September 26, 2001
Volume 3, Issue 39
Midwifery Today E-News
“Omnium Gatherum”
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Midwifery Today Conference News

LET'S GET TOGETHER at Midwifery Today's international conference in Paris, France, 18-22 October 2001.


BIRTH REBORN is the theme of the next Midwifery Today U.S. conference, scheduled to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania March 21-25, 2002.



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Body and Soul: Reintegrating the Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Psychological Dimensions of Birth Conference

York University, Toronto, Ontario, November 16, 2001

Multidisciplinary papers will be presented and discussed to help envision how we can be more sensitive to holistic care in all birth settings. Outstanding lineup. All welcome. Please see or contact The Association for Research on Mothering (ARM), 416-736-2100 x60366 fax: 905-775-1386

Quote of the Week:

"Only by giving each baby a gentle, natural birth will we have children who act out of inner peace and interact with others in a balanced, harmonious way. As these children grow up and those of us with wounded patterns heal, we will have jointly created a new society."

- Sunni Karll

The Art of Midwifery

I have a large clientele who have smaller children. To help them understand how the baby is growing in mom and how the baby moves around into different positions, I use a marker (the water soluble kind) to draw the baby, cord, and placenta on mom's belly. Not only do the kids get a kick out of seeing how baby is lying and growing but the dad who had to miss the appointment also appreciates the womb with a view.

- A.F.


NEW! Wisdom of the Midwives, Tricks of the Trade, Volume II and Birth Wisdom, Tricks, Volume III Combo. Available in October. $45.00. Save $5 when you buy Tricks II and III at the same time. Price is $50 when purchased separately.

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

News Flashes

Based on a meta-analysis of available literature, it appears that chorio-amnionitis is associated with an increased rate of cerebral palsy in premature infants and, to a lesser degree, in full-term infants. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that inflammation of the fetal membranes caused by maternal infection contributes to neonatal brain injury. As much as 12% of cerebral palsy in term infants and 28% in premature infants might be attributed to infection of the fetal membranes, the chorion and amnion.

- Journal of the American Medical Society, Sept. 20, 2000

Peace Letters

One thing I know to be true, not just from theoretical dogma but from my personal lived experience and observation, is that ALL MOTHERS LOVE THEIR CHILDREN.

What does this mean for us now? Why is this important? I have two answers I would put forth:

1) It is the quality of unconditional love and nurturance that are important during these times to guide us in grounding our faith and in informing our actions.

2) The fact that this is a universal characteristic of all human cultures, we connect to the Whole in a way that is felt personally, and this allows for true empathy, connectedness and evolutionary interrelatedness.

What each mother wants for her children is common in every culture throughout history. Connecting to this allows us to understand with mind (wisdom) and heart (compassion). All mothers want everything from the most basic of their children's needs met, from such biological needs as healthy food, pure water and clean air to the most transcendental needs so that their children can fulfill all their potential. In between, we want our children to have healthy self-esteem, educational opportunities that help them develop and give them skills to function in the world, beauty and harmony in their surroundings, companionship and community, a relationship with the Divine that guides their lives--in short, healthy bodies, minds, feelings and spirits.

"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable." -Kahlil Gibran

Somehow, we want our children to go beyond where we ourselves have gone and are willing to be the instruments for that to happen.

In this time of uncertainty and fear, let us reconnect to what is very basic and personal, feeling inspired by the truth we have lived by being mothers, daughters of mothers, and mothers of mothers, to act from this truth born of unconditional love and to love unconditionally. Violence begets violence and comes from fear. That is not the world mothers would want for their children.

I write this to my sisterhood, the midwives, who have a special resonance with mothers and mothering. Yesterday when I was meditating for a friend, I heard a voice say to me again and again, "All women love their children." I wanted to share this message with all of you in the hope that it will comfort you and guide you through this dark time.

- Patricia Kay
Olympia, WA


As any midwife knows, women are amazing--tolerating days of childbirth, cracked infected nipples, and potential for 18 or so years of limited income, just to provide for her offspring. I only wish that it was a woman deciding the future of the planet instead of the two powerful men.

- Trudie-Anne Clee
Perth, Western Australia


To paraphrase the Buddha, "The remedy for hatred is not hatred; the remedy is love."

- Liz Nightingale, British midwife


I am sitting here in Prizren, Kosova, in the middle of thousands of Albanian Muslims who deplore this act of violence. They remind me that this act is not in line with the teachings of the Koran. They grieve with us all from the US. I hope others remember that not all Muslims habor anti-US sentiment and that we keep our minds and hearts open to the love that humanity can offer. It is here, where women expect to be treated in a way that the Western world would find unacceptable that I have received an outpouring of love and condolences for our country and its loss.

- Elenie Smith


The following is adapted from Everything I Know, I Learned from a Doula:

What I've Learned from Tragedy
Be still and know that being gentle is to be strong; compassion; acceptance; the power of presence; the power of prayer; patience, the right thing will be done! Humility; Americans will find their own way! To be quiet; We never stop learning; not to judge; the purity and joy of giving; spirituality; to be culturally sensitive; the blessing and honour of being there for those who need you; even in conflict there is support; it's OK to cry; the darkest hours give birth to heroes; and every birth is a new beginning. To do the work of a hero is to know the heart of one; trust yourself, trust in God, trust in our leaders; care for yourself so that you can care for others.

- Tracee
Indianapolis, IN


People who are well fed, have good healthcare, whose children are being educated, well housed and have pure water and working sewage systems do not usually conspire to commit terrible acts of unprovoked violence. You do not get Pacific Islanders and other people from sharing and caring cultures being influenced by religious fanatics to bomb and kill innocent people.

We must share the wealth. Last year a study put out by the United Nations estimated that if 240 of the richest people in the world tithed just 4% of their surplus wealth, it would be sufficient to supply everyone on this planet with the technology, expertise and equipment to create the basic necessities of life for themselves.

We need a Marshall Plan for the Middle East and other destitute countries to deal with the core of the problem. Such help would also require that receiving countries would have to provide civil and reproductive rights for women. In the long run, apart from being a more loving and humane way of helping our fellow man, it will also be less expensive than having to defend ourselves, attack our enemies, and rebuild our cities.

- Rayner Garner


I am a student of midwifery just beginning an apprenticeship at a hospital in Maine. My first birth at this site was the day after the tragic events in NY, DC and PA. It was such a gift to have true tears of joy in the midst of tears of sorrow. Watching this couple work their way through the challenge of a natural birth and emerging with strength and the gift of a beautiful daughter showed me that life indeed goes on and that hope springs eternal. As midwives, we are given the gift of witnessing miracles on a regular basis, and sharing these stories of strength may help us make sense of the recent losses we have all suffered. As the privileged in this world, our work toward birthing and raising the next generation consciously and carefully is an essential gift we must give. May we all be peacemakers.

- Kathryn


My condolences are with you all, especially to those colleagues who have lost friends and family members in this tragedy. This comes from an isolated area of the UAE where we are bringing new lives into a world so violent. We cannot show fear here. All our women are covered, Arabic speaking and are so gentle. I ask all midwives to pray for ours and the surrounding countries that peace and not war bring unity to all people.

- Marie Perry


There is always hope, the hope that this terror will make us understand that we are ALL ONE FAMILY WITHOUT EXCLUSION. [Even the terrorists are part of our family.] Let us look for solutions that do not bring more grief and desperation and destruction; let us look at the roots of our own violence, as it is the same violence that asks for war and revenge and destruction. If we only look at the violence of others but ignore our own we will never be able to live the love that unites us all and will bring us peace.

Midwives work for peace, in ourselves, and in the families we serve. Let us all make peace our main goal, every day and moment of our life. May all we create be in the name of peace and reverence for life. May Spirit help us to do so. For this we pray and in this we trust.

I offer my prayers, my love and my tears to all that suffer.

- Uva
Costa Rica

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Check It Out!

A Web Site Update for E-News Readers

BEGINNING MIDWIVES PACKAGE: A one-year subscription to Midwifery Today magazine, the book Paths to Becoming a Midwife, and four Midwifery Today conference audiotapes about the realities of being a midwife.

CLINICAL AUDIOTAPE PACKAGE: 11 tapes chosen by a practicing midwife, about topics such as breech, shoulder dystocia, hemorrhage, and other complications. From conference classes taught by some of the very best midwives!

LIBRARY PACK: 5 books produced by Midwifery Today. Tricks of the Trade Vol. I, Wisdom of the Midwives--Tricks of the Trade Vol. II, Breastfeeding Book, Paths to Becoming a Midwife, and Life of a Midwife.

Question(s) of the Quarter for Midwifery Today Issue 60

What are strengths and weaknesses of your path to becoming a midwife? How does the current controversy over the various pathways to becoming a midwife affect your practice or your hopes for a practice? Do you have any specific thoughts about midwifery education?

Please submit your response by September 30, 2001 to
Selected responses will be published in our print magazine in the December issue. Please include your full name, occupation and city/state/country.

Midwifery Today's Online Forum

What bells go off when you hear a client talk about an unassisted childbirth? How do you present the facts without your opinion? Where do you draw the line supporting a woman's birthing plan? I mean with an unassisted childbirth they (the client) will have none other than the partner to help support their desires or deliver the baby. What if it goes bad, who do you think they will be looking to blame? The doula who helped them plan the birth? I have more than just the title doula to think about--I have a license (nursing) that could be used against me in this situation as an educator.

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Fathering Right From the Start

Fathering Right From the Start
by Jack Heinowitz, Ph.D.

Ideal for all fathers at different stages of life, this down-to-earth book includes insightful information on tools for bonding with a child during and after pregnancy, participating in labor and birth, overcoming fears and male depression, and building a strong foundation of teamwork within the marriage.

Cloth, $14.95, ISBN: 1-57731-187-6

To order call 800-972-6657 ext. 52 or visit us online at

Question of the Week

I am 30 weeks pregnant with my second child. Breastfeeding was tremendously difficult for me with my first child because I have extra large breasts and extremely flat nipples. My daughter was not able to latch on to the right breast (it's even bigger than the left one) and rarely latched on the left. I used pumps and syringes to bring the nipple out but the nipple never stayed extended long enough for an effective latch on. I very much want to breastfeed this baby. Does anyone have suggestions?

- Anon.

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Online Holiday Pack Specials!

Each fall, we send our Midwifery Today magazine readers a special holiday package bursting with flyers, coupons and specials from the businesses that share our birth community. This fall, we'd like to do something similar for our E-News readers and Web site visitors. Click here for the virtual Holiday Pack we've created for you. We hope you have wonderful holidays.

Does your birth business have a gift, coupon, or special to include in our online Holiday Pack?
Contact Elise for details at

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Southern Oregon Midwifery Conference

"Helping bring quality family-centered care to our communities."

Featuring Barbara Harper of Waterbirth International, Holly Scholles, Abigail Hoffar & more!
October 20 & 21 2001 In beautiful Ashland, Oregon
Only $175 CEU's Available

Call: (541) 488-7904 or e-mail at:


Question of the Week Responses

Q: I am the midwife of a woman who had twins 16 months ago in a home delivery with no problems. She had some varicose veins while carrying the twins. She had a 12-month-old baby when the twins were born and is currently 34 weeks pregnant with another. That is four babies in less than three years.

In the last 12 months she has developed significant varicose veins that start in her feet and go up her leg to the perineum and into the labia internally. The veins are larger than a large thumb. What is the danger of a varicose vein bursting while in labor? If one does burst, what are possible procedures to follow to stop bleeding?

During this pregnancy she has been faithfully using horse chestnut, butcher's broom, hesperidan, bioflavoniods, vitamins, a good diet, and super food supplement, but she has done nothing topically and is not much of an exerciser. Also, are there upper body-only aerobic programs? One will be needed after this pregnancy.

- Debi


A: None of my moms ever experienced any complications with their varicose veins. None used herbs or homeopathics but all wore some type of compression stockings to alleviate soreness in their legs and (hopefully) prevent clots developing. That was always my worst fear because I've known women who developed clots during their pregnancies, one even had a clot that traveled to her ear. At birthing time, I always had a plan to apply ice compresses to the vulva if a vein ruptured. I always use ice compresses in the first 12-24 hours after birthing, anyway.

- M.A.D.


A: Varicose veins are a symptom of poor circulation and as such can indicate risk for thrombosis and other circulatory dysfunction. Several things may help.

1. A lifting pregnancy belt such as the Prenatal Cradle or BabyHugger(tm) may help improve pelvic circulation.

2. If she's not going to get her blood moving through exercise, at the very least she should spend a lot of time with her feet up, and if her bottom is affected, she should do something to make sure she's not restricting pelvic circulation at the same time.

3. Water immersion will help improve her circulation. I'm not talking about a bath, I'm talking about getting into a swimming pool every day. She doesn't have to exercise, she just has to get into water deep enough that she floats a bit.

4. Left-sided lying positions are best for circulation--if her legs can be elevated slightly in this position, that would be ideal.

5. Nutritional treatment is a must with that many babies that close together. She desperately needs as much cell-building nutrition as she can get--supplementation with vitamin E, vitamin C, good protein, fatty acids, etc. Herbs that promote vein health are a must.

6. To prevent abnormal clotting and help blood flow more easily, consider adding garlic, ginger and purple 100% grape juice to her diet. Alfalfa may help normalize. I grate fresh garlic or ginger onto rice, and the dosage of grape juice should be about 6 oz twice a day. White grape juice is not acceptable, and fresh grapes are not the same (when grape juice is made, the seeds are crushed with the fruit, adding to the medicinal properties.)

- Jennifer Rosenberg, doula, CBE


Know a strong woman? Helping empower one? If you haven't already done so, please forward this issue of Midwifery Today E-News to one or two of your friends or business associates. Thanks so much!


Any MT readers out there in the Mill Valley and Tahoe, California areas interested in reviewing this film? E-mail:, subject: TIX.

Inspired by true stories, SINGING THE BONES enlivens debate surrounding a woman's right to control her own destiny and see the birth of a child as a personal, rather than institutional, event. It is the story of three women whose lives are transformed by a mother's decision to take on a difficult and complex birth. The film stars Caitlin Hicks (IT, THE BLACK STALLION) as she takes her virtuoso stage performance to the screen.

SINGING THE BONES will screen in Mill Valley at The Rafael Film Center on Saturday, October 6th at 7 PM and Sunday, October 7th, 9:45 PM, Sunday at 1118 4th Street, San Rafael, California. For tickets or more information in Mill Valley, phone (416) 383-5256, or visit their website at

BONES screens @ TAHOE, on Friday, September 28th at 9 PM,
and Sunday, September 30th at 6:30 PM at the Resort at Squaw Creek,
Phone (530) 583-FEST, or visit

For more information about SINGING THE BONES, please visit:

Caitlin Hicks


International Connections

In response to the Scottish midwife interested in using volunteers in maternity wards:

Why not arrange a doula training for these volunteers? A quick review of the original studies that resulted in the oft-quoted improved outcomes for the birthing families show that they were accomplished by community women who accompanied laboring women in the hospital.

- Joni
Guadalajara, Mexico


Before I started my midwifery education I did some voluntary work with the WRVS at my local maternity hospital. Basically I was a 'doorwoman' for the postnatal wards. I would have a list of all postnatal women on the ward detailing whether they wanted visitors or not (very handy in cases of abuse, etc.) and basically check with the visitors who they were going to see, point them in the right direction, stop them from going in too early and make sure they were all gone when time was up. The midwifery staff felt this was a very valuable voluntary service.

- Andrea


The Klaus, Kennell, Klaus book "Mothering the Mother" reports that having the constant presence of a doula with the laboring woman results in a decreased length of labor (by 25%), decreased requests for pain medication (30 to 60%) and decreased cesarean rate (50%). This book describes what you can and should expect from a doula. DONA (Doulas of North America) are now training doulas from all over the world--you might want to visit their website for more information:

As a doula with the birthing woman, I support the woman (and her partner) emotionally and physically (using massage, relaxation techniques, hot and cold packs, aromatherapy, music, acupressure, etc.) while offering my continuous presence regardless of shift changes. I also assist the staff with personal, nonmedical chores such as measuring intake and output, changing Chux pads, holding the emesis basin, keeping mom clean and fresh while reminding her to change positions frequently, keep her bladder empty and stay hydrated--basically "mothering the mother."

- Helen Moore, CD(DONA)


INTERNATIONAL MIDWIVES, please direct your questions, comments, and needs to "International Connections." We're here to help you!


I am a doula with a client who has a double uterus--a left uterus and a right uterus. She is pregnant with her first child and is due in mid October. Her doctor has not said she is high-risk, just that there are risks. Does anyone know just what those risks are? She is birthing in a hospital but wants as few interventions as possible. We are planning to stay home as long as possible. She is very confident and well informed about her ability to birth normally. I would feel much better knowing something about this condition.

- Christine DiSabatino


I'm wondering about the treatment for a newborn who has contracted GBS disease. How severe is GBS disease and at what point is it treatable?


I had read about sterile water papules for back labor but had never seen them used, and basically was a chicken to try it on my own. I learned many other techniques for relieving and turning an OP baby, but my success rate was variable. Then I changed practices and one of the midwives there used the papules technique. Now when I have a true back labor, true OP presentation, I explain it to the client and obtain her verbal consent to use the technique. In the past 6-8 months that I have used it I have found it to be almost foolproof. On one occasion the client asked for medicinal pain relief saying it hadn't worked. I was a little surprised because during a vaginal exam I had felt the baby move at least to the transverse position. She seemed somewhat relieved, at least of the agonizing back labor. As we had agreed, I went to get the nurse to give the medicine, came back in the room to find her starting to grunt. Lo and behold the sweet child had turned and she was 9 cm dilated and about a 0+1 station.

- Judy Butler, CNM


Thank you to all who responded to my call for advice. I've had some problems with my email lately so I haven't been able to contact many of you who wrote to me. I am still doing some serious thinking, feeling and reading, etc. about becoming a midwife and would still love to get in contact with folks around the world about it.

- Louisa
Wellington, NZ


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Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!