news, events & useful links



Midwife, educator offers global view of birth

By Seth Jovaag Unified Newspaper Group

 “Childbirth is raw, messy, sometimes sensual, sometimes hard,” writes Mary Sommers in her 2011 book, More than a Midwife. “It is not, by any means, a passive medical procedure.”

Sommers should know. A certified professional midwife, the former Oregon resident has attended or assisted at more than 1,000 births in the United States, Mexico, Africa and Europe over 25 years. She also is the mother of five kids, all born at home. Read more…


US Midwifery Organizations Make the Case for Normal Physiologic Birth In a country where medical interventions in childbirth have become the norm, what is a normal birth and why is it important?


Washington, DC - Today, the United States' three midwifery organizations -- American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), and National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) -- have released a historic consensus statement. Supporting Healthy and Normal Physiologic Childbirth: A Consensus Statement by ACNM, MANA, and NACPM gives maternity care providers, policymakers, and women a succinct summary of the evidence for the benefits of normal physiologic childbirth.


"There is scientific evidence that suggests that the spontaneous onset of labor results from an alignment of the physiology of the mother and fetus and has beneficial health effects for both. It is important that these processes be supported by maternity providers whenever possible," said ACNM President Holly Powell Kennedy, CNM, PhD, FACNM, FAAN. Read more


In addition to clearly defining normal physiologic childbirth, the statement outlines the benefits of normal physiologic birth, including improved breathing and temperature regulation of the newborn, successful breastfeeding, and mother-infant bonding. The statement describes the factors that support or disrupt the normal physiologic capacity of the mother and baby during birth, including the mother's health status, the education and care style of the clinician, and the birth environment.


"Research on early childhood development, from conception through the first moments, days, and years after birth, confirms how critical it is to foster a supportive environment for women and newborns through birth and the postpartum period," said MANA Executive Director Geradine Simkins, CNM, MSN. "The foundation of social and emotional competence is shaped by the interactions newborns have with their mothers, and evidence suggests that normal physiological birth plays a role in healthy mother-infant attachment."


The statement concludes with system-wide recommendations for policy, education, and research that promote normal physiologic childbirth. The organizations call for supportive hospital policies, more midwives, interdisciplinary education of maternity care providers, and widespread commitment to evidence-based clinical practice.


"For the well-being of childbearing women and society at-large, we must shift from the current over-reliance on the medical management of birth, back to an understanding and respect for the normal physiology of birth", said NACPM Executive Director Mary Lawlor, CPM, MA. "This statement supports a new cultural dialogue for all involved, from clinicians to women themselves, and provides the evidence needed to foster a renewed emphasis on the innate wisdom of the physiology of women and babies."


Supporting Healthy and Normal Physiologic Childbirth: A Consensus Statement by ACNM, MANA, and NACPM is available for public download at


From MANA website Email:


The Importance of Global Midwifery for CPMs

We all know that midwifery is one of the world’s oldest professions, dating back to the beginning of humanity.  But did you know...

• There have been midwifery schools in the Netherlands since the 1600s?

• The first midwifery school in Sweden opened in 1711?

• In France, midwives were part of the educated elite since the 1700’s, and were rewarded with houses and land?

• The first midwifery schools in Chile and Argentina were established in the 1800s?

• In 1902, the Midwives Act was passed in British Parliament, acknowledging midwives as autonomous practitioners?


The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) was formed in 1919, when more than 1,000 midwives from across Europe met in Belgium to discuss issues of standards and practice and to support the world-wide development of midwifery.  Yet, according to the State of the World’s Midwifery Report:  “Delivering Health, Saving Lives”, released at the ICM conference in Durban, South Africa in June 2011, the world needs 350,000 more midwives to fully meet the needs of women around the world.


from The CPM Symposium Newsletter


Home Birth is on the Rise!

According to a Data Brief issued by the National Center for Health Statistics on January 26, 2012:

• After a decline from 1990–2004, the percentage of U.S. births that occurred at home increased by 29%, from 0.56% of births in 2004 to 0.72% in 2009.

• For non-Hispanic white women home births increased by 36%, from 0.80% in 2004 to 1.09% in 2009. About 1 in every 90 births for non-Hispanic women is now a home birth. Home births are less common among women of other racial or ethnic groups.

• Home births are more common among women aged 35 and over, and among women with several previous children.

• Home births have a lower risk profile than hospital births, with fewer births to teenagers or unmarried women, and with fewer preterm, low birth weight and multiple births.


Read more:


Compelling Evidence that Midwives Save Lives

 The State of the World's Midwifery Report, launched at the ICM Triennial Congress in Durban in June 2011, provides compelling statistical evidence for the vital role midwives play in saving lives of mothers and babies.

Behind the report stand some of the key international partners in maternal and reproductive health. Based on data gathered via UN and partner representatives (UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF, etc) from 58 countries all over the world, it highlights the importance of ICM's mission to strengthen midwifery around the world. And it demonstrates how increasing the number of trained midwives will substantially reduce mother and baby deaths globally.


It is essential reading for anyone concerned about the health of women and children. Read all about it here.


From International Confederation of Midwives Web site







Useful Links


Primary Links

Canadian Association of Midwives/Association Canadienne des Sages-Femmes


Coalition for Illinois Midwifery


HenschelHAUS Publishing, Inc. (publisher of More than a Midwife)


International Confederation of Midwives (ICM)


Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC)


Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA)


National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM)


North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)


Wisconsin Guild of Midwives





Other Useful Links


Jan Wolfenberg, CPM, LM


Birthways Chicago, IL

Postpartum, labor support, breastfeeding help, childbirth education and other services helping Chicago area families feel confident and supported during pregnancy, birth and early parenting.


Childbirth the Way Nature Intended, Inc.

Debbie Boucher, APN, CNM


Community Midwives LLC

Ingrid Andersson, RN, LM, CNM


Compassionate Response USA (A foundation affiliated with Mary Sommers’ family that facilitates healthcare assistance for Haiti and Malawi.)


Delivering Malawi, a film by Salome Chasnoff

This web site features the trailer of this film, which celebrates the work being done at Embangweni Hospital in Malawi in Africa where Mary Sommers’ sister, Dr. Martha Sommers practices.


Gentle Birth

Hillary Kieser, CNM


La Farge Clinic


Legacy Birth Services

Dionne Corcoran, CPM, LM


Madison Birth Center


New Life Midwifery

Sarah Simmons, CNM, RN

773.588.MAMA (6262)


Open Arms Midwifery

Debbie Healy, LM, CNM




useful links