyone curious to understand the impact on the intersection between our social attitudes and birth. This is a longer form interview but anyone that knows Rhea’s legacy in the national and international birth world knows that any time hearing Rhea’s insights and wisdom is valuable and necessary. Feel free to listen in segments. At the end of the podcast, Rhea takes us through the chapter structure of her new book and outlines some of the content and what to expect. Enjoy this conversation and please leave your reviews and feedback.

1hr 34mins

17 Mar 2021

Rank #8

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The Subtle Realms of Birth and Babies with Craniosacral teacher Etienne Perisman

In this episode, Oni Blecher speaks with Etienne Peirsman. Etienne is a biology and physical education teacher who has been involved with emotional training, encounter work, primal healing and meditation since 1974. He began teaching craniosacral in 1991, and founded several craniosacral institutes in Belgium and the Netherlands. He is the founder and director of PCSA (Peirsman CranioSacral Academy) in both the Netherlands and New Mexico. He is also the originator of the CranioSacral Professional Organization in Holland which began as a result of his students becoming professionals. As a result, he has a grandfather status in that organisation and is an honorary member of The Dutch CranioSacral Practitioner Association. Additionally, Etienne has taught craniosacral at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts for nearly a decade.  As a meditator of over 40 years, Etienne Peirsman has developed a unique teaching style that adds an extraordinarily compassionate and meditative depth to the methods used by the Upledger Institute and combines a practical, no-nonsense approach with the biodynamic style. Etienne has been teaching for nearly thirty years, bringing his life experience to the classroom. He has schools in Belgium, the Netherlands, New Mexico, Washington, and Hong Kong. Additionally, he guest teaches wherever there is interest. He, along with his late wife Neeto, is author of the book Craniosacral Therapy for Babies and Small Children, which has been translated into 7 languages. Etienne's specialty is the expression of the Heart, the long tide, and their connection to meditation and enlightenment. Etienne says, “Drop the word therapy. It is not part of who and what we are. Face it, you are perfect and your heart is perfect”. Enjoy this conversation !

1hr 15mins

1 Mar 2021

Rank #9

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Nappy Free with Nicole Moore

Nicole Moore, founder of Nappy Free and Birth Into Being Australia, speaks about her passion for nappy free or elimination communication for babies.Recorded by Sally Cusack in March 2019.Presented by Kirilly Dawn at 99.9 BayFM Byron Bay on 24 June 2019.Guest: Nicole Moorehttps://www.nappyfree.com.au/Copyright 2021 PBB MediaAll rights reserved.www.pbbmedia.org


14 Feb 2021

Rank #10