When searching for ‘news’ about midwives today, I came across this article which was originally published in 2003. I have no idea how it popped up on this week’s google news, but it did. Named “An Illegitimate Birth” it chronicles the life path of a direct-entry midwife while simultaneously following a couple through prenatal care, and then a water birth. It was a beautifully written story. I should have guessed that it wasn’t from this day and age, as it’s rather lengthy and delves into the issues, and creates a mood-rather than just delivering sound bites. In my opinion, it’s a must-read for anyone considering midwifery as a profession, or a midwife assisted home birth. I wish I knew the name of the ‘real midwife’ as I would love to know what she is doing today. I looked up the current Illinois direct-entry midwife laws hoping they had changed, and found that indeed they haven’t but are (ironically?) back in the legislature THIS WEEK.
Pam is the author of Birthing From Within, a former midwife, and she’s been teaching childbirth classes for 30 years!
You will learn:
-practical knowledge every parent needs to know;
-a variety of mindfulness practices to help you cope with the intensity and unknown of labor and your postpartum return;
-how to ask questions and get information;
-how to cultivate confidence for labor or postpartum;
-how to welcome your baby;
-tips for your transition to parenthood and
-a Special Class to prepare fathers/partners for labor and postpartum;
Kaiser Permanante, a large hospital chain, recently introduced a new nurse-midwifery program to their Hawaii hospital. The nurse-midwives work in a team with doctors where the midwives are assigned to women who are expected to have a normal, uncomplicated birth. The doctors are available should any unforeseen situation arise. So far, the birthing women love the new arrangement and the doctors are ‘ecstatic’. WOW! That’s just great! It’s just another example of how changes in approach and attitude can work wonders in the favor of birthing women, midwives and doctors. It didn’t hurt that the head of obstetrics at KP saw the integration of midwives as “a big dream I had from years ago.” He was partially trained by midwives while in residency, and midwives have been an integral part of the team at several hospitals he worked at.
The title says it all. Today, Medscape released a paper ‘Science and Sensibility’ outlining the recent studies related to the safety of home birth vs. hospital birth while discussing the barriers that home birth practitioners, and women who want home births are facing.
Recently, women are choosing or are interested in home births at a greater rate than in the past several decades. The paper discusses ‘planned home birth’, which refers “to the care of selected pregnant women by qualified practitioners within a system that provides for hospitalization when necessary.”
The Roman Catholic Church prohibits sterilization. Many women, particularly those who have just had a baby, choose sterilization (also known as a tubal ligation) as a permanent form of birth control after they have decided not to have more children. This procedure is also very commonly performed immediately after a c-section (which accounts for 30% of all births these days) when a woman chooses it.
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in Southeastern Arizona has recently partnered with Carondelet Health Network, a Catholic not-for-profit health care system that follows the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, as a condition of the partnership, the hospital will stop performing sterilization procedures. The CEO of Sierra Vista insists that ‘we are not taking away anyone’s rights,” and states that these procedures can be done in a doctor’s office.
I think I have to get this book. It’s called Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank By Randi Hutter Epstein. The author was recently interviewed on “Fresh Air” from NPR and I had a chance today to read the excerpt (linked above) and listen to the interview. Although her bit about Eve was a little too matter of fact for me (did that really happen- the whole rib, and apple thing?) it seems like an interesting and intriguing book worth a read for all interested in birth. We need to know the history because if we don’t know where we’ve been, then we don’t know where we’re going-right?
As I continue to read through the evidenced-based maternity report, I am more and more convinced that moving towards midwifery based care and free-standing birthing centers could be the answer to many of our country’s healthcare woes. Charges for childbirth vary considerably depending on the type and place of birth. “The average hospital charge in 2005 ranged from about $7,000 for an uncomplicated vaginal birth to about $16,000 for a complicated cesarean section, yet out-of-hospital birth centers were about one-quarter of the charges of uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospitals ($1,624 in 2003, when the national average charge for uncomplicated vaginal birth in hospitals was $6,239) three-quarters of the expense concentrated in the hospital stay.”
My first child, born just a little over 14 years ago, was 11 days late. As any pregnant family knows, the waiting game can be tough. Babies are usually born right on time, but sometimes they just aren’t. I was pretty sure of my dates back then, yet I had absolutely no cervical effacement or dilation after 10 days past dates. My midwife suggested a pitocin induction. Pitocin induced labor can be brutal as the contractions tend to come more quickly and forcefully with little to no break in between. Because I was hoping to have a ‘natural’ birth with no drugs, I was dismayed by the thought of induction. All in all, it worked out in the end. I labored for just 4 hours to complete dilation, and did it without an epidural (although I pushed for another four-a story for another day).
If you are pregnant or know anyone who is or has a baby in the last three years, please steer them in the direction of this site: The Birth Survey.
It was developed by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services. They “believe that women of childbearing age must have access to information that will help them choose maternity care providers and institutions that are most compatible with their own philosophies and needs. We hope that the Transparency in Maternity Care Project will provide information that will help women make fully informed maternity care decisions.”
I’m so excited because my good friend, who incidentally is a midwife, gave birth to the New Years baby in Santa Fe-on a Blue Moon. Ms. Iris Grace was born a bit after 2am on January 1. Congrats Maite and Mike.
Isn’t she just the cutest!