Updated: Jul 19
Knowing that midwifery is restoring the birthing rights of mothers one home birth at a time is a breath of fresh air during these times as women's choices increasingly decline, and that brings hope.
A return to nature
The comeback of midwifery and home births restore the birthing rights of families who for decades have not been able to choose between having their baby in the comfort of their home. INSTEAD, mothers like myself have been denied their God-given right to give birth naturally assisted by a midwife at home rather than in an impersonal hospital setting to accommodate the schedule of the doctor.
The interference of science for the sake of profits
The interference of the natural process of birth called labor for good reason, with all kinds of medications to accelerate the contractions and increase dilation, along with the use of epidurals, anesthetics and other medications prescribed by the OBGYN delivery method, inhibits the mother's use of the knowledge already in her body and soul to give birth making childbirth a mechanical procedure.
The convenience of partum by cesarean delivery
When mothers are expected to give birth when the doctors want them to and not when the time is right for the mom and the baby, we put our survival instincts in the hands of science instead of nature making us dependent on the mechanisms of modern science to carry out one of the most natural processes known to mankind, thus forfeiting women's rights to natural birthing for the sake of convenience and profit.
"why not home" shows the cutting edge return to nature's wholesomeness
The question the documentary WHY NOT HOME answers should be one that every expecting family deserves to raise and have the right to choose. After viewing this film I was motivated to tell my story from the perspective of the abuelita hoping to inspire future parents and help them choose wisely. The film You Lucky You Got A Mama brings to life the resilience and wholeness of the lives of Black pregnant people to tell a story of survival by any means necessary.
The Precious Gift of Life
The most amazing gift is the gift of life, most of us agree. And because human life is the highest form of life on the planet, one which is revered by every family group across race and ethnicity all across the world, the birth of a child, then, is the most memorable event in the history of every family no matter how many people make up its nucleus-could be two- but one is enough-as is the case of many. The more the merrier, though. Big families seem to stick together with the ooze of love created during moments of endearment.
Midwifery ban in the US
In the US, the history of midwifery is not as glamorous as in Europe where OBGYN and midwifery grew up together. Midwifery in America was banned and prosecuted in most states for over half a century, allowing the take over of the more invasive physician intervention in hospitals, as OBGYN doctors took away the birthing rights of families to choose what's best.
The introduction of hospital deliveries
Although a home birth assisted by a midwife was simply the way babies were born for centuries, as science and medicine developed in universities and labs, baby deliveries in hospital settings became the preferred or "best" way to ensure maternal and infant health care at birth. This is a myth. We are endowed with the natural power to birth offspring. Only when necessary, should intervention with invasive practices be recommended.
Today, this has become the norm and more than 30 percent of these deliveries in the hospital settings end up being by cesarean. Of those delivered by cesarean the majority are non hispanic black mothers. The cesarean trend increases for them and the mortality rate for non hispanic black mothers also increases in the US.
Midwifery vs OBGYN
Instead of growing together like Europes's model, the age-old practice of midwifery became under attack, banned, and prosecuted in the US. Consequently having children became much more expensive and public insurance programs began favoring OBGYN deliveries.
At MANA, the Midwives Alliance of North America, you find out which, if any, midwife licensing and practices are allowed in your State, along with the names and contact information of services and training offered by each State.
Some midwives are certified nurse midwives, an advanced practice nurse with masters level training in midwifery. These nurses are able to legally assist in births outside the hospital in any state and can carry and prescribe drugs.
Others are certified professionals called direct entry midwives, who are only able to practice in certain places. They are limited in what they can do and the medications they can administer. For example, they are not able to carry drugs needed to treat mothers and infants at birth.
Some of these drugs are Pitocin, to control post part bleeding, IV fluids, Oxygen, Rhogan (to treat RH negative moms), Vitamin K shots, and antibiotics.
Even today as more and more women choose to have a home birth, something which is not illegal in any state, the licensing of midwives, however, does vary from one state to another, limiting a family's choice to have a birth at home assisted by the care of a midwife.
Not every woman should have a home birth, but for low risk pregnancies, the benefits outnumber the risks of a home birth. Low risk pregnancies are labeled NST
The Benefits of a Home Birth are Many : why call the midwife?
1. Midwives are available 24/7
Who will check in with a mother-to-be any hour of the day or night, 7 days a week, to provide the emotional and health guidance a mother-to-be needs while mother nature takes its birthing course? None but a midwifery team will. Midwives provide pre and post birth services that no doctor is capable of doing. They provide nutrition guidance and an in depth knowledge of the birthing process and best practices for bonding, great-feeding, sleeping, and eating throughout the birth process, before and after. They provide the necessary medical attention a baby and mother should receive at birth in a much more personalized way.
This classic book on birth .....with updated information on the safety of natural childbirth, new birthing stories, and the most recent statistics on births managed by The Farm Midwives. Ina May also provides new information about potentially dangerous techniques routinely used in hospitals during and after birth, as well as the latest findings about VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Improved instructions for handling breech births are also given. Included are stories of working with Amish women, showing a different culture with a similar appreciation for natural childbirth. Photos, illustrations Over 540,000 copies sold!
2. Extended family participation| Community building
The presence of extended family, is welcome at home births assisted with midwives. The participants in a home birth have the honor to provide emotional support and become part of an amazing birthing team that helps the parents-to-be bring a new life into this world. Such was my experience with the birth of my first grandchild. A story I share with you today. In a home birth, siblings to the newborn, parents of the mother, mothers in-love (law) and just about any other relative or close friends the mother to be desires ca Abe present and provide a service to the birth even if it's just sitting outside by the door.
It was a major event to be witness to and participate n the birth of my grandson. It gave me an overwhelming feeling of confidence in midwifery. The extent and quality of care for the whole family, the scientific knowledge-base they bring to the table, and the emotional support that the midwifery team purveys pre-and-post birth, greatly surpassed my expectations and put me in awe of this revolutionary old practice that has survived displacement.
3. Superior Communication: Who you gonna call?
Months before the birth of my grandchild, during the gestation period, I was introduced to the Midwifery team on Zoom meetings and partook in short presentations and discussions on several different topics of interest to the process of birthing that begins shortly after conception. One of these processes or components addresses time: the time when "IT'S TIME" TO CALL THE MIDWIFE.
This doesn't mean that the midwife hasn't been communicating with the soon-to-be parents all along, night and day, 24/7. But, the time to actually "call the midwife" must be determined by the mother and the midwife throughout their continuous rapport, as the birthing process progresses confidently into the final phases of labor up until Birth.
Encompasses the most authoritative and comprehensive information available about the history of midwifery in the United States
Considers the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities for midwifery
Illustrated with historical photos and drawings
Includes engaging stories filled with cultural and spiritual content, introductory quotes to each chapter, and plentiful chapter notes
Written by two preeminent leaders in the field of midwifery
Little did I know about midwifery having been indoctrinated to believe that the OBGYN would be the best indicated with the most knowledge and safety. It was a given that science certified and licensed medical practices in the name of progress for the betterment of mankind. So, from the 50-60s and beyond the state put the midwife out of business making it unlawful to practice midwifery without a state mandated license in the US and criminalizing the practice of midwifery.
In my childbearing years, the 80-90s decade, midwifery had almost vanished from the lore. Little did I know there was a midwife revolution brewing in the shadows. when my time to give birth my first child came in a rural community where there was only one OBGYN word soon got around about how babies were born on his time and the elevated Section deliveries that ensued -I was one of the victims.
Denied of my birthing right to choose, both pf my sons would be delivered by Cesarean in the 80s. I knew there was something wrong, I know better now.
You can see the spike in Cesarean deliveries across ethnicities in this graph available for your dollar, but when you learn about it in the book, stats are well anticipated. Midwifery was banished from rural communities along with its community building unquestionable benefits.
We, (the father-t0-be, the other grandmother and I) were encouraged to watch birthing videos sent to our inbox several times to learn about these stages and one in particular caught my attention. In that video we were introduced to the concept of rhythm and what to look for to become aware, follow, and know about the importance of rhythm.
To me, rhythm is the way a person follows a tune, slow, fast, syncopated, but when it comes to birthing, it represents the unfolding of the natural process, including the frequency and intensity of the mother's and the baby's "labor" through the birth canal when "the time comes," and you will recognize the signs. So this rhythm was subtle and then it got faster, it kept us going around the birthing pool following along.
Time stood still and after a few times of going through the song list (that was my role), my son climbed in the pool with the mother. Mu daughter in-love (law) had been crying out in pain but her voice was not broken, her eyes were closed, and when the contraction eased she Things got going then, minutes later the baby came out of the womb with such ease and climbed into his mother's bosom so swiftly it was too quick to follow with the camera.
In total harmony and peace, this baby swiftly slipped out of one sleeve to enter the arms of his loving mother and father surrounded by the loving gaze of his grandmas, the Doula and the midwife. Everything was so perfectly timed.
Today, I stand in awe of midwives and thank my children for inviting me to welcome and celebrate the birth of my grandson, Leighton. My compliments and congratulations for being a leader and making the right choice. The midwifery service they selected in Brooklyn, NY, was outstanding in every way way. They were family, and so knowledgable that I learned things about birthing and placentas that I never knew I didn't know.
Questions are never answered so deeply in hospital settings where there rarely is any time for communication between patient and providers beyond Yes and No.
The methods used by African American midwives in the South have been documented and studies suggest their superiority in care makes them a select method choice now being adopted to create models for birthing centers services and midwifery training.
Using primary sources from state and county departments of health; and personal accounts from varied practitioners, Delivered by Midwives: African American Midwifery in the Twentieth-Century South provides a new perspective on the childbirth experience of African American women and their maternity care providers. Moreover, Luke illuminates valuable aspects of a maternity care model previously discarded in the name of progress. High maternal and infant mortality rates led to the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act in 1921. This marked the first attempt by the federal government to improve the welfare of mothers and babies. Almost a century later, concern about maternal mortality and persistent racial disparities have forced a reassessment. Elements of the long-abandoned care model are being reincorporated into modern practice, answering current health care dilemmas by heeding lessons from the past
This CALL THE MIDWIFE, article in the Atlantic's Health section elucidates: "The growing popularity of midwifery care is partially a response to rising Caesarean rates, says Eugene Declercq, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University who studies American maternity care. Currently, around a third of all births in the U.S. are Cesarean sections, a number far higher than the World Health Organization-recommended target of 10 to 15 percent. The inflated rate is due in part to longstanding misperceptions in the U.S. medical community about how quickly labor should progress and when medical intervention is necessary.
If you'd like to know more about the progression of midwifery since the end of the big war, then you'll enjoy the Atlantic's article that stole its title from the popular British TV series "Call the Midwife" based on the book of the same title —the memoirs of a British midwife after WWII serving in Poplar, one of London's neighborhood midwifery I points out that One of the best shows I have ever watched. e knowing there is a coach "with" the parents-to-be every step of the way.
Midewifery is coming back stronger than ever and being in a birthing team weeks before and after the birth providing support 24/7 makes receiving a new life the foundation of family and community. I vow to support midwifery and the renewed birthing rights of mothers to be home and follow their natural wisdom with the help of a professional and family team.
Quoting from this modern midwifery guide for expectant parents "as a midwife, it's my job to oversee the health and safety of my clients as well as to provide emotional and psychological support along the way."
A 21st-century guide to midwifery—tons of up-to-date information for expectant parents
Here's a guide to all that a midwife has to know but her wisdom surpasses anything on paper because knowledge means nothing in the absence of love, because midwives become part of the family.
The experience of a grandparent holding such a huge bundle of joy close makes the heart overflow. It is truly a grandmother's greatest blessing. Having just recently attested to the miracle of life brings me at this day and time to give testimony of my firsthand experience in a home birthing event.
After both my sons and all my sister's children were born by cesarean section in rural America during the 80-90s, natural birth, let alone a home birth, was a first one for me. As the mother in love that I am, it was a huge honor and pleasure to be of any assistance. From taking walks in the parks to keeping the song list going and taking shots and video to the super spoiling of a new little person in our now combined family history, the vivencia of becoming a grandmother was just sublime.
having now assumed a new role in life, that of abuelita, and already, I have gathered some words of advice in the form of books in the support of the midwifery comeback to our society at large and making midwives an integral part of a birthing experience from pre to post natal care.
It came as a surprise, but confident that these parents would know best, a home birth—a water birth in a birthing pool to be exact, sounded like an ideal thing in the middle of a busy city borough. I had read about water births before but being out of the procreating stage for so long, I had no idea that new mothers would be so wise and talented today. They have choices I never knew even existed in my time.
Mother nature knows her thing and birthing is its number one thing
The return of midwifery practice restores a woman's confidence in her natural ability to perform mother earth's birthing nature to its rightful place by following the innate wisdom of the body-mind-soul connection. A midwife, one who stands with the parents during this process from pre to post is not just a doctor or a nurse practitioner, she is the support and wisdom of the ages. Never have I learned so much about science and in this home health environment in which I was imbued for weeks before and after the birth of my grandson.
Midwifery may come to us from the past but it's raising the flag of progress and emancipation from the constraints of hospitalization and proven discriminatory practices of childbirth that many mothers and their newborns have received.
Midwifery is the return of mother earth to the birthing process. Where without the midwife, giving birth in hospitals veiled the natural process of labor with unnecessary procedures and treatments for the sake of efficiency, the advent of midwifery is a sigh of relief, a feeling of ease, and a return to love.
This CALL THE MIDWIFE article by the Atlantic, boasts the title of one of the best one hour series I have ever watched. It is based on the memoirs of a midwife in London's docks rough neighborhoods, Poplar, where a religious order serviced the community's midwifery needs which included pre and post pregnancy healthcare at no cost.
If Midwifery restores mother earth's birthing gifts for all mothers-to-be, for the ancient midwife profession, it is redemptory—atonement.
Prenatal care with the midwife's team is an education in nutrition, genetics, child development, and birthing that bleeds into the fabric of the whole family. The myriad holistic and scientifically validated knowledge and wisdom a midwife shows and shares is only comparable to a mother's love.
However informative, up-to-date-and-NO-NONSENSE, this book Why Choose a Home Birth, and no other book will give those who are not mothers-to-be the real value of midwives and their fullest credit. They are there every step of the way, giving all the resources and guidance pre and post birth that a family needs. Their full knowledge is beyond that of a gynecologist because they are tuned into birthing in a more profound way than just medical or physical.
Furthermore, the education families receive from a midwifery team about the body (both mother's and child) and the process from pregnancy to birth pre and post is far more enriching than any hospital will provide. Furthermore, this knowledge translates into a pathway to long-lasting good health for mother and baby. You are able to see and feel the placenta, learn about this tree of life and understand the wisdom of mother earth.
Midwives heal the mother's birthing rights by giving every parent-to-be the guidance they need to develop the confidence they need in their ability to re-learn what's already in their nature but may have been missing out on in a modern obstetrics practice. Every mother is different and they midwifery team honors just that! The mother is in charge! The mother and the midwife along with all the people around her work together to receive a new bundle of joy 7 lbs and 20 inches long on average endowed with all the wisdom and knowledge of mother earth within.
Since cesarean sections started gaining track on birthing in the 60s to the overuse of this birthing method in the interest of profit, many hospitals have cut out of their Imagine how many women and their partners have already forgotten the natural process of birthing before it ever happens? Repeatedly since midwifery was taken out of the picture, new mothers have been unable to take their time and deliver when they're ready not when the healthcare facility wants them to.
If that's your case, your next delivery experience doesn't have to be. It can be natural, relaxed, with plenty of support and intimate.
When your best interest is not what's at hand, you question what's best.
When mothers-to-be have a dilation of a certain number of centimeters or inches and know how long their contractions last, how frequent they are, and how strong they are, as well as how these elements of size, time, frequency, and pressure work together during birthing, if they have someone who will bear through this with them, then they are more than ready to receive their gift in the comfort of their home, in a birthing pool or on their feet, she will decide.
In my experience as a grandmother, one who never gave birth naturally, I was apprehensive at first. But the educational zoom meeting we had throughout my daughter-in-law's pregnancy made me feel at ease and confident.
Still, when that day came I was a bundle of nerves. Of course, I put forth my very best and peaceful face and tried to stay alert. But after a week of waiting, I stopped thinking about when the day would come, and then it came.
I observed and tried to find a way to fit in and be of service to the team and the mother-to-be. Her contractions started in the evening after midnight and was very quiet even after a long night. At 7 am when I became aware of the frequency of the contractions, (I may have slept during part of it like the rest of the children had I not been awoken).
she was in bed and using a large exercise ball that had been recommended by the team during the pregnancy months. She embraced it and a team member pressed her lower back. the song list was given to me on digital notes.
In the following article History of Midwifery in the US from a governmental view lacking the humanitarian perspective of the reality of childbirth, you'll get an idea of when midwifery declined and why it is in women's and children's best interest to bring this practice back in full color.