Interventions have become standard in the vast majority of births, largely because obstetricians are involved in most births. This issue discusses various interventions, as well as not intervening—and what we gain or lose. This issue also includes two birth stories from different perspectives, as well more great articles, media reviews, and editorials.
Cover painting by Amanda Greavette (amandagreavette.com). is an artist who lives and works in Ontario, Canada. Her primary artistic practice is figurative oil painting, focusing on women. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design and has exhibited in many solo and group shows. Currently she is in studio full time and is raising five beautiful children in a rural, off-grid lifestyle. Amanda was a La Leche League leader for many years and a founding member of “Friends of Muskoka Midwives,” one of the few midwifery advocacy consumer groups in Ontario. Amanda loves to attend births for family and friends.
The cover painting is part of Amanda’s The Birth Project series, which portrays pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. These profound life events shape and change identity, sometimes initiating a metamorphosis or refining by fire. This physical, emotional, and spiritual awakening is the perfect landscape to explore universal experiences like pain, euphoria, transcendence, and the welcoming of new life. Each painting is inspired by documentation of a real birth, some experienced firsthand and some drawn from voluntary storytelling and sharing. A visual narrative is then created that realistically and symbolically represents women’s actual stories. Often heavy with emotion and beauty, the images are open-ended in interpretation to encourage a connection with each viewer. Sensuous imagery may trigger the imagination or provoke a personal response, drawing us into a shared experience from what is typically intimate and private. This series can currently be viewed online and has been exhibited at many birth-related conferences and shows around Canada and the US.
The family, who commissioned the painting, were first-time parents, and the birth was described as a “beautiful, perfect homebirth,” even with a severe shoulder dystocia and resuscitation, which Samm says was resolved “with ease by our incredible midwife.” At the time the mother, Samm, was a midwifery student and birthworker, and has since become a homebirth midwife, with two beautiful children. They currently live in New Jersey.
- Editorial: Birth Evangelism, by Jan Tritten and Harriette Hartigan
So many women go into their birth experience with fear, rather than believing in the strength of their bodies or the matter-of-factness of birth. Jan and Harriette illustrate this changed view of women’s bodies with an example seen at an art showing.
- Tricks of the Trade
- Quote of the Quarter
- Media Reviews
- Wisdom of the Midwives: Interventions
- Midwifery and Childbirth News – Issue 140
- Photo Album – Issue 140
- Marion’s Message: Intervention to Prevent Maternal Mortality, by Marion Toepke McLean
- Five Essential Guiding Lights for Birth: Illuminating the Future of Midwifery, by Naolí Vinaver
The author of this pertinent article discusses how, in order to expand our scope of guiding practices and principles beyond a single paradigm of any one system and serve women, we need to look at a variety of systems—encompassing traditional midwifery, evidence-based information, nature, instinct, and intuition.
- Pass it On, by Lois Wilson
In response to current thinking and sharing on social media and elsewhere, Wilson advocates for passing on our wisdom that homebirth and breastfeeding really are the best, and we should not be silenced for saying so.
- Interventions as Intercessions, by Sister MorningStar
With her word medicine, Sister describes how some interventions are actually intercessions. Whether it be a cool cloth to the forehead, a supportive touch, a warm blanket, or other interventions, they can be positive for the woman giving birth.
- It Will Strengthen Him, by Travis Marker
A father shares his story of the hospital birth of his son.
- Birth Interventions: A Double-edged Sword, by Vicki Penwell
In this practical article, Penwell suggests that there are interventions for right and wrong reasons and we need to be aware of these and make sure there is a good reason to intervene before doing so.
- Saw Grass: A Traditional Intervention Used in Midwifery Practice in Northern Uganda, by Jane Beal
This entertaining story of a birth in Uganda describes how Saw Grass is used to cut the cord.
- Interventions and Mortality, by Diana Paul
The maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the US are disgraceful. Diana Paul discusses some of the factors that have led to this current situation and how we could learn from the British on improving it.
- Mothers’ Voices: Midwifery Care Makes a Difference, by Joy Hearn
As we all know, midwives don’t just help mothers when they are giving birth. Author, nurse, and midwife Joy Hearn asked mothers from around the world how their midwife had helped them in ways they could not get elsewhere and shares the answers in this article.
- Interventions That Interfere with the Length of Pregnancy, by Michel Odent
When we think about interventions that shorten the time a baby stays in the womb, we normally are concerned about the immediate effect. Odent shares how not allowing a pregnancy to go to term can have effects on the baby far into the future.
- Katie’s Birth Story, by Aravah Salatino
This charming story gives a view into an Amish homebirth.
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