March 12, 2008
Volume 10, Issue 6
Midwifery Today E-News
“Midwifery and Taxes”
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Placenta rituals, remedies and recipes…

…are what you'll find in Placenta: The Gift of Life. Read this book to discover the various ways placentas have been used by people around the world and throughout the ages. You'll also find 15 recipes that will show you how to use the placenta in ointments, essences and other remedies for a variety of ailments. Placenta: The Gift of Life is a new book from Motherbaby Press, a division of Midwifery Today.
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Midwifery Today Conferences

Discover the healing touch of massage.

Attend the full-day massage class at our March 2008 Philadelphia conference and learn how you can use massage to help your clients before and during birth. The morning session covers topics such as basic prenatal massage strokes, body mechanics and precautions and contraindications of prenatal massage. You'll also learn about the Swedish and support massage strokes you will need for prenatal, labor and postpartum care. In the afternoon, you'll participate in an experiential workshop as you learn about foot reflexology.

Please note that after March 14, 2008, registrations are only accepted in person at the conference.

Learn more about the Philadelphia conference and get a complete program.

There's More to Birth Than Coming out Alive

Attend the two-day Improving Psychosocial Outcomes of Childbirth class with Penny Simkin and learn what you can do to make birth more than just a survival exercise. On the first day, Penny will review the state of maternity care today. You will learn that while US obstetrics relies increasingly on technological and surgical approaches to improve chances of healthy outcomes, we are actually seeing these outcomes getting worse. This day will end with a discussion of fear, pain and trauma during birth—"When pain becomes suffering during labor." On the second day, you will explore and practice counseling techniques to help women resolve their traumatic births. This segment will include ways to counsel and prepare a pregnant woman whose previous birth was traumatic and who is terrified that the same things will happen with future births. Both days will be a combination of lecture and group interaction. This intensive class is part of our conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 2008.

Learn more about the Ann Arbor, Michigan, conference and get a complete program.

In This Week’s Issue:

Quote of the Week

"Taxes grow without rain."

Jewish Proverb

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The Art of Midwifery

  1. Keep everything. You don't have to be an accounting whiz if you keep all your receipts. The IRS doesn't expect perfection, but they do expect you to have proof of your expenses if they come calling. Don't throw anything away—if you absolutely cannot manage your receipts, just get a box and throw your receipts in there. You can figure everything out at the end of the year, if need be. As long as you have the proof, you never have to worry. Keep receipts for at least three years, and keep original tax returns indefinitely.
  2. Separate your personal finances from your business expenses. I cannot stress this point enough! Get a separate bank account (preferably at another bank, so you don't make a mistake) and a credit card just for your business. The IRS will allow you to deduct all of the interest, bank fees and other charges from your business bank account, but they will not let you do so if your accounts are merged. Plus, tracking business expenses is much easier if they are all in one place. When you want to take money out of your business account for personal use, the easiest way is to cut yourself a check and write "Draw" in the memo line. This is called an "Owner's Draw" and is easy to track.
  3. Don't neglect to file a tax return just because you don't have enough money! This is absolutely essential. If you cannot pay your taxes, file on time and send what you can. The penalties for filing late are much greater than not filing at all. If you absolutely cannot file on time, at least file an extension. Then you have until October to get your finances in order.
  4. Do not ignore a letter from the IRS! The IRS makes mistakes all the time. If you receive a letter, even if it's an obvious mistake, don't ignore it! Seek the advice of a tax professional or respond to the letter using certified mail.
  5. Facing a tax audit? Don't panic. Even if you made mistakes, the IRS usually will understand unless they find substantial evidence of fraud. If you can afford to do so, seek the advice of a professional. Many great tax guides can help you survive an IRS audit without losing your mind.

Christine Silva
Excerpted from "Tax Tips for Independent Midwives," Midwifery Today, Issue 79
View table of contents / Order the back issue

ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you've perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn! Share them with E-News readers by sending them to

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Research to Remember

In a retrospective study to learn about success rates and risks of vaginal birth after cesarean delivery (VBAC), researchers found low risk for maternal and neonatal complications where women had had one or more prior VBACs after a low transverse c-section. There also was no increase in the rate of uterine rupture after at least one successful VBAC. The same was found for the risk of uterine dehiscence and other peripartum complications.

Obstet Gynecol 111: 285–91, 2008

(But note that just getting that first VBAC can be a real problem. The International Cesarean Awareness Network [] now has a map that allows you to check on whether your local hospital has banned VBACs. See "50 Ways to Protest a VBAC Denial," by Barbara Stratton at for ways to overturn such a ban.)

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Kaiser Permanente:
Professional Education in Breastfeeding and Lactation

April 14–18, 2008

Train to provide accurate and consistent breastfeeding/lactation information to support new families in feeding their babies from birth through the weaning process. Learn to work with other healthcare providers, ensuring continuity of care for breastfeeding mothers and infants. Sign up at or (510) 625-5873.

Who should attend: MDs, LLLI leaders, RNs, midwives, LCs, childbirth educators, and doulas. CEUs available.

Independent Midwives and Employment

So, you've decided to start a midwifery practice. Congratulations! Whether you are considering a completely independent practice or just part-time consultation, you need to identify your goals. Examine your motives. Are you seeking financial or professional independence? What budget and income do you foresee for the first year? These are all important business questions that you need to ask yourself. The tax implications of starting a practice may seem daunting at first, but careful planning and budgeting can help your new practice succeed.

You can choose to be a sole-proprietor or partner with other practitioners in a joint practice. Many midwives and doulas choose to supplement their regular income with a part-time practice. You also may choose to work exclusively for a hospital or combine that work with a private practice. The desire for compassionate care and continuous labor support is on the rise, and midwives can capitalize on the increased demand for their services.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers a midwife to be self-employed if she is hired directly by clients for private services. If you are employed by a hospital and work for a salary, then you are strictly an employee. If you do both, then the IRS considers your income from your private practice to be separate from the income earned from your job, and your deductions are treated differently. Wages that you earn from an employer are taxed automatically, and the deductions come out of your check. If you are an independent practitioner, then you must figure your own taxes and pay them accordingly.

Independent part-time practitioners can [also] earn extra income as postpartum doulas, lactation consultants or general postpartum counselors. They can offer nutritional and general psychological support. In many communities, the demand is great for licensed midwives. Alternative health services are highly marketable, and midwives should try to capitalize on their resurgence.

Don't be afraid to promote your services. Holistic approaches to pregnancy and childbirth are always in demand. Web sites are an inexpensive way to market your practice and services. Many online Web site providers offer e-mail, Web design software and customer support for less than $50 a month. Use your Web site to feature your services. People love case histories, and your Web site can describe childbirth "success stories" for new clients to read and enjoy.

Be proactive! Develop a business plan, set your fees and create a budget so you can track your profits. Midwives are educated professionals, just like accountants, lawyers and doctors. Women are willing to pay a premium for pregnancy services, and you should be proud to offer those services at a fair price and still make a profit. After all, the key to building a successful practice starts with being profitable and still satisfying your client base.

Christine Silva
Excerpted from "Tax Tips for Independent Midwives," Midwifery Today, Issue 79
View table of contents / Order the back issue

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Products for Birth Professionals

What do you know about homebirth?

Heart and Science of HomebirthRead The Heart and Science of Homebirth to learn about the research which has consistently found homebirth to be every bit as safe as hospital birth. This book includes over 90 citations of specific journal articles, discussion papers, books and studies. Buy the book.

Understanding Diagnostic Tests

Learn the how and why of diagnostic testing

Understanding Diagnostic Tests by Anne Frye will give you a holistic perspective on test results. The new 7th edition is updated and expanded by around 395 pages, to give you 1365 pages packed with valuable information. Buy the book.

Learn how you can have a safe, gentle birth.

Pregnancy and Childbirth SecretsPregnancy & Childbirth Secrets is packed with information that will guide you throughout your pregnancy and during your first days as a mom. Mothers, childbirth professionals and researchers share their experience and knowledge, giving you the insight you need to have a birth that is safe and rewarding for both you and your baby. To Order

Midwifery Today Magazine Issue 68Want 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.

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advertiserAmerican College of Nurse-Midwives 53rd Annual Meeting
Boston, May 23–29, 2008

Join your colleagues for the number one continuing education, networking, and business meeting for midwives nationwide featuring inspiring and informative education sessions lead by top women's health care experts. Discounts are available for ACNM members and Friends of the College. Register today at

Web Site Update

"When we speak of technology, we are talking about its dangers in normal birth. I think everyone can agree with the necessity of using technology to save lives of mothers and babies when needed. However, while conceding that some great strides have been made in medical care, we know birth is not a medical event and that when medical care is applied to a social/spiritual event without good reason, horrendous things can happen." Read this editorial, "Technology: Stemming the Tide," by Jan Tritten from the Spring 2008 issue of Midwifery Today here.

You may check out the table of contents for the newest issue of Midwifery Today (Spring 2008) here.

Read this article from the Winter 2007 issue of Midwifery Today: A Midwife's Touch—by Elaine Stillerman

Advertising Opportunities

Philadelphia Conference Advertising

Time is quickly running out to promote your product or service at “The Healing Touch of Midwifery and Birth,” conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 26–30, 2008. If you are unable to attend with an exhibit booth, we can place your flyer/sample directly in the hands of all conference attendees. This is a great conference for healing touch products such as lotions, essential oils, massage tools and accessories. [ Learn More ]

Hope and Healing Conference Advertising

Ann Arbor, Michigan, hosts the "Hope and Healing" conference May 7–10, 2008. This is a great place to highlight products and services for counselors, social workers, therapists and mental health providers. Watch your business benefit from an exhibit booth, conference program ad or literature distribution. [ Learn More ]

Midwifery Today E-News

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Question of the Week

Q: How long can a baby be on breast milk only, with the addition of no solid food or liquids? I don't want to feed my baby anything but breast milk until I have to, but am not clear whether there is a maximum after which it becomes less healthy to do so.

— Anonymous

SEND YOUR RESPONSE to with "Question of the Week" in the subject line. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the message.

Question of the Week Responses

Q: If you are a midwife, how do you feel when your clients refuse services like ultrasound?

— Anonymous

A: I support my clients' right to make informed choices about the use of technology such as ultrasound. We discuss the possible risks, possible benefits and alternatives—including the option of refusing. I am comfortable with clients refusing ultrasound. Ultimately the client makes the choice and takes responsibility for the consequences of her decision, if any.

— Anita Jaynes, CNM

A: I have no issues with clients refusing screening or any other services, as long as I have provided full information on the risks, benefits, false positive/false negative rates and complete details on what the screening test entails and feels like. I also ensure that the woman and her partner know what the test is for, and what the consequences might be of having it (e.g., further testing and/or decision-making).

I believe that my role as a midwife is to provide women with the information and support to make their own choices; this does not include judgment on my part, or applying any coercion to facilitate a certain decision. I have only just recently completed my training, and spent time as a student with a wonderful group of midwives who applied this philosophy to all their clients—no woman was coerced in any way to undertake any form of screening (or any other type of care) that she did not want. Trusting women to make choices that fit within their unique terms of reference is what I feel I should be doing when I support them. I feel very strongly about this aspect of midwifery!

— Neroli Moore, Registered Midwife
South Australia

Responses to any Question of the Week may be sent to E-News at any time. Write to Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the subject line or in the message.

student deskLearn 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.

Think about It

Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS)*, in addition to having a new book out on Pregnancy and Birth, has posted an article that describes the midwifery model of care and how it relates to and differs from the medical management model for the care of pregnant women. You can read it at

*OBOS is also known as the Boston Women's Health Book Collective (BWHBC), and is a nonprofit, public interest women's health education, advocacy and consulting organization. They are best known for the women's health book Our Bodies, Ourselves, which was first published in 1970.

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Trendy Birth: An Odd Dichotomy

Recently the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a statement against homebirth, calling it, among other things, a dangerous popular trend in modern times. Oddly enough the latest trend in birth truly isn't homebirth (an occurrence that has existed since the beginning of time) but elective cesareans, or "Too Posh to Push," as the media has dubbed it. A few years ago ACOG released a statement about elective cesareans, acknowledging the serious risks to choosing major abdominal surgery for birth, but stated that it was a choice that should be left up to the doctor and his patient.

When I started looking into existing research on both issues I was quite fascinated to note that, contrary to ACOG's opinion, quite a bit of good research shows the safety of homebirth. In fact the one study used as the reason to restrict homebirth was actually flawed to the point of uselessness, due to, among other things, poor controls. Other than that one flawed study, used as the basis for ACOG's opinion, I could find no other studies that showed homebirth to be riskier than hospital birth for low-risk women. In addition to the latest large study on homebirth published in the British Medical Journal in 2005, I also found over ten years worth previous studies that showed the safety of homebirth for low risk women attended by midwives.

Conversely, one of the sad benefits of the latest trend toward elective cesareans is that we now have enough of a population to determine the pros and cons of an extreme choice like elective cesarean. The results show some very extreme negative risks that are punctuated by increases in maternal and infant mortality.

So why, if there is this laundry list of serious risks to elective cesarean, but no real studies showing serious risks for low risk moms having homebirth, is ACOG coming out full force against homebirth, but not against elective cesarean? Very strange, and very scary.

Amy V. Haas, BA, BCCE
Community Resource Coordinator, Rochester Birth Network
Certified Childbirth Educator

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Classified Advertising

Living Tree College of Midwifery: June 2008 and 2009 sessions offer apprentice model academics, clinical and homebirth studies. Upcoming Doula workshops: January, April, July, and October 2008. Visit or call (505) 541-6177 for application.

CONFERENCE: California Association of Midwives Annual Conference is May 16–18. Pam England, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Mary Jackson and Ray Castellino, Karen Strange and many more! or Fawn (707) 251-8747.

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