November 5, 2014
Volume 16, Issue 23
Midwifery Today E-News
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Welcome to Midwifery Today E-News !

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Mexican Art Expresses the Joy of Birth

Put excitement on your walls with four colorful Mexican art prints celebrating birth and midwifery. These lively creations also make wonderful gifts. See all the prints here.

In This Week’s Issue

Eugene conferenceLearn how “Birthing with Love Changes the World”

Come to our conference in Eugene, Oregon, next March and learn from teachers such as Gail Tully (pictured), Carol Gautschi, Marion Toepke McLean, Yeshi Neumann and Suzanne Thomson. Classes you can choose from include Essential Midwifery, Hemorrhage and Estimating Blood Loss, A Day with Michel Odent, and Mexican Traditions and Techniques.

Learn more about the Eugene, Oregon, conference.

Quote of the Week

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

Midwifery Today E-News is just the beginning.

Subscribe to Midwifery Today, our print magazine, and you’ll receive 72-pages of midwifery information four times a year. Subscribe here.

The Art of Midwifery

Keeping the new mother and child warm and out of the wind is essential. Even in equatorial climates, exposing postpartum women to the wind is unwise. The mother and the baby’s chests must be kept covered, as sweating is a cooling process, and a naked chest could cause masuk angin (the wind entering), a risk for respiratory distress. In old Bali, women often wore only sarongs and were naked from the waist up. However, at night they covered their chests from the wind, cold and damp heat.

Ibu Robin Lim
Excerpted from “The Fourth Stage: Sharing the Asian Way,” Midwifery Today, Issue 102
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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Editor’s Corner

The Power of Words

This is our International E-News issue that we publish four times a year. I always enjoy this issue because I am dedicated to spreading information about better birthing practices all over the world. To prepare this feature, we ask our country contacts a question and publish some of their answers below. For about 20 years, Midwifery Today has had contacts from many countries around the world. We do this in order to unite midwives around the world and provide networking opportunities for birth workers. We have around 100 country contacts in 84 different countries. We are always looking for more.

On our webpage for the International Alliance of Midwives, we have our goals and beliefs listed, as well as a definition of a midwife. We worked on this definition with Debbie Díaz and other midwives for many months to get it just right. Our definition is much more inclusive than the one the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has written. Here is our definition:

Definition of Midwife

A midwife serves women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. She is trained in the health, physiology and care of women and their babies. Her services are given in a humane and respectful manner, with minimal interference in the physiological process, while honoring the mother’s choices. She can identify problems, knows techniques for managing emergency situations within her resources and refers or transports for medical care when necessary. She is guided by the individual needs of each mother and baby.

A midwife acquires essential knowledge through a variety of routes within an educational format or through a traditional process, as well as from other midwives and by assisting with mothers and babies. She continually updates her knowledge on the basis of evidence, practical experience and educational opportunities. A midwife shares information with mothers, families and the community about her practice, alternative options, rights and responsibilities, wellness, preventive care, bonding, breastfeeding and child rearing. The midwife’s practice is autonomous and interdependent; she may offer her services in any setting.

We also take a stand on traditional midwifery in this statement:

The Power of Words: In honor of all midwives, Midwifery Today does not use the term “traditional birth attendant,” or “TBA.” We do not want to rob anyone who serves birthing women as a midwife of the title “midwife”—because that is what she or he really is.

Please visit the International pages on our website. You’ll find a lot of information and resources there.

— 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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Conference Chatter

We are looking forward to our upcoming conference in Byron Bay, Australia. By the time you read this, we will be in the middle of the conference! After this event, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and I are headed to Fiji. We are looking into the possibility of doing a South Seas conference there. Our goal is to spread important information about midwifery and birth around the world. We have such an excellent and dedicated group of teachers who are willing to go teach at our conferences as long as we cover travel expenses. They don’t receive much else in the way of payment. They are such a blessing and so knowledgeable and full of heart and dedication. We could not put on conferences without these great teachers.

Our venue checking trips aren’t always successful, but they do usually lead to other doors being opened for us. Sometimes we go to a country to scope out a location for a conference, but the event doesn’t happen for five years! The thing is, the whole world needs information about midwifery and birth. Many places I have visited seem stuck in the 1950s and birth practices haven’t seemed to progress. It is Midwifery Today’s calling to bring conferences around the world. I am blessed in this amazing work. I hope you will join us at a conference. After Australia, we will be holding a conference in our hometown of Eugene, Oregon.

Be sure to check out our web pages for information on our upcoming Eugene and Germany conferences.

— Jan Tritten

Keep up to date with conference news on Facebook:

Featured Article

Country Contacts Reports

We asked our Country Contacts the following questions: What is the culture of birth like in your country? How do women view birth? How do men and children view birth? Have you seen any changes in the way people think about birth?


Midwives went on a six-month strike with not many results. Working conditions are especially difficult in hospital, but one cannot write about birth generally as there are places more respectful than others. I am with a labouring woman. She is fighting for a VBAC of twins. She has fought for a spontaneous labor for over 38 weeks (having refused a direct suggestion to have a c-section). She may have a c-section as her pelvis is not deep, but she managed to change the attitude of the staff. We hope she will manage a VBAC.

Françoise Bardes


In the Natural Beginnings Society, a non-governmental organisation in Slovenia dedicated to improvement in maternity care on a national level, we can say that some changes in the way people think about birth are obvious for us. More and more pregnant women and their partners are knowledgeable about the needs of the baby and their own needs during pregnancy, birth and postpartum; they are more informed about the problematic issues in the medical paradigm of childbirth and maternity care practices in Slovenia; and they are willing to put their efforts to ask for what they need. Women and parents-to-be are raising their voices to change the predominant model of contemporary “childbirth design” in Slovenia.

Zalka Drglin

The Bahamas

The culture of birth in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is one of distrust of the normalcy of birth. The philosophical lens of obstetrical care is patriarchal. As one physician yelled when he left the room of a primigravida, who was 5 cm dilated with SROM an hour previously and who had refused to have her labor augmented by Pitocin because the labor was active and she had no need for Pitocin, “Who does she think she is to know what she wants in her labor?”

Four members of Doula Delight, myself included, were told by a physician, “Because The Rand [the only public hospital on the island] is public and health care is free, women have no choice. They have to do what their doctor says.” He went on to say a few minutes later, “Doctors are busy people, they don’t have time to stand around to wait for women to decide what they want for their birth.” Still later, this physician told the four of us, “If I knew then what I know now, I’d have never let my wife labor at all. I would have insisted that she have cesareans for the births of our two children!”

Mary DeLashmutt

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Learn about 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.

Featured Products

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Belly dance and pregnancy: a perfect pair!
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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. Midwifery Today Magazine

Thinking about becoming a midwife?
Know someone who is?
Beginning Midwives PackageOur Beginning Midwives’ Package was designed just for the aspiring midwife, and would make a fine gift! It includes a one-year subscription to Midwifery Today magazine magazine, the book Paths to Becoming a Midwife and the audio-CD set Beginning Midwifery. And all at a discount off the individual prices! Plus, shipping is included in the package price. To order

Our bodies are built for birth
Org. Birth DVDOrganic Birth: Birth is Natural has been adapted and edited to be a more concise, user-friendly version of Orgasmic Birth. This DVD includes an expanded midwifery section, footage of births and interviews with leading birth experts. It’s perfect for expectant parents and a good resource tool for use in childbirth education classes. To order

Learn about shoulder dystocia
Shoulder Dystocia e-book cover Our e-book, Shoulder Dystocia, features top-notch information from the brightest minds in natural childbirth. When you buy this book, you’ll be able to read articles such as “Shoulder Dystocia: The Basics” by Gail Tully, “Preventing Shoulder Dystocia” by Michel Odent and “How Being a Homebirth Midwife Enabled Me to Learn about Shoulder Dystocia” by Ina May Gaskin. Available on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.

Website Update

Read this article excerpt from Midwifery Today magazine, now on our website:

  • Village Prenatals—by Sister MorningStar

    Excerpt: About two years ago, my intentional community (see started what we call village prenatals. “Village” because they involve many women…. The village prenatals have a sole purpose, which is to gather out of selfless service to support and encourage the instinctual life of pregnant women who are trying to birth in power against a modern current of fear and an environment of perpetual interventions.

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