Midwives banned from saying ‘big baby’ and ‘good girl’

They've also been told to avoid calling a woman 'she' and not to say 'delivered'


The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has put together a set of guidelines outlining preferred language for midwives when it comes to speaking to and about women in labour.


The authors of the recommendations have said: “Language matters as a way of respecting women’s views and ensuring that they are empowered to make decisions.”

Guidelines include saying:

  • ‘healthy baby’ instead of ‘big baby’
  • ‘unsuccessful vbac’ instead of ‘failed vbac’
  • ‘gave birth’ instead of ‘delivered’
  • ‘I would recommend caesarean section’ instead of ‘You must have/need a caesarean section

They also advise midwives to use the name of the woman giving birth at all times rather than saying ‘she’.

See the full list of recommendations


The authors of the guidelines added:

“Good communication during the birthing process is critical to good maternity care, but achieving a shift in deeply ingrained language, and the thinking it reflects, is difficult.

“There is a fine line between changing terminology to integrate language which is more respectful, inclusive, and less intimidating for the mother, and substituting vague, verbose language which hinders the original message.”

What do you think?

Do you think these guidelines are a good idea? Did you feel offended or upset by anything your midwife said when you were giving birth – can you even recall anything they said? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Table from BMJ

Read more:


Comments ()

Please read our Chat guidelines.