Midwife of the Week: Ina May Gaskin

ina may gaskinA name ubiquitous both inside and outside the birthing world, Ina May Gaskin has been referred to as “the mother of authentic midwifery.” In 1971, Ina May and her husband opened The Farm in Tennessee, which houses one of the first and largest birthing centers in the United States. The Farm is known for its incredibly high number of natural births including twin and breech, and its low hospital transfer rate. Gaskin introduced to the U.S. a traditional Guatemalan technique to resolve shoulder dystocia, the entrapment of a baby’s shoulder behind the mother’s pubic bone. The technique of having the mother position herself on hands and knees to open the pelvic outlet has since been dubbed the “Gaskin Maneuver” and is now a standard strategy for midwives and many obstetricians. The Farm’s popularity has only increased over the past decades; it offers trainings and CEUs including midwife and doula, water shiatsu, and an herb workshop. Ina May has written several books, among them the seminal works Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, which have helped begin to demystify and normalize natural/home birth. If you haven’t seen her TED Talk, watch it here: http://inamay.com/.

Midwife of the Week posts, written by Sirene-Rose Lipschutz, originate on FoMM’s Facebook page and are archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!