Meet the Experts

Meet the childbirth experts from The Face of Birth or check out our 3.5 hour childbirth expert masterclass.


“The term 'choice' has been co-opted by the medical system to mean that women can, if they wish, shop around a bit and take what they fancy, provided that this in line with hospital policies and protocols - including an elective Caesarean section. The side effects, short and long-term, are rarely explained or explored.”

Sheila Kitzinger, MBE

social anthropologist, author

Internationally renown social anthropologist, researcher, author and campaigner for nurtured evidence-based childbirth, the late Sheila Kitzinger used to lecture internationally and at various universities and hospitals in midwifery. She wrote over 26 books on pregnancy and childbirth including the well known Politics of Birth and worked with women who have had damaging birth experiences and campaigns for women to have the information they need to make choices about childbirth.


“We try to give a birthing woman freedom to find the right position for her own needs and comfort. Unfortunately, in our society we think of birthing as something done while lying down.”

Michel Odent

MD, midwife, educator, researcher
& author

Michel Odent MD initially trained as a surgeon. He was in charge of the surgical and maternity units at the state hospital in Pithiviers, France (1962-1985) where, he introduced the first birthing centres and water births during the 1970s. Now he is a midwife, educator, researcher and author of 12 books.

Following his hospital career he founded the Primal Health Research Centre in London (UK), whose objective is to study the long-term consequences of early life experiences.


Richard Porter


Richard Porter MA MSc BM BCh FRCOG is the Director of Maternity Services at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath, England. He has been the Lead Uro-gynaecologist/Pelvic Floor Surgeon since 2001. He was an adviser on Maternity Services (in the former USSR) to the World Health Organisation, UK Department of International Development, and other NGOs. He was Adviser on Maternity Services to Ministry of Health, Uzbekistan from 1992 to 2003.


Ina May Gaskin

MA, CPM & founder & director
of the Farm Midwifery Center

Ina May Gaskin MA, CPM is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, Tennessee, USA. She has attended more than 1,200 births and is author of Spiritual Midwifery, now in its fourth edition. For twenty-two years she published Birth Gazette, a quarterly covering health care, childbirth and midwifery issues.


Robbie Davis-Floyd

Senior Research Fellow

Robbie Davis-Floyd PhD is a Senior Research Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.


Prof. Hannah Dahlen

Professor of Midwifery

Hannah Dahlen is now a Professor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University. Hannah has published numerous papers in peer reviewed journals and book chapters. She has presented papers at over 100 conferences since 2000. She is currently on the Australian College of Midwives NSW Executive committee and was nominated in 2008 as a life member for outstanding contributions to the profession of Midwifery.


Prof. Euan Wallace


Professor Euan Wallace MBChB, MD, FRCOG, FRANZCOG graduated with a degree in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he completed his research and clinical training. He joined Monash University, Melbourne Australia in 1996. He established and leads a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Research Group within Monash Institute for Medical Resarch’s (MIMR) Centre for Women’s Health Research. In 2010 he set up a pilot home birth program.


Rhea Dempsey

T.P.T.C. Dip. C.B.E., N.A.C.E., Trainer

Rhea Dempsey is a childbirth educator with over 28 years’ experience and is the mother of three daughters.

She works with women in home and hospital settings. She is a regular presenter at conferences, seminars and workshops on birth and counselling issues as well as running her own classes through the Birthing Wisdom.


Jan Ireland


Jan Ireland B App Sc, IBCLC, RN, RM is a midwife and lactation consultant of rare skill and vast experience. She has been involved in hospital births, birth centre establishment and home births for more than 30 years. She still supports women’s choices, wherever they choose to give birth and follows through with the vital areas of breastfeeding advice and establishing parenting. She set up South Eastern Midwifery Service, in Melbourne, Australia in 2011.


Diane Menage

RN, DPSN. BSc (Hons), MBA, RM

Diane Menage RN, DPSN. BSc (Hons), MBA, RM is one of only 100 independent midwives in the UK. She gained experience as a hospital and community midwife before becoming independent. Her key motivation for independent practice was to move away from unnecessary medicalisation and provide the very necessary one-to-one support and care that women really want at this important time in their life.


Andrew Bisits

MBBS (Syd) FRANZCOG (RCOG) DipClinEpidem (Newcastle) Master Med Statistics (Newcastle)

He is an academic obstetrician with training in epidemology and biostatistics. Formerly the Director of Obstetrics in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, Australia. He was a chief investigator in a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) multi-centre trial that produced a number of key findings that have been published. He was also the major statical and epidemiological consultant for the experts and Babies Research Centre.


Prof. Sally Tracy

midwife, researcher, author and activist.

She is the Professor of Midwifery at the University of Sydney and based at the Midwifery Research Unit at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney. Her Research projects include a randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery care and a project to determine the safety of primary level midwifery led units. She helped to set up the Ryde Midwifery Caseload Practice in Sydney, in 2003. Her current research questions the acceptability of the increasing interference of obstetrics with the physiological birth process


Dr Rupert Sherwood

President Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology

Dr Sherwood is the President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology (RANZCOG) and is a graduate of the Medical School of the University of Tasmania. For eight and a half years he worked as a General Practitioner in Western Australia. In 1992 he commenced specialist training at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth where he was a Registrar for three years before coming to the Royal Hobart Hospital to complete his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


Dr Andrew Foote

President National Association of Specialist ObstetricIans and Gynaecologists (NASOG)

Dr Foote – President National Association of Specialist ObstetricIans and Gynaecologists (NASOG) trained from 1991 to 1994 at John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia, St George Hospital, Sydney from 1995 to 1996 and in 1997 at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, UK.

He is a Fellow of RANZCOG, NOSOG and the AMA. He holds an MD and Certificate of Urogynaecology. He is the Chairman ACT RANZCOG Committee and Managing Partner Capital Day Surgical Centre


Djapirri Mununggurritji

Yolngu elder

Yolngu elder, Djapirri, is currently Manager of the Yirrkala Women’s Centre and a trailblazer in the political arena. She was the first woman elected as Vice Chair of Yirrkala Dhanbul Council and the first woman to be nominated as Chair. In 2004, Djapirri was instrumental in establishing the Yirrkala Women’s Patrol, which saw Aboriginal elders walk the streets late at night to successfully deal with community safety issues. She is also working towards reconciliation on a national scale in her role on the board of Reconciliation Australia. Djapirri is also a finalist in Australian of the year – Local Hero for Northern Territory.


Justine Caines, OAM

maternity lobbyist

Justine is a maternity lobbyist. She was the National President of the Maternity Coalition, the national umbrella organisation for maternity lobbying in Australia from 2003 to 2005 and again in 2009. She was the National Co-ordinator of Homebirth Australia from 2001 to 2006 and its Secretary from 2006 to 2010. She was also National Advocacy Adviser for the Maternity Coalition.


Patrice Hickey


Patrice a midwife with many years experience is now the Midwifery group practice mentor at Sunshine Hospital, Melbourne and a former Victorian President of the Australian College of Midwives. She was the winner of the 2008 Midwifery Practice award. She set up the case load midwifery and home birth pilot program at Sunshine Hospital.


Prof. Lesley Page


Lesley has had many years of experience working as a senior manager in the National Health Service (NHS) and in midwifery practice, leadership and academia in the UK and Canada. Lesley is a visiting professor at King’s College London and UTS Sydney and University of Sydney, clinical appointment Radcliff Hospital Trust. She has published widely and has lectured in many parts of the world. She was a member of the Expert Maternity Group that wrote Changing Childbirth, published in 1993


Kathy Mills (Aunty Kath)

NAIDOC Award Winner

Kathy Mills has received several awards including 1986 NAIDOC national and Northern Territory Aborigine of the Year winner. She was the Senior Australian of the Year in 2006 and was the first female member of the Northern Land Council. Her song ‘Arafura Pearl’ is listed as an icon by the NT Heritage Society. Kath is a mother of 8 and grandmother to 28. She is passionate about women’s right to choose the place of birth.


Rosie & Lena Pula (Pwerle)

Respected Elders

Respected Elders, sisters Lena and Rosie Pula are traditional Indigenous midwives from the Arlparra Urapuntja community in Central Australia. They have many years experience in helping women birth ‘on country’. They still occasionally attend births, working with the Urapuntja Health Service’s midwives. Lena has been a member of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority Board since 1999. She is regarded by other female board members as an authority on women’s site issues. As her role as traditional grandmother she sits on Alukura Cultural Advisory Council (ACAC). Lena and Rosie are also well known artists.


Sarah Doherty

CEO, Urapuntja Health Service

Sarah is the CEO of Urapuntja Health Service in the Northern Territory, Australia. She has worked in indigenous health, both in Australia and overseas, since 2001. With a broad background in nursing, midwifery and community health, Sarah completed a masters degree in public health in 2007. She has been working at Urapuntja Health Service, which is an Aboriginal Community Controlled organisation, for several years and is successfully expanding the indigenous workforce.


Deb Pattrick & Tracy Smith

Birth educators, Youth and Family Education Resources (YFER) founders & directors.

Deb and Tracy are midwives who have worked in hospital and home birth practices. Tracy set up and coordinated a young women’s clinic and designed and facilitated community education projects. Deb was a home birth midwife for many years in NSW and Victoria, coordinated childbirth education classes, set up and coordinated outpatient lactation support services. They are the co creators of the Core Of Life program; an innovative, ‘hands on’ pregnancy and parenting program for teens, the program is federally funded and run all over Australia including in many remote Aboriginal communities.


Tere Garnons-Williams

Nurse & Midwife

Nurse and Midwife Canadian born Tere studied nursing in Canada and midwifery in the UK after working many years in both these countries moved to Australia where she took up Homebirthing and independent practice. She has worked all over the Northern Territory for 10 years both in large cities and remote Aboriginal communities. Tere is currently working for the Urapuntja health service in Utopia NT. Her passion and her masters thesis is all about what alternative practices Women use to prepare for motherhood.

Meet the Experts


Meet the Experts through in depth interviews with some of the world’s most famous childbirth experts. Featuring Sheila Kitzinger, Michel Odent, Richard Porter, Ina May Gaskin, Robbie Davis Floyd, Hannah Dahlen, Sally Tracey and Rhea Dempsey. 8 childbirth experts, 90+ topics, over 230 minutes of interview footage