Midwives and other childbirth attendants must understand the mechanism of blood loss in the birth process and observe the amount critically. A gush of blood is one of the signs of placental separation and should not be a cause for alarm. If continued bleeding occurs, assess the position of the placenta. To stop blood loss after birth but before placental delivery, the placenta must be removed. Only when the placenta is out can the muscle fibers of the uterus contract firmly around the spiral arteries and cut off the flow from maternal circulation, acting in concert with the clotting system of the body. Removal of the placenta can be achieved through maternal effort, controlled cord traction or manual removal, depending on the situation.
To stop blood loss after placental delivery, assess the source. It could be coming from a laceration instead of the uterine blood vessels, necessitating repair. Is the uterus empty? Clots in the uterus can prevent firm contraction of the muscle, as can retained fragments of placenta or membranes. Blood loss is stopped by contraction of the uterus and by normal clotting of the blood in the placental site, which shrinks from the size of the intact placenta to just a few centimeters across as the empty uterus contracts. Shepherd's purse and red raspberry leaf are natural aids to this process. Angelica can help the uterus expel retained fragments.
Direct pressure will stop bleeding in the short term while natural clotting mechanisms are beginning to act. Never hesitate to use external or internal bimanual compression to stop the loss of blood. Remember that by the time blood loss reaches 1,000 milliliters, the woman has lost about one sixth of all the blood in her cardiovascular system.
Don't fall victim to the following all-too-common scenario: The placenta may or may not be delivered. A trickle of blood persists; the attendants can't get it to stop. They watch and wait. The blood pressure is good. She seems to be tolerating the blood loss. "She's a strong woman," they assure themselves.
But the body has many mechanisms to protect itself from shock. The pulse is actually a more sensitive indicator of impending danger than blood pressure, and a steadily rising pulse rate may warn us that it is time to act. If blood loss persists, the mechanisms will fail, and the woman will rapidly go into shock.
An emergency transfer occurs. In the hospital, the woman's condition is found to be so critical that blood transfusion must be given before she is stable enough to undergo procedures to stop her hemorrhaging. Even getting intravenous access is difficult when shock has occurred. Also, if the placenta is still in, she faces additional blood loss with placental delivery. Don't put a woman into the dangerous position of already being seriously depleted of blood with the placenta still inside! Learn to assess blood loss and observe for it critically at every birth.
One way to learn to evaluate blood loss is to weigh the blood lost at a few births during your training period. One milliliter of blood weighs one gram, so if you know the weight of the pads or towels you are using to soak up the blood, you can weigh the bloody pads on a gram scale and subtract the weight of the pad. You will soon develop an eye for normal blood loss as opposed to postpartum hemorrhage. Do not dispose of anything that contains maternal blood until the woman's condition is clearly stable. When estimating blood loss, remember that blood lost at the time of birth may be diluted with amniotic fluid.
These basic protocols can prevent serious problems for childbearing women. Accessing the emergency medical system at the right point is an art and a science for the midwife. Being transferred to the emergency room simply to have clots expressed is an expensive mistake, but not as costly as being kept at home until shock occurs.
— Marion Toepke McLean
excerpted from "Unchanging Protocols,"
Midwifery Today Issue 73, Spring 2005
Midwifery Today Issue 73
Learn midwifery from home
Aviva Institute enables you to earn your midwifery certificate or undergraduate degree from home. Courses also available for doulas, midwives, and birth professionals. Experienced faculty and staff ensure support and academic excellence. Choose from flexible courses to fit your schedule at www.avivainstitute.org/.
Check out the Ghana Midwifery Exchange and the BEST™ course on the
Research to Remember
The New York Times reported on research by Cochrane review, which found that women who use a hands and knees position during labor may experience less pain, particularly back pain. This will not come as any news to midwives.
Their research did not support the proposition that hands and knees made the baby go into the proper position faster, however. The researchers used three previous studies, which involved a total of 2700 women, to arrive at their conclusions.
— New York Times, 16 Oct 2007
Hypnobabies Instructor Trainings 2008
May 2–5, Nashville TN
July 11–14, Cypress CA
Make a Difference! Join our Hypnobabies Childbirth Hypnosis Team! We help women ENJOY childbirth in comfort, joy and love. Hypnobabies' "Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis" empowers birthing mothers. They remain mobile, relaxed, comfortable and focused inward. Gentle, easier birthing for moms, doulas and midwives. It really works! (714) 898-BABY (2229) http://www.Hypnobabies.com
Products for Birth Professionals
What do babies want?
They want to be loved and cherished. They want to be given support and understanding that will help them develop into compassionate and empathetic individuals. The DVD What Babies Want will show you how the events during birth and the prenatal period can influence our children for the rest of their lives, and how our society is the result of how we welcome and raise our children. Anyone who is pregnant or planning to be should watch this DVD.
Buy the DVD.
Prepare your body for birth with The Pink Kit Package.
This multi-media kit includes exercises in directed breathing and common body language and touch. You'll learn how you and your partner can take an active role in the birth process. Another excellent gift for a pregnant friend. This new and expanded version contains two additional CDs.
The Pink Kit Package.
Want the whole story?
Subscribe to Midwifery Today magazine and four times a year you'll receive 72 pages filled with complete articles, birth stories, stunning birth photography and more. Midwifery Today E-News is just a taste of what you'll find in Midwifery Today magazine. Subscribe.
A Revolution in Obstetrics ~ Only $9.99 + S&H
Obdisk3™'s innovative new obstetric calculator features a unique third wheel for highlighting the sonogram due date, enabling quick comparisons to last menstrual period estimates (includes a key appointments planner and printed instructions). Obdisk3™'s accurate pocket pregnancy calculator is designed for obstetricians, family doctors and midwives.
Web Site Update
Learn about the new book coming from Midwifery Today's new department, Motherbaby Press: Survivor Moms: Women's Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse
Read this article excerpt of the 4th in a series on bullying:
Finding Better Solutions to End Bullying—What a Midwife Can Do
by Marinah Valenzuela Farrell
Midwifery Today E-News
Does reaching nearly 14,000 readers and potential customers sound appealing to your business? An ad in Midwifery Today E-News, our free biweekly electronic e-mail newsletter, hotlinks customers directly to your Web site. Each issue is archived and continues to send you customers long after the actual run date. [ Learn More ]
Philadelphia Conference Advertising
Our next conference, "The Healing Touch of Midwifery and Birth," will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 26–30, 2008.
Start planning today to be a part of this exciting conference. Ask us about exhibiting your services and products, displaying your ad in the conference program, and having your inserts distributed to attendees. [ Learn More ]
Hope and Healing Conference Advertising
"Hope and Healing—Collaborating to Bring Midwifery and Mental Health Care to Women Who Are Survivors of Sexual Abuse" will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 7–10, 2008. Learn about the conference here. Ask our Advertising Director about exhibiting your services and products, displaying your ad in the conference program, and having your inserts distributed to attendees.
Contact our Advertising Director at email@example.com
View more advertising options at: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/ads/
Question of the Week
Q: I need some help for a friend of mine who is due with her second baby any day now. She very much wants a homebirth and has a birthing pool set up. Her first birth was in a birthing center and was without any problems. Her second baby has been transverse and breech for a while and her midwife easily turned the baby head down twice in the last two weeks, but the baby goes back to breech position. The midwife thought there must be some reason why the baby keeps turning head up, so she and my friend decided to get a sonogram. The sonogram showed the baby in a footling breech position with the cord wrapped twice around the neck. The doctor said the cord is short. The midwife herself was a footling breech birth and she is willing to go ahead with the homebirth if my friend is sure that she wants to do so. The husband does not want to risk a homebirth, so she is feeling some tension and distance as she doesn't feel that he is supporting her.
The mom is willing to try natural techniques like acupuncture, homeopathic pulsatilla, playing music at the cervix, swimming and getting in inverted positions. She visited the doctor who was at her first birth and he tried moving the baby a bit and checking its heart beat to see how tight the cord was wrapped. He said the heart showed no signs of distress, so moving the baby can be tried. This doctor is the head of the birthing center that is in the Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan and he hasn't "delivered" a breech baby in five years.
I keep reminding this woman that the baby can turn head down at any moment, even during labor. Any thoughts or advice for her?
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.
Learn about midwifery education!
Are you an aspiring midwife who's looking for the right school? Are you a practicing midwife who would like learn more? Visit our Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.
Question of the Week Responses
Q: I have had two homebirths and two hospital births; I will be having my third homebirth in January. With my last three children my body starts pushing when I am dilated to 8 cm. I can't seem to get my brain to function at this point to prevent any pushing at all until I fully dilate. My other problem is that with that pushing at 8 cm, I always have a cervical lip, which has to be massaged back in order for the head to get past the cervix. This is very painful, and probably needed to be done with my first child, but instead I was made to push for two hours. Any recommendations for me and my midwife?
A: As a labor and delivery RN, when I have a patient with a stubborn cervical lip, I encourage the mother to turn to the side that the lip is on. So if it's thicker on the left, mom lies or shifts to the left. Within a few contractions, it usually resolves itself.
— Cindy Covill, RN, BSN
A: It sounds like you know what your body wants and how you react in labor. That is wonderful. One suggestion I have is when you feel at 8 cm that you want to push, try other things like rolling on the birth ball, sitting on the toilet or standing and movement, belly dance, etc. These can help shift the pressure and allow you to move without actively pushing.
Another technique would be to say, "My body will release my baby, when it is time," and relax. In my experience relaxing and easing up on yourself can really help.
Good luck and talk to your provider and support people about these concerns.
A: Usually it helps to sit upright. So sit on a birth chair or a skippy ball. You have to lean backwards against your partner; in that position the lip most of the time slips away.
— Jolande Schmitz-Brom
A: In response to a pushing urge at only 8 cm, homeopathic remedy Arnica in conjunction with Sepia, alternating doses every 10–15 minutes, works very well.
— Bonne Dunham
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.
Think about It
Perhaps we should be teaching middle school and high school students about Harry Harlow's experiments in the 1950s in which baby rhesus monkeys, when given a choice between a wire mother with a bottle and a warm cloth mother without one, clung to the cloth mothers. They preferred comfort over food. The monkeys raised with only a wire mother became emotionally disturbed and as adults did not know how to parent.
— Cheryl K. Smith
excerpted from "What Babies Need," The Birthkit Issue 56, Winter 2007
As a young woman and consumer of midwifery services, I really wanted to encourage midwives to get their advertising online. A friendly photograph and some information about the midwife's philosophies and services is very helpful for prospective clients, as well as being available to answer a few questions via e-mail.
Readily available information helps prospective clients narrow the field. One local midwife advertised a fee for "false labor visits" in addition to the standard package fee - since I knew I had lots of false labor in my two previous pregnancies, I immediately realized this was not the midwife for me.
— Angelia Mercer
Only letters sent to the E-News official e-mail address,
firstname.lastname@example.org, will be considered for inclusion. Letters sent to ANY OTHER e-mail addresses will not be considered.
Join The Foundation of the Sacred Stream for “Tracking Spirit in the Birth Environment,” “Hypnotherapy Certification,” and “The Shamanic Journey.” Choose from these and more CE classes/educational opportunities. www.sacredstream.org
Tell our readers about your business. Just $35/issue ($125 for four) gives you 30 words to promote your products or services. http://www.midwiferytoday.com/ads/enews.asp or email@example.com
Remember to share this newsletter
You may forward it to as many friends and colleagues as you wish—it's free!
Want to stop receiving E-News or change your e-mail address? Or would you like to subscribe? Then please visit our easy-to-use subscription management page.
On this page you will be able to:
- start receiving any of our e-mail newsletters
- stop receiving any of our e-mail newsletters
- change the version (text or HTML) that you receive
- change the e-mail address to which newsletters are delivered
If you have difficulty, please send a complete description of the problem, including any
error messages, to our newsletter.
Learn even more about birth!
Midwifery Today Magazine—mention code 940 when you subscribe.
| ||1-Year Subscription||2-Year Subscription|
|Canada / Mexico||$65||$125|
|All other countries||$75||$145|
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-743-0974 to learn how to order.
Or subscribe online.
How to order our products mentioned in this issue:
Secure online shopping
We accept Visa and MasterCard at the Midwifery Today Storefront.
Order by postal mail
We accept Visa; MasterCard; and check or money order in U.S. funds.
Midwifery Today, Inc.
PO Box 2672
Eugene, OR 97402, USA
Order by phone or fax
We accept Visa and MasterCard.
Phone (U.S. and Canada; orders only): 1-800-743-0974
Phone (worldwide): +1 541-344-7438
Fax: +1 541-344-1422
E-News subscription questions or problems
Editorial submissions, questions or comments for E-News
Editorial for print magazine
For all other matters
All questions and comments submitted to Midwifery Today E-News become the property of Midwifery Today, Inc. They may be used either in full or as an excerpt, and will be archived on the Midwifery Today Web site.
Midwifery Today E-News is published electronically every other Wednesday. We invite your
questions, comments and submissions. We'd love to hear from you! Write to us at:
email@example.com. Please send submissions in the body of your message and not
This publication is presented by Midwifery Today, Inc., for the sole purpose of disseminating general health information for public benefit. The information contained in or provided through this publication is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be, and is not provided as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Midwifery Today, Inc., does not assume liability for the use of this information in any jurisdiction or for the contents of any external Internet sites referenced, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advertised in this publication. Always seek the advice of your midwife, physician, nurse or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or for answers to any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.
The content of E-News is copyrighted by Midwifery Today, Inc., and, occasionally, other rights holders. You may forward E-News by e-mail an unlimited number of times, provided you do not alter the content in any way and that you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. You may print a single copy of each issue of E-News for your own personal, noncommercial use only, provided you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. Any other use of the content is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Midwifery Today, Inc., and any other applicable rights holders.
© 2007 Midwifery Today, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!