S8, Ep3 Jerusha Sutton, Award Winning Birth Time Filmmaker - Birth Trauma Awareness and Hope for Change in Australia

Show Links | shebirths.com

Make a submission here to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry Select Committee on Birth Trauma here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/listofcommittees/Pages/committee-details.aspx?pk=318#tab-submissions

Reach out to us or Hygieia Health https://www.instagram.com/hygieiahealthltd/ for help with the submission and letter examples.

BESt (Birth Experience Study) Links:



Birth Time & Jerusha Sutton Links:




⁠@birthtimeworld ⁠


She Births®:

The She Births® study: https://shebirths.com/research/


Hello, welcome to another episode of the She Births Show. Today I have a dear friend and fellow doula Jerusha Sutton on the podcast. 

Jerusha has been a birth worker for 17 years, as a birth and postnatal doula in Australia and UK, and an international award winning birth photographer and videographer. 

Together we are talking about her film that has won 24 international film festival awards that she made in collaboration with Jo Hunter, Zoe Naylor and Selina Scoble, Birth Time. 

We discuss the changes that Birth Time is making both culturally and politically to our conversations about birth experiences and birth trauma. It has sparked a fire that I am happy to say is now blazing.

I'm sure a lot of you have seen Birth Time and been very moved by it and also had multiple questions arise about your own experiences of giving birth in the system and the care you received.

Today we dive into the core message of the film which revolves around the question; what would it take for all women to come out of their birth not only safe but emotionally well?

On the back of Birth Time a study at Western Sydney University launched, the same place that did the She Births® study. Over 9 months they collected over 8,000 submissions about women's experiences of giving birth in Australia in the last 5 years. 

You might know this as the BESt study. You can stay up to date with the study via a facebook link in our notes. 

What was found was heartbreaking but has subsequently changed legal ease already and initiated a NSW parliamentary inquiry. 

If you are in NSW please, I encourage you to submit any traumatic experience you have had to the inquiry. The link is in our notes.

If you are a birthworker and have ever witnessed anything traumatic in New South Wales you are also invited to submit before the 11th of August.

Birth trauma is defined as inappropriate, disrespectful or abusive treatment before, during and after birth. We expand on these definitions in our chat.

In the BESt study it was found that 30% of women experience some form of birth trauma in Australia. Shockingly, 1 in 10 women experience obstetric violence. 

We go into more detail around what obstetric violence is. Please note it is not specifically referring to an obstetrician but includes all birth workers. And violence is not just actions but words too and what is commonly experienced as coercive language and a lack of informed consent.

Within the 30% of women experiencing birth trauma 70% of those say that it was due to the way they were cared for, or spoken to. 

58% of women felt dehumanized. 26% of women felt violated and 16% of women felt  powerless. All of these experiences have very significant effects on women, their relationships and of course partners and babies too.

None of this is okay. So how do we fix it?

Well tune in to discover the most evidence based solutions. Jerusha and I discuss

  • What is birth trauma & how can we reduce it

  • What is true continuity of care

  • The importance of indigenous birthing on country 

  • The healing power of birth in our lineages 

  • Jerusha’s best experience while interviewing birthing experts for the film 

  • My experience of remembering Leroy’s birth at his 21st birthday party recently