“Birth” is the theme of Issue 127 of Midwifery Today. This magazine will take you through many aspects of birth, from the amazing action and interaction of different body parts, to the role of fathers, to how doulas help military families giving birth away from friends and family. you can also read more in our continuing series “The Portable Midwife” by Regina Willette and midwives in history by Jane Beal, as well as birth stories, clinical information, and stories from midwives on the front lines of birth.
Cover photo by Paige Driscoll (santacruzbirthphotographer.com). Paige is an award-winning photographer and a doula, as well as a mother to five boys. She is a storyteller of real-life moments, specializing in birth and motherhood. Her children’s births were the most beautiful and empowering experiences of her life and led her to become a birthworker. She is a certified birth doula, with training through Childbirth International, DONA International, and Hypnobabies, with a BA in Child and Adolescent Development. She has attended over 150 births. Her goal is to help parents feel confident, safe, and supported during birth, while documenting their journey. With a passion for birth and extensive experience as a photographer and birthworker, she is able to support women in labor and capture the true rawness and beauty of birth as it unfolds.
Pictured: “This is the moment. The moment the joy and relief of seeing our little girl for the first time overcame the exhaustion and exertion of the prior six hours. The moment when we fell so in love that I forgot about the intensity of the labor. … The moment that made it all worthwhile.” —Deborah Peck, mother
- Poetry—Stacy Vandenput
- From the Editor
- Tricks of the Trade
- Quote of the Quarter
- Marion’s Message
- The Doula Corner
- Letter to the Editor
- Midwifery & Childbirth News
- Wisdom of the Midwives
- Media Reviews
- Classified Advertising
- Photo Album
- Father Birthkeepers—Ibu Robin Lim
When first I met Te Kaha, he arrived on a typically busy day at Bumi Sehat. Acupuncture clinicians, allopathic nurses, and doctors were working together to give optimal free care to many dozens of sick and injured people. Two pairs of mothers and fathers were laboring, and three newborn mothers/babies/families were resting in the postpartum rooms, breastfeeding and bonding. Midwife Ibu Dewa Rutini and I had just finished teaching a class of over 40 young midwives from Kalimantan about gentle birth. The entryway of Bumi Sehat was chock-a-block full of slippers and shoes when this complete stranger appeared, looking completely strange!
- Birth in the Age of Information Bombardment—Michel Odent
Dr. Odent argues that rather than relying on so much unfiltered information related to birth, women focus on what nature intended.
- Labor Plateaus and Our Sexual Nature—Elizabeth Davis
Elizabeth Davis shares more on the interconnection between birth, orgasm and the sexual nature of women.
- Arrival—Aundria Adams
The author tells the story of the arrival of her baby and how she arrived at and worked through a dark place to reach that goal.
- In Memory of Ann Eliot: Colonial American Midwife—Jane Beal
Ann Eliot (born Hannah Mumford or Mountford) was a midwife in Roxbury, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, during the Colonial era in America. After she died on March 22, 1687, her family, friends, and neighbors commemorated her life by erecting a special monument for her. In a unanimous resolution, they voted to do so: “Mrs. Eliot, for the great service that she hath done this town, will be honored with a burial there.” (qtd. in Gregory 1857, 27). At the time of her death, she had attended more than 3000 births.
- The Power of Birth—Joanna Wilder
An inspired midwife writes about holy birth.
- The Clitoris in Labour—Margaret Jowitt
This interesting article discusses how the modern style of birthing on the back fails to account for the role of the clitoris in labor, as well as leading to more birth injuries.
- Birth, a Family Rite of Passage—Celesta Rannisi
The author talks about the need to return to family-centered birth.
- Why Do Some Wimyn Die in Childbirth?—Sister MorningStar
Sister MorningStar spins her word magic about the subject of maternal mortality, using examples of women she has known.
- When I Became a Midwife—Amber Johnson
Johnson shares her lovely introduction to becoming a midwife as her friend becomes a mother in Namibia.
- Doulas Supporting Military Overseas—Ra’Nee M. Richardson
Richardson shares her experiences and challenges as a doula overseas, serving the military.
- The Military Birth Resource Network: Serving Those Who Serve—Amanda Dodson
The author shares the challenges of those in the military who may not have family around, and the organizations she helped create to serve them.
- What We Know and Don’t Know about Tongue-Tie—Judy Slome Cohain
About 5 to 10% of newborns are born with tongue-tie. The majority of newborns with tongue-tie have no problem breastfeeding or bottle-feeding and their mothers do not suffer nipple pain. Among women with unresolved nipple pain from breastfeeding, nipple pain was decreased significantly if the baby either had a frenotomy or a sham procedure. Frenotomy should be painless for the baby, cause at most two drops of blood loss, and the baby should not cry more than 10 seconds.
- VBA2C: A Story of Grit, Commitment, and the Quest for a Natural Birth—Vijaya Krishnan
Despite two cesareans, this mother was able to have the VBAC she desired, with the help of the author.
- Birth Is Not Dead Here—Sadie Sigford
When the local hospital closes, childbirth continues to occur. This homebirth midwife shares the situation in a rural county, where childbirth services are limited.
- The Portable Office: Setting Up Your Midwifery Practice—Regina Willette
Many decisions and much planning is required to set up a midwifery practice. This practical article helps guide you.
- Vitamin K and the Newborn: The Stories Behind the Evidence—Sara Wickham
Why are most babies given a substance that only a few really need. This article discusses the need to learn all we can before jumping on a bandwagon.
- The Uterus in Birth—Aubre Tompkins
A great discussion of the incredible uterus.
- Amazing Birth—Mary Cooper
A humorous, sad, and interesting story about a variety of births.
- Smooth Transitions: Making Hospital Transfers Better—Aspen Green and Natalie Martina
Practical advice from hospital-based nurse-midwives on how to make hospital transfers go better.
- It’s Overdue … Midwives Need to Give Birth to Themselves—Deb Puterbaugh
In this opinion piece, midwife Deb Puterbaugh argues that midwives need to stop giving their power to the doctors and take it back themselves.