Theme: Medicalization of Midwifery and Birth
Medicalization of childbirth has continued to slowly increase, particularly in developed countries. While the intent is to make birth safer, the maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the US belie that. In Wisdom of the Midwives, birthworkers discuss the positive effects of medicalization. Several of our other articles go into some of the disadvantages of such medicalization and the expectation that birth is to always be interfered with. We also have an international article on Birth in Peru, and editorials by our old and new editor, as Jan Tritten passes the torch to Lois Wilson.
Cover photo by Bree Garcia of J&B Photography (jessieandbree.com). Bree is an award-winning birth and baby photographer in Los Angeles, California. She is half of J&B Photography. She runs the business with her other half, Jessie, who is in charge of the maternity side, while she focuses on birth and newborns. Together they have four beautiful daughters. When Bree was younger, pre-babies, she modeled and had always thought she would get into high-fashion editorial photography. A documentary photography class in college that she took after having her first baby caused her to fall in love with birth photography. She made it a mission to introduce it to families to let them know that having these beautiful moments of meeting your baby and being able to relive these memories forever can be as important and emotional as wedding photography. Bree has a passion for capturing emotion and connection while also empowering moms by letting them know different ways to labor and birth through photography. Bree has been photographing births since 2015 and has photographed 96 births.
Pictured: Mihwa having a very fast labor and accidental unassisted birth while on the phone with her doula, supported by grandma and husband in her bathroom.
- From the Editor: Gratitude for Midwifery Today, by Jan Tritten
- Tricks of the Trade
- Quote of the Quarter
- Media Review, by Dianne Garland
- Midwifery and Childbirth News
- Photo Album
- Marion’s Message: Too Little Too Late or Too Much Too Soon? How About Just Right?
Marion shares information on too much to soon and too little to late and the impact on maternal mortality internationally.
- Birth Beyond Medicalization, by Sister MorningStar
Sister MorningStar tells us about good and bad births, and her belief that we are on a precipice of being unable to give birth without medicalization because medicalization of birth has become so ubiquitous.
- Childbirth in the Capital of Peru, by Khristee Rich
Khristee writes about her trip to Peru and what she learned about birth there—where both home- and hospital birth are practiced.
- When Traditional Medicine Breaks Faith, by Jane Beal
Medicalization often begins with induction of labor and proceeds without adequate informed consent. The author writes about this phenomenon from the perspective of a birth she was involved in, and how trauma is a common outcome. She makes the point that midwives have the tools to help moms process and even avoid repeating this problem.
- Are Midwifery Today Readers Marine Chimps or Aquatic Apes? by Michel Odent
Thinking outside the box again, Dr. Odent shares his thoughts regarding human pregnancy, iodine, and diet, in comparison to marine mammals.
- Midwifery—An Existential Crisis, by Beverley Lawrence Beech
It is not just OBs whose practices have changed as the result of medicalization. Midwives, many of whom work in hospital settings in the UK, are being trained medically, to the point that the definition of normal birth has grown to encompass AROM, fetal monitoring, and active management of third stage. The author believes that midwifery is currently in crisis and that change needs to occur.
- The Empty Breast Syndrome, by Marlene Waechter
Marlene shares a paper she wrote in 1992 about the change in her life as she left behind her reproductive years—during which she was breastfeeding almost nonstop.
- Becoming an Implementing Partner of the ICI, by Vicki Penwell and Robbie Davis-Floyd
Two of our regular writers tell us about the International Childbirth Initiative 12 Steps to Safe and Respectful Motherbaby-family Maternity Care and encourage its universal adoption as a way to improve birth around the world.
- The Medicalization of Midwifery and Birth, by Mary L. Cooper
Mary discusses how birth has changed over time, with more medicalization as technology advances. One example is stripping membranes, for which she shares a more natural method. She also talks about the most common interventions and how good diet, exercise, music, body positioning during birth can help to avoid these and make them backups when needed.
- Wisdom of the Midwives: Medical Care for Birth
= Membership Article