Better Birthing Experience: A Pioneering Conference for Childbirth Practitioners

Pregnancy, labour, and childbirth are life-changing experiences for a woman and her family. For couples, this is also a time filled with uncertainties, questions, and apprehensions. How do birth professionals make birthing a positive experience for women? How can they remove apprehensions and ensure women are empowered to give birth with confidence?

To answer these questions and equip birth professionals with the latest knowledge about normal undisturbed births, Fernandez Hospital Educational and Research Foundation, in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), organised the Better Birthing Experience Conference in Hyderabad recently. The conference provided invaluable guidance and support for healthcare providers. The faculty covered a wide variety of topics, from optimal birthing positions and perinatal mental health education to the importance of undisturbed birth and culturally appropriate childbirth education.

In this blog, we will highlight the topics and workshops covered on Day 1 of the conference held on 4 November 2023.

The conference had close to 400 delegates from around 19 states in India and a few other international ones, too. With a mix of professionals, including childbirth educators, obstetricians, midwives, physiotherapists, nurses, doulas, and policymakers, the Better Birthing Experience conference was truly the first of its kind.

Dr Evita Fernandez

Dr Evita Fernandez, the Managing Trustee of the Fernandez Hospital Educational and Research Foundation (FHERF) kickstarted the conference with a powerful introduction on why women all over the world deserve better and positive experiences and, as birth professionals, we owe it to them.

The Beauty of Undisturbed Births

“Undisturbed births are endangered today”, Priyanka Idicula beautifully described what undisturbed births are and how, as healthcare providers, we need to protect the environment in which women birth! Priyanka emphasised the importance of allowing the birthing process to unfold naturally with minimal interventions. Attendees and delegates learned how a calm and supportive environment, combined with respectful care, can enhance the birthing experience, and promote better outcomes for both mother and baby.

After that talk, Priyanka followed it up with a workshop on Birthing Positions. Attendees learned about the advantages of various birthing positions, which can significantly impact the ease and comfort of labour and delivery. Knowledge about these positions empowers parents to make informed choices about their birthing experience.

Priyanka demonstrates the different birthing positions that a woman can choose while birthing

Gentle Birthing

Dr Gowri Motha, world-renowned obstetrician and pioneer of the Gentle Birthing Method, discussed and advocated for a more serene and compassionate birthing experience. She encouraged birth professionals to learn gentle handling of mothers, positive communication, and comfort measures, helping to create a calm and reassuring atmosphere during labour and delivery.

Hydrotherapy and Water Births

Hydrotherapy and water births are gaining popularity as they offer pain relief, relaxation, and buoyancy during labour. Better Birthing Experience Conferences provided insights into the benefits and techniques of water birth in the workshopHydrotherapy and Water Births” by Ms Indie Kaur and Dr Usha Ukande. The knowledge gave healthcare providers a chance to learn and explore how water birth and hydrotherapy work during labour.

Optimal Fetal Positions

The Optimal Fetal Positions workshop was a comprehensive session focused on educating participants about the importance of fetal positioning during pregnancy and labour. Led by Dr Latha Balasundaram, Head, Dept of  Physiotherapy, Fernandez Hospital and Ms Sheetal Samson, National Midwifery Educator at NMTI Fernandez, the workshop delved into various techniques and exercises that can help optimise the positioning of the fetus for a smoother birthing process. Attendees gained valuable insights into the impact of maternal positioning on the progression of labour, as well as learned practical strategies to enhance maternal comfort and facilitate an optimal birth experience.

Delegates learn optimal fetal positions facilitated by Dr Latha Balasundaram

Perinatal Mental Health Education

The perinatal period, encompassing pregnancy and the postpartum period, can be emotionally challenging for many parents. The conference had a detailed workshop on “A framework for prenatal mental health education and screening for obstetricians” by Dr Sai Krishna and Dr Shubangi Dere. The session offered valuable guidance on identifying and addressing issues like prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety, empowering health providers to prioritise their mental well-being.

Language Matters

Does language matter in a labour room?  What role does respect play in maternity care? How does respectful maternity care (RMC) look in reality? The workshop on  RMC by the Fernandez team had all the participants thinking about how they treat mothers. During the workshop, the attendees were divided into diverse groups, fostering collaborative discussions, and sharing learning experiences. The team of Fernandez doctors guided each group through a series of engaging sessions aimed at promoting awareness and understanding of the crucial role of language in fostering respectful maternal care. Participants actively delved into the nuances of communication, emphasising the significance of using compassionate and empowering language when interacting with expectant mothers and addressing their healthcare needs. Through various role-play exercises and case studies, attendees developed a heightened sensitivity to the impact of language on maternal well-being, enabling them to cultivate a more empathetic and supportive environment within healthcare settings.

The Power of Hypnobirthing

The workshop on Hypnobirthing facilitated by Dr Pooja Shenoy had practical demonstrations in which participants gained a comprehensive understanding of how hypnobirthing can alleviate fear and anxiety during childbirth, promoting a more relaxed and positive birthing experience. The workshop emphasised the importance of mindfulness, breathing exercises, and deep relaxation techniques in empowering expectant mothers to harness their innate ability to manage pain and facilitate a smoother labour process.

Overall, day one at the Better Birthing Experience Conference had a treasure trove of information and practical workshops to deepen the understanding of health professionals.

The Sound of New Beginnings: Understanding Newborn Hearing Screening

The birth of a newborn is a transformative moment, inundating our lives with an abundance of wonder, hope, and love. It marks the beginning of a remarkable journey that is awe-inspiring and responsible. Among these responsibilities, none are as crucial as safeguarding the health and development of your child. This journey into parenthood is not just about cuddles and cooing; it is a profound commitment to nurture, protect, and ensure the well-being of your little one.

One of the most vital aspects of this journey is the newborn hearing screening, a procedure that might not initially stand out but is integral to your baby’s early development. In this blog, we embark on an exploration of the intricacies surrounding this essential examination. We will uncover what this hearing test entails, why it is a fundamental component of your baby’s health, and how it plays a pivotal role in the foundation of your child’s overall well-being.

What is Hearing Screening?

Newborn hearing screening is an objective test designed to assess your baby’s hearing soon after birth. It helps determine if your baby’s hearing is within the normal range or if further evaluation is necessary. Normal hearing is essential for a baby’s speech and language development.

Why is newborn Hearing Screening important?

Hearing loss is one of the most common birth disorders in newborns. Statistics show that approximately four to six babies out of every 1,000 born may have congenital or other forms of hearing loss.1 Screening and early diagnosis of hearing problems are crucial to promptly identifying auditory issues in infants.

Further, this early intervention can profoundly impact a child’s communication and language development. Unidentified hearing loss can lead to difficulties in behaviour, academic achievement, and language development without it.

When is the Hearing Screening test conducted?

Hearing screening for a newborn should ideally be performed after 12 hours of birth. If, for any reason, the screening is missed during the hospital stay, it must be conducted before your baby reaches one month of age or within six weeks. After this period, the calibration of the screening equipment may no longer be accurate.

How is Hearing screening done?

Two main methods to assess a newborn’s hearing are Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) and Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR). In AABR, electrodes are placed on specific areas of the baby’s head, and a soft ear tip is gently inserted into the baby’s ear. This ear tip emits a clicking sound, and the equipment records the baby’s hearing response, determining whether it is a pass or a refer. The process is quick, typically taking 15 to 20 minutes, and not painful for the baby. It is often conducted while the baby is asleep.

What if your newborn does not pass the hearing test?

If your newborn does not achieve a successful result in the hearing test, it is essential to understand that this does not automatically indicate a hearing impairment. Various factors, including the presence of ear fluid, ambient noise levels, or even your baby’s crying, can affect the screening outcomes. Nevertheless, a non-passing result should serve as a trigger for scheduling a follow-up diagnostic assessment before your baby reaches three months of age.

How is hearing loss treated in babies?

If your baby is diagnosed with hearing loss, various interventions are available, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other treatments. It is crucial to engage with your paediatrician if you notice that your child does not react to loud noises or seems unresponsive to sounds.

Newborn hearing screening is not just a medical test but a cornerstone in ensuring your baby’s bright and healthy future. Identifying and addressing potential hearing issues early on gives every child the best chance to embrace the world of sound, speech, and language. It is the gift of hearing, a gift that lasts a lifetime.


Newborn hearing screening might seem like a routine medical procedure, but it holds a profound significance. It is an early opportunity to assess and address potential hearing issues in your baby, ensuring they have access to the world of sound and communication right from the start. By diving into the details of this screening, we hope to illuminate its importance and empower you with the knowledge and understanding you need to make informed decisions about your child’s health and development.


[1]Roush, Jackson, et al. “Hearing Screening in North Carolina’s NICU and Well-Baby Nurseries: Impact of JCIH 2019 and COVID-19.” Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention 7.1 (2022): 11-23.