Small Change, Big Difference Health And Midwifery Challenge

Sometimes, tiny tweaks can make a huge difference to one’s overall health, as well as to the practice of midwifery. Yet, because of busy lifestyles and workplace protocols, we tend to fall into routines and patterns that are tremendously difficult to break, and even small changes seem impossible.

Sensitive Midwifery wants to help our midwifery colleagues all over the world break this depressing cycle, because a healthy midwife is a happy midwife, and a midwife able to be a good example to the woman in her care. Here’s how Sensitive Midwifery’s challenge will work:

We’ve compiled 10 suggestions, based on the 1996 founder of Sensitive Midwifery, Sister Lilian’s, health and midwifery approach, which you could try to incorporate into your life from now on. Read through these suggestions, and select which ones you think you could do. You can choose one idea only, or you can choose a number of ideas. Every small change can lead to profoundly positive differences!

Suggestions for change

1. Drink more water

Try to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Replace some of your tea, coffee or fizzy drinks with a glass of water.

How it will help

Staying hydrated is essential for your overall health. It can help with digestion, concentration, will make your skin look great and will even help you lose weight if you replace your high-calorie drinks with water.

Some tips for success

The easiest way to do this is to keep a bottle or jug of water with you, and make sure you’ve finished all the water before the end of the day, even if it means downing it. Don’t forget, thirst is the sign that you need water!

2. Cut down on processed grain foods

Try to cut out either bread, white pasta or cookies and cakes from now on.

How it will help

Processed, refined grain products are very allergenic foods, and can cause a build-up of mucus, skin rashes, bloating and indigestion. They also have many adverse effects like bloating and gaining abdominal weight. The more refined, the more empty the calories! Many of these foods contain unhealthy additives too.

Some tips for success

Have your favourite pasta sauce with a baked potato, quinoa, brown rice noodles or brown rice instead. Choose unrefined grain products, and halve the amount you eat at any meal. Though whole grains are far more nutritious, they too often contain unhealthy additives, so go slow on these as well – avoiding will have the best results, especially for weight loss.

3. Have one or two meat-free evening meals a week

You don’t even have to ‘replace’ – just eat more fruit, salad and veggies, or dream up a veggie dish of your own.

How it will help

Eating more veggies and fruit ensures you get a number of essential vitamins and minerals that will make you look and feel fantastic, whereas animal foods have many adverse effects. Simply by stepping up these by 2-3 portions a day, you will notice a marked difference in your appearance, energy levels and even concentration.

Some tips for success

Choose those fruits and veggies that you enjoy – if you can’t stand pumpkin, don’t force yourself to eat it! This will automatically make it easier to eat the correct number of portions.

Take only fruit with you to work one or two days a week – and don’t forget, avocado, tomato and the marrow and squash family are all vegetable-fruits too!

Don’t have cheese-rich meals – that’s an animal product too!

4. Cut back on sugar

Either reduce the amount of sugar you eat by half, or try to avoid ALL unhealthy sugary items, including cake, chocolates, ice-cream and sweets. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, but withdrawal symptoms are not as bad!

How it will help

The average diet is said to contain 22 teaspoons of sugar a day! The culprits aren’t even always obvious, as most processed foods and sauces contain tremendous amounts of sugar – even those ‘low-fat’ options! You will soon have more stable blood sugar levels, better concentration and happier moods.

Some tips for success

Dates are Mother Nature’s ‘miracle worker’ when it comes to avoiding sugar. Stock up on these handy fruits, or another sweet fruit, and eat those when the sugar craving hits. Don’t revert to using artificial sweeteners though – rather use the plant sweeteners stevia or agave, if you really need a sweetener! It may take you a while to adjust, but soon you will come to prefer the natural flavour of foods.

5. Eat only nutritious, home-made veggie soup for dinner twice a week, without bread.

How it will help

This challenge is especially for those who are trying to lose weight – and never add more than one potato to the soup for fastest weight loss results.

Some tips for success

It’s easiest to allocate two nights a week for this, and then stick to it.

You can go back for as many cups or bowls as you like, but absolutely no bread with your soup!

6. Exercise at least two times more a week than you do currently.

How it will help

The ripple effects of exercise are enormous – your skin will look radiant, your moods will improve drastically, your weight will improve, it’s brilliant for your heart and brain, it boosts your immunity, and can improve your sleeping patterns as well as your love life…

Some tips for success

The easiest way to do this is to make exercise fun! Don’t believe for one minute that you have to slave away at the gym – go for brisk walks around the neighbourhood, take up dance classes or just dance together as a family, go horse-riding, take up yoga or Pilates, and get a few friends to join you – this way, you keep yourself in check and may enjoy it more!

7. Read the ingredients of every single food item you buy

If you’re not sure what an ingredient is, do some research on it.

How it will help

By becoming aware of what you’re eating, you’re likely to make more health-conscious decisions. It’s your body – shouldn’t you know what you’re putting into it, and how these things affect you?

Some tips for success

Though not all preservatives are bad, and some are worse than others, best nutrition comes from fresh, organic produce. Do your research, and opt for those products with fewer or more natural preservatives.

8. Eat a raw salad 20-30 minutes before each evening meal

How it will help

This one tip, if you do it every week day evening, will enable you to eat less, increase your ratio of fresh, unprocessed foods, have a positive spin-off on weight loss, keep you regular and give you loads of energy

Some tips for success

If you add an avo to your winter salads you will feel more satisfied and won’t need any dressing at all!

Replace lettuce with rocket or baby spinach leaves for a more flavourful salad.

9. Cut out fast food or junk food completely

How it will help

Most of these really aren’t worth the name ‘food’ at all. Think about what you’re eating, and how it’s nourishing – or poisoning – your body.

Some tips for success

The easiest way to do this is to plan a week’s meals in advance, which has the added benefit of saving you money and reducing the amount of food you throw away. When you cook, try to make double portions that you can freeze for another night when you need a break. If all else fails, eat at a restaurant that offers healthy options.

10. Last but not least, resolve to make the changes below in your midwifery work

  • Welcome newly admitted women in labour by putting an arm around their shoulders, looking them in the eye, and telling them in a soft, kind voice that they were built for birth.
  • Encourage all labouring women to move around the labour bed between contractions, and to lean forward onto the bed during a contraction.
  • Suggest that mums-to-be stand alongside their beds and wiggle their hips in big, slow circles, if labour progress is slow.
  • Ensure that the immediate environment around labouring women is as quiet as possible, by asking technical, cleaning and nursing staff to keep their voices and other sounds low.

How it will help

If women relax as much as possible, giving birth will be easier; and you will be a true midwife.

Mobilisation makes labour easier and faster; and you will sense the ‘with women’ power in your unit.

Rolling hip movements often promote descent of the baby; and your job will be that much easier and more fulfilling.

A private, serene environment helps labour hormones to work more effectively, leading to easier birth for women and their babies; and you will know that you are a midwifery superhero!

Some tips for success

See first stage as your territory and time to make a difference.

Stay in touch with Sensitive Midwifery on

Read the Birth plans blog to give you further supportive insights.

Have fun, be brave, be patient for a few days, and we can assure you, your small change will soon be a way of life with a delightful difference.