Archive for May, 2011

Your baby has just been born.  Would you let someone draw their blood and remove 30% of their blood volume?

I became a midwife before I birthed my own babies.  People often ask me how my practice changed after I became a mother and gave birth.  All midwives advocate for the needs of babies, but giving birth to my own baby afforded me a more direct and visceral connection to the baby’s birth experience than I had previously known (among other things!).   I am more deeply attuned to how the both mother and baby experience labor, birth and the hours after birth — physiologically and emotionally;  From their passage out of the pelvis (or abdomen) to their first moments touching, hearing and smelling each other, it is a sacred and biologically unique time.

Harmful cord clamping practices are one of the first interventions experienced by most babies born in the US.  (Sometimes they are also needlessly bulb-suctioned or removed from their mother).  Cutting the umbilical cord within seconds of the birth, also known as premature or early cord clamping, is a routine practice of hospital births attended by physicians.  It is another intervention that has become so second-nature to physicians, and has gone largely unchallenged in the delivery room.

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The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)  has a motion on the table to change its name to the American College of Midwives (ACM). There has been talk about this change happening for years, but there may finally be enough support to approve the motion at the upcoming annual meeting in San Antonio. There has been internal discussion in certain midwifery circles about the politics surrounding the name change and how it may affect direct-entry midwifery. I think it is time to move the discussion into a more public arena.

I interviewed homebirth midwife Hilary Schlinger about the proposed name change and her vision for the future of midwifery in the US. Hilary is both a Certified Nurse-Midwife and a Certified Professional Midwife and has a long history in midwifery politics. She has served on the Midwives Alliance of North America board of directors and is the author of Circle of Midwives, a book about the history of the Midwives Alliance of North America and the resurgence of midwifery as a profession in the United States.

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