The Channel 4 TV series One Born Every Minute can divide opinion. Some people love being able to share others’ life-changing moments, while a few feel it’s just too personal for them to cope with! Not surprisingly, plenty of MFM mums fall into the first camp. So, we took your questions to One Born Every Minute midwife Gemma Raby for our exclusive interview. Here’s what she has to say about babies, mums and camera mishaps…
MFM user Andrea Tucker: What’s your favourite thing about being a midwife?
GR: “I love being able to provide support to women on one of the most important days of their lives. It’s a huge privilege.”
MFM user Poppy Porch: Do you get recognised now that you’ve been part of the show?
GR: “I’ve been recognised a few times but some of my colleagues are constantly being ‘spotted’.”
MFM user Kim Steel: Are men always as useless as they seem during labour?
GR: “It’s really difficult for men during labour, it’s an experience they can never imagine going through, and nothing they can say or do will change the labour. Most men really come through in the end though and offer lots of love and support and back rubs when needed, interspersed with crisp-eating.”
MFM user Carol Blonde: Are the mums and birth partners always aware of the cameras? Do you find people play up to the cameras?
GR: “When the families first arrive on the unit they all comment on the cameras, especially when they see them moving, but once labour is established most people forget about them. Sometimes if we were discussing something more personal and didn’t want to be filmed we would do silly dances and wave at the cameras. It used to get us in trouble with the production team though!”
MFM user Claire Elliot: What’s the funniest thing to happen during filming?
GR: “During the first week of filming, whilst we were still getting used to the cameras, a member of staff on Maternity assessment ran face first into a camera lens and then fell over. It was a very slapstick moment to watch.”
MFM user Zoe Reading: Have any of the midwives been a birth partner for anyone and if so, did they struggle not to take over/get involved?
GR: “I was a birth partner for my sister when she had her babies. I managed to remain in my birth partner role, although it was very tempting to be down at the business end.”
MFM user Tara Bailey: Does anything shock you anymore?
GR: “I’m often shocked at the difficult home circumstances people live with everyday, such as drugs or violence.”
MFM user @MumPanel: Does becoming a parent change how you are as a midwife?
GR: “NO! Each birth experience is unique to the individual and therefore personal experiences should not, and usually do not, influence decision-making.”
MFM user Kirsty Meredith Pt-vip: Did you expect the show to be so popular?
GR: “As this is the third series, and the first two were so well received by the public, we had something of an idea, but until you’re part of the One Born team it’s difficult to imagine.”
MFM user Kirsty Meredith Pt-vip (again!): Did you all juggle your shifts just to get on TV?
GR: “Not at all. We worked our scheduled shifts. Some days there were no couples to be filmed on the unit, and on others, there were two or three. It was truly luck of the draw.”
MFM user Louise Crane: Do you ever get parents that you just don’t warm to? How do you handle that?
GR: “Just as in normal life, you can’t like every person that you meet. As midwives, we try to find common ground to help create a bond, and even if this is not possible we always remain kind, courteous and professional. Often an understanding of someone’s birth plan will help improve the relationship.”
MFM user Emma Beasley: Are you nicer to some people because the cameras are there?
GR: “We pride ourselves on being kind to all our patients, all the time, regardless of the situation.”
MFM user Gemma Kiely: What’s the most memorable birth you have witnessed?
GR: “A wonderful same sex couple went through a long labour, and eventually an unplanned caesarean section, but remained so positive and optimistic, even though nothing had gone according to plan. They truly overcame adversity.”
MFM user Lead Sonographer at First Choice Baby Scan: How many cakes do you go through in a week?
GR: “It does vary, but approximately one cake a shift, so two a day – 14 every week. Maybe we should move onto fruit baskets instead.”
MFM user Umm Yahya: How much are midwives made aware of things like cord clamping?
GR: “As midwives we remain up to date with current guidelines and changing trends, we always try to provide evidence-based practice, and patient-centered care. In Leeds we have implemented delayed cord clamping of 1-3 minutes, in response to new research, as long as the baby is well enough.”
MFM user @Mummiafelice: Do you wish you could choose which mums you want to deliver for?
GR: “Sometimes! I often meet and bond with mums-to-be on the assessment area and yet we wouldn’t normally then follow them through to delivery suite. However, sometimes it’s possible, especially when the woman has formed an attachment to the midwife.”
MFM user Jemma Dayman: Do you keep in touch with the mums and the babies you help to deliver?
GR: “I personally don’t, but it’s always lovely to receive news and photos of babies we have helped to bring into the world.”
Gemma Raby will speaking on stage this Saturday at The Baby Show, London ExCeL. To book tickets visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk.