I took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to dine with three midwifery leaders in my community. The conversation was to be about leadership, and was intended to inspire those of us earlier in the journey. As a doula I was aware of the problems that occur throughout the birth world.  I did know about enmity between CPMs and CNMs.  I was aware of problems CNMs face as they negotiate a system that often does not want them. But as a doula, most of my time was spent with clients.  When I saw the midwives things were pretty good.  Any background undermining of the midwifery model of careRead More →

Today we had our class on the management of the normal labor. We talked about the cardinal movements, the natural progression and stages of labor, how to know when to do cervical checks and how to determine if a woman was actually in labor. We even talked about how to “catch” a baby. In our case studies I noticed the only hesitation was the case that was obviously not in labor.  I instantly sent the woman home, but some classmates wondered if there were reasons you might keep this hypothetical woman.  There was similar concern about the woman with ruptured membranes and no contractions –Read More →

With only a few days left in 2010, your birth attention should be set to 2011.  More specifically, your attention should be set on planning what you will do to move closer to your midwifery goals in the new year. Don’t worry, it is not nearly as hard or overwhelming as you imagine. The first thing to do is determine how much time and money you have to dedicate to midwifery in the next year.  Do you have only a few hundred dollars but over 10 hours a week?  Do you have several hundred dollars but only 10 hours a month?  Be honest with yourselfRead More →

I didn’t want to be a nurse. Even as I enrolled in nursing school I did it grudgingly. I could see the value of some nurses to the birth process, I certainly had my favorites at our local hospitals, but overall I subscribed to the stereotype that nurses were just there to do what the doctors told them. If I had to be a nurse to be a midwife I would do it, but I didn’t have to like it. But as I progressed through nursing school something changed in me, and it wasn’t my attitude about childbirth.  Instead it was my understanding of what a nurse wasRead More →

Today I completed my male genital exam check off in lab.  Yes, it is true.  In midwifery school I have been trained to assess the male reproductive anatomy.  Don’t worry, I checked off on female exams a few weeks ago.  But you might be wondering why a male exam is part of midwifery school. My path to midwifery has lead me to a nurse midwifery program.  The full program I am completing is called Family Nurse Midwife.  This means I will be able to provide primary care for everyone, young to old.  I will also be trained to attend a family during pregnancy and labor.Read More →

So sorry to disappoint, but today is about being the student, not the mentor. Today is my first day at my birth center clinical site. Yes I am nervous. I secured this placement because of a friend and I don’t want to let her down. Today I give you the task of being mentor. At some point today, share something with someone about what midwives do. Or share positive messages about birth or breastfeeding. I know this will be easy for many, and difficult for some. That is ok. But you do know valuable things, and there are families who would love to hear whatRead More →

A common question among those interested in working with expectant families is whether they should start as a birth doula or a childbirth educator. There are a few ways to approach this question, and they will basically depend on your goals and the circumstances of your life at this moment. Both childbirth educator and doula trainings will help you learn more about the birth process. Both will get you working with families.  But they are not the same. A birth doula is hired for her presence in labor. As part of her services she may provide some education and information, but for the most part her preparationsRead More →

We have looked at the accepted definition of a midwife, and we have looked at the philosophy that rejects that definition.  I want to finish this series by introducing you to the way I will be using the term midwife on this blog.  The concept has been born in me through conversations with many women I respect who have challenged my preconceived notions and helped me find my own voice. It is an idea that is still evolving in my mind, but formed enough to share. The root of the word midwife, According to Judith Pence Rooks in Midwifery & Childbirth in America, dates to 1303 and meansRead More →

If you did your homework yesterday, you now know what laws regulate midwifery where you live or where you hope to practice as a midwife. You may have discovered it is not as difficult as you anticipated, or you may have discovered becoming a midwife will take you more years than you wish to devote to the schooling.  So today I want to look at another definition of a midwife from another perspective, a perspective shared in this article from Midwifery Today. From this perspective, the midwife is the woman who takes care of pregnant mothers.  The type of education she has is not asRead More →

The first topic to explore is the meaning of the word “midwife.”  What does it mean to be called to midwifery? We could take the internationally accepted definition from the International Confederation of Midwives: A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practise midwifery. The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support,Read More →