|March 18, 2015|
Volume 17, Issue 6
|Midwifery Today E-News|
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The Hemorrhage Handbook is filled with great stories told by expert midwives that give you superb insight into bleeding problems that may occur during the prenatal period, the birth or postpartum. Topics include the importance of good nutrition, how the bloodstream works, herbs to use, emotional factors and Chinese remedies. To order
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In This Week’s Issue
“Pillars of Midwifery: Insight, Information and Intuition”
Join us for our conference in Bad Wildbad, Germany, this October. You’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of classes including Hemorrhage, Spinning Babies, Breech, Mexican Techniques and Shoulder Dystocia. Planned teachers include Robin Lim, Carol Gautschi, Gail Hart, Sister MorningStar, Gail Tully, Debra Pascali-Bonaro and Michel Odent.
Quote of the Week
I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
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The Art of Midwifery
Shepherd’s purse is one of the most immediate and powerful hemostatics (blood stoppers) available to us. It is known as an herb with a deep affinity for the uterus and a life-saver for birthing women.
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.
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No Hatting, Patting or Chatting
“No hatting, patting or chatting.” This is a phrase Carla Hartley so appropriately came up with. I have been a midwife since 1976, or perhaps I should say that is when Marion Toepke-McLean started training me because I was going to births. I started going to these births in the 1970s because the mothers were asking me to be there! Back then we did not cut the cord until the placenta was out. Immediately after birth, we tried to keep the family’s space sacred instead of chatting in our excitement of the birth, and hopefully we never patted anyone! We did, however, put hats on babies. We had been taught that a baby loses heat through her/his head. But now we know that it is even more important for a mother to be able to smell her newborn and to be naked up against each other skin-to-skin instead of having hats and other materials in the way. It is always good to review our practices in light of today’s new information. It is so important that we as midwives keep up with our education. Mothers and babies are counting on us to do that! This is one of the main reasons we put together our conferences—in order to help you keep up and keep learning while being inspired!
— 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.
My first exposure to homebirth was at a California country commune. We ate nutritious, balanced meals, mostly vegetarian, à la Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé. A lot of what we ate, we grew, with occasional trips to town for meat and staples to keep it balanced. We didn’t see any hemorrhages there, so I never learned how to deal with them.
Then I moved half a country away. Southern Ohio is not nearly as health- or conservation-conscious as California. It was there that I saw my first hemorrhage and had to transport the mom for my lack of knowledge [about] how to handle the situation. I learned the hard way that not everyone ate healthfully, and I learned how much this impacts birth. The doctor used Pitocin and Methergine to deal with the hemorrhage. I started working with this same doctor shortly after my second child was born. We used IM Pitocin to stop postpartum hemorrhages. Since most of the people choosing homebirth were more health-conscious than the average Ohioan, we still did not see many bleeds.
When my third baby was born, although I didn’t bleed enough to call it a hemorrhage, there was a little more blood than I like to see. After this experience, I started noticing that a few moms bled considerably less than average. I asked what they had been doing to achieve this. The answer was always “Alfalfa!” I had been faithfully preaching on the importance of a good wholesome diet with lots of leafy greens, but I then learned that adding alfalfa supplements helped diminish blood loss immensely. By the time I had my fourth baby, I was taking alfalfa supplements along with my usual diet, which was already high in greens. After my birth, I tried to estimate blood loss, but only found a little smear on one underpad. I asked everyone else there, “What happened to all the bloody stuff?” No one had cleaned up anything! We finally estimated one-fourth of a cup of blood—total! Even the doc, who had been there (I worked for him and had invited him), congratulated me as he left, saying, “That’s the first bloodless delivery I’ve ever seen. Good job!”
Read this article excerpt from Midwifery Today magazine, now on our website:
Q: What tricks do you use to help guard against hemorrhage with the mothers you work with?
— Midwifery Today
A: Allow the placenta to come away on its own, massage the fundus and have baby nurse to stimulate contractions.
— Emily Rose Conatser
A: I had a postpartum hemorrhage with an 800 ml blood loss. All three techniques were used—my midwife massaged my abdomen to help the uterus to contract, and I also had an injection whilst breastfeeding. This was highly effective and prevented further hemorrhaging.
— Charlotte Cogger
A: In a homebirth setting, I allow immediate skin-to-skin contact and a totally uninterrupted time between mum and baby, so no talking, rubbing baby, putting hats on, etc. Allow baby to breastfeed ASAP. I also give mum a warm herbal tea with honey and various herbs for helping contract the uterus and expel the placenta (this is made up by an herbalist). During my many years practicing, I’ve only ever had one postpartum hemorrhage which was safely managed at home.
— Rose Pride
A: I learned this from another midwife: as I rub the fundus, I look into the woman’s eyes and firmly but reassuringly tell her to stop bleeding. That is my first step. As with everything else in birth, I believe there is a mental and emotional component to postpartum hemorrhage.
— Amy Towle
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Help Wanted: We have an immediate need for a CPM to help serve our rural, north-central Wisconsin home-birthing community. Will consider temporary or long-term possibilities. Midwifery Service: 715-443-6647 email@example.com
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