Midwifery Today, Issue 120, Winter 2016
Theme: Birth and the Microbiome

Issue 120: Birth and the Microbiome

Cover photo by Paige Driscoll
Santa Cruz Birth Photography and Doula Services

In recent years, the microbiome has been a hot topic in the world of research. Scientists are realizing the importance it plays on the lifelong health of an individual. Since the details pertaining to birth can have a drastic impact on the microbiome, either positively or negatively, we at Midwifery Today knew this issue’s topic, “Birth and the Microbiome,” would be of keen interest to our readers. Enjoy the articles within, written by some of the best in the birth field, including Michel Odent, Ina May Gaskin, Sister MorningStar and internationally known herbalist Susun S. Weed.


Poetry: The Tree of Your Life, for Michel Odent
Jane Beal
From the Editor: Albert McLaren: Midwife
Midwifery Today mother Jan Tritten shares about the loss of a dear friend and Fijian midwife, Albert McLaren.
Marion’s Message: Midwife Working for Safe Motherhood
Midwife Marion Toepke McLean updates readers on her work in Uganda at the Safe Motherhood clinic.
More departments:
Tricks of the Trade, Media Reviews, Discussions, Classified Advertising, Photo Album


To better guide pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, author and physician Fernando Molina helps readers to understand the affect the microorganisms in intestinal flora have on influencing overall health.
Micromanaging the Microbiota
Midwife Sister MorningStar highlights the dangers of artificial processes during birth.
Homebirth vs. Hospital Birth: The Bacteriological Perspective
Obstetrician and natural childbirth advocate Michel Odent discusses how the place of birth can affect which microbes colonize the baby.
Your Mother Will Help
A wonderful article on the benefits of motherwort for pregnant and lactating mothers.
Unity: An Elusive but Necessary Goal for US Midwives and Their Advocates
Originally printed in Midwifery Today, Issue 64, midwife Ina May Gaskin speaks about a topic that is still as relevant today as it was when this article was first printed in 2002: unity amongst midwives.
Surrounded by Love and Support
Monet Moutrie
Author and birth photographer Monet Moutrie has documented over 125 births through the lens of her camera since becoming a mother. In this article, she tells her story of the birth of her second child.
Of the Community
Nubia Earth Martin
A mother tells the stories of the births of her children and what she learned through them about a birthing mother’s needs and the importance of community.
Microbiome and Midwives: A Look at Culture
International midwife Vicki Penwell discusses the culture of homebirth in America to see what might be done to improve the life-long health of the baby.
The Microbiome and the Midwife
Midwife Marion Toepke McLean discusses what midwives can do to promote optimum health for mothers and babies with regard to the microbiome.
The Microbiome: Important or Not?
Ireena Keeslar
“Does missing out on the microbes from the vagina really make a difference in the health of the child?”
Author and midwife Jane Beal discusses female genital mutilation and what can be done to eliminate cutting within a community that practices it routinely.
The Cost of Caring: Midwifery and Traumatic Stress
Bonnie U. Gruenberg
In this article, midwife Bonnie U. Gruenberg raises awareness around the issue of mental health stresses associated with the profession of midwifery.
Male Mutedness in Childbirth
Erica Andrews
“How does a man feel during the birth of his child?”
Floreta d’Ays: The Trial of a Medieval Midwife of Marseille, France
Jane Beal
Author Jane Beal gives us another historic account of a midwife, this time one who lived in Medieval France.
“When eminent psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Daniel Siegel asked over 65,000 mental health professionals face-to-face in lecture halls around the world if they had ever had a course on the mind or on mental health, 95% replied no. We can imagine what the scenario is for midwives and other birth-related professionals.”