Midwifery Today Conference
“Trust, Intimacy and Love—The Chemistry of Connection”
Helsinki, Finland • 4–8 October 2017
Wednesday • 4 October 2017 • Pre-Conference
Identify and examine the clinical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of prenatal care. We will learn how to evaluate and nurture the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of pregnant and birthing women. As with all prenatal care, the goal is to have a healthy baby and birth. We will share some unique ways to facilitate good outcomes.
Analyzing the various techniques used around the world brings the surprising conclusion that neonatal resuscitation methods are a cultural, not a scientific, norm. The experiences of what works in one hospital unit is often different from a unit in the same city and practitioners who work in both home and hospital know they often do things differently depending on the setting. Gail will present the concept of safe and effective physiological resuscitation methods which don’t require high technology for implementation.
We will begin with how to turn breech babies. This class will help you develop skills needed when attempts at turning don’t work, and the parents and midwife decide to do a vaginal or home breech birth. Although breech birth is not for beginners, everyone needs to learn it because you never know when one will surprise you. We will cover palpation skills, estimating fetal weight, amniotic fluid, and how to communicate with the baby with touch and words. We will cover basic skills including the hands-off approach and how to handle problems while staying calm.
Magical Beginnings is a celebration of pregnancy and birth where moms and dads have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be conscious participants in this miraculous creative process. When parents, together with their midwife or other health care provider, celebrate the gift of conceiving, schooling in the womb and delivering a child, we all become part of this magical process. From this perspective, pregnancy and birth are what they are meant to be—a joyful and sacred event where mom, baby and dad actively participate in the miracle of creation.
Learn about how to give the best postpartum care possible. This is a big responsibility of the midwife for mother and child, and continues after the baby is born. Discover some tips for preventing problems before they arise as well as hints to help mothers be the best they can be. Keep nurturing the mom so she can nurture her baby.
Acupuncture can be very useful during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Only a certified acupuncturist can perform this treatment. Learn about different conditions that can be helped and when to refer to acupuncturists for treatment. Acupressure and cupping are other treatment aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) closely related to acupuncture. In this class you can learn about their use during birth. Demonstration and basics of cupping and acupressure will be covered in this powerful and informative class. Bring a small towel and your favorite massage oil. This is a hands-on class; you will get an opportunity to practice.
Gua sha is a healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Sometimes called “coining, spooning or scraping,” gua sha is defined as instrument-assisted unidirectional press-stroking of the body surface to intentionally create transitory therapeutic petechiae called “sha” representing extravasation of blood in the subcutis. Modern research shows gua sha produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protective effect that persists for days following a single gua sha treatment. This accounts for its effect on pain, stiffness, fever, cough, nausea and vomiting, etc., and why gua sha is effective for pregnant and laboring women also. The technique is useful for doulas, midwives, spouses and other support persons. It can be used in soothing, relaxing, adding oxytocin, stalled labor, back labor pains, headaches, vomiting/nausea and many other things. This class will give you insight on the technique and hands-on on training.
Cornelia will explore the many benefits and ways of using water in birth and will discuss its unique properties—psychological as well as physical. Waterbirth is not only an option for a woman to give birth undisturbed and in dignity, but it has medical advantages for mother and child. Breech births, OP births or twin births benefit from waterbirth. Breech waterbirth needs no hands, no extra warming for the newborn’s body or other interventions. The ease of attending births in water is a joy. Cornelia will show aqua-midwifery with photos and video sequences. She will address concerns about water labor and waterbirth and potential risks. She will report on clinical findings, current research and models from various places around the world, as well as share her hands-on experience. This workshop will present information you need to attend all types of births in water and to recognize and manage complications.
The origin of these techniques and traditions from Mexico goes back thousands of years. We will learn how to use a rebozo, a useful tool in all parts of the childbearing cycle. In this amazing class you will discover simple techniques that bring comfort and relaxation during pregnancy and birth. You will learn many “new” old techniques you can apply immediately to your practice. Time for hands-on practice will be provided. Thea and Mirjam de Keijzer co-wrote the book The Rebozo Technique Unfolded, with Naolí Vinaver.
Thursday • 5 October 2017 • Pre-Conference
With skillful hands and open heart, true midwifery marries science and art, forges the deepest alliances and operates at a level of intimacy uncommon in our busy society. We will explore how the three paradigms of health care (as articulated by Robbie-Davis Floyd) apply to midwifery and consider how best to use this understanding to shape a practice that is sustainable, satisfying and safe. What are your deepest challenges in this regard? Whatever they are, this will be a safe space to share them and discover new and specific ways to deepen and streamline your work. From the initial visit to the last postpartum, assessment skills will be presented in a holistic vein, with updates based on the latest research in perinatal psychology and physiology. Join us as we delve into the joys and mysteries of our sacred calling!
This is an advanced rebozo workshop for those who have had experience with rebozo. You will learn more tips and techniques. Bring your questions and situations you have used rebozo for and add your questions and experience to the class. Several new techniques will be taught with details to make rebozo even more useful. We will cover the use of the rebozo in several positions. This is information you can put right into your practice to improve outcomes. This promises to be a fun and enlightening day.
In medieval times, placenta powder and essences were part of holistic care by midwives in cultures around the world. If stored correctly, the placenta can be used after birth to prepare baby creams, cream gravidarum or labor-inducing preparations. This is a very helpful medicine for postpartum depression. Teach families you care for how to make the most natural remedy from their placenta. Learn how to dry placentas. Come learn about this important modality. The book Placenta: The Gift of Life by Cornelia Enning makes a perfect resource for this important class.
Physiological birth is an involuntary process orchestrated by neurochemicals and hormones that unfurl in a woman’s body. These processes prime the motherbaby dyad for breastfeeding and bonding after birth. What happens to motherbaby when these fine-tuned mechanisms are disturbed by interventions such as induction, augmentation or epidurals? These interventions are everyday events in hospitals all over the world. Are midwives, doctors, doulas and mothers aware of the direct and indirect consequences of these procedures? This workshop will focus both on the normal physiological parameters for a good breastfeeding start as well as the disturbance of the physiological processes. An un-physiological labor and birth influences the breastfeeding start and the bonding between motherbaby. We will discuss how to prevent unnecessary use of interventions and look into what can we do to facilitate for a better breastfeeding start and bonding process when an intervention has occurred for any reason.
Friday • 6 October 2017 • Conference Day One
“Peace on earth begins with birth,” said Jeannie Parvati-Baker. The interplay of hormones and emotions are key to the process of a peaceful pregnancy and birth. We are just now understanding this interplay and how a peaceful birth can contribute to a more peaceful world. Learn how we can help build a foundation of trust between the baby, the birthing parents, and the caregivers.
What do the eyes say? Why do newborns and their mamas seek each other’s eyes in that profound gaze of the early hours of life? Research evidence on communicating through eye contact throughout life will be shared.
The true beauty of birth is in its power to transform not just the mother but all who witness it. What is the foundation of this power at the physiologic level, and how can we best support it? Why are some births more difficult than others when we least expect it? Explore the deeper aspects and impacts of trauma on the birthing process, how these may involve the practitioner, and what we can do to promote healing, not only during but in advance of the birth.
As birth professionals we have a passion to serve our clients which doesn’t always translate to a successful and sustainable job/business. How do we keep our work sustainable and stay passionate about it? How do you present yourself and your business in an authentic way, reach your ideal clients and build a network to support you? In this interactive workshop we explore where you are, what you want and how to take steps to be (more) successful and in balance. Professional Business Development should be something to get excited about!
Together we will explore the unique experiences of sexual abuse survivors during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. For these women, these times are especially significant and hold the potential to be both healing and re-traumatizing. We will also discuss secondary trauma in birth care providers and the challenges of midwives who are themselves sexual abuse survivors.
As midwives, we enter each family circle at a crucial time. It is so important for us to be open and share the emotional and spiritual journey each family takes, while providing sound practical care. Join us as we explore personalized care and its effects. Our experienced teachers will explain the true art of working with women in a way that utilizes our hands, senses, intuition and the abilities to observe and to relate. They will also cover the uniqueness of each birthing woman and how to work positively and joyfully with her wherever she chooses to give birth.
Rebekka will discuss the mechanical, physical and emotional causes of shoulder dystocia. She will describe symptoms and signs used to predict it and analyze tools and methods used to overcome panic reactions, demonstrate effective treatments, and look in-depth at maneuvers to predict and correct it. Learn about all aspects of shoulder dystocia, including causes, incidence rates, prevention and solutions. She will discuss how to quickly deal with this type of dystocia when it occurs and how to enlist the help of the mother to deliver her child in an atmosphere of calmness and strength. This class goes beyond traditional teaching of shoulder dystocia.
Brainstorm with us and your peers on how we can effect changes in midwifery and childbirth on the global level. This will be an interactive session, learning from the midwives present from the many different countries represented. Learn about the midwifery and birth movements going on around the world and how you can help. We can make changes for the better with knowledge of global possibilities. We will share techniques, systems, political and educational ideas that will help you further the midwifery model in your sphere of influence.
Share the techniques you’ve perfected in your practice or bring your burning questions to this roundtable of pertinent tips on a wide variety of topics. Previous sessions have included facilitating effective contractions, dealing with prolonged labor, preventing perineal tears, helping the slow-to-start baby and holistic first aid. This is always a much-appreciated session, for its sense of sisterhood as well as its information. “Worth at least two weeks of academic training,” said one participant.
Saturday • 7 October 2017 • Conference Day Two
You are needed as a birth change agent, wherever you are studying, practicing or teaching. Women want to have healthy babies and good experiences. Around the world women are prevented from achieving these goals, causing trauma to them and their babies. Learn what you can do in your community to promote positive birth change. We will discuss how each of us plays a part in changing the birth future for mothers and babies, with a discussion of what other birth keepers are doing around the world. We encourage you to discover your dream and carry it out.
Can synthetic oxytocin easily cross the placenta? Can it cross the fetal blood brain barrier? Can it interfere with the development of the baby’s oxytocin system? Can it desensitize the maternal oxytocin breast receptors and interfere with the capacity to breastfeed? Can the phthalates released by plastic bags cross the placenta?
The time has come when we must define our own standards of practice, based on continuity of care and assessment skills far more accurate than ultrasound. The matter of postdates is just one example where our model of care and that of medicine are at odds; in this workshop, we will explore many more as we consider the evidence and how it combines with the norms we discovered in the early days as safe and defensible. Individualized, preventive care is one of the best things we can give to foster the next generation. Elizabeth will share stories and case histories that will surprise and reassure you as we fully explore midwifery parameters of what is normal.
Our teachers will speak about preparing for birth with different ways to explain things and to teach exercises. This class includes breathing, relaxation, positions and the use of rebozo. They will also talk about how to involve partners in the preparation for birth. Bring your techniques and we will share in this exciting session.
Many episodes of excessive blood loss are either preventable or foreseeable and easily controlled. It is important to facilitate delivery of the placenta with patience. Learn about techniques and approaches that render the need for pharmaceuticals rare. Learn about what problems may arise in third stage and how to be prepared to attend them. Bleeding, various problems with placenta retention and other issues will be discussed. Gail will explain how to assess and deal with bleeding in a way that will increase your confidence. She will also talk about using the placenta, cord and membranes for hemorrhage control.
I believe birth practitioners need skills in caring for women whose babies don't survive whether by miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. If we are afraid of this area of our practice then we cannot provide the right environment of care. Join this class to turn your fear of helping in these situations to one of faith.
In this well-loved Midwifery Today format, you’ll sit in on three interesting and inspiring roundtables of your choice. Roundtables will include:
The cabaret is for everyone to show their many talents whether in song, dance or whatever you do that you would like to share.
Potlatch: A “potlatch” is a traditional giveaway practiced by Northwest Native Americans. Our potlatch plan is to have each conference participant bring a gift to give to another participant. We suggest something for midwifery practice or something from your heart or country.
Sunday • 8 October 2017 • Conference Day Three
One of the keys to joy in midwifery practice is autonomy. Autonomy is also very important in protecting the mother from the devastating experience of medicalization in birth. It is essential that midwifery be an autonomous profession. Learn specific ways in which autonomy can help birthing women reduce unnecessary and risky intervention, as well as how it can help keep the joy in midwifery practice. This is one of our most important issues in midwifery.
Explore women’s ability to birth in a sacred way. When women find their own way of birthing, it is up to us, their practitioners, to facilitate the process, not change it. We will familiarize ourselves with the sounds and movements of second stage when women are in environments conducive to birthing in their own way. We will also review second stage research from a midwifery point of view, focusing on how maternal positions and associated birth environments affect childbirth outcomes. Fernando will share the protocols and techniques he uses to help the mother move through the pushing stage of labor.
How can we empower both the woman and the birthing partner for birth, including the baby in the process? This class/lesson will teach you how to help the parents build a trusting, loving and caring environment, allowing the woman to birth in peace. You will learn how the birthing partner’s (male) energy can be used to secure the birthing room for both the mother and the baby, and allowing love to do the labor.
Learn about the myths and realities of this issue. Learn what factors increase the likelihood of a malpresentation. Identify different types of malpresentations and discover techniques for assessing and dealing with them. You will learn many tips for helping with malpresentations so birth can move forward and be achieved. Bring your techniques to add to this body of midwifery knowledge.
Spinning Babies offers a unique way to answer the question, "When do we take action in a long or painful labor while still supporting a physiological model?" Supporting birth without interference is what we strive for. Learn to open the three levels of the pelvis to make space where the baby is waiting for rotation and descent, restore balance, and help motherbaby.
Learn how to create a nurturing environment for women at hospital births. Study the issues, obstacles and concerns. Plan strategies that protect and nurture women.
We are all points of light that can go out to spread love to a birthing world in great need of it. We will discuss how each of us plays a role in changing the birth future for mothers and babies. We can reach critical mass if we each keep doing our part. Love never fails.