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Fw: E-News - Midwives under Fire (August 18, 2010)

Posted Aug 23 2010 5:05am
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August 18, 2010
Volume 12, Issue 17
Midwifery Today E-News
"Midwives under Fire"
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Welcome to Midwifery Today E-News !

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Midwifery Today Issue 95

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Add Mexican techniques to your midwifery practice!

Attend Naolí Vinaver's full-day class and be immersed in traditional Mexican techniques for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. You'll learn how to use a rebozo, discover simple techniques that promote healthy pregnancy and birth, hear about ways to manage breech, and much more. This brilliant Mexican midwife has a wealth of ideas to share—ideas that can be applied directly to your practice. Part of our conference in Strasbourg, France, Sept. 29 – Oct. 3.

Learn more about the Strasbourg conference and view the complete program.

Gentle Birth Is a Human Rights Issue

Both mother and baby have the right to a gentle and healthy pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Come to our conference in Eugene, Oregon, March 30 – April 3, 2011 and learn more.

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In This Week's Issue:

Quote of the Week

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."

Eleanor Roosevelt

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The Art of Midwifery

If a Midwife Faces Jail

Being in jail is the same for a midwife as being out of jail. You sit around and listen to women tell their birth stories.

Gloria Lemay
Excerpted from Sharing Midwifery Knowledge, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. IV
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Jan's Corner

Midwives under Fire

We've had a period of relative calm in the North American midwifery community since 2002. In an issue of Midwifery Today E-News from July 2001 ( ), Sandra Stine, CNM, wrote about the history of midwives under fire:

"I am thinking about Yvonne Cryns, Nan Koehler, Abby Odam, the granny midwives and every other traditional birth attendant in this country who has been crucified by the AMA or another source," Stine stated. "Wonderful, loving, competent midwives have been jailed, lost their homes, spent thousands of dollars defending themselves, or were placed under house arrest while serving families competently. The AMA (American Medical Association) has a track record of prosecuting midwives in almost every state!"

In July of 2002, Gloria Lemay was imprisoned for contempt of court in Canada. A few months later, Mennonite midwife Freida Miller was arrested and imprisoned for contempt of court in Ohio. Thanks to easy Internet access in 2002, the stories of these imprisonments—and of the events that built up to them—were relayed around the globe. Both women were mature adults and both went to prison knowing they had widespread support in the international community. They went to prison with their heads held high and their supporters worked behind the scenes, fundraising and researching to free them. Money and well wishes flowed in from all over the world. North American midwives had entered a new era.

While in prison, Lemay learned that she would be given an award for being "the woman in Canada who had made the biggest contribution to midwifery care in the year 2002." (Women's Voice Award). The story of her incarceration can be found at:

To read more about the trial and imprisonment of Freida Miller, visit

[Please read the rest of this column in the full online version of E-News .]

— by Jan Tritten and Gloria Lemay

Gloria Lemay is a lecturer, midwifery educator and traditional birth attendant in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She specializes in VBAC and waterbirth. She has served birthing women since 1976 and is an advisory board member of ICAN and the Canadian Doula Association. Gloria has three grown daughters and one teenage granddaughter. She wants her tombstone to read, "She spoke up for babies."

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.

Jan's blog:
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Freedom for Family Wellness: the Conference for Conscious Choice

Connect, collaborate and expand at this enlightening event for leaders in the vitalistic movement.

October 21–24, Washington, DC: Holistic Practitioners: DCs, NDs, MDs, PhDs, OBs, Midwives, Doulas, Homeopaths, Acupuncturists, Family Wellness Counselors, Consultants and Therapists. Advocates for Informed Choice: leaders of national groups and their members… Visit .


A new study published in the July 2010 issue of the medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology links induced labor with a greater risk of cesarean surgery.

The study, which looked at 7,804 first-time mothers giving birth in US birth centers showed that women who had their labors induced were twice as likely to have a c-section than those women whose labors started naturally.

"Labor induction is significantly associated with a cesarean delivery among nulliparous women at term for those with and without medical or obstetric complications," the authors noted. "Reducing the use of elective labor induction may lead to decreased rates of cesarean delivery for a population."

— Ehrenthal, D.B., X. Jiang and D.M. Strobino. 2010. Labor induction and the risk of a cesarean delivery among nulliparous women at term. Obstet Gynecol 116(1): 35–42.

Midwifery Today Short Video Contest Deadline Extended!

You have until Aug. 31, 2010!

Enter our short video contest on the theme "Birth Is a Human Rights Issue" and you could win a free five-day conference registration! Entry fee is US$10 per video and you can enter as many times as you want in the three categories: Short Documentary, Make 'em Laugh, and Advertise Optimal Birth. The winning videos will be shown at our conference in Strasbourg, France.

Extended entry deadline is August 31, 2010, so upload your movie soon! Go here or more information and instructions.

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Threats to Midwifery in Peru

Peru's official health system discriminates against poor rural women, especially if they have an indigenous identity, as most Andean women do. The nature of this health system affects birthing women and traditional midwives in particular. This system practices and promotes institutionalized birth or delivery—that is, the Western model of medicalized birth. As a result, an ongoing underground campaign threatens traditional midwives. It is a kind of modern Witch Hunt, in which women who give birth at home with traditional midwives are fined. This has led to adverse consequences in women's ability to control their bodies and to actively participate in the maintenance and treatment of their health, in their autonomy and in their cultural identity. …

[Read more of this article excerpt in the full online version of E-News .]

Cynthia Ingar
Excerpted from "Midwifery & Birthing: Women in Peru," Midwifery Today, Issue 85
View table of contents / Order the back issue

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A way to work through grief and loss

Created as a healing journal for mothers who have lost their babies, Mending Invisible Wings is filled with healing words, drawings, poems and exercises. Each exercise includes an action, an affirmation and a self-nurturance activity designed to help the mother move through her grief. There are also plenty of bank pages where she can express her grief through words or pictures. If you have recently lost a baby, or if you know someone who has, Mending Invisible Wings could be an important step in the healing process. To Order

Mending Invisible Wings

Learn Tricks from Expert Midwives

Sharing Midwifery Knowledge

Sharing Midwifery Knowledge is packed with tried-and-true information that can expand your personal bag of tricks, enhance your education and encourage a natural approach to safe childbearing. Topics include Nutrition and Herbs, Natural Alternatives to Drugs and Suturing, The Dangers of Ultrasound, and Premature Rupture of Membranes. Order the book.

Do you work with laboring women?

If you do, you need Midwifery Today's Second Stage Handbook . This book explains how to best serve women at this crucial stage. You'll learn from expert practitioners as they reveal their observations on when to push, what works and choices available for the mother. The Second Stage Handbook is part of the Holistic Clinical Series. Order the book.

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What is optimal fetal positioning?

How Will I Be Born?

Why is it important and how can you help your clients achieve it? You'll learn this and more when you read Understanding and Teaching Optimal Foetal Positioning by Jean Sutton and Pauline Scott. Succinct and thorough, this manual includes brief descriptions of the various ways a fetus can present, information on how a fetus can be encouraged to rotate into the optimal position during later pregnancy and postures the mother should use or avoid during actual labor. Optimal Foetal Positioning features numerous black and white line drawings that illustrate and illuminate the information in the text and is a must-own for anyone who works with pregnant women. Click here.

Web Site Update

Read these book reviews from Midwifery Today newly-posted to our Web site

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Learn about midwifery education!

Are you an aspiring midwife who's looking for the right school? Are you a practicing midwife who would like learn more? Visit our Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.

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Question of the Week

Q: How does the threat of persecution affect your midwifery practice?

— Midwifery Today staff

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