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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tribal Midwives and Jungle Waterbirths

Question: What do you get when you stick 13 laboring women, 6 tribal birth attendants receiving medical training, some hospital staff and a couple of American doulas all in the L&D room all day?

Answer: A very fun Saturday.

I learned a lot, for example....

1.  Don't try and play around with recently donated hospital beds that no one knows how to use.  (It ended up stuck in the  head down position.) Oops.

2. Leave your pants on if you think your baby might just fall out while you stand around visiting.  That way the baby is stuck in your pants instead of falling on the floor.  (This had happened to a lady the night before)

3.  One of the tribal birth attendants had a water birth.  She just got in a dammed up part of the river and sat there since the pain was better that way.  Eventually she delivered her own baby in the water.

4.  The TBAs were from many different tribes and it was so fun to hear about each of their birthing traditions.  A couple of them tied ropes around trees and let the woman hold on in a dangle/squat position while pushing.  Others mostly just squatted. 

5.  They have a lot of beliefs about unity and the baby not wanting to come until everyone is at peace. So when a woman is having a prolonged labor or birth, they bring in the father or other family to talk to the baby and tell it that it can come.

6.  The Tribal Birth Attendants had a very good understanding of birth on an emotional level...and were full of a lot of wisdom that way.

7.  Once again, I saw the squat position save the day when a woman was pushing for a long long time with out much progress.

8.  These tribal midwives open up their homes to laboring woman and help so many.  They are exposed to many diseases and are never paid.  They do it because they feel it is right to help their sisters.  It was a challenge to me to hear them talk about it.

It was a calm and beautiful day there with many babies being born gently and being cared for well.  It was different to have so many people there caring for the moms. 

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