Touch is one of the most basic human needs, and massage one of the oldest forms of healing. Both can be important tools for midwives and other birth professionals. This issue explores massage and touch in the world of birth, including specific techniques for use with pregnant and birthing women.
- Poem: Touch Me in My Labour of Love—Florence Crawley
- From the Editor: Birth Is a Human Rights Issue—Jan Tritten
Jan makes a stirring case for the protection of the rights of motherbaby before, during and after birth.
- Marion’s Message: A Difficult Breech Birth—Marion Toepke McLean
Marion tells the incredible story of a breech birth at the Teso Safe Motherhood Clinic in Soroti, Uganda.
- What is a Birth without Loving Touch?—Naolí Vinaver
Naolí discusses touch as a basic need of all beings and, in particular, the benefits of loving touch—applied with awareness to the needs of the laboring recipient—during birth.
- Postpartum Pap Smear Potluck Socials, aka “Paplucks,”—Christy Santoro
Christy Santoro knows how to lighten the mood when it comes time to perform Pap smears for her postpartum mamas.
- Supporting Women During Labor and Birth—Leslie Stager
In this excerpt from her book, Nurturing Massage for Pregnancy: A Practical Guide to Bodywork for the Perinatal Cycle, author Leslie Stager makes a solid case for the benefits of nurturing touch and massage during labor.
- Reiki: The Energy Doula—Toni Rakestraw
Toni describes the benefits—to both the birth attendant and the birthing woman—of the use of Reiki during labor and birth.
- Documented Causes of UnneCesareans—Judy Slome Cohain
The author examines recent research documenting the multiple causes of unnecessary cesarean sections, or unneCesareans.
- Back Labor—Elaine Stillerman
One of three articles in this issue by Elaine Stillerman, this piece describes in detail different massage techniques and body positions to help a birthing mother make her way through the difficulties of back labor.
- The Easiest Birth Yet—Jocelyn Wilcox
The author discovers HypnoBirthing during her sixth pregnancy, and describes how this led to her “easiest birth yet.”
- Calming the Tumultuous Storm: Alleviating Stress and Pain with Gentle Touch—Janice Marsh-Prelesnik
Author Janice Marsh-Prelesnik describes specific techniques for using gentle touch to provide relief from several ailments common in pregnancy.
- Sciatica Relief—Elaine Stillerman
In this second of three articles in this issue, Stillerman describes methods for relieving pregnancy-related sciatica.
- A Not-So-Lost Art—Danniele Carlisle
A midwifery student describes the amazing experience of watching her preceptor turn a breech baby.
- C-section Scar Massage—Elaine Stillerman
This is the third of three articles by Elaine Stillerman in this issue. In this article, the author describes massage techniques for managing the development of the c-section scar and helping the surrounding tissues heal properly.
- We Finally Made It Out of That Darn Hospital—A.J. Irving
Risked out of a homebirth for her first child, the author describes her disappointing experience with a hospital birth.
- Reclaiming the Art of Breastfeeding—Indira Lopez Bassols
The author makes the case for a connection between natural, unmedicated birth and trouble-free breastfeeding, with a mother’s confidence in her innate abilities being the key to success in both areas.
- The Rise and Fall of a Birth Junkie—Mary Doyle
A midwife describes both her passion for and addiction to the calling of midwifery, along with her subsequent burnout, and makes the case for prioritizing self-care within the midwifery profession.
- The Midwife’s Mirror—Terra Rafael
In this short yet stirring piece, a midwife muses on all that her mirror—and she—has seen over the years.
- Midwifery Is Touching—Lorna Mazoff
Part prose and part poem, this short piece reflects on the experience of being a midwife.
- The Great and Simple Teaching of Breath—Rose St. John
Author Rose St. John describes the importance of breath practices during labor, and explains specific techniques for helping the birthing mother use her breath to maintain a relaxed state.
- Madison’s Birth—Jennifer Babisak
The author tells the story of her planned homebirth turned (unexpected) unassisted birth.
- Doulas Supporting Teens—Jessica Atkins
This article describes the inspiring work of the Lane County, Oregon, program “Doulas Supporting Teens,” which matches doulas up with teenage parents-to-be and provides education and support throughout the first year of parenting.
- The Stork and the Phoenix: Birth, Burnout and Rebirth—Michele Klein
Author Michele Klein uses the archetypes of the stork and the phoenix to delve into the issues surrounding burnout within the midwifery profession, and provides examples of “phoenix midwives” who have reinvented themselves and their roles “with women.”
- Letters from the Field: From the Congo to Chad—Meredith Casella and Médecins Sans Frontières
In compelling dispatches from the field, nurse-midwife Meredith Casella documents her experiences in Africa with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
- Factors That Persuaded Nurses to Establish a Maternity Care Centre in Nepal—Laxmi Tamang
The author describes the state of women’s health and health services in Nepal, and the establishment of that country’s first and only independent nurse-midwives-led birthing centre.
- First Birth on My Own…in the Jungles of Guatemala in the Back of a Tent—Anita Stoltzfus Cosiguá
The daughter of missionaries in Guatemala, Anita tells the story of assisting her mother at births starting as a young girl—and of the first birth she handled on her own.
- A Sad Birth Story—Anita Stoltzfus Cosiguá
In her second tale, Anita tells the sad story of birth complicated by the actions of other “midwives.”
- Disturbing “New” Trends in Tear Prevention Threaten Midwives’ Autonomy—Tine Greve
The author posits that the rise in third- and fourth-degree tears in Scandinavian countries stems more from the increased use of interventions such as induction and epidural than from the “hands-off” approach favored by midwives.
- The Midwife I Want to Be, essays by Lisa Milner-Smith and Becky Board
This is the third and last in a series of essays on “The Midwife I Want to Be” from our UK competition, held in cooperation with BirthChoices UK.
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