|January 15, 2014|
Volume 16, Issue 2
|Midwifery Today E-News|
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In This Week’s Issue
Share your passion and joy for midwifery
Come to our conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, next April. You’ll meet midwives from around the world while attending classes with teachers such as Gail Tully (pictured), Jeanne Ohm, Sister MorningStar, Elaine Stillerman and Carol Gautschi.
Join us in the UK this spring
Plan now to attend our conference in Bury St. Edmunds, UK, May 26–30, 2014. You’ll be able to choose from a wide selection of classes, including Rebozo Techniques and Practice, Breech Skills, Spinning Babies, Comfort Measures and Prolonged Labor. Planned teachers include Robbie Davis-Floyd, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Jane Evans and Elena Piantino.
Quote of the Week
Treating normal labors as though they were complicated can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
— Judith Rooks
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The Art of Midwifery
Squatting during birth has been around since antiquity and still enjoys widespread popularity. Squatting opens the pelvic outlet and closes the brim slightly. Moving into a squat may shift the pubic bone and roll the shoulder out from under the pubic bone. The widening of the ischial spines will increase room in the transverse. In this vertical position, uterine contractions may be stronger and more efficient. Moving the mother to a standing position can work as well. The pelvis may be more mobile when a mother stands with knees slightly bent. A strong helper can hold her under the arms to stabilize and support her. Standing allows a hand in, if needed, more than squatting.
— Gail Tully
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Let’s make 2014 the year to change birth practices. There is so much you can do in your sphere of influence, even if you are doing it with little kids in tow! We can all talk to anyone who will listen about how truly special and powerful birth can be. In the grocery store, at the farmer’s markets, at PTA meetings or wherever you are, tell what you know about how beautiful birth can be. Midwifery Today has many articles on our website if you need some help on what to talk about. We even have Sara Wickham’s article on changing birth. If you need scientific evidence, Michel Odent’s Primal Health Databank is packed with research results.
If we can all learn to work together in unity, I believe we will change birth. Midwifery Today is hosting an upcoming conference in Harrisburg about this important theme of unity. I hope to meet some of you there. Unity does not mean we all have to think alike or train alike, but that we work with respect as we make loving midwifery care the norm around the world. It is our desire for every mother and baby to have their best birth possible. We can rally around the idea that there are many kinds of women and many kinds of midwives and each mom can find who will serve her the best. We will never agree on every issue, but we can begin to respect each other. So for 2014, let us each learn to respect our sister midwives and doulas.
— 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.
We at Midwifery Today have completed the conference program for our May event in the UK. Many of you have been asking for it and now here it is: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/conferences/UK2014/
We have a great line-up of teachers, from both the UK and around the world. As always, Midwifery Today conferences are about uplifting birth workers to keep doing this work with enthusiasm, as well as increasing birth skills in many subject areas. Whether you are a midwife, doula or just checking out this calling, Midwifery Today conferences are for you. Everyone is welcome. Our UK theme is “Midwives Hold the Future.” We indeed do, literally and figuratively.
The conference will be held in Bury St. Edmunds, UK, 26–30 May 2014, at the Culford School, a property of 480 acres in a beautiful retreat-like setting; take a look here! We will all spend the nights in Culford’s dorms. This type of accommodation affords more time with teachers and other attendees. With this intimate setting, we will all have time to deepen old friendships and make new ones. We have a very rich program for you, so follow the link and plan to join us.
And lastly, please “like” our new conference page on Facebook. It’s a general page where you can keep up with current and future conferences, share photos and experiences, find women to share hotel rooms or rides with, etc.: https://www.facebook.com/MidwiferyTodayConferences
— Jan Tritten
Looking for more birth stories and information?
How Being a Homebirth Midwife Enabled Me to Learn about Shoulder Dystocia
Back in 1970, if you wanted to be a midwife, there were very few options for training. There were two nurse-midwifery education programs then, but since I didn’t live in New York City or Jackson, Mississippi, I had no way of knowing about them. I just knew that I wanted to be a midwife. I was lucky to have the opportunity to witness the most gorgeous birth anyone could possibly have, and that birth launched my quest to become a midwife. Those who have read Spiritual Midwifery already know that my initial training came from a short seminar from a kind obstetrician whom I met on the caravan I traveled with at the time. That quick course in emergency birth assistance was later supplemented by the relationship that I developed with Dr. John O. Williams, Jr., a local family practice doctor who lived near the place where my friends and I finally settled and where we started the community that we still call The Farm. Sixteen years of being the main access to medical care for the local Amish community had taught Dr. Williams that homebirth was nothing to be afraid of, as long as you were alert to early signs of complication.
This may sound strange to today’s readers, but Dr. Williams taught us that the way to deal with shoulder dystocia was to deliberately fracture the baby’s clavicle. He remarked that this intentional injury could save the baby’s life, that the fracture could quickly heal and that it was an injury that was preferable to a brachial plexus injury, since the latter injury was sometimes a permanent one. I remember wondering if there might be some way to avoid having to take this route with a difficult birth.
I had been attending births for a little more than six years when some members of my community and I made our first trip to Guatemala to do relief work after a massive earthquake had ravaged the country some months earlier. It was there that I met the local district midwife, Etta Willis, whose job it was to supervise the traditional comadronas (midwives who attended virtually all of the births for the highland Mayan women). It was Etta who told me that the comadronas had a better way of dealing with shoulder dystocia than the methods she had been taught in midwifery school. All you had to do was help the mother into a hands and knees position and the previously stuck baby would be born. (Please note that I later learned that sometimes it’s necessary to rotate the baby’s posterior shoulder into the oblique position, but the hands and knees position makes this easier to accomplish than when the mother stays on her back.)
The amazing umbilical cord is featured in the winter issue of Midwifery Today. After a birth, many midwives, doulas, mothers, fathers and even children become scientists as they explore the placenta and umbilical cord, marveling at the twists, colors and texture of what was the baby’s lifeline for nine months (or more!). How wonderful it is to take the time to explore these things and give thanks for the marvelous way in which new life grows and develops. This issue specifically honors the umbilical cord with articles from Michel Odent, Patricia Edmonds, Susun Weed, Sister MorningStar and others.
The table of contents is now online here: Midwifery Today, Winter 2013
Q: How do you handle shoulder dystocia?
— Midwifery Today
A: I use the all-fours position, followed by variations, such as runner’s stance and gentle extraction of posterior shoulder if needed.
— Kate A. Barrell
A: Hands-and-knees position and then runner’s start are my first approaches now. I haven’t needed to use anything else since I started with those maneuvers first. I may need to help the baby rotate, but these two positions offer a lot more room to do hand maneuvers that help the rotation.
— Anni McLaughlin
A: I do what I can to prevent should dystocia. If mom does not have an epidural, I encourage her to listen to her body and be in the position that feels best for her. I encourage controlled pushes and allow time for internal rotation of the shoulders rather than encouraging the head and shoulders to come out with the same push (which may not allow for rotation).
— Emily Jackson
A: I teach “go for the posterior arm” (because it takes you to the shoulder and you end at the arm if you need to be there) as the first internal maneuver, not the last. All other internal repositioning is pretty much a waste of time.
— Gail Hart
A: I rotate the shoulder oblique first—that almost always works. I have had to get the posterior arm two times when that didn’t work. One time I broke the clavicle.
— Tuesday Elaine Lach
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