November 11, 2015
Volume 17, Issue 23
Midwifery Today E-News
“Doulas”
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In This Week’s Issue



online holiday coupon pageSave $7 on The Power of Women or Survivor Moms

This is just one of the great deals on our Online Holiday Coupon Page. Be sure to take advantage of the savings during the Holiday shopping season. You’ll also find a coupon from We’Moon, Astrological Datebooks, Calendars and Cards.


See how touch can be used during labor and birth

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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. To order



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Quote of the Week

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.

John H. Kennell, MD


The Art of Midwifery

There is a space for care and a space for activism, and those are very different social spaces. The cry for justice, even when correct, must not serve as a trigger for more injustice. Shooting wildly at all sides can bury for many years the efforts that many of us have been making to bring loving and humanized care to childbirth through the work of doulas.

Ricardo Jones
Excerpted from “Doulas: Action vs. Activism,” Midwifery Today, Issue 106
View table of contents / Order the back issue


Midwifery Today Conferences

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..



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Editor’s Corner

Bringing Out the Placenta

My friend and young homebirth midwife asked when we were in Germany, “How long can we wait for a placenta?” She had an experience at a birth where it took nine and a half hours for the placenta to come. I shared with her that one of the techniques that worked in my practice was to give Angelica root tincture.

When I was a midwife with a full practice back in the 1980s, I did not use the cord or membranes to bring the placenta, but now I think I would use this as a first step since it involves using the body to solve its own problems. If the placenta has been born, it is great to use for stopping a hemorrhage; the membranes and cord are excellent if the placenta hasn’t come out yet. Of course, it is always better not to cut the cord so perhaps try the Angelica root or get some membranes, which work very well to stem hemorrhage as well as to bring out the placenta.

— 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

Home from Bad Wildbad, Germany, Conference

Once again, we need to give our teachers a big congratulation on the fabulous teaching job they all did at our conference in Germany. We learned so much and received their love and warmth. (View the Germany conference scrapbook here.)

Midwifery Today conferences really are special. In Germany, the mayor traditionally comes and opens the conference with a toast of champagne or orange juice and some welcoming words. This beautiful community rolls out the red carpet for the Midwifery Today conference attendees.

We had attendees from 49 different countries, adding to a truly international flavor. We were able to hear concerns, issues and achievements from all over the world. We were able to send points of light back to their communities filled with more insight, information and intuition, in keeping with our theme.

This year we awarded Elizabeth Davis for her decades of service to midwives and midwifery. Tine Greve put together a lovely slideshow of Elizabeth photos played to “She’s a Lady,” by Tom Jones. Robbie Davis-Floyd gave a short history of Elizabeth’s work. It was an honor to honor this pioneer of midwifery.

People were asking when we will go back to Bad Wildbad even before we had left! The venue is amazing. The leaves on the trees were just starting to turn when we arrived and were so beautiful by the time we left a week later. We all had so much fun together in the spas and saunas. Join us next time for a conference that will really rejuvenate your birth life!

Please note: Early registration deadline for our conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is Friday, November 20, 2015. Save on conference prices by registering early and subscribing to Midwifery Today.

— Jan Tritten

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Featured Article

A Birth Doula for Every Mother

A majority of women—and our society as a whole—have relinquished pregnancy, childbirth and their postpartum time to the dictates of profit-driven institutions. However, many women are rediscovering that there is more to pregnancy than what we usually hear in literature and in doctors’ offices. More and more women are ready to reclaim the magic in motherhood!

A woman wanting a more natural, nurturing and sacred experience into motherhood has many resources available to support her in her goals: doulas, midwives, postpartum doulas, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, chiropractors, mother’s concierge services and more. We will discuss only one of these resources here—one that can be of enormous help during a homebirth or hospital birth: the birth doula.

The Template Birth

If you are not planning your birth—meaning you are using the hospital template that’s been prepared for you by institutions, corporations and commercially-funded committees—the odds are extremely high that:

  • When you enter the hospital, you will either be placed in a wheelchair or you will walk to a labor room. You will be hooked up to an IV, one or several monitors and denied food and even beverages (other than ice chips, which in many cultures are considered something to avoid in labor).
  • Depending on how “progressive” the hospital and staff are, you will be allowed or encouraged to walk around and work in different labor positions to encourage the baby into an optimal position and allow labor to progress, or you will simply be advised to stay flat on your back—which is considered by many in the birthing world to be one of the most painful and least effective ways to labor.
  • Around the time you start experiencing stronger contractions and the pain sensations are increasing, hospital staff (strangers) will appear at your door encouraging the use of drugs.
  • You will be checked periodically by doctors, residents, nurses and student nurses (more strangers). When you’re dilated far enough, they will move you to the delivery room where your doctor, or a stand-in if he or she has been called away to more pressing matters, will stay with you as the baby and the placenta are born.

This is all assuming that you’re not put on additional drugs to speed labor (if in their estimation you’re taking too long). While 24 hours or longer is a common length of time for a mother to labor—especially with her first baby—many hospitals encourage drugs to speed the process if it passes 12 hours.

It is also assuming that nothing has happened to encourage the doctor to perform a cesarean (now at 30–50% of births in the US, varying by doctor and hospital).

  • All in all, as Jennifer Block states in her book Pushed: The Painful Truth about Modern Childbirth and Maternity Care, a mother, even in a “routine” birth in a hospital, may have “up to 16 different tubes, drugs or attachments” (Block 2007, xiv).
  • After the baby and placenta are born, in most instances they are both taken away: the baby to be washed (unnecessary and considered by many to be stressful for the newborn who’d rather be on her mother’s chest), weighed, measured and treated with various pharmaceutical products and the placenta to an incinerator.

Whoa! How has the most sacred rite of passage become so cold and offensive? Where’s the romance, the beauty, the nurturing? Where’s the love?

We can all see the need for a different approach and the need for support—for someone who understands the needs of the mother, supports and advocates for her. A person with whom she’s met, established rapport and trust, and who she knows will be there when the big moment arrives. Someone who’s not a friend, mother-in-law, nor the father—they have different roles.

The birthing mother needs a person who has witnessed and participated in at least dozens, if not hundreds, of births to represent her best interests and desires when push comes to shove!

Reference:

  • Block, Jennifer. 2007. Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care. Da Capo Press.

Allie Chee
Excerpted from “A Birth Doula for Every Mother,” Midwifery Today, Issue 104
View table of contents / Order the back issue


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Website Update

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

  • Mother Health International’s Mission and Model—by Kay Sandberg and Shane Carnahan

    Excerpt: “Mother Health has a Mobile Midwives program that sends midwives into rural villages each week to care for women who are unable to travel to the clinic. Reaching out to women in this way has facilitated a decrease in maternal and neonatal mortality in the area.”


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