March 4, 2009
Volume 11, Issue 5
Midwifery Today E-News
“Multiple Births”
Print Page

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Midwifery Today Conferences

What do you want to learn about birth and midwifery?

When you attend our conference in Eugene, Oregon in March 2009 you'll be able to choose from a wide array of important subjects, such as

  • Massage and Midwifery: Cultural Perspectives in Massage for Childbirth
  • The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Pregnancy, Labor and Postpartum: Its Effects and Management
  • Beginning Midwifery
  • Reclaiming the Lost Art of Twins, Breeches and VBAC
  • Labor Support Comfort Measures
  • Aromatherapy in Birth Work
  • Hemorrhage and Third Stage Difficulties

Learn more about the Eugene conference and get a complete program.

Your registration must be is received in office by March 6, 2009. After that, only walk-in registrations will be accepted.

Massage and Homotoxikology? What do they have to do with birth?

Attend the full-day class on Complementary Therapies and find out! In the morning, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos will teach you about massage and the childbearing year. You'll learn basic prenatal massage strokes, body mechanics, and precautions and contraindications of prenatal massage. In the afternoon, Ann von Staffeldt will introduce you to a sensitive way of treating the body in every level of imbalance or disease. BioResonans Therapy is an effective tool to reconstruct the psychic and physiological function of the human being. Homotoxikology is a modern upgraded homeopathic system that supplements medical treatment. Part of our conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2009.

Learn more about the Denmark conference and get a complete program.

In This Week’s Issue:

Quote of the Week

"Birth is not only about making babies. It's about making mothers—strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and believe in their inner strength."

Barbara Katz Rothman

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The Art of Midwifery

[With twins,] mom is now eating for three, and must increase her intake. Common complaints of pregnancy multiply due to low blood sugars and lack of adequate caloric intake. Ask her to give a complete diet history weekly. Ask for her family's support in making sure that she is adequately nourished.

Diane Barnes
Excerpted from "When Twins Are on the Way…" Midwifery Today, Issue 39
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ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you've perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn! Share them with E-News readers by sending them to

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A Boston study analyzed the relationship between maternal vitamin D status and the prevalence of primary cesarean section, because one symptom of vitamin D deficiency is "poor muscular performance." The study included 253 women, 43 of whom had had a primary cesarean. This small study showed that women with vitamin D deficiency had increased odds of having a primary c-section.

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, doi:10.1210/jc.2008-1217, published online 23 Dec 2008

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advertiserDoulas…Complementing the Midwifery Model of Care

Join the premier organization for birth and postpartum doula training, certification, continuing education and ongoing caring support. Member benefits include quarterly International Doula magazine, the monthly eDoula newsletter, annual conference discount, an online discussion board and a unique boutique. Attend our Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, August 6–9, 2009.,, 1-888-788-DONA (3662)

After Twin Birth

This was Sharon's sixth pregnancy and second homebirth, and it would also be her fourth VBAC. This time two of them were in there. All of her babies had been breastfed at least a year. She had a healthy, realistic and informed attitude toward this twin birth.

Because I am a lactation consultant, one of my curious desires was to see twins nurse right after birth. Would the first twin nurse before the second was born? Would they nurse together? Or one at a time? If so, which one would nurse first? As it turned out, Sharon was having some powerful afterbirth contractions and was not ready to bring them to her breast "in the first 30 minutes." The babies were being loved, passed around and photographed. I thoroughly enjoyed preserving these one-of-a-kind memories.

As we lay the newborns together in a towel to take more photos, I thought of Anne Geddes, who might do images like this, but staged and planned ahead of time in her studio. This was natural and spontaneous. The two little brothers were skin-to-skin, naked, bonding, cooing and exploring each other. Just what twins should be allowed to do immediately after birth! I never did see them latch on that night.

One of the midwives correctly pointed out that this immediate twin bonding would never have happened if the birth had occurred in a hospital because each baby would have had different receiving pediatric teams and separate warmers and routines to undergo.

Denise Punger
Excerpted from "Twin Homebirth," The Birthkit, Issue 52
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Life after the birth of twins is intense because it is difficult for a family to keep up with the needs of two babies. Midwife help in the postpartum period is critical so that the mother can find a little time to eat nutritious food, drink fluids, and rest a bit. With adequate postpartum help, I believe more women would choose to breastfeed their twins, which is undoubtedly better for their twins' long-term health.

I am not surprised that a mother of twins is at greater risk for postpartum depression than a mother caring for one baby. It is utterly demoralizing to feel that you cannot take good care of your child. I found it difficult to reconcile the ways that I had to modify my parenting because there were two. I was fortunate to have very supportive family and friends who gave my boys a lot of loving care, allowing me to nurse them on demand as I did with my single children. It was so much work for everyone but well worth it.

Twin mothers deserve to be supported by those who see her birth as a very special blessing. I believe midwives offer superior care for twin mothers during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum with nutritional counseling, skillful care and confidence in birth.

Peggy Sawyer
Excerpted from "Water Twins," Midwifery Today, Issue 39
View table of contents / Order the back issue

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Just because we're a small business doesn't mean we have to look it!

If you're interested in making your business reach new heights, consider joining the Discover Birth team. We'll help you boost your business or get it off the ground with more bang, in less time, and for less than it would cost you to do it on your own., 1-877-BIRTH36 (247-8436), 905-428-9629.

Products for Birth Professionals

Put the gift of beautiful birth in her hands.

Brought to Earth by Birth

Give Brought to Earth by Birth, a collection of black and white photographs by Harriette Hartigan, one of the world's master birth photographers. It makes a beautiful gift for your midwife or doula, for expectant or new moms, for grandmothers and for anyone who loves babies and birth. And remember to order a copy for yourself!

Order the book.

Technology and Birth—How can we stem the tide?

Midwifery Today Magazine Issue 85Unnecessary technology can take away the beauty of birth. To learn more about this topic, order Midwifery Today Issue 85. You'll find articles by Marsden Wagner ("Choose and Lose: Promoting Cesareans and Other Invasive Interventions"), Judy Slome Cohain ("Episiotomy, Hospital Birth and Cesarean Section: Technology Gone Haywire—What Is the Sutured Tear Rate at First Births Supposed to Be?"), Michel Odent ("The Future of Obstetric Technology"), and many others who are concerned about this threat to the normal birth process.Get Issue 85.

Learn how sexual abuse affects women during pregnancy and childbirth and what you can do to help.

Survivor Moms

Survivor Moms: Women's Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse was written to help break down the isolation pregnant women and their caregivers often feel—as though they were the only ones having to cope with these challenges. You'll be able to read excerpts from 81 women's stories of birthing, mothering and healing after childhood sexual abuse. The book also includes some complete narratives, discussion of implications of women's experiences for their care, suggestions for working together during maternity care and beyond, resources to consult, and information from current research.

Suitable for both caregivers and pregnant survivors, Survivor Moms will help anyone whose life has been touched by sexual abuse. Published by Motherbaby Press, an imprint of Midwifery Today. Get the book.

Witness an inspiring homebirth.

When you order the new and expanded "Birth Day" DVD, you'll receive the original eleven-minute documentary as well as ten additional chapters. Narrated by the baby's mother, midwife Naolí Vinaver Lopez, the heart of this DVD is the birth of the family's third child and first daughter. The new material includes additional footage of the birth, moments of family bonding and interviews with the grandparents, the midwife and others. Birth Day will help parents and practitioners alike understand the true and sacred meaning of birth. Click here.

The Pink Kit

Prepare your body for birth with The Pink Kit Package.

This multi-media kit includes exercises in directed breathing and common body language and touch. You'll learn how you and your partner can take an active role in the birth process. If you're a midwife or doula, you need this to share with your clients. Order The Pink Kit.

Web Site Update

Read this editorial by Jan Tritten from the brand-new issue of Midwifery Today, Spring 2009:

  • Midwifery Knowledge Spread Around the World
    One of my main goals in doing conferences in different parts of the world is to gain unique knowledge, techniques and insights, and take that information to other parts of the world that can benefit from it. The other way to spread this midwifery knowledge from around the world is to bring it to the US at the conferences Midwifery Today presents here.

Read these reviews from Midwifery Today newly posted to our Web site:

  • Birthwork: A compassionate guide to being with birth—by Jenny Blyth
    Helping mothers feel prepared and ready spiritually, emotionally and physically creates a whole way of caring for birth. This book does a thorough job while encouraging readers to search themselves for new awareness.
  • Amazing Birth Stories—by Diane Gregg
    Because many different types and styles of births are shared, the reader has an opportunity to experience births in different settings. … Whether you are a birth attendant or a mother-to-be, you will learn about birth and all its individual aspects from a truly passionate and articulate midwife.

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advertiserJoin us for "Committing to a Dignified Birth"

We invite you to the Mexican Caribbean to take part in our International Conference "Committing to a Dignified Birth" from the 21st-24th May 2009. Get to know the traditional mayan midwives and connect with the Mayan fertility goddess Ixchel on the white sandy beaches of Tulum. Check our Web site for more information:

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Question of the Week

Q: Is fundal massage more routine in deliveries not attended by midwives? How important is it, as opposed to just a fundal check after delivery to make sure the uterus is in fact doing its job of expelling clots, etc.? Is there a huge difference between fundal massage and fundal checks? Are fundal massages possibly damaging to the uterus?

— Stephanie J.

SEND YOUR RESPONSE to with "Question of the Week" in the subject line. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the message.

ed page graphicStart or continue your midwifery education!

Are you an aspiring midwife who's looking for the right school? Are you a practicing midwife who would like learn more? Visit our Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.

Question of the Week Responses

Q: I am a 28-year-old woman and I've just been told that I have uterine didelphys—with two of everything (cervix, uterus and vaginal canal). According to the gynecologist I saw, I can become pregnant but she said there is a higher risk of premature birth and of a caesarean. Other than this I am perfectly healthy and have had no illnesses or anything.

While I am not planning to get pregnant in the next two years, I would really like to think about my options, to prepare myself when the time is right. I have always planned on having a homebirth with a midwife to assist. I really want the opinion of someone who is not solely from the medical side of things. I know the doctors tell me what they think is the right thing to do but I have always felt that birth is a more natural occurrence than what the majority of the medical society seems to believe.

— Deborah

A: It was really comforting to read the stories about the women with uterine didelphys. I found out at age 15 that I have two uteruses. I only found out because my second cervix was closed off, and as my body was trying to have my period, which it couldn't have because there was no where for the blood to come out. It was very painful, and I had to have surgery to open my cervix. I only have one vagina, but I have two functioning uteruses.

I haven't been pregnant, but my fiance and I want children soon after we are married, and I want to know my options, if (hopefully I can) I get pregnant. I am curious as to whether or not I will be able to find a midwife to do a homebirth or even a center or hospital birth. I would like to find out if the risk is higher because I had a surgical correction, even though it was 10 years ago. I am also afraid that a doctor would push me into a c-section, without good reason. Not that a doctor would do something so unethical as recomending a huge surgical procedure for no reason, or for the reason that he wants to get off work on time! If you have any information that you think will be helpful, please let me know! Thank you so much for your time.

— Jill Ihnken

Responses to any Question of the Week may be sent to E-News at any time. Write to Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the subject line or in the message.

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Think about It

Research shows that for one child, an average family could save upwards of $3000 a year by breastfeeding instead of formula feeding. Multiply that by eight and you're looking at savings of $24,000 in a year.

Gina Ciagne, Lansinoh
Response to the question of how much money the mother of octuplets could save by breastfeeding rather than formula-feeding.

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Arielle Greenberg, Citizens for Midwifery's newest Board Member, is working on a book about choosing and having babies with midwives. She is seeking answers to some questions that could provide quotes for this book. You are welcome to forward this e-mail to other individuals and lists. If you are interested, write to Arielle at and request the questions.

Sheri Menelli is giving away the electronic version of her book, Journey into Motherhood: Inspirational Stories of Natural Birth. You can find it at

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