They say cats like to have their kittens while hidden in cupboards under the stairs. I've never liked cats but I must be more feline that I realised. For me, the only way to go through labour is alone on the floor in a dark, locked bathroom. Losing all track of time and space. An other worldly experience in which only two people exist. Me and my unborn baby.

Of course, our medical profession isn't keen on that approach. They like to prod and poke and ask questions and get their fingers in the way. The first time you have a baby you may tolerate all this nonsense. I did. It didn't occur to me that it was a choice.

Newborn baby with NHS midwife doctor
'Our medical profession isn't keen on the hands-off approach to childbirth' Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

But by my third baby, I was wiser. My birth plan said, in capitals: "No examinations unless medically essential," signed by the head of midwifery, with an added note: "Call me if this is not clear." During the birth, the midwife visited me on the bathroom floor every so often and recorded that I was happy there and didn't want company, poking or moving somewhere better lit.

She was a bit shocked that my husband was sleeping soundly in the bed provided for me but I was delighted one of us was getting enough rest to cope with our other two children the next day.

Disconnected staffing policies for an NHS on the brink

So I was horrified to read Labour's tokenistic pledge of one midwife per birthing mother. Obviously we need enough midwives to cope with demand but, as we know, labour can last for days. We can't have all these wonderful, highly trained staff sitting around watching women breathe and groan. Especially as many women, like me, really just want to get on with it by themselves.

Unless you are going down the medical route – in which case doctors will be required – there really is no one but you who will push that baby out. Although I grant you do need someone trained at the end for a bit of guidance and catching. Plus all the ghastly tidying up afterwards.

But the very thought of turning up at a hospital and finding eight bored midwives twiddling their thumbs and awaiting a birth is terrifying. You'd be fighting them and their wandering hands off with maternity cushions.

'I worried about the namby-pamby fuss that was made over Kate Middleton's birth'

Of course every one who needs support should get it and anyone with special medical needs may need lots of help, which they must get.

But blanket assumptions and disconnected staffing policies for an NHS already on the brink are surely not the answer. There must be a more sensible way to organise the staffing of essential services than headlines in the tabloids.

Spotlight on the royal baby

Which brings me to Kate Middleton. I did worry for her and the hysterical namby-pamby fuss that was made over her giving birth to her daughter. It must have been dreadful. Everyone and his boss trying to have a view of the royal business. Checking and double checking for signs of any distress. Which was probably being brought on by the very level of kerfuffle the poor woman was enduring.

I have a vague recollection of some elderly man on a doorstep taking the credit for her birth last time and saying how well it had all gone. The bloody cheek of it.

My advice to any mothers-to-be, as it was to Middleton, is this. Take to your highest horse and tell them all to naff off. You want darkness, calm and space. Unless there is a real problem, insist they simply leave you alone and let you behave like a cat.

As your old gran says, women have been doing this for years. And for the love of God, if you do push it out, don't let some bloke claim the credit.

Christine Armstrong is a contributing editor of Management Today, author of Power Mums (interviews with high-profile mothers) and founder of She can be found on Twitter at @hannisarmstrong.