January 18, 2017
Volume 19, Issue 2
Midwifery Today E-News
“Prolonged Labor”
Print Page

In This Week’s Issue

MT storeAre you considering a career in birth and don’t know where to start?

Midwifery Today’s first online class is just right for you. Within two 60-minute sessions for a total cost of only $20 Jan Tritten will show you the next steps to jumpstart your journey as a birth practitioner. Dates are Wednesday, January 25, and Wednesday, February 1, 2017. Class size is limited to 25 people to maintain a sense of community, so register early. Learn more / Register

MT store Save $5 on a one- or two-year Midwifery Today subscription!

Subscribe to this quarterly print magazine and enjoy informative articles, birth stories, stunning birth photography and more.
You can also save $5 on any one book from our Tricks of the Trade series. These compilations of articles from past issues of Midwifery Today are essential resources for any birth professional.
Hurry! Both offers expire January 31, 2017. To order

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Quote of the Week

Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not today, but eventually.


The Art of Midwifery

We have the unique opportunity to marry the best of ancient ways with select modern innovations. When patience does fail us, wisdom and discernment may lead us to intervene judiciously, honoring the dignity of the process while offering strong but humble help.

Judy Edmunds
Excerpted from “Prolonged Labor: Past and Present,” Birth Wisdom, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III, a Midwifery Today book
View table of contents / Order the book

Midwifery Today Conferences

“Trust, Intimacy and Love—The Chemistry of Connection”

Finland conference This is the theme of our conference in Helsinki, Finland, this October. What a great opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate yourself as you discover new ideas, new techniques and meet midwives from around the world! Plan now to attend.

Learn more about our conference in Helsinki, Finland, October 2017.

Midwifery Today E-News is just the beginning.

Subscribe to Midwifery Today, our print magazine, and you’ll receive midwifery information four times a year. Subscribe here.

Editor’s Corner

New Year’s Resolutions

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Typically people don’t keep them very long, and they are often about losing weight! I liked this definition of a resolution: “a firm decision to do something.” I also liked the thesaurus of similar words: determination, steadfastness, tenacity, firmness, purpose and (my favorite) perseverance.

With the idea of perseverance, let us all resolve to keep working for motherbaby rights and optimal birth. Do what you can in your sphere of influence. If we all do what we can to turn horrendous birth practices around, we can change the world. Science is on our side for sure, but so is spirit and emotion. Is there any experience more powerful than a great birth? The thing is, in this day and age, we have great backup for emergencies, and we can carefully marry homebirth, which is the best for a healthy microbiome, with hospital necessity. I suppose this will also take a lot of relationship building with the medical community, but hey, why not try?! Shall we resolve together to work on this with our greatest effort? I am in; are you?

— 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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advertiserSupport your journey to the heArt of birth as a midwife. Balance the left-brain medical with right-brain inner journeys, teachings, activities, contemplations, poetry and art. Rewarding for students, experienced midwives, and lovers of birth. Contact Terra Rafael, retired midwife and Ayurvedic practitioner for more information or purchase at wisewomanhood@gmail.com or her website.

Conference Chatter

It is time to get ready for “The Heart and Science of Birth” conference in Eugene, Oregon. We sure hope to see you there. We have, besides CEUs, so many excellent classes from so many great speakers! We have some informative clinical classes, which are a signature of Midwifery Today conferences, plus MANY new offerings. We always have lively birth discussions, sharing information on core midwifery techniques, such as what to do during a prolonged labor. Each conference is very different from all others, but the thing they have in common, besides a great learning opportunity, is camaraderie and peace, which we make every effort to maintain. You will also find a sense of unity no matter what your professional background. We love nurses, CNMs, CPMs, traditional midwives, doulas and doctors. We are all needed to help bring the best to every motherbaby.

The last day to save with early registration is Monday, February 6. Go here to learn more and register!

— Jan Tritten

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

Featured Article

A Watched Pot: The Importance of a Sacred, Private Labor and Birth

There are normal bodily functions that just don’t work as well with an audience. Sometimes you have to have the right environment, shut down the noise in your mind and stay tuned in to your body to be fully present in order for greatness to occur.

I’ll never forget the first day of my new job in Dallas. I was sent to the medical clinic for the mandatory drug test that was supposed to take about 10 minutes. I lost the urge (and the ability!) to urinate into the test cup when the nurse followed me into the bathroom. Apparently the test had to be observed. It’s not that I didn’t want to comply—I was almost desperate to get it over with—but I simply couldn’t. We tried everything. I drank about six bottles of water in the waiting room. We tried three times with dim lights and water running in the sink. Four hours later, they managed to make an exception to the rules and I easily completed the test in privacy after spending my entire morning in the clinic. No matter how hard I concentrated or how much I thought about it, I could not get my body to cooperate. It reminded me of the old saying, “A watched pot never boils.”

I had a very similar experience with the birth of my fourth son in 2002. I was looking forward to my first homebirth (I had previously given birth in a hospital and in a birth center). I invited my mom and my sister to be there with us and I also planned on having my three older sons at the house so everyone would be there when the baby was born. My water broke at 9 am, but labor just would not take off. I waited patiently all day in the company of my family and close friends. My wise midwife knew that my other births were very fast and easy. She suspected that I was having some kind of performance anxiety. It confused me when she asked if I thought having my family there was making me tense. I didn’t feel tense at all—I just wasn’t in labor. She suggested that my husband light some candles in our bedroom and she sent us there to have dinner alone. Boom! Labor hit hard and fast and the baby was born by 8:00 pm.

Some people expect the birth of a baby to be a family affair. Many soon-to-be grandparents and extended family members automatically expect to be present, and the expectant parents often assume they will enjoy the attention and help of their enthusiastic family. But more often than not, this assumption works against the progress of labor.

Having a baby has parallels with making a baby. The same hormones, the same parts of the body, the same sounds and the same needs for feelings of safety and privacy are involved. How likely would you be to get (and stay) “in the zone” on your wedding night with family members texting, pacing just outside the door and begging to come in to see you for even just a few moments?

Margaret Wallis
Excerpted from “A Watched Pot: The Importance of a Sacred, Private Labor and Birth,” Midwifery Today, Issue 109
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Featured Products

Are you prepared for prolonged labor?

MT store Midwifery Today’s Prolonged Labor Handbook discusses the benefits of positioning, trusting birth, and the political ramifications of time assessment and responsibility. You’ll also learn ways to prevent prolonged labor, including herbal remedies and psychological assessment. Part of the Holistic Clinical Series, the Prolonged Labor Handbook belongs in your birth bag! To order

Experience the authentic sights and sounds of birth!

MT store Birth with Gloria Lemay features nine beautiful homebirths, each one a lovely example of a normal, family birth. It’s a great resource to share with women to help build their confidence in their birthing bodies. The DVD also includes special features on circumcision and the prepuce. To order

Learn the foundations of beginning midwifery

MT store Our Beginning Midwifery 4-disk Audio CD Set will give you vital information that will help you get a good start on your midwifery education. You’ll learn about woman-centered care, how a woman’s emotions can affect her birth and how to give your clients a head-to-toe physical. Also covered are intake forms, diet and the importance of drinking water. Speakers are Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Carol Gautschi, Elizabeth Davis and Patricia Edmonds. This set would make a fine gift for an aspiring midwife. To order

Bring hemorrhage information with you wherever you go!

MT e-book Download Hemorrhage and you’ll receive a collection of 11 articles by the brightest minds in natural childbirth. Articles in this e-book include “Preventing Postpartum Haemorrhage” by Michel Odent, “Postpartum Hemorrhage in Bali: A Day at Bumi Sehat” by Robin Lim, “Hemorrhage: Stay Close and Pay Attention to Your Mothers” by Judy Edmunds and “Preventing Postpartum Hemorrhage by Respecting the Natural Process of Third Stage” by Beth Anne Moonstone. All articles were previously published in Midwifery Today magazine. Available on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.

Website Update

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

  • Albert McLaren, Midwife

    Excerpt: We have lost an amazing Fijian midwife and nurse, Albert Edward McLaren. We would not have been able to do the Fiji conference without this maverick of a midwife. He passed away on September 26, 2016, of complications from diabetes. He worked tirelessly for the nine months leading up to the conference—a normal human gestation! He answered dozens of e-mails from me to get the details sorted out. Just as we were leaving our Airbnb home, Albert presented some of us teachers with gifts. The gift he gave to me and Midwifery Today is something that still stuns me and fills me with gratitude.

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Learn more here or contact our Ad Director at ads@midwiferytoday.com.

Birth Q&A

Q: How are we ever going to bring back authentic midwifery? And what is authentic midwifery to you?

— Midwifery Today

A: I think the primary way to get midwifery back is to eliminate insurance companies and return care to the providers and patients. As long as insurance companies set policy, we keep getting CYA care, not real care.

— Kathy Berry

A: Questions of the day! It starts with educating, educating, educating! Women need to know that they have a choice! Let’s start with young girls entering puberty...plant the seed then. Raise strong women, raise strong and loving men. Support authentic midwifery where and when we can politically, where we put our money, what we talk about in social media.

— Astrid Grove

A: IMO one aspect of authentic care is to be responsive to the immediate needs of the mother and baby in front of you without involvement of policies and protocols of institutions or insurance companies.

— Kathy Berry

A: I believe authentic midwifery can be different for each midwife and for each midwife each birth can be different, [for] the needs of each birthing mother redefine our ability to provide [care]. [Being] authentic involves listening. It involves getting past authoritative knowledge and embodying our work in our hands and minds and souls. If we lock ourselves into a method or idea the dynamic nature of birth can be lost.

— Nicole Franklin Morales

A: There are so many different shades of women and complications that arise. I feel there is not one truth...but the integrity to act and be as needed which may in fact differ...accordingly. Yes, I resonate with hands off, space holding, gentle consciousness, but I am also growing to realise this is not best for every mother or baby...my authenticity lies in realising this and acting accordingly without judgment. My experience sadly has been that thinking one type of midwifery is authentic and others not creates schism, judgment and ego in the birthing world. So many different needs of women and situations. I am grateful for the variety and find my authenticity in practice and in intention one.

— Gauri Abbi Lowe


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