Midwifery Today Issue 124

Issue 124

Winter 2017

Theme: Prenatal Care

“Prenatal Care” is an essential component of the relationship between a midwife and mother-to-be. This issue looks at it from various angles, covering prenatal yoga, safe herbs, providing care in a low-resource country and in “plain communities,” as well focusing on what women want. We have our usual inspiring birth stories, international stories—including Laos and the Philippines, reviews of medical studies and our new section on doulas, which covers some of the groundbreaking changes happening in Oregon.

Cover photo by Esther Edith (estheredith.com). Esther is a birth photographer and doula in Spokane, Washington. She is married to a philosophy professor, and has two daughters. Esther is passionate about her Christian faith and sees every birth as a miraculous gift of life—each is an incredible honor to capture. Having grown up in India, she has always had a passion for women’s rights, and organically stepped into the birth world to help women have a voice and know their options in childbirth.

Pictured: My goal with my photography is to capture the authentic connection and emotion between people. This beautiful family invited me to photograph their maternity and birth story sessions and, having grown to know them a little already, I love how well this image captures their deep connection and affection for each other.

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  • Poetry
  • From the Editor
  • Tricks of the Trade
  • Marion’s Message: A Birth and a Resuscitation by Marion Toepke McLean.
    A sweet story of a challenging birth in Uganda.
  • The Doula Corner
    Hardy Baker discusses the sea change in Oregon, as doulas begin to be integrated into the health care system and how all childbirth care providers can work together for change.
  • Midwifery & Childbirth News
  • Wisdom of the Midwives
    In this column, midwives describe how they approach prenatal care and its most important aspects.
  • Media Reviews
  • Photo Album
  • Classified Advertising


  • Prenatal Care: What Really Matters?Elizabeth Davis
    Davis approaches the concept of prenatal care from her position as an educator, focusing on what women want and what qualities and skills a good midwife offers to pregnant and birthing women.
  • Kindred Midwife Spirits—Martha Barragan
  • Turning Point in the History of Birth PreparationMichel Odent
    In this excerpt from his latest book, The Birth of Homo, the Marine Chimpanzee, Dr. Odent discusses “physiological birth preparation” that occurs in the prenatal period.
  • Cultural Differences in Waterbirth PracticesGail Hart
  • Prenatal Care in the Context of a Developing CountryVicki Penwell
    Prenatal care in a developing country often looks different—if it exists at all. Penwell discusses the need to remove barriers to prenatal care in these areas and some of the basic barriers that must be overcome. These include food and water, access to care, lab tests, parasites and other health issues, and more. Midwives who practice in developing countries need to be aware of these issues and give serious thought to overcoming them.
  • The Latest Findings about Hypoglycemia of the NewbornJudy Slome Cohain
    The average newborn easily copes with three days of postpartum starvation until the breast milk supply arrives because it uses ketones for energy. The brain can function fine without added carbohydrates or sugars. This new information is contrary to current belief that the brain only uses glucose for energy.
  • Concepts of Prenatal CareMarlene Waechter
    To midwife Waechter, prenatal visits should be long and chatty, as well as covering the basic, necessary information–for both homebirths and unassisted births.
  • Jane Wright: A Newly Certified Midwife in London (ca. 1798)Jane Beal
    This story in the continuing historical series on midwives covers Jane Wright, who served as a midwife in the 1800s. Her essay addresses prenatal care, qualities needed in a childbirth attendant, and qualities needed in male and female midwives, as well as in social life, in general.
  • Green Allies for the Childbearing YearSusun Weed
    Regular contributor shares with readers the best herbs to use during the prenatal period, as well as a list of what to avoid.
  • The Portable Office: The Homebirth Midwife’s Prenatal BagRegina Willette
    Homebirth midwives need to be prepared for anything when doing home prenatals. Willette addresses the essential contents of a birth bag.
  • Integrating Doulas into the Maternity Care Team: A Health Care Transformation Measure—Debra Catlin, Courtney L. Everson, Jesse Remer, and Raeben Nolan
    The authors share the steps taken and challenges faced in Oregon’s implementation of first-in-the-nation legislation that authorized Medicaid payment for birth doula care.
  • The Black Parent Initiative’s Sacred Roots Community-based Doula Program—Kimberly Porter
    Porter, the Diverse Communities Chari of the Oregon Doula Association, explains the Black Parent Initiative and its approach to addressing adverse birth outcomes in the African American community in Portland.
  • Prenatal Yoga—Sally Lomas
    The benefits of prenatal yoga are discussed in this short article.
  • Vientiane Babies: A Brief Look at the Options for Birthing in Laos—Kate Bavister
    Learn about the variety of birthing options, for both expats and Laotians, in Laos.
  • The Best Worst Birth—Lori Barklage
    The author and new owner of Ancient Art Midwifery Institute tells the story of her path to that position and gives a dedication to founder Carla Hartley.
  • Diluting Borders—Sarah Whittington
    Whittington shares her musings on what is needed to effectively provide midwifery care in a cross-cultural context.
  • Postpartum Baths for Pain Control: Not Science and Not MidwiferyJudy Slome Cohain
    Slome Cohain responds to a study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health that advocated taking mothers from their babies one hour after birth for a hot bath to relieve pain.
  • Prenatal Care in the “Plain Communities”Mary L. Cooper
    Author Cooper shows us what a day of prenatals looks like in her rural practice among five Amish and Mennonite communities.
  • Thinking about the Influences on Informed Choice—Jesica Dolin
  • My Journey to Rebirth—Siedah Aaishah Robinson
    After less-than-perfect hospital births of her first three children, the author had a lovely homebirth that felt like her own rebirth.
  • A Thank-you Letter to My Body: Two Months after the Birth of My Daughter—Jaia Lin
    Many of us will be able to relate to this short essay on coming to terms with one’s body through the birth of a child.
  • In Memory: Madelyn Bowen Anderson Connelly: 1939–2017—Sherry A. Stevens

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