June 20, 2012
Volume 14, Issue 13
Midwifery Today E-News
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Explore Mexican techniques with Angelina Miranda Martinez

Germany conferenceSign up for this full-day pre-conference class and you’ll learn about remedies, techniques and customs from Mexico. You will also have hands-on practice time to learn how to use the rebozo, a very useful tool in all parts of the childbearing cycle. From the first labor contractions to the first days after birth, you will discover how midwives work with both normal birth and problems that arise. Part of our conference in Bad Wildbad, Germany, this October.

Learn more about the Germany conference.

In This Week’s Issue

Quote of the Week

If it’s true, as the accumulated evidence seems to suggest, that movement and bodily closeness are good for babies, especially in the earliest weeks…we’ve been ingenious and consistent in depriving them of these sensations.

Dr. Benjamin Spock

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The Art of Midwifery

I see slings as basic items of clothing, and I recommend that my clients have several available, try different kinds and wear their babies as often as they can. Each sling, carrier, backpack and hip carrier has its place and appeal. One mom who wouldn’t think of using a fabric sling loved the high-tech fanny pack I got from Cuddle Karrier. It converts into a sling-like carrier, but goes back to being a fanny pack easily. Just as different styles of parenting work for different people, there are different carriers that work for different mothers. As long as the baby is being carried, that’s the whole point.

Jennifer Rosenberg, excerpted from “Cuddle Up! Slings and Baby Carriers,” Birth Wisdom, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III
View table of contents / Order the book

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 mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.

Send submissions, inquiries, and responses to newsletter items to: mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.

Jan’s Corner

Nine Months to Save the World

There is a conference happening now that I want you all to know about: The United Nations Global Conference on Sustainable Development Rio +20, June 20–22. In particular I was excited to learn about a June 15 side event of the conference that focuses on the motherbaby and how the treatment received in the nine months of pregnancy and birth affect both the mother and baby for their whole lives. This treatment affects who we are as a society.

Dr. Julie Gerland is the Chief UN Representative for OMAEP (World Organization of Prenatal Education Associations), and she has written a very unique way to state the issue, calling it “9 Months to Save the World: Mothers, Key to Sustainable Development.” Let’s support her efforts to change the world of birth by doing whatever we can in our communities to honor mothers as the carriers of the future of society, because that is what they are.

What follows is an excerpt from the 9 Months to Save the World Press Release:

“When the world wakes up and realises that it is mothers who hold the true power to human development, we will be able to stop destroying our planet and create the sustainable future we want,” says Dr. Julie Gerland, chief United Nations representative of OMAEP, World Organisation of Prenatal Education Associations.

World governments, non-governmental organisations, leaders and indigenous peoples are preparing to meet in Rio de Janeiro at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio +20 in June to meet the immense challenges facing humanity. The agenda is to eradicate world poverty, create sustainable development and peaceful prosperity for our planet and the whole human family.

OMAEP, a federation of 22 national associations, is joining forces with the European Federation of Parents and Carers at Home (EFAF), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the Primal Research Centre to highlight the decades of science confirming that the first nine months of life before birth are the key.

“If we wish to change the world, we must change the way we are born,” says Dr. Michel Odent, world renowned pioneer and author of 13 books on the subject including, Childbirth in the Age of Plastics. Dr. Odent will be presenting “The Evolution of the Human Oxytocin System” on the panel event organised by OMAEP.

Research in epigenetics and cellular memory confirm that a pregnant mother’s thoughts, feelings, environment and the way she gives birth directly affect the long-term development of her child. Mothers are children’s first environment; this is where the seeds of peace, prosperity, intelligence and sustainability must be sown and nurtured.

For more information, visit http://naturalprenataleducation.com and http://omaep.com.

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

Kangaroo Care Could Save Thousands

The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth found that 450,000 premature babies could be saved each year through the simple practice of kangaroo care.

Lead author of the report Joy Lawn says, “It’s about keeping the babies warm, breastfed and treating any new infections with antibiotics.”

The highest number of premature births takes place in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, but only 10% of these babies survive. Current research shows that the Kangaroo Mother Care technique, in which mothers serve as human incubators for their newborns, could save about half of the 1.1 million babies that die after premature birth each year.

— “‘Kangaroo’ care could save thousands of babies.” New Scientist. Last modified May 2, 2012. Accessed May 28, 2012. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428634.200-kangaroo-care-could-save-thousands-of-babies.html

Featured Article

Kangaroo Care: Why Does It Work?

By the early 1980s, the mortality rate for premature infants in Bogota, Colombia was 70%. The babies were dying of infections and respiratory problems, as well as lack of attention paid to them by a bonded parent. “Kangaroo care” for these infants evolved out of necessity. Mothers of premature infants were given their babies to hold twenty-four hours a day—they slept with them and tucked them under their clothing as if in a kangaroo’s pouch. If a baby needed oxygen, it was administered under an oxygen hood placed on the mother’s chest.

Doctors who conducted a concurrent study of the kangaroo care noticed a precipitous drop in neonatal mortality. Babies were not only surviving, they were thriving. Currently in Bogota, babies who are born as early as ten weeks before their due date are going home within twenty-four hours! The criteria for these babies are that they be alive, able to breathe on their own, are pink and able to suck. However, their weight is followed closely, and they can be gavage-fed if necessary.

Dr. Susan Ludington is one of the people who have been most instrumental in bringing kangaroo care to the United States. She has been intimately involved in many research projects, and her work is having a powerful, positive impact on premature babies and their families. In the United States, the few hospitals that regularly use kangaroo care protocols have mothers or fathers “wear” their babies for two to three hours per day, skin-to-skin. The baby is naked except for a diaper, and something must cover his or her back—either the parent’s clothing or a receiving blanket folded in fourths. The baby is in a mostly upright position against the parent’s chest.

The benefits of kangaroo care are numerous: The baby has a stable heart rate (no bradycardia), more regular breathing (a 75 percent decrease in apneic episodes), improved oxygen saturation levels, no cold stress, longer periods of sleep, more rapid weight gain, more rapid brain development, reduction of “purposeless” activity, decreased crying, longer periods of alertness, more successful breastfeeding episodes and earlier hospital discharge. Benefits to the parents include “closure” over having a baby in the NICU; feeling close to their babies (earlier bonding); having confidence that they can care for their baby, even better than hospital staff; gaining confidence that their baby is well cared for and feeling in control—not to mention significantly decreased cost!

Holly Richardson
Excerpted from “Kangaroo Care: Why Does It Work?,” Midwifery Today, Issue 44
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A way to work through grief and loss

Created as a healing journal for mothers who have lost their babies, Mending Invisible Wings is filled with healing words, drawings, poems and exercises. Each exercise includes an action, an affirmation and a self-nurturance activity designed to help the mother move through her grief. There are also plenty of blank pages where she can express her grief through words or pictures. If you have recently lost a baby, or if you know someone who has, Mending Invisible Wings could be an important step in the healing process. To Order

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How Will I Be Born?

In How Will I Be Born? Jean Sutton explains the principles of optimal fetal positioning in a clear and straightforward matter. Written for expectant parents, this book is packed with helpful advice and information, including an informative chapter on posterior position. A must-read for all pregnant moms and a book for the practitioner’s lending library. Click here.

Fill Your Birth Library with Midwifery Today Back Issues

Midwifery Today back issues

Each quarterly issue of Midwifery Today print magazine is packed full of birth news, insights and information. You’ll also get an in-depth look at an important topic, with several articles devoted to the issue theme. Look over the list of available issues, then order the ones you need to help improve your practice. Order yours.

Bask in the beauty of six good births

Five Countries, Six Births, Seven Babies DVDFive Countries, Six Births, Seven Babies showcases homebirths in Guatemala, Costa Rica, France, the USA and Bermuda. Filmed between 1994 and 2010, this DVD’s powerful images of mothers and babies can inspire a woman to learn to embrace birth as a joyful experience. It definitely belongs on any birth professional’s media shelf. Buy the DVD.

What is Midwifery Today magazine?

A 72-page quarterly print publication filled with in-depth articles, birth stories from around the world, stunning birth photography, news, reviews and more. Subscribe. Midwifery Today Magazine

Website Update

Read this editorial by Jan Tritten from the newest issue of Midwifery Today, Summer 2012:

  • Fourth Stage of Labor and Midwifery
    Excerpt: First stage [of being a midwife] is the call to be a midwife. You are Passionate with a capital P. You are an aspiring midwife. You cannot get enough of birth talk, reading, conferences, plans, photos and now YouTube videos.

The table of contents for the new issue of Midwifery Today is now available on our website here.

Read these reviews from the 100th issue of Midwifery Today now on our website:

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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.

Birth Q&A

Q: Was kangaroo care a health benefit for your baby? Please tell us your experiences.

— Midwifery Today

A: A strong sense of security has been instilled in my children as a result of my wearing them. We avoided “separation anxiety” because we weren’t separated when they were at a vulnerable age. They are growing into strong, secure people because I cradled them next to my breast when they needed it.

— Camarell Anderson

A: By the time I got to my seventh baby, my back hurt too much to carry her on my body past the first few months. Instead of wearing her, I kept her with me in a stroller everywhere I went, including up and down the halls at church during the service. Sometimes you need to adapt, but I did keep her as close to me as I could, and she too, is strong and capable now. It’s a mindset; it’s about being there to nurture your kids as they need you. If I were still having babies, and if I could, I would still wear my babies up to the age when they need more independence.

— Kathy L. McRae

A: My daughter Daisy rarely fussed and was very happy and content to be carried. She observed everything around her from the safety of my hip. Today she is five and is content, secure and smart and has a strong immune system. We are incredibly connected on many levels and our bond and love for each other is so deep and limitless. I believe wearing her and nursing helped create this.

— Heather Maurer

A: During the 2000 Presidential recount in Tallahassee, Florida, CNN had cables lying everywhere. They made the entire area around the Capitol dangerous and obstructed everything while locals were trying to enjoy the Christmas parade. I was carrying my son in a sling, and as I stepped off a curb in the dark, a cable that was not visible in the dark caused me to trip. I went end over end, rolling down a hill and hitting the pavement hard. My son never even hit the ground because of the way the sling held him and the way my arms collapsed around him as I rolled. I consider that a health benefit!

— Shannon Mitchell

Wisdom from the Web

Mothers’ progesterone (mothering hormone) is increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness.

— Babywearing

New parents often envision babies as lying quietly in a crib, gazing passively at dangling mobiles and picked up and carried only to be fed and played with and then put down. You may think that “up” periods are just dutiful intervals to quiet your baby long enough to put him down again. Babywearing reverses this view. Carry your baby in a sling many hours a day, and then put her down for sleep times and tend to your personal needs.

Ask Dr. Sears, a trusted resource for parents

In many cultures, babies are constantly in the arms of caregivers. Anthropologists and psychologists who study the behavior of mothers and babies have observed that when mothers and babies are together, they are constantly shaping one another’s behavior. When her baby whimpers or seems to be in distress, the mother responds and reassures her little one. If her baby seems hungry, she offers her breast. When the baby looks into her eyes, she smiles and talks to her baby, and her baby responds by gazing at her, smiling or trying to “talk” in baby language. When babies encounter new people or new experiences, mothers and fathers who are holding them can help them overcome their fears and learn more about their world.

— La Leche League International

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 mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.

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Conference Chatter

Be Inspired

Midwifery knowledge is a deep, wide well. The insights and knowledge we possess comes from varied sources and experiences. This is why I can ask many practitioners to write on a single subject without concern that they will duplicate each other—they never do. This is the same theory Jill Cohen, former associate editor for Midwifery Today, and I used two decades ago when we began planning conferences. Hemorrhage can be taught at a conference by different teachers and each will teach it differently. We as midwives are always looking for life-saving information for our practice. A technique learned today can save a life tomorrow. This is a beautiful part of the individuality of midwives. This individuality is also true of women in birth. We as midwives learn from every woman we serve; every baby and every family adds to our store of knowledge. These insights are the main component of what we share at conferences. This is a beautiful circle of learning, passing on information and sharing inspiration.

We mix our experience of women in birth with our reading, research and discernment and further our knowledge. This knowledge becomes synthesized with what others are teaching and, voilá!—a truly great teacher is made. Couple this with the incredible gifts that each person is given as a human on this earth, and awesome teachers are born. They practice speaking, synergize with their sister teachers and registrants, while they refine their teaching even more. The Midwifery Today conference in Germany will be a gift to us as we are taught by many special people.

I am just finishing up the Eugene conference program, which should be available on our website in July. Both of these conferences are amazing, not-to-be-missed events which will ground you well in your calling.

— Jan Tritten


Goat Midwifery

A transverse kid is one that lies with the shoulder or back down, sideways across the uterus. In humans, transverse position occurs in only 1 out of 2500 births. I have also found it rare in goats and more likely when there are multiple kids. Goats with a kid in transverse position are unable to give birth without assistance.

The call came at 2:32 in the morning. I had been in contact with Teri and Peter for the prior two days, as their Oberian doe, Drama Queen, appeared to be in early labor. She was eating normally, but her ligaments had softened and she was intermittently nesting and staring off into space. She didn’t seem comfortable, but also didn’t seem extremely uncomfortable.

Cheryl K. SmithI was concerned as I remembered back to my Nigerian Dwarf, Katharine Hepburn, and how she had been in early labor and never seemed to get to the pushing stage. She had developed ringwomb and her labor seemed to have stopped before it really got going. But she was a first freshener, while Drama had successfully kidded in the past. I recommended that Teri check the progress of Drama’s cervix to see whether there was any noticeable problem.

That evening when I stopped by, Teri reported that she couldn’t feel anything and that the cervix wasn’t really opening at that point. I wished the two good luck with getting any sleep for the third night in a row—which was borne out by that middle-of-the-night phone call from Peter, telling me that Drama had been pushing for an hour and a half and that Teri couldn’t tell what she was feeling when she checking her internally. She couldn’t feel a head or legs.

I quickly got dressed, washed my hands well and headed the one mile down the road. As I drove, I thought back to a conversation I had had at the recent goat conference where I did a Goat Midwifery presentation. I realized that this kid was transverse—something I hadn’t experienced before.

Peter met me with a flashlight and led me to the kidding pen. Drama Queen was on her side and clearly uncomfortable. Teri was at her head, comforting her. I washed my hands with betadine soap and slathered the right hand with KY jelly. Then, while Teri held and talked to Drama, I gradually got my hand into her vagina while she continued to push. Just like Teri had said, there was no head and no legs. I felt cool and calm—not scared like I had in the past. I closed my eyes to visualize what I was feeling. There it was on the right side, a rounded hip bone. The kid was transverse!

I moved my hand farther to the right, following the left leg and gently guiding it down to the opening of the uterus, being careful to avoid tearing the cervix. The kid shifted downward and within seconds followed my hand out. A couple of pushes and he was born.

Drama pushed out two more bucklings in intervals of five minutes or so—giving her time to clean each one up while resting for the next. The second kid was in diving position and the third was breech. We swung the first and third kids to ensure that they didn’t have any fluid in their lungs and helped Drama with the cleanup. I left the happy humans and caprines shortly after that, feeling satisfied and honored to be Drama’s midwife. After 12 years of learning to be a goat midwife, I felt I had finally arrived.

— Cheryl K. Smith
Excerpted from Cheryl’s upcoming book, Goat Midwifery

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