Book review: The Modern Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond


Looking ahead to our live chat with brilliant midwife and author of The Modern Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond , Marie Louise, we share a snapshot of what you can expect from her brilliant book….

“One of the biggest problems for the modern mum is not scarcity of information, but actually an information overload,” says Marie Louise, senior midwife and author of The Modern Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond . “Much of the information we’re exposed to, particularly in the media, is not always reliable.”

To cut through the misinformation, Marie set about the “tough and challenging” process of writing her book and has based everything you read “on the latest research and evidence, real mum stories and my years of experience as a midwife working with hundreds of women throughout their pregnancy and birth journeys.”

The result is a warm, honest and refreshing account of the myriad ways in which your body and emotions change over your pregnancy, birth and into motherhood, with every single question you’ll no doubt ask (and some that you’re probably reluctant to) covered.

Call the midwife

For anyone who has given birth (or is about to), you’ll know that your midwife is your best friend, agony aunt, support system and everything in-between and this book absolutely reinforces that.

“One of our skills,” explains Marie, “is reserving judgement and simply speaking the truth; you can talk to midwives like you are talking to a friend. Sometimes women are a little nervous or not sure if they can ‘say that’.

“Please say whatever you want, however you want. No question is a silly question. If something is bothering you, whether that is physical symptoms or feelings of anxiousness, your midwife has probably heard it before. Talk about whatever is on your mind.”

Breaking down the book

Marie’s book is divided into 3 parts: pregnancy, birth, and motherhood and is designed to answer any question you might have at each stage.

From making a birth plan to sleep struggles, breathing in labour, rectus diastasis, hemorrhoids, your partner, you name it – everything is covered and, importantly, it’s all delivered with the warmth and humour of Marie herself.

Some of our favourite lines? “Pregnancy gives most women a free boob enhancement” (Jess can attest to that) and “Nobody fails at labour and birth.” Yes, Marie!

Other nuggets

Want to know what that thing is in your knickers? Marie has the answer… All that “extra discharge is defending your baby, and helps to prevent infections travelling from your vagina up to your uterus.” Phew!

Wondering about boob issues? If your breasts are sore and swollen or you’ve got itchy nipples, Marie can help. She recommends wearing loose clothing and a comfy bra, avoiding underwired bras. “They can dig into your boobs, pressing on tissue that needs to be freely able to adapt, and can potentially block milk ducts,” she explains.

Instead, she suggests choosing maternity bras instead. “You don’t necessarily need the most expensive one!”

And if you’re ever feeling dizzy, don’t worry, says Marie. It’s usually caused by “a drop in blood pressure, hormones, being overheated or anaemia (low iron levels).” To help, she suggests getting up slowly after sitting or lying down, staying well-hydrated and avoiding lying on your back. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

By your side

A final word from Marie: “Having a baby is hands-down one of the biggest events that will ever happen in your life. It probably feels as though there is so much you need to know, so many changes going on, and so much to plan for and consider. At times, knowing what’s right for you and your baby, planning your birth and becoming someone’s mum can all be very overwhelming. Know that this is totally normal.”

'The Modern Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond' by Marie Louise is published by Vermilion

All you midwives, we salute you. Everyone who works at the NHS, we’re banging our pots and pans for you every Thursday at 8pm. And we can’t wait to chat to Marie more about this book and all your personal questions on Tuesday evening on our Instagram page  at 7.45pm.

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