Reducing fear of birth in U.S. culture: Ina May Gaskin at TEDxSacramento

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Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, PhD (Hon), is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee. The 41-year-old midwifery service is noted for its women-centered care. Early in her career, Gaskin learned an effective method for dealing with a feared obstetrical complication (when baby’s shoulders become stuck during birth) from indigenous midwives in Guatemala. Years later, the low-intervention Gaskin Maneuver became the first obstetrical procedure to be named for a midwife in this era. The Farm Midwifery Center is noted for its low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality despite the inclusion of many vaginally delivered breeches, twins and mothers of more than five babies. Author of several books, she promotes joyful birth, maintenance of breech skills and recognition of certain ingenious skills and techniques used by indigenous midwives of Mexico and Brazil. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from Thames Valley University, London, England and Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia. In December of 2011, she received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


Niina S.K says:

I feel calm, just listening to this woman. So grateful that I discovered
her. She is not just reminding us of something very important regarding
giving birth, – she is also reminding us of who we really are, about life,
about being true to ourselves. This is one of the greatest TED talks I’ve
heard in a long time. So genuine – a reflection of how beautiful life can
be – if we allow life to flow freely – instead of focusing our mind on
fear. – Thank you Ina May. 

patchouliii says:

<3 Ina May is my love! She caught my breech baby in ’12!!! Amazing woman!

In Tune Birthing says:

This is kind of a long video (16:26), but it is so informative! Ina May
Gaskin has so much to share from her 40+ years of working as a midwife.
Here’s a sneak preview for you: “It’s easy to scare women, it’s even
profitable to scare women and girls about birth, I mean think about it. But
it’s not nice. So let’s stop it. Really bad manners. Bad, bad manners.”

Jana Rose Arts says:

When I found out I was pregnant at 23 years old (huuge, terrifying
surprise), I realized I was more afraid of giving birth than I was of
death. I felt like I was strapped into the most terrifying roller coaster
ride of life and it had already started whether I liked it or not. There
was no turning back or jumping out of my seat, I had no choice but to ride
it out. As with everything in my life, if something scared me, I opted to
pursue it, to educate myself about it. This is where Ina May came into my
life. I read her books, and the messages she conveyed resonated deep within
the wild and primal elements of my animal soul – effectively eliminating my
fear and replacing it with a primal trust that intrinsically dwells within
all of us. I began meditating and practicing self – awareness, realizing
the debilitating power of fear, but the overwhelming freedom of acceptance
and partnership with the body, effectively transmuting my greatest fear
into the most empowering experience of my life. I went from feeling like a
terrified child wanting desperately to claw free of my own skin to a
powerful young woman partnering with my own sacred being to give birth
naturally to a beautiful, perfect little baby boy. From my heart I thank
you Ina May. <3

Crystal Nibarger says:

Very nice seminar…I’m prego with my first child which I’m due in
March…I’ll have to remember this when I get ready to have my baby. I
favorited this

Allann Campbell says:

@margaretchase Also, did they let you eat, drink? Think of the marathon
analogy.. would they let a person run a marathon with no food or fluids?
Would they monitor their heart rate on the off chance they might have a
heart attack? Also, if you had a midwife from the beginning, they might
have seen your high risk case and been able to advise. Most midwives and
natural birth supporters are very clear that they are referring to LOW
risk, healthy women. Overall it is a plea that the health care system not
treat birth like an illness. There will always be the one in one thousand
chance you could be the negative outcome but think of how much higher that
risk is in a hospital. Read The Business of Baby by Jennifer Margulis it
was eye opening. :) So happy you and baby are safe. 

LipstickJessica says:

I absolutely love Ina May. My first baby is due in September and I’m
planning a home water birth with him. She is one of the reasons that I even
have that option these days. If it hadn’t been for her and her partners I’m
not sure that midwifery would have made its resurgence in this country. It
may not be the most popular way of giving birth but it’s on the rise thanks
to her and all the midwives that have followed in her footsteps over the
last 40ish years. I’m confident that I’m doing what’s best for me and my
son by having a home birth and I’m so thankful to have that opportunity
because of a few women who have managed to take birth out of hospitals and
give it back to women. Fear is such a huge player in how birth goes and I’m
glad Ina May gave this talk so that maybe some more women will find a way
to gain the confidence to trust their bodies a little more. 

Michele Owen says:

Ina May has always been an inspiration to me. I discovered The Farm in 1974
and because of her and Stephen I became a vegetarian. This discussion is
amazing and so thought provoking for any woman beginning this experience. 

Sylvia Boyd says:

I am so happy that Ina May Gaskin was the presenter at TED. Ina
May is presenting information about normal birth. Wow! May many
people listen to her great talk about normal, happy birth. 

dina jeffcoat says:

I love Ina May. She is a true gift unto all women and i wish that every
woman could and would hear her words. She is a blessing and i wish i could
thank her personally for putting birth back into the birthing mothers
hands. Birth is not a medical emergency, birth is a normal process that a
female body can more often than not accomplish with no problem. We are made
to do it! So lets do it. In our own homes, in comfort and safety. With a
provider we know personally, who knows us too. Who cares about us

Amanda Byrd says:

Absolutely beautiful. I wish more people shared and understood this logic.

The Village Maternity Services says:

Isn’t she awesome! Ina May, founder of the modern day midwife movement!
Let’s reduce the fear!

Papa's Mama says:

Awesome, thank you so much for your knowledge and candor! I had my first
child at home, two uneventful hospital births after that, and now with my
fourth I’m going to do it again at home. I’m very excited. Wish you were in
the area, Ina May! It would be an honor and a pleasure to have you attend
my birth…a girl can dream, right? ;)

Randy Blazak says:

Which 10 OB/GYNs downvoted this?

Cat McAteer Photography says:

Ina May is one of my heros. She helped me so much preparing for own birth
experiences. Here she is speaking about reducing fear in birth on TED. 

MrsAustraliana says:

Thank you very much for sharing this! 

Melanie D Patrick says:

Ina May Gaskin on reducing fear of birth

Julie Davidson Smith says:

At 35 I had my first child at home. When I was 5cm I had a concern about
bleeding when my water broke so I called the midwives and it was decided I
should be checked out at the hospital, it turned everything was fine. While
in transition I very slowly made my way back home in our car. In the calm
quiet of my home, surrounded by love I gave birth to Abigail who was 8.3
pounds of joy. It was so natural and empowering. Thank you Ina for all your
wisdom, I read your books to help me prepare for this day – I knew I could
do it, I just had to trust my body. Women are made for this.

Lisa Thompson says:

So glad to see Ina May doing a Ted talk. Ina May changed my life and
started my process of healing my fear of childbirth. Thank you, Ina May!

Margaret Chase says:

I read Grantly’s book.

Special Delivery Midwives, Inc. says:

Fabulous! I love Ina May. Such great wisdom!

KatyAndTheKats says:

She is such a great woman

Oh So Savvy Mom says:

I love the lectures the TED offers. This one on reducing fear of birth in
the U.S. is no exception #babies #midwife

Sassy Green Garden Diva says:

I LOVE INA!!!! I JUST DO!!!!!!!!

Justine Cote says:

Ina May is so good at grounding and inspiring me. No matter what a woman’s
birth vision is, they all will have a better experience with a little less

Kenneth Gill says:

I rarely say this about anyone, but Ina May is my Hero and all those like
her♥. May God bless them all abundantly. 

Margaret Chase says:

Yes, but what about me? I labored for 36 hours. I was exhausted just
getting to 3 centimeters. I requested a C-section because they came to me
and said the baby is not in distress. But I was in distress. No way after
all those hours I could have pushed out that baby. Turned out I had a
benign cyst on the fundus of my uterus which I didn’t even know about. My
daughter and I are alive, but I think we really would have died under any
other medical circumstances. How can explain that? I love that women can
give birth under these normal circumstances. But why did what happened to
me happen? And still to this day, I feel ashamed.

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