I have just over 24 hours to my midwife certification exam.  In my midwifery path, certification by exam is a requirement for licensing.  But when I get that certification, I will be able to be licensed to practice in any state and it will make my international work a little easier. Certification and licensing are frequent topics of discussion among my midwifery friends.  I have some on both sides of the licensing fence, and on both sides of the certification fence. Due to the crazy nature of this world, not all my friends who think licensing is good are licensed (some are in states withoutRead More →

I was talking with another nurse practitioner (yes, I am actually a nurse practitioner now!!!) about what I would do with my midwifery training.  I’ve decided to pursue a PhD, which means I am pretty sure I’ll never work as a baby catcher.  I knew this, and accepted the possibility when I applied for the PhD program. But, as I explained to her, midwifery isn’t just about catching babies because women are more than a uterus. But I also trained in family practice, which means I can help identify an illness or treat a chronic condition.  In the real world, these two disciplines overlap.  PregnantRead More →

I am studying my least favorite subject tonight – TORCH infections.  I have to admit to not learning much about these in class, not because we didn’t cover the information, but because I was not yet thinking about infections like a midwife. As a childbirth educator, my training in pregnancy infections went something like this.  “Herpes is no big deal. They can cover any spots and prevent spread to the baby.”  “Toxoplasmosis is no big deal. Most women with a cat have already been exposed.” I was then assured that the medical community exaggerated these infections and used them to get women to do whatRead More →

People like to say that statistics lie.  Actually, the statistics tell the truth, people just are not always educated to understand what they mean. This happens alot in the birth world with the cesarean rate. The CDC releases statistics about birth in the United States each year.  In 2010, the CDC reported that 32.8% of all births in the United States were by cesarean surgery. This data has lead some childbirth professionals to assume a woman giving birth in the US has about a 33% chance of ending up with a cesarean. But this isn’t necessarily true. Why? Because that number includes two different groupsRead More →

I heard it again today, “They won’t let me….” Whenever I hear someone talking about “they” or “them,” my ears begin to perk up because I know there is more to the story than I am being told.  Here are the things that go through my mind. 1. Does this woman understand what she was told and why? I don’t ask that to be smug, but out of real concern about miscommunication.  It can be easy to believe everything you hear, even if what you heard was not what was said.  It is also easy to believe things you hear from individuals who are not inRead More →

This week I have been sharing some of the harder lessons I had to learn to become a midwife.  The value of humility is perhaps the hardest one I faced. I thought I did approach birth with humility.  I believed I understood the process and knew that the best course of action was to let the labor take it’s course.  Yet, at the same time I failed to see how I approached birth with arrogance. When I would hear labor stories, I would decide for myself what doctors, midwives, doulas and mothers had done wrong despite not being present for the labor. I had answersRead More →

If you don’t have a way to access full research articles, you need to get one.  Check with your local libraries and state college system to find out what programs they offer for the local community. Why is this so important when you can read the abstract free on Pub Med?  Because an abstract is only a teaser of what is included in the study – think of it as the advertising content created to help researchers find the articles that are most likely to pertain to their topic. The abstract will list some results and conclusions, but due to space limitations they won’t really be explained.Read More →

Yesterday I shared how my training has caused me to relearn how I think about the term “intervention.” Today I want to share another word that needed to be reframed in my mind – “normal.” When I first began in the natural childbirth movement, when I heard the word normal I always interpreted it to mean “OK” or “Safe” or “Ideal.” I’m not sure if I had thought of the word that way before my first training, or if I somehow picked up on that meaning through my readings.  It was, perhaps, a combination of both.  I was too young and inexperienced to ever seeRead More →

Intervention is a tricky little word that seems to divide midwives.  Most midwives agree that midwives in general use less “intervention” then physicians. But that seems to be where the agreement ends.  What makes some midwives feel a woman can be successful at an intervention free birth in a hospital, while others believe even women giving birth with a home birth midwife receive regular interventions? The problem arises when using different meanings for the term intervention. Some midwives use the term to mean surgical or pharmaceutical techniques (cesarean, pitocin, epidural). Some midwives use the term to mean anything done to alter the natural course of labor (castor oil,Read More →

Safe Motherhood.  It seems like such a simple request.  Around the world women and babies still die during pregnancy and childbirth – despite medical advances that could save many of them. Five years ago, when I began my journey to fight maternal and neonatal mortality, I thought the problem was simple. Today, I see that the health of mothers is affected by more things than the availability of a skilled birth attendant. Like an onion, layers of cultural, socioeconomic and political problems continue to cause problems for women.  While we are finding some solutions, we are not there yet. Layer One:  Family It may beRead More →