Human rights in childbirth, narratives and restorative justice: a review

Amali Lokugamage, a Birthlight Trustee who speaks at our conferences regularly, is an NHS consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Whittington in London. She also shares her commitment and her passion for compassionate maternity care with medical students in her role as an honorary senior clinical lecturer at University College London Medical School and Deputy Lead of clinical and professional practice. Her recent article on Human Rights in Childbirth, Birth Narratives and Restorative Justice, co-authored with a law graduate from Birbeck College, London, is relevant to all Birthlight teachers in all areas of teaching. While most of us work in the community and some of us in clinical environments, our quality of welcome and listening to the women and families who come to us make a difference. Every occasion in which we can diffuse prenatal or postnatal anxiety and the tensions that babies express, using simple tools such as a calm voice and a centred stance, we make a real contribution to maternity care. Amali reminds us that what we do well at Birthlight matters a lot and that it may impact on human lives and relationships in the short, medium and long term.

View Human Rights in Childbirth article online>  and in pdf >

Françoise Freedman

 

Françoise Freedman teaches monthly couples’ Birthlight birth preparation workshops at the Whittington Hospital in coordination with Dr Gowri Motha’s Gentle Birth programme linked with the Whittington Birth Unit. Françoise also lectures on global maternity at Cambridge University in the Medical Anthropology course.

Amali Lokugamage’s teaching materials/lectures on respectful maternity care and human rights are currently published at the WHO website. More>

Amali Lokugamage set up the Footprints of Birth Project to encourage a more reflective approach in maternity care at the Whittington NHS Trust Hospital. It is a patient experience project, where they use patient narratives to evoke compassion, empathy and an awareness of human rights in healthcare professionals. This project demonstrates women's voices and instructional listening.

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