December 5, 2012
Volume 14, Issue 25
Midwifery Today E-News
“Comfort in Pregnancy”
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If you work with birthing women, you need Penny Simkin’s Comfort Measures for Childbirth!

MT online storeWatch 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.
To order

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

Look below for more info!

Learn about comfort measures for labor

Eugene conferenceAttend the full-day Comfort Techniques for Midwives and Doulas class at our conference in Eugene, Oregon, April 2013. This class will cover a variety of techniques, including hot and cold compresses, music, massage/touch, acupressure, aromatherapy and the birthing ball. You’ll also learn about positions that assist rotation and descent in first stage, as well as several ways to help in second stage. The importance of knowing when to do less and listen more will also be discussed.

Learn more about the Eugene conference.

In This Week’s Issue

Quote of the Week

“Birthing is the most profound initiation to spirituality a woman can have.”

Robin Lim

Are you enjoying your copy of Midwifery Today E-News? Then show your support and get more content by subscribing to our quarterly print magazine, Midwifery Today. Subscribe here.

The Art of Midwifery

Start out learning to relax while you are somewhere you normally go to unwind―your favorite chair or your bed would be good choices. Later, you will want to practice relaxing in places that are less calm, such as while riding in the car or sitting in a noisy place. Practice letting go of your tension while in a variety of situations and positions, for example, standing in line at the store.

Sabrina Cuddy, excerpted from “Relaxation for Pregnancy and Labor,” Birth Wisdom, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. III, a Midwifery Today book
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

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Jan’s Corner

Just One Book

If I have to give just one book to a pregnant mother, I will always choose to give her Sarah Buckley’s book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering. This book will provide her with the most helpful information in the most straightforward way. What I especially love about this book is that Sarah has an amazing way of teaching the science about her subject (motherbaby) with an easy-to-read and easy-to-absorb manner. She covers such important aspects, such as undisturbed birth, and includes excellent information about the hormones of birth. She minces no words in discussing the dangers of ultrasound, epidurals and cesareans, yet comes across gentle enough to change women’s minds.

Sarah gives us the evidence on the dangers of separating the mother from the baby, early cord-cutting and information on how to build a strong and loving foundation for the motherbaby bond. There is also a great chapter called “Breastfeeding, The Gift of a Lifetime,” as well as wonderfully encouraging words on early parenting.

Beautifully woven through the book are Sarah’s own birth experiences, adding a lovely spice to an already excellent book. Sarah’s combination of the loving spirit of pregnancy, birth and postpartum, with evidence that is convincing, makes this an excellent book to pass on to pregnant women everywhere.

Midwifery Today is blessed to carry this newly revised book by Sarah. Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering can be ordered on our website here.

Editor’s Note: Look for the next issue of Midwifery Today E-News on January 2, 2013!

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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Featured Article

Yoga for Moms: Building Core Stability Before, During and After Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the weight of the growing uterus causes the spine to overload every day. The stretching pelvis adds risk of injury to the spine, and also weakens core muscles. Building core stability is absolutely essential before, during and after pregnancy to prevent back injury and alleviate discomfort.

What is Core Stability? The “core” is the central, most important part of the body and consists of all the muscles that support the spine. “Stability” refers to the capacity of the body to maintain and/or return to a state of equilibrium.

The deep muscles of the spine, along with the abdominal muscles that support the spine, react quickly to changes in movement and usually respond first in keeping the spine in alignment. This is what it means to “move from the core.” When the core muscles are working effectively, the recruitment of deep muscle fibers for stabilization occurs automatically.

Unfortunately, with repetitive strain and injury to deep muscles, as well as weak abdominal muscles, the body compensates by developing movement patterns to protect the injured muscles and restore equilibrium. Instead of stimulating the deep muscles to provide stability to the spine, the nervous system recruits the superficial muscles. This can lead to muscular tension, further injury and weakening of the core.

To change this pattern, an individual needs to increase awareness and move the spine slowly and consciously. This activates the movement centers of the brain and helps to retrain the deep muscles to become the “first responders” in establishing core stability.

When a person is sitting on a chair, the weight of the head, torso and arms is on the vertebral column, with the load gradually increasing from top to bottom.

As long as the spine is aligned and deep muscles activated, weight is evenly distributed through each disc, which is the ideal shock-absorbing position. In this way, the spine can carry heavy loads without damage.

When the spine is out of alignment, however, which commonly occurs while slouching in a chair or standing in poor posture, the load on the spine is unevenly distributed, putting excess stress on the deep muscles of the spine and subsequently on the vertebral column itself.

Deep muscles typically form bundles, which attach from one vertebra to another, from one vertebra to several vertebrae or from the vertebra to the rib cage. Small muscles located close to the bone exert little force and are constantly working to maintain or recover proper alignment. Deep muscles that help to maintain an erect posture include: posteriorly, the psoas, multifidus (bundles) and erector spinae, and anteriorly, the transverse abdominis muscles.

Located closer to the skin, superficial muscles are larger and more powerful and span greater distances than deep muscles. Superficial muscles include: posteriorly, the trapezius and latissimus dorsi, and anteriorly, the rectus abdominis and external obliques. Superficial muscles in the torso help to perform large movements requiring full range of motion as well as actions of the spine, including bending forward and/or backward as well as rotation.

Many people have back problems because they have underdeveloped deep muscles in the torso. By sitting and slouching all day, the deep muscles of the spine are relaxed, under-used and weak. This causes excessive load on the intervertebral discs. When a person with underdeveloped deep muscles then tries to maintain an erect posture, the superficial muscles take over, which causes them to spasm or create discomfort.

Bonnie Berk
Excerpted from “Yoga for Moms: Building Core Stability Before, During and After Pregnancy,” Midwifery Today, Issue 59
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Featured Products

Looking for a good appointment book for the New Year?
With Woman 2013 The With Woman 2013 Appointment and Resource Book is just what you need. This handy spiral-bound book lets you record 15 months of appointments and is perfect for midwives, doulas, childbirth educators and lactation consultants. You’ll appreciate the reference guides and resources, the place for listing client information and the handy pocket in the back that can hold business cards or a gestational wheel. If you’re a student it can help you keep track of your prenatals, births and postpartum visits. Not a midwife? With Woman makes a great gift for someone who is.
To Order
View inside pages!

Learn the essentials of supportive touch.

Laboring Under an Illusion

In Touch Techniques for Birth, Leslie Piper, LMT, and Leslie Stager, RN, LMT, show you how to make touch a part of your midwifery practice. You’ll learn about contraindications, acupressure, reflexology, hydrotherapy, general comfort strokes, pain relieving techniques and more. A special feature includes a midwife’s story of the use of belly rub and emotional support to encourage labor. This DVD belongs in your midwifery library! Get the DVD.

Womb with a  View Pendant

Give birth jewelry this holiday season!

The Womb with a View Pendant captures the quiet potential of a baby in the womb and makes an elegant gift.

Any new mom will love these delicate Baby Earrings.
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Crowning Earrings celebrate the moment of birth and are a perfect gift for your favorite midwife or doula.
Crowning Earrings

Shoulder Dystocia Audio 4-CD SetWant to know more about shoulder dystocia? You need the Shoulder Dystocia Package!

When you order this package you’ll receive The Shoulder Dystocia Handbook, the Shoulder Dystocia and Malpresentations Audio CD and Midwifery Today Issue 103, which has the theme of Shoulder Dystocia. This is a great way to learn more about this important topic and would make a welcomed gift for an aspiring or student midwife.
Order the package.

Get second stage advice in e-book format!

Download Second Stage: The Pushing Phase of Labor, a collection of ten articles from Midwifery Today magazine. Topics include "Understanding Stages of Labour after the Paradigm Shift" by Michel Odent, "Midwifing Second Stage" by Sister MorningStar, "Supporting Motherbaby in Second Stage Waterbirth" by Cornelia Enning and "Getting to Second Stage" by Carol Gautschi.

Available on Amazon Or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.

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Birth Q&A

Q: What helped to make your pregnancy more comfortable?

— Midwifery Today

A: My chiropractor!

— Kayce Pearson

A: Swimming three times a week. The buoyancy was such a gift!

— Kelly McCann Martin

A: Chiropractic care, massage and the love and support of my midwife and doulas.

— Shelley Harvey

A: I went through one pregnancy with no chiropractic care. With my second child I regularly saw a certified Webster chiropractor and it helped immensely. And, silly as it may sound, with my second one I bought a few more expensive maternity outfits that made me feel stylish and pretty, and that did wonders for my self-esteem and state of mind.

— Amy Bischoff Loch

A: Chiropractic care, water aerobics, walking and good nutrition.

— Rachel Emery

A: Going gluten-free stopped my all-day sickness, and I could be a functioning person again. I went back to eating normally after giving birth.

— Anne Lukes Gast

A: Yoga, swimming and apples!

— Laura Javier

A: Acupuncture!

— Kat Zelada

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Conference Chatter

Portable USB Drives

Our conference in Germany, “Midwifery: Birth Care for a Global Future,” was a resounding success. Midwives from 27 countries shared their hopes and dreams. We had excellent classes from our favorite teachers, as well as wonderful new classes from Gail Tully and Diane Goslin. As usual, the teaching was top-notch. We wish you had all been able to be there! It is often so hard and expensive to get to a conference, yet our practices really need the boost of insight and information these conferences provide.

We were able to record 16 classes and make them available on portable USB drives. We can now offer you the opportunity to join us in these great classes for just $49.95, including shipping. This is an especially good deal because single conference recordings are usually $9 each. You get 16 classes and a USB thrown in! What a great gift to yourself or a friend for the holidays. Classes include: Second Stage, Breech, Fear, Prenatal Care, Counseling, Intuition, Labor complications and more. You can order yours here.

We do hope you can join us in person for our conference in Eugene, April 3–7, 2013.

— Jan Tritten

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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.


When my midwife gave me the cue to take a deep breath and stop pushing (so I wouldn’t tear), I reached forward and pulled the bun on top of her head! It was like I was in someone else’s body―the “real” me would never do such a thing! I quickly released her bun from my death grip and began apologizing. She said all was okay and that if I gave a good push, I would meet my son. I did and out he came! I did not tear one bit.

— Morgan Lee Smith

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

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