November 23, 2016
Volume 18, Issue 24
Midwifery Today E-News
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In This Week’s Issue

MT store Take advantage of our Super Cyber Sale and save $10 on a one-year Midwifery Today subscription!

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Bask in the beauty of six good births

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Quote of the Week

To be realistic is to expect your birth to be wonderful.

Naolí Vinaver

The Art of Midwifery

Inflatable tubs allow dads to catch their babies. When I attended the birth of my first son, Fernando, Jr., back in June 5, 1983, which happened to be my first homebirth in Venezuela, after I touched his head when he crowned, I felt a rush of happiness, joy and oxytocin flow all over me. I told myself that I would allow every father to catch his baby so he could feel and live this unique experience. Well, many years went by, and in my opinion, waterbirths provide the best way for dads to catch their babies. My doula, Haylen, figured that the best way to support moms in a waterbirth was to hold the mother from outside the tub and behind her, grasping the mother’s hands as she pushed, while the dad was positioned in the tub in front of the mother, and the partero (me!) was simply outside the space quietly recording it on video.

Fernando Molina
Excerpted from “Waterbirth Anecdotes of My Experience in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela (1996–2013),” Midwifery Today, Issue 115
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Midwifery Today Conferences

Plan now to attend our conference in Eugene, Oregon, next April!

Eugene conference You will be able to choose from classes such as Hemorrhage and Estimating Blood Loss, Research in Midwifery and Using Gentle Tools (Our Hands) for Ideal Positioning. There will also be a two-day Midwifery Issues and Skills class. Planned teachers include Penny Simkin (pictured), Gail Hart, Fernando Molina, Sister MorningStar and Carol Gautschi.

Learn more about the Eugene, Oregon, conference.

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Editor’s Corner

International Concerns

As we go around the world, trying to bring optimal birth around the globe, we find the same problems, no matter where we go. Even where fairly good hospital births exist, there seems to be at least a 30% cesarean rate in most countries. In some, it is way higher. My hope has been that knowledge of the importance of the microbiome would help improve birth practices all around the world. We seem to still be quite far from reaching critical mass, which is an amount or level of awareness needed for a specific result or new action to occur. If 20% of the people are informed and tell others, change will happen more rapidly.

Mary Kalau, a friend from Switzerland, recently wrote this to me:

“As is true in most parts of the world, birth in Switzerland is complicated. The cesarean rate in Switzerland depends on the hospital. Private hospitals are higher, of course, but it still averages overall at about 30%. Homebirth is rare. Many rooms in hospitals are equipped with tubs, rebozos hanging from the ceiling, Mayan stools, and birth balls. The beds are amazing and contort into all different shapes and sizes. There are mats on the floor for labor and birth. Many midwives are trained in…homeopathy and essential oils for use in labor and birth. Some of the births I’ve attended here as a doula have been quite wonderful, yet I’ve also attended births where the mama is undermined, made to feel incapable and in need of being ‘saved’ by the pain remedies or other interventions the hospital offers. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good. That’s what we are all fighting for—for birth to be powerful and good for all in every corner of the globe!”

Toward better birth!

— 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

The recent Midwifery Today conference in France turned out to be an amazing event. The Human Rights in Childbirth event at the beginning of the conference set the tone well and provided opportunities for some lively discussions. The beautiful city of Strasbourg enhanced our time there, and the Midwifery Today teachers were amazing in their presentations. Be sure to visit our website; many of the classes from this conference are available on USB drives for purchase.

We are home now and beginning to offer online classes. If traveling to a conference is a difficulty, please join us online!

If you missed the Strasbourg conference, be sure to make plans to attend our Eugene, Oregon, conference April 5–9, 2017. We will have 20 great speakers and well over 50 classes to choose from. See you there! Facebook page for this event

— Jan Tritten

Keep up to date with conference news on Facebook: General conference news

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Featured Article

Postpartum Hemorrhage in Bali: A Day at Bumi Sehat

Sita came to Bumi Sehat to have a gentle childbirth. Because she was a brand new doctor, her colleagues had spent nine months trying to convince her to “just have a cesarean.” She told me that most of the doctors she knows no longer believe in the natural process of childbearing. Babies have become like a commodity, something of great value, which must be “delivered” in perfect condition. Women are the suitcases, made to carry the precious babies to term, not a day longer, and then the doctors “deliver” by cesarean section, so as not to risk damaging the baby in what they feel is a foolish process: natural childbirth. Additionally, families and mothers-to-be in Bali fear childbirth because of the high maternal mortality rate here, mostly due to hemorrhage. Well-meaning Ob/Gyns add to the fear. I find myself saying to mothers who have been traumatized by warnings of the dangers of childbirth, “Well, starting right now we are going to have prenatal care rather than prenatal scare!”

This is why Doctor Sita and her husband traveled many hours across the island in labor to arrive at Bumi Sehat, where the poorest people come to give birth, gently, naturally and safely.

We had not seen Sita before her labor day, however the bidans (midwives) of Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) hugged her in welcome.

When Sita had arrived at Bumi Sehat, quite late at night, she asked to be checked and was only 1 cm dilated. The midwives calmed her down and tucked her in with her husband, saying, “It’s still early in the process. Take some rest if you can.” Baby’s heartbeat was checked and found to be perfect. Soon Sita was snoring. In the early morning, Sita awoke refreshed and had a breakfast of red rice porridge and an organic egg. Soon her labor was unfolding nicely. She walked, had some acupuncture from John, a volunteer Australian doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Sita’s husband was given some lovely oil for rubbing her back. She sat on the birth ball and chatted with our midwives between contractions.

We pointed out to Sita that she could invite her mother and some of her family to come. Bumi Sehat allows mothers to bring anyone they wish to support them. Dr. Sita sighed and shared the sad fact that her own mother had died due to hemorrhage when Sita was born. Her father was terrified of childbirth, so she had not told him yet that she was in labor. He had worked hard all of his life to make sure that his one child would have an education. His biggest fear was that his daughter would also perish bringing life into this world. Months earlier, when she announced to him that he would become a grandfather, he protested. “You are already a doctor, why should you be a mother as well!”

Midwives in Indonesia often work with young women who have lost an auntie, a sister, a friend or even her own mother to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). This makes it essential that we maintain our skills and pay attention to prevention, while maintaining a relaxed air of confidence in each expectant mother’s potential to give birth naturally and safely. Yes, it’s a juggling act!

Robin Lim
Excerpted from “Postpartum Hemorrhage in Bali: A Day at Bumi Sehat,” Midwifery Today, Issue 105
View table of contents / Order the back issue

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See how birth should be

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Do you work with laboring women?

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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.

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Country Contact Q&A

Editor’s Note: Midwifery Today is interested in promoting international networking among childbirth practitioners. Our goal is to strengthen the international community by establishing a country contact in every country of the world. If you would like to become a country contact, please e-mail Jan Tritten. Learn more about Country Contacts.

For this international edition of E-News, we asked Midwifery Today’s country contacts the following questions:

How has technology that has recently become available in your country affected childbirth?


A: New technology at all levels has promoted evidence-based practice in safe child delivery.

Edwidge Kezaabu


A: The biggest technology that is overused in pregnancy in India is the ultrasound machine. First, care providers have forgotten palpation skills, so the ultrasound machine provides an “inhuman” 5-minute contact, in which time the baby’s heartbeat is visualized and the baby is measured and the mamma is given medicine or supplements, and out she goes! Second, with the overuse of ultrasound in early pregnancy and transvaginally, as early as 5 weeks, every woman is now being prescribed progesterone to “just strengthen her pregnancy” as conception (and therefore development) may be off by a few days! Third, with the overuse of late pregnancy ultrasound, there is a quantum jump in the number of unnecessary inductions and cesareans for things like “low amniotic fluid” or “cord around the neck.”

Vijaya Krishnan


A: Childbirth is medicalized in Taiwan.

Su-Chen Kuo


A: Well, this is not a good question for me because I do not keep up with “recent technology.” But I can say this (and it seems to have escalated in the last two years), first-time moms are manipulated with this “liver problem” at 37 weeks. They are told they are anemic and must induce to save the baby! I followed a young lady who was a nutritionist and they even convinced her! They have reasons why 37 weeks is the “ideal” time for an induction. Is this happening in other countries?

Françoise Souverville

Website Update

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

What If, What For and What Now? Human Rights and Cultural Rights in Childbirth—by Sister MorningStar

Excerpt: One of the most tragic destructions of indigenous sacred female knowledge is the false superiority and medicalization of childbirth by professionals among native peoples. … The infiltration and globalization of the Western model for resuscitation is the most harmful of all. Traditional midwives who had a wide variety of methods for assisting first breaths, primarily leaving the cord intact and then leaving length when severing the cord, have been made to feel dangerous, stupid and useless to the very people they love and seek to help.

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