Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Blog Carnival: In Celebration of Midwives Day, Doula Month and Childbirth Education Week

May is a huge month for birth professionals ~ midwives, childbirth educators and doulas are celebrated together with Mothers everywhere!

To help in this celebration, Childbirth Today is holding a Blog Carnival!  What exactly is a Blog Carnival?  A Blog Carnival is an opportunity for writers to write about their favorite topics, on a site hosted by an established blogger.  Whether you are already a blogger, would like to blog and never have, you are welcome to send your 200-500 word blog post with any copyright free photos and please included references you quote such as journals or books. Please submit in MS Word format - if any editing is done (like punctuation), your post will be sent back for your approval. Photos must be in Jpg format and with proof of them being copyright free OR that you give Childbirth Today/Perinatal Education Associates permission to reprint on the blog.Topics are anything birth and breastfeeding, written without bias. Evidence-based please. Interviews are great! Send links to your business website(s), Facebook page, your existing or new blog etc. This is all about celebrating the work you do as a birth professional (not limited to midwives/doulas and childbirth educators) and promoting YOU!

But why celebrate midwives, doulas and childbirth educators in May?  Perhaps it is because of Mother's Day or perhaps it is because of the bond these three professions have with mothers?

Formal celebration of Midwives Day began in 1992, but had been celebrated here and there throughout the 1980's.  According to the International Confederation of Midwives, "The International Day of the Midwife is an occasion for every individual midwife to think about the many others in the profession, to make new contacts within and outside midwifery, and to widen the knowledge of what midwives do for the world. In the years leading up to 2015, ICM will use the overarching theme “The World Needs Midwives Today More Than Ever” as part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the need for midwives. This reflects the WHO call for midwives and the need to accelerate progress towards MDGs 4 and 5."  In many other countries, midwives are responsible for the low-no risk expectant mothers, leaving obstetricians to do the work of caring for medium to high risk mothers.  Midwives care for a wide range of mothers, from teens to  indigent populations to the financially comfortable.  Since time began, midwives have been serving women - it is regretful that they just enjoy one day of honor!

Doula Month, began by DONA International, has a reputation of celebrating all labor support assistants, doulas, and mothers' helpers.  The word 'doula' means servant, and therefore doulas have been serving women since the ancient Greek times - nearly 3000.  Since we think 'doula' is a new word, our concept of doulas is often incomplete or inaccurate.  Some believe doulas to only serve when the mother is having an all natural childbirth.  While this is partially true, doulas have also been proven (see medical literature: Cochrane Database (21 trials, 15 countries) to make significant differences in births where medication and cesareans are used.  Postpartum doulas support new families and can help to stabilize the new family and possibly reduce postpartum emotional problems.  As in any profession on earth, there are doulas who take their sometimes radical agendas with them and promote those agendas as true doula care.  It is vital that both expectant mothers and professionals understand the true scope of practice of doulas.

Childbirth education is probably as old as both doulas and midwifery, although it didn't come into terminology until the mid 1950s.  Since then, a myriad of organizations have sprung up to train and certify childbirth educators, however the oldest and most well-known are Lamaze International, the International Childbirth Education Association, and the Bradley Method.  As often the first educators that expectant mothers encounter, childbirth educators are ready to teach a wide range of learners, in a variety of settings - from traditional classroom situations to the casual/inpromptu elevator talk!  Regardless of the certification or organizational relationship, childbirth educators all agree that their overall goal is to teach women (and their families) about their bodies and how wonderfully those bodies work in conceiving, growing and birthing a baby!  To this end, mothers will find the fear of pregnancy/labor/birth reduced, and share in the joy that birth can bring!

If you provide care for expectant mothers, you are invited to the 
2012 Childbirth Today Blog Carnival.  
Join us on Facebook or email me at  
We are accepting blogs for publication beginning May 1.  

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