As well as running the workshops Leila had her own private clinic to run. This she did after the workshops and invited us to join her. She carries out antenatal and postnatal examinations at her clinic as well as a variety of gynaecological related activities. We declined to get a little down time.

But we did get along to a parentcraft class and an aquanatal. Both of these were fascinating and Alison in particular was called on to contribute in both. No surprise there – this woman is a truly brilliant midwife with so many additional skills.

The parentcraft class was fascinating with women at all stages of their pregnancy, a husband and a postnatal mother with her baby. A lot of the conversation was around avoiding Caesarean Section and labouring in water. It reminded me a little of the NCT classes of the 80s! The husband was a medical rep of some kind and he described his difficulty seeking out a hospital with a positive attitude towards physiologic birth and a pool for labour. The postnatal Mum had had a Caesarean for breech presentation but she was still very positive about the merits of normal birth despite her experience.

We had hoped to see some dancing – Leila teaches her women to dance as a means of encouraging mobility. Having seen her dancing in private, at all women parties, (more later), we were looking forward to this but this was not possible for two interrelated reasons – one, the Muslim population is in mourning at this time, in commemoration of Imam Hussein, a prophet who sacrificed himself for his people, and also because one of the women in the class was a particularly devout type of Muslim who do not dance and enjoy music in these circumstances.

I got a short cuddle of the baby!

The other session we attended was aquanatal class. Unfortunately we missed the aquanatal bit due to the terrible traffic coming out of Tehran. This session is held in a neighbouring province near where Leila’s mother lives and we were combining this visit with lunch at Mum’s.

The aquanatal class is held in a sports centre which is closed to men for a period of time. (This segregation of the sexes was a little annoying to those of us visiting the country – our hotel had women only in the pool and jacuzzi area from 8-12 every morning – and men the rest of the time! We were working every morning!)

Again this was a mixed session of antenatal and postnatal women so again I got a cuddle of a baby. The women were gorgeous. Many ‘great with child’ but wearing scimpy bikinis – beautiful! We had a social chat and a question and answers session, talking about Waterbirth, post dates pregnancy, breech presentation, pain relief and the like. One woman was 41 weeks and Alison administered some acupuncture to encourage labour. The obstetricians were already pressuring her to be induced, which she was resisting, and we later heard that she went into labour spontaneously. We also heard that she had a CS at 10cms for delay and OP position!

We then went off to Leila’s Mums for a rather late lunch.

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