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…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. To order
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Learn about birth from these great teachers when you attend our conference in Eugene, Oregon, March 30 – April 3, 2011. Other confirmed speakers include Elizabeth Davis, Carol Gautschi, Harriette Hartigan, Robbie Davis-Floyd and Gail Hart.
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The Art of Midwifery
Postpartum Herbal Cocktail
My midwives were herbalists with lots of experience under their belts. One of them made me a wonderful herbal cocktail that is delicious and effective for not only postpartum blues but for fortifying breast milk. I make a tea from red clover, which is great for purifying the blood and helping to improve breast milk; lemon balm, which works wonderfully for lifting the spirits; red raspberry leaf, which helps the uterine walls contract, so the uterus can shrink back down to size; and nettles, which contain vitamin K, important for clotting. Nettles also are a good source of iron, which is important for breastfeeding babies. I steep a teaspoon of each per cup of tea for about five minutes. It is best fresh!
Excerpted from Midwifery Today’s Sharing Midwifery Knowledge, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. IV Order the book
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reason we lost midwifery in the United States is because doctors organized and wrote things down in journals. They had a campaign to get rid of the midwives. They called us the “midwife problem,” and asked, “How are we going to deal with the midwife problem?!” They started rumors that midwives were dirty and didn’t know anything. They started complete lies that hospitals were safer. That was when they were still killing women and their babies at a rapid rate. The midwives did not have a journal or an organization for help in countering these lies. In places around the world with no organization and no journal we find midwifery is weakening. In China where Midwifery Today held a conference in 2002, midwifery is badly weakening. The doctors there say, “We don’t need midwives now because we have enough doctors to do the births.” Yet they have a 50% or greater cesarean rate! Without a strong cohort of midwives to speak out for the motherbaby (yes, they are one), medicine takes over and then violates human rights. There are very few doctors in the United States or China who have ever seen a normal, physiological, miraculous birth. Recently, when we held a conference in Moscow, Russia, we had a bit of hope for the future. The Russian doctors who attended our conference understand normal birth. They’ve seen, promoted and helped with normal births. This was very encouraging to all of us at the Russia conference.
Birth is truly a miracle designed by God to bond the mother and baby in a strong, loving and caring way. We have disrespected the motherbaby bond and their birthrights so badly that we have changed the course of history. It is time to take birth back. It belongs to motherbaby (with dad and midwife there to love, support and protect the motherbaby). This does not mean any particular birth will always go easy and you must have skill, knowledge, techniques and intuition with a lot of love. Midwifery Today will try to help you with all of these. Through our conferences you get even more hands-on skills. They are designed both clinically and philosophically to help you be the best midwife or doula you can be. Join us in Russia or in many other parts of the world to learn face-to-face and hands-on. Our next conference, “Gentle Birth Is a Human Rights Issue,” will be held in Eugene, Oregon, March 30 through April 3, 2011. For more information about the Eugene conference, visit us at: www.midwiferytoday.com/conferences/Eugene2011/
— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today
Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.
Pathways Magazine: Your resource for family wellness
Pathways Magazine provides vital resources for family wellness. Our articles give parents the necessary information to actively participate in their families' natural health choices. Geared towards new parenting, there are always articles on birth and pregnancy from the vitalistic, midwifery perspective. A must have for holistic education in your practice.
Irradiation for Childhood Cancer Connected to Increased Risk of Stillbirth
The risk of stillbirth and neonatal death is greatly increased among women who received radiation treatments for certain childhood cancers, according to new research out of Sweden.
A study recently published in the medical journal Lancet uses data from nearly 5,000 pregnancies among 2,800 men and women who had survived childhood cancer. Researchers discovered that women who had undergone irradiation of the uterus and ovaries before puberty had a 12-fold increase for stillbirth and neonatal death during their subsequent pregnancies.
“Our findings do not support concern about heritable genetic changes affecting the risk of stillbirth and neonatal death in the offspring of men exposed to gonadal irradiation,” the researchers concluded. “However, uterine and ovarian irradiation had serious adverse effects on the offspring that were probably related to uterine damage. Careful management is warranted of pregnancies in women given high doses of pelvic irradiation before puberty.”
— Signorello, L., et al. 2010. Stillbirth and neonatal death in relation to radiation exposure before conception: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet 376(9741): 624–30.
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Thinking Like an Herbalist
To think like an herbalist one must come to know the ways that herbs interact with human physiology. Which herb will support the body’s healing process? Which herb is the best choice for nourishing the part of the body in need of healing? Which one relieves tension, thereby eliciting the relaxation response? How do the energetics of the herbs interact with the energetics of the human being?
To think like an herbalist, one must first consider the herbs that nourish the body and soul. Without proper nourishment, our bodies can’t work optimally.
“Nourishment encourages expansion and growth. Nourishment includes. Nourishment supports each being as a unique, holy individual. Nourishing our problems encourages love for all parts of ourselves.”(1)
Each herb has its own individual personality and each plant’s behavior, while in or on the human body, responds in specific ways.
Deciding which herb to use based on its actions, or properties, is a time-honored approach to herbalism. “Herbal actions describe the ways in which the remedy affects human physiology. Plants have a direct impact on physiological activity and by knowing what body process you want to help or heal, the appropriate action can be selected.”(2) After learning about the categories of herbal actions, one can then learn the subtle differences among the system affinities of various herbs.
As an herbalist, I am interested in the action of the herb, rather than the chemicals in the plant. The chemicals in plants work synergistically, not only within the plant, but also within the human body. For example, an herb that has astringent properties, such as plantain (Plantago major), yarrow (Achillea millefolium) or Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), may assist in shrinking hemorrhoids.
The following is a list of herbal actions and the herbs in each category that I have used in my midwifery practice:
Alterative—Cleanse congested, stagnant blood and tissue fluids, gradually increase vitality through nourishment. Alfalfa, Burdock, Dandelion, Nettles, Red Clover, Yellow Dock
Anti-catarrhal—Mucus is the body’s way of protecting mucous membranes from foreign bodies. Anti-catarrhals thin mucus that has become so thick that it congests the membranes. Peppermint, Thyme, Yarrow
Anti-inflammatory—These herbs don’t take away the inflammatory response, but soothe and cool the inflammation, which in turn reduces pain. Calendula, Comfrey, Hawthorn, Marshmallow, Peppermint, Plantain, St. John’s Wort, Shepherd’s Purse, Yarrow
Anti-microbial—These herbs make the surrounding tissue uninviting to unwanted bacteria, viruses and parasites. They can also stimulate the immune response by activating lymphocytes. Calendula, Echinacea, Garlic, Peppermint, St. John’s Wort, Uva-ursi, Yarrow
Anti-spasmodic—These ease cramps in smooth or skeletal muscle and relax the autonomic and central nervous systems. Black Cohosh, Catnip, Motherwort, Peppermint, Red Clover, St. John’s Wort, Valerian
Astringent—Used to stop bleeding or to bind tissue, which then forms a protective coat. Comfrey leaf and root, Plantain, Shepherd’s Purse, Yarrow
Bitter—Herbs with a bitter taste stimulate and jump-start digestive juices. Dandelion, Yarrow
Carminative—They calm the lining of digestive tract and help to eliminate gas. Catnip, Motherwort, Peppermint, Valerian
Cholagogue—Stimulate flow of bile from the liver. Dandelion root, Yarrow
Demulcent—Soothe and protect irritated tissue in the digestive and respiratory tracts, aid in healing wounds. Comfrey leaf and root, Marshmallow leaf and root
Diuretic—Increase kidney output and rid the body of extra interstitial fluids. Burdock, Dandelion leaf, Yarrow
Diaphoretic—These are heating herbs that increase circulation and perspiration. Yarrow
Galactagogue—Stimulate breast milk production through nourishment. Alfalfa, Nettles, Raspberry leaf, Red Clover
Hepatic—Tone and nourish the liver. Burdock, Dandelion leaf and root
Hypotensives—Reduce systolic and blood diastolic pressures. Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Garlic, Hawthorn, Motherwort, Nettles, Valerian, Yarrow
Nervines—May be tonic, relaxant or stimulant; many nervines are anti-spasmodic, as well. Black Cohosh, Catnip, Motherwort, St. John’s Wort, Peppermint, Valerian
Another time-honored approach for learning which herbs to use is searching through old literature that contains the wisdom of our ancestors. After all, can a plant that has been used for the same purpose for hundreds of years be dangerous or wrong?
Weed, S. 1989. Wise Woman Herbal: Healing Wise. Woodstock, New York: Ash Tree Publishing.
Hoffman, D. 1992. Therapeutic Herbalism: A Correspondence Course in Phytotherapy. Forestville, California: California School of Herbal Studies.
You’ll delight in these bold images of pregnancy and birth, parent and child!
The Perceptions, Reflections and Connections DVD Slide Show features 50 photos of multi-cultural families in a variety of poses and situations. Inspiring and educational, it’s the perfect DVD to show to your clients. The photos on the DVD are reprised in the companion booklet, along with inspiring and informative words. Plus, the booklet is small enough to fit into your purse or birth bag, so you can carry it with you wherever you go. To Order
What is Midwifery Today magazine?
A 72-page quarterly print publication filled with in-depth articles, birth stories from around the world, stunning birth photography, news, reviews and more. Subscribe.
What’s the best kept secret?
The 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
Learn the essentials of supportive touch.
In Touch Techniques for Birth, Leslie Piper, LMT, and Leslie Stager, RN, LMT, show you how to make touch a part of your midwifery practice. You’ll learn about contraindications, acupressure, reflexology, hydrotherapy, general comfort strokes, pain relieving techniques and more. A special feature includes a midwife’s story of the use of belly rub and emotional support to encourage labor. This DVD belongs in your midwifery library! Get the DVD.
Learn how to work with VBAC moms.
Part of Midwifery Today’s Holistic Clinical Series, The VBAC and Cesarean Prevention Handbook is filled with articles by midwives, doulas and mothers on the powerful experience of VBAC. You’ll also find technical information about cesarean sections and VBACs designed to help you support VBAC moms in a safe and empowering way.
Buy the book.
Learn more about herbs and natural remedies!
Check out this selection of audio tapes from past Midwifery Today conferences. Topics covered include Chinese medicine, tear prevention and non-pharmacological methods of pain relief. Order here.
Please check out this YouTube video, part of our Birth Essentials series: Shoulder Dystocia III—Tricks of the Trade
In this video, attendees at Midwifery Today’s Denmark conference share more tricks of the trade about shoulder dystocia.
Click below to view; you may wish to download video and view without streaming interruption.
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Q: What is your favorite herbal remedy for pregnancy, labor and/or postpartum?
— Midwifery Today staff
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Start 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.
Midwives Recruited for Southern Sudan
UNFPA Southern Sudan is now, through the UNV office, recruiting 20 International United Nations Volunteers – Midwives to UNFPA Southern Sudan. As you might be aware, Southern Sudan has the worst maternal mortality statistics in the world!
While I do not expect you yourselves to apply for these posts, I would be forever grateful if you could forward this e-mail to midwives you know.
A UN volunteer pays about USD 2,674–USD 2,874 per month, settling-in-grant equivalent to US$ 4,572; HDSS (currently) equivalent to US$ 546, life, health, and permanent disability insurance; return airfares; resettlement allowance of US$ 150 per month of satisfactory service.
For any questions related to the recruitment process please contact UNV Offices, please note that there will be no recruitment through UNFPA offices. Please see the following Web page for more information:
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