Sunday, April 21, 2013
So, I've not hidden the fact that my daughter was born on The Farm. (Wondering why I chose that? See the info below) Anyhow, I have some interesting info for you... there's now a movie about the Farm Midwives! Want to know more? Here ya go!
Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives tells the story of counterculture heroine Ina May Gaskin and her spirited friends, who began delivering each other’s babies in 1970, on a caravan of hippie school buses, headed to a patch of rural Tennessee land. With Ina May as their leader, the women taught themselves midwifery from the ground up, and became an integral part of a new, entirely communal, agricultural society called The Farm. The people of the Farm grew their own food, built their own houses, published their own books, and, as word of their social experiment spread, created a model of care for women and babies that changed a generation’s approach to childbirth.
Forty years ago Ina May led the charge away from isolated hospital birthing rooms, where husbands were not allowed and mandatory forceps deliveries were the norm. Today, as nearly one third of all US babies are born via C-section, she fights to preserve her community's hard-won knowledge. With incredible access to the midwives’ archival video collection, the film not only captures the unique sisterhood at The Farm Clinic--from its heyday into the present--but shows childbirth the way most people have never seen it--unadorned, unabashed, and awe-inspiring.
I watched it. I cried. Like a baby. But quieter. It made me some crazy kind of homesick, along with happy and sad and elated... it's one of those rare documentaries that doesn't make you paranoid - it makes you FEEL.
It will be out on April 30 on DVD and available for download (there's even an educational version! Thinking this might be good for doula clients and childbirth classes later...) Seriously. Check it out. Go see. There could be a screening yet in your area, too. Go look. And get all inspired and stuff.
The Farm Midwifery Center has served mothers, babies, and their families for over 35 years with a practice based on the belief that pregnancy and childbirth are natural life events. Prenatal care, support during labor and delivery, and postpartum supervision are provided by a group of seven midwives credentialed as Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) by the North American Registry of Midwives, and also certified by the state of Tennessee. Central to their work is the Midwives Model of Care© in which the midwife:
• Monitors the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the
• Provides the mother with individual education, counseling, prenatal care, hands-on assistance
during labor and delivery, and postpartum care.
• Minimizes technical interventions.
• Identifies and refers women who require obstetrical attention.
The statistics for over 2500 births at the Farm Midwifery Center show a C-section rate of less than 2%
(compared to a national rate of 32.8%), with low rates of anesthesia use, forceps deliveries, episiotomies,
and perineal tears (see preliminary report of 2844 pregnancies, 1970-2010 below).
Total accepted for care: 2,844
Births completed at home 2,694 94.70%
Transports to hospital 148 5.20%
Cesareans 50 1.70%
First time mothers 1,048 36.80%
Multiparas (woman has given birth 2 or more times) 1,796 63.20%
Grand multiparas (woman has given birth 5 or more
times) 243 8.50%
Total Breech 99 3.50%
Postpartum hemorrhage 46 1.70%
VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) 123 4.30%
Intact Perineum 1817 68.70%
1st degree tear 485 19.40%
2nd degree tear 87 3.20%
4th degree tear 1 0.04%
Forceps delivery 10 0.37%
Preeclampsia 11 0.40%
Maternal mortality 0
Maternal morbidity 0
Neonatal mortality (out of 1000 births) 1.7
Source: Birth Matters, by Ina May Gaskin, Published 2011, Seven Stories Press Press, pp235-236