Fall semester started this week.  I am starting ANOTHER year of nursing school.  I am trying to remember back to when I began this journy in January 2008. Would I have started nursing school if I knew I would be a student in 2016? I can’t tell you its been easy to have minimal income this long, but for me nursing school wasn’t about getting a job, it was about fulfilling a mission — to improve the safety of pregnancy and birth. I would probably have signed up for nursing school anyway. In this final year of my schooling I look at the extent of myRead More →

This semester I am teaching an online class. This is my first fully online course, though I have worked in hybrid courses.  It has me thinking about the online and distance education options available to aspiring midwives. Of course I decided to share my experiences of problems with you, to help you decide if online education is the right mode for your training. Yes, these suggestions do come from real problems and real students.Read More →

It is nearly May so conference season is starting, have you made the commitment to attend one or more? I often hear from midwives that they would like to attend conferences, but they cost too much in terms of time and money.  I agree, they can be expensive. But I see the time and money as an investment in my midwifery practice. That may seem a bit strange for readers who know I am not now, and probably will never be, in a clinical midwifery practice.  If I were, conferences would be a natural place for continuing education. My midwifery practice is public health, soRead More →

Do you have a social media presence as a midwife?  You may find some helpful tips in the CDCs Guide to Writing for Social Media. Inside you will find examples of how to write for the general public, how to write so others can share, and specific helps for different platforms. Enjoy!Read More →

When I first entered the world of natural birth I was educated to believe body weight had no effect on maternal or infant outcomes.  The organization I trained with was equally adamant that gestational weight gain was a useless measure that predicted nothing. I believed them. I made this belief a part of my life and looked the other way when I was obese for the first time in my life after my second pregnancy.  I spread this belief to other mothers, believing I was protecting them from fat shaming, from a non-evidence based health system, from the poorly researched advice they would get from otherRead More →

Progress with research is slow, and I am beginning to accept that. I don’t even mean the time it takes for research to be adopted into practice.  I’m talking about the work of creating and running a study all the way through publication of the results. Ideas come fast. Ideas have multiple possibilities.  But when the hard work of turning the idea into a legitimate study begins, pieces don’t always come together well. And sometimes they just come together slowly. Like the last 18 months…during which I began several projects that didn’t seem to be moving anywhere fast – and a dissertation that needs toRead More →

I’m a little behind, so you might have already seen this article from an obstetrician who accepted a challenge to stay in lithotomy position for an hour as part of the 2015 NHS Change Day. The easy thing (as a doula or midwife) when reading this article is to say, “Of course, I can’t believe you never thought about this.”  But remember it makes sense an OB might never think about this because her training focuses on mastering the skills she needs to save lives. When everyone around her during training accepts the practice as normal, useful, appropriate…she has little to no reason to questionRead More →

Earlier this week, the Lancet published international estimates of stillbirth rates. The conclusion of the authors was that progress in reducing stillbirth is slow. This is especially true  in my home country of the United States where stillbirth is now more prevalent than infant death. I don’t want to minimize the reality of the numbers; but I do want to acknowledge the importance of actually calculating these numbers.  Why? Because the deaths must be counted before action is taken.  It happened this way with neonatal mortality — it was ignored because there was an assumption that you couldn’t really count it.  Some brave advocates refused to acceptRead More →

There are many ways to advocate for change. I began as a woman who advocates to inform citizens through grassroots events. I have (slowly) become a midwife who advocates politically. This week, I received an email from a woman who advocates through art. No doubt you’ve encountered other pieces of art that begins discussions about maternity issues; you may have seen The Vagina Monologues, Ina Mae’s Cesarean Quilt, or photos from any number of organizations that want you to be aware of the issues facing pregnant women in low resource settings. This current project is about the costs of maternal health care in the UnitedRead More →