The atmosphere was electric as over 250 people came together to explore and celebrate positive birth in Belfast. 

 Northern Ireland’s first Positive Birth Conference celebrated its huge success as over 250 people joined together at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast to discuss and explore how women and their care providers can collaborate to ensure every family has the best chance at a positive birth experience.

“The aim of this conference was to bring together health professionals, parents and voluntary groups to get everyone on the same page when it comes to the parents’ experience of birth,” said Michelle Bradley, Owner of ALC Events.

“We wanted to highlight the importance of compassionate care and involving women in their experience, making sure that they felt they were part of the process instead of a body on a bed with no choices. The conference wasn’t about ‘how’ you give birth, but to show that regardless of how a baby is born, that the woman can be respected and empowered to prevent trauma and difficulties later down the line.”

As part of the conference, the inaugural NI Positive Birth Awards took place, recognising and celebrating those organisations and individuals who are making a real difference to the birth experiences of women in Northern Ireland. One award, in particular, stood out, the Recognition of Special Services to Women Award which was presented to Dr. Niamh McCabe from the Royal Jubilee Maternity Services.

One of the women who nominated Dr. McCabe said: “After a previous traumatic birth I was petrified to go through about again. The care I received from Dr. McCabe changed my life in so many ways. I gained so much power and confidence from my second birth and I’ve been able to use that to make amazing changes. The aftercare I received was amazing and I feel Dr. McCabe’s work is a very important part of the shift towards respect for women and their babies, moving away from unnecessary interventions towards evidence-based care as the norm”. (Full list of award winners below)

One of the event attendees said “The conference has restored my faith in humanity! At times as a midwife, you can feel so alone but knowing there ARE others out there who want to make a change is enough to reignite that lost spark.”