Posts Tagged ‘midwifery’

Counselling for positive Outcomes. Gail Hart Midwifery Today conference, Harrisberg , Pennsylvania 2012

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Midwifery notes

Ok, so I believed that after every day at the conference I would write up my notes on my new shiny box! Not true! I totally forgot how much concentration and writing I would be doing every day not to mention running, smiling, sorting stuff and generally giving loads of energy to all of my favourite midwives and birth activists! So obviously I lunched out my homework! So now, I am about to start transporting my conference notes to blog world, I hope they are as exciting and informative to you all as they are to me!


  • Every pregnant woman should be supported with all she needs when she becomes pregnant.
  • stress changes positive outcomes- life can be stressful. U.S. women are expected to do everything with minimal support
  • NUTRITIONAL ECONOMIC, SOCIAL – These are all kinds of stress- which lead to high blood pressure and then other complications.
  • Nutrition- council for positive outcomes
  • assist women to value themselves and respect themselves and their babies by eating well.
  • sit and talk, “what did you eat yesterday?”
  • you have to know where a woman is dietarily before you can positively affect her diet
  • cook for people- bring gluten-free cookies to work
  • introduce people to new foods- sprouts, houmous, stevia, seaweed
  • sometimes people know how to eat properly but can’t afford it. Assist by organising get-togethers and food shares
  • The value of prenatal care is the time spent with the woman, which gives more confidence and connection between you both, raising levels of oxytocin thereby creating better birth experiences
  • This is an exciting time for you?” use leading questions to discover where she is with her pregnancy experience.
  • Risks and fears need to be planned for but they do not need to be stated as problems to terrify women!
  • Try to keep our fears ( and adrenalin) low and the fears of our women low too!
  • All women are unique! No matter how you have been educated you need to remember that each woman experiences life differently
  • Always ask permission before touching- this creates body respect.
  • see the whole woman , use your eyes and ears, heart and hands
  • When birth experiences are bad women seem to talk of it less, with fewer details
  • Pick up the clues – get the whole story
  • Women rarely repeat their birth experience physically- most women put their experiences into perspective
  • Each birth is different- each time they change because they grow and change with the birth experience
  • Always talk calmly and remind women of the dangers of unfounded fear-mongering thru the internet and gossip.
  •  High blood pressure is not a symptom of Eclampsia or pre-eclampsia, it is a symptom that something is wrong and needs attention!
  • Only 1 out of 100 people diagnosed with pre-eclampsia actually has a seizure at birth
  • possibly calcium regulation is a factor in preeclampsia – also kidney functions are a factor.
Gail Hart is a majestic midwife, her book ‘ Research updates for midwives, some thoughts on the best evidence.’ is a brilliant resource book for anyone who needs to back up their decisions and actions at a medical level. Loads of doctor speak and names to quote, makes even doctors listen and question hospital protocol!

Midwives Protest 25th March

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in News

Choose your Midwife, Choose your Birth!

Please support the march in London on the 25th March! We will be protesting at the Houses of Parliament to retain the rights of women in the UK to choose the midwife they want.

Independent Midwives

Alternative to suturing & tear prevention – Gail Hart

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Midwifery notes

Preparation before birth

  • exercise
  • perineal massage
  • deep breathing
  • squats
  • stretching

Strategies for second ( pushing ) stage

  • Avoid ‘coached’ pushing. Encourage her to listen to her body and to stop pushing and breathe when her baby is on the perineum.
  • A compress of hot water, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil or arnica oil is very helpful
  • Most stuff we know is because someone has told us from their personal experience, NOT through research
  • Standing and squatting positions create less tearing of perineum
  • Ginger increases circulation to tissues so it can stretch – it also minimises swelling and smells good
  • Comfrey activates cell rejuvenation and reduces swelling
  • 96 degrees is ideal heat for a birthing pool
  • Compression will always stem bleeding
  • Spray adrenaline onto a gauze put this on the tear to stop bleeding
  • Yunan payao seaweed helps too
  • Sugar coagulates wounds; also salt.
  • Honey is great for wound healing
  “If two pieces of vagina are in the same room, they will move together!” Gail Hart

A Midwives’ Healthy relationship with Fear – Elizabeth Davis

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Midwifery notes

  • To work with fear is a way to be active and alert in a situation where most are frozen and inactive .
  • Women’s healthcare providers – ‘Midwives’ have always been here
  • It is an honourable position , respected and powerful.
  • However our fear is grounded in a history of persecution since ‘ The Burning Times’
  •  To repress and attack midwives is to deny the power of women
  • In any patriarchal society, midwives will always be seen as troublemakers because they care for the health and rights of women
  • “At this time, no one is more dangerous to the state and church than the midwives.”  The Spanish inquisition for the Catholic church  – six million women died!
  • These ‘Burning times’ created a pain body for all the women who came after – the line of the story was broken- now we are beginning to re-weave  the storylines
  • FEEL YOUR FEAR – It keeps you alert and assists you to be aware and watch your back, it helps to keep you safe!
  •  To cleanse yourself of the fear that is felt is a very important tool, then you do not bring every fearful event to each moment of fear.
  • To cleanse and heal gives us the opportunity to work with our fears and grow past them.
  • Fear, anger, jealousy – are all from the primal part of the brain
  • DANGER! – creates adrenaline – enables us to respond – as conscious beings, we can choose how we respond.
  • ADRENALINE – frozen, closedness, hate, fear, or
  • OXYTOCIN – Love, Compassion, caring, openness
  • A woman giving birth runs a 100 times more Oxytocin than at any other time
  • When we run oxytocin at a birth we entrain to the birthing woman and we learn how to be in LOVE   – our brain waves drop through ALPHA- BETA – THETA – Theta waves – being the place where time becomes elastic and brainwaves open so that experiences can be rewritten

Second Stage Difficulties – The Pushing part – Ina May Gaskin

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Midwifery notes

  • Once the inner mouth opens – the cervix is dilated
  • Tired – take a nap – TO REST IS NOT DANGEROUS!
  • Hot – drink cool water – rest
  • Cold – use a blanket, do some exercise
  • Nipple stimulation can always be benieficial to birth progression
  • A woman’s instincts are the primary answer to what is needed during the 2nd stage
  • Food can be instantly benificial to the womans laboring capabilities
  • When the birthing womans experience is longer than the midwives endurance , HAVE A PARTNER!
  • Toilet seats, birth stools, showers- all these assist in the progress of labor
  • Facial expressions are important during labour – scrunched up face = clenched uterus – relaxed face = relaxed uterus
  • Make the sphincter happy! – quiet , relaxing, dim light, gentle music, sexual attention, sweet smells , warm water
  • Release all tension in the body and brain
  • Sometimes the dimensions of the pelvis need to change to assist the downward movement of the OP ( Occiput- back of babies head- Posterior – facing mothers bottom), high position baby
  • Get the mother to stand upright , a person on each side of he mother places hand s on the top of the hip bones and together they push inwards thus creating a scissor movement in the pelvis making the bottom bones open wider.- or in the words of my 9 year olds son Jake ” If the baby is stuck push on the top sides of the mummies bottom and the baby will come out of the bottom of the mummies bottom! “

* To birth easily*

  •  Watch the partners! if they need to wee and are holding on they will be influencing their woman’s ability to let go.
  •  Tell stories -‘ How I learned to enjoy pooping in labour’, ‘ The princess and the Poo’, ‘ The mole who knew it was none of his business’
  • Make the room smell nice
  • Most fears are just social inhibitions we need to be practical to overcome them
  • We need to laugh more in labour- it gives us neuro endorphins and oxytocin ( the birthing love hormone) it also softens the pelvis and allows the baby to come down
  • Meconium is not poo! It is intestine packing ! It is not nasty!
  • If there is meconium and the heart tones are good there is no need to worry
  • Heart decelerations are common panic moments but if the baby recovers immediately then it has enough oxygen and there is no need to fear.
  •  Dad is good as furniture and bad as a cameraman
LAUGH MORE LOVE MORE! Ina May Gaskin is an amazing woman – a midwife, author and international birth activist, her books ‘Spiritual Midwifery , Ina May’s guide to childbirth ‘ and ‘A Midwives’ manifesto’ are compelling, enlightening reading. if you haven’t already read them, I advise you to do so! In this session, she also advised that ‘ The Court Midwife’ by Justine Siegermunden was an interesting read.

First Stage Difficulties (the opening phase) – notes – Gail Hart

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Midwifery notes


  • Infection, maternal exhaustion, postpartum haemorrhage, fetal distress, fetal injury or asphyxia, low APGAR scores, separation of mother/baby, difficult recovery, postpartum depression, caregiver exhaustion leading to poor decisions.

* To reduce the risk of infection*

  • Preserve membranes
  • Limit internal exams
  • Avoid internal devices
  • Keep mother hydrated and rested
  • Maintain a clean enviroment

* Risk of distress created by*

  •  Stimulated labour
  •  Artificial rupture of membranes( water bag)
  • Maternal low blood sugar
  • Maternal supine ( laying down) position
  • Coached pushing acidosis
  • Manual extraction ( forceps, suction cup)

* Reduce the risks by*

  • Monitor carefully and unobtrusively
  • Listen to baby> You can hear with your ear from the back as well as the front.
  • Augment labour conservatively
  • Assist all involved to be patient
  • Encourage intact membranes
  • Avoid maternal supine position ( lying down)
  •  Encourage active upright positions and side-lying ( Simms or left lateral)
  •  detect and correct malpositions early
  • Maintain maternal blood sugar with food , liquid or sugar

* Assess mother and baby*


  • Monitor closely for signs or symptoms of infection
  • Elevated maternal temperature
  • Rising pulse
  • Increased uterine or abdominal tenderness
  • Exhaustion
  • Signs of true maternal exhaustion
  • Rising pulse and temperature
  • Is there progress?
  • There must be progress even if there is slow progress
  • Mother and baby must remain in a good position
  • Detect heart decelerations
  • Know when to quit*
  • Signs of disproportion between head and pelvis
  • High head – head not engaged and cant be made to engage
  • Asynclitism ( head off to the side not aligned to the bone of the pelvis) – especially increasing degrees
  • Strong contractions ( rushes, surges) without progress or dilatation( cervix opening)
  • Failure of head to flex and descend with strong contractions and good pushing
  • Large and growing caput ( swelling formed on the baby’s head by pressure from the dilating cervix) but with no descent when measured above the pubic bone

*Signs of potential Uterine ( womb) rupture*

  •  A thinning lower uterine segment( may feel like a balloon
  •  Full bladder
  • Rising contraction ring
  • Formation of Bandl’s Ring ( extreme thickening of the ring of normal labour when labour is obstructed. It is able to be felt with the hands as a hard ridge across the tummy)

Observations in the Medical centre – Lara

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Lara's blog

Firstly, it’s not lost on me how honoured and privileged I ( naughty fairy, hippy, me) am to be allowed to assist in this kind of place.

I walk around shadowing this diminutive purple-swirling midwife, rubbing shoulders with nurses, doctors and medical secretaries, all manner of people who on paper and in the eyes of many are more qualified than me to be here. I know that I am always where I am supposed to be!

Already today I have assisted with dietary advice, baby holding, IUD (coil) insertion, and vaginal growth removal ( a little purple pearl) I have cleaned up, re-stocked, remembered, observed and assisted.

My abilities of calm quiet speech to relax tense people and my hands full of universal Reiki have been appreciated and have made me feel at home and of use, in these pretty alien, medicalised surroundings.

I find myself observing to glean what is really necessary, which questions to ask, what dietary advice to give, the way that Love and cuddles create a bridge along which communication and compassion and Oxytocin can flow.

I see herbal and industrial medicine used wisely hand in hand. I see clinical and artistic models merged in a way that creates calm in the easily concerned and confused.

The path of the post-modern midwife is one of the artist and healer; artfully she mixes the palette of medicines to create optimum health and happiness for all she serves.

I like this reflection I see and wholeheartedly accept my role to be the successor of this woman and the many like her who have and will support women towards happy healthy natural births instead of leading women like lambs to the slaughter of industrialized birth.

“Never doubt that a small group of people working together can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” Margaret Mead

This path and calling is long and wide with many wolves and dark places. The joys will far outweigh the sadnesses but I will remember that all experience is just that, just another rich colour that creates the wonderful vibrant tapestry of our amazing lives.

Sometimes I feel small and stupid, that there is too much to learn, too much to do, then I remember to hold my own hand and believe in the vibration of the Universe that guides us all. This life is for living and being and a place to really experience all that our physical beings can experience. So to be called to the office of Midwife, with all of the colours of experience that it holds, is one I welcome – always with eyes wide with awe and with a heart open and full of love.  Fairy love and kisses Laraxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Prenatal Care to create a positive birth, the Midwives’ role – Gail Hart

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Midwifery notes

  • Humans believe what they see, they also see what they believe
  • Whatever you do the baby will grow and progress
  • Get women to log the baby’s movements, time, duration, then they will begin to know their own normal and will be able to gauge when things change. ” call me if things change”
  • keep your ego in check! The woman, the hospital, the midwife, the doula all work together as a team to create a positive birth
  •  Let women know that routine ultrasounds have not been proven beneficial to birth outcomes
  • Prevention is better than cure, DIET, EXERCISE, HEALTHFUL LIVING all create positive birth experiences
  • Bacterial Vaginosis ( BV) and Group B Strep (GBS) are both considered causes of preterm birth
  • BV overgrowth is allowed by lack of lactobacilli
  • BV and GBS prefer an alkaline environment
  • Nurture the good guys to reduce the bad guys- a good cup of lactobaccili can protect against BV and GBS, yeast, e.coli, and anaerobes
  • Prepare the soil- raise acidity- vinegar rinse- 2tbsp to 1 pint water
  • Plant the seeds- probiotic yogurt- use directly as a cream
  • Slow down the weeds- practice good hygiene- wash your partner! sex can spread BV and GBS

The Initial Interview – Carol Gautschi

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Midwifery notes

Notes taken from a talk by Carol Gautschi, CPM LM

Before the first interview

Make sure that the woman knows who you are and how you work- you need to be sure that you are a good match. Having a website can help with this, some details on your website could be

  • How I became a midwife
  • Birth classes I teach
  • How and when I conduct interviews
  • Apprenticeships
  • Herbal birth aids
  • Disclosure- what I offer
  • Recommendations- herbal and dietary
Ask women who call you to visit your website and note down any questions that they have to bring to their initial interview
  • It’s good to work on your perceptive skills, look in their eyes, read their body language.
  • We assist women to own their births- Midwifery is deeply spiritual and the ultimate feminine experience, women together are a tribe.
  • Pregnancy is a path of discovery and we are there to assist and support women on their journey.
  •  If you have no confidence in the woman to birth then get over yourself and pass her on to someone else
  • Assist her to be able to refuse your care – give her the option to finish your relationship
  • Take all women to a ‘Designer Birth’ level of her care – MIDWIFERY IS AN ARTFORM!
  • Do your best to not speak in absolutes-‘ Never’ is not as good as ‘seldom’
  • Continuity of care is really important, it allows the midwife to build a unique relationship with the mother that is filled with LOVE and the more love there is the more oxytocin there is so the better the birth experience will be.

Questions to ask during the interview

  • How is your nutrition?
  • Do you have a homebirth consent form and is it signed?
  • Do you know the risks and benefits of homebirth?
  • What is your and your families birth history
  • How do you deal with pain?
  • Why do you want to have a homebirth?
  • Help the woman and the family to become self-empowered
  • Assist the family to create their own birth experience
  • Become invisible but still assist
  • Give recommendations but release them to make their own choices

Carols Birth Infusion

  • take a handful of organic herbs: 2parts raspberry leaves, 2 parts nettle leaves, 1 part alfalfa, 1 part oatstraw
  • get a litre jug and put the herbs into the bottom of the jug
  • pour boiling water over the herbs
  • cover tightly and let stand overnight
  • strain the mixture and press the juice from the herbs
  • drink freely throughout the day
  • repeat at night                       

Carol Gautschi is a midwife who speaks so passionately about her art and craft of midwifery that she makes me cry and goose pimples rise on my skin! If you want to know more about her, check out her website – – big fairy love, Lara xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Birth of a Goddess!

Written by FairyDoula. Posted in Lara's blog

So here we go! I’m Lara, Mother, professional fire performer, Traditional Midwife, Traveller.

14 years ago I was blessed with the experience of giving birth to my first son – the brilliant and amazing Blue! Because I have a distrust of big institutions and I am unable to be disrespectfully told what to do and because the party is my favourite place in the world I decided to give birth in my home a mark 2 transit van on a hill in Totnes Devon, whilst my nearest and dearest friends raved to all my favourite tunes on out wicked rig! My theory being that, the walls were thin and I reckoned that I would make a noise so I wanted some music so I wouldn’t worry the neighbours!

Blue was born to the sounds of Madonna singing ray of light! and he is that!

I read only one book – Juliette de Bairicli Levy s ‘Natures Children’ – a wonderful herbal, diary, instruction manual for healthy women who wish to give birth to healthy natural nature children. It was brilliant, filled with positivity and guidance, it totally made me believe that I was naturally able to give birth and that I was capable of doing so, so I did! We ate the placenta for breakfast and I felt rocket powered! My milk came in and we all travelled off to a big celebration party in Cornwall overlooking the sea! All was well full of joy and positivity. Me and Blues dad, Geoff were totally competent, able and ready to be parents and we had had the birth experience that facilitated us to be so, we were in charge and we gave birth! Life is beautiful, birth is beautiful, is what this experience taught us.

Fast forward 3 and a half years and once again I’m giving birth, this time to Jake in a valley in Spain in my beautiful Renault Saviem 7 and a half ton truck! The party was brilliant, I span my fire and was supported by my ginga ninjas and Jake was born to the strains of lo-fidelity all-stars in Ibiza! ‘There’s no reason for you to cry, we’ll always be around…..’ Total joy!

Sometime after my first birth, I ended up supporting a seventeen-year-old giving birth, I was hitch-hiking and went to visit for a cup of tea! Saphora was born into her parent’s joyous arms and we skipped out of the hospital singing! By the time the second baby had settled into feeding and general life I was beginning to be asked to assist other travelling women as they gave birth. I did and there were many joyous births in trucks, caravans, buses, trees, benders, yurts and tipis. There were other women helping too, inspiring wise and wonderful, Vanessa, Sue, Tallulah, all brilliant! We started a group that met once a week to talk about pregnancy birth and all the questions people had. We called it the’ Pregnant Posse’

One day someone introduced me as ‘Lara the midwife’, granted I had been with this woman as she gave birth and had massaged her and made tea, given comforting hugs and words and had held her hand, but midwife! Suddenly I was filled with an urge to learn more! I was convinced that if I was to be seen as a midwife I would have to learn more to be worthy of the title and responsibility and respect it creates.

Vanessa had a programme for a midwife conference in Paris run by a group called ‘Midwifery Today’ – it was filled with loads of knowledge that we all wanted to know and best of all our total hero and guiding light Ina may Gaskin was going to be a speaker!” Oh, I wish I could go and meet her and learn all she wants to teach me” I said!

Fast forward again past making the money and getting there, fire spinning with a purpose had raised the cash for the flights to Germany this time, hotel and conference. I was in a room filled with midwives! I fastidiously took notes to send back to my friends so they too could learn more. I learnt so much! Not least that the way we had been assisting our fellow wild women was the traditional midwife path and was respected all over the world. Someone called me ‘the next Ina May’ when I told my ‘called to midwifery’ story and I knew that I really really had to meet her! Unfortunately, her husband was sick and even though she was supposed to be speaking she was not there. I felt the urge to write a letter to the organizer Jan Tritten, telling her my story so far, and thanking her for the brilliant experience. I wrote because I didn’t feel confident enough to speak! I was so shy, not really believing that I was on equal terms with such amazing women!

The next day Jan gathered me up in her loving arms and told me that she wanted me to come to all of the conferences. I told her I couldn’t afford another thousand pounds! She said that what she meant was that she wanted to become my midwifery mentor, assisting me to attend a total global midwifery education. She asked me to monitor at the conferences, checking badges and moving chairs, getting water and helping out, in return, I would attend the conference for free and she would make sure that the classes I attended would create a fully rounded and grounded traditional midwifery education.

Fast forward another 5 years, I have attended conferences in France, Germany, Norway and Denmark! Learning so much!

I have brought my profession and passion for fire to the conferences and have span fire shows and made many midwives fire-proof! When I was in Christiania in Copenhagen I span a fire show for many international midwives, including some Saami midwives from Finmark. When I finished the show the oldest of these women came to me and took my hand. ” I want to tell you a story. I want to give you a present” she said. I listened.

“In our religion, for a baby to be born first the father God Paderakkaa must think of the child, then he gives the thought to the mother Goddess Madderakkaa, she gives form and body to the child and carries it to the birthing woman in the birthing yurt. Her first daughter Ukksakkaa takes care of the door, her second daughter Jukksaakkaa looks after the floor, and her third daughter Saarrukaa looks after the fire and the birthing woman. YOU are Saarrukaa! ” she said gazing deeply into my ‘ naughty fire fairy’ eyes with her dark wise ones! I felt a chill fire all over me and did my best to be brave! from naughty fairy to goddess in one move! My self-belief worked hard to keep up!

In 2005 I got to see Ina May Gaskin talk about Sphincter Law and juggle with fake poo! She told us a story about ‘The mole who knew it was none of his business’ Telling us that if the world was more comfortable with its ‘pooping’ then we would all be much more able to be comfortable with giving birth! I agreed and decided to write an inspirational childbirth story for children and pregnant people. I called it ‘ The Princess and the Poo’.

The first time I actually met Ina May the first thing she said to me was ” Lovely to meet you Lara, I really love your book!” Can you imagine? That’s what I was going to say to her!

The past 7 years have been a blur of babies and birth knowledge and now I am about to commence on the manifestation of my wish. On Saturday, Jake and I are travelling to America. First we are going to Philidelphia to the Midwifery Today Conference, to learn more and to show the newly published version of ‘The Princess and the Poo’ then we are going on a road trip with Debra Pascale Bonero the woman who created the movie ‘Orgasmic Birth’ to New York then we are travelling down to Tennessee to ‘The Farm ‘ the commune created by Ina may and Steven Gaskin and their amazing friends. Here I hope to learn more about my calling to spiritual, traditional midwifery and more skills to support all the healthy wild women who know that it is their birthright to give birth supported – competently, humanely, joyously.

I have created this blog so that I will be able to share all that I learn with as many people as possible – and also as a log for myself so later on, I can write a clear, concise book detailing all I have learnt to assist the next generation to be born in gentleness joy and Love. May you enjoy reading it as much as I plan to enjoy learning it! Fairy love and kisses, Laraxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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