February 17, 2016
Volume 18, Issue 4
Midwifery Today E-News
“Midwifery Education”
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In This Week’s Issue



MT online storeThinking about becoming a midwife? Do you know someone who is?

Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education is just what any aspiring midwife needs! The fourth edition of this book includes several new articles on the various midwifery philosophies, new information on becoming an apprentice, dozens of recently updated articles, and a directory of more than 150 schools, programs and other resources. To order



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

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Quote of the Week

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela


The Art of Midwifery

The majority of years training to be a midwife are concentrated on honing our skills, nurturing our intuition and birthing ourselves as caregivers. The art of running a business with financial stability, success and professional integrity comes much later, along with wisdom and experience.

Paula Tipton-Healy, excerpted from “Building a Successful Midwifery Practice,” Birth Wisdom, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III, 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.



Attend a full-day Midwifery Skills class at our conference in Fiji

Fiji conferenceYour teachers will be Carol Gautschi, Gail Hart, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Suzanne Thomson. Topics covered include Prenatal Care for Best Outcomes, Normal Physiological Birth, The First Hour of Life and Complications of Birth. Plan now to attend!

Learn more about the Suva, Fiji, conference.



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Then show your support and get more content by subscribing to our quarterly print magazine, Midwifery Today. Subscribe here.


Editor’s Corner

Getting an Education

Midwifery Today has published several editions of our book Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education. We have many reasons for wanting to keep this book current. One is to give guidance to aspiring and student midwives. Another is to give reality checks to the ups and downs of being a midwife. We also hope to encourage more people into the profession of midwifery. According to the World Health Organization, the world needs at least 350,000 more midwives. This is the truth: Midwives save lives and help mothers have the best birth possible. With this book, we also want to help aspiring midwives decide on what path to take to become a midwife. The world, including the US, needs more CNMs, CPMs and traditional midwives.

Paths to Becoming a Midwife has articles from past issues of Midwifery Today, highlighting many helpful areas of midwifery education. Articles by Vicki Penwell, Barbara Katz Rothman, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Elizabeth Davis and so many more great authors provide a wonderful collection that can be used as a resource for figuring out your journey and the path to take into midwifery. A paragraph about many midwifery schools and resources are helpful additions. Sadly, some of the schools listed in our most recent edition do not exist anymore, but on the whole, this is still the most helpful book for student and aspiring midwives.

You can order Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education here.

— 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

Conference Learning

One great way to supplement your education to become a midwife or any other kind of childbirth practitioner is to go to a Midwifery Today conference. Our conferences are educational, and they are also fun and supportive; we want registrants to feel loved and cared for at each event we host. Our teachers all enjoy mentoring future midwives and doulas.

Another bonus to our conferences is the networking that happens. You will make excellent contacts so that you always have someone to call on when you need to confer on an issue or share a joy! This is a very important part of our conferences. With social networking your new colleagues are never far from you. When you attend a conference, we always suggest that you add to your contact list by exchanging information with registrants and teachers. Getting an education works best when you are proactive!

We have four conferences coming up in 2016. Visit our general conference page here. We hope to see you there!

— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today

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Featured Article

Midwifery Education?

What is the purpose of midwifery education? What is your purpose for midwifery education? Has shifting it from the apprenticeship model to the formalized education model improved birth outcomes? Does making midwifery education stream through a formalized route create a profession and a professional that improves birth experiences for women? What does the effect of fear have on the birth outcome? Is there a causative effect of fear for safety that diminishes the goal of a positive outcome, as well as diminishing a mother’s perception of happiness in her birth experience? What long-lasting effects does a professional creation of fear for safety have on a woman’s happiness beyond the birth experience? Has safety become the yard stick by which midwifery education is researched and measured and globalized? Have we succeeded in creating a false sense of security in birth with the presence of a professional?

In the late 1970s and early 1980s in Missouri, you could have your baby at home but you couldn’t have anyone help you who knew what they were doing. By law physicians, trained or not in birthing babies, could have helped you, but they wouldn’t. Truthfully, that difficult situation helped those of us who chose homebirth to be clear and strong and mutually supportive. Gandhi said, “If someone can lead you out of the forest, someone else can lead you back in.” There wasn’t anyone else to trust but ourselves, and that served us very well. The same instincts that guided our ancestors and the animals in the woods around us became our guideposts. My daughters and the children of my friends birthed powerfully at home and those births included the modern-day terms of postdates, small for gestational age, large for gestational age, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, premature and prolonged rupture of membranes and meconium-stained fluids. When I was having babies, we didn’t know the names of those conditions, and I believe that lack of professional or official education was to our advantage. We watched for things like general well-being, general happiness, capacity for handling stress and presence of fear. We watched to see if the pregnant mother was feeling better or feeling worse, and we circled close when her time came near. She knew us by name and we knew how she slept, pooped and what she ate. We knew if she had made peace with people and circumstances that surrounded her birth and her baby. It never occurred to us that her body couldn’t do something that her mind was clear about. We didn’t have a point to prove; we had a baby to birth. Many of those stories are in a book I wrote about my nearly 30 years of experiences with instinctual birth called The Power of Women.

My drive and purpose and intention when I began to seek out midwifery education in the late 1970s was to find a midwife with whom I could apprentice. I wanted to learn how to get to know a mother in seven or so short months so that her honesty, love and power would be comfortable revealing itself in my presence. I followed my mentor everywhere, including the grocery store. After every prenatal appointment and after every birth we would sip tea as I asked questions and she asked me questions. I would ask, “Why?” and “What if?” She would answer straightforwardly and then ask me deeper questions about what I would do and what I was thinking.

Sister MorningStar
Excerpted from “Midwifery Education?” Midwifery Today, Issue 105
View table of contents / Order the back issue


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Featured Products

Learn and review basic midwifery skills

MT store If you’re studying to become a midwife, you need General Skills for the Student Midwife. This 2-DVD set is packed with demonstrations by experienced midwives and nurses and gives you the opportunity to see hands-on skills being performed. Topics covered include Sterile Technique, Basic Treatment of Shock, Maternal Temperature Assessment, Maternal Skin Assessment, Newborn Temperature Assessment and much more. To order



Add Waterbirth to your e-book library

MT e-book Purchase and download Waterbirth, a collection of 16 informative articles from Midwifery Today magazine. The topics you’ll be able to read include “A Lovely Way to Enter the World” by Judy Edmunds, “Aquadurals and Douladurals Replace the Epidural” by Judith Elaine Halek, “Waterbirth Makes the Midwife’s Job Easier” by Samantha McCormick, “A Landmark in the History of Birthing Pools” by Michel Odent and “Waterbirth and GBS” by Judy Slome Cohain. Available on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.



Save with the Student Midwives Package!

MT store This package includes a one-year subscription to Midwifery Today magazine, Midwifery Today Issue 78 on Education, the Birthsong Midwifery Workbook and Birth Wisdom Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III. If you are a current subscriber, buying this package will extend your subscription. To order



Learn the how and why of diagnostic testing.
MT online store Understanding Diagnostic Tests by Anne Frye will give you a holistic perspective on test results. The 7th edition is updated and expanded by around 395 pages, to give you 1365 pages packed with valuable information. To order


Discover belly mapping!

MT store The Belly Mapping Workbook shows how a woman can discover her baby’s position in late pregnancy. This technique can be a fun bonding activity and is often used for proactive childbirth preparation using optimal fetal positioning. The workbook includes 100 drawings and photos that take you through details of head-down and breech babies. At just $14.95, it makes a fine gift for a pregnant friend! To order



Website Update

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

  • Stress Deprivation in the Perinatal Period—by Michel Odent

    Excerpt: “In the framework of our cultural conditioning, stress has a negative connotation: we must avoid stressful situations. Meanwhile, in the current scientific context, it appears that stress hormones have multiple roles to play and the concept of “stress deprivation” has recently emerged in scholarly articles.”


Birth Q&A

Q: How did you get your education to be a midwife? What do you think is the best way for midwives to get their education?

— Midwifery Today

A: Hands down, the best way to train to be a midwife is through apprenticeship with a seasoned experienced senior midwife.

— Celesta Rannisi

A: I went through my local four-year midwifery education program in Ontario, Canada, which sufficed clinically, but my love and heart for midwifery was learned through my introduction to Midwifery Today at a conference in Harrisburg! It was there that I felt midwifery was a calling rather than a career, where I came to see birth as normal, beautiful and sacred. Learning can come from many forms. I also believe I learn continually from the mamas I care for.

— Amy Sjaarda

A: I did my training the old-fashioned way: I studied my butt off. I went to educational seminars and most importantly, I shadowed/apprenticed with four wonderful midwives that I wanted to practice like. I believe that there is much lost and not taught in just books or institutions. I also ran a highly successful doula program in a teaching hospital for 10.5 years, which helped me learn how to tell when labor or birth is veering away from normal, necessitating a transport before it becomes an emergency. I have been a birth keeper for over 22 years and a trained midwife for over 16 years; during this time, I have only felt the need to do three episiotomies, and only one actually needed stitching. Mothers under my care are given time to stretch and they have minimal tearing. After practicing as a midwife for 10 years, I finally decided to take the CPM/NARM exam to be certified.

— Nickie Kozik Kerrigan

A: I did a year and a half of apprenticeship with the Motor City Midwives. There were no midwives in the 1970s, so we traveled to Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing and Flint!

— Linda Honey


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