About the conference

 

The International Conference on Childbirth "Birth with Love and Wisdom" took place in Sofia on 29 and 30 of May 2010 at Interpred, Sofia


 

 

The conference was organised by Association Estestveno and Foundation Jitno Zeurno with support from ENCA (The European Network of Childbirth Associations), Midwifery today, Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski, and the Bulgarian Association of Healthcare Professionals. Some of the world best known natural birth activists were speakers at the conference – Michel Odent, MD, Elizabeth Davis, Jan Tritten, Robbie Davis-Floyd, members of ENCA, as well as speakers from Bulgaria. The conference took part parallel to the annual meeting of ENCA, a network of childbirth associations from 17 European countries.

The conference ‘Birth with Love and Wisdom’’ was a unique event for Bulgaria and it was addressed to our whole society – specialists in childbirth, obstetricians, midwifes, neonatologists, psychologists, students, institutions, media and of course to current and future mothers. The aim of the conference was to highlight the need to reconsider and change the procedures applied in maternity healthcare and to introduce new criteria for assessing modern childbirth practices. Practical working models and concrete steps for change from developed countries were presented and discussed. Some of the conference themes were ‘Birth as a Human Rights Issue’, ‘Hormones in Labour and Birth’, ‘Emotional Issues in Labour’, ‘The Role of the Midwife’, ‘Traditional Midwifery Skills’ and many others. We hope that the presentations and the discussions will contribute to the better understanding of birth and labour and of the basic needs of women who give birth and of their babies.

We saw how different birth could look when the power is back in women’s hands. We saw very different models of maternity healthcare and how effective they are. We saw that even in cases of serious complications there are professionals who can handle labour and birth only using natural methods that are gentle to the mother and the baby. And once again we saw how important the role of the midwife is and that in fact midwifery can be compared to an art.

Over 150 people visited the conference in the course of its two days. The information presented at the conference was totally new for many people, and for some the need for a change had been present in the air for a long time. There were various reactions to what was presented, from skepticism and pessimism to hope that with lots of efforts and energy the situation in Bulgaria could be changed. There were lively discussions both during the conference sessions and during the breaks and the time for questions was certainly not enough.

We believe that this conference was one small step towards big changes. In fact changes have already been initiated – on the second day the midwives who were present gathered informally to discuss the creation of a Midwifery association in Bulgaria. We are confident that what we saw and heard during those two days has changed in a bigger or smaller way every one of us. We hope we can keep this feeling of unity for a long time and work together in the best interest of mothers and babies!

Thank you to everyone who visited the conference!