June 8, 2016
Volume 18, Issue 12
Midwifery Today E-News
“Midwives”
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Quote of the Week

When you destroy midwives, you also destroy a body of knowledge that is shared by women, that can’t be put together by a bunch of surgeons or a bunch of male obstetricians, because physiologically, birth doesn’t happen the same way around surgeons, medically-trained doctors, as it does around sympathetic women.

Ina May Gaskin


The Art of Midwifery

Women come in all shapes, sizes, political leanings, cultural groups, religions and social classes. Therefore, midwives also come in all shapes, sizes, political leanings, cultural groups, religions and social classes. It seems only natural that there would be different types of midwives. There will always be women who want or need to birth in a hospital, and they deserve midwifery care. There will always be women who want or need to birth in their homes, and they deserve midwifery care. Free-standing birth centers can strike a balance between the two—women will also want that option, and they deserve midwifery care. Should we judge the women? Of course not. How then can we judge each other for standing beside women in each setting?

Aubre Tompkins
Excerpted from “A Midwife between Worlds,” Midwifery Today, Issue 109
View table of contents / Order the back issue



Midwifery Today Conferences

Walk-ins Are Welcome at our Conference in Fiji in June!

Fijian midwivesIt’s not too late to attend our conference in Suva, Fiji, 20–24 June 2016. Simply register when you arrive. You will be able to learn from teachers such as Carol Gautschi (pictured), Gail Hart, Fernando Molina and Debra Pascali-Bonaro. Classes to choose from include Midwifery in the South Pacific, Shoulder Dystocia and Second Stage Issues, Village Prenatals, and Breech Skills.

Learn more about the Suva, Fiji, conference.



Birth Is a Human Rights Issue

Strasbourg conference Join us in Strasbourg, France, this October as we highlight the human rights violations around the world. You need to feel safe in your practice. Women need to feel safe in the way births are done. In addition to exploring these issues, our conference will inspire, encourage and refresh you. You are the key to changing the future of birth.

Learn more about the Strasbourg, France, conference.


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Editor’s Corner

The Term Lay Midwife

[Note: This issue’s guest editorial is by midwife Gail Hart from the Pacific Northwest.]

I’m an advocate for accurate language. The term lay midwife is seldom used correctly. By standard definition within the medical profession, every single CPM (certified professional midwife) absolutely is a lay midwife unless she is a registered nurse. By their definition, an associate’s degree in nursing (at minimum) is the prerequisite to midwifery training. Therefore, only a certified nurse midwife is a midwife and all other midwives are “lay.”

By the dictionary definition of lay as “uneducated and untrained,” there are very few (if any) lay midwives in the US. In general, midwives here are well trained and educated in midwifery—a profession separate and distinct from nursing. Some of these educated, trained midwives are members of the trade group of CPMs; many are not and have different certifications or qualifications that equal or surpass them.

The term lay midwife should not be used unless we are speaking of the random person who catches a baby by happenstance before the arrival of a birth attendant. In these cases, the untrained/uneducated person steps in and acts in lieu of the trained and educated midwife. The woman also has the basic human right to intentionally choose a friend, family member or other person to act as a lay midwife at her birth.

Let’s end the confusion of these terms. If a person is trained and educated as a midwife, she is not a lay midwife. A registered midwife is a midwife. A nurse-midwife is a midwife. Her degree in nursing is irrelevant to the term. No other country in the world requires a midwife to have a nursing degree; these are separate professions.

A person who is trained and educated in midwifery is a midwife. She is not a lay midwife.

Gail Hart graduated from a midwifery training program as a Certified Practical Midwife in 1977. She has held a variety of certifications over the years; she was a Certified Midwife through the Oregon Midwifery Council, and an LDEM in the state of Oregon. She is now “semi-retired,” and no longer maintains her license, but still keeps active with a small community practice. Gail is strongly interested in ways to holistically incorporate evidence-based medical knowledge with traditional midwifery understanding. She teaches at Midwifery Today conferences.

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Please support our advertisers
BirthWorks International Conference: “Finding the TRUTHS about Birth”
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Conference Chatter

Midwifery Today’s “generosity” (Indiegogo) Campaign

At every Midwifery Today conference, we offer a Tricks of the Trade session, which provides a forum for attendees and speakers alike to share tips and tricks to assist in successful births. This coveted class is a favorite among our attendees. Midwifery Today would like to offer this session, as well as many of our other impactful classes, to birth practitioners in more countries around the world.

Midwifery Today can accomplish this goal with your help. A crowdfunding campaign has been created on generosity by Indiegogo so Midwifery Today can raise funds to take the conference to other countries whose birth professionals would like to learn more about midwifery. For instance, Midwifery Today would like to bring the conference to countries like Belgium, Finland and Spain. We would also like to begin offering online classes so the art of midwifery can be made available to those who are not able to travel and/or attend the conference. Any donation is appreciated because we know that every penny counts. Be a part of the midwifery education movement by going to our campaign on generosity.

— Oriona Turner, conference coordinator

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Please support our advertisers
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Featured Article

The Making of a Midwife: Elimination as a Foundation of Health

Our bodies are personal. We want to look good and feel good. Nutrition, movement and emotions, as well as customs and culture, intimately affect how we pee and poo. Elimination can be a sensitive subject, but it is the foundation of health and, therefore, a pillar for building the nutritional base for growing a healthy body and a healthy baby.

What goes in doesn’t always come out. Food combining can make the difference between assimilation and absorption, which affects short- and long-term health. Have you ever watched what happens to watermelon after it sits in the summer sun for 15 minutes? Our inner fire does the same to watermelon, which is why all melons should be eaten alone and before eating heavier foods that take longer to digest like vegetables or grains or meats. It is wise to eat fruits separately from vegetables and proteins. Some foods affect the color of our poo or the texture or the weight or the smell. Many a mother will be shocked to see red poo, thinking she may have started bleeding, only to discover that her big bowl of beets has found its way through an intricate and extensive system of elimination.

If you eat fresh foods, you can trust your instincts and your taste cravings, especially during pregnancy. We tell mothers to eat their weight in a food that tastes good. It is your body’s way of storing up particular nutrients to meet the growing needs of your baby. When the foods you eat are fresh, tasty, organic and eaten frequently in mini meals, you will experience a clean bladder and a clean colon that puts pep in your step, sheen to your skin and a smile on your face.

Eating non-foods, fast foods, false foods, fake foods or other nutrient-deficient foods, as well as eating on the run, eating stressed or eating unconsciously, will affect digestion and subsequently elimination in a way that leaves you feeling and smelling nasty. Digestion slows or stops when the fight or flight hormones from the adrenal system are activated. We channel blood, blood sugar, energy and focus in surviving a crisis, such as out-running a tiger. Far too many mothers deal with mental or emotional “tigers” on a daily basis. The body can’t tell the difference. If the stress is real (like the breathing tiger) or in the mind (like the worry over children, money, relationships, health, etc.), we end up reabsorbing waste that was meant to move on through. No good comes of such a way of eating, living or pooing. Seriously, pooing needs some unrushed privacy.

Carol Gautschi and Sister MorningStar
Excerpted from “The Making of a Midwife: Elimination as a Foundation of Health,” Midwifery Today, Issue 114
View table of contents / Order the back issue


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

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Birth Q&A

Q: What kind of midwife are you? Why did you choose your particular path to midwifery?

— Midwifery Today

A: I’m whatever kind of midwife the mama needs me to be.

— Susan DiNatale

A: I’m that midwife who with two Balinese midwives, received four baby boys today (in 7 hours), the last one a breech primip, who was ordered by several Ob/Gyns to have a cesarean. Mothers rock birth...they just do.

— Robin Lim

A: I’m that radical CNM who embraces all risk level women in an inner city, underserved region to provide quintessential midwifery care. I train countless residents and medical students to permanently alter their perception of midwives to ensure a lifelong respect of midwifery in them, for they are our future consultants and we will write practice policies and guidelines together. I suggest herbal approaches to imbalance, acupressure options, increased sunshine exposure, yoga and life stress reduction as well as e-prescribing medications and ordering consultations with other specialties and physical therapies. I honor my ancient midwifery lineage as I welcome another shining member of our tribe planet-side and then go for office hours and perform an endometrial biopsy on a post-menopausal woman. I love having many options in what I can offer to the women I care for.

— Windi Muraszka

A: I am a nurse-midwife. I accumulated a huge amount of knowledge about all manner of high-risk pregnancy and birth from working for 15 years in a wonderful high-risk labor and delivery ward. I learned a huge amount of knowledge about normal pregnancy and birth from working for 20 years as midwife. I had wonderful mentors for my midwifery education. I have never had the honor of midwifing at a homebirth, but after a little more than 1000 hospital births, with a career filled with underserved women, I came to believe that if any woman needed a midwife, it was my women who were having their babies in a hospital.

— Vicki Gilbert Ziemer

A: I came in the back door to midwifery. I learned so much in my 20 years as a nurse. As an apprenticeship-trained CPM, I am unlearning. I am learning to trust my hands and my instincts. I am learning to release the fear I had unknowingly picked up. I am learning from the mamas and the babies to deeply trust birth.

— Joanna Wilder


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