Wednesday, 24 June 2020 03:16

Cathy Charles contributes to MIDIRS, the midwives' Bible Featured

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A MIDWIFE who delivered the last baby to be born at Trowbridge birthing unit says home births are becoming more popular.

Cathy Charles, 58, says the number of pregnant women choosing home births has rocketed since the Covid-19 lockdown was introduced in March.

"Home births have gone through the roof since Covid-19. More and more women are choosing to give birth at home because a lot of women have been very frightened about coming into any kind of institution.

"Nationally, home births are 3-4 per cent of all births, although the figure in Wiltshire is traditionally slightly higher."

Mrs Charles, who lives near Devizes, has worked in nursing for 31 years. She delivered her first baby as a student nurse at Trowbridge in 1989 and qualified in 1991.

Born and raised in Malmesbury, she was the daughter of local primary school head Gwyn Price.

She originally wanted to study English at Oxford University after finishing A levels at Malmesbury Comprehensive School, but failed to get in.

"I was in a right old grump and decided to try nursing instead," said Mrs Charles, who trained at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and then completed an English degree at Bristol University.

She later worked as an assistant manager for a medicinal herbalist in Bath before completing a BSc in Midwifery at the University of the West of England in Bristol.

"They changed the rules and I was faced with losing my nursing registration, so in order to keep my hand in I did an 18-month conversion course in midwifery," says Mrs Charles, who has delivered nearly 1,000 babies over the years.

After a spell in management, she retired aged 55 and then returned to nursing as a bank midwife.

With Vicky Chapman, she also writes and co-edits one of the midwifery set texts, The Midwife's Labour and Birth Handbook, now in its 4th edition.

She also writes for the midwives' Bible, the Midwives Information & Resource Service, and the British Journal of Midwifery.

In recent years, she has worked in Frome, Paulton, Chippenham, Trowbridge and at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Mrs Charles says maternity service change in Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire is inevitable as nursing progresses.

"Change is always with us and the one thing you learn as a midwife is to bend with change."

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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