A New Year
By the time you read this, a new year will have begun. Many changes in midwifery and childbirth practices have taken place in the past year, to say nothing of the past three and a half decades in which I have been a midwife. What hasn’t changed is birth itself: how babies get in and how they get out (except for some advanced technologies). Natural birth might take more encouragement for mothers in the face of birth culture today, but still women are designed to carry their babies and to give birth and nurture them.
The perfect design has not changed. We need to heed what we have learned. Now science proves what we have been saying for decades. Many more studies and scientists are adding to a great body of knowledge. We know the importance of motherbaby skin-to-skin contact at birth, undisturbed bonding, gentle motherbaby-centered birth, the role of oxytocin and so on. Let us make this year the one where the pieces of science come through and meet our intuitive knowledge and understanding. Let us make this a year where we carry out what we know for motherbaby.
— 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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International Alliance of Midwives on Facebook: facebook.com/IAMbirth
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Midwifery Education: Caring and Sharing: facebook.com/MidwiferyEducation
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
The Primal Touch of Birth: Midwives, Mothers and Massage
The midwife greets the mother and sits down in front of her. She lifts the mother’s dress and begins to firmly massage and palpate the abdomen. She assesses the position and health of the fetus, feels the lie of the uterus and aligns the energy flow through the abdomen. During the prenatal massage the mother and midwife talk about the expected baby, the woman’s health and her family. The midwife will perform a massage at every prenatal visit, during the birth and at postpartum visits. The mother’s mother may also massage her, as will her mother-in-law. The mother will then massage the new child. This dynamic web of touch has been played out all over the world, connecting midwives, mothers and massage, for thousands of years.
Before Western medical practices displaced traditional midwifery, the touch and massage of a midwife or birth attendant was a central component of prenatal care around the world. In the absence of obstetrical tools and gadgets, a midwife had her eyes, ears and hands to diagnose and assist pregnant women. Honed by constant practice, the midwife’s senses of observation and intuition were finely tuned. Today, traditional healers and midwives skillfully integrate the ancient healing arts of massage and midwifery, as they have for thousands of years.
Prenatal massage and compassionate touch during the childbearing year are more than a primitive practice or luxurious pampering; they are an essential and vital part of holistic maternity care. The medical model of birth ignores and trivializes the therapeutic value of touch during pregnancy and childbirth. In the medical model, childbearing is analyzed from a pathological and intellectual perspective. Obstetrical and gynecological practices support the deprivation of human touch, pathologize the female body, increase childbearing morbidity and place women in a subservient role to the institution. However, pregnancy is not a pathological event or an intellectual construct; it is a healthy, primal and life-giving process. Compassionate touch of the mother during pregnancy and childbirth is essential for the development of maternal touching of the infant. Tactile stimulation of the newborn is necessary for healthy development and immunological resistance.
Traditional midwives serve birth through their touch and intuition, holistic ways of learning that respect and nurture the ecology of birth. Interventions, questions and exams induce neocortical activity and the production of catecholamines (stress hormones) that interrupt the labor process. Intuitive touch and massage allows for midwife and mother to communicate without stimulating the neocortex and intervening in the natural rhythm of birth. Touch is the primal language of life; the language that speaks to the deep mind of a laboring woman and the awakening senses of an infant. Massage and healing touch enhance the body’s natural ability to sustain health and give birth. The integrity of midwifery care depends upon compassionate communication that respects the primal process of birth and women’s autonomy.
— Kara Maia Spencer
Excerpted from “The Primal Touch of Birth: Midwives, Mothers and Massage,” Midwifery Today, Issue 70
View table of contents / Order the back issue
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
Bring breech birth information with you wherever you go!
Download Breech Birth, a collection of 15 articles by some of the greatest minds in the natural childbirth world. Articles in this e-book include “Breech Birth from a Primal Health Research Perspective” by Michel Odent, “Instinctual Breech Birth” by Sister MorningStar and “Three Surprise Breeches” by Ina May Gaskin.
Available on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.
|Enjoy the wisdom and knowledge of our Germany conference teachers|
You can now purchase a portable USB drive with MP3s of selected classes from the 2012 Germany conference. You will receive most classes from the two-day Midwifery Skills sessions, as well as several others. Teachers include Elizabeth Davis, Gail Hart, Carol Gautschi, Lisa Goldstein and Gail Tully.
Make sure you get the whole story.
|Midwifery Today E-News is only a sample of what you’ll find in Midwifery Today magazine. Subscribe and you’ll receive 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.
See how touch can be used during labor and birth
When you watch Nurturing Touch for Birth you’ll see the integrated use of touch during two home and two hospital births. The powerful imagery, evocative music, and inspiring narration all illustrate vividly the importance and power of touch. This DVD is perfect for childbirth education classes and doula trainings, and will also be an inspiration to midwives, nurses, and pregnant mothers and their birth companions. Buy the DVD.
Fill Your Birth Library with Midwifery Today Back Issues
Each quarterly issue of Midwifery Today print magazine is packed full of birth news, insights and information. You’ll also get an in-depth look at an important topic, with several articles devoted to the issue theme. Look over the list of available issues, then order the ones you need to help improve your practice. Order yours.
How common is postmaturity syndrome
and how should it be managed?
Learn about this and more in The Postdates and Postmaturity Handbook, the newest addition to Midwifery Today’s Holistic Clinical Series. This handbook will help you understand the myths and prevent the risks associated with postdate pregnancies and postmaturity syndrome. This valuable resource belongs in every midwife’s library.
Buy the book.
Advertise at Midwifery Today’s Eugene Oregon Conference
We offer multiple ways for you to reach the audience at our April 3–7, 2013, home town conference. From inserts in our registrant packets to exhibit space for that great one-on-one contact. There is something for every budget. Download the advertising opportunities flyer here or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
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Live your dream and become a Nurse-Midwife at Frontier Nursing University
Frontier Nursing University’s nurse-midwifery program is the longest-running midwifery program in the United States, was the first to offer distance education, offers one of the only ADN-MSN online bridge options and educates more certified nurse-midwives than any other program in the country. The community-based distance education program allows you to complete your coursework online and clinical work in your own community.
Q: During your labor, was massage a beneficial tool? If so, tell us how being touched helped you relax through labor.
— Midwifery Today
A: With two of my labors I needed my back rubbed, but with the others I could not stand to be touched!
— Gail Hart
A: No massage, but pressure on my lower back definitely was a must!
— Tarrin Fletcher
A: With the first child, I needed foot massage until transition and then I did not want touch. For my second child I wanted to be held, supported, hang on someone or have my back rubbed all the way through until birth.
— Eudine Redmon Stevens
A: I didn’t want anyone to touch me anywhere. I wanted to concentrate on what I was doing. My husband was always anxious during labor and I really wanted him out of there. I didn’t want to have to be a caregiver, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I let him stay.
— Patricia Ross
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 to learn more? Visit our Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.
Pre-Conference Study Day
During our one-day pre-conference class, The Persecution of Midwives as a Human Rights Issue, we will explore the intersection of law and midwifery from a human rights perspective. In states across America and countries around the world, many midwives face the threat of legal sanction for providing women with genuine options for childbirth and for supporting each woman’s right to determine what she needs to give birth. How does this threat (and the reality of armed police raids, arrests and drawn-out legal proceedings) affect midwives as individuals and as a profession? What is the effect of this phenomenon on women’s choices in childbirth?
In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights heard a complaint from Hungarian mother Anna Ternovszky, who argued that her right to give birth in the way that she felt best for herself and her family was violated by the legal persecution of her midwife, Ágnes Geréb. In the case of Ternovszky vs. Hungary, the Court agreed that women have a fundamental human right to choose the circumstances in which they give birth. The Court held that the threat of legal sanction faced by “health professionals” inclined to support women’s decisions to give birth at home violated the right of pregnant women to make such a choice.
On April 2, 2012, Midwifery Today and Human Rights in Childbirth will examine this holding closely. How is the law in different jurisdictions operating to restrict birthing women’s choices by threatening and punishing midwives? What does this mean, in reality, for midwives as they try to do their work? What does it mean for pregnant women’s access to care and in particular their access to nonsurgical childbirth? How can midwives be protected and defended? How can the State hold midwives accountable for the quality of their care in a way that respects the human rights of birthing women?
Over a full day of presentations, workshops and discussions between midwives, lawyers, parents and other interested parties, these questions will be brought to light. Solutions will be brainstormed for ongoing consideration over the days of the Midwifery Today conference.
— Hermine Hayes-Klein, American lawyer and the director of the Bynkershoek Research Center for Reproductive Rights in The Hague, the Netherlands
You’ll love Midwifery Today magazine!
I was the photographer at my nephew’s birth 14 years ago. When the pushing began, the water broke and splashed all over me and my camera. Shortly after, I captured a photo of the head fully emerged from my sister’s body.
— Lonnie Drury
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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