Women’s Health: Putting mum and bub first

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SURREAL MOMENT: Dr Simon Winder, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Illawarra Womens Specialist Centre thinks it's high time we shifted the definition of what’s ‘normal’ for childbirth in the 21st century.

SURREAL MOMENT: Dr Simon Winder, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Illawarra Womens Specialist Centre thinks it's high time we shifted the definition of what’s ‘normal’ for childbirth in the 21st century.

Finding out you are pregnant can be a time that is full of joy and excitement, but for some women that joy is overshadowed by the fear that can come with childbirth.

Women love to share their stories of labour and birth, without question you will hear a lot of them during your nine months of pregnancy, and while many are full of true heroic tales, others use the opportunity to place unnecessary expectations on the mother-to-be, often expressing how women should have natural, drug-free births or how breastfeeding is an absolute must.

Between these conversations and even those with medical professionals, a woman may be left feeling concerned that she may not have the strength and courage to get through the task ahead.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Simon Winder from Illawarra Womens Specialist Centre in Wollongong Private Hospital says this happens all too often.

“I’d like to see pressure taken off pregnant women for natural, analgesia-free delivery. My philosophy is driven by safety. I want a well mother and a well baby however that is achieved. A normal delivery is preferable but I think it’s high time we shifted the definition of what’s ‘normal’,” he said.

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“What was normal in the 19th century doesn’t have to apply in the 21st. There is a view out there that you’re somehow more of a woman if you deliver vaginally and drug free. I don’t agree. If someone wants to put me through a painful process e.g. a surgery I wouldn’t consider myself more of a man if I decline anaesthesia and pain relief.

“Not every woman can safely deliver vaginally and not every woman can breastfeed and no woman should feel guilty about it.”

Dr Winder is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

He also said he would like to see VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian) changed to TOLAC (Trial of Labour After Caesarian) as it encapsulates the reality that it’s a trial and if it doesn’t succeed the process isn’t a failure.

Dr Winder offers a wide range of services including preconception counselling, early pregnancy (dating ultrasound, management of miscarriage), antenatal care, normal delivery, instrumental delivery, VBACs, breech delivery, external cepahlic version (attempting to turn babies from breech to head down prior to delivery), caesarian section and postpartum care.

“My major focus is in obstetric care, particularly in high risk obstetrics and I am about to start working in the fertility area with Genea. I also have a special interest in genetics and early pregnancy,” he said.

 “I consider time my most valuable asset so I spend a lot of time talking to patients and getting to know them. I like to be thorough and if my patient is worried for any reason I will come in at any time.”

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