November 19, 2008
Volume 10, Issue 24
Midwifery Today E-News
“Being a Midwife”
Print Page

Welcome to Midwifery Today E-News !

Save up to $20 on your Midwifery Today order!
Or save $5 on a Midwifery Today subscription for yourself or for a friend. Check out the Online Holiday Coupon Page to find out how, then take advantage of these great savings during the Holiday shopping season.

Midwifery Today Online Store

With Woman Appt and Resource BookLooking for a good appointment book for the new year?

The With Woman Appointment and Resource Book is just what you need. This handy spiral bound book lets you record 15 months of appointments and is perfect for midwives, doulas, childbirth educators and lactation consultants. You'll appreciate the reference guides and resources, the place for listing client information and the handy pocket in the back that can hold business cards or a gestational wheel. It also includes some lovely black and white photography to inspire you as you go about your daily tasks. Not a midwife? With Woman makes a great gift for someone who is.
Get the book.

Midwifery Today Conferences

Brush up on your midwifery skills

Take one or both of the two full-day Midwifery Skills Development classes at our conference in Eugene, Oregon, March 2009. The first day starts with a segment on basic skills such as blood pressure, pulse and lab tests. You'll also learn fetal palpation techniques, how to listen to the fetal heart and how and when to resort to vaginal exams. It concludes with a session on complete physical exam skills, with attention to making the exam a valuable experience for both client and practitioner. During the second day you'll learn about preventing complications with prenatal care, VBAC skills, hemorrhage, helping the slow starting baby, the placenta and suturing.

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

Be prepared for breech babies

Attend the full day Breech Workshop with Michel Odent, Ina May Gaskin and Cornelia Enning. First, you'll learn about the many research studies that have been done on breech birth. Then Michel and Ina May will help you develop your breech skills. You'll learn how to turn breech babies and how to do a vaginal breech birth if the baby won't turn. Finally, Cornelia will show you how to work with breeches in water. This is an important class for any midwife. Part of our conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2009.

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

RSS Feed Subscribe to the Birth Products RSS feed for information about the products available from Midwifery Today. Find out what's new, what's on sale and more.

RSS Feed Subscribe to the Web Updates RSS feed to stay on top of what's new or highlighted on the Midwifery Today Web site. Be alerted when conference programs go online, new articles are posted and more.

In This Week’s Issue:

Quote of the Week

"Recognizing the central importance of listening and showing sincere compassion is the midwife's job. It can be challenging to be truly present all the time, but it is a quest we must all challenge ourselves to meet if we are drawn."

Illysa Foster, CPM

Are you enjoying this issue of Midwifery Today E-News? Then show your support by making a donation of $3 or more.

The Art of Midwifery

I have been getting mail from many women who want to be midwives. They invariably ask what I call their "worried questions." Questions such as "What should I do if..." or "Why is she asking me..." can worry one, but try not to put all your worries in front of you. Usually my response is, "We worry way too much." I often speak to young midwives on getting rid of the fears. This applies to going to a birth, the birthing processes, the nervous families and any number of other worries inherent in birth.

For instance, when you are invited to go to a birth, try to remember that the mother invited you to come into her home - [she has] come into your life. But you have been invited to come into her life as well. Chances are, [she has] thought the whole process through very carefully before asking you to be with [her]. Remember: the best kind of client is the one who is operating from her instincts. Accept, if you can, that she is probably motivated by her instincts as much as by any knowledge of the process. Simply being there for the mother is as important as dissuading worry. It will make the mother and her family happy just by you[r] being there. I suggest, too, that the birth itself goes well partly because you are there.

I believe that young women who want to be midwives also have an instinct - a calling, a force - which can supercede the worry thing that concerns us. If you have such an instinct, it will not leave you. Do not ignore it. I have watched many women of all ages do everything else first: They become birth assistants, they advocate different childbirth educational formats, they may even become doulas, while all along their instincts say midwife. I have compassion for the woman who goes through all of this, step by step, when what she really wants culminates finally in being a midwife. Fear, worry, questioning - all are normal for the young midwife. But I say, "Have confidence in your own instinctive abilities. Get rid of the fears." If you are invited to go to a birth, GO! Never decline the opportunity to gather knowledge and experience. Be there for the family and for the mother. Smile and say, "Yes, don't worry, I'll be there." And when you say, "Thank you," they'll thank you!

Eveith Miller
From The Birthkit, Issue 35
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

Send submissions, inquiries, and responses to newsletter items to:


A study to determine whether breech presentation at term is more common among women with at least one prior cesarean delivery showed a rate two times that for women who had had vaginal births. The study records of 84,688 women showed the relative risk of a breech presentation at term for women with a history of cesarean was 2.18, with no difference related to the number of cesareans. While a total of 2.46% of all women in the study had breech babies at term, 14.91% of those who had had a cesarean had a breech. The researchers took into account other factors, including gestational age, maternal age, parity, birth weight and oligohydramnios.

Am J Obstet Gynecol, 13 Feb 2008 (10.1016/j.ajog.2007.11.009)

Being Paid for Birth Work

Personally, it took a lot of time on the path of martyrdom for me to really get clear about how that self-sacrifice thing does not serve anyone. I have done many births in my career for free because I "felt sorry" for the couple. This is a kind of arrogance about others that usually ends in disaster. Now it seems particularly ridiculous that I did a lot of this free work when I was a struggling single parent with two little kids who I could barely feed. What was I thinking? I would burn out my friends with unreasonable requests for babysitting, let my pantry get bare, be exhausted and cranky with my children and still not collect money from the clients because they were "so poor." Learning to see others as whole, complete, capable adults took a long time.

When we charge a fair fee for service, as other workers do, we leave the relationship with the client whole and complete. I remember doing a birth for a couple for a ridiculously low fee because I was told "He is a seasonal worker and they really want to have a birth in their own home." About three months after the birth, the family phoned to tell me they were going on a trip to Disneyland. I was very resentful and did not want them to have a nice holiday when I had gone into debt to be at their birth. Lesson learned. Now I'm thrilled when my clients tell me they are buying nice things because they owe me nothing.

Even if people have a tough time with finances, there are still things they can sell if they want the service you offer. There are enough pop bottles on the street to generate the money for a doula. There are grandparents who would love to pay for a doula service for the new grandchild. There is a way to pay $50 per month for a year if one really wants a doula.

I love this quote from Dr. Kloosterman of Holland, who is an obstetrician and a great friend to the natural birth movement:

"All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to give care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiarity." (Editor's Note: The principle of subsidiarity is that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization that can be done as well [or better] by a smaller and simpler organization.)

It's important to note that Dr. Kloosterman doesn't say "give care for free or for a ridiculously low return." "Make use of this group" does not mean "make this group into martyrs." I have seen so many good women come and go from the birth movement who do not have a balance between what they give and what they receive. It simply doesn't work to be dishonest about our own needs and the needs of our families when we go to births.

Gloria Lemay
Excerpted from "Midwifery Tip from Gloria Lemay," The Birthkit, Issue 36
Order the back issue

Products for Birth Professionals

This Holiday season, give the gift of beautiful birth.

Brought to Earth by Birth

Give Brought to Earth by Birth, a collection of black and white photographs by Harriette Hartigan, one of the world's master birth photographers. It makes a wonderful gift for your midwife or doula, for expectant or new moms, for grandmothers and for anyone who loves babies and birth. And remember to order a copy for yourself!

Brought to Earth by Birth will be available in December. Order the book.

What’s the best kept secret?

Org. Birth DVDThe fact that childbirth can be a glorious emotional, spiritual, and physical experience and not one drenched with pain. This new DVD intersperses stunning moments of women in the ecstatic release of childbirth with commentary by experts such as doctors Christiane Northrup and Marsden Wagner, midwives Elizabeth Davis, Naolí Vinaver and Ina May Gaskin, and social scientists Robbie Davis-Floyd and Carrie Contey. Get your copy of Orgasmic Birth—The Best Kept Secret and show your clients what birth should be like. To Order

Love and Life

The perfect gift for anyone who loves babies!

For the Love of a Newborn Earrings feature thick hearts with raised little newborn feet. Made of solid sterling silver, they have been antiqued to show depth, then buffed to a deep shine. To order

Library Pack

Library Pack!—perfect for an aspiring midwife.

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), Sharing Midwifery Knowledge (Tricks of the Trade, Volume IV) and Paths to Becoming 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. Get the Library Pack!

Mother of Seasons Necklace

Help her celebrate Christmas with the Mother Christmas Necklace.

She'll love the rich red of the whimsical mother shape—the perfect color for the season! Two-toned green vines at the base provide the perfect accent to this lovely hand-torched lampworked glass pendant. To order

View more beautiful birth jewelry here.

Midwifery Today Magazine Issue 84Give the gift of information! You'll save $5 per subscription when you order two one-year Midwifery Today subscriptions at the same time. And one of these can be your own renewal or new subscription!

Web Site Update

Read this article excerpt from the most recent issue of Midwifery Today newly posted to our Web site:
Herbal Applications - by Demetria Clark

Many midwives work with or have some knowledge of herbal medicine, but still often have questions about different types of applications. Each herbal application is valuable in its own right. Some applications will feel familiar and some will seem to be more work than they’re worth, but I suggest that midwives experiment and have fun. Sometimes one of these experiments will have a real-life application in the home or in midwifery care.

Advertising Opportunities

Midwifery Today E-News

Do you have a Web site? Does reaching more than 14,000 potential customers sound appealing? Purchasing an ad in Midwifery Today E-News, our biweekly e-mail newsletter, gets your message out and sends customers directly to your Web site. Each issue is archived and continues sending more customers in the future. [ Learn More ]

Advertise at Midwifery Today’s Eugene Conference

It is not too early to reach a targeted market by advertising at Midwifery Today's conference in Eugene, Oregon. By advertising at “Nurturing a Better Future through Birth” you will reach an audience passionate about birth. [ Learn More ]

Online Coupon Page SALE

Just in time for the holiday season. Use our online coupon page to pass savings on to your customers. Ask about a special reduced rate. Take a peek at the page here. Contact for more information. [ Learn More ]

Contact our Advertising Director at:
View more advertising options at:

Question of the Week

Q: I'm looking for any information you have on safe birthing positions while suffering from symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). My local public hospital hasn't been able to help me at all, with two midwives I've talked to telling me that my only options is a C-section! (Something I'm adamant I don't want). Can you help me in finding some more useful information?

— Renee

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.

ed page graphicStart or continue your 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 am currently a labor and delivery nurse at my local hospital and am preparing to enter school to become a midwife. One of the most common questions/concerns I'm confronted with is the issue of meconium-stained amniotic fluid in a homebirth. I usually have answers for other concerns, but this one is always a little hazy. Do midwives who help moms deliver at home bring suction of some sort with them? Do they automatically transport to a hospital at the sight of meconium? Is it all dependent on the situation and the midwife?

Thanks for your help in understanding!

— Stephanie

A: I don't see meconium all that often. Maybe because we don't put the baby into distress in the first place. I would pay attention to the fetal heart rate and its variability (as usual protocol) more than the presence of meconium. I would also note whether it is staying the same color or getting darker. If it was just an old insult that does not progress, I wouldn't do anything different. If it is getting darker with decels, I would head to the hospital. Yes, I do have a bulb syringe and DeLee, but hardly ever use them.

— Marlene

A: Light to moderate meconium is not high risk and, independently, does not necessitate transfer from home to hospital. It does raise the level of suspicion for fetal distress, however, and therefore intermittent auscultation should be done more frequently in first stage, i.e., every 15 minutes and after with every contraction in 2nd stage (about every 5 minutes). Auscultation must be done for at least one minute before and through, and for at least 30 seconds after a uterine contraction to meet standards. If fetal heart tones are concerning, in combination with meconium, or if meconium is "thick like pea soup" and the woman is remote from delivery, then certainly it is appropriate to transfer.

Current Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) does not recommend routine suctioning of a "vigorous" infant at delivery in the presence of light to moderate meconium (thick is controversial). Suctioning is no longer recommended prior to the birth of the shoulders, as it is now understood that the majority of meconium aspiration happens intrauterine and not at the time of first breath. However, any out of hospital provider should carry a DeLee suction catheter (the ones that are meant for "mouth" suction) and should not hesitate to suction after the birth of the head, or after birth, if in your opinion the infant would benefit.

— Julia Vance, CNM
Home and hospital midwife

Q: I wonder if anyone knows of a scientific study, research or has anecdotal information or theories on the physiology behind women who live in close quarters or are close to one another menstruating together. We all know of times we have had our menses arrive early or late, to find that it was influenced by another woman's cycle. A friend asked me if two women were sleeping on either side of a wall (e.g., in an apartment complex) and didn't know each other, would their menstrual cycles synchronize? So, part of the question is, is it entirely hormonal or do the women need to have a close bond, personally on an emotional, social or spiritual level? I look forward to hearing some input.

— Molly

A: As you can imagine, there aren't a lot of studies on menstruation out there, and definitely not on the synchronizing of women's cycles. Most of the work that has been done seems to point to a combination of hormones and pyscho-social factors. The most prominent theory is that women emit certain pheromones during different parts of their cycle that other women living in close proximity can pick up on, and over time their cycles will synchronize. Martha McClintock, a professor of Biopsychology at the University of Chicago, has studied the impact of women's pheromones on each other (Stern, K., & McClintock, M.K. Regulation of ovulation by human pheromones. Nature 392: 177-79 and McClintock, M.K. 1998. Menstrual synchrony and suppression. Nature 1971;291:244-45). Her research seems to indicate that there are biological advantages to ovulating together, becoming pregnant together and giving birth at similar times. Most of which makes sense if you consider the tribal lifestyle that was prevalent for most of human history.

Other research has suggested that women's cycles are influenced by light (or the phase of the moon, since that was the primary source of night time lighting before electricity) and by social bonds and the evolution of human culture. There are several good books on this, including Christopher Knight's Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origin of Culture and Judy Grahn's Blood, Bread and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World. These theories focus on the interplay of biological and social factors and how they combine to create evolutionary advantage.

It's really too bad that more evolutionary biologists, anthropologists and sociologists are not interested in studying menstruation in this way, because the little research that has been done all seems to point to some fascinating possibilities for better understanding the dynamics between nature and culture.

— Jennifer Webster

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.

Think about It

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) unveiled new midwifery-themed postage stamps in conjunction with National Midwifery Week, October 5-11. Stamps are available for purchase online at . These unique stamps - authorized by the United States Postal Service - capture messages and images promoting midwifery.

ACNM developed these stamps as part of its growing public education efforts. "It is important for women to know their full range of options when it comes to their health care, whether they are looking for gynecological services or maternity care," says Lorrie Kline Kaplan, Executive Director of ACNM. "Getting the word out about midwifery care in this unique way will educate even more women about why they should visit a midwife."

ACNM encourages midwives and the public to purchase these real US postage stamps to heighten the profile of midwifery. Mail them, collect them or give them as gifts. Proceeds from the stamps will help fund ACNM and the A.C.N.M. Foundation's Public Education Project.

ACNM is currently running a contest to select new artwork that will be used in a second release of stamps in Summer 2009. ACNM members and the public are invited to participate at:

Get the whole story!
Subscribe to Midwifery Today magazine!


Medela has opened its call for nominations in the 2008-2009 Lactation Consultant Hall of Excellence. Eligible nominees must be practicing International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) in the US and be nominated by a peer and client for their role as an exceptional professional. The nomination process requires the completion of an online nomination entry form, a letter of nomination and a letter of support from a past or present client available at

The Lactation Consultant Hall of Excellence inductees receive a $5,000 grant to fund research, continue education, purchase equipment for use in their practice or donate to the charity of their choice. Inductees are chosen by an independent judging panel comprised of health care industry representatives. The panel is solely responsible for judging entries and selecting the program inductees.

Program guidelines and the online nominee submission forms are available online at Entries must be submitted via the online nomination form by December 15, 2008.

Emily Reed

I'm a CPM working on a research thesis involving the emotional impact of a VBAC. Women need to have had a VBAC to be eligible for the 10-15 min survey.


Only letters sent to the E-News official e-mail address,, will be considered for inclusion. Letters sent to ANY OTHER e-mail addresses will not be considered.

Classified Advertising

Tell our readers about your business. Just $35/issue ($125 for four) gives you 30 words to promote your products or services. or

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 Subscription2-Year Subscription
United States$55$105
Canada / Mexico$65$125
All other countries$75$145

E-mail 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: Please send submissions in the body of your message and not as attachments.


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.

Copyright Notice

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.

© 2008 Midwifery Today, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!