And Then They Came for Me
I am concerned about midwives who are being persecuted. It also troubles me greatly that so many midwives and midwifery organizations are unsupportive of our sisters facing these horrendous charges. I am saddened by our lack of support for midwives who are going through so much, all because they are trying to support women. Midwifery care is so very good for women. How then can we fall so short in our care for each other? This is where we should be shining stars of love because it could so easily happen to us. Where is our empathy? Where is our authentic midwifery? Authentic midwifery demands more of us than our tiny circle. It demands that we enlarge our circle of care for all aspects of birth, including our sister midwives.
The doctors don’t eat their own, but we will destroy midwifery because of what we do to each other. It is time to stop and take an accounting and make sure we are giving love, care and support to those who are going through extremely difficult circumstances. The time is now for each of us to look at ourselves, think about what we are doing and who we need to offer love and support to and then do it. It may be a kind phone call of support—ask what you can do to help her. Reach out. Think, “What if this was happening to my mother or my daughter?” and act accordingly.
First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.
— Martin Niemöller
— 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.
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Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Created specifically to support the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative™ in the United States, Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding is an essential course for educating your staff to promote successful breastfeeding. The course earns 24.4 CEUs for nurses and 24.4 L-CERPs for lactation consultants. Find out more and preview the course at: http://tensteps.jblearning.com
Preventing Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia will become exceptionally rare the day the art of midwifery is understood in terms of creating appropriate conditions for the “fetus ejection reflex.” This term was coined by Niles Newton in the 1960s when she was studying the environmental factors that can disturb the birth process in mice (Newton, N, D Foshee and M Newton 1966). Twenty years later, with her support, I suggested we save this concept from oblivion (Newton 1987; Odent 1987); I was convinced it could be a key to triggering a radically new understanding of the process of human parturition (Odent 2001).
The basic difference between humans and mice is that we have developed a huge and powerful neocortex which covers more archaic structures. When our neocortex is at rest, we have more physiological similarities with mice.
An authentic fetus ejection reflex is possible among humans. It takes place when a baby is born after a short series of irresistible and powerful contractions, which leave no room for voluntary movements. In such circumstances, it is obvious that the neocortex is at rest and no longer in control of archaic brain structures in charge of vital functions such as giving birth. Civilized women can behave in a way which would usually be unacceptable, for example, they may shout, swear or be rude. They seem to cut themselves off from our world and may even forget what they have been taught or what their plans were. During a fetus ejection reflex, women can find themselves in the most unexpected, bizarre, often mammalian, quadrupedal postures. They seem to be “on another planet.” At the very time of the birth and during the minutes following birth (at the beginning of the interaction with the newborn baby), these mothers seem to be in an ecstatic state.
Interpreting the fetus ejection reflex leads us to understand the reduction of the activity of the new big brain as the solution Nature found to overcome the specifically human handicap during the period surrounding birth. This implies that the involuntary birth process is highly dependent on environmental factors since it needs to be protected against all kinds of neocortical stimulations.
I can describe a situation I am familiar with, which is compatible with the expression of an authentic ejection reflex. It is when there is nobody around the laboring woman apart from one experienced and silent midwife (or doula), perceived as a protective mother figure, sitting in a corner and knitting. The physiological perspective can easily interpret all the components of this simple, but almost unknown, scenario. The midwife remains silent; language is the main stimulant of the neocortex. The midwife is perceived as a protective mother figure; the physiological concept of adrenaline/oxytocin antagonism implies that one of the basic needs of a laboring woman is to feel secure. The midwife is not standing in front of the laboring woman, but behind her; feeling observed is a neocortical stimulation. There is only one midwife; the feeling of being observed is more likely to be present when there are two birth attendants. (Many proverbs, in a great diversity of societies, suggest the dangers related to the presence of two midwives.) The midwife is knitting; it has been demonstrated that repetitive tasks, such as knitting, tend to reduce the levels of adrenaline. Furthermore, an emerging scientific discipline based on the study of the “mirror neuron system” is a reminder that the adrenaline the birth attendant might release is contagious; the main preoccupation of an authentic midwife should therefore be to maintain her own level of adrenaline as low as possible. Modern sophisticated scientific methods can help us to rediscover what is simple and should be commonsense.
— Michel Odent
Excerpted from “Preventing Shoulder Dystocia,” Midwifery Today, Issue 103
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MamaBaby Haiti, International Clinic Director Position
HAITI has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the western hemisphere. Come join our team and serve in this exciting fast-paced clinic! We are currently accepting applications for 2013 Clinic Directors. If you are a CPM or CNM please consider joining our team. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep birth information at your fingertips with Midwifery Today e-books!
Now you can have birth wisdom as near as your e-book reader or smartphone. Just purchase and download one of more of these collections of articles from Midwifery Today magazine. Currently available:
Breech Birth (authors include Marion Toepke McLean, Ina May Gaskin and Gloria Lemay, $5.99)
Birth Stories (21 personal accounts written by mothers, fathers and midwives, $5.99)
Breastfeeding (15 articles; authors include Michel Odent and Suzanne Colson, $5.99)
Second Stage: The Pushing Phase of Labor (authors include Michel Odent, Sister MorningStar and Cornelia Enning, $4.99)
The Third Stage of Labor (authors include Sarah J. Buckley, Gail Hart, Robin Lim and Marion Toepke McLean, $5.99)
Learn more here!
|Looking for a good appointment book for the New Year?|
||The With Woman 2013 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. If you’re a student it can help you keep track of your prenatals, births and postpartum visits. Not a midwife? With Woman makes a great gift for someone who is.
|View inside pages!|
|Birth should be instinctive, fulfilling and full of joy.|
In Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Dr. Sarah J. Buckley combines the best medical evidence with her experience as a mother of four to give you advice and information that will help you have a safe, natural birth and start you on the road to gentle parenthood. You’ll learn about undisturbed birth, the dangers of separating the mother from the baby, early cord-cutting, ultrasound, epidurals, cesareans and more. Sarah’s combination of the loving spirit of pregnancy, birth and postpartum, with evidence that is convincing, makes this an excellent book to pass on to pregnant women everywhere. Order the book.
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The Belly Mapping Workbook shows how a woman can discover her baby’s position in late pregnancy. This technique can be a fun bonding activity and is often used for proactive childbirth preparation using optimal fetal positioning. The workbook includes 100 drawings and photos that take you through details of head-down and breech babies. At just $14.95, it makes a fine gift for a pregnant friend! To order
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Learn and review basic midwifery skills
If you’re studying to become a midwife, you need General Skills for the Student Midwife. This 2-DVD set is packed with demonstrations by experienced midwives and nurses and gives you the opportunity see hands-on skills being performed. Topics covered include Sterile Technique, Basic Treatment of Shock, Maternal Temperature Assessment, Maternal Skin Assessment, Newborn Temperature Assessment and much more!
Read this editorial by Jan Tritten from the newest issue of Midwifery Today, Winter 2012:
- Babies Have Rights, Too
Excerpt: The “Birth Is a Human Right” initiative needs to be expanded to include babies. Everyone who has been to a hospital birth (and some homebirths) has probably seen violations of baby’s rights. A baby’s imprinting in the first 1–6 hours after birth is the foundational experience of life and has lifelong health ramifications, both emotional and physical. Does the baby receive the bacteriological inoculation from her mom or from a germ-filthy hospital? Did the baby get her stem cells from the placenta at three minutes of age or was her cord amputated before this was able to occur?
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Q: Tell us about a shoulder dystocia experience you encountered.
— Midwifery Today
A: I had an OB who didn’t know she could help by having me change positions. Instead she attempted to pry the baby out of me. My midwife jumped in and helped by pushing my leg up to get me into a better position.
— Andrea Davis
A: My son was a homebirthed dystocia. From the birth of his top half until his shoulder was dislodged and his body was free, was 11 minutes. I am 5 ft 1 in tall and 130 lb. My baby was 11 lb 2 oz and nearly 23 in long. When he was finally born, I was standing up with my arms around my husband’s neck.
— Ashley Bodner
A: Had a 10 lb 14 oz waterbirth with three-and-a-half-minute shoulder dystocia. As soon as I flipped onto hands and knees (this was easier to do in the water), she delivered!
— Shannon Crites
A: Thank God for the Gaskin maneuver!
— Tammi Moran
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A Birth Revolution
In order to outline and try to solve the problem of the persecution of midwives, we are having a one-day seminar as a prelude to the Eugene conference, “The Persecution of Midwives as a Human Rights Issue.” It will be led by Hermine Hayes-Klein, who put on the “Human Rights in Birth” conference in The Hague in 2012. We will have courses within this day that are of importance to all of us who care about birth.
One of the classes for the one-day seminar is “Persecuted Professionals and Concerned Consumers.” Representatives of the global Human Rights in Childbirth movement will talk about the role and responsibility of birthing women in the defense of birth professionals. Do consumers understand that the persecution of midwives is a violation of their own basic rights? If not, we will discuss how awareness can be raised. Another of the classes we are including is, “The Effect of Persecution on the Midwifery Community.”
The other part of this day will be led by our friend, midwife and filmmaker Diana Paul. She will be showing How to Start a Revolution by Ruaridh Arrow, which is an inspiring documentary about one man’s ability to change dictatorships into democracies. From this film we learn 198 detailed methods of nonviolent actions that result in transformation. A key is informing and assembling a mass of people who want change. That’s us!
We will be discussing and starting our birth revolution, as well as showing this film. It is time to organize and we can do this if we all put our harmonious energy and love into this movement. Again, that is why we must care for and support each other. Watch for full details about this study day which will be posted soon!
Toward Better Birth!
— Jan Tritten
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.
I was laboring well in a big birth pool with my husband supporting my back and my 4-year-old daughter pouring water over my belly during contractions. At one point, my midwife left the room to return a phone call. My daughter quickly swam from my right side to my bottom side and shouted with her arms outstretched, “Don’t worry! I’ll catch the baby while you’re gone!” We were actually a few hours from the birth, but she was ready to help!
— Rachel Brown
Jane Hardwicke Collings from The School of Shamanic Midwifery in Australia is coming to speak at SquatFest ’13 and offering a pre-conference workshop on the Shamanic Dimensions of Pregnancy. Contact Jane for enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.moonsong.com.au http://www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.com
Give the New Year’s gift of learning. WONDROUS WOMAN: SPANISH FOR CHILDBIRTH is an elegant gift-boxed book and audio program written by the nationally-acclaimed speaker and author Susan Nadathur. http://susannadathur.com
Best Start Birth Center, in San Diego, CA: Seeking Full-time CNM with Strong Clinical Skills, experience with Out-of-Hospital birth. Please see ad on our website: http://beststartbirthcenter.com/employment.html
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Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!