Midwifery Today Conference
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania • April 6–10, 2016
“Honoring Our Past, Embracing Our Future”
Wednesday • April 6, 2016 • Pre-Conference
Many busy birth practitioners find it difficult to keep up with new research and even more difficult to separate fact from fiction. Let’s look at the newest data, information and research and update our knowledge about some common issues. What’s the “real deal” about postdates, fetal testing, active management of labor (third stage), probiotics, vitamin supplementation, anti-hemorrhage medications and more.
Pelvimetry needs a renaissance. Understanding the terrain of the internal pelvis gives us more data regarding the baby’s passage through its hidden corridor. Breech and asynclitism, why baby didn’t rotate, why baby is not descending in a textbook way, for example, may be better understood. Though a caregiver should never allow the structure of the woman’s pelvis alone to determine clinical decisions, the more information the better while mamababy makes their together-journey. Come learn, hear stories and regain insights.
Village prenatals have a sole purpose: We gather out of selfless service to support and encourage the instinctual life of pregnant women who are trying to birth in power against a modern current of fear and perpetual interventions. We are there to shower them with village attention and support and to bathe them in the sense of belonging and being cherished.
Miraculous Beginnings is a celebration of pregnancy and birth where moms and dads have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be conscious participants in this miraculous creative process. When parents, together with their midwife or other health care provider, celebrate the gift of conceiving, schooling in the womb and delivering a child, we all become part of this magical process. From this perspective, pregnancy and birth are what they are meant to be—a joyful and sacred event where mom, baby and dad actively participate in the miracle of creation.
This experienced midwife will discuss how to look, listen, know and act to prevent problems. She will present effective ways to inform and educate your clients about potential complications and methods of handling specific complications as they arise.
Learn about how we can develop the trust necessary to allow the patient unfolding of the birth process, while remaining alert and prepared for any problems or complications.
Acupuncture can be very useful during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Only a certified acupuncturist can perform this treatment. Learn about different conditions that can be helped and when to refer to acupuncturists for treatment. Acupressure and cupping are other treatment aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) closely related to acupuncture. In this class you can learn about their use during birth. Demonstration and basics of cupping will be covered in this powerful and informative class. Bring a small towel and your favorite massage oil. This is a hands on class, you will get an opportunity to practice.
Discover tips and tricks to help your clients find comfort and pleasure in birth and beyond. Learn about Power, Passion, Pleasure: the 3 P’s to giving birth with our new or renewed understanding of Mother Nature’s hormonal orchestration of childbirth for motherbaby. Join Debra for an intimate look at the hormones of birth and sex, and learn about ways that you can support those hormones to flow with ease and enhance their flow with your love and care. Through dance, art and the 4 R’s—relaxation, rhythm, ritual and rebozo—come prepared for a fun, informative day filled with pleasure, learn about ways to birth it forward!
This class contains powerful information from teachers whose knowledge comes from attending over a combined 8,000 births. You will learn about the use of herbs, homeopathics 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 mothers well. This class is not just for novices but for everyone!
All are welcome.
Thursday •April 7, 2016 • Pre-Conference
Dr. Kresch will present an overview of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program he teaches. See B5 for a description of the half-day class offered, of which this is the first part.
Does anyone really know “what to do” at a birth, other than wait on the motherbaby? What does holding the space mean, and how does one become a guardian of that space? Explore the concepts and experience energy and belief system shifts through exercises, sharing and process work.
A clear step-by-step introduction to breech, including the signs of a safe breech vs. signs of dystocia, and how to determine when it is too late for transport. We will discuss upright breech benefits, resolving breech shoulder dystocia and head entrapment. Does “hands-off-the-breech” really mean us?
We will cover palpation skills, estimating fetal weight, amniotic fluid, and how to communicate with the baby through touch and words. We will cover basic skills including the hands-off approach and how to handle problems while staying calm. Frank, footling and complete breech will be discussed, as well as cord prolapse, fetal heart tones and how to recognize intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and other complications of breech presentation.
Learn the art and science of breech birth. Learn what factors may lead to breech presentation and when external version is contraindicated. Our speakers will discuss the mechanisms of normal and stuck breech birth and techniques for handling each. These intimate roundtables will give participants a chance to dialog with each teacher in a small group.
Long labors may be associated with complications ranging from social or emotional issues to physical problems. The teachers will discuss different reasons for prolonged labor, how to detect the pathological labor from the simple prolonged labor, and how to overcome difficulties and correct problems when possible or facilitate transfer when needed.
Explore women’s ability to birth in a sacred way. When women find their own way of birthing, it is up to us, their practitioners, to facilitate the process, not change it. We will familiarize ourselves with the sounds and movements of second stage when women are in environments conducive to the primal birth dance. We will also review second stage research from a midwifery point of view, focusing on how maternal positions and associated birth environments affect childbirth outcomes. Our teachers will share the protocols and techniques they use to help the mother move through the pushing stage of labor. Listen to these experienced midwives discuss constructive and effective ways to handle both normal and difficult situations. Bring your questions and experiences to what promises to be an exciting afternoon.
This hands-on class will use myofascial release, muscle energy technique, trigger point release, strain/counterstrain, Swedish massage and other appropriate modalities to free the pelvis of musculoskeletal restrictions that may prevent fetal engagement, slow labor and cause discomfort. These modalities will be explained, demonstrated and practiced in class. Particular attention will address the lower lumbar muscles (erectae spinae and quadratus lumborum) and their relationship to the cervical spine, the iliopsoas, piriformis and other hip rotators, and other pelvic structures. Midwives and doulas will be amazed at the ease with which these hand-saving techniques work and how easily they can be adapted to a variety of birth positions. Please bring a pillow, lubrication, one flat sheet and one towel.
Physiological Transition: Neonatal Resuscitation Program*
This is a half-day class. You may attend B3 in the afternoon. Limit 10 people.
Homebirths and birthing center births provide a more comfortable environment for mothers compared with hospital delivery rooms. But there are risks for any delivery that may not be anticipated and may require intervention to help newborn babies in their transition to extra-uterine life. Let’s examine the concept of safe and effective physiological resuscitation methods that don’t require high technology for implementation.
*Please note: There is a prerequisite for this class. All participants are expected to read the text book and have completed the online written exam associated with this course, which is designed for acquiring or renewal of Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification. Please contact Dr. Kresch for details about the course, then sign up here for the final phase of the program. Dr. Kresch is Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Neonatal Quality Improvement, Neonatal Transport Services and Outreach, Division of Newborn Medicine; Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.
All are welcome.
From earliest history, women have shared their personal experiences of strength and healing. Stories wrapped with love and trust in the birth process have transmitted wisdom and confidence to each generation. Come to share or just to listen.
Friday • April 8, 2016 • Conference Day One
Exercise with fun!
Join us in this heartfelt opening. After a welcome and opening words we will talk about the need to honor both our past midwife sisters and brothers as well as the future generations of birth practitioners. Maria will do a presentation honoring her mother, Gladys Milton, who went before us paving the way to midwifery now. Gail will take us on a journey via a slide show honoring past and present childbirth helpers. Fernando will take us into the future with an introduction to the microbiome and how we can use this new information to change the trajectory of birth practice to a humane and loving one.
The way we are born affects our lives and the lives of future generations. Factors include hormones, microbes and the way human traits pass down through generations. Research of recent years and decades will be reviewed during this session.
Plain peoples emanate mystery, intrigue, challenges and folklore. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to work in an Amish or Mennonite community with little in the way of amenities, and challenges that go beyond the typical? These teachers represent over 11,000 births attended with years of combined practice in the Mennonite and horse-and-buggy Amish communities. Hear of their experiences in assisting plain and “English” (non-plain) birthing women. Come hear their wisdom and what has given them the strength to endure assisting all these babies!
Carol will share her insights and findings on mother and baby and the interaction that occurs in the hours after birth. She will show how to facilitate the process without disturbing motherbaby. We can help to improve maternal-infant bonding with simple techniques that can be incorporated into any practice in any birth location.
For four billion years, it is through the laws of natural selection that life has proliferated on planet Earth. Suddenly, the efficacy of modern medicine—particularly reproductive medicine including obstetrics—has neutralized these basic laws. Is Homo sapiens an endangered species? How can we slow down the effects of such an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of life?
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. Come learn Gail’s new methods.
Not many midwives or doctors know how the brain wires itself to create the most vibrant, healthy and well-adjusted human beings. There are distinct sequences and patterns during gestation and throughout the birth event and early postpartum period that impact the capacity for long-term health, resiliency and healing. This workshop will explore the most current microbiology, neurological pathways and the physiologic imperatives that enhance human capabilities and the consequences when they are violated.
Every caregiver wants to be prepared for “anything and everything”! Our teachers will share their experiences to illustrate assessment techniques, problem solving and ways in which practitioners can build their self-confidence in dealing with various emergency and unusual situations. These teachers will present ways to be more prepared for uncommon complications that you may encounter: unusual bleeding, thrombocytopenia, meconium, neonatal jaundice, hematoma formation, signs of embolism and more. Learn how to manage these while keeping the family and yourself calm. Bring your questions and cases to study.
Elaine and Eneyda will explain why massage is essential for pregnant and birthing women and show practical application. They will discuss the importance of healing touch as a preventive tool and safe remedy for the pregnant, laboring and postpartum woman. This is a hands-on class where you will have opportunity to practice massage.
This is an in-depth look at malpresentations and mal-rotations; their likelihood and causes; palpation methods to identify them and the techniques for assessing and dealing with them. You will learn many tips for helping remedy these errant babes to move into better position for vaginal birth. Bring your techniques to add to this body of midwifery knowledge.
According to emergent scientific disciplines, we know the following: Newborn babies need maternal love; this need has been ignored for thousands of years (routine separation of mother and babies, delayed initiation of breastfeeding, etc.). Newborn babies are supposed to be colonized by friendly microbes that immediately educate their immune system; until recently all microbes were considered enemies. The stress induced by uterine contractions has a positive role to play in the development of human beings; until recently the word “stress” had an exclusively negative connotation.
Come network with your friends and colleagues.
Gather for a delectable dinner buffet and dish about birth.
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. We’ll start off this session with the facilitators each sharing a story of facing a complication and finding their way to a successful outcome, with a midwife’s inner resources and knowledge. Bring your best story to share! This is always a much-appreciated session, for its sense of sisterhood as well as its information.
Saturday • April 9, 2016 • Conference Day Two
Exercise with fun!
Barbara has focused her career as midwife and teacher on the use of water immersion for labor and birth. During the past 30 years she has taught or researched in over 50 countries. That is one quarter of the countries of the world. This session is a travelogue of hospitals, birth centers and homes in places like China, India, Mexico, Malaysia, Turkey, Russia, England and a few more, coupled with the most current research, physiology and protocols on waterbirth. Her presentation is visually stunning and packed with information.
It is time for a redefining of terms in regard to midwifery. As present-day “midwifery” is incorporating more and more of an impersonal, medicalized mentality, midwives must rise up and reclaim the organic, life-infused roots of motherbaby care. Carol’s approach calls for returning to the old ways without discounting the new, preserving the distinction between the art of midwifery and the field of medicine.
There is an innate intelligence that guides and protects the complex unfolding of birth. In captivity something of that intelligence is lost. Bring your questions and experience and together we will discover how to realign with the fierce intelligence, beyond the intellect, that seeks to protect the body, mind and soul of motherbaby in any setting, any circumstance, and any culture. We plan to rediscover the secrets of nature that bring birth and long term well-being to motherbaby. Birth is the beginning of everything else.
What to do when the due date comes and goes? What are the real risks of prolonged pregnancy? How do we correctly identify the postdate baby, and assess for signs of postmaturity syndrome? How do we know when it is time to intervene, and how do we intervene when it’s needed? Let’s look at what the evidence says about risks and how to mitigate them, discuss how to monitor the prolonged pregnancy, and learn how to balance protocols with common sense.
Both of these experienced midwives have started and run birth centers. Though this process has become more difficult in current times, birth centers have many advantages. Many women are more comfortable in a center than at home. We need to have many choices for the many mothers we serve and this is a great option. Bring your questions and experiences for a great talk on birth centers.
Excessive blood loss is often preventable or is controllable without medication. It is important to understand the full process of third stage and to facilitate the delivery of the placenta correctly. Can active third stage management still be supported as the wider body of evidence accumulates? Let’s look at the evidence and learn techniques to reduce hemorrhage when routine oxytocics are not accessible. Gail will discuss how to handle third stage problems with non-pharmacological and manual methods that are frequently faster and more effective than medications. Gail will also discuss uterine compression and the use of the placenta, cord and membranes for hemorrhage control; a revival of these midwife techniques could save many maternal lives worldwide.
What are the actual risks of VBAC, and what are the benefits? We will concentrate on all the things you can do to help your clients have the safest VBAC possible. These teachers wish to restore the faith that a VBAC is a natural and safe way to give birth for most women. We will explore ways to help women complete the circle—from cesarean through vaginal birth. The VBAC pregnancy, labor, birth and healing process will be discussed. This workshop will provide you with a lot of facts and beautiful stories of women who have succeeded.
Janice will teach some basic skills for preparing and formulating herbal medicines to treat common conditions of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. You may learn some new tips and uses for your favorite remedies from this very experienced and fun herbalist-midwife.
Instinctual birth is just that: a birthing womyn following her instincts. Learn how to help a mother (and yourself) cultivate instinctual life prenatally so that birthing instinctually can unfold with ease and inner confidence. Instinct is a natural act of wisdom that helps navigate the wisest course for the maximum good in birth for mother and baby. Trusting and respecting the instinctual life of birthing mothers may save the future of humans. We will address the challenges of medical protocol, interventions and cultural fear of birth and how this continues to erode instinctual life. Bring your questions and stories.
Dreaming of creating a thriving practice as a birth practitioner or activist? Join us to move your dreams to an action plan from websites, social media, mailing lists, blogs and creative ideas to harness your passion to market your practice.
This is a two-way street. Studies have shown that every unborn child has profound personal and significant experiences in the womb, establishing patterns of interactions, listening to conversation and music, and actually memorizing them. The womb is a stimulating place and functions as a school, where babies form strong relationships with their parents and vice versa. To communicate effectively with the unborn child, parents must also be aware of how their babies are communicating with them.
(This class is a great choice if you cannot attend the full-day pre-conference session.) This class contains powerful information from teachers whose knowledge comes from attending over a combined 8,000 births. You will learn about the use of herbs, homeopathics 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 mothers well. This class is not just for novices but for everyone!
Many of our traditional “folk cures” are more than superstition: There actually is science to support them. Come find out why our ancestors believed that certain herbs or particular techniques were effective.
The Global Midwifery Council is an international humanitarian organization of midwives investigating birth and midwifery around the world. The council’s goal is to ensure that every woman receives safe and respectful midwifery care during childbirth. Come learn about GMC’s activities and how you can become involved. We can make changes for the better with effort and understand more about the world of birth. We will discuss current issues facing the birth world.
The cabaret is for everyone to show their many talents whether in song, dance or whatever you do that you would like to share. This is so much fun. Michel Odent will perform a play!
Sunday • April 10, 2016 • Conference Day Three
Exercise with fun!
Women’s and babies’ human rights have been violated in today’s birth environment. We need to take a long hard look at our practices and protocols and make sure we are protecting motherbaby and have not violated the guiding principle of “First, do no harm.” We will review the many different ways we can be with women, giving them respect, dignity and informed choice. Join us to discuss how we can establish good birth practices that respect human rights. It is way past time.
Fostering respect in the birthing community is of paramount importance! Respect between mentor and students; respect between the midwife and birthing couple; respect between midwives and doulas present at same birth or in the community as a whole; respect between professionals (e.g., CNMs and CPMs); respect during transports from home to hospital; respect of the natural birth process (e.g., a couple desiring no vaginal exams); respect of other’s values and culture; respect for clients’ choices though different from ours.
The relationship between midwife and client helps to create a trusting birth experience. Learn how women’s bodies function differently when trust exists and how “the heart of care” during the prenatal period affects the birth. Carol will explain how her philosophy and elements of care can help to avoid complicated births and help women achieve physical, emotional and spiritual well-being during their pregnancies.
(This class is a great choice if you cannot attend the full-day pre-conference session.) Acupressure can be very useful during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period. Learn about different conditions that can be helped and hear about the use of acupressure as pain relief during birth. Demonstration and basics of cupping will be covered in this powerful and informative class.
Diane has extensive experience with twin birth. She will discuss strategies for safe twin birth, including positioning, time of delivery, premature delivery and avoiding postpartum hemorrhage, as well as special aspects of prenatal care.
Fear in pregnancy and birth can have many consequences for both the family and health care provider. This class will help you define, understand and move through the fear that confronts us. Learn ways of helping pregnant women, as well as midwives and doulas, free themselves from the cycle of fear and pain in order to experience the miracle of birth.
Learn from the combined experience of these teachers and the other participants. Always informative, sometimes heart wrenching, it’s a unique opportunity to share. Registrants rotate through three different classes, choosing from the following topics:
Our future is one filled with hope, love and passion. As new scientific advances are helping us show that the midwifery model of care is best, we will discuss ways each of us can take this beautiful work forward.