March 1, 2017
Volume 19, Issue 5
Midwifery Today E-News
“Becoming a Midwife”
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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, information on becoming an apprentice, dozens of updated articles, and a directory of more than 150 schools, programs and other resources. To order

Midwifery Today Issue 119Subscription Sale for Students!

Special prices on Midwifery Today magazine! This offer expires March 10, 2017. Midwifery Today magazine is published four times per year. Each issue is filled with clinical articles, vital information, midwifery tricks of the trade, gorgeous birth photos and delightful homebirth stories from around the world. More information.

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

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Quote of the Week

When a woman births, not only is a baby being born but so is a mother. How we treat her will affect how she feels about herself as a mother and as a parent. Be gentle. Be kind. Listen.

Ruth Ehrhardt, The Basic Needs of a Woman in Labour

The Art of Midwifery

Midwives who must provide round-the-clock coverage would do well to maximize the quantity and quality of sleep when it is available to them. Midwives who work inconsistent hours may further compromise sleep to meet family and social responsibilities. Night-shift workers can make best use of fragmented sleep periods by engaging in two intervals of slumber: an inviolable four-hour “anchor” sleep that takes priority and a second period of sleep that can vary around other obligations.

Bonnie U. Gruenberg
Excerpted from “A Hard Day’s Night: Midwives and Sleep Deprivation,” Midwifery Today, Issue 119
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Midwifery Today Conferences

Eugene conferenceLearn about Midwifery Issues and Skills!

Sign up for one or both of two full-day classes. You will learn from teachers such as Carol Gautschi (pictured), Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Anne Frye, Fernando Molina, Gail Hart, Elizabeth Davis and Sister MorningStar. Topics covered include Establishing Client Relationship, Understanding Zika and Its Effects on the Baby, Miraculous Beginnings, Pelvic Anatomy, Collaborative Care with Survivor Clients, and Labor Dystocia.

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

East Coast mini-conference Join us in May for a one-day conference on the East Coast USA!

Gail Hart (pictured), Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Jan Tritten will discuss topics such as New and Old: Techniques for Controlling and Preventing Hemorrhage, Resolving Shoulder Dystocia and Our Eyes and Non-verbal Communication. There will also be a Tricks of the Trade sharing session. You may choose from three locations: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; the Boston area; and New York City.

Learn more about our East Coast Mini-Conferences, May 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

Becoming a Midwife

I believe midwifery is the one of the highest callings that you can have. We are called to be with motherbaby and families at one of the most important times in their lives. This is indeed a sacred calling. We have such a passion for midwifery that it often becomes our life and our identity. Most of us have to work on having a bit of life outside of it! We need our passion to get us through the difficult times this calling brings us. We are in a field where we are often ecstatic and occasionally must bear hard times. Passion gets us through it.

Midwifery Today, with me as a teacher, just did our first online class on this subject. I am really encouraged that so many wonderful midwives are coming up. Powerful, committed people are entering this field. We were so encouraged by the need for our first class that we decided to do it again and repeat it several times a year. The next one will be Wednesday, March 15, at 2 pm PST. It is truly my goal to have a midwife at every birth; we need more midwives. The World Health Organization says we need 350,000 more. Would you like to be one of them?

If so, let Midwifery Today help you. We have been mentoring midwives for over 30 years. We have published our print magazine, Midwifery Today, for 30 years, held 75 conferences around the world, published books, put many articles on our website and now we are adding online classes in subject areas of need for midwives, aspiring and seasoned and all those other beautiful support professions such as doulas, doctors and childbirth educators. We love you all! A hearty welcome to those of you who are Becoming a Midwife!

— 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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Follow Your Passion: Become a Nurse-Midwife

Frontier Nursing UniversityAre you interested in a career as a Certified Nurse-Midwife? Frontier Nursing University offers a Master of Science in Nursing program where coursework is completed online and your clinical experience in your own community. If you are a registered nurse with an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree, get in touch with one of our admissions counselors today.


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

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.

Conference Chatter

BakerShea_110 (10K)I am so excited to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you and express how ecstatic I am to join the Midwifery Today community as the new conference coordinator. I have been a fan of Midwifery Today since joining the birth community many years ago. In August 2003 I co-founded the nonprofit organization Doulas Supporting Teens (DST). DST provided pro bono doula, childbirth education, parenting groups and referral services to pregnant and parenting teens in Lane County, Oregon. Sadly, in 2012 DST had to close its doors due to lack of funding; however, for nine years I had the privilege of serving alongside an incredible community of doulas dedicated in service to a population that experiences significant health disparities. Today I have the honor of serving as a doula for many of my former teen clients who are now adults. Through my work with repeat clients, I am continually reminded how our impact as birth workers continues throughout a woman’s life.

As the conference coordinator, I am excited to connect with practitioners traveling from all over the globe and inspired by the variety of learning experiences that a diverse environment provides for our conference attendees. Midwifery is based in the oral tradition of women sharing our ancient knowledge passed down to us through the centuries. When women come together in this type of shared learning environment, powerful energy transpires. I am humbled to work together with the Midwifery Today team to help create as many opportunities for our participants to: come together, share, learn, grow and bring the knowledge they gain back to their communities to continue to make the vital impact on the health and well-being of women, babies and families. Together we are making a difference worldwide!

I would love to meet as many of you as possible. Please introduce yourselves to me at one of our many conferences or drop me a message or e-mail so I can personally welcome you as a valued member of our Midwifery Today community and answer any questions you may have. Happy birthing, sisters, and again, if you have any questions pre-conference or are interested in attending a conference, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Shea Hardy Baker, Birth/Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator
Conference Coordinator, Midwifery Today

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

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New Midwifery Assistant Program

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Featured Article

Midwifery Education?

My drive and purpose and intention when I began to seek out midwifery education in the late 1970s were 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.

If a mother was in labor for three days, my mentor and I lived with that family for three days. We fed children and dogs and farm animals and talked and laughed as I asked more questions. The greatest learning was during those long observations and watching my mentor (as she appeared to be napping on a sofa) say clear as a bell, “Mary Ann, take two steps at a time when you go up and down the stairwell. John, hold her arm as she goes and feed her a bit of banana at the top and bottom of the stairs.” During one shoulder dystocia, as I sat on my haunches and watched a wee one’s head turn dark purple like a rapid sunset, my mentor took a deep breath and said, “Ruth (who was on hands and knees by choice), breathe like I do…” and then she whispered to me, “Put your hands on my hands.” I felt a mountain lion’s power in her hands and wrists, yet she never pulled back with her elbows or arms. That education is still in my mind and vibrates in my body to this day and not a book was opened in her presence. I never brought questions to her from the books I read—the life experience was far richer.

I eventually did my first tentative births with folks I’d never met. I worked to get to know them and help them create a circle that was like the circle of loving support I had known in my births. I would call my mentor nearly every birth to ask her a question. “Know normal and all its variations,” she would say. “If it’s not normal, then get help.” You have to see a lot of yonis to know there is a wide variation of normal, and you have to be at a lot of undisturbed births to know there is a wide variation of normal in birth. That was my midwifery education.

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

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Featured Products

Keep up to date with new products and specials!

MT store Sign up for Midwifery Today Store News and learn about special promotions sent only to newsletter subscribers. You’ll also receive notices of other specials and information about new products. Expect no more than two e-mails a month. To sign up

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

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

Website Update

Read this article excerpt from Midwifery Today magazine, Winter 2016, now on our website:

  • Stop Cutting: The Right to Bodily Integrity by Jane Beal

    Author and midwife Jane Beal discusses female genital mutilation and what can be done to eliminate cutting within a community that practices it routinely. Excerpt: “Others have made this point before, but it bears repeating: Female genital mutilation takes place in the developed world on a large scale in the form of medically unnecessary episiotomies and caesarean sections, or what could be classified as FGM Types 5 and 6.”

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Birth Q&A

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their midwifery education journey?

— Midwifery Today

A: Understand that this calling is not about you.

— Marney Cullen, Yolande Clark

A: Since the beginning of my journey into midwifery I keep telling myself: In these dark times, when you start serving women, don’t ever dare to call yourself a midwife, because a midwife that really serves women the “wise woman way,” is a threat for the state. Keep serving women the way your heart tells you to do so. Learn from the elders, learn from observing other women and animals having undisturbed births. Keep the authentic midwifery wisdom alive; pass this wisdom to future generations…

— Adria Raven Moon

A: The thing that keeps one out of trouble is core knowledge. Study hard, question everything and make your definition of “evidence-based” really tight. No one has cornered the market on wisdom, so look at hard science and medicine and see how the midwifery approach can be used with both. With real truth, all the facts of a case will line up like ducks in the water.

— Tonya Brooks

A: When I was a young midwife I thought my calling outweighed everything. I found that I had difficulty holding people accountable for payment and made unreasonable expectations for myself to do things that the parents could be empowered by, by doing themselves. As I’ve seasoned and become a more authentic person myself, I’ve realized that sometimes I was sacrificing more than necessary because I put too much of my identity into the title “Midwife.” [Being] “with someone” means that we are there alongside but not enabling or taking away from what they can do for themselves [because we are] meeting our own needs. Sometimes less is actually more, and I’ve found that my clients feel more secure in our relationship when I have very clearly defined boundaries and keep them consistent. Now as I’ve taken on a second profession as a psychotherapist, I’ve reflected on how I might do things differently if I were starting over with the insight I have now. I would allow moms to figure things out and be supportive more than rescue; I would empower more than enable learned helplessness. Many of us are wounded healers, and many of our clients are wounded as well. Many of us take on the role of rescuer and our clients are used to being victims. By looking into our own unhealed wounds and healing them, we give our clients the option of a healthy relationship and experience that is more supportive and empowering. As a midwife/therapist I can’t emphasis enough the importance of self-awareness and healing ourselves.

— Tara Workman-Tulley

A: I’ve been a CNM for 18 years. It takes time to learn the most important thing—invest in caring for yourself and your family first. Providing midwifery care can only happen well with health and happiness.

— Karen Lint-Nguyen

A: Train as a doula first and learn what it means to be “on call.” Then decide what kind of setting you want to work in and take training toward that. I explain how lay midwives can’t work in hospitals but CNMs can do homebirths and CPMs can work in several settings, too.

— Rebekah Knapp

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