September 16, 2015
Volume 17, Issue 19
Midwifery Today E-News
“Birth Is a Human Rights Issue”
Print Page

In This Week’s Issue

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

MT online storeSurvivor 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. To order

This issue of Midwifery Today E-News is brought to you by:

Look below for more info.

Quote of the Week

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

Nelson Mandela

The Art of Midwifery

All women are fully human and deserving of respect and dignity. When we think about our sisters in sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia, we may not know how endangered they still are in childbirth and how few real choices they have. It has been said that, in developing countries, the most dangerous occupation is motherhood. Ethical people have a duty to act on human rights violations, once those violations have been made known.

Vicki Penwell
Excerpted from “A Hidden Tragedy: Birth as a Human Rights Issue in Developing Countries,” Midwifery Today, Issue 94
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Germany conferenceAngelina Martinez Miranda discusses Mexican Traditions and Techniques

This full-day class covers positioning, remedies and customs from Mexico, simple techniques that promote healthy pregnancy and birth. You will learn how to use a rebozo, a very useful tool in all parts of the childbearing cycle. Plus you will practice what you are learning under Angelina’s watchful guidance.

Learn more about the Bad Wildbad, Germany, conference.

What are alternative remedies for birth?

Harrisburg conferenceLearn about herbs, homeopathics and other natural remedies in pregnancy, birth and postpartum from Diane Goslin and Janice Marsh-Prelesnik. They will also explain practical uses of these remedies for your clients’ ailments and complications.

This full-day class is part of our conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, April 2016..

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.

Editor’s Corner

Birth Is a Human Rights Issue

The issue of human rights is so important that we decided to do another conference dedicated to this topic in Strasbourg, France. It is sad that in the five years since we have done our previous conference in Strasbourg, things have not changed much globally. The 2010 conference program had these words printed on it: “Every mother and baby has the right to be treated with reverence and respect during the birth process, including pregnancy and beyond.” All we need to do is apply that phrase to childbirth throughout the world and ascertain how we are doing. We are not doing very well, so let us come together to attend great classes, learn from teachers and from each other, discuss the issue and revitalize our plans to change the world.

From the Global Midwifery Council statement are these important words: “The most basic human right for every woman is the right to choose her place of birth and who will attend her. Mothers and babies do best in an environment conducive to the respect for the physiology of birth. Conscious mother-centered midwifery has been shown to serve that need.” Our conference will address these important issues and make plans to change the future of childbirth around the world.

Hermine Hayes-Klein, a lawyer who has taken this issue around the world in many conferences including some attached to Midwifery Today, will be one of our esteemed speakers. Her work focuses on legal issues surrounding childbirth and includes the defense of midwives. Other teachers include Gail Hart, Fernando Molina, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Verena Schmid, Diane Goslin, Cornelia Enning, Carol Gautschi and myself.

Mark your calendar! The dates are 19–23 October 2016.

— 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.

Midwifery Today on Facebook
Midwifery Education: Caring and Sharing (Facebook)

Please support our advertisers
Discount Brand Name Surgical Supplies!

eSutureseSutures is a discount liquidator of brand name suture and surgical supplies. We stock over 1 million items, including Ethicon, Covidien and Dermabond, all available INDIVIDUALLY. Visit our website or call 888-416-2409 for pricing and availability today! Use promo code: MIDWIFE10 for 10% off your first order with us! Offer expires 12/31/15.

Conference Chatter

Fun Events Planned for the Germany Conference

Here are some highlights that will be happening at the Germany conference:

Tuesday afternoon, 20 October: Everyone is invited to ride the cable car on the hill and walk on the very new attraction of Bad Wildbad, an elevated walking path: (Cost: 11 €)

Friday morning, 23 October: Bad Wildbad’s mayor, Klaus Mack, will be at the conference to welcome all of the attendees.

Friday night: Whoever would like to join can come to the traditional meal at the Wildbader Hof. Afterwards, we will walk to the cozy little church in the Kurpark for a little surprise. Later on in the night, there will be a wonderful concert with dance in the Kurhaus with the musical group Stadtkapelle Wildbad. (Dinner will cost around 7–9 €.)

Saturday night, 24 October: Midwifery Today’s Cabaret! Bring your play, song, poem or comedy routine to share for a fun evening!

— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today

Keep up to date with conference news on Facebook:

Please support our advertisers!
Become a Nurse-Midwife: Frontier Nursing University Accepts Registered Nurses with an ADN or Bachelor’s Degree.

Frontier Nursing UniversityFrontier Nursing University’s nurse-midwifery program is the longest-running midwifery program in the United States and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 program. Through our distance education model, you can complete coursework online and clinical work in your own community. Earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree online today.


Featured Article

The Issue of Birth Rights

Birth is biological. At its most fundamental level, it is an animal rights issue. When I was working in Mexico, I was not surprised when, following a birth, a grandmother asked me, “How is the mother?” But when she endearingly asked, “Y la creatura?” (“And the little creature?”), I stopped in my step. Something powerful and deeply instinctual came alive in me. I had watched wild and farm animals bond, nurse and protect their young. I had observed and studied the importance of maternal-infant bonding from a professional viewpoint. I had dedicated my midwifery career to keeping one of my thousand eyes on everything from environment to timing to security to states of mind and heart and soul—anything that had the potential of affecting or shaping those first glances and touch and moments of irreplaceable connection between the mother and her fresh born. Nothing had set things more clear and right in my mind as that grandmother’s simple and urgent question regarding her “hope of the future”—”Y la creatura?”

We are creatures. We are animals. It is not a bad or lowly thing to be. It allows us to eat and poop and get in out of the cold and enjoy mating and flee danger. We embody an instinct that is backed by millions of years of invested intelligence. It certainly includes birth. It most certainly includes birth.

Who thought of holding legs above a pelvis with stirrups or shaving pubic hair to help create a sterile field or inserting enemas for cleanliness or providing strangers for companions? Certainly not creature mothers and babies. They would kick and bite and run for the hills. They wouldn’t need to consult books or experts. Their instinctual knowing only takes a second to be consulted. The answer and response is automatic. It takes force, mighty force, to restrain an instinctual animal in the moment of performing a bodily function, especially birth. Have we successfully used intellectual fear to overpower the instinctual fear of a birthing human, so she will now submit to actions that otherwise would make her bite and kick and run for the hills?

Sister MorningStar
Excerpted from “The Issue of Birth Rights,” Midwifery Today, Issue 94
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Please support our advertisers
Share This 25% OFF BEST Prenatal Vitamin Coupon Code with Your Clients!
Best Nest Wellness Get the Coupon Code Here. A 100% natural, whole food based, physician formulated one-a-day multivitamin. *Contains methylfolate, a natural, more absorbable folate, for healthy neurological development. Most prenatals have synthetic folic acid, which 50% of people cannot absorb. *Contains methylcobalamin, the most potent form of B12, better absorbed than cyanocobalamin. *No artificial colors/flavors, preservatives, sugar, gluten, soy, dairy/lactose or GMOs. Find Out More Now

Featured Products

Support, comfort, empower, with Birth Affirmations

MT store This tiny 4" × 5" book contains 69 affirmations and 29 drawings that cover Pregnancy, Birth, After Birth, and Nursing. It’s an ideal way to help a pregnant women dispel any fears she may have and to create a positive atmosphere for her baby’s birth. It’s a perfect gift for your clients or that friend who is expecting. To order

Read about the third stage of labor!

MT store The Third Stage of Labor e-book is packed with information about the umbilical cord, the placenta and natural approaches to this phase of birth. This collection of 15 articles from past issues of Midwifery Today magazine includes “Placenta Accreta” by Marion Toepke McLean, “Cord Burning” by Kelly Dunn, “On Meconium at Home and Delayed Cord-cutting” by Naolí Vinaver, “Placenta Rituals and Folklore from Around the World” by Sarah J. Buckley and “The Problem Is Induction, Not Meconium” by Gail Hart. Buy your copy and have it with you at the next birth you attend! Available on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.

Fill Your Birth Library with Midwifery Today Back Issues

MT online store Each quarterly issue of Midwifery Today 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. To order

Discover how you can have a safe, gentle birth

MT store Pregnancy & Childbirth Secrets is packed with information that will guide you throughout your pregnancy and during your first days as a mom. Mothers, childbirth professionals and researchers share their experience and knowledge, giving you the insight you need to have a birth that is safe and rewarding for both you and your baby. To order

Want the whole story?

MT store Subscribe to Midwifery Today magazine and four times a year you’ll receive 72 pages filled with complete articles, birth stories, stunning birth photography and more. Midwifery Today E-News is just a taste of what you’ll find in Midwifery Today, the print magazine. To order

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

MT store 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. To order

Website Update

The table of contents is now online to show you what’s in the beautiful new Autumn issue of Midwifery Today magazine. View it here.

Please support our advertisers
Is Your Hospital Baby-Friendly Yet?
advertiserCreated to support the implementation of the WHO and UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding is essential for staff training. Structured in 15 modules and mapped to the Baby-Friendly objectives, it features new animations, knowledge checks throughout, and earns 24.4 CEUs for nurses and 24.4 L-CERPs for lactation consultants. Learn more and preview the course at our website.

Birth Q&A

Q: Do you think human rights in childbirth is an important topic?

— Midwifery Today

A: Yes, because there is more than one road to “live mother, live baby,” and the road to that end result can either respect or violate the human rights of the woman giving birth...and her baby! Thank you, Jan, and Midwifery Today for all the years of service that you have given to elevating the treatment and human rights of mothers and babies.

— Hermine Hayes-Klein

A: There is nothing more degrading to a woman than not to be in control of her own birth.

— RoxiBella Trent

A: I think human rights in childbirth is probably one of the essential movements of this time period in history. The respect we give to women and the respect we give to the newborn baby set the tone and set the norm for treatment after birth. It is time to raise the bar! It is time to honor and respect women and their choices in birth and to honor and respect the newborn baby as a sensitive mind whose impressions of birth and memory of the experience can affect him throughout his lifetime.

Women will often tell us that the experience of birth changed them for better or for worse. And one of the strongest influences on their experience is their sense of control or lack of control—their feeling of being respected or of disrespect.

As the financial structure changes, and new technologies arise, we are in danger of losing much of what makes us human. Birth is the one things that humans do, and how women give birth has an impact on society as a whole. If we accord women the respect they deserve, it will remain a positive influence on the family and can be a force for positive social change.

That slogan from the 60s still stands true: “Peace on earth begins with birth.”

— Gail Hart

A: Yes, I do. I write about it often. I have been moved by it so much in my medical studies, having been witness to such abuse by so many of whom I was inferior to and dependent on to sign log books! The way we treat moms and babies in pregnancy and birth becomes their blueprint for how they expect to experience life, how they expect to be received and treated, how they interact with energies. This time is such a powerful time to make positive imprints and change. Yet, it is being so adulterated. That is why we need more and more gentle birth practitioners who understand this. My gentle, conscious birth changed my perspective and enlightened me deeply on the importance of this time.

— Gauri Abbi Lowe

A: Yes, I do. Providing an environment and a model of care that facilitates the woman as the decision maker and provides information and consent along with kindness, dignity and respect, are all essential ingredients to a birth going as it should. A mother who feels safe and supported, and has a voice, is likely to have fewer complications and birth her baby in a loving and welcoming environment, hence benefitting her emotional well-being. The baby will not receive stress hormones and will feel welcome. Attachment and bonding are a natural progression to such a birthing experience, and the transition to parenthood without trauma will only enhance the motherbaby dyad. Sadly, only a small percentage of women are experiencing such opportune conditions. Millions of babies are born into harsh, frightening conditions, where women are controlled, silenced, abused, afraid and bullied. Separation of mother and baby usually occurs after births like this; negative emotions and higher incidences of postpartum depression are likely to follow, along with possible long-term physical and emotional effects. Look at the state of our world today! As Gail said, it’s time to raise the bar. It’s time to create simple and doable birth practices that bring love back into the framework of birthing babies.

— Lina Duncan

Classified Advertising

Tell our readers about your business. Just $48/issue ($135 for four) gives you 35 words to promote your products or services. Go here to learn more or write

Manage Your E-News Subscription

To subscribe

Just go here and fill out the form:

Change your e-mail address

If you are a current subscriber and you want to change the e-mail address to which the newsletter is delivered, please click the “update subscription preferences” link at the bottom of any mailed issue and then make your changes.

If you are a current subscriber and want to stop receiving the newsletter, please click the “unsubscribe from this list” link at the bottom of any mailed issue and then make your changes.

If you have difficulty, please send a complete description of the problem, including any error messages, to

Learn your subscription status

If you are not receiving your issues, but have subscribed, contact with the address you used to subscribe and we will look into it for you.

Learn even more about birth.

Midwifery Today Magazine—mention code 940 when you subscribe.

 1-Year Subscription2-Year Subscription
United States$55$105
All other countries$75$145

E-mail or call 800-743-0974 to learn how to order.

Or subscribe online.

RSS Feed Subscribe to the Web Updates RSS feed to stay on top of what’s new or highlighted on the Midwifery Today website. Be alerted when conference programs go online, new articles are posted and more.

How to order our products mentioned in this issue:

Secure online shopping

We accept Visa and MasterCard at the Midwifery Today Storefront.

Order by postal mail

We accept Visa; MasterCard; and check or money order in U.S. funds.

Midwifery Today, Inc.
PO Box 2672
Eugene, OR 97402, USA

Order by phone or fax

We accept Visa and MasterCard.

Phone (U.S. and Canada; orders only):  800-743-0974

Phone (worldwide):  +1-541-344-7438

Fax:  +1-541-344-1422

E-News subscription questions or problems

Editorial submissions, questions or comments for E-News

Editorial for print magazine



For all other matters

All questions and comments submitted to Midwifery Today E-News become the property of Midwifery Today, Inc. They may be used either in full or as an excerpt, and will be archived on the Midwifery Today website.

Midwifery Today E-News is published electronically every other Wednesday. We invite your questions, comments and submissions. We’d love to hear from you. Write to us at: Please send submissions in the body of your message and not as attachments.


This publication is presented by Midwifery Today, Inc., for the sole purpose of disseminating general health information for public benefit. The information contained in or provided through this publication is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be, and is not provided as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Midwifery Today, Inc., does not assume liability for the use of this information in any jurisdiction or for the contents of any external Internet sites referenced, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advertised in this publication. Always seek the advice of your midwife, physician, nurse or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or for answers to any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.

Copyright Notice

The content of E-News is copyrighted by Midwifery Today, Inc., and, occasionally, other rights holders. You may forward E-News by e-mail an unlimited number of times, provided you do not alter the content in any way and that you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. You may print a single copy of each issue of E-News for your own personal, noncommercial use only, provided you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. Any other use of the content is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Midwifery Today, Inc., and any other applicable rights holders.

© 2015 Midwifery Today, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!