Eugene Conference 2020 Program

Midwifery Today Conference

Eugene, Oregon, USA • May 31 – June 3, 2020

Gentle Birth; Gentle Midwifery

Midwifery Today Conference

Eugene, Oregon, USA
May 31 – June 3, 2020

Gentle Birth; Gentle Midwifery

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Sunday • May 31, 2020 • Pre-Conference

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Registration and introductions


3:00 pm – 4:30 pm General session
Gentle Brain Wiring in the WombFernando Molina
Neuroscience has shown that the structural organization of the unborn baby’s brain depends on effective firing and wiring of neurons. Parallel to this, in the womb babies receive their first lessons of basic human emotions. Therefore, it is important for parents to create an atmosphere of love, happiness, and relaxation during pregnancy, because the constant production of stress hormones can affect the brain architecture of their babies. Practitioners can guide parents to bring baby the best possible start while still in the uterus.


5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Dinner provided by Midwifery Today


7:00 pm – 8:30 pm General session
Low-Tech, No-Tech BirthGail Hart
Discover low-tech ways to make birth safer in those regions where the technology simply is not available, or to prepare to be able to provide care during a national disaster. Do you know how to work without medications or IVs? What would you do if you did not have your equipment and supplies at a birth? Would you be lost without your “stuff”? Let’s look at what is truly essential for birth, which routines can be abandoned or modified, and how we can improvise when necessary.


8:30 pm – 9:30 pm General session
Classical (Traditional) Midwifery—An Endangered SpeciesCarol Gautschi
It is time to redefine terms! As present-day “midwifery” incorporates an impersonal, medicalized mentality, midwives must rise up and reclaim the organic, life-infused roots of mamababy care, tenaciously preserving the old ways while embracing the new. We need to preserve the distinction between the art of midwifery and the field of medicine. Sensitive holistic care is key. Carol gives insight into how we’ve lost our way and how to reclaim it. Our first start is awareness. There will be interactive time, to add to the conversation. This class is also appropriate for doulas.


Monday • June 1, 2020 • Conference Day 1

9:00 am – 9:30 am Opening general session
Visions and Dreams for Gentle Birth and Gentle MidwiferyEneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Jan Tritten
In this inspiring opening we will discuss how we each play an important part in changing the birth future for mothers and babies with a discussion of what other birth workers are doing around the world. We encourage you to discover your dream and carry it out.


9:30 am – 10:30 am General session
International Issues in Midwifery and Birth — Jennifer Gallardo, Marion Toepke McLean, Anita Rojas, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, and Jan Tritten
Brainstorm with us and your peers on how we can effect changes in midwifery and childbirth on the global level. Learn about the midwifery and birth projects going on around the world and how you can help. We can make changes for the better with knowledge of global possibilities. We will share techniques, systems, and political and educational ideas that will help you further the midwifery model in your sphere of influence.


10:30 am – 12:00 pm General session
Rebozo Techniques and PracticeEneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Anita Rojas
The origin of these techniques and traditions from Mexico goes back thousands of years. We will learn how to use a rebozo—a useful tool in all parts of the childbearing cycle. In this amazing class you will discover simple techniques that promote healthy pregnancy and birth. You will learn many “new” old techniques you can apply immediately to your practice. Time for hands-on practice will be provided.


12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch break


1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Concurrent sessions A1 through A4: Choose one

A1 Safe Charting Practices: Protecting Midwifery and Improving Quality of Care for Mothers and Babies — Jennifer Gallardo
Do you want charting to be simple and easy again? Do you find yourself spending more time on your chart than face to face with your clients? Do you worry about whether your charting would stand up to an investigation? Weak medical records are an invitation to litigation and increase the margin for error in midwifery care. Discover ways to make your charting accurate and thorough, while saving time and energy. Good documentation protects midwives and mothers and babies! Join midwife of 25 years and owner of two birth centers, Jennifer Gallardo, in this fun and informative class. Walk away knowing what, how, where, and when to chart!


A2 Waterbirth and Using Water in LaborCarol Gautschi
We will explore the many benefits and ways of using water in birth and discuss its unique properties—psychological as well as physical. Waterbirth is an option for a woman to give birth undisturbed and with dignity and helps to create transitional ease for both mother and baby. Attending births in water is a joy.


A3 Shoulder Dystocia Prevention and ManagementGail Hart
Do you know that the clues of the impending development of shoulder dystocia can help us actually prevent its occurrence? Gail will discuss the mechanical and physical causes of shoulder dystocia; the associated risk factors; the symptoms and signs to predict it; how to prevent it; and how to remedy it. She will analyze tools and methods used to overcome panic reactions and demonstrate effective treatments.


A4 Midwife/Doula RelationshipsGloria Lemay
If you are tired of discussing sisterhood among birth workers, this session is for you. Gloria Lemay has worked as a doula (back in the day that it was called labor support) and she has trained thousands of doulas. She has also been a midwife. Gloria says she has spent a lot of time being part of the problem on the low road of human behavior so she is not going to tell you simply to “think positive.” She will candidly share her own mistakes and what she learned from them. As long as we are divided, we are weakened—but how can we ever develop trust when human beings are judgmental and righteous by nature?

In this session, you’ll see the history of women’s struggles to make birth work a viable occupation. We will look at some of the cases where animosity between doulas and midwives has led to pain, expense, character assassination, etc. And we will learn about situations where women have been able to overcome all the negative behavior and build communities that are healthy work places.


3:30 pm – 5:00 pm General session
Midwifery: Moving through Darkness into the Light — Jennifer Gallardo
Are you on a journey to become a midwife or doula and doubting yourself? Leave feeling confident and excited! Are you a midwife who wants to open a midwifery practice or birth center but you are having some fear? Get inspired and find courage! Are you a seasoned midwife or doula who is feeling a bit burned out? Feel re-inspired and get tips on self-care and sustainable midwifery! Join midwife of 25 years, mother of nine children, owner of two birth centers stateside, and founder of a nonprofit birth center in Haiti, Jennifer Gallardo, as she delights us with storytelling that is good for the soul. Jennifer will tell us how she went from being a young mother on food stamps to becoming a midwife and opening five birth centers. She will tell us how to have a sustainable practice and keep our sanity and health.


5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Dinner break


7:00 pm – 8:30 pm General session
Tricks of the TradeEneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Jan Tritten and you!
Share the techniques you’ve perfected in your practice or bring your burning questions to this roundtable of pertinent tips on a wide variety of topics. Previous topics have included preventing hemorrhage, herbs for labor and birth, correcting malpresentations, nutrition hints, and essential oils. This is always a much-appreciated session, for its sense of sisterhood as well as its information. “Worth at least two weeks of academic training,” said one participant.

Tuesday • June 2, 2020 • Conference Day 2

9:00 am – 10:30 am General session
Alternative RemediesCarol Gautschi
You will learn about the use of herbs, homeopathics, essential oils, touch, and other natural remedies in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Learn practical uses of these remedies for your clients’ ailments and complications, such as using alternatives to halt a hemorrhage and how to keep your clients well. This class is for not just for novices but for everyone!


10:30 am – 12:30 pm General session
Gentle Birth Is a Human Rights IssueHermine Hayes-Klein and Gloria Lemay
Women’s and babies’ human rights are being violated worldwide in today’s birth environment. All maternity care providers need to take a long hard look at our practices and protocols, and make sure we are putting motherbaby first. Many midwives stand for a widespread and radical change in the way modern society approaches birth, grounded in the notion of “first, do no harm.” How can providers propose good birth practices that respect human rights in all the different settings in which we practice and prioritize the needs of motherbaby over our fears of legal vulnerability and system dysfunction? Hermine and Gloria will build on years of international experience as advocates for human rights in childbirth to present a model of midwifery and maternity care that upholds every woman’s human rights, including respect, dignity, and the support to make informed decisions.


12:30 pm – 2:00 pm Lunch break


2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Concurrent sessions B1 through B4: Choose one

B1 Newborn Babies Need Love, Microbes, and StressFernando Molina
According to emergent scientific disciplines, we know the following: Newborn babies need maternal love, and this need has been ignored for thousands of years (routine separation of mother and babies, delayed initiation of breastfeeding, etc.). Until recently all microbes were considered enemies; however, newborn babies are supposed to be colonized by friendly microbes that immediately educate their immune system. Until recently the word “stress” had an exclusively negative connotation, yet, the stress induced by uterine contractions has a positive role to play in the development of human beings.


B2 Neonatal Resuscitation with the Placental Circulation IntactGail Hart
There has been a revolution in our understanding of neonatal resuscitation in relationship to oxygen, ventilation, and the role of the placenta in the switch to neonatal circulation. Recent studies prove the superiority and the importance of maintaining umbilical circulation, and of the technique of placental transfusion to help a baby recover from asphyxia. This new revolutionary research needs to be widely published and promoted to all birth attendants. Come see the data!


B3 Do Your Legal Documents Protect You?Hermine Hayes-Klein
What are the legal documents that every midwife should have in her toolkit? How can you draft informed consents and client contracts to ensure that you feel legally secure while you work to support mothers and babies? This experienced lawyer for midwives can help you safely walk the legal tightrope that midwifery can sometimes be.


B4 Hands-on Breech SkillsGloria Lemay
Learn the art and science of breech birth, the factors that may lead to breech presentation, and when external version is contraindicated. Gloria will discuss the mechanisms of normal and stuck breech birth and techniques for handling each. Come fine-tune your skills in this important class! Please, if possible, bring a doll and pelvis so you can get the feel for breech in your own hands. There is a controversy among midwives about whether breech babies should be born in water or whether the woman who is progressing well in a water tub should be gently moved into air in order to complete the breech birth once the presenting part is visible. Gloria will present her ideas about why women should complete the birth of a breech baby out of the water tub for the safety of the baby. The intention of this session is for each person to come away with new information and skills that will instill confidence about assessing when to act and when to sit on hands at a breech birth.


4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Dinner break


6:00 pm – 7:30 pm General session
Technology as a Threat to the Normal Birth ProcessGail Hart
We will explore the consequences of the inappropriate or excessive application of technology—drugs as well as instruments, machinery, and surgery—in birth. Learn your role in protecting pregnant and birthing women and how current research actually supports the use of less intervention in birth. Discover how to establish the appropriate and careful use of technology in childbirth.


7:30 pm – 8:30 pm General session
Pelvic Anatomy: New InsightsAnne Frye
We will explore the latest research on pelvic floor anatomy, emphasizing soft tissue structures that have been misrepresented for decades in the medical literature. We’ll explore why this occurred and learn fascinating details that will help you visualize what you cannot see, like never before.

Wednesday • June 3, 2020 • Conference Day 3

9:00 am – 10:30 am General session
Creating a Better Future for BirthMarion Toepke McLean
What is the future of midwifery and birth? What can each of us do to create a better future? What is your vision? We envision a future where every woman gives birth as she chooses and every baby is welcomed in gentleness and love. A future where all women have optimal pregnancies and births and every baby is healthy. A future where every family starts with this sacred and safe beginning. How do we get there from here?


10:30 am – 11:30 am General session
Ancient Arts and StoryAnita Rojas
Come hear the story of this fascinating midwife. Raised on a mountaintop in Mexico, she learned from her grandmother about herbs, food, and medicine and how to find them in nature. She started and ran a birth center for many years and is a long-time homebirth midwife and marvelous storyteller.


11:30 am – 12:00 pm General session
Our Eyes and Non-verbal CommunicationEneyda Spradlin-Ramos
What do the eyes say? Why do newborns and their mamas seek each other’s eyes in that profound gaze of the early hours of life? We will share research evidence on communicating through eye contact throughout life.


12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch break


1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Concurrent sessions C1 through C4: Choose one
C1 The Doula and the Unexpected Quick BirthGloria Lemay
Attending births can be accompanied by the unexpected arising. When a baby decides to be born quickly, a doula (or any person) needs to know some basic skills in order to maintain the well-being of the mother/baby duo. Prioritizing tasks and knowing what is immediate and what can wait are useful things to know. In this class, Gloria Lemay will cover ways to keep the family calm and enjoying the arrival of their baby, even in the back seat of a car or on an elevator.


C2 Starting and Running a Birth Center — Jennifer Gallardo
Running a birth center is a very family-oriented type of practice. There are many aspects that are different from home or hospital practice. Jennifer will outline the joys and trials of working in a birth center. Learn if starting and running a birth center is for you.


C3 Hemorrhage and Estimating Blood LossGail Hart
Many episodes of excessive blood loss are either preventable, or foreseeable and easily controlled. It is important to facilitate delivery of the placenta with patience. Learn about what problems may arise in third stage and how to be prepared to attend them. Bleeding, various problems with placenta retention, and other issues will be discussed. You will learn about how to assess and deal with bleeding in a way that will increase your confidence—by actually estimating with real blood in and on different materials such as on pads and in water. We will also talk about using the placenta, cord, and membranes for hemorrhage control.


C4 All You Need to Know about Blood PressureAnne Frye
Midwives take blood pressure readings routinely, in a variety of settings and for different indications. We rely on these readings for assessment and even diagnosis. A normal pregnancy can be turned into a high-risk one based on blood pressure readings alone. Yet, blood pressure assessment is, by far, the most poorly performed vital sign in medicine. This class offers an in-depth review of the challenges inherent in proper blood pressure technique. We will explore the why and the how, with an emphasis on special considerations when evaluating this volatile vital sign during pregnancy. Please bring all your blood pressure equipment (including whatever different-sized cuffs you may have), a stethoscope with a bell and diaphragm (if you have one), and a flexible centimeter tape measure (like one you would use for fundal height) with you to class. Be sure to label your stuff!


3:45 pm – 4:45 pm Closing general session
Gentle Birth; Gentle MidwiferyEneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Marion Toepke McLean, Anne Frye , and Jan Tritten
Join us for an inspirational closing where we will recap what we have learned. Every woman has the right to a gentle birth with kind, loving midwifery care. All birth practitioners need to work toward this goal of helping families achieve an optimal, gentle birth.

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