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Midwifery and the Law
We who live in the United States are fully aware how different our country is from most others when it comes to midwifery and the way the state looks at childbirth. If we try to list every variety of midwife that has come into existence during the last half-century, we have to write a very long sentence with lots of adjectives and commas. We lead the world in the number of criminal trials for the practice of midwifery or the practice of medicine, or even manslaughter or second-degree murder charges brought against unlicensed midwives. In this dubious sweepstakes, we have the company of our neighbor to the north, Canada, which got itself into a similar societal mess a century ago by neglecting to create a way for midwives to continue to exist by following the example of the rest of the industrialized world. In both countries, obstetrician-surgeons became the overlords of childbirth, and two generations of women came to consider it "normal" to have their babies in hospitals where there was no such person as a midwife.
— Ina May Gaskin, excerpted from "Unity: An Elusive but Necessary Goal for US Midwives and Their Advocates," Midwifery Today Issue 64
Ina May Gaskin suggests that midwives unite and look to other countries for ideas on passing laws to ensure that midwifery and homebirth survive. To read more, you need Midwifery Today Issue 64.
Become an ALACE Labor Assistant/Birth Doula!
Becoming a doula is a great way to begin a career in birth. Upcoming trainings in:
- Roanoke, VA: March 30–April 1, 2007
- Chicago, IL: April 13–15, 2007
- Sacramento, CA: April 20–22, 2007
- Burlington, VT: April 27–29, 2007
- Ann Arbor, MI: May 4–6, 2007
- Wilmington, NC: May 18–20, 2007
- Denver, CO: May 25–27, 2007
And many more! Visit http://www.alace.org/ or call 888-222-5223 for more information.
Research to Remember
Researchers at Aberdeen University Medical School in Scotland found, in a 17 year long study of more than 25,000 women, that those who had had a cesarean were less likely to have another baby, and that those who did waited longer than mothers who had vaginal births. The researchers also found that the women who had a caesarean were also more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy the next time.
— BJOG August 2005, 112(8): 1061
Birth Works International Conference 2007
Birth Works(R) International presents "Birthing in the Spirit," a childbirth conference celebrating the spiritual aspects of birth. Come explore the medical, psychological, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of birth during this interactive and stimulating conference. Open to everyone. July 6–8, 2007 Cherry Hill, NJ (near Philadelphia). 1-888-TO-BIRTH (862-4784). firstname.lastname@example.org. Register at www.birthworks.org. CEUs for direct entry midwives, ACNM specialty credits, contact hours for RNs.
Products for Birth Professionals
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Know an aspiring midwife? Give her our Library Pack.
Anyone planning to become a midwife will appreciate the books in this package: Wisdom of the Midwives (Tricks of the Trade, Volume II), Birth Wisdom (Tricks of the Trade, Volume III), Paths to Becoming a Midwife and Life of a Midwife, The Package also includes one free Midwifery Today back issue, your choice of 45, 49, 50, 54 or 60. And all for the low price of just $89.
Web Site Update
Check out the brand-new issue of Midwifery Today magazine. The theme is Primal Health, with a gorgeous cover photo by Shawna Wentz. View the table of contents here.
"Spring into Savings" Coupon Page
Reach thousands of online shoppers with the "Spring into Savings" Coupon Page available on the Midwifery Today Web site. Advertise online from April–June; includes a hotlink to your own Web site.
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Costa Rica Conference 2007
Advertise at our next international conference "Birth without Borders," in San José, Costa Rica, (May 23–27, 2007). This conference will feature a three-day doula workshop, and many traditional midwives from Central American countries will be in attendance. Opportunities for program advertising and registration insterts can be found on our Web site. [ Learn More ]
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Question of the Week
Q: I have a friend whose three-month-old baby girl has closing labia and is now only peeing out of one-third of what the opening should be. The doctor says that sometimes they open again themselves, but has prescribed estrogen cream to put on it. He said not to worry if you see her breasts become large for a while. He also said that sometimes this happens when there has been a sore or tear and it healed wrong, and that they may have to think about cutting it open again.
Does anyone know how common this is and if there are alternatives to putting estrogen on the baby? They don't want to do this, but we don't know anything about this problem.
— Audrey Lynne
SEND YOUR RESPONSE to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Question of the Week" in the subject line. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the message.
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Question of the Week Responses
Q: Women being discharged from hospital receive almost universal postpartum instructions to avoid tub baths. I suspect that long ago some OB thought this sounded reasonable and it was repeated from generation to generation till it became etched in stone ("common"sense??).
I rather think this is hogwash but have no evidence one way or the other. Apart from the studies cited about women in labor with ruptured membranes NOT having increased infections caused by tub baths in labor, does anyone know of any evidence supporting or discrediting the theory that bath water gets up into the vagina (postpartum or otherwise)?
— Susan Robinson
A: I'm afraid you are mistaken that the advice not to have "tub baths" is universal in the postpartum period. In Scotland we encourage women to have a bath within the first couple of hours after birth and then on a daily basis as and when they wish. We have a low level of post partum infection and the women seem to find the bath relaxing and enjoyable.
— Brenda Docherty
A: See the following link from Ronnie Falcao's midwifery site: http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/postpart.html#Bathing
It is very succinct and pertinent:
In the labor and delivery unit where I work as a staff nurse, we put our mothers in the Jacuzzi all the time after birth; a Jacuzzi is great for the "all-over soreness" that moms complain of, and also soothing for soreness at the epidural site. We don't see or hear of more endometritis or other issues from our obstetricians, and mothers love it.
From Ronnie's comments, it would appear that the research on postpartum bathing is from the late 1960s; it just takes a while to filter down! BTW, we clean our Jacuzzis by dissolving one cup bleach or one cup Cascade dishwasher soap in a hot tub and and running it for 20 minutes, then wiping it down well.
— Marianne Moore, RN, MSN, CNM
A: As far as I know, the problem is not as much the possibility of water going up into the vagina, but more the fear of potentially pathogenic bacteria that come with the lochia. Taking a tub bath with the lochia being dissolved in the water, they might get to the breast and there cause a mastitis, although I am not sure whether there is any evidence for that.
Sorry about my English, I am not a native speaker.
— Dagmar Erdmann
Responses to any Question of the Week may be sent to E-News at any time. Write to email@example.com. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the subject line or in the message.
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Think about It
Help spread the word about birth to older woman so they can teach their daughters and granddaughters.
A Midwifery Today staff member has started a group on Eons.com, a social networking site for people 50 and older. The name of the group is "Better Birth for our Daughters and Granddaughters" and you can find it here:
If you're over 50 and would like to share your knowledge of natural birth and midwifery, please join Eons and join this group. Just go to the link above, then click on the "Join or Sign-in" link to join Eons.
Learn about Mayan Midwifery
Traditional midwifery in modern Mexico: a one week course exploring traditional Mayan midwifery worldview and techniques and their application in contemporary midwifery practice. Learn about the Mayan chakra system, traditional massage techniques, working with the healing elements, traditional uses of chocolate for pregnancy, labor and birth and more! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us May 6 to 13 in San Cristobal, Chiapas. www.lunamaya.org
It dawned on me as I was reading the information on depression during pregnancy that we should also be looking at a woman's past experiences as a culprit.
As a childbirth educator I get to spend a great deal of time with my students, and see many women about whom I worry. I can usually pick out the ones who are unhappy and as a result may have more difficult birth experiences. Unfortunately my input is limited unless I am specifically asked for information. I wonder how many are so fearful because of past physical or sexual abuse? How many have been told their bodies don't work, and that birth is a horrible thing? Pregnancy can be a very uncontrollable time in life and for a woman who has coped with past baggage by creating a very controlled environment this can be overwhelming. I talk about past baggage in general in class, and do keep information on hand for them (e.g., Penny Simkin's tapes), and have therapists I can refer them to if they ask. Usually they don't. What can we do to improve this?
— Amy V. Haas
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Come to the Christian Midwives International Third Annual Christian Birth Professionals Conference 4/11/07–4/14/07 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The cost of $300 includes all meals and lodging. (765) 643-9433 or Brandi@Home4Birth.com
CNM Wanted. Adirondack Region, upstate NY. Private Practice, 4 physicians, 3 midwives. Great benefits, salary based on experience. Resume, CV, 3 Refs. to: firstname.lastname@example.org or LCOG, 206 Cornelia St., #306, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
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