The Positive Birth Movement comes to Hackney

February's Positive Birth Movement meeting in Dalston.

February's Positive Birth Movement meeting in Dalston. - Credit: Archant

A discussion group helping women to make sure they have the best possible experience while giving birth has been launched by a Hackney mother.

Elizabeth's daughter

Elizabeth's daughter - Credit: Archant

Since its foundation two years ago by Devon-based mother Milli Hill, The Positive Birth Movement has become a worldwide grassroots movement spreading positivity about childbirth.

Elizabeth and her daughter

Elizabeth and her daughter - Credit: Archant

When she heard about it, Elizabeth Ford, of Chatsworth Road, Lower Clapton, wished she had had similar support when she was pregnant with daughter Grace, who was born 17 months ago.

So she decided to set up a branch which was launched in December.

“I thought well, if nobody else does it, then why not me,” said the 33-year-old jewellery maker.

“I felt that my birth experience was not as positive as it could have been, and that the families of Hackney deserved more in the way of support in order to have that positive experience that we all deserve.”

Positive birth is not defined as a “perfect birth”, but rather a birth in which a woman feels she has freedom of choice, access to accurate information, and where she feels she is in control and respected. It is not necessarily natural or drug- free.

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The three branch meetings so far have been supported by birth workers and veterans from the borough, including doulas, NHS midwives, independent midwives, hypnobirth practitioners, fathers and human rights lawyer Elizabeth Prochaska, founder of the charity Birthrights.

Ms Ford said: “The thing that’s coming up quite a lot is how to find your way in what’s become quite a prescriptive birth environment, a lot of women are being told they have to do it this way or that way by medical staff, or that you are not allowed to do X, Y or Z.

“It’s really about trying to point out to women that nobody is allowed to tell you what you are allowed to or not allowed to do – it’s your choice.

“Hearing other people’s stories might open up possibilities you never even thought of, and that you can say no and don’t have to just go along with it.”

Ms Ford says the group is open to everyone, even those who did not experience a positive birth and those who are not pregnant.

“We certainly would not want anyone to be put off attending due to the thought of a room full of smug ‘sancti-mummies’, patting one another on the back for their textbook natural births, although they are welcome too,” she added.

n The group’s meetings are held on the first Monday of the month from 7pm. For further information email