Midwives College of Utah » Blog https://www.midwifery.edu Midwifing Midwives Sat, 23 Jul 2016 04:12:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.9 MCU in Review – Winter 2016 https://www.midwifery.edu/mcu-in-review-winter-2016/ https://www.midwifery.edu/mcu-in-review-winter-2016/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2016 08:37:02 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/?p=6791 Your Winter 2016 MCU in Review has arrived! This is a full and very interesting MCU in Review. Included in this Review is information on our upcoming conference, the launch of an online CEU program, and our new online learning management system – Canvas! You’ll find great news from another study collaborated on by our […]

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Your Winter 2016 MCU in Review has arrived!

This is a full and very interesting MCU in Review. Included in this Review is information on our upcoming conference, the launch of an online CEU program, and our new online learning management system – Canvas! You’ll find great news from another study collaborated on by our own Graduate Dean, Dr. Courtney Everson, a message from your Student Council, and Part 2 of “Are You On A Path of Professionalism?” from our MCU President, Kristi Ridd-Young. We also have midwives reporting back from their time helping in Lesvos, Greece, big congratulations for a number of graduates, and new faculty to welcome to MCU. Don’t miss any of it!

Click here to read the current MCU in Review!

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RSVP and Buy Raffle Tickets 2016 Graduation Gala https://www.midwifery.edu/gala/ https://www.midwifery.edu/gala/#comments Sat, 27 Feb 2016 20:30:36 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/?p=6733 The Midwives College of Utah is pleased to commemorate the graduating class of 2015 on April 19, 2016.  Join us in honoring MCU’s Student of the Year, Teacher of the Year, the recipient of the Midwifing Midwives award and the graduates of 2015. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and fantastic gifts will be raffled off in support of […]

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Gala_InviteThe Midwives College of Utah is pleased to commemorate the graduating class of 2015 on April 19, 2016.  Join us in honoring MCU’s Student of the Year, Teacher of the Year, the recipient of the Midwifing Midwives award and the graduates of 2015. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and fantastic gifts will be raffled off in support of the Briana Blackwelder Scholarship Fund.

RSVP Today

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2016 Graduation Gala
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MCU in Review – Fall 2015 https://www.midwifery.edu/mcu-in-review-fall-2015/ https://www.midwifery.edu/mcu-in-review-fall-2015/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 01:13:29 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/?p=6117 Your Fall 2015 MCU in Review has arrived! Included in this Review are wonderful thoughts from the new scholarship recipients, a message from your Student Council, big congratulations for a number of students as well as our Graduate Dean, and some great insight from our MCU President. Click here to read the current MCU in Review!

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Your Fall 2015 MCU in Review has arrived!

Included in this Review are wonderful thoughts from the new scholarship recipients, a message from your Student Council, big congratulations for a number of students as well as our Graduate Dean, and some great insight from our MCU President.

Click here to read the current MCU in Review!

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The Path of a Modern Mormon Midwife https://www.midwifery.edu/path-modern-mormon-midwife/ https://www.midwifery.edu/path-modern-mormon-midwife/#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2015 20:13:00 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/?p=5978 An Interview With Valerie Hall, LM, CPM… So what is it like to be a midwife? Valerie Hall LM, CPM, graciously agreed amidst her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me about her work as a midwife. I have known Valerie since she began her journey by becoming a childbirth educator.  She was also […]

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RobynBirth-372-1024x678An Interview With Valerie Hall, LM, CPM…

So what is it like to be a midwife? Valerie Hall LM, CPM, graciously agreed amidst her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me about her work as a midwife. I have known Valerie since she began her journey by becoming a childbirth educator.  She was also present at the birth of my sixth child.  I also loved taking part in the Midwife Assistant classes she offered.   My favorite part of the class was the beginning when she would ask the “hard questions,” meaning, the thought-provoking ones that cause you to search your soul a little bit. While I am not ready to begin as a student midwife yet I value the training and experiences I had in her class.  It allowed me to peek into the world of a midwife and evaluate the blessings and sacrifices associated with it.  I hope that other such classes will be offered for other women trying to decide upon the path of midwifery. Valerie has a website for her practice, Generations Homebirth, and she also has a facebook page.   –Robyn

http://thegiftofgivinglife.com/the-path-of-a-modern-mormon-midwife/

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Why Pursue a Midwifery Degree? https://www.midwifery.edu/pursue-midwifery-degree/ https://www.midwifery.edu/pursue-midwifery-degree/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 22:51:40 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/?p=5000 {Blog Post by: Aisha Michelle Al Hajjar} I’m proud to say that MCU is my alma mater and has a long-standing history of preparing “Midwives of Excellence.”  In fact, MCU is one of ten midwifery education programs in the United States that is accredited by MEAC (Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council) and prepares students to […]

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{Blog Post by: Aisha Michelle Al Hajjar}

I’m proud to say that MCU is my alma mater andaisha has a long-standing history of preparing “Midwives of Excellence.”  In fact, MCU is one of ten midwifery education programs in the United States that is accredited by MEAC (Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council) and prepares students to receive the CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) designation.

Of course there are other pathways to midwifery.  Some of those paths include becoming a nurse first—which I did not want to do—or going the route of pure apprenticeship with little or no academic study—which I knew would not give me the credibility I’d need.  One of the things that drew me to MCU, besides being MEAC-accredited, was that they offered a variety of degrees in the field of midwifery.  As a bonus, they also have a 99% pass rate on the NARM exam (national midwifery credentialing exam).

Although I knew that a degree wasn’t necessary to practice midwifery in every setting, I also knew that my work in midwifery would be bigger than catching babies.  A degree would provide credibility to my larger efforts, regardless where I decided to work.  In my case, I had a few college credits under my belt, but I didn’t have a completed degree.  This was something that always bothered me, and I knew that someday I’d need to go back and finish college.  Being able to wrap up my college profession, in a field of my passion, was a real motivating factor and a blessing.

To give you an example of how my education has encouraged my midwifery work, I will list a few things, besides attending births, that I have accomplished under the guidance and support of the MCU faculty and staff.

  • Published a book on natural birth
  • Established a childbirth education program
  • Created a curriculum to globally train childbirth educators and doulas
  • Lectured at conferences about midwifery and natural birth around the world
  • Trained obstetricians and midwives on a variety of topics
  • Co-organized international conferences on natural birth and midwifery
  • Established a task force to establish midwifery in regions where the midwives model of care doesn’t currently exist

All of this has been accomplished in under four years, during my tenure as a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery Student at MCU.  When I started on this journey, I knew that I had big dreams and goals, but I had no idea of the path it would take or the opportunities that would open up.  I can clearly say that I would not have accomplished so much if it were not for the support and quality education that I’ve received during my time at MCU.

In fact, I’ve found so much value in the guidance I received during my undergraduate education that I’ve recently enrolled in MCU’s Master’s program.  I have a lot more work to do in midwifery and each of my graduate degree classes support my efforts.  In reality, all the work I’ve done along the way at MCU has been instrumental in achieving my goals, and much of it has been immediately put to use in the real world in which I work.  In fact, many of my completed assignments can be found in my childbirth curriculum and many others are the basis for lectures or workshops I’ve given in my region.

Each of us come here to follow our dreams for making a difference in the world of birth; for some that will be one birth at a time as a competent midwife in the local community, and, for others, it will be a journey into birth advocacy and activism.  Regardless, you won’t know where your path will lead until you walk through the open door.  With so many students from around the world attending MCU and a variety of financial aid resources available, you too can make your dreams come true.  I’d encourage you to take the next step.  I’d be honored to share the journey and hope to “see” you in school!

 

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So You Want to Become a Midwife? https://www.midwifery.edu/want-midwife/ https://www.midwifery.edu/want-midwife/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 18:01:18 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/?p=4731 Chances are, if you’re exploring the MCU website and reading this post, you are contemplating a journey to midwifery. Let me be the first to welcome you! Women who consider midwifery are most likely following a nagging yearning towards the profession that we like to refer to as a calling. Three years ago I was […]

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Chances are, if you’re exploring the MCU website and reading this post, you are contemplating a journey to midwifery. Let me be the first to welcome you! Women who consider midwifery are most likely following a nagging yearning towards the profession that we like to refer to as a calling.

Three years ago I was in your shoes. I had been drawn to birth work since I was nine. At that time I dreamed of being a “baby doctor” (obstetrician) when I grew up. That fantasy died fast when my mother explained that I’d have to work all hours and would even have to go to work on special holidays. That was all it took to discourage me. But when I become a mother, eighteen years ago, the desire really began to burn. I hadn’t really considered midwifery back then, as I thought you had to be a nurse first. After many years of niggling aspiration, I became a childbirth educator. But I felt I was arming parents with empowering information, only to send them in for a battle as a lamb against the lions. Watching my newly enlightened parents struggle for their rights to a natural birth led me to the next step, doula work. But even that wasn’t enough. I finally came to the realization that I needed to be the one “in charge” of their births, in order to give them back the control they deserved.

I began exploring my options and asking around in the birth circles I had become a member of. One experienced midwife mentioned MCU. I explored their website, much as you are doing today. I was relieved to discover that I didn’t have to be a nurse to be a midwife! I was amazed that I could actually pursue my calling from a distance. I was impressed that MCU was one of the few accredited midwifery schools in the States and that I could earn a degree for my efforts. I made a prayer, created an account, and submitted my application.

I announced to my family and the world that I had applied for midwifery school. My eldest five children were proud and excited and vowed to do their part to pick up more slack with my younger three children and the housework so that I would be able to study. It felt surreal.
After my interview and acceptance letter it hit me, I was committing to a schedule of study and exams and the nitty-gritty parts of birth that I wasn’t sure I really wanted to get my hands into (no pun intended). Did I “really” want to be a midwife?

I expressed my second thoughts to my husband, who had already agreed to finance the journey and accepted, at least in theory, the sacrifices (financial and logistical) our family would have to make in order for me to study. I was expecting him to jump at the opportunity to back out and was looking for permission to forget the whole crazy idea.

To my shock, he did just the opposite. He said to me, “Aisha, you were given a gift from God. You had eight beautiful natural births. Your experiences along with the aptitude to do this are not just free for you. What will you tell God on the Day of Judgment when he asks you what you did with these blessings?”

His word hit me like a ton of bricks. My passion became crystal clear. This was not just about me, whimsically wanting to grow up and be a midwife some day, this truly was a calling. I mentally and emotionally committed to my decision that day and never looked back.

I won’t tell you that it’s been easy. Every member of my family has made sacrifices. But not once have I questioned my decision. The doors that have opened for me on this journey have been amazing. I truly feel that God led me to this and He has led me through it. Next month, God willing, I will be taking my NARM exam and graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Midwifery. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and am almost finished! I couldn’t be happier and have even decided to go on and pursue my Masters starting in September.

 

So you want to be a midwife? I suggest you make a prayer, create an account, and submit your application. If you’re accepted, don’t look back. God has led you to this and He will lead you through this. Expect sacrifices, ups and downs. It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. What will you do with the blessings that have been given to you? God bless you and I look forward to “seeing” you at school!

Aisha Al Hajjar is an advocate for women and natural birth, a published author, a member of Midwives College of Utah Student Council, and finishing up her BS degree at MCU.

For more information about attending Midwives College of Utah visit the Student Center.

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Aisha Al Hajjar Awarded Student of the Year https://www.midwifery.edu/aisha-al-hajjar-awarded-student-year/ https://www.midwifery.edu/aisha-al-hajjar-awarded-student-year/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 15:54:55 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/?p=4544 Every year MCU chooses one student to honor for her excellence in study and contribution to the field of midwifery. We are pleased to announce that the Student of the Year for 2013-2014 is Aisha Al Hajjar. “Aisha Al Hajjar has been a very conscientious student, setting goals and working systematically to achieve them. She […]

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Every year MCU chooses one student to honor for her excellence in study and contribution to the field of midwifery. We are pleased to announce that the Student of the Year for 2013-2014 is Aisha Al Hajjar.

IDM Picture with Sign 5 5 14

Aisha guest lecturing in Saudi Arabia.

“Aisha Al Hajjar has been a very conscientious student, setting goals and working systematically to achieve them. She is able to take academic learning and apply it to real life situations and needs. Her interest is always to advance the care of women.”
-Dianne Bjarnson

“Aisha is, by far, one of the best students I have had the pleasure of working with. Her commitment to learning, her passion for social change, and her dedication to inclusive and equitable midwifery are truly inspiring. Aisha remains an “above and beyond” student in every sense of the phrase: her written assignments are always polished; her verbal contributions articulate and insightful; and her commitment to not only her own learning, but the learning of her peers outstanding. I can always count on Aisha to push conversations during interaction sessions to the next level of critical thought and reflection, and I count her as not only a student, but a colleague. She is an excellent educator in her own right, and remains humble in all that she does. I cannot think of a more deserving individual for this year’s Student of the Year award than Aisha.”
-Courtney Everson


Congratulations, Aisha and all of our students. We are so thrilled at the wonderful student body that continues to strengthen the culture of excellence at MCU and ripple out into the midwifery world.

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A Noble Calling By Lindy Casey … https://www.midwifery.edu/recent-blog-post/ https://www.midwifery.edu/recent-blog-post/#comments Thu, 02 Aug 2012 01:42:51 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/wordpress/?p=742 We like to think that midwives are called to their profession. Through some series of events, experiences and observations we imagine a woman is struck by a spiritual lightning bolt that practically forces her to take on the mantle of midwife and begin trudging out into the night to the bedsides of women. If that […]

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We like to think that midwives are called to their profession. Through some series of events, experiences and observations we imagine a woman is struck by a spiritual lightning bolt that practically forces her to take on the mantle of midwife and begin trudging out into the night to the bedsides of women. If that is not your path, don’t fret. You are no less worthy of being a midwife than those of us who were dragged along, shaking in our Birkenstocks.

I met a young woman last week who is studying midwifery. Tanya is bright, funny and seems passionate about birth. I asked her what had brought her to this career choice.

Tanya has a two-year old daughter and her birth was filled with all the usual medical interventions. That’s not why she’s on this path. She told me she had decided to go back to college and in looking at her choices she saw a midwifery program and thought it looked interesting.

Her passion for the midwife model of care was born through her education, not a single inspiring event. She is a midwife being created, not in a blinding flash of awareness, but in a college through classes and the nurturing of her instructors. Maybe that’s just a more gentle calling.

 

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An excerpt from The Way of the Peaceful Birther by Amy Jones https://www.midwifery.edu/725/ https://www.midwifery.edu/725/#comments Tue, 01 May 2012 01:16:09 +0000 http://www.midwifery.edu/wordpress/?p=725 Brief History of Birth—How PABC© (Predominant American Birth Culture) Emerged http://peacefulbirther.homestead.com In order to gain an appreciation of how we got to our current state of affairs and how to improve the future of birth in this country for yourself and children, it’s important that you get at least a brief overview of major events […]

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Brief History of Birth—How PABC© (Predominant American Birth Culture) Emerged http://peacefulbirther.homestead.com

In order to gain an appreciation of how we got to our current state of affairs and how to improve the future of birth in this country for yourself and children, it’s important that you get at least a brief overview of major events in birth history. Unless otherwise noted, all are U.S. events. See References for History of Birth Citations.

Biblical times, African and European Continents:
Midwives adhered to a strict level of cleanliness per the admonition of Moses. They also educate young women about their bodies, having children, and healthy pregnancies per that same admonition.

AD 98 Soranus, a classical Roman who attended births, wrote a textbook of obstetrics that was used until the 16th century.

Middle Ages and Renaissance (AD 500–1500), European Continent:
Barber-surgeons began trying to monopolize childbirth services. Women were forbidden to practice medicine or midwifery, and many midwives were accused of being witches and killed. Only men were allowed in the medical schools, and soon the barber-surgeon was delivering most of the babies.

1522: Dr. Wertt of Hamburg dressed up in women’s clothes to gain entry to a labor room. He was discovered and burned at the stake for his efforts.

1544: The first book of obstetrics was printed in English called the Birth of Mankynde by Thomas Raynalde.

1596: Scipione Mercurio instructioned attendants that for a Cesarean section, you need four strong assistants to hold the patient down as the incision is made; then apply a liquid concoction of varied herbs before removing the baby. He did not, however, record if this event would increase the odds that either the mother or child would survive.

Colonial Times (circa AD 1600), European and North American Continent:
The importance of midwives to the social order is shown in the fact that several New England towns provided a house or lot rent-free to a midwife on condition that she does not refuse when called. Non-English colonies often kept midwives on the colonial payroll. In New Amsterdam they were called Zieckentroosters, or comforters of the sick, and received liberal salaries and special privileges. The Dutch West India Company salaried midwives and gave others free houses in the city on the explicit condition that they attend to the poor upon request. The French colony of Louisiana paid midwives until 1756 and provided physicians regularly to examine the quality of their practice.

1600–1700:
Bishops in the Church of England were the first to legislate control over midwifery. Richard and Dorothy Wertz in the book Lying-In state:
In the 17th century and before, English bishops were the only public authorities overseeing midwifery. The bishops had desired to prevent witchcraft associated with birth and to ensure that midwives were loyal to decrees of the church and state regarding birth, since midwives could baptize infants in emergencies. The bishops required that before beginning practice a midwife receive an Episcopal license, which prohibited her from coercing fees, giving abortifacients, practicing magic, or concealing information about birth events or parentages from civil or religious authorities. The license also prohibited her from refusing to attend poor women.

Because of this influence, civil licensing began in the colonies. Again quoting Lying-In:
In the American colonies where the Anglican influence was most strongly felt, such as New York and Virginia, civil licensing of midwives was required. In 1716 New York City required licensing for midwives in an ordinance that echoed the Episcopal licenses of England. Such licenses in effect placed the midwife in the role of servant of the state, a keeper of social and civil order.
The predominant belief was that labor pain was woman’s punishment for Eve’s sins

1650: William Chaberlen invented forceps, but they were rarely used. They were instead kept as a family secret for many years.

1697–1763:
William Smellie offered free care to indigent women, thus providing clinical
teaching material.

1700s: Upper-class families began to rely on male doctors as primary caregivers

1739–1791:
The first obstetric wards in Britain opened. Men became doctors merely by attending births and then being quizzed later.

1750s–1880s:
Physicians did not associate hand washing with infection and would go from autopsies to delivering babies without washing in between.

1765: Dr. William Shippen opened the first formal training for midwives.

1772: 20 percent of delivered women contracted childbed fever, nearly all of whom died. Suggested causes: overcrowding, unwed maternity.

1799: Dr. Valentine Seaman led a course for midwives in New York City. A course in anatomy and midwifery was led by Dr. William Shippen in Philadelphia.

1816: The first stethoscope for listening to fetal heart tones externally was introduced by René T. H. Laënnec. Adapted stethoscopes, called Pinard horns and fetoscopes, became widely used.

1817: Britain mourns as Princess Charlotte dies five hours after a 50-hour labor and stillbirth. The public blamed her doctor, Dr. Croft, who later committed suicide. Opponents of man-midwifery advocated the return of female midwives. The medical establishment reacted by advocating quicker use of forceps.

1828: The word obstetrician was formed from the Latin, meaning “to stand before.”

1848: Dr. Walter Channing of Boston first used ether for childbirth.

1853: Queen Victoria of England extolled the “virtues” of receiving chloroform during birth of her seventh baby. Receiving choloroform during childbirth became a status symbol.

1860: Louis Pasteur found bacteria and lack of washing was the major cause of puerperal (childbed) fever. Students were to scrub their hands in chloride of lime before having any contact with the patient. Physicians were the perpetuators of childbed fever, as midwives had observed the association between sanitation and maternal death thousands of years previous to this time.

1894: The first clinic Cesarean section was performed in Boston.

1898: German doctor August Bier injected cocaine into his assistant’s spinal column (the forerunner of the modern day epidural). It numbed the fellow’s lower body, but the next morning he woke with horrible vomiting and headaches.

1900s: Government involvement in maternity health care began in the early 1900s. Both federal and state bureaus became involved. The state bureaus primarily dealt with the problem of birth attendants. Even though fewer white, middle-class American women were being attended by midwives, many immigrants from Europe brought their own midwives with them and settled in major cities. As late as 1920 these midwives were attending 20–40 percent of all births in mid-Atlantic cities. In some cases, this meant they were practicing illegally. Fewer than 5 percent of women gave birth in hospitals.

1902–1960s:
Scopolamine, which causes amnesia, was used during childbirth.

1910: The Flexner Report revealed that 90 percent of doctors were without a college education. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published Abraham Flexner’s critical report on medical education in North America. Flexner stated that obstetrics made “the very worst showing.”

1914: New England Twilight Sleep Association was founded to force hospitals to offer the procedure. Upper-class women formed Twilight Sleep Societies, and it became a sign of superiority to use it during childbirth. Twilight Sleep is a combination of morphine, for relief of pain, and scopolamine, an amnesiac that caused women to have no memories of giving birth. Upper-class women initially welcomed it as a symbol of medical progress, although its negative effects were later publicized.

1914–late 1960s:
Ankle and wrist restraints were used to keep women from injuring themselves under the influence of Twilight Sleep.

1915: A paper by Joseph DeLee in the Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant
Mortality described childbirth as a pathological process. He stated that childbirth was not a normal function and that midwives had no place in childbirth.

1915–1929:
Infant mortality from birth injuries increased by 40–50 percent. Between 30-50% of women gave birth in hospitals by 1921.

1918: The United States stood 17th out of 20 nations in mortality rates. Maternal mortality reached a plateau, with a high of 6 to 7 deaths per 1,000 births between 1900 and 1930.

1920: The medical profession won stronger licensing laws and helped shape the medical system so that its structure supported, rather than undermined, professional dominion. Forceps were used in 30 percent of births. The most frequently used obstetric textbook, by Dr. Joseph DeLee, stated that childbirth is a pathological process from which few escape “damage.” In efforts to prevent problems, he proposed that the caregiver employ routine interventions. He suggested that the obstetrician sedate women at the beginning of labor, allow the cervix to dilate, give ether during the pushing stage, cut an episiotomy, deliver the baby with forceps, extract the placenta, give medications for the uterus to contract, and repair the episiotomy. Because of his influence with the American obstetrician, caring for labor and birthing women went from responding to problems as they arose to attempting to prevent problems through routine use of interventions as a way to control the course of labor. This led to every woman in labor being dealt with in this way. To a large extent, American obstetrics is still functioning under the medical paradigm of childbirth it inherited from Dr. DeLee.

1920s: Moving birth into the hospital removed a trained female attendant and the benefits.

1921: The Sheppard-Tower and Infancy Protection Act became law. It provided funds to train people to seek for ways to improve maternal and child health. A range of 30–50 percent of women gave birth in hospitals.

1925: Mary Breckenridge founded the Frontier Nursing Service of Hyden, Kentucky.

1929: The American Medical Association lobbied against the Sheppard-Tower Act and Congress allowed it to expire.

1930: The American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecology was established. Obstetricians sought to achieve dominance over the nonphysician specialists, such as midwives. Nurse-midwifery appears, stemming from the profession of nursing rather than midwifery. Their emphasis was on assisting doctors in their profession. Nurse-midwives provided supervision for rural immigrant midwives. Most practicing midwives were black or poor-white granny midwives working in the rural South. A scholar who conducted an intensive study concluded that the 41 percent increase in infant mortality due to birth injuries between 1915 and 1929 was due to obstetrical interference in birth.

1933: Maternal mortality was 58.1 deaths per 100,000. Maternal mortality had not declined between 1915 and 1930 in spite of women moving childbirth into hospitals, increased prenatal care, and better birthing techniques as reported by the White House Conference on Child Health.

1935: 37 percent of births occur in hospitals.

1938: Twilight Sleep used in all hospital births.

1939: 50 percent of all women (75 percent of all urban women) delivered in hospitals.

1940: 95 percent Twilight Sleep rate. This heavy dose of narcotics and amnesiacs completely incapacitated laboring women and caused women to lose control. Maternal mortality is 47 deaths per 1,000.

1944: Dr. Grantley Dick-Reed wrote Childbirth without Fear.

1950: 88 percent of births occurred in hospitals. Maternal mortality was 29.2 deaths per 100,000. Forceps were used 75 percent of the time.

1953: Dr. Fernand Lamaze published his findings about labor and delivery in Russia. His work helped bring the fathers back into the birth room.

1955: The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) was formed.

1956: La Leche League was founded.

1958: Dr. Robert Bradley introduced husband-coached natural childbirth

1957: The book Thank You, Dr. Lamaze by Marjorie Karmel was published

1960: Marjorie Karmel and one of her book’s admirers, Elisabeth Bing, a clinical assistant professor at New York Medical College, formed the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics (better known as ASPO/Lamaze), to teach childbirthing classes. 97 percent of births occurred in hospitals. Maternal mortality was 26 deaths per 1,000. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring was introduced.

1963: International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) was founded.

1965: On July 30 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into effect Medicaid and Medicare.

1968: Continuous electronic fetal monitoring was introduced, only used on 5–10 percent of women, those considered “high risk.”

1970s and onward:
Doctors made more money per hour for a hospital visit than they did for an office visit.

1970: Maternal mortality is 20 deaths per 100,000. National certification in nurse-midwifery educational programs began.

1970–1971:
HMOs were created.

1971: The Farm, a hippie commune in Tennessee, was founded by Stephen and Ina May Gaskin, the mother of modern midwifery. The Birth Center of Santa Cruz was started.

1973: ACNM stated, “The preferred site for childbirth because of the distinct advantage to the physical welfare is the hospital.”

1975: The Birth Collective at Freemont Women’s Clinic in Seattle began. Less than 1 percent of births were attended by midwives. Maternal mortality was 16.1 deaths per 100,000. 20 percent of American women chose to have an epidural.

1976: The Division of Nursing began to fund nurse-midwifery education programs. 5 percent Cesarean rate.

1977: Informed Homebirth (IH) was founded by Rahima Baldwin Dancy in response to the need for information on how to prepare for a safe delivery at home. The original childbirth educator training program was developed in 1978.

1979: The first studies were conducted on labor anesthesia, including Demerol.

1980: 98.9 percent of births occurred in hospitals. The ACNM developed guidelines for establishing “alternative” birthing services. They changed their negative home birth statement to one that endorsed practice in all settings. Maternal mortality was 12.6 deaths per 100,000. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) opposed nurse-midwifery and issued formal statements to that effect. AAFP stated the belief that all nurse-midwives should work nonindependently and that all payments should go through the physician.

1982: The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) began. One-third of its members were CNMs, and the rest were other types of midwives. Insurance (liability) coverage declined rapidly for CNMs from 1982 to 1985, with some companies either totally withdrawing from coverage or making it expensive. 16 percent of all births occur on Saturdays and 16.6 percent of births occur on Sundays.

1983: The National Association of Childbearing Centers was established. The Federal Trade Commission intervened in a CNM-doctor case and negotiated an agreement that prohibited the insurance company from any form of discrimination against doctors who collaborate with CNMs.

1985: The AMA set out to create legislation and regulation for all nonphysician health-care workers that would not allow these workers to practice independently. Maternal mortality was 10.6 deaths per 100,000. 6.8 percent of babies are born with low birth weight (under 2,500 g). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the Cesarean section rate should not be higher than 10–15 percent.

1988: 25 percent Cesarean rate. Patient-controlled epidurals, which allow women in labor to adjust the timing and frequency of their anesthesia with the push of a button, come on the scene.

1989: Forceps used in 5.5 percent of births. 18.9 VBAC rate; 9 percent induction rate. 47.7 percent of women received at least one ultrasound during pregnancy. 8 percent Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring rate. 9.4 percent of births occurred prior to 37 weeks gestation.

Late 1980s:
Hospitals introduced LDR rooms (Labor, Delivery and Recovery rooms, where you labored, gave birth in, and recovered all in the same room rather than moving to different rooms for each of those stages).

1990: 10.7 percent of births occurred prior to 37 weeks gestation. Physicians who at one time had no interest in taking care of poor, pregnant women became more willing to do so as Medicaid increased payouts for services and made acquiring these fees easier. 41 percent of births occurred between 37–40 weeks gestation. Once again, AAFP opposed nurse-midwifery and issued formal statements to that effect. AAFP stated the belief that all nurse-midwives should work nonindependently and that all payments should go through the physician. Maternal mortality is 9.2 deaths per 1,000. 11.3 percent of births occur at or beyond 42 weeks’ gestation. 75.8 percent of women received prenatal care.

1992: Forceps used 10 percent of the time. Doulas of North America (DONA) was founded to legitimize the benefits of female birth attendants. The governor of New York signed a new Professional Midwifery Practice Act into law in July. The act defined midwifery as a profession with a specific scope of practice and called for a board of midwifery to regulate the profession.

1992–1999: A handful of organizations are founded to train and certify independent childbirth educators and doulas.

1993: Again, the AAFP opposed nurse-midwifery and issued formal statements to that effect. AAFP stated the belief that all nurse-midwives should work nonindependently and that all payments should go through the physician. The first randomized, controlled trial to observe the effects of epidural anesthesia was halted after it was concluded that it would be unethical to continue the study due to bad outcomes. The ACNM obtained a stable, long-term professional liability program. The number of jurisdictions that grant prescriptive authority to CNMs increased from 14 in 1984 to 31 in 1995.

1994: 94.5 percent of births occurred in hospitals. There was a 14.7 percent induction rate and 85 percent continuous EFM rate. The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) offered its first written examination to test the knowledge needed for safe, beginning-level, direct-entry midwifery practice to implement a process to certify direct-entry midwives. Federal law required all state Medicaid programs to pay for care provided by CNMs.

1995: 21 percent Cesarean rate. Maternal mortality is 7.6 deaths per 100,000. Some insurance companies refused to write policies for physicians who worked with midwives—or charged physicians higher premiums if they did—thus imposing restrictions and requirements that limited and burdened the practice.

1996: NARM expands the certification process to include entry-level midwives. 28.3 percent VBAC rate

1998: 19.4 percent induction rate

1998: The rate of midwife-attended births grew at a high and rising rate, showing a 45 percent increase since
1982. The rate of midwife-attended hospital births rose even more sharply, increasing by 1,000 percent since 1975.

1999: 6 percent forceps rate. VBAC rates plummet after ACOG releases new guidelines for doctors and hospitals attending VBACs, making it unrealitistic for either of them to support VABCs, both financially and in practice. Dr. Marsden Wagner (former director of Women’s and Children’s Health in the WHO) noted that ACOG “has no data to support it [the 1999 VBAC recommendations], no studies showing improvements in maternal mortality or perinatal mortality related to the characteristics of institutions or availability of physicians.”

2000: Maternal mortality is 6.9 deaths per 100,000. Much to the chagrin of ACOG and most OBs and hospitals, findings on a landmark study on using CPMs for home birth is released showing that home births with a qualified midwife are safer than OB- or CNM-assisted hospital births.

2001: 11.9 percent of births occurred before 37 weeks gestation. 16.4 VBAC rate

2002: 26.1 percent cesarean rate. 20.6 percent induction rate. 85 percent Continuous EFM rate. 91.3 percent of births occurred in hospitals. Maternal mortality is 7.1 deaths per 1,000. 7.8 percent of infants are born with low birth weight (under 2,500 g). 12.1 percent of births occurred before 37 weeks gestation. 51 percent of births occurred between 37–41 weeks gestation. 6.7 percent occur at or beyond 42 weeks gestation. 12.6 percent VBAC rate. Midwives attend 8.1 percent of all births (94.6 percent CNM attended). 83.7 percent of women received prenatal care. Of all out-of-hospital births, 65 percent occurred at home and 27 percent occurred at a free-standing birth center. 68 percent of pregnant women received at least one ultrasound during pregnancy. Births occurring by day of the week:
Saturday: 8,573
Sunday: 7,526
Monday: 11,453
Tuesday: 12,823
Wednesday: 12,083
Thursday: 12,365
Friday: 12,283

2003: 26.1 percent Cesarean rate. 11 percent of vaginal births are attended by certified nurse-midwives. Direct-entry, CPM, and lay midwives attend 4 of every 1,000 U.S. births. The U.S. ranks 41 out of 60 nations in infant mortality.

2004: Maternal mortality is 7 deaths per 100,000

2005: WHO and UNICEF rank the U.S. 34th in maternal mortality. AAFP reviewed all of the evidence on VBAC and the necessity of 24-hour OB and anesthesia, it recommended that “TOLAC (trial of labor after Cesarean) should not be restricted only to facilities with available surgical teams present throughout labor since there is no evidence that these additional resources result in improved outcomes.”

2006: 22 percent of women have their labors induced.

2007: 31.8 percent Cesarean rate , representing a more than 50 percent increase since 1996.

2008: 33 percent Cesarean rate. The United States has some of the worse pregnancy outcomes than almost every other industrialized country, yet provides the world’s most expensive maternity care. An average 80 percent of women elect for an epidural for vaginal delivery. ACOG releases the following statement after much press is given to the Ricki Lake documentary The Business of Being Born:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reiterates its long-standing opposition to home births. . . . ACOG acknowledges a woman’s right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery and to have a choice in choosing her health care provider, but ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births. Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what’s fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre.

2009: America ranks 45th in Infant Mortality rankings. ACOG revises its guidelines on electronic fetal monitoring, denouncing years of standard practice. According to Dr. George A. Macones, who headed the development of the ACOG document:

Since 1980, the use of EFM has grown dramatically, from being used on 45% of pregnant women in labor to 85% in 2002, Although EFM is the most common obstetric procedure today, unfortunately it hasn’t reduced perinatal mortality or the risk of cerebral palsy. In fact, the rate of cerebral palsy has essentially remained the same since World War II despite fetal monitoring and all of our advancements in treatments and interventions.”
In another ACOG revision, they stated that elective inductions should not be done prior to 39 weeks gestation and that the physician capable of performing a Cesarean should be readily available any time induction is used in the event that the induction isn’t successful in producing a vaginal delivery, although they do not define what “readily available” means.

ACOG admits decades of inappropriate guidelines when they relax their position on women eating and drinking in labor. Once completely banned during labor and birth, they now support women drinking “modest amounts of clear liquids during labor if they wish,” citing that they now see the benefits of eating and drinking during labor in relation to providing energy and comfort.

As you can see, childbirth has not always been viewed as a peaceful experience and has always been subject to predominant cultural attitudes, whether those voices are from the religious, scientific, or public and social sector. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the pain, fear, and other obvious factors that can accompany childbirth. But it takes a deep understanding of ourselves, faith in the process and our bodies and babies, and a long-term perspective to walk into the birth experience with confidence and eagerness and walk out of it with the joy and serenity you are seeking. We are at a distinct advantage in our earth’s history where we have thousands of years of both successful and failed documented birth practices, the knowledge of how to prevent the majority of complications in pregnancy, birth and postpartum, the experience and wisdom of our ancestors and modern-day birth “sages.” There is all kinds of support during the birth year, and science and technology to back us up where we need it, such that there is no need to fear the birth process as our mothers before us did. We should be rejoicing and throwing off the old robes of the fear of pain or being conscious for the event, the distrust of our bodies, babies, and instincts, the patriarchal (from religion or government) control of this process, and the mind-set that it is better, clinically or otherwise, to completely hand our bodies and babies over to “the experts” to handle. For too long we have handed over our responsibility and power to those who would willingly shape our lives for us. Birth transforms you into much more than a mother. Birth is a rite of passage. It is your right of passage. Claim it!

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