July 18, 2012
Volume 14, Issue 15
Midwifery Today E-News
“Midwifery Education”
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Welcome to Midwifery Today E-News !

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Thinking about becoming a midwife? Do you know someone who is?

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Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education is just what any aspiring midwife needs! The fourth edition of this book includes several new articles on the various midwifery philosophies, new information on becoming an apprentice, dozens of recently updated articles, and a directory of more than 150 schools, programs and other resources.
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Bring natural remedies into your midwifery practice

comfreySign up for the full-day Herbs, Homeopathy and Alternative Practices class with Lisa Goldstein. This class includes slides for plant identification and demos for making herbal tinctures, oils, salves and homeopathic solutions. Plus, you’ll be given an extensive reference book to take home. Come and learn new tips and uses for your favorite remedies. Part of our Germany conference this October.

Plan ahead for Eugene!

The full program for the Midwifery Today conference in Eugene, Oregon, April 2013, is now online! Start here:

Learn more about the Eugene conference.

In This Week’s Issue

Quote of the Week

Attending births is like growing roses. You have to marvel at the ones that just open up and bloom at the first kiss of the sun, but you wouldn’t dream of pulling open the petals of the tightly closed buds and forcing them to blossom to your timeline.

Gloria Lemay

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The Art of Midwifery

As I see it, one of our tasks as midwives is to assist mothers in becoming aware of their unconscious emotional patterns on as many levels as possible so they may broaden their resources to deal with them. Enlarging the possibilities for creating more functional and truly fulfilling experiences in their lives will serve to create a more nurturing and rewarding birth experience as well.

Anne Frye, excerpted from “Some Insights into the Psychology of Birth,” Wisdom of the Midwives, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. II, 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 mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.

Send submissions, inquiries, and responses to newsletter items to: mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.

Jan’s Corner

Midwifery Today’s First E-book

[Editor’s note: While Jan was overseas working her magic and influencing the birth world in the land of China, Nancy Halseide, managing editor for Midwifery Today, provided the editorial for this issue of E-News.]

In honor of this issue’s theme of midwifery education, Midwifery Today is pleased to announce the publication of our first e-book, Second Stage: The Pushing Phase of Labor.

In this collection of articles from Midwifery Today, influential authors such as Michel Odent, Carol Gautschi and Cornelia Enning share their knowledge regarding this stage of labor from a physiological perspective.

Midwives, doulas and childbirth educators will enjoy this wealth of information for a low price—so be sure you get a copy from Smashwords and spread the word about this amazing resource! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137166

Nancy Halseide is the managing editor for Midwifery Today and mother of two beautiful little pearls. Nancy is also a childbirth educator and co-owner of Eugene Birth Education.

P.S. If there is a certain topic you would like to see compiled as a future e-book, send your ideas to mgeditor@midwiferytoday.com—we have volumes of articles waiting to be organized into e-books. Check out Midwifery Today’s Smashwords profile page for more e-books: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MidwiferyToday

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: facebook.com/midwiferytoday
Jan on Facebook: facebook.com/JanTrittensBirthPage
International Alliance of Midwives on Facebook: facebook.com/IAMbirth
Birth Is a Human Rights Issue: facebook.com/birthisahumanrightsissue
Midwifery Education: Caring and Sharing: facebook.com/MidwiferyEducation

News and Research

The Time Is Now

The Time Is Now, a project by Birthing the Future, is a film produced and directed by midwife Suzanne Arms that documents a roundtable of leading lights in the field of early childhood development, particularly the primal period of pre-conception, thru the first year. Suzanne gathered these extraordinary practitioners from all over the world in Tenerife, Canary Islands, to share their experiences and vast wisdom.

Volume 1 presenters include: Françoise Freedman, medical anthropologist, who shares her experiences with a tribe in the Amazon jungle of Peru; Amimo Agola, infant and young child feeding counselor from Kenya, who speaks of her experiences in refugee camps; visionary Laura Uplinger, who focuses on the power of pregnant women and has worked in the slums of Rio de Janeiro; and Marisa Alcala, a Tenerife midwife for 40 years. Other volumes will follow with more amazing presenters.

To watch a fifteen-minute excerpt of the film, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnY7hDPF2As&feature=youtu.be

— Arms, Suzanne. 2012. The Time Is Now. Birthing the Future. Uploaded to YouTube on February 28, 2012.

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Featured Article

The Essentials of Midwifing Midwives

In one midwifery textbook, Gail Thomas, dean of a British midwifery school, comes to the conclusion that the essentials of being a good midwife can be simplified into two aims: Be nice, and don’t drop the baby! When I read her chapter, I loved this simple reminder of what it is we need to do. In the same way, I have come to believe that there are very few things needed to enable aspiring midwives to learn.

Before looking at my essentials, there are a couple of issues that are important background details for me. In the paragraph above, I deliberately avoid the word “teach.” I don’t believe good midwife teachers actually teach midwives. Like taking the proverbial horse to water, you cannot teach somebody something he or she doesn’t want to learn. The term “teach,” like the word “deliver,” implies both action and a degree of credit in the achievement of the outcome. Just as the midwife doesn’t do the hard work of “delivering” babies when attending births, teachers provide only the support. It is the students who deserve the credit for the number of hours and amount of effort it takes to achieve their goals and qualifications. Like a good midwife at a birth, we can only try to be there to meet their needs, offer the information that might help them make their choices and provide support where we can; but we don’t do it for them.

I also feel that we need to “midwife” aspiring midwives in a way similar to the way we midwife women. People learn by example and role modeling. If we feel midwives of the future should be rigid, controlling and inflexible, then we should be offering those kinds of curricula. If we feel midwives of the future should be giving women only one side of any story, then that is what we should give them. If we want future midwives to be open, kind and supportive of women and their choices, then we should espouse those qualities in our schools, facilitators and mentors. The role of facilitator of learning is very similar to that of midwife in the birth process. The kind of facilitator/midwife we choose to be will shape the hidden curriculum we pass on to aspiring midwives.

Sara Wickham
Excerpted from “The Essentials of Midwifing Midwives,” Midwifery Today, Issue 60
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Featured Products

Put the beauty of birth on your wall…or give it to a friend!

mandala art prints

Choose from several inspiring mandala art prints by Amy Swagman. Each image is available as a digital print on archival, acid-free artist paper. Take a look, then choose your favorite! These stunning prints also make lovely gifts. To order

mandala art prints

Belly dance and pregnancy: a perfect pair!

Learn how to do it with Dance of the Womb: A Gentle Guide to Belly Dance for Pregnancy & Birth. This 2-disk DVD set includes a 45-minute warm-up and six dance chapters that teach specific movements and their uses during labor. You’ll also see belly dance in practice during labor, as well as a beautifully filmed 50-minute homebirth documentary. To Order

Dance of the Womb book cover

Give the gift of information!

You’ll save $5 per subscription when you order two one-year Midwifery Today subscriptions at the same time. And one of these can be your own renewal or new subscription! Subscribe. Midwifery Today Magazine

Learn the foundations of beginning midwifery!

Beginning Midwifery Audio 4-CD Set

Our all-new Beginning Midwifery Audio 4-CD Set will give you vital information that will help you get a good start on your midwifery education. You’ll learn about woman-centered care, how a woman’s emotions can affect her birth and how to give your clients a head-to-toe physical. Also covered are intake forms, diet and the importance of drinking water. Speakers are Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Carol Gautschi, Elizabeth Davis and Patricia Edmonds.
Order the audio CD set.

Learn what’s going on during a shoulder dystocia
The Resolving Shoulder Dystocia DVD shows you five types of shoulder dystocia and techniques to address them. A one-hour studio class includes slideshows, birth clips and demos, while the second hour shows systematic and clear demonstrations of techniques using a doll and pelvis. This is an important resource for your birth library.
To order
Penny Simkin

Get step-by-step instruction on the maternal exam

Order Maternal Exam for the Student Midwife, Part I, and you’ll receive a two-disc DVD set that provides comprehensive instruction for both beginning students and practicing midwives. Topics covered include palpation of the breasts and abdomen, Leopold’s maneuvers, fundal height measurement and the correct procedure for taking fetal heart tones. Colorful illustrations, detailed descriptions and live demonstrations add to the usefulness of this package. To order

Maternal Exam for the Student Midwife, Part II, The Pelvic Exam is also available.

book cover

Website Update

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

  • Building My Nest by Linda Louise Henry
    Excerpt: The nest is not only a physical space, but it also includes a protective shield around all aspects of life during the first 40 days following birth. This shield is built by pre-organizing life financially, as well as generally with household issues such as cleaning and laundry, food preparation, other children, etc. The shield then acts as a protection around the new mother and baby, allowing them to enjoy the nest to its fullest. These issues need to be prepared and pre-organized in the same way that the physical space is created.

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Birth Q&A

Q: What do you think is the best education style for learning midwifery?

— Midwifery Today

A: Hands-on-experience is a fantastic method for learning midwifery. Textbooks only go so far; they are a necessary part of learning, I believe, but not the only method and not necessarily the best in and of themselves. Likewise, experience will only lend you to the limited experiences you may have, so textbooks can provide invaluable information. It can take years and hundreds of births to “learn” midwifery; a lot of times midwifery requires an intuition that is indescribable.

— Joy Krell Hopkins

A: Practicals all the way! Even theory-based information should be made into group discussions and exercises. Practicals help reinforce theory for me.

— Sophie Kent

A: Hands on, with a mother midwife.

— Rachel Martin Flynn

A: Hands-on apprentice-type mentorship accompanied by academic learning. I studied in New Zealand in 1976 under the most wonderful midwife—thank you, Aileen Coppock. University-style study methods do not allow for the passing on of information so vital to real midwifery.

— Judi Fuller

A: I think the best type of education is the one that allows each individual to become proficient as a midwife. For some, formal study with clinicals in a nurse-midwifery program is the way to go. For others, formal study coupled with an apprenticeship is best, and still others may prefer self-study with an apprenticeship. I don’t think there is one “best” way to become a midwife—each person needs to find the way that allows her to become the midwife she is meant to be for the women and families she is meant to serve.

— Angie Lopez Chelton

Wisdom from the Web

Pregnancy and birth are complex yet elegant processes that are designed to work well. And in most cases, they do. Midwives are the universal experts in normal birth. Midwives have been receiving the generations into their hands since the dawn of time. The advent of modern obstetrics in the United States dramatically shifted our beliefs and practices about childbirth.

— Into These Hands, wisdom from midwives

Around the world, midwives play a valuable role in promoting maternal health and preventing needless maternal and newborn deaths. According to a UNFPA report titled “Towards MDG 5: Scaling up the Capacity of Midwives to Reduce Maternal Mortality and Morbidity,” professional midwives present a “low-technology, high-quality solution” to the problem of maternal mortality, common in many developing countries.

— NotEnoughGood.com, because doing “good” is not enough

The birth experience matters so deeply that women in their 50s or 60s and beyond still remember vividly how their children were born and how they felt when it happened. I have heard women talk about a cesarean they didn’t think they needed. I have heard them talk about having their abdomens pushed on by nurses. I have heard them talk about how incredible it was when, after multiple births without their husband present, they finally experienced a birth during which their lover held their hand. They tell me of their regrets regarding their decisions. They tell me what worked and what didn’t. To these women, their birth experiences mattered deeply. That sacred time of labor and birth doesn’t just impact the immediate postpartum period or even just baby bonding—it impacts women, and it impacts them for the rest of their lives.

— Midwife International, training the next generation of midwives

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 mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com.

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Start or continue your 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.

Conference Chatter

Serendipity and New Classes

Serendipity is wonderful. I was running late as I left the Harrisburg hotel with Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, midwife and my Midwifery Today conference co-planner. We wound up missing our airport shuttle, but because of that, we had a chance encounter with Sharon Evans, who is now teaching at Midwifery Today conferences. Knowing the many talents of the conference teachers helps me plan appropriate classes for them to teach. Sharon has so much midwifery knowledge, and we discovered another of her talents in our little impromptu meeting. Sharon showed us a technique that the midwife can do in about three minutes that will put the uterus back in place if it prolapses (even if it prolapses a lot). It is from the Creative Healing modality that has many helpful techniques for the midwife to learn.

I just finished the Eugene, Oregon, conference program and was able to work with Sharon to include these two wonderful new classes. Here is a description of what will be taught. I am so excited about these new classes and plan to attend them.

Creative Healing for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, Class 1, taught by Sharon Evans
We will explore the principles and some of the techniques of a powerful, little-known healing modality called Creative Healing. You will learn about the history of Creative Healing, examples of healing that are possible with this powerful technique and practice, as time permits, the General Treatment and the Five Point Heart treatment. Creative Healing techniques work equally well for people of all ages, including infants and children. Even pets and livestock can be treated with this powerful healing technique.

Creative Healing for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, Class 2, taught by Sharon Evans
Creative Healing can be employed in chronic and acute conditions. In this class, we will explore treatments for prolapsed bladder, prolapsed uterus and sciatica, employing the steps demonstrated.

— Jan Tritten

reading MT graphic

Expanding your personal library?

How about expanding your local library with books that encourage natural and instinctual birth? How much information about natural and instinctive birth is at your library? As a patron of a library, you have a say about what books they carry. Let your library know you want natural birth and midwifery materials to be available. Your library is your resource. Use it.


My 8-year-old daughter watched her father plant a placenta from her brother’s birth under a rose bush and said, “Now the rose bush will grow placentas.”

— Karen Nelson Johnson

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Midwifery Today: Each One Teach One!