They are back! Our favorite midwives at Nonnatus House.
One of the things people comment on about Call the Midwife is just how "real" everything seems. Including the delivery of the babies. Helping create the authenticity of the series is Terri Coates, practicing midwife and midwifery advisor for the series.
A 40 year veteran of Britain’s National Health Service, Coates received her training from those who qualified in the era in which the series is set; the late 50s and early 60s. She now works for six months of the year as an advisor for the show and often calls on her now retired tutors for advice. Coates is responsible, for instance, for showing an actress how to use a fetal stethoscope. She knew she was doing her job well when she was once asked by a midwife how the show managed to find “women in labor to agree to be filmed giving birth”! Another feather in Coates’ cap is that midwifery lecturers are now suggesting to their students that they watch clips from the show so they can “see examples of a breech birth or good communication with a labouring mother”.
Call the Midwife also seems to be responsible for the increase in applications for people wishing to study midwifery. In fact, during filming of the second series, when she was attending a midwifery conference, Coates was surprised to learn from a midwifery admissions tutor that applications for the midwifery course had skyrocketed and she had received 1,000 applications for the 16 available places! I wonder what it will be at the end of the fourth series!
One of the things the makers of Call the Midwife are most proud of is the show’s ability to raise awareness about various health issues. Coates was recently asked to consult on a television project aimed at informing women in rural Bangladesh about the dangers of childbirth. Statistics show 20 mothers a day die of pregnancy-related causes in Bangladesh, and Coates’ was on hand to help the TV births look as authentic as possible, by using some of the unique on-camera birthing techniques that are used in the making of Call the Midwife.
You can see Coates’ skills at work on Sunday nights on MPT at 8pm in Call the Midwife.
To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117