Saturday, July 02, 2016

First Amsterdam Breech Conference: Welcome Speeches

I just returned from the First Amsterdam Breech Conference, a 2-day conference presenting evidence, theory, and hands-on training for vaginal breech birth. I will be posting summaries of each presentation. I did my best to accurately summarize each speaker, but if I missed something important or misrepresented, please contact me or leave a comment, and I will gladly revise!

Day 1 began with welcome speeches by the conference's organizers: Fedde Scheele, Ruth Evers, and Joris van der Post. The conference was attended by 230 people from 11 countries, of which 91.3% were women and 8% with English as their native language. From a show of hands, roughly half of the attendees were physicians or medical students and the other half midwives, with a scattering of doulas and academics. You can find conference updates via Twitter at #teachthebreech

Dr. Post is a professor at one of the two teaching hospitals in Amsterdam. He noted that today, the big question is how to avoid a cesarean when you have a breech baby. He gave three short pieces of advice to practitioners:

1. Clearly know your definitions and terms when counseling clients
2. Your training and skills must be in order
3. Know all the possibilities that can happen with breech, both complications and variations of normal

After reviewing the drastic changes in cesarean rates after the Hannah Term Breech Trial (TBT), he noted that the conference will strive to answer this question: how should we counsel women with breech babies, and what is the evidence?

Next was Dr. Scheele. He noted that how we look at the data is of enormous importance. He has learned from both midwives and their patients that breech is not only about safety figures—this was difficult and strange, to learn this at first, as he was trained in a safety mindset. For midwives, it’s about safety AND about the experience of birth for the woman. With his doctor’s mind, it was difficult to give that idea a place. While a cesarean section might seem like the optimal experience of safety, it’s not the optimal way of birth for many women.

Finally, Ruth Evers spoke. She worked as a midwife for several years and now is a trainer/coach at Talmor. She joked that in this conference, the chance of being male was twice as high as the chance of having a breech presentation! She showed a brief clip from the documentary A Breech In the System and introduced a series of filmed interviews with Dutch women—all mothers of breech babies—they would be presenting throughout the conference.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rixa,
    Great to see you at the conference!
    I made a storify (of all the tweets) about the conference:
    Best, Joyce


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