December 3, 1999
Volume 1, Issue 49
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Broaden your education in Jamaica and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

Make plans now to attend one or both these conferences:

* Ocho Rios, Jamaica, December 2-6, 1999
Birth Without Borders--Weaving a Global Future

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Sponsored by:

- Mothering magazine: Mothering is in its 24th year of providing inspiration for attachment parenting. Mothering guides, nurtures, and supports while providing the latest on controversial parenting topics.

- Cascade Health Care: Cascade HealthCare Products, Inc. began business in 1979 with the primary goal to provide supplies and equipment for the emerging profession of midwifery. We have developed a complete product line that not only serves midwives, but nurse midwives, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, visiting nurses, birth centers, WIC programs, nurse practitioners, doulas, and professionals dealing with expectant parents, families and women's healthcare.

* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 23-27, 2000
Mainstreaming the Midwifery Model

This conference highlights the many educational paths to midwifery. Students and educators, plan to attend the daylong education day seminar on the pre-conference day and choose the education track of classes during the regular conference.

Our only U.S. conference in 2000!
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This issue of Midwifery Today E-News is sponsored by:

- Ancient Art
- Infantime
- Waterbirth WebsiteLook for their ads below!


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In This Week's Issue:

1) Quote of the Week
2) The Art of Midwifery
3) News Flashes
4) Question of the Week
5) Question of the Week Responses
6) Midwifery Today Handout: At Risk for Miscarriage
7) Switchboard
8) Classified Advertising


1) Quote of the Week: Develop skills that help return birth closer to the elegant expression of its innate biological basis. Allow your heart to move you to be truly with woman. Go out on a limb. Listen. Give. Care."

- Judy Edmunds, CPM


2) The Art of Midwifery

To treat hemorrhoids: Grate one medium potato; mix well with 2-3 teaspoons slippery elm powder. Form into small patty and place on disturbed area for 10-15 minutes, 1-3 times a day. This remedy may be used on sore or cracked nipples as well.

- Mary Bove, ND, The Birthkit Issue 20


Share your midwifery arts with E-News readers! Send your favorite tricks to


3) News FlashesWomen smokers are at higher risk of having an ectopic or tubal pregnancy, according to a recent study. In women who smoked around the time of conception this risk was found to be three and a half times greater. One possible explanation is that the chemicals in cigarettes hinder the effectiveness of cilia, which sweep the egg from the ovary down the fallopian tube to the uterus.

- Pregnancy & Birth, October 1998


InfanTime(r)An interactive educational software package focusing on pregnancy and childbirth which takes a woman through pregnancy week-by-week. Written by a doctor and a midwife. Includes a fun bonus screen saver that helps in choosing the baby's name.


4) ==Midwifery Today Handout==

At Risk For Miscarriage, by Valerie El Halta

When an imperfect conception has taken place a spontaneous abortion will occur, and even though this is a difficult time for the mother, she must realize that nature in her wisdom knows what is best.Sometimes, although the conception is a good one, conditions affecting the mother may cause her to miscarry her fetus. We have found that by correcting these conditions, the mother may be able to continue the pregnancy, have a normal labor and delivery and produce a healthy child.If you have a history of spontaneous abortion it is important that you markedly improve your nutrition before attempting another pregnancy. If you are a practicing vegetarian, you may want to reconsider your dietary preferences before attempting another pregnancy as protein rich foods are vital to maintaining a healthy fetus. If you are underweight, try to gain a little before becoming pregnant, because estrogen is stored in body fat, and we have seen women who have gained as little as ten pounds have successful results.Following are suggestions for preventing miscarriage which I have found to be very effective both personally and professionally:1. Refrain from sexual relations or any sexual stimulation when any spotting has occurred, now and during the time of your normal menses thereafter.2. Take 3 grams of citrus bioflavinoids daily to strengthen the immune system and capillary walls. Avoid all other over the counter medications or medicinal herbs. Please remember that if an herb has a medicinal effect, it is acting as a drug. Many of the stronger herbs act as abortifacients.3. If spotting has occurred, complete bed rest is advisable for the next three days. When spotting ceases and if no cramping is felt, complete bed rest is usually no longer necessary. You should continue to rest for two hours in the afternoon with feet elevated. Extra rest is essential, and taking an afternoon nap should become a habit.4. If you have had several previous children and your uterine tone has become lax, it is a good idea to raise the foot of your bed to prevent pressure on the cervix.5. Avoid hot baths and showers. Do not sleep on a heated waterbed or use electric blankets, all of which may increase bleeding.6. Avoid lifting, especially toddlers and other living things.7. Avoid using caffeine (coffee, tea, cola drinks, etc.).An inevitable abortion cannot and should not be prevented, but even so, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have done everything possible to prevent it. If you experience heavy bleeding, or bleeding with the passage of clots or cramping, please call us immediately so we may properly advise you or refer you for medical care. In most instances of miscarriage, a D&C operation is not necessary. However, if the miscarriage is incomplete, this procedure may be advised.We want to help all we can during this time, so please do not hesitate to call. We are here for you whether the need be physical, emotional or spiritual.


(Find out more about Midwifery Today at



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5) Question of the Week

Has anyone heard of a "thin uterus"? Is this a real condition, and if so do you have any suggestions on how to remedy it and strengthen the uterus? This has to do with a desired first pregnancy.

- J.L.


Send your responses to


6) Question of the Week Responses

Q: Any ideas, advice or recommendations on how to naturally induce labour? I am a midwife with a high percentage of first time mums overdue; they get fed up, and I have run out of tips.

- Anon.

The only place I can think of sending you to is Marnie Ko's website: It has all the tricks I know of in addition to those in Susun Weed's book.

- Patricia in Calgary, Alberta


When first speaking to a group of pregnant women, especially first-time mothers, I spend an extraordinary amount of time with them on calculating their due date. We know that statistically a first-time mother will need from 38 to 42 weeks and longer for her baby to be ready. I help them adjust their due date beyond the 40 week estimated due date, at least ten to fourteen days longer. Then I talk to them about the dangers of induction, which are mentioned in my book, "Pregnancy & Childbirth Tips" under the section Birth Induction--Unsafe At Any Speed. I ask them if they think that any person or machine can tell them the exact day and hour their unique baby will be ready.It is also important to talk about some of the foolishness some medical professionals are using to schedule birth, like "some women never go into labor on their own" (absolutely untrue); "your baby is overdue" (if you are a first-time mother that is what is supposed to happen); "your baby is too small" (a guess of a five pound birth weight in utero is most often shown to be incorrect when we actually have a baby to weigh); or one used often with older mothers, "your placenta is aging." I handle the last one by comparing the placenta to a refrigerator. Regardless the age of the fridge, as long as we are filling it up with food it does not matter how old the fridge is. The placenta does not have an expiration date on it. Every time you eat you are nourishing the placenta and your baby.Your body and your baby go through hundreds of minute changes in order to be prepared for birth. Forcing birth unnaturally can only lead to problems for both the baby and mother through the birth and after. Waiting for birth to start naturally will give them a faster, easier and safer childbirth.Please help your clients adjust their due dates according to the newest research so that they as well as their family members can relax and let nature take its beautiful course in this grand miracle of birth.

- Gail J. Dahl


The best natural way that seems to work for most mothers is to have sex!After intercourse the woman should try to keep the semen around her cervix for as long as is comfortable. Semen contains the wonderful natural prostaglandins that help ripen the cervix. Orgasm also releases hormones to assist uterine activity.If a woman is not able to have intercourse, nipple stimulation is also useful. This helps release oxytocin, etc. If women are birthing in hospital settings, privacy should be allowed for these activities.I have also heard of having a warm bath, but because baths just make me relax I can't imagine how this may bring on labour.Another myth is to eat a spicy, hot meal. In our community, this generally gives diarrhoea, which, with all the gastric motility, gives a woman one hell of a belly ache!Raspberry leaf is very good for ensuring contractions are good. It may be taken as an infusion or by tablet. Scientific proof is being gathered via a double blind randomised trial through Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia. Midwives there have already run a pilot study. They believe tablets are best as the dose is more accurate than herbal infusions. This paper was presented at the 11th Biennial Australian College of Midwives' Conference, Hobart, Tasmania in early September.Overdue women may go for up to 43 weeks without interventions. Naturally, these women are carefully checked.

- Amanda Gear


For the four years I've used my audio tape "Journeying Through Pregnancy and Birth," I've had a lot less "postdates" and mothers who are generally less "antsy" about having the baby. I've also had feedback from hundreds of mothers about how much this tape helped them. Side 1 is a deep relaxation and visualization for pregnancy. Side 2 is preparation for labor and birth. I have successfully used it to "prime the mind, ready the body" along with nipple stimulation, cohosh, enema, etc. (all methods that can be used individually or together and which are more or less effective). I have found that there is often mental/emotional resistance, especially with first-time mothers. Those fears, concerns, need to be addressed before the body/mind can let go and let labor happen.

- Jenna Houston CNM


And they criticise OBs for inductions! This [question] explains where a lot of the demand comes from.

- Phil Watters


In private meditation or with someone helping you do guided visualization, go deep within and listen, asking your baby why s/he has not yet decided to go through the birth process. It is the baby who initiates labor. Unlimited answers are possible and might include: fear of the birth process (yours or the baby's); aversion to one or more participants or location planned for the birth; or your feelings of lack of readiness for parenthood. (It may seem as if the answer is coming from your imagination, but your imagination is an important part of your mind.) Then listen for any possible solutions that may be offered.

- Donna Worden-Wonder


I am a midwife, homoeopath and aupuncturist. Some acupuncture and reflexology points bring on overdue labour. It's difficult to write about where they are but any acupuncturist or reflexologist would know. It is actually best to tailor the treatment to the individual patient.Similarly, there are some good homoeopathic remedies. Pulsatilla 1m and Caulophyllum 200c are often prescribed. It may be necessary to treat mental blockages also.

- Glenis


I am a happy two-time midwife assisted homebirth client. I did many things to induce labor, including the following:At eleven days late, I used my double electric breast pump for ten minutes on and ten minutes off, over and over again for a four hour period (I discarded the tiny bit of colostrum collected). Also at each ten minute break, I swished and swallowed a blue and black cohosh concoction (three squirts each of high quality tincture). This was not fun but better than the alternative. That evening I had cramping but not contractions. I repeated it the next day but only for two hours before contractions began. After that, the entire labor was 90 minutes start to finish, but that's another story!

- Wendy Jones


The best advice my midwife gave me in the last days of my pregnancies when I was beginning to feel impatient was, "The baby will come out when the baby is ready to come out." I think in most cases we need to stop hurrying the poor babies and give the mom some love and emotional support. My midwife also told me that during those last weeks and days, the baby's brain is developing. Realizing that it was an important time for the baby's development made it much easier for me to be patient

- klm


Q: I would like to know how to treat pregnancy induced carpal tunnel and what causes some pregnant women to get it.I sought the help of a chiropractor and with great success, even after working in the massage business for five years, the condition has not reoccurred. Chiropractic adjustments, massage, stretching, reducing stress, good nutrition, and adequate rest are all recommended. A drugless approach is best; the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on drugs has stated that "there is no drug either by prescription, over the counter or food additive that has ever been proven safe for the unborn baby."

- A.T.


Carpal tunnel seems to have become a catch-all term for wrist pain. I am an exercise physiologist so I treated my wrist pain after my son was born as an overuse injury, e.g. tendonitis. It responded well to ice (I did this while nursing), rest (especially when nursing it is important to use a nursing pillow or many pillows), and what really helped for the long term was chiropractic adjustments. Make sure that when carrying your baby you switch sides so that both wrists, arms, hips, etc., share the work. And acupuncture is extremely effective for soft tissue injuries, which this usually is.

- Kyle Harrow



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7) Switchboard

I am currently an RN working on a pediatrics/gynecology floor. I will soon attempt to transfer to a postpartum floor. I plan to get my master's in midwifery one day, but for now I am very interested in being just a licensed midwife. I have checked websites that confuse me on what I need to do to reach my goal. I checked the NARM website, which said I could become a CPM. I can't tell if they're legal in Florida or not. I then don't know how to go from CPM to LM. If anyone out there has any answers please enlighten me.

Reply to:


In response to the breastmilk substitutes discussed in past issues: I can't believe Midwifery Today would even stoop to distributing information for such inferior substitutes for breastmilk. This is so morally wrong, wrong, wrong. I have come to expect and enjoy a much higher level of dependable information than this.

- Patricia

[Editor's note: The reader who asked others for suggestions for a breastmilk substitute (Issue 46) did so on behalf of an adoptive mother, and asked for a healthy, organic substitute, acknowledging that commercial formulas are dangerous. Midwifery Today has always absolutely advocated breastfeeding in all possible circumstances, but knows there are a few mothers out there who truly cannot do it. We would like to promote the very best alternatives in those rare cases.]


I need information on the use of cayenne for hemorrhaging.I was trained as a midwife through the apprenticeship model and trained to use cayenne. We always prepared a cayenne drink for every birth that was given to the birthing mom to drink after delivery just in case, or to control bleeding. I saw some major hemorrhages during my training and I'm not sure that the cayenne did all that much.I went to a conference in another state and the midwives there asked me what I used for hemorrhaging and I told them cayenne. Well, that was an eye opener. They were into Chinese medicine and said you should never cure heat with heat, and that cayenne was the worst thing to give a woman who was bleeding out. Other people have told me that it causes too many clots and thus the uterus can't shut down. I like to use it for shock, but I no longer set the cayenne drink out at my births. I use different herbs as well as drugs if needed.So I want to know everyone's opinion. If you feel cayenne really works, I want to know the scientific reasoning behind it, or if it doesn't, why not? I want to get to the bottom of the controversy.

- Anon.


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8) Classified Advertising

Need your article, thesis, essay or book edited and/or proofread? I have worked with pregnancy, birth and midwifery related manuscripts for more than thirteen years and know the field well. Sliding scale. E-mail


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