Archive for July 22, 2011

Notes from a Reasonable Direct Entry Midwife

Today I had the pleasure of talking shop with my brother’s mother in law, Joni Dawning, a very experienced direct entry midwife in Eugene, OR.  Joni has been attending births for over twenty years, and she has been a great resource to me over the years I have known her.  I hold her in great respect, as she is the kind of midwife that I think is a great resource to her community.  She provides a service to her clients that is greatly desired, but at the same time sees herself as a part of a larger system of birth service provision that includes hospitals and obstetricians.  Unlike some direct entry midwives (or CPMs in some communities), she respects the limits of what she can offer, and does not see a hospital transfer as a failure in any way.

Recently in Oregon there have been some deaths during attempted breech deliveries at home, all attended by various home midwives of varying skill.  Following this there was a discussion in the legislature about whether or not licensed midwives should be completely banned from intentionally attending breech births at home.  Joanie wrote a passionate letter about the topic.  She shared this letter with me, and to my surprise the letter was not in support of breech birth at home, but rather a plea that the legislature ban breech homebirth.  She felt that too may midwives believed that they understood how to deliver breeches, not because they had experience, but because they were just ignorant of the potential risks and the techniques required to succeed.  I some cases they just “believed in birth” and felt that the baby would deliver if one would just stand by and watch. Read more…

Categories: Obstetrics
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