Ep. 64 - Fear Vs Courage in Childbirth with Betty-Anne Daviss

Are you letting fear dictate your birth choices?

In this episode, Betty-Anne Daviss, an experienced midwife, discusses the culture of fear surrounding childbirth and breech birth. She advocates for normalizing breech birth as a safe option and emphasizes the importance of empowering women with evidence-based information. The conversation calls for a shift towards a more inclusive and empowering approach to childbirth practices.

Betty-Anne Daviss MA, RM has been a midwife for 47 years on various continents and a researcher in the social sciences and clinical epidemiology for 30. She cites learning from traditional midwives from Guatemala to Afghanistan as one of the highlights of her career. While acting as the project coordinator for the Safe Motherhood Initiative of FIGO in 2004, the follow-up to the Term Breech Trial was published, and she switched focus to searching across Europe for best breech practice. She has provided lectures in China, India, Africa, and Latin America on Human Rights in Childbirth, using the return to breech as one model solution.

In This Episode:

  • Betty-Anne Daviss, a seasoned midwife, and researcher, shares her experiences from working in challenging situations, such as earthquakes in Guatemala and dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan, highlighting how she overcame fear in those circumstances.
  • The discussion touches on the societal language of risk, which extends beyond childbirth and affects various aspects of modern life
  • The importance of challenging the language of risk and understanding that with proper techniques and approaches, many perceived risks in childbirth, such as breech births, can be managed effectively is stressed.
  • Betty-Anne shares personal experiences of dealing with fear in the medical community, especially when advocating for breech birth practices
  • She also focuses on how practitioners may be driven by fear of litigation, which can hinder humanistic birth practices
  • The importance of facing fear and rising above it in the context of childbirth is emphasized
  • Betty-Anne shares instances where healthcare providers faced the fear of litigation, leading to the discontinuation of breech birth services or restrictions on certain birth practices
  • She has written two books on vaginal breech birth and upright delivery, and she provides classes online via Zoom

Listen Now!

Key Takeaways:

  • Overcoming fear is a crucial aspect of providing effective care during challenging situations, such as childbirth
  • Society tends to focus on worst-case scenarios, creating unnecessary fear and limiting risks that are relatively safe
  • Fear surrounding breech birth is impacting normal childbirth practices
  • Fear is a complex emotional response rooted in the amygdala, and it can influence decision-making during childbirth
  • Fear surrounding breech birth has far-reaching effects, not only impacting breech deliveries but also influencing perceptions of normal childbirth practices
  • Birth professionals should strive to rise above fear and advocate for evidence-based, humanistic approaches to childbirth

Tweetable Quotes:

“I think you can almost overcome any bit of fear by asking your community for help. And that’s what I’ve always done, It’s always worked.” – Betty-Anne Daviss

“There are two ways to deal with fear: One is to forget everything and run. And the other one is to face everything and rise.” – Zig Ziglar

Connect with Betty-Anne!

Linkedin and Facebook


Email: bettyannedaviss@gmail.com

Resources Mentioned:


  • Birthing Models on the Human Rights Frontier Speaking Truth to Power
  • Rethinking the Physiology of Vaginal Breech Birth Evidence based Guide to Upright Delivery

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