Empowering women for positive birth

Dr Richard Murphy

Positive birth

If you are preparing to welcome your baby into your world and into your family, you may have developed a habit of googling positive birth stories. You may have searched for stories or information about vaginal birth, including the information out there that talks about the risks. As an obstetrician I have always been fascinated by the journey I can assist with, working towards that positive birth.
Obstetrics and gynaecology consultations at my private practice in Subiaco.

Fertility consultations at Genea Hollywood Fertility

Delivering at the Labour Ward of SJOG Subiaco Hospital

Positive birthing

What positive birth means to me

Positive birthing to me means a very simple thing: I want a healthy mum and a healthy baby to meet each other on the delivery day, staying together to bond. When mum and baby come together for the first time it is almost always a magical experience. Part of my role is to help you discover the power and confidence in yourself, so you are willing to trust yourself and your body during the delivery.

"Empowering mums to trust their bodies is critical in allowing them to get through labour."

Dr Richard MurphyPerth obstetrician
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"Empowering mums to trust their bodies is critical in allowing them to get through labour."

Dr Richard MurphyPerth obstetrician
Positive Birth | Dr Richard Murphy
“Positive” birth does not always mean a successful vaginal delivery. Some babies will just be too big and others will just not tolerate labour. So my own definition is that I aim to give you as much choice as possible. I also work hard towards the best chance of achieving the goals and expectations that you have. At the end of the day (the day your baby is born), there should be few regrets, allowing the best possible start to your baby’s life. If a vaginal birth is risky, then we may need to look at the next best alternative.

Being able to do something that is so natural

It wasn’t long ago that safe caesarean section did not exist. It has become very common over the last decades for a number of reasons, perceived safety, convenience for mothers and doctors, often without a real benefit to mothers and babies. I can’t help but think we have reached a time where the the real luxury is allowing ourselves the time to safely delivery our children as naturally as possible.

“What motivates me as an Obstetrician is being able to assist with a process that is so natural and also sometimes risky. Making it as safe and enjoyable as possible is what I aim for.”

Striving to get the most positive outcome possible

I have been involved in Obstetrics and the delivery of babies for over 20 years. In that time I have seen the good and the bad of what is possible. I also work as a fertility doctor and in the area of pregnancy loss. It is this combined experience that informs my philosophy, decision making and management recommendations.

“I have come to realise that often a small intervention at the right time can have really positive effects a little later on. ”

It is this careful and considered approach that I try to apply to each pregnancy and each delivery, always striving to get the most positive outcome possible.  In my practice I take the time to look at your ideal scenario and discuss risks and potential changes to your ideal plan. 

Natural Childbirth

My interest in vaginal delivery

Human beings have evolved to be delivered vaginally. We know that babies born vaginally have a different microbiome compared to babies born by Caesarean. There have been studies linking alterations in the microbiome to increased risks of allergy, autoimmune disease and obesity.

“Sometimes I think that I am turning into a bit of a hippie but I feel that the closer we can keep pregnancy and childbirth to what occurs naturally, the better off we are. ”

Dr Richard MurphyPerth obstetrician
And that also includes a conversation about all aspects of natural birth, including any possible complications and the risks. It is my job then as an Obstetrician to anticipate and prevent some of the more unpleasant things that can happen “naturally”.


A positive C-section

There are many reasons why some women either need or want a Caesarean delivery (C-section). I see my role as using my skills to achieve the best outcomes for each individual woman and her family. Your antenatal care involves developing a relationship where an open and honest discussion of the pros and cons of vaginal and Caesarean delivery can occur.

As much as I may aim for a relaxed natural birth: an elective Caesarean is in some cases better than an emergency or non-elective Caesarean and always better than the terrible, traumatic vagina delivery that people have nightmares about.

If you are being guided towards a C-section, there is still a way to include your active participation as a mum.

“During a maternal assisted C-section, you, as a mum-to-be play an active role. I have been involved in one ‘maternal assisted Caesarean’ which was a lot of fun.”

Dr Richard MurphyPerth obstetrician
Once your baby’s head is out, you can reach out, grab your child under the armpits, and pull your baby up on your chest. A maternal assisted C-section is not an option that we can offer to all mums-to-be, and it is never an option during an emergency section. But in those situations where it is possible, it can definitely be classified as a very positive birth and a unique experience.

Positive birthing

Positive birth and mindset

Enjoy the experience. You are growing a little human inside you! Feel your baby move, he or she will be out in the world doing the same things soon enough. I believe it is essential to also work on your mindset together when we prepare your positive birthing experience.

“Stay physically and mentally healthy. Keep active, engaged with work, friends and family. Share the fun and joy. Doing this you will make the best dietary choices and not smoke or drink alcohol.”

Finally, keep an open mind. We never know as parents what our children will become. Discovering this is one of the big joys of parenting. It means living in the moment, not always planning for the future.

Dr Google

Too much information...

Information can help allay our anxieties but it can also feed them. More information does not always make us happier or allow us to make better decisions. Spending all your time googling information as you move through your pregnancy and prepare your birthing experience, might not always be a good idea.

“I always think of buying jam at the supermarket. 6 different brands, offering up to 8 different flavours. Which one to choose? I just wanted jam and it’s just too hard so I get Vegemite instead! ”

Most of the overwhelming amount of information available on the internet is not relevant to you and your specific situation. Keep things simple, trust only reputable sources and ask questions as we go through the pregnancy. Remember that Dr Google is good for knowledge but not necessarily for wisdom.