Vicki Penwell

Vicki Penwell, a midwife for more than 40 years, has attended births and taught midwives on four continents and created educational opportunities for thousands of maternity care providers, in both pre-service and in-service settings. She has a Master’s degree in Midwifery and another Master’s degree in Intercultural Studies, and is working on a doctorate in Leadership. One unique and practical post-graduate program Vicki created with her team is the Diploma in International Midwifery & Maternal/Child Health. Splitting her time living between the Philippines and the USA, Vicki teaches regularly in seminars and workshops around the world.

Mercy In Action—Still Training Global Midwives After All These Years!

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that you can’t step in the same river twice. If he were alive today and had an understanding of midwifery education, he would probably say the same about Mercy In Action’s midwife training programs. I first wrote for Midwifery Today 32 years ago, an article titled Midwifery Education: A Global Perspective (Midwifery Today Issue 20, 1991.)

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 Read more…. Mercy In Action—Still Training Global Midwives After All These Years!

Emerging Strategies: Helping Mothers Survive Bleeding After Birth

Vicki Penwell, of Mercy In Action, has another fantastic article about providing services for birthing women in low-resource areas. The article discusses new strategies to stop and prevent hemorrhage in third or fourth stage, and the need for ongoing training so that midwives are better able to handle emergencies. Read more…. Emerging Strategies: Helping Mothers Survive Bleeding After Birth

The One-Minute Preceptor Model for Midwives

This helpful article details the one-minute preceptor model for teaching and learning. Vicki, who works in the Philippines, discusses the five basic micro-skills and provides examples of how they can be applied.

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Become an Implementing Partner of the International Childbirth Initiative: A Model for Safety and Respect in Childbirth that Works in Every Setting, Everywhere in the World

Globally, there is the problem of the over-medicalization of childbirth, but there is also the problem of the under-utilization of lifesaving care, and marginalized people often suffer needlessly from lack, rather than overuse, of health care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery. This quote from Miller et al. Read more…. Become an Implementing Partner of the International Childbirth Initiative: A Model for Safety and Respect in Childbirth that Works in Every Setting, Everywhere in the World

The Role of the Midwife in the First 1000 Days

It is the universal joy of every community midwife to run into a family months or years later and see them with the baby you so lovingly helped them bring into the world Read more…. The Role of the Midwife in the First 1000 Days

Birth Interventions: A Double-Edged Sword

Speaking figuratively, a double-edged sword refers to something that has both positive and negative consequences. It will either hurt you or have a harmful cost, or it will help you and be good for you.

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Future-Thinking Midwifery Education: Birthing the Midwives We Need

The most exciting thing to me about the future of midwifery is the non-traditional nature of midwifery education in America and the potential it has to become a model for the world. Student midwives can train by apprenticeship at the same time they also earn college degrees in midwifery, without ever leaving their home community. This is a game-changer. Read more…. Future-Thinking Midwifery Education: Birthing the Midwives We Need

PostPartum Care in the Context of a Developing Country

In past articles I wrote in this series, I mentioned that while visiting Thailand years ago, I found that they have a charming expression that translates in English to “same same but different” (vendors in the market will say this to you repeatedly as they show you different products in the same basic grouping).

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Building Strong Foundations for Midwifery Education: The World Needs Midwives, Now More Than Ever!

To equip means to prepare someone sufficiently in all aspects, for a particular situation or task. Everyone who aspires to become a midwife desires to be properly equipped for this task.

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 Read more…. Building Strong Foundations for Midwifery Education: The World Needs Midwives, Now More Than Ever!

Newborn Care in the Context of a Developing Country

In my first and second articles in this series, I mentioned that in Thailand, they have an expression that translates in English to “same same but different.” As is true with pregnancy and labor and delivery, so it is true of caring for the newborn, as well. There are unique aspects to newborn care in a low-resource setting and, while many elements of caring for a newborn baby in the six weeks following birth are universal, the midwife needs to be aware of how best practices can be different according to the setting. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has created global standards, competencies, and guidelines to ensure that midwives in all countries have effective education and skills (ICM 2018). When working in developing countries where newborn mortality is high in the neonatal period, the midwife should possess advanced skills and be humble about the high-risk population in which she may find herself. Business as usual will not be adequate or even ethical in these situations.

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The Disappearing Second Stage

The author shares her experience after thousands of birth that labor is a continuum rather than being divided into stages. If left undisturbed, women will not even experience a “second stage.”

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