Molly O'Brien RM, BSc, AHBM
With over 20 year of practice under my belt, I’ve become an experienced midwife. During my career I've been a hypnobirth and birth preparation teacher, an associate university lecturer, have created courses for midwives, campaigned for midwife led birth units and been a passionate student and enabler of normal physiological birth. I love my job but like most midwives working in maternity care institutions, I was frustrated by the obstacles to providing excellent care, and sad for the many women whose birth experiences bring them painful rather than joyful memories.
Like many midwives, I was often frustrated by the obstacles in mainstream maternity care - something that changed for the better when I joined a newly opened Midwife Led Unit where I worked full time for over a period of 7 years. I witnessed hundreds of undisturbed physiological births working in the unit and during many years attending home births as an integrated team midwife in a hospital that had a 7% home birth rate.
Working in these environments and observing a myriad of complex births whilst working in an obstetric unit gave me the opportunity to make a systematic exploration of midwifery skills and observations that can help resolve long difficult labours caused by malposition. I am grateful to the women and birthing people who passed on important information about how birth works and how it feels when it doesn't. Asking the right questions and the art of watchful waiting are essential data collecting tools.
The techniques and strategies that emerged from this time helped me revolutionise my own practice and I began to regularly witness rapid and dramatic progress as I put them to use during “difficult labours”. People would often say “Molly, I see you’ve worked your magic again”, I’d reply through, only slightly gritted teeth, “this is not magic, these techniques and skills are based in science- Biomechanics - the study of human movement, everyone working in the birth world should know this information.
Resolving a labour dystocia gently using harmless interventions based on biomechanics should be part of midwifery and obstetric training. It is a travesty that vital components of anatomy and physiology of the female pelvis, how it works in pregnancy and birth and how the baby navigates the way through, are excluded from education affecting practice and the development of gentle and effective solutions.
I left clinical practice in April 2018 to give my full attention to teaching the course I developed for Birth Professionals. I’ve taught ‘Biomechanics for Birth’ to hundreds of Birth professionals and associates in the UK, Spain, Chile and now globally receiving a universally enthusiastic response. I'm an autodidact, continually immersing myself in articles, books and courses that add to this knowledge. Current projects include putting more courses online and writing a book, working title ‘Applying Biomechanics to Childbirth’. This is my contribution to change the conversation in childbirth.