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Midwifery Powered By Docstoc
          The Word Itself
• Midwife:
  – translated to mean “with woman” in
    the English language
  – translated sage femme or a “wise
    woman” in French
  – literally meaning a woman who
    assists women in childbirth
        The Facts…..
• Birth of Midwifery
• Midwifery in the United States
• The Midwife Controversy
• The Mother of Modern
The Birth of Midwifery
    What History has to Say...
• There are several verses in the bible
  which tell of two Hebrew midwives
     • Exodus 1:15-22
     • Genesis 35:17; 38:28
• Practices have also been found in
  Papyri and ancient Hindu records
• In early Roman & Greek times,
  midwifes were caregivers to women
  during their monthly cycle
• The only qualifications were to have
  given birth yourself
• In some cultures these qualifications
  still exist today
• Midwives used herbs and potions
  routinely in place of the modern day
• In 1928, the first professional
  organization for nurse-midwives began
  with establishment of the American
  Association of Nurse-Midwives
• 1955 the American College of Nurse-
  Midwifery was chartered
• Between the 1970-1980’s midwifery
  began to grow rapidly
Midwifery in the United States
• Where in the United States:
  – Native American Tribes
  – Colonial America
  – Ferry boats to the Colony of
  – Mayflower
• Who in the United States:
  – Brigit Lee Fuller (3 births on Mayflower)
  – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
  – Dr. William Shippman Jr. (Private tutor)
The Midwife Controversy
• The midwifery controversy lasted from the
  end of the 19th century through the first two
  decades of the following century
• The neonatal/maternal outcomes between
  the births attended by physicians and
  midwives was coming under scrutiny by
• Maternal and neonatal deaths were greater
  for those under the care of midwives, these
  were often poor women who couldn’t afford
            The Solution….
• Educate midwives in order to raise the level
  of practice to the accepted mainstream
• Abolish midwives for the sake of the health
  of the country
   – “Midwifery of untold centuries was
     almost eradicated in the United States in
     less than three decades by restrictive
     legislation and an effective public
The Mother of Modern
           Ina May Gaskin...
• Born in Marshalltown, Iowa, as Ina May
• Grew up being a tom-boy and wrestling her
• Although she thoroughly interested in child-
  birth, she had the ambition to be a engineer
   – “Birth just always fascinated me”, “As a
     teenager, I could tell you every detail of
     the birth in the historical romances I
• After graduating from High School in 1958
  and being denied the right to study a “man’s
  subject” decided to turn her academic career
  into an English major
• After being married at the age of 19, Gaskin
  obtained her degree from the University of
  Iowa then joined the Peace Corps with her
• After teaching English in Malaysia, Gaskin
  returned to obtain her master’s in English
  from Northern Illinois University
• Gaskin gave birth to her first child under the
  care of an obstetrician
• Gaskin remembers the experience of the
  birth of her first child to be very traumatic
• Gaskin then moved to California to become
  a hippie and joined a caravan
• With no money and a pregnant Ina May on
  the caravan, she gave birth to baby boy, the
  first of many baby’s to be born on the
• From then on, Ina May attended all the
  births within the group, a total of 11 babies
• The caravan finally made a home in
  Tennessee and called The Farm
• Ina May and several other women,
  established an on-site midwifery clinic and
  many mothers requested their presence at
  the births
             Gaskin Today...
• Ina May still lives on the Farm in Tennessee
  and enjoys spending time with her
• Gaskin’s message she wants to get out is
  that birth is normal
  – “As a culture we really have to figure out how
    we got so afraid of birth and why, of all places
    in the world, we got rid of midwives here”
           Wrapping it Up
• Midwives are the most common birth
  attendant in the world.
• The average child born in this world is
  born into the hands of a midwife.
• There are more than 5,000 Certified
  Nurse-Midwives in the United States
  who attend 150,000 births annually.
Works Cited
      • Parkland Memorial
        Hospital (1999)
      • Salon Brilliant Careers
        The midwife of
        modern midwifery
      • Webster's Dictionary
      • Encarta (1997)
  That’s All Folks

   By: Sara Howard

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