Even in a midwifery practice, technology often displaces the soothing touch of skilled hands in the care of expectant women. Busy schedules and task-oriented appointments can leave little time to offer relief from pregnancy’s common companions: back and hip pain and swollen extremities. Midwives can offer their moms the tactile attention they need by including a massage therapist on their referral list of maternity health care providers.
Pregnancy should be a time of joy for the expectant mother. However, it’s also a virtually unparalleled period of rapid change in one’s morphology. The stresses placed on a human’s anatomy and physiology result in compensatory altered biomechanics and gait to perform even the most basic activities of daily living. These changes to an individual often result in the onset of a myriad of musculoskeletal issues that can develop during pregnancy. This article details the current explanations of these changes as well as the potential role of chiropractic therapy for the pregnant woman.
Before considering what makes the birth of human mammals special, we must first understand universal mammalian needs in the perinatal period. These needs are easily summarised and interpreted in the current scientific context. When giving birth, all mammals have strategies to avoid feeling observed: Privacy is one of their basic needs. At the same time, all mammals need to feel secure. For example, in a wild environment, a female cannot give birth as long as a predator is around. Physiologists easily explain that in such a situation the female releases hormones of the adrenaline family. This activation of the “fight or flight system” blocks the release of oxytocin, the key hormone in childbirth: The birth is postponed until the time when the female can feel secure. We are in a position to claim that today the priority is to “mammalianize” childbirth.
The author shares how her birth experiences in India led her to create Birth India, a birth network that aims to promote the benefits of natural childbirth and best practices to achieve normal birth.
After climbing into the oversized uterus that San Diego midwife Celesta Rannisi used as part of a kids’ childbirth class at the Gentle Birth World Congress (September 2007) I came home to Guadalajara, Mexico, and created one of my own.
Learn about craniosacral therapy and how it can be used to prevent and health birth trauma.
The happy little secret is that there are doctors throughout the world who either are already practicing in ways congruent with the midwifery model or are eager to learn how. I’m not wringing my hands over how few and far between they are, but rather exalting in the fact that some exist and that they are listening to what the midwifery world can teach them. Their presence doesn’t eclipse what midwives contribute, but enhances the birthing world by giving even more birthing women the opportunity to encounter a professional who will attend them with respect and patience. Besides, who among us couldn’t benefit from consultation with or backup from a supportive doctor?
To think like an herbalist one must come to know the ways that herbs interact with human physiology. Which herb will support the body’s healing process? Which herb is the best choice for nourishing the part of the body in need of healing? Which one relieves tension, thereby eliciting the relaxation response? How do the energetics of the herbs interact with the energetics of the human being?
I’m constantly amazed at the kind of care a midwife gives to the people she serves. Midwifery care is a unique gift to the beloved community and is based on unconditional love. During the recent Philadelphia and Ann Arbor Midwifery Today conferences, participants in the “Midwife as Community Healer” class were asked to brainstorm words that describe the midwifery way of caring.