The Highland Midwife
Midwife Morven Fioretti on the challenges and delights of birthing babies in the Scottish Highlands…
We’re a small team covering a large area. I can have 170 pregnant ladies
midwife morven fioretti
Midwife Morven Fioretti witnesses the miracle of life every day, so you could understand if she took it for granted. But working in the remote Scottish Highlands, with expectant mothers often many miles from the nearest maternity ward, there’s never a dull moment.
C5’s new three-part documentary series The Highland Midwife, voiced by former Call the Midwife star Pam Ferris, reveals the reality of rural midwifery.
‘It’s never mundane. Every time I deliver a baby, knowing how much has taken place for that baby to be born, it is still amazing,’ says Morven.
‘I’ve been a midwife for 23 years, 21 of them in Tain, Scotland. That’s about 100 people a year – roughly over 2,000 people I’ve looked after!’
Here, Morven reveals more... Have you actually delivered a baby on a mountaintop yet?
No, I haven’t had to do that! When I left my last job they teased me that Mountain Rescue wanted to take a midwife on a path. The joke was, they knew I would go. In a small community, it’s all hands on deck!
Have you always had an interest in becoming a midwife?
I come from a farming background, so I’m used to helping little lambs and calves come into the world. I also worked for a vet at one time and we would often get stuck in and help the vet out. While I was doing my nursing training I did a midwifery placement and it was then I thought I’d quite like to become a midwife, so I applied. What appealed to you about working in the Highlands? Continuity of care is really important. When you work in a community like Tain you get to know people. Once I booked in a young couple and, as they were leaving, the father turned around and said, ‘My mam told me to tell you, you were my midwife’. I couldn’t believe it – I’m not that old!
What are your biggest challenges? We’re a small team covering a large area. During the week I work with 60 to 70 pregnant ladies. At the weekend you’re the only person working for about 170 ladies at a time! Mobile phone signals can be a bit patchy, too. I always feel more anxiety when I’m on call for a home birth and I can’t get a signal.
What are the best and worst things about your job?
The hardest part is when a lady loses her baby. The impact that has on the parents and their family and friends is difficult. The best part is being there at the birth and seeing a baby come into the world. Seeing how powerful women are when they birth their babies is amazing. Also, seeing a mother meeting her baby for the first time after waiting
all that time is lovely.
Have you noticed a busy season?
When I worked in a special-care baby unit we used to get more babies admitted during the full moon. We also tend to have more babies in September. I think it’s due to Christmas parties and people looking forward to the New Year.
Have you seen a lot of changes over the course of your career? Very much so. When I started GPS were much more involved, whereas now, nearly all care is given by community midwives. People only go to hospital for check-ups and consultant appointments – so it’s much busier than it was before. I also teach hypno-birthing – it’s brilliant! I’ve experienced it all.
Bairns in arms: Midwife Morven Fioretti with her satisfied customers
Morven has been delivering babies
for 23 years