November 28, 2012
Volume 14, Issue 26
Midwifery Today E-News
“Special Holiday Edition”
Print Page

Dear Friend of Birth,  

How can another holiday season be upon us? Where did the year go? Did you make all the changes in childbirth you had hoped to make? Did you change birth practices one mother and one family at a time? Did you allow yourself to have visions for motherbaby? Did you dream your dreams and did you pursue your dreams? You are the key to the change we are hoping and praying for. You are one of the few who know and understand the beauty and power of birth; who know and understand the importance that pregnancy, birth and the first year of life have on the whole life of a human. You have the responsibility to teach, love and do with what you know, and to carry out your vision. To those who have given much, much is expected. What will you do with what you know next year? Will you become a midwife because you have been thinking about it for a long time?

We at Midwifery Today work hard to help you receive the knowledge, insight and information you need to do your calling. When I plan a magazine or a conference, I do it with you in mind. What do the midwives, doulas and future mothers need to know to do their work effectively? Our calling, to me, is the most important one there is. We help babies into the world in a love space. We help mommas in their role in a love space that includes their babies. I feel so very blessed to be called to the work I do and I hope you feel blessed, too, especially in this season of love. May you spread your dream for motherbaby widely in this season of care and in the year ahead. Toward Better Birth!

Jan Tritten

Gift Ideas

MTBIpack2009sm (5K)Be sure to take advantage of our special Holiday Coupons:

  • Save $5 on a one-year Midwifery Today subscription
  • Save $10 on any order over $110
  • Save $20 on any order over $200

Go here for coupon codes and more information: Online Holiday Coupon Page

With Woman 2013Surprise your midwife with the With Woman 2013 Appointment and Resource Book!

This handy spiral-bound book is perfect for midwives, doulas, childbirth educators and lactation consultants. There’s space for her to record 15 months of appointments, and she’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 midwife, be sure to order a copy for yourself. Get the appointment and resource book.

For the aspiring or student midwife

Beginning Midwives PackageThe Beginning Midwives Package includes:

  • A one-year subscription or subscription extension to Midwifery Today magazine
  • The book Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education—the complete book on midwifery education
  • Beginning Midwifery (4-CD Audio Set)—Learn the foundations of beginning midwifery

And all at a discount off the individual prices PLUS free shipping.

You can also order any of these items separately:

Birth Art is always a welcomed gift

Brought to Earth by BirthBrought to Earth by Birth is 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!

Into These HandsThe Into These Hands Print would look great on your midwife’s wall! This inspiring mandala art print by Amy Swagman is available as a 6 x 6 or 8 x 8 inch digital print on 9.5 x 12.5 inch archival, acid-free artist paper. Look here for other designs.

Crowning EarringsCrowning Earrings celebrate the moment of birth. Anyone who loves birth will love these silver earrings. Give them to your favorite midwife or doula, and be sure to buy a pair for yourself, too.

Look here for more jewelry.

Give the gift of information

Dance of the WombDance of the Womb: A Gentle Guide to Belly Dance for Pregnancy & Birth is perfect for an expecting mom. This 2-disk DVD set includes a 45-minute warm-up and six dance chapters that teach specific movements and their uses during labor.

Belly Mapping WorkbookThe 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. At just $14.95, it makes a fine gift for a pregnant friend!

Shoulder Dystocia and MalpresentationsMidwifery Today’s Shoulder Dystocia and Malpresentations 4-CD Audio Set features Gail Hart, Mary Cooper and Ina May Gaskin as they discuss a variety of topics, including how to identify true vs. false shoulder dystocia, how nutrition can be one of the best methods of prevention and how to assist shoulder dystocia when it does happen.

The Rebozo Technique Unfolded features detailed instructions for 10 techniques to use during pregnancy and childbirth, including a way to use the rebozo with a birth ball. The techniques are illustrated with black and white line drawings and the spiral-bound format makes it easy to keep the book open to a particular page. An excellent gift for anyone who wants to try a rebozo!

Birth Day DVDThe Birth Day DVD includes the original 11-minute documentary as well as 10 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. Birth Day will help parents and practitioners alike understand the true and sacred meaning of birth.

Go here for more books. Go here for more DVDs.

Holiday packThere’s still plenty of time to do your Holiday shopping with Midwifery Today! Just place your order by Friday, Dec. 14, if you want to use regular shipping. You have until noon PST on Wednesday, Dec. 19, if you want to use 2nd day UPS shipping. And you can wait until noon PST on Thursday, Dec. 20, if you choose Next Day UPS shipping. (These shipping deadlines apply to U.S. customers only.)

Featured Article

Nitrous Oxide and Oxytocin

It is highly probable that there is an indirect interaction between nitrous oxide and the system of oxytocin.

The first reason to think so is that nitrous oxide can enhance the activity of GABA receptors. This means that it tends to reduce neocortical activity. When the inhibitory function of the neocortex is neutralized, oxytocin is more easily released.

The second reason to think so is that the effects of nitrous oxide on the system of endorphins are well documented (Branda et al. 2000; Benturquia et al. 2007), and there are strong connections between the system of endorphins and the system of oxytocin.

In general, the laughing gas should be used with extreme caution during labour, even if it is a one-off exposure to moderate doses. We must keep in mind that all NMDA antagonists (N-methyl-D-aspartate), such as nitrous oxide, are neurotoxic. It can amplify the effects of a vitamin B12 deficiency, common among vegetarian women. Nitrous oxide inactivates the cobalamin form of vitamin B12 by oxidation. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, including sensory neuropathy, myelopathy and encephalopathy, can occur within days or weeks of exposure to nitrous oxide anesthesia in people with subclinical vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms are treated with high doses of vitamin B12, but recovery can be slow and incomplete. People with normal vitamin B12 levels have sufficient vitamin B12 stores to make the effects of nitrous oxide insignificant, unless exposure is repeated and prolonged. Vitamin B12 levels should be checked in people with risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency prior to using nitrous oxide anesthesia. Chronic nitrous oxide B12 poisoning may result in B12 functional deficiency even with normal measured blood levels of B12. The study of chronic nitrous oxide exposure has been possible among dental assistants (Rowland et al. 1992).

Furthermore, we must not forget the studies by Bertil Jacobson and Karin Nyberg suggesting that the use of nitrous oxide during labor is a risk factor for the child to become drug addicted. Explore and select the keyword “drug addiction.”

Michel Odent


  • Branda, EM, et al. 2000. “Role of Brain Dynorphin in Nitrous Oxide Antinociception in Mice.” Pharmacol Biochem Be 65:217–21.
  • Benturquia, N, et al. 2007. “Specific Blockade of Morphine- and Cocaine-induced Reinforcing Effects in Conditioned Place Preference by Nitrous Oxide in Mice.” Neuroscience 149 (3): 477–86.
  • Rowland, AS, et al. 1992. “Reduced Fertility among Women Employed as Dental Assistants Exposed to High Levels of Nitrous Oxide.” New Eng J Med 327 (14): 993–97.

Christmas Birth Stories from Our Readers

The first baby I caught was on Christmas day. The waters broke and completely drenched me! I felt baptized. The baby girl was named Eva Noelle.

— Kim Garrett

My firstborn was a Christmas day baby in 1984. My second Christmas Day baby story happened in 2005, when I was a practicing doula! My joy to share!

— Judi Calhoun

On a crisp cool night, the full moon shone bright on the snow. The pool was set up by the Christmas tree. The Christmas lights were the only lights on. The smell of pine filled the room. The mom labored serenely as soft hymns played in the background. Little Abigail emerged, was welcomed, cuddled and nursed all by the Christmas lights. All was calm, quiet and sacred, just like on that first Christmas night. No tears, no scares—just exquisite perfection! That birth was my inspiration for adding a string of Christmas lights to my birth supply list!

— Marlene Waechter

I remember well the Christmas of 1979.

I was working as a midwife on my own with sole responsibility for around 200 births a year. It was the 24th of December and a lady called at 3 pm saying she was in labor. A home-aid nurse and I went to her and she gave birth beautifully. During this birth another lady called; her membranes had broken.

Christmas day: At 9 am I saw the second lady and all was fine. I told her take 50 cc castor oil. (That’s what I did at that time.) At 10 am I had my prenatal check-ups for around 20 pregnant women. None had specific questions because all were busy with Christmas, doing the last of shopping, baking cakes and so on. At 1 pm I checked on the lady with the broken membranes. Her husband told me how she took the oil, with orange juice, four times, in a mug! “What do you mean four mugs?!” She had taken 500 cc instead of 50! At 3 pm she gave birth; the baby was launched to the end of the bed!

At 6 pm another lady called. The nurse that helped me with the first baby came and helped again. At 11 pm I got home and was so tired. At midnight the mass for Christmas started but I was going to my bed. But not for long. Another lady called and so off I went: the baby was born at 3 am.

After driving home in the morning, I slept a while, made my check ups, and the rest of my Christmas was very peaceful! I slept most of the time.

— Mary Zwart, Netherlands


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