August 1, 2012
Volume 14, Issue 16
Midwifery Today E-News
“Dads and Labor”
Print Page

Welcome to Midwifery Today E-News !

Midwifery Today Online Store

Carry a bundle of birth stories on your smartphone or e-book reader!

MT online store

Birth stories are fun to read and good to share. And now you can have 21 birth stories available anytime and anywhere, when you purchase and download Birth Stories, a collection of personal accounts from past issues of Midwifery Today magazine. These stories were written by mothers, fathers and midwives, and cover homebirth, hospital birth, twin birth, breech birth, VBACs and waterbirth. Check it out on Smashwords, then choose your format and download. Learn more about the different formats.

This issue of Midwifery Today E-News is brought to you by:

Look below for more info!

Immerse yourself in midwifery education!

Germany conferenceMidwifery Education for a Global Future is an intensive study day designed for existing and would-be midwifery educators, students and anyone who cares about this topic. Elizabeth Davis, Sharon Evans, Gail Hart and Jan Tritten bring diverse experience and approaches that will enhance your knowledge in this area.

Learn more about the Germany conference.

Come weave together the art, science and spirit of midwifery!

Eugene conferenceCome to our conference in Eugene, Oregon, April 2013. You’ll learn from a great group of teachers, including Elizabeth Davis (pictured), Patricia Edmonds, Sharon Evans, Anne Frye, Carol Gautschi, Gail Hart, Sister MorningStar, Michel Odent and Gail Tully. Classes to choose from cover a wide array of topics, including a full-day Spinning Babies Workshop, a full-day on Mexican Traditions and Techniques and a two-day Midwifery Skills class. Plan now to attend!

Learn more about the Eugene conference.

In This Week’s Issue

Quote of the Week

Pregnant women are not sick; they’re pregnant.

Dr. Robert Bradley
The father of husband-coached childbirth

Shop for yourself, shop for a friend, and give to Midwifery Today!

Use iGive, where with every transaction a portion goes to benefit Midwifery Today, Inc. Raise a penny (or more) per search and generate donations from any of the 700+ stores listed with iGive, ranging up to 26%. Also, check out the new searchable coupons and deals, where you will find all available, up-to-the-minute offers and specials.
Start here: and select Midwifery Today, Inc., as your cause in step 1. (It only takes a minute.)

The Art of Midwifery

When I first started my practice, I would actively coach, give foot massage, rub backs, etc. I also seemed to have marathon labors. When I shifted my focus to the father doing the support, my labor time was cut by an average of 10 to 12 hours. The moral seems to be to let the couple who made the baby and grew the baby, birth the baby and they will find their pace more quickly and easily.

Page Biega
Excerpted from “Stand Back for Fathers,” Tricks of the Trade, Vol. I, a Midwifery Today book
Tricks of the Trade, Vol. I, is out of print. Check here to see the other books in the series.

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

Send submissions, inquiries, and responses to newsletter items to:

RSS Feed Subscribe to the Web Updates RSS feed to stay on top of what’s new or highlighted on the Midwifery Today website. Be alerted when conference programs go online, new articles are posted and more.

Jan’s Corner

Fathers in China

It seems that fathers in many places around the world are stepping up and taking a bigger role in both the births and rearing of their children. China is no exception. During a trip there in June of 2012, I spoke to a room full of about 100 couples in a childbirth education class. The fact that the fathers were happily participating in learning about birth spoke volumes.

In several of the Chinese hospitals I visited, fathers were with the laboring moms to offer support and help. Sometimes the midwives feel the hospital wards are too crowded with beds and do not have the space to accommodate fathers. Still, there seems to be a realization in China of the importance of fathers during labor and birth. During my trip I saw that often the father is with mom through labor, but is not invited to the actual birth. It was unclear if they thought the father would faint or what the reasons were for why he was not invited to the birth. Before the 1970s, fathers in the US were not allowed in birthing rooms. Strides have been and are being made here in the US, and there is great hope for China as well.

Carol Gautschi, a midwife and contributing writer for Midwifery Today, was with me in China, and together we went to five births in two different hospitals. We were able to completely lead the births, and at each one we asked that the father come into the birthing room. We are hoping some of the ideas we worked on with the Chinese midwives will continue to stick, including the presence of the dads at birth. I will be writing for the December issue of Midwifery Today about the other miracles that took place in China on this inspirational trip. Meanwhile, let’s give a place of honor to fathers at birth—a place where they belong if desired by the birthing mom.

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.

Midwifery Today on Facebook:
Jan on Facebook:
International Alliance of Midwives on Facebook:
Birth Is a Human Rights Issue:
Midwifery Education: Caring and Sharing:

News and Research

More Time in Womb Is Better

A recent study suggests that even for full-term babies, a little more time in the womb may be beneficial for brain development.

The study conducted showed that children born at 37 and 38 weeks, considered full-term, didn’t score as well on third-grade math and reading tests than children born just a week or two later. Experts are saying that the results of the study suggest the definition of preterm babies (born before 37 weeks) should be reconsidered.

Compared with those born at 41 weeks, children born at 37 weeks faced a 33% increased chance of having severe reading difficulty in third grade and a 19% greater chance of having moderate problems in math.

— Tanner, L. 2012. “Early Full-term Babies May Face Later Academic Woes; More Time in Womb Is Better, Study Says.” The Huffington Post. Updated July 2, 2012. Accessed July 11, 2012.

Please support our advertisers!

advertiserWomen’s Gynecologic Health, Second Edition

Women’s Gynecologic Health, Second Edition, is an award-winning text that provides a strong foundation in women’s gynecologic health, including health promotion, maintenance and treatment. Based on the most recent research, the authors provide authoritative content written from a feminist perspective to convey a holistic approach to care. Order today and save 20% at with Promotion Code WGHMT.

Featured Article

A Note to Fathers: It’s You She Wants

They are nineteen years old and in labor with their first child. Three months earlier they sat in my living room, asking questions and scribbling notes during childbirth classes. In many ways, they seemed to still be children themselves.

But not today. Today they are in labor. As each contraction begins to build, her small body loosens and lets go, her eyes close in concentration, her cheeks flush with effort. I sit and watch as he holds her, tears streaming down his face. Her pain is his pain. They are one in the process of birth.
Between contractions he wipes her face with a cool cloth, gently patting each eye with a tenderness that is like worship. As their labor unfolds I know that I am witnessing more than the birth of a baby. It is also the birth of a woman and a mother; the birth of a man and a father; the birth of a relationship that will never, ever be the same.

What is the role of the father who is present at the birth of his child? Is he a labor coach, advocate or partner? Is he a fifth wheel? A nuisance? A liability? In the 12 years that I have served birthing families in my community, I have heard many passionate opinions about the presence of fathers at birth. Over the years my own understanding of the role that fathers play in pregnancy and birth has developed to become much deeper and more complex as I have served different families, each with their own unique relationship, culture, expectations and beliefs.

In the early days of my work as a childbirth educator and doula, I saw fathers as “labor coaches” who had a unique place in the “birth team.” Many of my couples gave birth in hospitals, so I prepared the fathers in my classes to assist their partners in two ways. First, as a labor assistant helping the mom achieve deep relaxation, working with her body and performing comfort measures such as massage. Some fathers loved doing these things. Others found them to be awkward and even embarrassing. With gentle guidance and encouragement, each father eventually found his own way of participating in his baby’s birth. But one thing was certain: each father was as unique as each laboring woman, and no predetermined agenda of mine was going to result in a cookie-cutter army of labor coaches able to do the job in the same way at each birth!

Lois Wilson
Excerpted from “A Note to Fathers: It’s You She Wants,” Midwifery Today, Issue 51,” Midwifery Today, Issue 51
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Featured Products

Learn more about the role of fathers in birth

Father ComboGet both Midwifery Today back issues on fathers for just $10. Included in this package are Issue 8 (regular price: $7) and Issue 51 (regular price $10). Issue 8 includes a warm story about fatherly bonds and an excerpt from a book about the needs and concerns of expectant fathers, while Issue 51 features eleven articles about fathers’ involvement in birth.

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.

Expert Midwives Share Their Tricks

Expert Midwives Have Tricks for YouSharing Midwifery Knowledge is packed with information that can expand your personal bag of tricks, enhance your education and encourage a natural approach to safe childbearing. Topics include Nutrition and Herbs, Natural Alternatives to Drugs and Suturing, The Dangers of Ultrasound, and Premature Rupture of Membranes. Order the book.

Want the whole story?

Subscribe to Midwifery Today print magazine and four times a year you’ll receive 72 pages filled with complete articles, birth stories, stunning birth photography and more. Midwifery Today E-News is just a taste of what you’ll find in Midwifery Today magazine. Subscribe.

Midwifery Today Magazine Issue 102

If you work with birthing women, you need Penny Simkin’s
Comfort Measures for Childbirth
Comfort Measures DVD

Watch this DVD and practice along with expecting guest couples as they learn more than 40 different comfort measures for women in labor. Penny shows you exactly how and when to use the techniques in each of the DVD’s four sections:

  • Basic relaxation and rhythmic breathing
  • Comfort measures, devices, and positions
  • Techniques to help with back pain and labor progress
  • Positions and techniques for pushing and birth
Comfort Measures for Childbirth is must-viewing for expecting parents and for anyone who works with women in labor. Order the DVD.

Discover The Power of Women!

The Power of Women

When you read this book by Sister MorningStar, you’ll discover how healing words and empowering stories help women listen to their instincts during childbirth. Filled with inspiring, moving stories, The Power of Women will lift the veils from your eyes and let you view the world in a new way. Give it to the pregnant women you know. Help them see the power that resides within them.
Order the book.

Website Update

Read this article excerpt from the newest issue of Midwifery Today, Summer 2012:

  • Neonatal Resuscitation with Intact Umbilical Cord by Angie Evans
    Abstract: This paper investigates neonatal resuscitation with the umbilical cord intact. Research confirms numerous immediate and long-term benefits to leaving the cord intact while performing neonatal resuscitation in both term and preterm neonates, while doing no harm. Current neonatal resuscitation guidelines from around the world are discussed with respect to the cord. Methods for incorporating an intact cord into standard resuscitation procedures are explored.

Get the whole story!
Subscribe to Midwifery Today magazine!

Advertising Opportunities

Education Opportunities Page

Reach prospective students online with our Education Opportunities Page. It is the solution for promoting your midwifery education programs and CE courses. [ Learn More ]

Midwifery Today E-News

Do you have a website? Does reaching more than 18,000 potential customers sound appealing? Purchasing an ad in Midwifery Today E-News, our biweekly e-mail newsletter, gets your message out and sends customers directly to your website. Each issue is archived and continues sending more customers in the future. [ Learn More ]

Contact our Advertising Director at:
View more advertising options at:

Birth Q&A

Q: Was the father of your baby present for the birth? What meaning did this have for you?

— Midwifery Today

A: He was there every step of the way and held my hand through every contraction. He was my rock, and I don’t think I could have gotten through it without him there, even with two wonderful midwives by my side!

— Veronica Leonard

A: Not only was he present, he was an integral part of the birth process. We were inseparable at the births of both our children. Our connection grew so strong through labor that I mainly focused on labor and him. I was glad to have the support of the midwives who let us do our laboring together and helped in quiet, unobtrusive ways. I now look back at that connection we had and how it was the perfect beginning to our parenting journey together.

— Gretchen Gossard Graves

A: I could not have done it without him either time! In fact, he was the only one present at the last birth besides my children. It was incredible and empowering, and when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore he gave me the strength I needed to finish!

— Birth Swings

A: I just needed his hand and his voice. My eyes were closed, but I needed his hand so I didn’t feel alone, and I needed his voice to keep me going. I needed to know he believed in me, that I could do it, that he loved me, and it didn’t matter what he said, but the tone of his voice told me everything I needed to hear. I couldn’t have done it without him!

— Colleen Curry, doula

ed page graphic

Learn about midwifery education!

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

Wisdom from the Web

Do not forget that in addition to food for the laboring woman, food for dad is vitally important. Fruit and [more healthful] snacks and drinks should not be forgotten. There have been many times where the father forgets to eat or finds himself running out for food at midnight only to find cold stale fries and an old rubbery hamburger at some fast food restaurant.

— Practical Home Birth, practical help and encouragement for home birthing mothers

A laboring woman is not always in the best condition to make hard decisions or assertive requests. Be ready to step in if the situation calls for it. You may need to ask that her health care practitioner be woken from a nap, that an anesthesiologist be paged or that a mirror be brought in. And if Mom plans to breastfeed, help make sure that she has a chance to do so soon after the baby’s born and that someone’s there to help her if she’s having trouble.

— Baby Center, 10 tips for labor coaches

Many fathers are eager to be involved during labor and birth. Others, no less loving or committed to their partners’ well-being, find it difficult to navigate in uncharted waters. With a doula, a father can share in the birth at a level which feels most comfortable. The doula’s skills and knowledge can help him to feel more relaxed. If the father wants to provide physical comfort, such as back massage and change of positions, and help his partner to stay focused during contractions, the doula can provide that guidance and make suggestions for what may work best.

— DONA 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

Conference Chatter

Eugene Conference Program

The program for the Eugene, Oregon, conference has been completed. Please save the dates of April 3–7, 2013, for an excellent upcoming conference in our beautiful hometown of Eugene. Come take some of Eugene’s great energy home with you! Our theme is “Weaving Together the Art, Science and Spirit of Midwifery.” With wonderful teachers and great classes, we expect this to be an amazing part of your midwifery and birth education. Classes such as Essential Midwifery, Midwifery Skills, Twins, Breech, Craniosacral Therapy, Communication as an Art Form, Art in Midwifery, Gail Tully’s ever-famous Spinning Babies Workshop and dozens more will ensure there is something for everyone. You can take a peek at the program and particulars here.

Our goal for conference is to organize fun, insightful and inspirational times full of friendship and provide a place where you can receive the best information on many aspects of our calling, which is to help motherbaby have the best prenatal, birth and postpartum periods possible. Whether you are just beginning your journey into this beautiful and important work or whether you are a well-seasoned practitioner, our goal is help you be the best you can be for the families you serve. We are here to help.

— Jan Tritten

libraries graphic

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.


I just completed a homebirth that was thought to be twins for several months. I had listened to two distinct heartbeats prenatally and during the birth. The end result was one 8 lb baby girl with two complete knots in the cord. I have been reading that a knot can change the pressure in the cord to sound like two heartbeats. Wow! What are the chances of two tight knots? Baby is great and the placenta looked way over-term. It is amazing what miracles can happen when we give them the chance to unfold. Blessings to all the babies that grow to be healthy against all odds!

— Dragonfly Earth Medicine

Classified Advertising

Tell our readers about your business. Just $37/issue ($135 for four) gives you 30 words to promote your products or services. or

E-News Subscription Information

Remember to share this newsletter—it’s free! You may forward it to as many friends and colleagues as you wish—just be sure to follow the copyright notice.

Want to stop receiving E-News or change your e-mail address? Or would you like to subscribe? Then please visit our easy-to-use subscription management page.

On this page you will be able to:

  • start receiving any of our e-mail newsletters
  • stop receiving any of our e-mail newsletters
  • change the version (text or HTML) that you receive
  • change the e-mail address to which newsletters are delivered

If you have difficulty, please send a complete description of the problem, including any error messages, to our newsletter.

Learn even more about birth!

Midwifery Today Magazine—mention code 940 when you subscribe.

 1-Year Subscription2-Year Subscription
United States$55$105
All other countries$75$145

E-mail or call 1-800-743-0974 to learn how to order.

Or subscribe online.

How to order our products mentioned in this issue:

Secure online shopping

We accept Visa and MasterCard at the Midwifery Today Storefront.

Order by postal mail

We accept Visa; MasterCard; and check or money order in U.S. funds.

Midwifery Today, Inc.
PO Box 2672
Eugene, OR 97402, USA

Order by phone or fax

We accept Visa and MasterCard.

Phone (U.S. and Canada; orders only):  1-800-743-0974

Phone (worldwide):  +1-541-344-7438

Fax:  +1-541-344-1422

E-News subscription questions or problems

Editorial submissions, questions or comments for E-News

Editorial for print magazine



For all other matters

All questions and comments submitted to Midwifery Today E-News become the property of Midwifery Today, Inc. They may be used either in full or as an excerpt, and will be archived on the Midwifery Today website.

Midwifery Today E-News is published electronically every other Wednesday. We invite your questions, comments and submissions. We’d love to hear from you! Write to us at: Please send submissions in the body of your message and not as attachments.


This publication is presented by Midwifery Today, Inc., for the sole purpose of disseminating general health information for public benefit. The information contained in or provided through this publication is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be, and is not provided as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Midwifery Today, Inc., does not assume liability for the use of this information in any jurisdiction or for the contents of any external Internet sites referenced, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advertised in this publication. Always seek the advice of your midwife, physician, nurse or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or for answers to any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.

Copyright Notice

The content of E-News is copyrighted by Midwifery Today, Inc., and, occasionally, other rights holders. You may forward E-News by e-mail an unlimited number of times, provided you do not alter the content in any way and that you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. You may print a single copy of each issue of E-News for your own personal, noncommercial use only, provided you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. Any other use of the content is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Midwifery Today, Inc., and any other applicable rights holders.

© 2012 Midwifery Today, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!