October 26, 2016
Volume 18, Issue 22
Midwifery Today E-News
“Ethics in Midwifery”
Print Page

In This Week’s Issue

MT store Save $8 on The Power of Women

This book by Sister MorningStar shows how healing words and empowering stories help women listen to their instincts during childbirth. It makes a wonderful gift for an expecting mother. You can also save $4 on any one Holistic Clinical Series handbook. Choose from Second Stage, Tear Prevention and more. But hurry, both offers expire November 5, 2016. 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

Without “ethical culture,” there is no salvation for humanity.

Albert Einstein

Midwifery Today Conferences

Eugene conference Take two half-day classes with Elizabeth Davis!

In Physical Exam and Prenatal Assessments in the Holistic Model of Care, Elizabeth will discuss classic physical exam and prenatal assessment skills, with attention to making these assessments valuable experiences for both client and practitioner. In the afternoon, the Pelvimetry and Its Application in Labor session will feature hands-on practice of the endangered art of pelvimetry with instruction on how to use this skill appropriately.

Part of our conference in Eugene, Oregon, April 2017.

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Editor’s Corner

Ethics in Birth Care

We now know so much more about overall health and the seeding of a healthy microbiome at birth that it would be unethical not to have the mother and baby skin-to-skin and undisturbed unless there is a life-threatening emergency. We find in life that many of the things we used to believe are not true anymore. We can really only take responsibility for what is known. The benefits of a healthy microbiome are now well known, and birth practitioners fail mothers and babies when they do not facilitate the best foundation for a healthy life.

Michel Odent wrote a great article for our next issue of Midwifery Today magazine where he talks about all of this in detail. He concludes that the best place to have a baby is in the mother’s home where her microbes flourish. We homebirth midwives are at a great advantage here but it is also important that we facilitate what we know. Since most babies are born in hospital, it is of utmost importance that practitioners there figure out the best ways to help families facilitate this right to a healthy microbiome!

— 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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The Wait Is Over for Primary Care of Women, Second Edition
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Conference Chatter

By the time you get this edition of E-News, we will have just finished our Strasbourg, France, conference and now we turn our attention to the Eugene, Oregon, conference. It promises to be an outstanding event with many new speakers and subjects as well as some of your favorite regulars! We have 20 speakers, including Penny Simkin, who joins us again to teach a full-day workshop: “Keeping Birth Normal: Fostering the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection among Mother, Baby, Birthplace and Birth Team.” I am also excited about her breakout session: “Healing Birth Trauma for Mother and Midwife” and for her general session: “Best Beginnings: Homebirth, Midwifery and the Microbiome.” This conference is packed with a rich offering of classes and teachers; I hope you can join us! We are happy to send you a paper copy of the program. Just e-mail your postal address to us at admin@midwiferytoday.com.

— Jan Tritten

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Featured Article

The Voice of Reason

“Good luck with that cesarean section problem,” said my webmaster as he posted the beautiful home water birth photos of mother Kalista and baby Loki with father Trace and sister Sophie immersed in love, joy and newborn water. “It seems we were talking about that problem 30 years ago.” Yep, he’s right. We were.

By 2013, ACOG had released their new definitions for gestation, making 40 weeks term and paving the way for inductions at 39 weeks. California-licensed midwives received news of tighter restrictions for homebirth. National and world statistics worsened for infant and maternal mortality making it seem reasonable to move toward higher requirements for birth worker education and tighter control for standards in childbirth. ACOG seems to be the voice of reason.

I, however, am the voice of another reason. In all these rulings, standards, guidelines and laws, the voice of the mother is rarely seen as the expert. Her final knowing and final word ought to stand firm above the knowing of others about her; this is a human rights issue. As we midwives started to create a tiny space to serve mothers, serve our callings and serve ourselves without being thrown into prison, we thought the mother’s voice was heard through our midwifery voice; this was our initial mistake. The Cherokee made the same mistake in calling all men brothers as the foreign foot stepped onto this land. Another’s voice can never replace the one to whom actions are being taken or suggested, especially when the action is insisted upon with threats of death. This is why one must go deep and quietly into the presence of birth to see what miracles are possible.

In his latest book, Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens, Michel Odent concludes, “Let us work as if it is not too late.” Some may work for legislation, others for research, some with colleagues and some with mothers, but may all work with heart and soul with little thought of self and much thought of the seventh generation. I have many passions, but intellectualizing and standardizing birth is not one of them. So I am the voice of undisturbed birth and I am saying, “Stop frightening birthing mothers.” May we learn how to speak our truths without frightening others and without frightening ourselves.

Meanwhile, I wonder, why can’t we see that the way we are handling birth and the very real correlating outcomes are making things increasingly worse? Who cares how much more qualified, educated, scientific, evidence-based, equal or superior we have all become if we as a collective motherhood and as a collective midwifehood are more afraid of birth and, therefore, act accordingly. I’m not sure anyone with any education or training is best suited to be with a birthing mother. If a mother can somehow escape the claws of a professional, she ranks in the numbers of those women who are birthing the last free human beings on our planet—the last human life free from needles, machines, drugs, plastic, spotlights and the coercion of fear.

The right to decline treatment, seek a second opinion, seek alternative therapies and change care providers is a human right available to all, including pregnant women. It is a bogus right if, when exercised, a woman is made to feel that she is stupid, irresponsible and dangerous to her own offspring. The use of threats, coercion, bullying, demeaning language and looks, withdrawal of care and downright meanness are used every day against the women who carry the future of their families and the future of our species inside their wombs under their heart near their instinctual nature. The right to humane treatment is more visibly applied to endangered species of zoo animals than to pregnant women.

Sister MorningStar
Excerpted from “The Voice of Reason,” Midwifery Today, Issue 110
View table of contents / Order the back issue

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How common is postmaturity syndrome and how should it be managed?

MT store Learn about this and more in The Postdates and Postmaturity Handbook, the newest addition to Midwifery Today’s Holistic Clinical Series. This handbook will help you understand the myths and prevent the risks associated with postdate pregnancies and postmaturity syndrome. This valuable resource belongs in every midwife’s library. To order

Gain a fresh insight into the amazing journey each woman takes in becoming a mother

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Website Update

Read this editorial by Jan Tritten from the newest issue of Midwifery Today, Autumn 2016:

  • Birth Is a Human Rights Issue

    Excerpt: It is important to realize that the health of the mother and baby are deeply dependent on what happens in pregnancy, birth and in the hours and months after birth. These are life-altering days often referred to as the childbearing year.

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Birth Q&A

Q: What do you think is biggest ethical concern in midwifery?

— Midwifery Today

A: Mandatory licensing, with no regard for midwives of the past or new midwives who choose not to serve the State, should be one of our top ethical concerns. Making this knowledge and these midwives extinct is unethical and ultimately will cost women choices.

— Maryn Green

A: Most pregnant individuals are able to choose their provider and their place of birth. However, often we see insurance coverage for hospital birth and no coverage for an out-of-hospital birth. This is unethical because midwifery then becomes accessible only to those who can afford it. Everyone deserves a midwife and everyone deserves to make a choice—a choice that isn’t tied to money but instead from their heart and desires. Women need appropriate coverage for midwife care.

— Savita Jones

A: Disrespect from doctors, other midwives and insurance companies. Especially government-funded insurances!

— Marlene Waechter

A: Supporting women when they choose what is not “the standard of care.” Then, if anything goes wrong, in our country they can still sue, no matter what they signed. Even if they don’t sue, we have to live with the bad outcome. Also, it hurts our hearts. We midwives live with this ethical dilemma every day, and pray that each woman we care for is among the vast majority for whom all goes well.

— Cynthia Flynn

A: Midwives not being fully recognized and integrated into the overall health care system. This denies women who really need our care, which in many cases would be greatly beneficial. Moreover, it keeps our knowledge, legitimate scientific research and discoveries marginalized. This sets medical/midwifery progress back decades and keeps morbidity/mortality rates higher than they should be.

— Tonya Brooks

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