Tricks of the Trade

This book is currently out of print

book cover

"Let’s put together a book!" It was 1989. The Midwifery Today magazine staff had spent more than two years producing the Tricks of the Trade column, and editor in chief Jan Tritten had a vision: gather all the tricks into a book that would tuck easily into a midwife’s birth basket. So we did, and the first Midwifery Today book was on the loose. Over the following several years, the idea of gleaning from the pages of Midwifery Today magazine blossomed into several more books, full of woman-wisdom and experience. In their pages, midwives teach each other about becoming a midwife and what it’s like to be one; they tender their best techniques; they talk about homebirth; they share their lives and countless births. It’s like sitting around a table with your best friends or staying up all night, talking up a storm. Get in on the circle—you’re always welcome at the party!

Table of Contents

  • Organizing Your Practice
  • Prenatal
  • Educating Parents
  • Labor (First Stage)
  • Birth (Second Stage)
  • After the Birth (Third Stage)
  • Postpartum
  • For the Babies
  • Features
    • Managing Postpartum Hemorrhage by Daphne Singingtree
    • Pitfalls in Prescribing Alternative Remedies  by Alison Parra Bastien
    • Tear Prevention by Jan Tritten
    • Protecting the Upper Tissues by Cathryn Feral
    • Inducing Naturally by Alison Osborn
    • Nutrition for Two, Preventing Cesarean by Anne Frye
  • The Formulary


We owe the creation of Midwifery Today’s Tricks of the Trade to the many talented practitioners who took time out of their busy birthing lives to write down these hints for all of us. Most of these tricks have appeared in one form or another in Midwifery Today over six years of publishing. We continue to share tricks regularly in our magazine. We hope as you read and use these you will consider submitting some tips from your practice—whether you work in homebirth, birth centers or a hospital.

When I was a practicing midwife I considered my knowledge to be an invisible bag of tricks. I preferred to empower the birthing mom by letting her birth with minimal interference and simple encouragement. When labor become prolonged or situations occurred, however, I was so glad to have a huge bag of tricks at my disposal. Many situations never turned into crises because a simple technique was successful.

I do want to warn you, however, to be very selective and careful in your practice. Only you can decide if a trick is logical and helpful. These tips are shared with the best intentions. But please remember, any technique we apply to a pregnant and birthing mom and her baby has the potential to be harmful or even dangerous. So please, be careful and scrutinize every choice you make. If it isn’t necessary, don’t do it. Trust in the mom and baby and their abilities and use these suggestions only as necessary.

— Jan

This book is dedicated to all the midwives past, present and future. Let’s keep the flame of with-woman care burning bright.

Tricks of the Trade, Vol. I, paper cover,
8" by 11" magazine format, 54 pages

This title is currently out of print.