November 9, 2011
Volume 13, Issue 23
Midwifery Today E-News
“Diet and Pregnancy”
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Learn about nutrition and pregnancy in Midwifery Today, Issue 40

Midwifery Today Magazine Issue 40Good nutrition is the single most important building block for a healthy pregnancy and a strong, healthy baby. This issue includes an interview with Dr. Tom Brewer and an article by Dr. Michel Odent on nutrition and health. You’ll also be able to read about eating disorders during pregnancy, vitamin K, ethics, pre-eclampsia and much more.
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Learn the art and science of breech birth…

Harrisburg conference…when you attend the full-day class, “Developing Your Breech Skills.” Topics covered include how to turn breech babies, palpation skills, estimating fetal weight, amniotic fluid, and how to communicate with the baby with touch and words. Frank, footling and complete breech will be discussed, as well as cord prolapse, fetal heart tone, and recognizing intrauterine growth restriction. You’ll also learn the factors which may lead to breech presentation, and when external version is contraindicated. Teachers include Michel Odent, Ina May Gaskin and Mabel Dzata. There will be time for hands-on practice. This class is part of our conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania USA, April 2012.

Learn more about the Harrisburg conference.

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In This Week’s Issue

Quote of the Week

We love those we feed, not vice versa; in caring for others we nourish our own self-esteem.

Jessamyn West

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The Art of Midwifery

A midwife friend says that she tells her clients to always make sure their food is colorful! Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be colorful and as close to its original form as possible. This way, by having yellow, red, orange and green foods on your plate, it is likely mom is eating the right things for growing a healthy baby.

Sue LaLeike
Excerpted from Birth Wisdom, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III
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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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Jan’s Corner

Partnerships in Birth Practice

Who and how many birth practitioners should attend a birth? When I had my homebirth practice, we always took two midwives because there were two lives involved that may need help at the same time—mother and baby. When I first started my practice, one of my mentor midwives had a midwife friend who was at a birth and had to stop a severe hemorrhage and resuscitate the baby at the same time. It was awful for her and she vowed not to be at a birth by herself again. My mentor started doing births with her, even though they lived an hour apart. Sure enough, they had a birth that involved a horrendous transport with severe hemorrhaging and baby needing help, which required two sets of hands. This is where our theory of who should go to a birth came from.

Later we considered the idea of “each one teach one,” and we felt it was important to take an apprentice with us, so our usual birth team came to include three. This usually worked out well, and we made a good birth team. When my partner Chris stopped doing births, Monika, my apprentice, stepped right in and became my new midwife partner. She had been one of those apprentices who knew what to do from the first birth she attended. Women would often say that Monika and I moved as one person because we were so in sync with each other. We almost read each other’s minds, knowing who needed what and when each needed it. We always brought our apprentices to all of the prenatals so that mom was comfortable with everyone. Only one mom didn’t want the apprentice and we accommodated her. It was her birth, after all.

Nowadays birth teams often include a hired or volunteering doula, and I wonder how well it works to have four practitioners at a birth. I have been considering the dynamics of a large birth team, and there are many configurations that could work. Many doulas are aspiring midwives; perhaps some could be included in midwives’ practices. One midwife could go and the apprentice or doula could serve as another pair of useful hands, especially if she knows neonatal resuscitation.

Most midwives used to make sure mom reduced the number of people at her birth for privacy and because crowded births generally wouldn’t happen until mom sent almost everyone away, or had the midwife send them to do a task like get donuts. (One mom had her baby right on the floor in the hall as soon as everyone left, trying to get her baby out quickly before anyone returned!) Sometimes midwives encourage many practitioners to attend births. When we were in Mexico helping Angelina Martinez Miranda with her practice, she would often host visiting midwives, and all were invited to every birth. It was a sweet circle of women, but one of us would generally not go so that we could provide more privacy for the mom, who usually came with either her mother or husband to avoid an overcrowded birth.

These are just my own reflections on the subject. Write in if you have any thoughts to share on this issue.

Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today

Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.

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News and Research

A study involving almost 1,400 pregnant women suggests that trans fats may affect the size of infants. After analyzing a survey of women who gave birth between 1999 and 2002, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that “the higher a woman’s intake of trans fats during the second trimester, the larger her newborn.” Trans fats are commonly found in foods containing partially hydrogenated oils such as packaged snacks and fast food. The implications of the connection between fetal growth and trans fats remains unclear, but nutritionists agree that foods containing these fats should be consumed sparingly.

— Norton, Amy. “More trans fat during pregnancy tied to bigger baby.” October 12, 2011.

Featured Article

Don’t Risk Yourself Out of a Homebirth—Prevent Gestational Diabetes

So how do you improve your diet to help avoid gestational diabetes? Start by avoiding empty calories. Soda, white flour and white sugar should be eliminated. Desserts restricted to the “occasional” category. Anything with a sugar content of more than 6 grams should be accompanied by a protein source. This includes milk because lactose (milk sugar) is notorious for spiking blood sugar levels. Yogurt is another culprit. I looked at a container of Bryers yogurt one day and discovered it had 45 grams of sugar! A serving of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream only has 25 grams of sugar. I’d rather save the sugar grams for the ice cream, after I’d eaten a good high protein meal. Be careful about your portions though.

If you are eating yogurt, try to limit the sugar content to fewer than 20 grams per serving. I started looking around and discovered that Greek yogurt is higher in protein. I also switched to unsweetened, non-fat yogurt and add my own measured amounts of maple syrup (usually only one teaspoon) with fresh fruit. That way I control what I am getting and don’t feel ill. For cereals, the protein content should be more than five grams per serving, with a matching fiber content, and sugar level of no more than 10 grams. If you can get the protein and fiber higher than that and the sugar lower, that’s even better. Adding a handful of almonds to your cereal can help bring the protein content up.

I am not as worried about how many carbohydrate grams a woman is eating per day as I am about what type they are. Complex carbohydrates are going to contain more fiber. You should actually be getting 1/3 of your protein from complex carbohydrates. Just be careful to read the labels, as high fructose corn syrup seems to be in everything—especially bread—and it is not something you want in your diet.

Using the glycemic index will be a help. But remember, potatoes are not evil. In fact, they are very nutritious, as long as they are not boiled (unless you are making soup or stew). However, since they are higher on the glycemic index, you want to make sure you combine them with protein.

Getting back to the practical stuff, I’m sorry but Pop-Tarts, donuts and Danish are desserts, not breakfast, and things like Gummy Bears and Teddy Grams should not even be in your house. You can’t just up your protein and continue to eat junk carbs. Bagels with cream cheese—unless they’re whole grain—are not a great choice for breakfast. Sadly, cream cheese has very little protein and is high in saturated fats and lactose. Instead, pick a whole grain, high-fiber bread source and top it with a tasty protein, such as a slice of real cheese or peanut butter. Luckily, it is not too hard these days to determine the protein, fiber and sugar content of a food item. Just read the label, and don’t forget your fruits and vegetables.

Think about getting more color and variety in your whole, healthy food choices and you will have lots of good things to eat—not to mention a much healthier pregnancy and a much better chance of having that homebirth you want. Bon appetit!

Amy V. Haas
Excerpted from “Excerpted from “Don’t Risk Yourself Out of a Homebirth—Prevent Gestational Diabetes”,” Midwifery Today, Issue 93
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Featured Products

Discover belly mapping!

The Belly Mapping Workbook shows how a woman can discover her baby’s position in late pregnancy. This technique can be a fun bonding activity and is often used for proactive childbirth preparation using optimal fetal positioning. The Workbook includes 100 drawings and photos that take you through details of head-down and breech babies. At just $14.95, it makes a fine gift for a pregnant friend! To order

Belly Mapping Workbook

If you’re a doula, you need The Doula Business Guide

This comprehensive book by Patty Brennan shows you how to establish and grow a thriving doula service. You’ll learn about going alone versus a partnership, the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating, insurance reimbursement, marketing, fundraising, risk management and more. It includes a forward by Penny Simkin. To order

The Doula Business Guide

What’s black and white…

…read by birth professionals around the world, filled with informative articles and inspiring birth stories, and shows up in your postal mailbox four times a year? Subscribe. Midwifery Today Magazine

See how touch can be used during labor and birth

Nurturing Touch for Birth DVDWhen you watch Nurturing Touch for Birth you’ll see the integrated use of touch during two home and two hospital births. The powerful imagery, evocative music, and inspiring narration all illustrate vividly the importance and power of touch. This DVD is perfect for childbirth education classes and doula trainings, and will also be an inspiration to midwives, nurses, and pregnant mothers and their birth companions.
Save 10%! Just $35.96 until Dec. 31, 2011. Buy the DVD.

Are you ready for birth emergencies?

As a home or birth center midwife, you may rarely encounter emergencies, but when they do happen, you need to know what to do. Birth Emergency Skills Training: Manual for Out-of-Hospital Midwives gives you the information you need. It takes you from the initial steps of intervention though definitive care, balancing a friendly tone and visual appeal with authoritative and clinically useful information. This book belongs on the shelf of every practicing midwife. To Order

Birth Emergency Skills Training

Web Site Update

Visit the Midwifery Today YouTube Channel

Please check out this Midwifery Today YouTube video:
Come to Conference! ~ Euphoria in Eugene (2011)
Come to a Midwifery Today Conference! After studying hard in workshops for several days, attendees at the 2011 conference in Eugene, Oregon, dance enthusiastically to the exciting sounds of Zimbabwean marimba music played by Jenaguru Full Moon marimba ensemble. "We work hard ~ we play hard!" Come to conference!

Click below to view, or you may wish to go here to download video and view without streaming interruption.


Sister and SophieThis article full of beautiful pregnancy, labor and birth photos from Midwifery Today, Issue 99, has been put online: Welcoming Sophie by Sister MorningStar

Excerpt: Full moon nights over my Ozarks Holyland are magical. My Cherokee prayers blend with the sounds of the deep woods surrounding my little cottage and begin to echo the generations of prayers made by full-throated wimyn around the stone fire circle near the flowing stream. For nine months my prayers and the full moon rose to illuminate the mysteries of the glen, carrying light and love from my part of the world to the inner world of my daughter, Kalista, and unborn grandchild. I needed mighty prayers to carry light and strength and love all the way from the Ozarks of Missouri to the California coast in San Diego.

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Question of the Week Responses

Q: My OB/GYN wants me to take 325 mg of iron supplement twice daily at 29 weeks of pregnancy. Are there any alternatives to taking the supplements? Are iron supplements the best possible way to increase my intake and are they safe?

— Christine Jude

A: Cook with cast iron, if possible. It’s an easy way to add a little extra iron, especially in tomato based dishes like spaghetti sauce or chili.

— Julie Guarino

A: Alfalfa (either as sprouts or in capsules) is a great way to boost your iron levels.

— Samantha McCormick

Bring resources about homebirth and midwifery to your community.

Does your library have relevant natural birth and midwifery resources? Did you know that as a patron of the library, you can make requests for specific books, magazines and DVDs? If these resources are not available for mothers to find, how will they make educated decisions? Making requests is easy. Go here to learn how.

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Birth Wisdom from the Web

Doctors do not completely understand the complex cascade of events that lead to labor, but they do know that the signal generates from the fetus, likely from the adrenal glands. There is no link between anything you eat and the onset of labor. So you can enjoy your spicy foods throughout pregnancy, as long as they don’t cause you to have too much heartburn!

— Drs. Yvonne Bohn, Allison Hill and Alane Park, debunking common food myths surrounding pregnancy

You’re suddenly left alone with a very tiny person who needs you for absolutely everything. It’s an exciting time, a very exciting time, but it’s also a little daunting and it can be a little bit scary.

— Andrea Horwath, describing first-time motherhood to members of the Midwifery Collective of Toronto

As I begin to really feel pregnant, it means truly embracing the changes—the aches and twinges of my growing belly, the road map of veins that has taken over my legs, the breasts that are on the verge of letters that I’ve never reached before in a cup size—rather than dwelling on the discomfort. I feel that by doing these things, I can overshadow any negativity that sneaks in, and ultimately I am preparing myself for a fabulous birth, no matter what.

Liz Abbene, blogger, on embracing the journey of pregnancy with a positive attitude

If you’d like to share a bit of wisdom from the Web, please send a 4–5 sentence excerpt, accompanied by a link, to

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You want to be a midwife, but where do you start?

Are you an aspiring midwife who’s looking for the right school? Or maybe you’re trying to decide if midwifery is the path for you. Visit our Better Birth Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.

Conference Chatter

Join Us in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 2012

Our conference coordinator, Carole Seeley, just wrote a fun piece to send to our colleagues to invite them to the Midwifery Today conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in April 2012. ( I want to invite you too, so I’m sharing her “sweet” words!

— Jan Tritten

Classes, camaraderie and chocolate! What could be better?

Harrisburg offers all the things you love about conference—hearing your favorite teachers speaking from their years of wisdom and experience, learning new ways of handling age-old childbirth concerns and sharing your most memorable moments with other birth practitioners who understand, as only they can, the indescribable joy of catching babies! And, perhaps, you may take a quick side trip to the place where Hershey’s kisses were born.

We have a sweet array of tempting sessions to whet your appetite for learning! We’re including some standard favorites: our classic day-long Beginning Midwifery and Midwifery Skills classes along with clinical favorites such as VBAC Skills for the Midwife, Shoulder Dystocia, and Posterior and Breech Birth Roundtables. We’ve also mixed in some delicious offerings you may not have tried before: Assuring Ideal Fetal Positioning, Holistic Midwifery Care, and Amish and Mennonite Midwifery. There’s sure to be something for everyone’s tastes!

— Carole Seeley, Midwifery Today Conference Coordinator

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Think about It

Not only do I trust my body, I am in awe of all it can do. I don’t know if I will ever be able to accomplish anything as marvelous as birthing and nursing two babies. That is more amazing to me than running a marathon or climbing a mountain. I have created and nurtured life; nothing tops that.

Corbin Lewars
Excerpted from “The Life of My Body,” Midwifery Today, Issue 80
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Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!