Conference Program

Mount Laurel, New Jersey • April 18–22, 2018

“Love Is the Essence of Midwifery”

Walk-in Registration

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 • Pre-Conference

Choose one full-day class: A1 – A4 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

A1 Midwifery Skills | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Mary Cooper, Jill Whitfield, Maria Milton, Gail Hart, and Nancy Wainer
Midwifery is an art that requires practical thinking, information, a strong intuitive sense and emotional understanding, along with a big dose of love. Learn how all these elements combine and work together to create a firm foundation of good care.

9:00 am – 10:15 am
Challenges and Solutions in Safely Handling BreechMary Cooper
Our speaker will cover palpation skills, estimating fetal weight, amniotic fluid and how to communicate with the baby through touch and words. She 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.

10:15 am – 11:15 am
Emotional Issues in LaborJill Whitfield and Maria Milton
This session will help the caregiver understand the effect that emotions play in the outcome of labor. We will learn about predictable stress points in labor and offer concrete suggestions for psychological and physiological methods that can be used to improve the birthing woman’s ability to handle labor.

11:15 am – 12:15 pm
Fact and Fiction in Midwifery and ObstetricsGail Hart
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.

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Prolonged Pregnancy: Waiting, Watching, WorryingGail Hart
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.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
VBAC Skills for the Midwife and DoulaNancy Wainer
What are the risks of VBAC, and what are the benefits? We will concentrate on all the things you can do as a health professional to help clients have the safest VBAC possible. Learn about restoring 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. VBAC pregnancy, labor, birth, and healing will be discussed. This class will provide you with a lot of facts and a few beautiful stories of women who have made it, from the one who wrote the book on VBAC. Nancy has great ideas on how to get the baby to fit through the pelvis!

A2 Herb and Homeopathic WorkshopLisa Goldstein
A full day of information about the use of herbs, homeopathics and other natural remedies in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. An extensive reference book will be given to class participants. Slides will be shown for plant identification and there will be demos for making herbal tinctures, oils and salves and homeopathic solutions from pellets. Come and learn some new tips and uses for your favorite remedies. This class is for everyone. “Lisa gives more tips and remedies in this single class than most of us get in all of our schooling. This class is packed with information and remedies,” says Jan Tritten.

A3 Sustainable Midwifery Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth will cover holistic care and why it is the only model that is truly sustainable as well as how to use elements of holistic care in any setting. She will discuss the joys and pitfalls of holism for the care provider. Also included in this important session will be entraining to our clients in labor, and the reemergence of trauma for client and provider. Approaches and tools for healing trauma will be covered. The political aspects of sustainability, the imperative for professional autonomy and our rights as providers will be discussed. Elizabeth will explain the importance of autonomy as based on articulating midwifery protocols of care over those of medicine/technocracy, why this must happen officially and why this must happen now!


A4 Mexican Traditions and Techniques Angelina Martinez Miranda
Midwifery in Mexico is an ancient profession that continues to be practiced in most Mexican rural areas, with techniques going back thousands of years. Angelina will discuss and demonstrate traditional positioning, remedies, techniques, and customs. She will demonstrate massage techniques and how to use a rebozo, a tool used in all parts of the childbearing cycle to prevent and deal with complications. Discover simple techniques that promote healthy pregnancy and birth. This course will add greatly to your knowledge with time for hands-on practice under Angelina’s watchful guidance. Bring a rebozo if you have one.

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Open to all registrants
Christian Midwives MeetingEneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Jill Whitfield, facilitators
All are welcome.

Thursday, April 19, 2018 • Pre-Conference

Choose one full-day class: B1 – B5 | 9:00 am – 5:00/5:30 pm

B1 Two half-day classes (You must sign up for both.)

9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Cultural Competency and Respect in the Provision of Maternity CareVicki Penwell

This course will focus on reducing child mortality and reducing maternal mortality through the culturally sensitive and respectful care of women during pregnancy, birth, postpartum and the entire childbearing season. Anyone providing health care to women anywhere in the world will benefit from this continued dialogue about cultural humility and the significant and demonstrable bearing on maternity outcomes.


2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Cultural Diversity—A Strength in MidwiferyMaria Milton, Vicki Penwell and Angelina Martinez Miranda

Learn how working toward diversity in midwifery strengthens us all and will help to reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates, as well. This is not so much a matter of diversity for the sake of diversity as it is a matter of social justice, because it means life and death for the communities that are losing babies and mothers at 2–6 times the rate of other communities in America. Midwifery care can improve outcomes.


B2 Two half-day classes (You must sign up for both.)

9:00 am – 12:00 am
Shoulder DystociaMary Cooper and Gail Hart
Our teachers will explain and discuss the mechanical and physical causes of shoulder dystocia. They will describe symptoms and signs to predict it. They will analyze tools and methods used to overcome panic reactions. They will also demonstrate effective treatments. Gail will look in-depth at more than 14 maneuvers, and cover mnemonics and the latest research. Learn to identify different types of presentations, their likelihood and causes.

1:30 pm – 5:00 pm
MalpresentationsMary Cooper and Gail Hart
Learn about the myths and realities of malpresentations. Learn about what factors increase the likelihood of a malpresentation. Identify different types of malpresentations and discover techniques for assessing and dealing with them. The teachers will present many tips for helping with malpresentations so birth can move forward and be achieved with good outcomes. Bring your techniques to add to this body of midwifery knowledge.

B3 (9:00 am – 5:30 pm) Becoming a MidwifeElizabeth Davis, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Nancy Wainer, Eden Fromberg, and Jill Whitfield

9:00 am – 10:00 am
Getting an EducationElizabeth Davis
The way you get educated has everything to do with the way you will someday practice. In this class, we will explore options in midwifery programs not only in terms of quality, but in content and how they are structured. Avoid trauma in the learning/teaching process and everyone wins! Guard your heart and mind.

10:00 am – 11:10 am
Prenatal CareElizabeth Davis
Learn how to evaluate and nurture the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of pregnant and birthing women. Learn about nutrition and the heart of care during the prenatal period and how that affects the birth. Prenatal care is primarily what your client does between her visits to you!

11:10 am – 12:15 pm
BirthNancy Wainer
Learn about normal labor and birth, including the physical as well as emotional aspects. Learn about ways to help moms avoid falling into the medicalization trap.

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Biointelligent, Interconnected Ecosystem of MotherbabyEden Fromberg
How can we support and enhance the ecosystem of motherbaby? What are the long-term health consequences of perinatal exposures and interventions and mechanized, industrialized approaches to childbirth? This session will include information about alteration of embryological blueprints from prenatal exposures and experiences, including research from epigenetics, the microbiome, connective tissue biology, stress and trauma, emotional teratogens, the mechanobiome, and nutrition. Information will be presented from a biointelligent, connective tissue biology perspective on specific issues relevant to midwifery and midwifery-supportive obstetrics.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Newborn AssessmentJill Whitfield
This educational session will explore the assessment of the normal newborn. It will include anticipating the newborn based on assessment of the mother during pregnancy, the fetus in labor, and the newborn immediately after birth. A step-by-step physical assessment will be performed. Characteristics of the normal newborn will be discussed. Planning for consultation, referral, and transport is included.

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Trusting Yourself to Trust BirthEneyda Spradlin-Ramos
What forces shape our approach to birth? Do we bring confidence and positive expectations or fear and apprehension? 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 problem or complication.

B4 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) Releasing the PelvisElaine Stillerman
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.

B5 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) Advanced Doula WorkshopCathy Daub and Shea Hardy Baker


Cathy and Shea designed this full-day workshop for birth and postpartum doulas, regardless of experience or training. No matter where you are on your journey as a practitioner, continuing education provides you an important opportunity to enhance your practice, skills, and confidence. The class will provide an interactive day of learning, connection, discussion, and support dedicated to the important role doulas play within the landscape of maternal health care. Some of the dynamic topics covered will include: Difficult labor scenarios in various birth settings; advanced comfort measures: the significance of energy in a labor room; integration of the mind, body, and spirit in doula care; the value of silence: the meta-message; personal self-growth: developing confidence in decision-making; the hormones of birth: the language of oxytocin and adrenalin; immediate and ongoing postpartum support; working with pregnant and parenting teens; building and fostering positive professional relationships with care providers; marketing and building your doula business; and the value and importance of mentorship.

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm | General session

Tricks of the TradeEneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Jan Tritten, facilitators
Share the techniques you’ve perfected in your practice or bring your questions to this roundtable of tips on a wide variety of topics. Previous sessions have included facilitating effective contractions, using placenta, membranes and cord for hemorrhage control, dealing with prolonged labor, preventing perineal tears, helping the slow-to-start baby, and holistic first aid. This is always a much-appreciated session, for its sense of sisterhood and inspiring information.

Friday, April 20, 2018 • Conference Day One

9:00 am – 10:00 am | Opening general session
Love Is the Essence of MidwiferyJan Tritten, Maria Milton and Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos
As the Beatles song states, “All you need is love, love; love is all you need!” You do need more, though, to be a conscientious practitioner: skills, knowledge, intuition, and a heart for your work. But love is the essence. Love will keep motherbaby in the center of our care. It will help us go the extra distance to respect and protect them. Remember that “Birthing with Love Changes the World,” and that is what we are about!

10:00 am – 11:30 am | General session
Cultural Sensitivity and Anti-racism — Vicki Penwell and Maria Milton
Racism affects us all; let us choose to look openly at our history, pick a better path, and walk side by side as birth practitioners in cultural humility. This opening talk will point us toward successful models and hopeful trends in bridging cultures and reducing disparity in birth outcomes as we move forward.

Choose one class: C1 – C4 | 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

C1 Language of BirthNancy Wainer
Clear communication and an awareness of the power of words are key elements of good practice in midwifery. With a focus on birth, let’s examine our language—verbally, visually, physically—and, by interacting in small groups, better understand how and where this language is rooted. Learn how words, gestures and signs contribute to and affect the birth process and how to solve difficulties communicating with others who speak different “birth talk.” Reword birth language so that it is gentle, potent, warm and connected.

C2 Posterior ArrestElizabeth Davis
Not all babies in posterior positions experience an arrest during labor. Discover why some babies pass through the pelvis just fine and others get stuck at the inlet. Learn about hands-on maneuvers for addressing posterior arrest that are non-invasive and available to anyone, as well as internal repositioning maneuvers that every midwife should know. Case histories will be presented and special circumstances explored.

C3 Nonpharmacologic Comfort Measures in BirthCathy Daub
The three Ps (purity, patience, and perseverance), the three Hs (head, heart, and hands) and the three Rs (relaxation, rhythm, and ritual) when put into practice will significantly affect a woman’s birth experience in a positive way, regardless of the outcome of the birth. Midwives, doulas and birthing moms will be fascinated by experiencing the meta message, reframing pain and contraction into power, using sensory integration and sexuality, and uncovering anticipations and expectations in birth. In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn about labor positions that facilitate rotation and descent in the first stage and help to rotate and ease back labors. See how “The Baby Way,” optimal pelvic positioning, and techniques such as the double-hip squeeze taught with a myofascial technique—while maintaining an approach that “less is more”—can all help a woman in labor more easily birth her baby.

C4 Sore Boobies and BottomsLisa Goldstein

Lisa will explain the physiology of pain in these areas and present remedies you can make or buy to help women with these two very real areas of affliction. Lisa brings over 50 years of midwifery and herbal experience and a great sense of humor to her sessions.


Choose one class: D1 – D4 | 2:45 pm – 4:15 pm

D1 Connecting Human Values in Birth with Optimal Pelvic Positioning for a Peak Experience in BirthCathy Daub

What do human values have to do with optimal pelvic positioning in birth? The answer is “Everything!” Cathy is passionate about showing how their connection leads to increased confidence and decreased fear, giving all women the peak experience in birth they deserve. The four principles of optimal pelvic positioning will be demonstrated in this interactive workshop.


D2 Establishing Client RelationshipsMaria Milton and Mary Cooper
Relationships between attentive midwife and client help create trusting birth experiences. Women’s bodies function differently when trust exists; bonds between mother and child are affected by bonds the midwife and mom share.

D3 Childbirth and the Pelvic FloorEden Fromberg
Eden has become increasingly aware of how gynecological, sexual and childbirth experiences affect women’s health, organs, emotions and tissues on a short- and long-term basis. She will discuss these issues as well as ideas such as how women’s bodies carry and give birth to new life. The intimate, vital connection between mother and baby cannot be overstated; in fact, they are an interconnected ecosystem, inhabiting the sacred space of the mother’s physical body.

D4 New and Old: Techniques for Controlling and Preventing HemorrhageGail Hart
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.

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm | Dinner option
Friday Dinner Social
Please join us for a lovely night of connection and delicious food! This evening will be a wonderful opportunity for conference attendees, speakers, and Midwifery Today staff to come together, share, socialize and walk away fully nourished on all levels. Vegetarian options available. $15 for registrants, $25 for non-registrants. Seating is limited; advanced registration is required (no payments at the door).

Saturday, April 21, 2018 • Conference Day Two

7:30 am – 9:00 am | Breakfast option
Continental Breakfast
Start out your day with a continental breakfast of baked goods, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, and juice, compliments of Midwifery Today!

9:00 am – 10:15 am | General session
Umbilical Cord Clamping: Best PracticesJudith Mercer
The purpose of this class is to present some of the latest information on the issue of optimal cord clamping time for newborns. We believe that every baby has a right to his or her own cord blood at birth and that the baby’s cord blood should be in the baby and not in the freezer or the trash! Judith will present the recent evidence about delayed cord clamping and babies’ health, and practices to help make a birth as normal and gentle as possible for the baby.

10:15 am – 10:45 am | 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? Research evidence on communicating through eye contact throughout life will be shared.

Choose one class: E1 – E4 | 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

E1 Alternative RemediesLisa Goldstein
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 women well. This class is not just for novices but for everyone.

E2 Resolving Shoulder DystociaGail 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. Come learn Gail’s methods.

E3 Microbiome: Good Bugs for BabiesJill Whitfield
This presentation explores the human microbiome and how it affects the human being inside the womb and throughout the life span. We will discuss the fetus and intrauterine life, labor, birth, and the first hours and days after birth. Because maternal and newborn practices following birth set the stage for the rest of the child’s life, the importance of not disturbing this delicate balance is emphasized. Practices to encourage microbial seeding in the newborn will be explored.

E4 Massage for BirthEneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Elaine Stillerman and Angelina Martinez Miranda
Our teachers 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.

Choose one class: F1 – F4 | 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

F1 Uncommon ComplicationsMary Cooper and Eden Fromberg
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 about how to manage these while keeping the family and yourself calm. Bring your questions and cases to study.

F2 Reducing Inequities in Birth and BreastfeedingLexi Abeln
The fact that there are inequities in birth and breastfeeding is clear to most birthworkers, and many of us believe that midwifery care has the potential to make a huge impact in reducing disparities. How might any one of us go about making a difference in saving more lives in affected communities? Honoring our own cultural history and understanding our implicit bias is a really good place to start. Let’s work together to better understand how to make an immediate and positive impact on reducing birth inequities with families in all settings. Let’s raise the voices of the midwives and birth workers of color and any marginalized people or communities in the birth world. The work is being done: We need to amplify it.

F3 Newborn Resuscitation with an Intact Umbilical Cord: How the Baby Transitions from Fetus to NewbornJudith Mercer
One of the most frightening experiences for a midwife is a baby who does not breathe right away. Understanding how the fetus transitions to newborn life supports the midwife to give the best possible care at this time. Topics covered will include supporting normal transition as well as resuscitation after various complications such as a nuchal cord, shoulder dystocia, or infant complications. Cases will be used and participants are invited to bring any of their own cases.

F4 Working in the Developing WorldVicki Penwell
Special attributes are needed to work in the developing world. If you are called to this, come learn more in this class designed with you in mind. Working in another country can greatly enhance your skills and expand your perspectives on midwifery and birth while serving families abroad. Learn about the wealth of opportunities available. Do you have the qualities it takes to work abroad? Do you know the physical and environmental issues that may affect your life abroad? Information about some opportunities that exist overseas will be discussed. Also covered will be a comparison of differences and similarities in a midwifery practice.

3:45 pm – 5:30 pm | General session
Roundtables — Learn from the combined experience of these teachers and other participants. Always informative, sometimes heart-wrenching, it’s a unique opportunity to share. Rotating into three different groups, the registrants meet for three different classes. Choose three of the following topics.

5:45 pm – 6:45 pm | Open to all registrants
International Issues in Midwifery and BirthJan Tritten, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Vicki Penwell
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 movements 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.

Sunday, April 22, 2018 • Conference Day Three

7:30 am – 9:00 am | Breakfast option
Continental Breakfast
Start out your day with a continental breakfast of baked goods, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, and juice, compliments of Midwifery Today!

9:00 am – 10:15 am | General session
The Deeper Physiology of Birth: Intuition, Entrainment, Bonding and HealingElizabeth Davis
In ways we are only now beginning to appreciate, the physiology of birth enhances intuitive abilities in both the mother and her supporters. Heightened oxytocin levels prompt bonding among all members of the birth team, including care providers. This deep level of connection/entrainment supports the emerging family, but it can also pose problems for birth attendants who lack effective techniques for processing difficult births or other personal traumas. Parents and practitioners alike need tools for healing so that the culture of birth and family may reach its highest growth potential.

Choose one class: G1 – G4 | 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

G1 Alternatives to Suturing and Tear PreventionLisa Goldstein
Tear prevention is multifaceted and involves everything from maternal diet and lifestyle to how we work with the birthing mama during the birth of her baby. When a tear does occur, there are alternatives to the normal medical model of suturing. This class will assist you in learning skills to help prevent or minimize perineal damage as well as ways to assist in the healing process using techniques that do not include suturing.

G2 Smooth Hospital TransportLexi Abeln
Lexi will discuss techniques and protocols for making transports seamless. The ability to transport is essential in every home- or birth-center birth. Learn why and when to transport. Lexi will cover communication with staff and parents, meeting mothers where they are.

G3 Birth Is Sacred GroundMary Cooper, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Jan Tritten
Our teachers share stories about why birth is so intimate. They discuss the emotional safety factors that are important to all birthing women. They explain how birth practitioners can learn to understand and respect the holy ground on which they walk.

G4 MalpresentationsAngelina Martinez Miranda
Angelina, using the Mexican rebozo, will show us methods for preventing malpresentation. She will teach how to use your hands to identify the lie of the baby and how to identify different types of presentations. Angelina will present rebozo techniques and massage to resolve problems. Techniques for labor and pre-labor will also be covered. Hands-on practice will be included. Bring a rebozo if you have one.

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm | General session
Birth Is a Human Rights IssueVicki Penwell, Maria Milton and Angelina Martinez Miranda
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 putting motherbaby first. Join us to learn ways to propose good birth practices that respect human rights. It is way past time. We will review the many different ways we can be with women, giving them respect, dignity and informed choice. First, do no harm.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm | General session
Respect in MidwiferyMary Cooper and Elizabeth Davis
Fostering respect in the birthing community is of paramount importance: respect between mentor and students, midwife and birthing couple, midwives and doulas present at same birth or in the community as a whole, and professionals (e.g., CNMs and CPMs); respect during transports from home to hospital, for the natural birth process (e.g., a couple desiring no vaginal exams), for others’ values and culture, and respect for clients’ choices—though different from our own.

4:15 pm – 5:15 pm | Closing general session
Love Is the Essence of MidwiferyEneyda Spradlin-Ramos and Jan Tritten
Love is the essence of life and, as such, it is of primary importance to be bathed by love molecules from day one: conception. Come learn how this can be manifested wherever you care for motherbaby and each other. You can teach love in birth rooms where none existed before. Love is possible even in the worst situations: it can be taught; it must be modeled. It can change the world.

Walk-in Registration

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