November 25, 2015
Volume 17, Issue 24
Midwifery Today E-News
“Childbirth Education”
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In This Week’s Issue

Cyber Monday Savings! Save $11 on your Midwifery Today subscription!

MT storeNow until Nov. 30, you can save $11 (up to 20%!) on a one-year Midwifery Today subscription. It's our special gift to you. Just enter code 3828 in the coupon field when you check out. This special offer is good on one-year subscriptions only. It cannot be used with special packages or any other subscription discount. Hurry! Nov. 30 is the last day you can take advantage of this great deal. To order

Get practical information about how to have a natural birth in any setting

MT online store The Down to Earth Birth Book has information on herbs, nutrition, exercise, yoga, massage, breathing for birth, the stages of labor, waterbirth, breech birth, mastitis, foods for early breastfeeding and much more. You will also find diagrams, illustrations and over 90 color and black and white photos. This is a book you will return to time and again for information on birth preparation, as an in-the-moment birth guide, and as a reference for after the birth. To order

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Quote of the Week

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.


The Art of Midwifery

I treat the women I work with as friends, not just clients or patients, and nurture our relationship well beyond a strictly health care model. Our visits are open ended, usually an hour or more long, with free phone access in between. I want to know each woman as a unique person, learning what’s important to her within the context of her individual family/friends/spiritual support systems.

Judy Edmunds, excerpted from “My Top 10 Favorite Complementary Modalities,” Sharing Midwifery Knowledge, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. IV, a Midwifery Today book
View table of contents / Order the book

Midwifery Today Conferences

Harrisburg conferenceLearn about Amish and Mennonite Midwifery with Mary Cooper and Diane Goslin

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to work in an Amish or Mennonite community with little in the way of amenities, and challenges that go beyond the typical? Mary and Diane have attended over 11,000 births in these communities. Come listen as they share their experiences in assisting plain and “English” (non-plain) birthing women.

Learn more about the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, conference.

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You’ll get even more content when you subscribe to our quarterly print magazine, Midwifery Today. Subscribe here.

Editor’s Corner

Social Networking Is Great Fun

During the Bad Wildbad, Germany, Midwifery Today conference, Debra Pascali-Bonaro and I did a roundtable on social networking. I do a lot with Facebook but there are so many more splendid platforms to work with to reach birth practitioners and women having babies. We want to be where pregnant women are in order to let birthing moms know the ropes in childbirth today, hopefully even before they get pregnant. The more various places we can chat with them, share photos and information, the better chance they will have to choose a birth place that gives them and their babies the best chance at a positive birth.

What I learned from Debra is that Facebook is geared mostly for people over 40. The young ones mostly use Twitter and Instagram. I am now trying to master those platforms before everyone goes to another platform! Through social media, we are able to reach so many more people than we were before. But with the ease of information sharing, there is a lot more misinformation out there. Let’s all use our various media to spread the good words about birth. The bottom line is, “Moms, you can do it!”

Join me on Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. If you have another favorite place, use old-fashioned e-mail and tell me about it at

— 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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Midwifery Education: Caring and Sharing (Facebook)

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Conference Chatter

Birth Is a Human Rights Issue

As you may know, we have another conference coming up in Strasbourg, France. Because the issue of human rights in childbirth is so important, and because the European Court of Human Rights is based in Strasbourg, we are going there again. Our theme is “Birth Is a Human Rights Issue,” as it was when we were there in 2010. Please join us 19–23 October 2016. We will have the program ready for you in about a month.

Our teachers are Diane Goslin, Verena Schmid, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Gail Hart, Fernando Molina, Carol Gautschi, Cornelia Enning, Tine Greve, Hermine Hayes-Klein, Michel Odent and many more. Save the date!

— Jan Tritten

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Featured Article

Teaching about Birth

Often times when birth is spoken of, words like “primal” and “instinctual” are used. Unfortunately, birth that many women experience is very far removed from these descriptions. Birth instead becomes a managed process, filled with words, machines, interruptions and interventions.

As a childbirth educator, my main aim is to teach people about birth. It is my belief that women possess the instinctual knowledge on how to birth, but problems arise when women don’t understand the type of environment they need to create for themselves in order for their intuitive nature to be free to act.

It seems that one of the greatest barriers to having a natural birth surrounds location. Women must feel safe where they are birthing and many feel that the hospital is the safest place to have a baby because of the technology available should a situation arise that necessitates the need for medical help.

I was recently at the birth of one of my students. The couple had hired me to be their doula and I was honored to be in that role. They had spoken to me of their plans to have a natural birth and of all they envisioned on the big day. They were using the services of the local hospital’s birth center, so they felt they had set themselves up to have a wonderful and gentle experience.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of births through hospital-run birth centers get transferred to the hospital. Midwives have additional protocols they must abide by when working under a hospital, so often their hands are tied, which results in a large number of women being transferred to the hospital. Such was the case with the couple I was assisting.

During labor, the mom was doing a wonderful job focusing on her body and relaxing through contractions. It was definitely an uphill battle, however, because of all of the interruptions by the hospital staff! The nurses would enter the room loudly and ask questions loudly; the mom’s brain was constantly being stimulated and nobody seemed to recognize one of the basic needs of a laboring woman—the need for peace and quiet. She even asked the midwife to please tell the nurses to respect the silent atmosphere. This laboring mom was a true advocate for herself and gave a number of terse shushes when the nurses continued to interrupt her during contractions, even after the request was made. In between one of the contractions, the mom turned to me and said, “They all need to take your class, Nancy, and learn about birth!”

Nancy Halseide
Excerpted from “Teaching about Birth,” Midwifery Today, Issue 104
View table of contents / Order the back issue

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It’s the perfect e-book for the twinning mother

MT store It also makes a wonderful addition to any birthworker’s library. Our Twins e-book has 10 informative and educational articles previously published in Midwifery Today magazine. Authors include Diane Goslin, Michel Odent, Valerie El Halta and Mary Cooper. There are also a few twin birth stories written by mothers. Available on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.

Do you work with laboring women?

MT store Then you need the sixth edition of Anne Frye’s Healing Passage, A Midwife’s Guide to the Care and Repair of the Tissues Involved in Birth. Even if you have an earlier version, you’ll want this one, which is more than twice as long as the fifth and packed with vital information about the art and science of perineal care and repair. The anatomy section has been completely overhauled, the suturing lessons have been expanded and the information about tear repair has been updated. You’ll also find a completely new pelvic floor model with pattern and instructions in the appendices. To order

Put the gift of beautiful birth in her hands

MT store Give Brought to Earth by Birth, a collection of black and white photographs by Harriette Hartigan, one of the world’s master birth photographers. It makes a beautiful gift for your midwife or doula, for expectant or new moms, for grandmothers and for anyone who loves babies and birth. And remember to order a copy for yourself! To order

Learn more about how birth can be

MT store Watch Giving Birth to discover what’s possible for 95% of all mothers and babies who can birth normally and naturally. This DVD contrasts the medical and midwifery models for birth and explains the risks of routine obstetric practices. You’ll learn about the importance of doulas, see images of a waterbirth, watch a woman give birth in her own home, learn about epidural anesthesia, cesareans and more. Giving Birth features obstetrician/gynecologist Christiane Northrup, author of the bestselling Women’s Bodies: Women’s Wisdom. Includes a free resource/teaching guide, “Giving Birth: Challenges and Choices.” To order

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Birth Q&A

Q: What do you think are essential things to teach in childbirth classes?

— Midwifery Today

A: Informed choice, advocacy, the choice to decline intervention of any sort, and the choice to change your mind at any time. I teach couples to accept birth as a physiological process no different to eating and breathing in the absence of an underlying pathology.

— Sally Kelly

A: Knowledge is power. We must teach them to replace fear with faith. We must teach what normal is and what a normal variation is. We must teach the difference between the medical model and the midwifery model. Teach them what a healthy lifestyle really means.

— Marlene Waechter

A: Essentials to teach: physiologic birth, nonpharmacologic pain relief, fear/tension/pain, and interventions with informed decision making. After teaching 35 years, I still review curriculum, gather appropriate teaching tools and seek to be what my clients need me to be and to give them what they need to have the best birth possible.

— Connie Livingston

A: Fear is the enemy of birth.

— Celesta Rannisi

A: Trust yourself and your body!

— Melody Bratti Masi

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