Time Well Spent with Ina May Gaskin

This March at the ICPA Freedom for Family Wellness Summit in Washington, D.C., I had the privilege to meet and hear the Mother of Direct Entry Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin. Her practical manner and advice, and recommendations to follow our intuition and nature, meant she is first to my mind on the subject of Mother Nature. Ina May quoted Martha Mears, “Follow nature...we can grow wise only by her wisdom.”

Tips and idioms from Ina May that can be applied to Pregnancy and Birth. And life in general.

  • Promote good posture and strong bones-specifically to help in pregnancy and birth, but we all need this!
  • Learn from nature-how do animals birth? Don't interfere unless necessary!
  • Walk the cows in (which helps the release of milk).
  • Our private parts are “shy”-that's why they're called private parts ;)
  • Do what is asked of you (that's basically how her grandmother became a midwife).
  • Walking & hard labor is better for you than the “idle life”
  • Question advice that doesn't make sense to you-Ina May's first pregnancy and birth included a restricted diet, diuretics, and forceps before the urge to push.
  • Surround yourself with positive stories-such as the 20 minute labor for a first baby.
  • Be in awe of the power and influence of the birthing mom!

Ina May is both highly educated, holding a Masters degree in English, and is (or was?) a true hippy-with her husband they lead a caravan of buses across many states in the US before settling at The Farm in Tennessee. She had luck and opportunity on her side-trained by an MD in emergency birth, settling in a state where delivering babies meant “NOT the practice of medicine” (and therefore not illegal). From her first 400 births, only 3 were C-sections, and after almost 3000 births, The Farm had a 1.7% C-section rate! Amazing when you consider that approx. 30% of babies are born via C-section rate today, leading to even more complications.

Ina May is an amazing woman and has transformed prenatal and maternal care. She is wise, she is a reflection of what mother nature has to share with us, and I am grateful I was able to share a small amount of time with her.


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