February 2017
Relevant Webinars
Webinars by the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) provide important information and opportunities for discussion about practice, policy, and innovations in education for CPMs and stakeholders. Registration is free and open to the public, allowing for dynamic and inclusive conversation and learning opportunities for midwives, consumers, and midwifery advocates.

Did you miss a previous Every Woman Southeast webinar? Archived webinars can be found on our website here .
Where is your Midwife? 
It's 2am. do you know where your midwife is? | Marla Gross | TEDxManitoba
It's 2am. do you know where your midwife is? | Marla Gross | TEDxManitoba

In this TED Talk, Marla Gross, a midwife at Regional Health Authority of Central Manitoba, discusses her journey toward midwifery and the significance of women trusting their bodies through labor and delivery.
Click here to view an infographic that highlights how midwives influence the lives and well-being of mothers and their infants.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) is the professional association that represents certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified midwives (CMs) in the US. Members are primary care providers for women throughout the lifespan, with a special emphasis on pregnancy, childbirth, and gynecologic and reproductive health. ACNM reviews research, administers and promotes continuing education programs, and works with organizations, state and federal agencies, and members of Congress to advance the well-being of women and infants through the practice of midwifery.

The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)'s mission is to provide and maintain an evaluative process for multiple routes of midwifery education and training; to develop and administer a standardized examination system leading to the credential "Certified Professional Midwife" (CPM); to identify best practices that reflect the excellence and diversity of the independent midwifery community; to maintain a registry of those individuals who have received certification and/or passed the examination; and to work in multiple arenas to promote and improve the role of CPMs in the delivery of maternity care to women and their newborns.

The National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) is the membership organization specifically representing Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) in the U.S. CPMs provide unique and critical access to normal physiologic birth, which profoundly benefits mothers and newborns. Founded in 2000, NACPM ensures a powerful and unified voice for CPMs. NACPM directs its influence toward improving outcomes for childbearing women and their infants, developing and strengthening the profession, and informing public policy with the values inherent in CPM care.

The International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) is an infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion, and midwife and doula training organization. ICTC's mission is to increase the number of Black midwives, doulas, and healers, and to empower families in order to eliminate infant and maternal mortality. This organization has chapters and members around the globe to improve birth outcomes and build capacity for maternal and infant wellness.

Midwifery publishes the latest peer reviewed international research to inform the safety, quality, outcomes, and experiences of pregnancy, birth and maternity care for childbearing women, their babies and families. The journal's publications support midwives and maternity care providers to explore and develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes informed by best available evidence.

" The Radical Doula Guide: A Political Primer" by Miriam Zoila Perez is a 52-page guide that provides an introduction to full spectrum doula work --supporting people during all phases of pregnancy, including abortion, miscarriage, birth and adoption -- as well as a discussion of how issues like race, class, immigration, and gender affect doulas' work.
Midwifery, Doulas, & Alternative Birthing Options
By the time February rolls around, many of us are looking forward to the end of winter and its persistent rain, snow, and bone-chilling winds. Fear not, spring is soon to come! And with it comes life: warmer weather, blooming flowers....  In this season and throughout the year, many women will also be bringing forth life, some with the help of a doula or midwife, and some using less-than-traditional methods.

What is a Doula?
Doulas are trained professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. A  doula can be thought of as an expecting mother's best friend, with a bond developing long before the due date as they work together to plan the birthing process. 

The main job of a birth (or labor) doula is to be by a woman's side, offering non-medical techniques during labor, such as breathing, massage, and positioning of the woman's body. They can also act as an advocate on a woman's behalf, ensuring her feelings of safety and empowerment. A doula will support a woman's decision to use medications, to have a natural birth, or in the event of an unplanned cesarean, can provide comfort and extra attention to help alleviate any fears and anxieties .

It is important to note that a doula is not a substitute for a doctor or midwife, simply because they do not have the same in-depth medical training. However, doulas can be an immensely helpful part of a birthing team. According to the American Pregnancy Association, many mothers report the need for less medical intervention when using a doula. E ven a fter birth, postpartum doulas can help a new mother as she recovers from the birthing process. This includes caring for the infant, guiding a mother through the process of breastfeeding, and helping her manage her  home life.

What is a Midwife?
Midwives are often referred to as the traditional care providers for mothers and infants. They are qualified health care professionals with expertise and skills in supporting women to maintain healthy pregnancies and have optimal births and postpartum recoveries. They receive comprehensive training and must pass a certification exam, though practice and credentials related to midwifery differ throughout the U.S. 

In essence, midwives provide women with individualized care uniquely suited to their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs. Midwifery is a woman-centered empowering model of maternity care that is utilized in all of the countries of the world. Like a doctor, a midwife can provide care before, during, or after a pregnancy. These services may include family planning and preconception care; prenatal exams; assessments of women's physical and psychological well-being; birth planning; offering advise about diet, exercise, and medications; educating and counseling about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care; providing emotional and practical support during labor; admitting and discharging from the hospital; delivering babies; and making referrals when needed.

The different types of midwives include:
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): a midwife trained and licensed in nursing and midwifery. A CNM must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution; they are also certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • Certified Midwife (CM): an individual trained and certified in midwifery. A CM must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution; they are also certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • Certified Professional Midwife (CPM): an individual who is trained in midwifery and meets standards of the North American Registry of Midwives. Multiple educational backgrounds are recognized to become a CPM.
  • Direct-Entry Midwife (DEM): an independent individual trained in midwifery through various sources including apprenticeship, self-study, a midwifery school, or a college program.
  • Lay Midwife: an individual who is not certified or licensed as a midwife but has received informal training through self-study or apprenticeship.

Alternative Birthing Methods
There are a number of different techniques that can be used when trying to have a baby without the use of medical interventions, particularly for women that are candidates for natural childbirth. Though the following techniques have been successfully used for many years, it is important that women talk to a doctor or midwife about their different options.

The Alexander Technique: With this technique, a pregnant woman can learn to release her muscular tension during labor. Simple modifications in movement can help alleviate  lower back pain, balance and digestive problems, and shortness of breath, allowing for better breathing and an ability to calm oneself and focus during the birth.

The Bradley Method: This method emphasizes excellent nutrition and exercise, relaxation techniques to manage pain, and the effective involvement of the husband or partner as coach. It teaches women how to tune in to their bodies and the positions which will ease labor pains and prepare them for the stages of labor. 

Hypnosis: Hypnosis during labor helps to bring a woman into a state of total relaxation, where her body's muscles can function according to the way they are designed. Women using this method report feeling lost in a daydream, relaxed, calm, aware, and in control.

Lamaze: This method utilizes distraction during contractions to decrease the perception of pain and reduce discomfort. In Lamaze class, a woman and her partner learn controlled deep breathing, massage, concentration and how to maintain control during labor.

Water Delivery: Giving birth in a warm tub of water can help with relaxation. The buoyancy also helps alleviate discomfort and pressure. Water delivery is not recommended for women with high-risk pregnancies and in every case preparation should be made for delivery to occur out of the water if complications arise.
Doula & Midwife Resources

DONA International is the world's first, largest, and leading doula certifying organization. This nonprofit organization exists to support doulas professionally and to advance the vision of a doula for every person who wants one. DONA International is dedicated to promoting high quality birth and postpartum support by setting the standard for the doula profession through evidence-based training and certification for doulas of diverse backgrounds.

The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) is a professional midwifery association uniquely positioned to unite and strengthen all midwives through dedication to innovative education, professional development, and recognized autonomous practice. MANA is committed to enabling transformative research, promoting an evidence-based Midwifery Model of Care, addressing health disparities, and achieving optimal outcomes through normal physiologic birth and healthcare across the lifespan.
New Blog Post!

Lena Wood is a newly certified nurse-midwife and graduate of the midwifery program at Oregon Health & Science University. She started her blog, " Notes from a Student Midwife," in 2012 to chronicle her journey from doula and teacher to nurse-midwife. In this blog she talks about more than simply pregnancy and birth -- she finds troubling the intersections between reproductive health, discrimination, and inequitable access to care and talks about how these intersections inspire her work. Ultimately, she sees midwifery care as more than just supporting healthy moms and babies; it is the foundation for empowered, healthy communities.

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