Amber Marshall – Birth Confidence Summit

Quick Links to Resources mentioned in the Interview

BigBirthas: UK Information  and support for bigger mums and mums-to-be.

Well Rounded Mamas is the US site that Amber used before setting up her UK site and may be useful for you if you are in the USA.

The BRAIN Acronym to help you make decisions 

Amber's Bio

Amber Marshall established in 2010 as a source of information and support for high BMI pregnancy, after some poor personal experiences of maternity care.

Almost 10 years of campaigning later, she’s sad to report that high BMI pregnancies still aren’t being treated positively, holistically, and individually, but small improvements here and there are happening. At the very least, the site has helped a group of women feel more confident and vocal about their birth choices, with a thriving community of Big Birthas supporting each other on Facebook. Amber has two children aged 7 and 9 and lives in Birmingham.

Time Stamps

Getting pregnant quickly was the first indication that being overweight may not be as bad as the messages Amber was getting about risks.

The trap of listening to the relative risk without considering the absolute risk.

Remember that the majority of women go on to have healthy pregnancies and births despite the risks.t.

4.00  Big Birthas website  focuses on the research and contrasts with how it is reported in the media so you can make an informed decision.

4.24  Refused to fall for the fear-mongering in her second pregnancy and questioned that even though there may be an increased risk, if that risk does not come to pass then why be treated differently?

The irony of high BMI women being monitored and asked to lie on the bed, the opposite of what make birth easier and then blaming the woman's size for poor outcomes.

6.29 Comparing the attitude of a netball coach wanting the best out of her team to maternity systems. What would happen to her netball team if she banged on about what they did wrong last week and what could go wrong in their next match?

10.06 A Canadian study looked at outcomes for high BMI women if we remove confounding factors and found no statistically significant difference.

12.52 Policies can come in due to a theoretical good idea without evidence to back it up such as treating women with Clexane in an attempt to reduce risk of DVT. Ask for evidence.

17.26 When tests are repeated due to not showing a positive result that supports the risk. What is going on there?

22.00  How the way women are treated can affect mental health and result in women removing themselves from the system.  

23.56  Debunking the 'fat vagina 'myth that raised its head in a recent interview with Dr Marco Gaudoin, a fertility Doctor  on BBC radio Scotland. The theory came from a study in 1997 but there is no evidence to support it.

30.00  How bigger women are portrayed in the media with no heads just torsos or bottoms . And the narrative of blaming and scapegoating.

32.40 Amber's personal journey to two positive birth experiences.

37.14 How it feels to give birth: number 1 Amber felt like a warrior.

40.47 In her second birth Amber felt like a goddess. 

46.00  The comparison of how Amber felt and was treated at home and in hospital with hospital feeling like an impersonal conveyor belt where noone remembered her name and at home where the power lay with her and everyone knew her name.

47.26 Amber's vision would see high BMI women treated as the norm and be mindful of risks but not treat differently instead be very positive about the outcomes as there is no reason to be anything else.

48.00 Advice: Do your research and don't expect your doctor to know everything about your personal circumstances and what is best for you.  Use BRAINS acronym to help you.

Charlotte Kanyi