Bespoke birth for the modern z generation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Downloads (Pure)


Bespoke birth should not be private business it shouldbe our core business and bespoke birth is birth with andwithout technology.I want to share the reasons for this statement with youbased on a recent paper I presented at the Palazzo MediciRiccardi in Florence, Italy. This was a culmination ofresearch data, theory and personal beliefs based on 20 yearsof research.Online support and e-connectivity are hallmarks of themodern generation of new mothers who communicatemore with each other than us as their health professionals.As more of our mothers are coming from the z generation,it is important for us as health professionals to be ready forthe bespoke birth experience that these women are likelyto request. The z generation are technologically savvy andexpect to see machines and devices as they grew up in theworld of the internet. We live in a world where an electronicmyriad of data drives, accelerates and touches lives withthe push of a button, creating momentous change and it isin this rapidly digitalised world that precious human birthtakes place.Academically, we can define concepts, build theories,create designs and develop products and devices that arerelevant, effective and meaningful to those who need anduse them. With more and more midwives obtaining PhDsand engaging in research, we use the internet for accessingNICE guidelines, WHO updates, safety alerts and we alsouse the rapidly growing research link databases such asORCID, Research Gate and, to name a few.We cannot function without technology as it provideshealth professionals with online data. We use monitoringand surveillance technologies and we access electronicrecords, APPS, online library databases and laboratoryresults. We are beginning to use robots for teachingmechanisms of normal labour, second life and avatarsfor education and training in breastfeeding. In addition,technology is a platform for social and political activityand we need to start using technology with our parentsto let them know we will support them in achieving their‘bespoke birth’, whatever that is for them.We need to remember that as soon as the baby is born,the mobile phone is out and the pictures are sent to agrowing number of platforms such as YouTube, WhatsApp,Snapchat, Yeller and many others. Politicians and our ownRCM are using twitter and Facebook to communicate keymessages to inform or seek support. Our conferences aremoving from face-to-face to webinars and live streaming.Our world is changing rapidly because of new technologiesthat permeate every aspect of our lives. We have newcommunication portals, instant access, instant feedbackand, most of all, we need to remember that every motherand father we meet has access to the same online data aswe have and this is why I would stress the importance ofus engaging in online searching as part of our everydaymidwifery practice.Mothers can find apps for pregnancy, birth, infant feedingchild development and of course they can online purchasingof fetal monitors, mini scanning devices, DNA profile kits,abortion kits and abortion pills. Naturally, the marketers’are very interested in pregnant women and this is evidencedin Google’s analysis of online searches by pregnant womenthat demonstrated:‘New and expecting parents do twice as many searchesas non-parents and health is their biggest concern. Mobilesearches @ babies & parenting have grown 25% since 2013and views of parenting videos on YouTube were up 329%’(Rost et al, 2014).I undertook a simple Google search to see if there wereany devices to prevent perineal tearing, as that is a big fearfor most mothers. I was amazed to find this Swedish trialdata from a sample of 1148 women testing a new perinealprotection device by Levesson et al in 2014 with positiveresults (signifigant reduction in first- and second-degreetears). This is the type of data women will present to us inthe future. They will challenge us to use birth technologiesthat are evidence-based and come to us with the datadownloaded onto their mobile device. They will also expectus to use sensor technologies based on evidence from currenttrials, as this is technology that can enable women to stay athome for longer. We can be reassured that the mother andbaby are well because we have full access to the mother bylive chat and her data and that of her baby can be viewedreal time using sensor technology. This is our future.We need to engage with women and birth technologyon an everyday basis. With rapid advances in personalisedmedicine, epigenetics and more recently robotics, thelifeworld of the z generation of new mothers is anexciting field of new technologies. We must stand asa multiprofessional team of midwives, obstetricians,anaesthetists, paediatricians and researchers activelyengaged in partnership activities to determine guidelinesfor the appropriate use of old, new and future birthing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111
JournalEvidence Based Midwifery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Reference text: LevesonT, Griph ID, Skavard A, Karlsson AS, Nilsson HB, Steinvall M,
Haadem K. (2014) A perineal protection device designed to protect the
perineum during labor: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. European
journal of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive biology 181:10-14.
Rost J, Johnsmeyer B, Mooney A. (2014) Diapers to diplomas: what’s on the
minds of new parents. Think with Google. See:
articles/new-parents.html (accessed 28 November 2016).


  • Bespoke birth
  • z generation
  • technology
  • social media
  • evidence-based midwifery


Dive into the research topics of 'Bespoke birth for the modern z generation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this