Category Archives: Pregnancy & Birth

My thoughts, ideas, and commentary on various aspects of pregnancy and childbirth…

Teaching OUR Daughters

I saw this in my facebook news feed a few days ago.

Malia’s Magnificent Moontime: A Holistic Guide to Menstrual Self-Care

Malia's Magnificent Moontime

I love the premise of this book.  “Malia’s Magnificent Moontime is a heartwarming story about a girl coming to terms with her first menstrual period. Unlike many coming-of-age books, the focus of this story is holistic self-care to ease menstrual symptoms, instead of concentrating on the more mature details of sexual intercourse. Angela Shabazz of Indigenous Wellness Solutions understands that for many reasons, our daughter’s bodies are maturing faster now than ever before. Often our little girls reach puberty long before they are emotionally ready for it. They deserve a wholesome health education. Teaching our daughters valuable information about their menstrual cycle can be uncomfortable. Malia’s Magnificent Moontime makes conversation easy. Although this charming book is a narrative designed for girls aged 6-12, it includes helpful tips that any woman can use to enjoy more tranquil menstrual periods and improved feminine wellness.”   

Get your copy from Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692656022/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

#WordlessWednesday #Midwives & Doulas Do It…

 

 

 

#Wordless Wednesday #BirthSomethingBeautiful

#BSBtshirtBSBAnkhfront

Vaginal examinations: a symptom of a cervical-centric birth culture

I have never been one for lots of cervical exams. As a nurse and a midwife I see them as something to be used only when necessary. They are uncomfortable and really have little bearing on the plan of care. Its crazy the numbers of exams women are forced to endure before and during labor. I had two cervical checks during my pregnancy. One when I arrived at the hospital with a ruptured water bag and another three days later when I said in the midst of labor “i think the baby’s coming” and I was ready to push.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the prenatal cervical check. I am always on a soap box about how unnecessary they are. They are painful and can be very damaging psychologically for a woman. Most women leave there prenatal appointment after a cervical check saying “my cervix is still posterior :-(” as if that is a problem when its perfectly normal.

This great post goes into the labor cervical exam and how unnecessary they are. Its a good read.

MidwifeThinking

This post is about routine vaginal examinations (VE) during physiological birth ie. an uncomplicated birth without any medical intervention. The VE is a useful assessment in some circumstances, but it’s routine use in an attempt to determine labour progress is questionable. As birth knowledge evolves, and research challenges the current cervical-centric approach to labour progress, there is an opportunity to shift practice. I’m hoping this post will inspire readers to reconsider their beliefs and practices regarding cervixes and VEs.

History: the rise of the cervix

How did we get fixated on what one small area of the body is doing during the complex and multidimensional birth process? An article by Dahlen et al. (2013) discusses the history of VEs. It seems that midwives (and others) have been performing this intervention throughout recorded history. However, for most of this time VEs were carried out in response to suspected pathology eg. an obstructed labour or an unusual…

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Share Your Birth Wisdom…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2015
CONTACT:
Shafia Monroe
ictc@ictcmidwives.org
503-460-9324

BE A SPEAKER AT THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL BLACK MIDWIVES AND HEALERS CONFERENCE
It is fitting that the 9th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference (IBMHC) 2015 will be commemorated in Portland, Oregon, because Portland is also the headquarters of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) and the original site of the first IBMHC in 2002.
The ICTC is seeking presenters for the 9th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference (IBMHC), “Honoring Our Past, Embracing Our Future.” The conference is October 9-11, 2015 in Portland, Oregon, the headquarters of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) and the original site of the first IBMHC in 2002.
More than three-hundred attendees comprised of midwives, nurses, physicians, public health professionals, community health workers, lactation consultants, doulas, birth workers, and students representing over ten countries, will gather in Portland in October at the University Place and Conference Center in downtown Portland.
The conference is an important convening to engage with one another and create safe spaces to develop solutions to a number of key issues, including: diversifying the midwifery, doula and birth worker workforce; creating employment opportunities in community-based outreach and care for women of color, with the multiplier effect of helping to eliminate poverty; reducing infant and maternal mortality in communities of color; discussing advocacy for breastfeeding practices and engaging our young people to enter midwifery; addressing the field of birth work through the lens of civic engagement; and understanding the global community of maternal, newborn and infant needs.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 24,000 infants died before their first birthday. This is called infant mortality. The infant mortality rate is two and half times higher for African American infants compared to Caucasian infants. According to Amnesty International’s “Deadly Delivery,” women of color suffer disproportionate rates of maternal mortality (www.amnestyusa.org). And the 2011 Oregon Black Birth Survey quantitative analysis revealed that over thirty percent of black women felt unsafe, frightened or discriminated against during the birth of their baby (www.ictcmidwives.org). Convening a conference of Black midwives, doulas, birth workers, physicians and nurses, is a critical step to addressing the health inequities that create these persistent disparities in the Black community.
The conference will address the impact of racial inequity on birth outcomes in communities of color and the underrepresentation of birth workers of color in health care institutions and schools. While the research shows that midwives lower the infant mortality rate, there remains a shortage of midwives of color to service their communities in culturally appropriate ways that improve birth outcomes. “Currently the national profile of midwives is majority white women, with less than 2% being black women with only 13% black women being served by certified nurse midwives (CNMs) compared to 57% of white women being serviced by CNMs.” (Goode, K.L., 2014).
The ICTC invites midwives, birth workers, lactation consultants, educators, credentialing organizations and policy makers to create strategies to increase enrollment of people of color into the midwifery, doula and birth worker professions. Over three days, the midwifery model of care for better birth outcomes will be highlighted with increased civic engagement to promote cultural competency, with an emphasis on racial equity to reduce infant and maternal mortality. It will celebrate the past accomplishments of midwives of color and embrace the future of midwifery and doulas in communities of color to improve birth outcomes.
The conference agenda aligns with the latest research by the March of Dimes on strategies for decreasing health disparities include:
* Using educational approaches that serve the needs of diverse populations
* Ensuring cultural competence among health care institutions and professionals
* Maintaining diversity within the health care team
* Conducting research to better understand the needs of patients from various cultural groups (March of Dimes ©2010)
The 9th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference is endorsed by local, national and international partners: Sister Song, Midwives of Color Committee/ACNM African Alliance of Midwives; Oregon Midwifery Council (OMC); International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN); Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA); Doulas of Color; Doula Caribe Internacional; Muslim Midwives, Doulas and Childbirth Educators; the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color (NAPPLSC), and Shafia Monroe Consulting.
To learn more about the conference visit www.ictcmidwives.org
To submit an abstract visit www.ictcmidwives.org/9th-bmhc-call-for-papers-application or contact Shafia Monroe at ictc@ictcmidwives.org or 503-460-9324

Subscribe! | Black Women Birthing Justice Quarterly Newsletter

Midwives of Color

Black Women Birthing Justice is a collective of African-American, African, Caribbean and multiracial women who are committed to transforming birthing experiences for Black women. Our vision is that that every woman should have an empowering birthing experience free of unnecessary medical interventions. Our goals are to educate women to advocate for themselves, to document birth stories and to raise awareness about birthing alternatives. We aim to challenge medical violence, rebuild women’s confidence in giving birth naturally and decrease disproportionate maternal mortality.

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Check out the Spring 2015 issue here!

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NATIONAL MIDWIFERY WEEK Oct 5-11, 2014

Its National Midwifery Week!! I didn’t even realize it. WOW! I am so out of the loop sometimes. And that’s why I am happy that I get emails from others who are IN the loop. Many thanks to the Midwives of Color blog for sharing this great video put together by the American College of Nurse Midwives. As a CNM it’s nice to see and especially wonderful to see it featuring Midwife extraordinaire Marsha Jackson who was one of one of my very first mentors:-)

Midwives of Color

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