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Pregnancy is normal. Birth is safe in any setting. Discover your choices.

76 pregnancy article submissions by the Mothering community.

Language about Labor

By Louise Rachel QuigleyWeb Exclusive The word “contraction” to describe the working of the uterus during labor has bothered me for a long time. True, it is technically correct: like any other muscle, the uterus bunches itself tight, makes its length shorter, contracts itself in that sense, to do the work of pulling the cervix open. But the connotations of the word “contract” create precisely the wrong psychological effect. Before becoming a childbirth educator, I earned a doctorate in English; I have taught writing at the college level; I am a poet. Many times I... read more

Reckoning with Birth

By Nancy Linnon Web Exclusive I always imagined birthing him in the middle of the night, a velvet midnight-blue kind of experience. Instead, he started into the world at 5:30 a.m., just as the sun drained the light from the moon, and I remember mostly pale shades: the beige interior of my car speeding to the Birth Center; the light peach on the birthing room wall; the egg white tile on the Jacuzzi tub; the ivory lace that hung over a set of French Doors opposite the bed. He is a fire sign, but I think of air on the day he was born. Early on a Wednesday morning, 10 days... read more

Postscript to Ewan’s birth story: Part Two

Living with failure I shall never know whether within such a peaceful, familiar environment we would ever have achieved a natural birth; I can only say the chances would have been much higher. Instead, I missed the birth of my son and the first hours of his life. I still carry within me unresolved birth trauma, which at unguarded moments suddenly pulls at my heart strings, with it a feeling of inadequacy when I hear of natural birth or see it on the TV. I live with this failure, not helped by some women who believe you cannot truly bond with... read more

Building Bridges: Health Disparities, Midwives and Culturally Competent Care--and Education

This is a guest blog by Marinah Farrell, Certified Professional Midwife and Licensed Midwife, and one of the women featured in Midwives Address Health Disparities—the latest video from the new online series I am a Midwife all about midwives and what they do.  From the Midwives Alliance of North America. Marinah Farrell (far left) and other community activists Currently, in this country, the statistics are abysmal when it comes to maternal health care for communities of color and, correlated, educating maternal health care experts from those... read more

Our family's path to home birth

  As I approach my twenty fourth week of pregnancy I find my thoughts drifting toward birthing day. We’re planning our second home birth with a midwife we love, but our first birth experience, as just-right as it was, doesn’t prevent the butterflies from visiting from time to time. It’s nothing that can’t be settled by a few deep breaths, but still, birthing day is Big (capital B!) no matter where it takes place. I’ve known since I was twenty years old that I wanted to home birth. That was the year that I came across a copy of Ina May... read more

The Push is Powerful Stuff

Either you like pushing, or you don’t. Not too many women who feel so-so on this topic. Personally, I hated it. Three kids, and each one I would have coped with contractions for another calendar day before I would have willingly pushed. So when I have a mother who is a fierce non-pusher, I get it. I recently attended a lovely birth for an almost-mother-of-three, who I watched paddle around her birth tub like a dog caught in a swimming pool, looking for a way out. She spun circles, flipped from front to back, moaned and groaned, cried, and... read more

Oxford Study Says Homebirth and Midwifery Care Safe and Cheaper Option

The Guardian reported today that, according to an Oxford University study, homebirth may be a safe and cheaper option for women in England. The study examined 64,000 births in England between 2008 and 2010 and determined that encouraging low risk moms to deliver at home or in a midwifery center could save the NHS money without sacrificing care. Royal College of Midwives deputy general secretary, Louise Silverton, said: This and other research points out the substantial benefits of midwife-led care: it is better for mothers and babies, it is... read more

Unnatural Consequences: Mama-Baby Hospital Separation

A TV news reporter called me today. She wants me to make an on-camera comment about a recent mix-up in a Virginia, MN hospital.  Despite the many safety procedures hospitals are required to have in place, a newborn baby was placed in the wrong mama’s arms for a few brief minutes, and perhaps nursed on a breast that did not belong to him. The families involved are understandably shook up. I’m sure the poor nurse is horrified, and probably in trouble. Hospital administrators instantly and publically abandoned one identification procedure in exchange for... read more

Passage Into Motherhood: Sitting With Women During Labor

“Being pregnant and giving birth are like crossing a narrow bridge. People can accompany you to the bridge. They can greet you on the other side, but you must walk that bridge alone.” ~African Proverb~ * * * * The word midwife literally means, “With woman” and that is what I am. I spend my days sitting with women at one of the most pivotal moments in their lives. Married or single, 17 or 35 years old, Balinese or Australian, Christian or Muslim, HIV positive or... read more

Trust Birth conference: Sarah Buckley keynote

Lisa Barrett and Gloria Lemay I’m excited looking forward to Sarah Buckley’s keynote talk this morning here in Nashville, about oxytocin, or as she calls it, “Liquid Love.” It’s been fun getting here a little early (arrived Tuesday evening to teach my all-day pre-conference workshop yesterday based on my book Parenting for Peace)… and meeting lots of new and fabulous folks from the worldwide field of midwifery. Have already heard a few chilling tales worthy of Orwell of the harassment that can be visited upon birth attendants who actually trust... read more

Mothering › Pregnancy Articles