"Mother of modern midwifery," Ina May Gaskin dropped some knowledge on a posse of nurses, educators and doulas last night in New York City and I was lucky enough to be there. The local NYC birthing community doesn't get together enough- it's hard when you're attending all-nighter births- so it's a real treat to mingle with these ladies. They give off some strong-dare I say empowering?- vibes. It was awesome.
Ina May talked for a little bit and fielded lots of great questions. Here are the highlights:
1. If you induce a woman before she's ready it's like trying to harvest apples in July. "The fruit won't be as sweet."
2. She's obsessed with the awesome video of the Bali elephant birthing and resuscitating her baby all on her own. "She didn't take an infant elephant resuscitation class," Ina May noted.
3. Gestational diabetes and hypertension are scarce when women are exposed to less stress and have access to real (not processed) food. Cut out the white stuff, she said, the sugar and the starch. And if you do eat carbs, don't go lie down afterwards. Get up and do something. Use that energy.
4. She shared a terrible story about a woman in Cape Fear, NC who was examined by 7 obstetricians, induced and then given a c-section only to reveal that she was *NOT* even pregnant. None of the doctors had thought to palpate her stomach to feel for the baby. I'm not even sure I totally understand this story enough to relay it- this was an hysterical pregnancy, etc- but the point was that a midwife would have figured this out just be touching the woman. True that.
5. There's one doctor in New York City who will deliver a breech baby vaginally. I don't know the doctor's name. But Ina May was adamant that we not let the skills for delivering breech die out.
6. She said that lots of nurses are not getting the training they deserve and require. Some nurses in the group pointed out that the schooling isn't so bad, but the reality of teaching hospitals and nurse/doctor dynamics makes it very hard for them to do much at all in terms of support non-medicated births.
7. She praised doulas, noting that their work requires lots of "patience" and an ability to not "get attached." Yup.
For 3 more lessons from the famous midwife Ina May Gaskin, visit Babble's Being Pregnant.
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