Birth Small Talk

Talking about birth


About Birth Small Talk

Birth Small Talk is a place for me to share my thoughts with you. My goal is to provide a mix of research informed knowledge-based posts, mixed with philosophical musings, and practical tips for maternity clinicians, educators and researchers. Anyone accessing maternity care is also welcome. Much of what I write is about fetal monitoring, woman-centred care, midwifery led continuity of carer, feminism, research, power and philosophy. New posts go up often, but with no particular regularity. If there is something you would like me to write about, please drop me an email at

I make every attempt to ensure that what I post here is accurate and up to date, but I am unable to guarantee this. I acknowledge that it is possible to interpret the world in many ways and you might have a different interpretation of the same information from my own. I welcome feedback and constructive criticism. I have zero tolerance for disrespectful or abusive conduct, and if there is any doubt about your behaviour, I will not engage with you.

I aim to hold space here in this little corner of the internet for like-minded or curious maternity clinicians who are interested in transforming maternity services to make them caring, respectful, joyful places to work. I particularly welcome obstetricians who are seeking ways to challenge mainstream patriarchal views of women and birthing bodies.

Dr Kirsten Small

About me

My name is Kirsten Small. I am a retired specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist, and I work as an educator, writer, and researcher.

My vision is to promote and protect respectful maternity care for women, babies, families, and their care providers through education and research. I consider that the pathways to achieve respectful maternity care are:

  • Promotion of physiological birth,
  • Ensuring access to timely, appropriate, proven interventions when pathology arises,
  • Supporting women’s decisional capacity, and 
  • The expansion of midwifery continuity of carer models of care.

I am a feminist and as such am critical of the patriarchal values embedded within healthcare systems, and particularly within obstetrics and gynaecology. I am mother to two lovely grown up people. When I’m not writing or teaching, I’m probably reading, sewing, gardening, or cooking. 

My Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Medical Science, University of Queensland, 1989
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, University of Queensland, 1991
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists since 2001
  • Masters of Reproductive Medicine, University of New South Wales, 2006
  • Graduate Diploma of Health Research, Griffith University, 2016
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Griffith University, 2020. My research examined the social effects of a central fetal monitoring system on maternity professionals.

Would you like me to speak at an event?

I am available to provide lectures and workshops for maternity clinicians or healthcare consumers about any of the topics that I post about here. I require at least 6 month notice so that I can plan my workload, and I charge a speaker’s fee, plus travel and accommodation costs for any presentations more than 3 hours from my home address. If you would like to discuss how I might contribute to an event you are holding, please send me an email:

Are you looking for a research supervisor?

If you are a maternity clinician planning on undertaking research on an aspect of maternity care from a feminist philosophical position, and you are looking for a research supervisor, then I may be able to help. You don’t need to be located in a particular location (provided you are comfortable using online forms of communication), nor do you need to be enrolled at Griffith University (although it is a great place to study and well worth considering).