We’ve also all heard expressions of exhaustion and relief from the mother and seen a temporary lack of interest in her baby. The exclamations might sound more like these: “It’s over! I can’t believe it’s over!” “Can I just lie here for a minute?” “I can’t hold the baby right now. You take it.” ”Please just leave me alone right now.” “I’m so glad it’s over.” “We’re never doing this again!” Sometimes it takes a while before the mother can turn her attention from the intensity of the birth to her baby.
The fourth stage of labor, the time after the baby has been born (second stage) and after the placenta is safely delivered (third stage) has been defined medically as one to two hours postpartum. Culturally, I define it as the first 42 days following childbirth. I believe the fourth stage never really ends, as a postpartum woman is forever transformed by the significant rite of passage of childbirth. Read more…. The Fourth Stage: Sharing the Asian Way
Midwifery Today’s graphic designer shares her thoughts on the importance of birth photography to the normalization of gentle birth around the world. Read more…. The Bond of Midwifery and Art
Many people have noticed that some portion of waterborn babies seem a bit slow to come around. They aren’t stressed and they seem well-enough oxygenated, but still their transition to breathing air sometimes seems a little slower. They may be alert, have good tone and a strong heart rate (or maybe it is a bit slow as well) or sometimes they almost seem to be asleep, and they just don’t seem interested in breathing for a while.
Midwifery Today’s editor-in-chief celebrates MT’s 30-year anniversary by honoring 13 of the magazine’s most loyal contributors and gentle birth advocates. Read more…. 30 Years and Still Going Strong
A female doctor with a shaven head and beautiful eyes stood between Lily’s legs, studying the monitor. We all heard the slow thudding. In an even tone, a Mary Poppins-like midwife said, “Get peds.” A pediatrician and a gaggle of pediatric residents entered the room as if they’d been standing at the door waiting for an invitation. The doctor picked up the vacuum and quietly announced that the time had come to use extra force. “The baby is so close,” she told us as she readied her equipment.
A thought-provoking article about the biases found in birth research. Read more…. Outside the Evidence: Births Missing from the Research
“Is the head out?! Oh, MorningStar, is the head out? It has to be out because I feel it out!”
This past year, two labors I attended benefited (meaning we avoided a cesarean each time) from a technique shared over a hundred years ago by Dr. Walcher. The first of these mothers labored for her third homebirth after four previous cesareans. She’d had a hard time getting her first baby into her pelvis (lying in bed) and was given a c-section at 3 cm and then she had three more cesareans in following years. Umm hmm. So, I was honored to help at her first homebirth, her fifth child. He also took a long time to engage. Beginning posterior, a variety of positions eventually got him through. Her second homebirth occurred after a long latent phase but before her midwife arrived.
Is birth a human right? Clearly not, as millions of women around the world are infertile or have other conditions and complications that prevent them from giving birth, even if they wish to do so. There is no guaranteed right to be able to get pregnant and give birth. So why are we discussing birth as a human rights issue? Because we deeply believe that women who do get pregnant should have what we consider to be the basic human right of humane and evidence-based maternity care. It’s not about the right to give birth—it’s about the right to receive appropriate care when you do.
Jennifer had once told me, “I don’t do births in Africa,” leaving this to an excellent staff of Ugandan midwives. But on that lucky morning, she got a stuck baby born and saved a life. Read more…. A Difficult Breech Birth
Prior to 200 years ago, all birth care around the world was humanized as it was attended by midwives, kept the woman in the center, and in general, respected nature and culture.
Then came the technological age after World War II. If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can also have perfect birth. So without any scientific data to justify such a move, childbirth was moved to hospitals with doctors and machines and drugs. Midwives were marginalized, with no role for women or family, and birth became medicalized.