Midwifery Today Conference
“Out of Many, One: Unity in Midwifery”
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania • April 23–27, 2014
Wednesday • April 23, 2014 • Pre-Conference
These classes are designed to improve and enhance your midwifery skills and knowledge. This is a great class for beginning and advanced midwives.
Help create beautiful experiences for families.
Learn how to evaluate and nurture the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of pregnant and birthing women. Learn about nutrition and the heart of care and how that affects the birth.
This is for all birth attendants, especially those helping with twins, breech and VBAC.
Diane will cover how to help mothers deal with miscarriage without the need for going into hospital.
Learn important elements of the first visit.
Our teachers have extensive experience with twin birth. They will discuss strategies for safe twin birth, including positioning, time of delivery, premature delivery and avoiding postpartum hemorrhage, as well as special aspects of prenatal care.
Learn to spot a long labor before labor begins and turn it around to a shorter labor. This course goes beyond Optimal Fetal Positioning with the 3 Principles of Spinning Babies: Balance, Gravity and Movement in pregnancy and labor. We will compare anterior and posterior fetal position, practice labor progress techniques appropriate to the level of descent, and learn to tell whether a cesarean is needed or just more time. Fewer cesareans/fewer transports may be possible now. Dress comfortably because we practice on the floor. “When I took Gail’s class I knew we had to have this amazing teacher join us in Midwifery Today conferences.”—Jan Tritten. Please bring massage tables if you have any available. *Due to popularity, this class is also being offered post-conference, Monday, April 28.
Learn the art, the essence and the basics of midwifery care in this full-day workshop designed for the aspiring and beginning midwife. Our experienced teachers share their wisdom and love of midwifery in a way that will nurture your interest and make you feel welcomed to the world of birth. Come learn if midwifery is the profession for you.
Learn how to evaluate and nurture the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of pregnant and birthing women. Learn about nutrition and the heart of care during the prenatal period and how that affects the birth.
Help create beautiful experiences for families.
Learn the essence of midwifery care in labor and what to look for as labor progresses. At this time of birth care we can truly facilitate normalcy.
This session will help the caregiver understand the effect that emotions have in the outcome of labor. We will learn about predictable stress points in labor and offer concrete suggestions for psychological and physiological methods to improve the birthing woman’s ability to handle labor.
Learn what to carry in your homebirth birthkit and why. Tricks and techniques for normal birth will be discussed.
Learn how we can really be “with women.”
What forces shape our approach to birth? Do we bring confidence and positive expectations or fear and apprehension? Learn how we can develop the trust necessary to allow the patient unfolding of the birth process, while remaining alert and prepared for any problems or complications.
Come improve your practice with wisdom on these important care issues.
Gail and Ina May will discuss the mechanical, physical and emotional causes of shoulder dystocia. They will analyze methods, demonstrate effective treatments, and look in-depth at maneuvers to predict and correct it. They 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 far beyond traditional teaching of shoulder dystocia.
Learn about the myths and realities of this issue. Identify different types of malpresentations, the factors associated with them, and discover techniques for assessing and dealing with them. You will learn many tips for helping with malpresentations and malrotations so labor can progress and birth be achieved. Bring your techniques to add to this body of midwifery knowledge.
All are welcome.
Thursday • April 24, 2014 • Pre-Conference
These classes are designed to improve and enhance your midwifery skills and knowledge. This is a great class for beginning and advanced midwives.
Learn skills to survive as a midwife.
We will learn ways to stem the tide of emotional issues in labor while paying close attention to what may be clinical rather than emotional.
What Davis-Floyd has called “fractured articulations” often result during home-to-hospital transport, in which the worlds and worldviews of homebirth midwives and their clients collide with the hospital world and its dominant, technocratic world view.
The way we express our knowledge and power in words is as important to the well-being of the childbearing family as how we use our hands. A woman during pregnancy, birth and early motherhood is especially vulnerable to both the negative and healing effect of our words. Dialogue can assist us to make the most of our words as we nurture women and families and honor the sacredness of birth.
Midwives have used intuition to make decisions for years. In this workshop, we will discuss techniques for developing your intuition and guidelines for knowing when to consult, refer or transport.
Learn how we can develop the trust necessary to allow the patient unfolding of the birth process, while remaining alert and prepared for any problems or complications.
We will begin this workshop with a discussion of how to prevent and turn breech babies. This class will also address the 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 is welcome in this class because you never know when one will surprise you. You will be exposed to ideas on using waterbirth for breech.
Jeanne will help us with some insights from chiropractic practice.
We will discuss how to identify the signs of a safe breech vs. signs of dystocia, and how to determine when it is too late for transport. The benefits of upright breech, resolving breech shoulder dystocia and head entrapment will be presented. Does “hands-off-the-breech” really mean us? Videos and photos will help illustrate techniques.
Although breech birth is not for beginners, everyone is welcome in this class 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 through touch and words. We will cover basic skills including the hands-off approach and how to handle problems while staying calm. Frank, footling and complete breech will be discussed, as well as cord prolapse, fetal heart tones and recognizing intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and other complications of breech presentation.
These intimate roundtables give the participant a chance to dialog with each teacher individually. Learn what factors may lead to breech presentation and when external version is contraindicated. Our speakers will discuss the mechanisms of normal and stuck breech birth and techniques for handling each. These midwives have great combined experience with breech deliveries.
Women who are coping well with labor have some things in common: relaxation, rhythm and ritual (the 3 R’s). Debra will describe the 3 R’s and the many ways women experience them. Comfort measures for labor including the rebozo, dancing, hot and cold compresses, music, massage/touch, acupressure, aromatherapy and the birthing ball will be discussed. Positions that facilitate rotation and descent in first stage and help to rotate and ease back labors will be demonstrated. Techniques for second stage, such as the support squat, dangle, toilet, “tug of war,” the rope, and lap squatting will be shown with time for hands-on practice. This intensive course will make us better midwives or doulas. Registrants at previous conferences have raved about it, calling it fun and informative.
This hands-on class will use myofascial release, muscle energy technique, trigger point release, strain/counterstrain, Swedish massage and other appropriate modalities to free the pelvis of musculoskeletal restrictions which may prevent fetal engagement, slow labor, and cause discomfort. These modalities will be explained, demonstrated and practiced in class. Particular attention will address the lower lumbar muscles (erectae spinae and quadratus lumborum) and their relationship to the cervical spine, the iliopsoas, piriformis and other hip rotators, and other pelvic structures. Midwives and doulas will be amazed at the ease with which these hand-saving techniques work and how easily they can be adapted to a variety of birth positions. Please bring a pillow, lubrication, one flat sheet and one towel.
All are welcome.
From earliest history, women have shared their personal experiences of strength and healing. Stories wrapped with love and trust in the birth process have transmitted wisdom and confidence to each generation. Come to share or just to listen.
Friday • April 25, 2014 • Conference
If we have a spirit of unity and working together, we can get further into the ideal of a normal, powerful birth for all mothers and babies. We all have important roles to play whether we are a Certified Nurse-midwife, a Certified Professional Midwife, an unlicensed midwife or doula or supporter of motherbaby. Unity among midwives of all types is the only way to secure our future. We must tackle the issues together. We need to acknowledge the excellent attributes different midwives bring to our calling. Let’s strategize about how to work together with respect to further midwifery and family-centered care.
These midwives share their calling, their vision and their wisdom from over a century of combined experience. Hear their stories and learn from their practical advice.
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. The Neonatal Resuscitation program endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society has tried to bring the best evidence together, only recently admitting that their instruction has not been based on evidence, that “better” may be doing less rather than more, and that some methods have done almost as much harm as good. These teachers will discuss some differences they see in both the literature and varied settings where they have worked. They will present the concept of safe and effective physiological resuscitation methods which don’t require high technology for implementation.
When labor slows, specific acupressure points may help stimulate progress. Participants will learn where they are on the body and how to work with them to encourage a more natural labor rhythm. Reflexes on the head and feet to “open” the lower back will also be explained. Elaine and Eneyda will also explain why massage is essential for pregnant and birthing women and show practical application. They will discuss the importance of healing touch as a preventive tool and safe remedy for the pregnant, laboring and postpartum woman. This class is hands on. Please bring a pillow, one sheet and one towel.
From Gaskin to FlipFLOP, McRoberts and PAC Pull, find how to pick the right technique for each type of shoulder dystocia. Gail shows you a possible prevention technique and a new technique for bilateral inlet dystocia. Learn about how to free the posterior shoulder from the sacral promontory in the bilateral inlet dystocia with a technique that may also prevent shoulder dystocia entirely. Dress comfortably because we practice on the floor.
Moving our bodies, opening our hearts, awakening the wisdom within for a safe, satisfying birth? Debra will take you through the elements of earth, air, fire, water with dance and share simple techniques to encourage pregnant women and their partners to release their fears and open to the miracle of birth. Debra states, “I am really enjoying adding movement and helping to address our fears.” Everyone loved this class in Germany!
Gail will share her brilliant insights and findings on the hormonal states of mother and baby and the interaction which occurs in the hour after birth. Gail’s teaching on this subject makes it a fascinating class. She will cover how we can facilitate the process without disturbing motherbaby. Her insights can help you improve maternal-infant bonding with simple techniques which can be incorporated into any practice in any birth location.
Learn how to be prepared for “anything and everything!” Birth stories will be used to illustrate assessment techniques, problem solving and ways in which practitioners can build their self-confidence in dealing with various emergency and unusual situations. You will learn to be more prepared for uncommon complications that you may encounter: unusual bleeding, thrombocytopenia, meconium, neonatal jaundice, hematoma formation, signs of embolism and more. Learn how to manage these while keeping the family and yourself calm. Bring questions and cases to study.
What role does intuition play in midwifery and birth? How do midwives feel about intuition and what use do they make of it? What about birthing mothers? In this technocratic age where the information that comes from machines matters so much, can intuition still play an important role in decision-making during birth? How do midwives and mothers access their intuition, and how can you tell the difference between intuition and fear? Robbie will present her research on the subject to generate an exciting discussion among participants.
Our vision and purpose is to sow unity, where we can find it, to learn to “agree to disagree” peacefully and respectfully, to respect that there are many different kinds of midwives and as many philosophies and practice styles, and to never live in fear that there won’t be enough births to go around. Instead of engaging in territorialism, let’s figure out ways to increase the use of midwives—of all kinds in all settings.
We have both Ina May and Stephen together. They will talk about The Farm midwifery practice and how they built it as a community. Hear Steven Gaskin talk about how he has supported and encouraged The Farm midwives.
Join your fellow conference attendees for a buffet dinner in the Sheraton Hotel. Network, hob nob, and relax from a day of classes. Price includes dinner, dessert and beverage station, with vegetarian options provided. Cash bar will also be available. $10 for conference registrants, $35 for non-registrants, payable with registration or at the door.
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 • April 26, 2014 • Conference
This session will focus on bringing our traditions into the modern world. Our panel draws on a rich tapestry of birth in traditional cultures, blending it with what has been learned from midwives. The panel strives to come up with the best possible blend, always considering each woman unique. Their great love of that process is sure to kindle our passion for birth.
Even as more evidence mounts showing the harm caused by unnecessary obstetrical interventions, such interventions continue to increase and cesarean rates around the world continue to soar, causing trauma to mothers and babies. How can midwives and doulas help bring needed change to others? Learn from these two change agents, Debra and Robbie, what others are doing and what you can do in your community to promote positive birth change. We are all needed—let’s hone our skills at creating optimal birth models for the women of the world!
“Why is this procedure necessary?” The two most dangerous answers are, “That’s the way I was taught,” and “That’s the way I’ve always done it.” Come learn to look at your midwifery practice with an open mind, learning from the women. It’s time to rewrite the textbooks.
What to do when the due date comes and goes? What are the real risks of prolonged pregnancy? How do we assess for signs of Postmaturity Syndrome? How do we know when it is time to intervene, and how do we intervene when it’s needed? Let’s look at what the evidence says about risks and how to mitigate them, discuss how to monitor the prolonged pregnancy with both low-tech and high-tech methods, and learn how to balance protocols with common sense.
What can be done at pregnancy visits by midwives and doulas to help women and couples to be proactive in childbirth preparation with fetal positioning? Let Gail Tully, The Spinning Babies Lady, introduce you to the First Principle of Spinning Babies: Balance. Try out three techniques that you can then teach pregnant women and couples over three prenatal visits. Please bring massage tables if you have any available.
We will study the problems that may arise in third stage and how to prevent them or treat them. Postpartum bleeding has many causes, from incomplete separation, to placental retention to uterine atony. Learn to deal with these situations with available medications, but also with non-pharmacological and manual methods which are frequently faster and more effective than medications. Gail will also talk about the use of the placenta, cord and membranes for hemorrhage control: this is a revival of a midwife technique which could save many maternal lives worldwide.
Informed consent, used by the medical profession, and informed choice, used by midwives, are terms as tossed about, misunderstood and open to interpretation as the term “justice.” This presentation will present an analytical framework laying out eight different types of logic used in decision-making by a) parents coming from different cultures and b) practitioners, coming from different teaching and philosophical backgrounds. Examples will be used from the courts and from midwifery disciplinary bodies, demonstrating how clashes can be worked out in a more rational way by understanding these basic principles.
We will share stories and ideas that express why birth is such a profound, intimate and deeply remembered experience for women. We will discuss the emotional and spiritual factors important to all birthing women and babies. We will explain how birth practitioners can learn to understand and respect the holy ground upon which they walk whenever they are caring for a mother, baby or family. Birth is not only a physiological process and a rite of passage, birth is also sacred. If it were respected as sacred by everyone, we would not be suffering the current crisis in birth care. We would see birth as the gift it is.
“What’s that you want me to do?” Baby’s head is tipped as if listening for advice. “I’m a bit stuck.” Understand the role of the pelvic floor in asynclitism and learn a technique to make room for the head to come down. Wear comfortable stretch or yoga pants to try the technique with a friend. Bring a massage table if you are local and have one, please!
What does respectful care entail? How have women been conditioned to give over their right to respect, dignity and informed decision making in maternity care? Debra will present from her role as part of the Advisory Committee for the White Ribbon Alliance’s Respectful Care Initiative, and Debra and Robbie will update us on the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI) and share stories about the IMBCI’s global progress in bringing respectful care to birth that will touch your heart and inspire you to action.
There is an innate intelligence that guides and protects the complex unfolding of Birth. In captivity something of that intelligence is lost. Bring your questions and experience and together we will discover how to realign with the fierce intelligence, beyond the intellect, that seeks to protect the body, mind and soul of motherbaby in any setting, any circumstance, any culture. We plan to rediscover the secrets of nature that bring birth and long term well-being to motherbaby. Birth is the beginning of everything else.
This class contains power-packed information from a great midwife whose knowledge comes from attending over 6000 births. You will learn about the use of herbs, homeopathics and other natural remedies in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Learn practical uses of these remedies for your clients’ ailments and complications, such as using alternatives to halt a hemorrhage and how to keep your women well. This class is not just for novices, but for everyone!
Increase prenatal bonding (binding-in) with Belly Mapping™ when you help pregnant women and couples discover their baby’s position using the kicks and wiggles they feel as they prepare for sleep. If mothers are willing, a few midwifery students may have the chance to gently palpate before Gail paints the baby’s actual position on the woman’s abdomen. Women from 28 to 42 weeks are invited with their partner or other loved one. Please bring massage tables if you have any available.
The Global Midwifery Council is an international humanitarian organization of midwives investigating birth and midwifery around the world. The council’s goal is to ensure that every woman receives safe and respectful midwifery care during childbirth. Come learn about these activities and how you can become involved. We can make changes for the better with effort and understand more about the world of birth. We will discuss current issues facing the birth world.
The cabaret is for everyone to show their many talents, in song, dance or whatever art form you do that you would like to share.
Sunday • April 27, 2014 • Conference
Why do some obstetricians choose to radically change? This question is most poignant in Brazil, a country with one of the highest cesarean rates in the world. This presentation is based on 32 interviews with Brazil’s holistic obstetricians, who call themselves “the good guys and girls.” Come and learn what motivates them to change, how they do it over time, how they practice now, and what that means for midwives! Robbie offers concrete information about how midwives and doulas can encourage and facilitate this paradigm shift in obstetricians in any country.
It is time for a redefining of terms in regard to midwifery. As present-day “midwifery” is incorporating more and more of an impersonal, medicalized mentality, midwives must rise up and reclaim the organic, life-infused roots of motherbaby care, returning to the old ways without discounting the new, and preserving the distinction between the art of midwifery and the field of medicine.
While the placenta usually comes out easily and in a timely fashion, there are problems that can occur which demand immediate action. Learn 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. Diane applies her experience of over 6000 births.
Fear in pregnancy and birth can have many consequences for both the family and health care provider. This class will help you define, understand and move through the fear that confronts us. Learn several ways of helping women turn fear into trust. Learn how fear leads to intervention and loss of the miraculous.
Carol is well known in her region for her nutritional guidance for pregnant women. She starts with a basic plan of a well-balanced intake, observes the individual woman and creates a designer nutritional plan just for her. She believes a healthy birth outcome starts with good nutrition so baby can surmount any difficulty which might arise. Healthy babies can handle more stress in labor; healthy mothers can handle longer labors and higher blood loss (though will probably bleed less!) Carol emphasizes the intake of essential fatty acids, bioflavonoids and vitamins through protein, raw veggies and fresh whole grains, with lots of clean water between meals. Many physiological “complaints of pregnancy” will disappear with the achievement of good nutritional balance.
Long labors may be associated with complications ranging from emotional issues to physical problems or malpositions. We will learn different reasons for prolonged labor, and how to monitor the interaction between the baby, mother, uterus and pelvis. We will discuss myth and reality of long labors: Is it just the clock, or is there a real problem? Learn the essential skills of how to rule out cephalopelvic disproportion, different methods to judge engagement and how to use “fifths” to assess progress. We will present lots of midwifery tricks to help move a long labor to birth!
In this well-loved Midwifery Today format, you’ll sit in on three interesting and inspiring roundtables of your choice. Roundtables will include:
We have spent the last few days pondering how we can truly unify our midwifery with the purpose of furthering the goal, “a midwife for every mother.” Our speakers will add their ideas, visions and dreams to this goal. This is a time when we will ask you for your ideas and ideals! Together we can make optimal birth a reality for families.
Monday • April 28, 2014 • Post-Conference
Learn to spot a long labor before labor begins and turn it around to a shorter labor. This course goes beyond Optimal Fetal Positioning with the 3 Principles of Spinning Babies: Balance, Gravity and Movement in pregnancy and labor. We will compare anterior and posterior fetal position, practice labor progress techniques appropriate to the level of descent, and learn to tell whether a cesarean is needed or just more time. Fewer cesareans/fewer transports may be possible now. Dress comfortably because we practice on the floor. “When I took Gail’s class I knew we had to have this amazing teacher join us in Midwifery Today conferences.”—Jan Tritten. Please bring massage tables if you have any available.