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Midwifery Today Issue Number 91 ( Autumn 2009) Traditional Midwifery
International Midwifery, Back Issues
 
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Theme: Traditional Midwifery

This issue explores traditional midwifery in all its many forms, from the traditional healers and village midwives of many cultures, to the apprentice-trained or direct entry midwives of the industrialized countries. It also contains the usual thought-provoking clinical and theoretical articles, inspiring stories of birth, and a gorgeous photo essay.

Articles include:

  • Am I a Traditional Midwife? by Brandi Wood. What is a traditional midwife? Brandi Wood discusses this question in the context of her own identity, as an apprentice-trained midwife who also makes the most of twenty-first century technology.
  • Some Traditional Umbilical Cord Care Practices in Developing Countries, by Cheryl K. Smith. Babies born in developing countries around the world often do not have the benefit of sanitary methods for cutting the umbilical cord or keeping the cord clean. This article discusses a variety of the traditional cord care practices that have evolved in different countries, some of which are harmful and some that help to ensure that bacteria do not enter the cord stump.
  • Stories of Extraordinary Central American Midwifes, by Marie Tyndall. From the 1970s to the 1990s, a series of long, violent and bloody civil wars raged in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Marie Tyndall paints a portrait of two extraordinary traditional midwives who, in the midst of tragedy and violence, remained grounded figures of love and nurturance for their communities.
  • Open Throat, Open Vagina, by Debra Flashenberg. Vocal toning isn't just an exercise for singers; use of this technique can benefit birthing mothers by causing their pelvises to relax and open.
  • The Achievements of Traditional Midwives, by Debbie Diaz Ortiz. This article outlines the achievements of Latin American traditional midwives, building upon the 2007 release of "The Traditional Midwife in Our Region."
  • Some Traditional Practices from Around the World. A sampling of traditional birth practices from varying locations and cultures.
  • Breech, Posterior and a Deflexed Head! An Active Birth Solution? by Maggie Banks. This article outlines possible solutions to a deflexed, posterior breech birth. The author makes the case that active birth is one of the most effective approaches.
  • Faith, by Daisy Case. Trust that women can birth the babies their bodies create and they will believe it too. Daisy Case asserts that interventionist births are not a result of a failure in physiology, but rather, a lack of faith.
  • Bumi Sehat Aceh Traditional Village Midwifes Sharing Ilmu, the Spiritual Authority, Skill and Magic of Midwifery, by Robin Lim. In this update from non-profit Bumi Sehat, author Robin Lim describes their work with a group of village midwives in Aceh, Indonesia. These traditional midwives provide an invaluable service to local villagers, survivors of the 2005 Tsunami.
  • Are Traditional Chinese Medicine Theories of Normal Delivery Supported by Evidence-based Medicine? by Zhang Hongyu. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a summary of ancient practice experiences, rather than the results of randomized controlled trials. This article uses evidence from modern scientific knowledge to determine whether TCM theories of normal delivery are well-supported by evidence-based medicine.
  • Brought to Earth by Birth, by Harriette Hartigan. Photo spread featuring selected images from Harriette Hartigan's book Brought to Earth by Birth, published by Motherbaby Press.
  • The Birth Dance, by Denise Thompson. This short, sweet piece describes the interaction between father-to-be and laboring mother at a Ukrainian homebirth. This piece is one of four articles in this issue describing different aspects of birth in Ukraine.
  • What I have Seen, by Denise Thompson. The author describes the horrors of the hospital births she has witnessed in Ukraine, recounting scenes where the laboring women are treated inhumanely and ridiculed for showing signs of pain. This piece is one of four articles in this issue describing different aspects of birth in Ukraine.
  • Who Benefits from Training Traditional Midwives? by Ann Davenport. Davenport discusses the ramifications of training traditional midwives or skilled birth attendants based on conformity to a medical system that may or may not be in the best interest of birthing mothers.
  • Trip to the Congo, by Jennifer Vanderlaan. The author describes her journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she and another doula teach the basics of healthy pregnancy and postpartum care to over 55 women from the surrounding regions, who will go on to serve as midwives for their communities.
  • Viral Hepatitis: Some Considerations for Midwives, by Kathleen McDonald. In the US alone, at least five million people are infected with hepatitis B or C, and the majority don't even know it. There is a good chance that most midwives will work with women who are unaware that they are infected. This article discusses the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of viral hepatitis from a midwife's perspective.

View complete Table of Contents here.


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