September 16, 2009
Volume 11, Issue 19
Midwifery Today E-News
“International Updates”
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Put excitement on your walls with four colorful Mexican art prints celebrating birth and midwifery. These lively creations also make wonderful gifts. Click here.

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Midwifery Today Conferences

Plan now to attend our conference in Philadelphia, April 2010

You'll find classes for seasoned midwives, childbirth educators, doulas and activists, and for those aspiring to or just beginning in the birth field. Come to the conference to expand your knowledge and your network and to renew and rejuvenate your heart. Planned teachers include Ina May Gaskin, Marsden Wagner, Michel Odent and Elizabeth Davis.

Learn more about the Philly 2010 conference and get a complete program.

Ina May Gaskin ~ Elizabeth Davis ~ Michel Odent

Learn about birth from these great teachers when you attend our conference in Strasbourg, France, 28 September – 3 October, 2010. Planned classes include Prolonged Pregnancy, Prolonged Labor, Managing Hemorrhage, Posterior Position and Preventing and Managing Birth Complications at Home.

Learn more about the Strasbourg conference. To receive a printed program by mail when it becomes available, please e-mail with your name and postal address.

In This Week’s Issue:

Quote of the Week

"All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to giving 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]."

Dr. Kloosterman, Dutch Obstetrician/Gynecologist

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The Art of Midwifery

When a baby is not breathing, have the mom hold her new baby and breathe the pattern she needs the baby to follow, because the baby will follow her mom's rhythm.

Russian Midwife
Excerpted from "Tricks of the Trade," Midwifery Today, Issue 89
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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A recent study has shown that children who were breastfed as babies tend to do better in school. One hundred twenty-six children from 59 families were studied, comparing breastfed children with their non-breastfed siblings. Researchers found that just one extra month of breastfeeding led to a .019 increase in high school grade point average and a .014 increase in the likelihood of attending college. While more research is needed to prove a definite causal link, it appears that the list of known benefits from breastfeeding continues to expand.

New York Daily News, 16 Jun 2009. Accessed 9 Sep 2009.

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Consider chiropractic care for safer, easier births.

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COHI and Coexistence in the Middle East

There have been many successes this spring, with increased contact between the two Circle of Health International (COHI) coordinators. With once-a-week meetings and constant phone calls, much has been planned for these two groups, with the hopes that more joint meetings will continue in the future.

The primary goal of working with both Palestinian and Israeli midwives continues to provide challenges due to political reasons and the continuous humanitarian crisis in Palestine. Most recently, selected midwives from each group met in the West Bank at a local birthing home. Please read more about this amazing meeting on the COHI Web site:

Gomer Ben Moshe, COHI Israeli Project Coordinator and midwife, has been working diligently for COHI in Israel. Under her supervision, the Israeli group of midwives has done tremendous work for maternal health and midwifery in Israel.

The group is currently working with African refugees who now live in northern Israel in a shelter for women and children. COHI's volunteer midwives conduct prenatal check-ups as well as group conversations on different topics, such as safe motherhood and childcare. The Israeli midwives are also planning to establish a group of women who can accompany and assist these mothers, who do not have their own support during birth.

Aisha Saifi, COHI Palestinian Project Coordinator and midwife, has done tremendous work in very difficult circumstances for women's health. A group of more than 10 midwives, nurses, and volunteers [has] been formed to promote women's health and midwifery as a profession in Palestine. The group also recently met with Tanzanian midwives and exchanged ideas and thoughts on midwifery and maternal health.

Two open house events were held in July in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Ramallah, Palestine. Both Palestinian and Israeli Coordinators participated in each open house. The attendees expressed a keen interest in meeting again and helping COHI's vision of bringing Israeli and Palestinian midwives to work together as one unit.

Both groups are confident that they have found a safe and neutral meeting place that allows all participants to come together, share ideas and work together, and a trial of that meeting place will take place in mid-August.

Circle of Health International is a 501(c)3 non profit organization supporting the empowerment of conflict- and disaster-affected women through the provision of women's health initiatives. Learn more and get involved at

Leilani Johnson, Executive Director
Circle of Health International

For more international connections and updates, join the International Alliance of Midwives (IAM). You'll be able to network with birth professionals from your area and around the world, solicit help for your birth-related projects and get involved with others working to improve birth. You'll also receive our quarterly IAM newsletter, full of international birth and midwifery news. For more information, see our Web site at:

To connect in person with midwives from across the globe, join us at our 2010 international conference in Strasbourg, France. The theme is "Birth Is a Human Rights Issue." See details on our Web site at:

Featured Products

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Comfort Measures DVD 

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  • Basic relaxation and rhythmic breathing
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  • Positions and techniques for pushing and birth

Comfort Measures for Childbirth is must-viewing for expecting parents and for anyone who works with women in labor. Order the DVD.

What's black and white…

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Placenta rituals, remedies and recipes…

Placenta: The Gift of Life

…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 book from Motherbaby Press, an imprint of Midwifery Today. Get the book.

Celebrate the Power of Birthing Women!
Epic Women DVD Slide Show

The Epic Women DVD Slide Show by Harriette Hartigan is a powerful affirmation of woman's ability to give birth naturally. Choreographed to Bette Midler singing "The Rose," the 31 still photographs give witness to the strength and grace of women as they work to bring their babies into the world. Order the DVD.

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.

Web Site Update

Read this article excerpt from a recent issue of Midwifery Today newly posted to our Web site:

  • The Littlest Midwife—by Sudy Storm
    “The day my 10-year-old granddaughter told me she was going on my next trip to Sierra Leone I looked into her eyes and knew it was time to take her. Kassy had already told me she wanted to be a midwife, and she knows more about female anatomy and reproduction than most girls her age. She is full of questions and I am bursting with answers.”

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Question of the Week

Q: What is your best tip for shoulder dystocia?

— Midwifery Today E-News staff

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.

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You want to be a midwife, but where do you start?

Are you an aspiring midwife who's looking for the right school? Or maybe you're trying to decide if midwifery is the path for you. Visit our Better Birth Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.

Question of the Week Responses

Q: What are your theories on the causes of autism? Do you see a prenatal or perinatal link? We want to hear your thoughts and experiences.

— Midwifery Today E-News staff

A: I have no personal nor professional experience with autism…but in the reading I've done the focus of the research has been prenatal ultrasound exposure and postnatal vaccine exposure (implicating thimerosal). Recently I've seen another theory surface regarding vaccines and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)—namely, that some vaccines (or portions of them) are made with aborted human fetal tissue (from elective abortions, not spontaneous abortions—many of which are due to genetic problems). The concern is that bits of human DNA may be in the vaccine, and perhaps this is what is triggering ASD. The research has only just begun, but this may be another avenue to pursue in looking for answers.

I don't think this source as a medium for developing vaccines is well known—I certainly wasn't aware of it until recently. There may be some parents who would not want their children getting vaccines that were developed in this manner, just because of ethical concerns (as well as out of concern about undesired physical sequelae like ASD).

— Anne Schnedl, CNM

Q: [From E-News 7:6] I was blessed with a wonderful homebirth under the watchful eyes and in the warm hands of two local midwives in the state of Illinois. This was my fourth homebirth and sixth pregnancy. The birth of my 8 lb 4 oz baby went beautifully. It was not until I got out of the birthing pool and onto the birthing stool to release our placenta that my uterus prolapsed. My midwives did their best and gave me all the information they knew about uterine prolapse. I am reaching out to the bigger midwife community for additional advice about how to treat a prolapsed uterus and maintain uterine health through the rest of my life. I am only 24, and who knows what is in the future. If we choose to have another baby, what will likely happen? Your support, knowledge, and resources would be greatly appreciated.

— Jahmanna

A: I have found that Utrophin PMG and Ligaplex II, both Standard Process products, work very well for restoring the uterus after prolapse. I have a mother whose uterus prolapsed, actually coming inside out with severe hemorrhaging after her 11th birth. We used the two products (after resting the uterus for over a year between pregnancies) and her 12th and 13th births have been wonderful. She also was able to carry the babies much higher, whereas before she had carried them very low for at least three months before delivery.

— Judy, CPM

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

One of the richest places I have found in midwifery, herbal and healing knowledge is Mexico. It is unique in the world with the use of the rebozo in prenatal, birth and postpartum care. The "shawl" is used to help women get pregnant, get babies ideally positioned, relax mom, move stalled labor along, "close the bones" postpartum and dozens of other specific uses. These midwives use many other massages in birth care. They also use the steam bath after birth and what looks like Chinese Medicine. Midwives from Mexico have taught [these techniques] at many of our 50 conferences, thus midwives from other countries learn to use [them]. … This cross-fertilization and respect that we learn to give each other gives so much hope to midwifery. Many different knowledge systems exist and we can learn so much from each other; if we just open our minds and suspend our judgment we can learn and then share.

Jan Tritten
Excerpted from "Midwifery Knowledge Spread around the World," Midwifery Today, Issue 89
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Editor's note: Recently we were informed that Mexico is not the only place where a rebozo-like practice is employed. See Jan's editorial in the latest issue of Midwifery Today (Issue 91, Autumn 2009) for an update!

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Sudan Lutheran Community Development (SLCD) is an organization of twelve people—some Sudanese ex-patriots, and others American by birth—plus a team of over 40 Sudanese living in Jonglei State, Sudan. The American team came together around Sudanese Christ Lutheran Church (SCLC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, out of a common desire to promote development in Jonglei State, the home area for most of the Sudanese at SCLC.

The team in Sudan has been through an intensive six-day course in basic community organizing. In addition to the team of 50 Sudanese (including a dozen women) who were trained, additional women living in and around Bor Town, the capital of Jonglei State, were consulted on the most pressing needs in their communities. Together they identified midwife training as one of their most pressing and urgent needs. At the present time, women have no assistance at all in giving birth, and hospital care is mostly not available.

SLCD is working with the Dr. John Garang Institute of Science and Technology in Bor Town and the Ministry of Health in Jonglei State to do an initial two-week intensive training session for girls and women who are willing to volunteer as midwives. Although the training will be provided by the Ministry of Health, we need to raise $10,000 US to provide travel, lodging, food and a stipend for the trainees. We are also seeking a way to provide hands-on training under experienced supervision.

Tax-deductible donations may be made out to the "Michigan Organizing Project" (the fiscal agent for this project) and mailed to: 930 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, MI, 49001, USA.

For more information contact John Musick or Denise Scheer by e-mail at or, or by phone at (269) 382-4899.

John Musick and Denise Scheer
Sudan Lutheran Community Development

We are a Christian hospital started years ago by foreign missionaries, but which is now in the hands of Pakistanis. We lack doctors and nurses with expertise. Our urgent need is for well-trained, experienced doctors who could come for a few months or more, and work alongside of our doctors and nurses to give training on the spot.

Kunri is a very poor area near the Thar Desert with inadequate medical and health care, grossly inadequate educational opportunities and extreme poverty. We are trying to be a light, a beacon of hope with our Christian hospital and Christian school. But we need help. Can anyone give a little time, a little love, a little comfort to our sick and dying, and to us who struggle day and night to care for the sick?

Of course we have financial needs too, but our greatest necessity is for people who can teach us and help us in our time of need.

We are also searching for a tutor for our Midwifery School of Nursing. The candidate must be post-graduate in nursing, possessing 7-10 years of experience teaching in a school of nursing. Eligible candidates should apply with a recent photograph and CV to or

Naveed Khurram, Administrator
Kunri Christian Hospital, Umerkot Sindh, Pakistan
Phone: +1 92 238 558488 or cell: +1 92 345 8335770
E-mail: or

A few words to let you know that we are still alive and well in this part of the world [Venezuela] in spite of all the political turmoil, which has not stopped our work with the humanization of birth in this part of the country. Next week we are having a small conference called "Humanized Births, Waterbirths, A reality in Puerto Ordaz." Still working on trying to implement the humanization of birth in our two government hospitals but it has always been uphill work. The technocratic model is very well established, at least in this part of the country. Private hospitals are definitely, up to now, a no-no. But let me tell you that the critical mass of women having a gentle birth at home is growing steadily, so we are happy that we have been blessed with the honor to participate in the sacred moments these women, with their husbands, are experiencing. Thanks for the opportunity you gave me to participate and learn from you all last year at your [Midwifery Today] conference in Philadelphia.

Dr. Fernando Molina, Venezuela

Childbirth and midwifery here [Uganda] is doing a little well, but with a lot of challenges. I am a private midwife who is offering free antenatal care to the community, but with many challenges, so I also need some kind of partnership, training others so that I can move door to door to provide education in the community.

Violet Kengyeya, Kampala, Uganda

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