May 8, 2013
Volume 15, Issue 10
Midwifery Today E-News
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Come to Moscow! Learn about birth!

Russia conferencePlan to attend the “Natural Birth: Skills, Science and Traditions” conference 25–29 June in Moscow, Russia. You will meet amazing and informative teachers from around the world, including Elizabeth Davis (pictured), Carol Gautschi, Gail Hart, Sister MorningStar and Beverley Lawrence Beech. Planned classes include Spinning Babies Workshop, Birth Trauma and Baby Health, Mexican Traditions and Techniques, and Fear: How It Affects Labor.

Learn more about the Russia conference.

What is a rebozo and what can you do with it?

Attend the full-day class, Rebozo Techniques and Practice, to learn how this traditional Mexican tool is useful in all parts of the childbearing cycle. Thea van Tuyl, Mirjam de Keijzer and Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos will show you simple techniques that promote healthy pregnancy and birth. You will also have time for hands-on practice. Part of our conference in Belgium, 30 October – 3 November.

Learn more about the Belgium conference.

In This Week’s Issue

Paths to Becoming a MidwifeSave $5 on Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education

Check out our Spring into Savings page to find out how. This book is just what any aspiring midwife needs! It includes articles on the various midwifery philosophies, information on becoming an apprentice, dozens of updated articles, and a directory of more than 150 schools, programs and other resources. You’ll also find special offers from other birth-related businesses.

Quote of the Week

Women want a sacred space for birthing that is their own, where they can feel the mystery of birth and at the same time try to master the process in the way that they choose.

Michele Klein

Are you enjoying your copy of Midwifery Today E-News? Then show your support and get more content by subscribing to our quarterly print magazine, Midwifery Today. Subscribe here.

The Art of Midwifery

Water is a marvelous adjuvant that offers warmth and whole body support, a medium where one can expand and relax into gentle, nurturing all-over contact, allowing body consciousness and connectedness without the sense of exposure. When I was younger and very sick, I lived on a houseboat. Daily contact with water invigorated and strengthened me, facilitating healing. I have sought out this valuable resource throughout my life. Applied in labor, we can see the benefits of this combination of invigoration and nurturing.

Judy Edmunds
Excerpted from “A Lovely Way to Enter the World.” In Waterbirth, a Midwifery Today e-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

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Jan’s Corner

Who Will You Serve?

Recently, I was in Sister MorningStar’s class on critical thinking at the Midwifery Today conference in Eugene, Oregon. Sister was teaching us the truth of physiological birth and how beautifully the process is designed. She was reminding us not to get overly nervous or interventive with the birth process. We can really disturb things by hurrying placentas. The first hour belongs to the motherbaby. Well, really the whole birth belongs to motherbaby!

A hand went up during the class and the person asked, “But at 40 minutes we have to begin thinking of our protocol in order to have the placenta out within an hour or we must transport.” Another hand went up and said her area’s protocol is to transport if the membranes have been ruptured for 24 hours—into the hospital the hopeful homebirth goes because of this protocol. The family is often shocked and certainly railroaded into the hospital. This serves protocols, not mothers and babies, nor is it based on evidence. We find ourselves having to disturb motherbaby to meet regulations. This is why I dislike the term “regulated midwifery.” Midwives need autonomy and good practices and skills—not regulations.

The other issue with regulations is that they do not change with the evidence and seem to be mostly myth-based, not evidence-based. There are still many places that require homebirth midwives to carry oxygen even though giving oxygen this way is considered dangerous to babies. We really do need to put a line in the sand and decide who we serve: medicine or motherbaby? Who will you serve?

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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Birth Is a Human Rights Issue:
Midwifery Education: Caring and Sharing:

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Featured Article

Waterbirth Makes the Midwife’s Job Easier

I find that waterbirth makes the job of a midwife much easier. With water labor/birth the amount of work I have to do is massively reduced. The mom labors quietly in the tub and I often nap (at night) or see office patients (during the day). I rarely have to reschedule appointments because of a labor, which is a real blessing. Our clients typically do not need a lot of hand-holding during labor. We have not only water labor/birth to thank, but also HypnoBirthing, which we made our only childbirth education four years ago.

We don’t need to be on top of them while they are pushing, either. We put a mirror in the tub (the heavier, the better, so it won’t float) and shine a flashlight to see their progress with pushing. Some moms catch their own babies and sometimes the dad catches, which is one less thing for me to do. Of course, we are right there, ready to jump in, if needed.

Nuchal cords are much easier to deal with, too. Since the baby is weightless, we can easily flip the baby around to untangle the cord. Moms who birth in water are much less likely to have a tear that needs repair, again lightening my workload.

Water labor/birth takes a lot of the stress of labor off all participants—the baby, the mom, the family, the midwife and the staff. Waterbirth is gentle, peaceful and mostly quiet.

Most of our moms push and birth in a squatting position, which is much easier on mom when the water is holding her up. We designed our birth center with waterbirth in mind. We bought Barbara Harper’s triangle tubs. We put bars at the right height for mom to grab while squatting. The beds are a few steps from the tubs, which is helpful if we have to get mom out in a hurry, and they make for a short trip after birth.

Samantha McCormick
Excerpted from “Waterbirth Makes the Midwife’s Job Easier,” Midwifery Today, Issue 96
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Featured Products

Add Waterbirth to your e-book library

Waterbirth e-book cover

Purchase and download Waterbirth, a collection of 16 informative articles from Midwifery Today magazine. The topics you’ll be able to read include “A Lovely Way to Enter the World” by Judy Edmunds, “Aquadurals and Douladurals Replace the Epidural” by Judith Elaine Halek, “Waterbirth Makes the Midwife’s Job Easier” by Samantha McCormick, “A Landmark in the History of Birthing Pools” by Michel Odent and “Waterbirth and GBS” by Judy Slome Cohain.

Get your copy on Amazon to read on your Kindle or free Kindle app.

If you work with birthing women, you need Penny Simkin’s Comfort Measures for Childbirth
Comfort Measures DVD

Watch this DVD and practice along with expecting guest couples as they learn more than 40 different comfort measures for women in labor. Penny shows you exactly how and when to use the techniques in each of the DVD’s four sections:

  • Basic relaxation and rhythmic breathing
  • Comfort measures, devices, and positions
  • Techniques to help with back pain and labor progress
  • 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.

Survivor Moms

Learn how sexual abuse affects women during pregnancy and childbirth and what you can do to help.

Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse was written to help break down the isolation pregnant women and their caregivers often feel—as though they were the only ones having to cope with these challenges. You’ll be able to read excerpts from 81 women’s stories of birthing, mothering and healing after childhood sexual abuse. The book also includes some complete narratives, discussion of implications of women’s experiences for their care, suggestions for working together during maternity care and beyond, resources to consult, and information from current research.

Suitable for both caregivers and pregnant survivors, Survivor Moms will help anyone whose life has been touched by sexual abuse. Published by Motherbaby Press, an imprint of Midwifery Today. Get the book.

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How can we give our children the best possible start in life?
Learn about this important topic with Secrets of Happy Babies: Nature’s Superb Design for Families, a DVD by Sarah J. Buckley, MD. Topics covered include preconception and pregnancy nutrition, cord clamping, lotus birth, breastfeeding and co-sleeping. This DVD would make a lovely gift to help an expecting family get off to a good start. And if you’re a midwife, doula, childbirth educator or other professional involved in the care of mothers, babies, fathers and families, make sure to get a copy for your library. To Order book cover

Learn the foundations of beginning midwifery!
Beginning Midwifery Audio 4-CD Set Our Beginning Midwifery 4-disk Audio CD Set will give you vital information that will help you get a good start on your midwifery education. You’ll learn about woman-centered care, how a woman’s emotions can affect her birth and how to give your clients a head-to-toe physical. Also covered are intake forms, diet and the importance of drinking water. Speakers are Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Carol Gautschi, Elizabeth Davis and Patricia Edmonds. This set would make a fine gift for an aspiring midwife.
Order the audio CD set.

Website Update

The program for the conference in Moscow, Russia, this June is now live on our website:

Birth Q&A

Q: Why do you prefer waterbirth?

— Midwifery Today

A: Aside from easing mamas in labor and allowing them the freedom to move about, to control their own space and to catch their own babies, there is the prized easy clean-up you don’t get with a land birth!

— Charlie Rae Young

A: It helps with pain relief and puts the appropriate barrier between a woman doing the hardest work of her life and those who are there to support her.

— Lauren Arikan

A: Water is the baby’s natural environment in the womb. Waterbirth provides a comfortable and familiar environment for baby to be born in, soothes and comforts the mother during labor and decreases tearing of the perineum.

— Sue Turner

A: I prefer waterbirth because it felt beautiful! I could save my energy because the water supported me through every contraction.

— Shannon West

A: It seemed like the most peaceful, serene choice for us and provided a gentle opening of my body while helping me cope with the contractions.

— Denee Metzger

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Conference Chatter

From Eugene to Moscow

The conference in Eugene was incredibly inspiring for me and refilled my enthusiasm for the work that I do. Our teachers, as always, did an amazing job of imparting knowledge with so much passion. The Human Rights in Childbirth Summit was an amazing time of hope for midwives across the world under persecution. Our conferences, though each with a different atmosphere and ambiance, always serve to teach, inspire, share and keep you going in your work. It did that for me!

We are going to Moscow, Russia, for the third time for a joint conference with Home Child magazine. The conference will take place 25–29 June 2013. It will be an amazing event in a unique country. We are all in the same boat sailing for a better land of birthing all over world. Elizabeth Davis, Carol Gautschi, Gail Hart, Sister MorningStar and Beverley Lawrence Beech, Gail Tully, Angelina Martinez Miranda, Tine Greve, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and many amazing Russian speakers will be there. Classes will be translated so you can partake in any part of the conference with confidence that you will understand what is being presented. You will surely be welcomed, and if there is anything we can do to help, let us know. Here is the link to the PDF and web page:

— Jan Tritten

ed page graphic

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 had a wonderful homebirth with my second child. As I labored in the water, my firstborn (23 months old) came into the room, saw I was in the tub and immediately undressed so he could get in the water, too. He put his hand on my belly and said, “Baby’s coming!”

— Kristy Martin Mack

Craving more birth info?
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