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Heart Tones

Jan 15th, 2011 Training

Clinical (also called apprenticeship or mentoring) is the way a midwife learns her skills. It is where you interact with families, practicing the hands on task you have been taught to do and learning how to think like a midwife.  This is all done under the guidance of a well-experienced midwife.

I love my clinical placement.  I am training in a birth center with three midwives I adore. They push me and stretch me and give me plenty of room to grow.  I returned to clinical today after a month away (school break), and was excited to realize just how much I am thinking like a midwife. That is a big statement, and you might wonder what I consider to be “thinking like a midwife” but I don’t have the time to go into that tonight.

I will tell you this, when I found myself in the midst of a prenatal appointment without a doppler I took a deep breath and grabbed my stethescope.  When I couldn’t quite figure out how I was supposed to best use it to hear the heart tones I stuck my head out and quickly asked one of the midwives.  - Use the bell and press very firmly.  Stepped back in with my client, first placement no heart tones; second placement a faint noise…

Was that what I think it was?  listen again…

It is rhythmic.   Seems fast…  Count it

Wow, that is the fetal heart tones, and I can really hear it now!

So I did it, I got the heart tones with my own stethoscope.

So maybe tomorrow I will get up the confidence to try out my pinard horn.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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