New ACOG Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe Option

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2010

Contact:
Midwives Alliance of North America
Geradine Simkins, President & Interim Executive Director
president@mana.org
info@mana.org
231.228.5857 (O)
231.590.3742 (C)

New ACOG Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe Option

Washington, DC – The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), a professional midwifery organization since 1982, commends the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for their updated practice guidelines on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) released July 21, 2010. ACOG’s recent guidelines are less restrictive than previous ones. The new guidelines state that VBAC is a “safe and appropriate choice” for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including some women who have had two previous low-transverse cesarean incisions, women carrying twins, and women with an unknown type of uterine scar.

There has been a dramatic increase in cesarean delivery in the United States (from 5% in 1970 to nearly 32% in 2009) and a rapid decrease of VBACs (from 28% in 1996 followed by a decline to 8% in 2006). Lack of VBAC availability in U.S. hospitals due to practitioner and institutional restrictions, which diminished women’s choices in childbirth, is often cited as the reason for the conspicuous decrease in VBACs. In light of the VBAC restrictions that have become commonplace in most U.S. hospitals, it is noteworthy that ACOG’s new guidelines emphasize a woman’s right to self-determination. The new ACOG guidelines state that even if a hospital does not offer a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC), a woman cannot be forced to have a cesarean nor can she be denied care if she refuses a repeat cesarean. In addition, previous ACOG guidelines on VBAC stated that anesthesia and surgery must be “immediately available” for an institution to offer VBAC; the new guidelines have relaxed this restriction.

ACOG has seriously considered recommendations from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Meeting on vaginal birth after cesarean held in Washington DC in March 2010. Based on the scientific evidence, the NIH expert panel affirmed that risks in VBACs are low, similar to risks of other laboring women, and repeat cesareans expose mothers and infants to serious problems both in the short and long terms. The NIH expert panel concluded that in the absence of a compelling medical reason, most women should be offered a trial of labor after cesarean. The NIH expert panel further recommended that all women be given unbiased educational information during their pregnancies with which to make decisions regarding VBAC in partnership with their healthcare providers. Women should also be offered full informed consent and refusal during their labors.

“While we are pleased that ACOG has issued less restrictive VBAC guidelines and affirmed a woman’s autonomy in her childbirth experience, it is still up to women to take charge of their lives, educate themselves about childbirth practices, and put pressure on their healthcare practitioners to provide the safest birth options for their babies and themselves,” says Geradine Simkins, President and Interim Executive Director of the Midwives Alliance. The Midwives Alliance takes the position that the best interests of most mothers and infants are served when women are given the opportunity to birth under their own power and in their own way with the intention of avoiding primary cesarean deliveries and other unnecessary interventions. An impressive body of research literature shows that the midwifery model of care results in less intervention in the birth process and safe and satisfying outcomes for mothers and babies. In addition, evidence shows that birth in a woman’s home with a trained midwife, or in a freestanding birth center, results in decreased cesarean sections and other obstetrical interventions. “We want women to have all the choices they need to have healthy pregnancies and give birth safely,” say Simkins, “and we are pleased that ACOG’s new guidelines on VBAC will add another choice to the menu of maternity care options.”

For more information on the Midwives Alliance visit http://mana.org/. For information on practitioner and childbirth options visit Mothers Naturally atwww.mothersnaturally.org.

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Balancing the demands of being a wife/mother with the demands of being a student

A question was recently posted on the e-mail group for Charis Childbirth students about how a woman can most effectively balance the demands of being a wife and mother and the demands of being a student or birth professional.

Here are my thoughts on the topic:

When we read in Proverbs 31 about the virtuous woman, it can make us feel a little inadequate.  (Before you read further, get out your Bible and read Proverbs 31:10-31 even if you have already read it before.)

WOW!  She did it all.  She was an excellent wife and mother, she spun her own thread and made beautiful clothes for her family, she fed her family gourmet foods, she woke up early and stayed up late at night working, she was a successful business woman, she was benevolent, her husband had a good reputation because of her, she had a positive outlook toward the future, she was a skilled housekeeper, she spoke with kindness and wisdom, and the list goes on.

When I first read this passage decades ago, I thought to myself, “Is all that even possible for one woman?”

Here are some things to consider when thinking about the Proverbs 31 Woman.

1.  She had a supportive, godly husband.

2.  She did not do it all in one day.  That is an account of an entire lifetime of accomplishment.

3.  She had maidservants.

Here are some valuable lessons I have learned along the way:

1. I must keep my relationship with God the highest priority in my life. Nothing should ever become more important than intimacy with God.  If it does, it is time to reevaluate and shift things around.  Our lives can be full and still keep God on the throne.  It is just about keeping Jesus at the center of all I do and hungering for Him above all else.

2. I desperately need my husband to love me “like Christ loved the Church and laid His life down for her”! (Read Ephesians 5:25-33)  I believe that is the main reason I have been so successful in all I do (as a wife, mother, teacher, minister, business woman, etc.)  My husband takes his role in our family very seriously and truly does live to see me blessed.  He has been willing to give up everything for me, but has in turn gained so much more than if he had tried to hold on to his own desires.  He is a very fulfilled man!  Without our husbands laying their lives down for us, as women we are crippled in all we do.  So, if I do not allow my husband to love me that way, I steal his blessing, I make life more difficult for myself, and as a family we are not in the center of God’s will.  That is hard for us at times because of some of the popular Christian teaching concerning women that makes it sound like our job is to lay our lives down for our husbands.  That is backwards!  Our job is to respect and honor our husbands and our husbands’ job is to love us and lay his life down for us.  When the proper order of things takes place in the home, the woman shines and the husband is fulfilled.  (Todd wrote some things about how husbands can support their birth professional wives in past Charis newsletters in a column called “The Secret Power”.)  Todd and are a team.  Everything we do, we do as a team.  Midwifery isn’t MY thing, it is OUR thing.

3. I can’t do it all today! There are seasons in our lives where we have the time and energy for certain pursuits and then there are other seasons when we do not.  In our family, we all pitch in so that things run smoothly in our household.  There are no jobs that solely belong to one person.  During soccer season when my oldest son was in high school, he had very little time to help with chores around the house because of the long hours he spent on the soccer field.  Instead of insisting that he “pull his weight” and make him do all the chores he normally did, he and I sat down together and figured out what he could realistically accomplish in a day and the rest of us pitched in to cover the rest.  Some things just did not get done until soccer season was over.  After I gave birth to my babies, however, Eric did way more than his share since I was “out of commission” for weeks.  No one in our family is exempt from serving and doing housework.  If I wasn’t homeschooling, I would have more time during the day to do all of the housekeeping, but I do homeschool and I have neither the time nor the energy to be the only one cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc.  Todd wants me to be successful in teaching my children, so he is willing to pick up the slack.  I think he does more laundry than I do.  He is also realistic about his expectations of what I can accomplish and has made “executive decisions” about things that we will live without for a season because it is more than I can do.  Now that I will most likely be starting school in January, our family has talked about the things that I will not be able to do for the next 3 years and they have all agreed that they will pitch in so that I can be successful in my studies.  You see, I can’t do everything all at the same time.  I am a great housekeeper, but there are seasons when I delegate those tasks.  I love preparing meals for my family, but I don’t do it every day.  Over the next few years, I will shine as a diligent student.  The only thing that must be mine to do every day is spend time loving on my husband and children.  Everything else can be delegated, postponed, or omitted.  The dust bunnies can wait.  At the end of my life, I believe my husband and children will make a list like the one in Proverbs 31 and it will look very impressive; but it will be a collective list, not a list of what I did every day.  If you look at my life one day at a time, it is not very impressive.

4. I need help! I think it is pride that gets in the way of our asking for help.  I learned the hard way that pride comes before a fall.  I fell hard.  Instead of admitting that I can’t do it all myself, I worked myself into a burnout when, in 2006, my adrenal glands said “we quit!”  With that scary event fresh in my memory, it is much easier to accept help from other people and I have even learned how to ASK for help.  My husband would hire a personal assistant for me (a “maidservant”) if he could afford it.  But since he can’t, instead of hiring someone, I have bartered with friends and acquaintances.  My friends and I have swapped childcare so we can have some quiet time to get things accomplished.  It is fine to ask people to help you!

5. I need a Sabbath rest! If I don’t give myself enough rest each day and a day of complete rest each week, I can’t make it.  I accomplish so much more when I take a day off each week to rest than I do if I work every day.  That means taking a day off of household duties as well as paid work and school work and even church work.  If you find that your Sundays are not restful because of church activities, then you will need to find another day of the week to rest.  Todd has become very protective of our Sabbaths and our family is doing better than ever as a result.

6. I must want to succeed! If I am honest with myself about some things, I find that I truly lack the desire to succeed in those areas.  When that is the case, I will surely fail.  A desire to succeed is the first step toward success.  If I want to be able to be a good wife, mother, and student, then I have taken a giant step toward being able to do it.

7. I must believe I will succeed! Desire alone, however, is not enough.  I must also believe I can do it!  If I don’t believe I can do it, then I will find every reason in the world I will not succeed.  As I focus on the obstacles to my success, I will have a difficult time seeing the answers to overcoming those obstacles.  Even when those answers are pointed out to me, I won’t believe the answers are for me.  If I believe I will succeed, however, then I will look past the obstacles and see the way toward success and be willing to do the work necessary to overcome the obstacles.

8. I must be willing to work hard! There is no room in a successful person’s life for laziness.  Also, I can not allow discouragement due to the difficulty of the task to paralyze me.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  It is super fulfilling to accomplish something that is not easy and requires sacrifice.

9. I need to take care of my “temple”. God has given me this body to carry me through this life on earth.  If I take good care of it, then it will take good care of me and I’ll have a much better quality of life as a result.  God gives us so many things and I believe it pleases Him when we take good care of those things.  Our bodies are no exception.  It pleases God when we are good stewards of our bodies and we get to reap huge blessings as a result.  A healthy body makes it easier to fulfill our purpose in life. 

10. I can know and trust that God, who is the one who put all these passions and gifts inside me, intends for me to walk out my calling. One way or another, he will help me accomplish what I was designed to do in a way that glorifies Him.  It brings God glory when my relationship with Him is the highest priority in my life, when my family relationships are healthy, and when I use the gifts He has given me.  He wouldn’t give the gift if He did not intend for it to be used on earth, and he wouldn’t intend for it to be used if my family and my relationship with Him had to suffer as a result.  It is, therefore, possible to be a good wife, good mother, AND a good student!

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Reducing Infant Mortality

Reducing Infant MortalityOn Wednesday evening at at 11:00 PM Reducing Infant Mortality, Improving the Health of Babies went LIVE!!!

The video can be seen and downloaded at the website:
www.reducinginfantmortality.com

This is a free film. Please use it, show it, put it on your website, link to it, and most of all, send the link to policy makers. Send it to your State and National Senators and Representatives. Until the end of August, your representatives and senators are in their home offices. This is the perfect time to make an appointment to see your legislator and talk to them personally. Can you imagine if 10 people from your district insist on having an appointment to talk about maternal/infant health care20in the next 2 weeks? What if we continue on,. making appointments and showing up to talk to their aides after they return to Washington? What if they each have many copies of Reducing Infant Mortlaity on their desks, and showers of emails with letters about the rights and needs of infants and women and links to the film? I can imagine this. Can you? This is one way we can make a material difference.

Send it to your local Health Department. Send it to your local Hospital. Send it to your State  Department of Health! (In Georgia, they requested a copy!) Link to it on Facebook and My Space! Post it on your favorite networking sites. It is open source which means you can use it any way you like as long as you don’t change it or delete the credits. We are counting on you to use this film to help your voice to be heard.

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Charis “Labor Support” Workshop in Largo, FL – September 26, 2009

Charis “Labor Support” Workshop

Saturday, September 26, 2009
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

At the Breath of Life Birth Center
1900East Bay Drive
Largo, FL 33771

0408teachingbirthFor childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, or anyone who would like to improve her ability to support laboring women with excellence.

At our workshops, learning is interactive, hands-on, fun, and interesting.  All Charis workshops are taught from a Christian perspective, giving God the glory for His marvelous creation and how He so wonderfully created women to bear children.

You will spend the day making new friends and becoming more skilled in knowing how and when to use many techniques to bring a woman comfort during each phase of labor, understanding the science behind why the comfort measures work, creating an environment conducive to the natural progression of labor, recognizing when a woman is beginning to panic and helping her regain control, gently encouraging a woman to effectively push out her baby while taking advantage of the natural physiology of second stage, assisting a woman in breastfeeding for the very first time, and so much more.

0808classsmIn addition to the valuable skills acquired at the workshop, you will also take home with you a beautiful “labor support bag” filled with an assortment of tools to help you successfully support, serve, and bring comfort to your future clients as they labor. 

A delicious lunch will be provided for all the workshop attendees to enjoy as you get to know each other better during a midday break.

The cost is $200 for Charis members and $230 for non-members (includes one-year Charis membership).

To register, complete the registration formand mail it, along with payment, to

Charis Childbirth
P.O. Box
6900
North Port, FL 34290

Registration must be received before September 1, 2009.
Register early… Space is limited.

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The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn’t when You Think

The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn’t when You Think

September 24, 2008 by Misha Safranski

We have it ingrained in our heads throughout our entire adult lives-pregnancy is 40 weeks. The “due date” we are given at that first prenatal visit is based upon that 40 weeks, and we look forward to it with great anticipation. When we are still pregnant after that magical date, we call ourselves “overdue” and the days seem to drag on like years. The problem with this belief about the 40 week EDD is that it is not based in fact. It is one of many pregnancy and childbirth myths which has wormed its way into the standard of practice over the years-something that is still believed because “that’s the way it’s always been done”.

The folly of Naegele’s Rule

The 40 week due date is based upon Naegele’s Rule. This theory was originated by Harmanni Boerhaave, a botanist who in 1744 came up with a method of calculating the EDD based upon evidence in the Bible that human gestation lasts approximately 10 lunar months. The formula was publicized around 1812 by German obstetrician Franz Naegele and since has become the accepted norm for calculating the due date. There is one glaring flaw in Naegele’s rule. Strictly speaking, a lunar (or synodic – from new moon to new moon) month is actually 29.53 days, which makes 10 lunar months roughly 295 days, a full 15 days longer than the 280 days gestation we’ve been lead to believe is average. In fact, if left alone, 50-80% of mothers will gestate beyond 40 weeks.

Variants in cycle length

Aside from the gross miscalculation of the lunar due date, there is another common problem associated with formulating a woman’s EDD: most methods of calculating gestational length are based upon a 28 day cycle. Not all women have a 28 day cycle; some are longer, some are shorter, and even those with a 28 day cycle do not always ovulate right on day 14. If a woman has a cycle which is significantly longer than 28 days and the baby is forced out too soon because her due date is calculated according to her LMP (last menstrual period), this can result in a premature baby with potential health problems at birth. 

The inaccuracy of ultrasound

First trimester: 7 days

14 – 20 weeks: 10 days

21 – 30 weeks: 14 days

31 – 42 weeks: 21 days

Calculating an accurate EDD

Recent research offers a more accurate method of approximating gestational length. In 1990 Mittendorf et Al. undertook a study to calculate the average length of uncomplicated human pregnancy. They found that for first time mothers (nulliparas) pregnancy lasted an average of 288 days (41 weeks 1 day). For multiparas, mothers who had previously given birth, the average gestational length was 283 days or 40 weeks 3 days. To easily calculate this EDD formula, a nullipara would take the LMP, subtract 3 months, then add 15 days. Multiparas start with LMP, subtract 3 months and add 10 days. The best way to determine an accurate due date, no matter which method you use, is to chart your cycles so that you know what day you ovulate. There are online programs available for this purpose. Complete classes on tracking your cycle are also available through the Couple to Couple League.

ACOG and postdates

One of the most vital pieces of information to know when you are expecting is that ACOG itself (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) does not recommend interfering with a normal pregnancy before 42 completed weeks. This is why knowing your true conception date and EDD is very important; if you come under pressure from a care provider to deliver at a certain point, you can be armed with ACOG’s official recommendations as well as your own exact due date. This can help you and your baby avoid much unnecessary trauma throughout the labor and delivery. Remember, babies can’t read calendars; they come on their own time and almost always without complication when left alone to be born when they are truly ready.

Sources:

Mittendorf, R. et al., “The length of uncomplicated human gestation,” OB/GYN, Vol. 75, No., 6 June, 1990, pp. 907-932.

ACOG Practice Bulletin #55: Clinical Management of Post-term Pregnancy

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Evidence-Based Maternity Care

Consumer Reports has published an excellent article based on the report “Evidence Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Do” published last fall by Childbirth Connection, the Reforming States Group and Milbank Memorial Fund.  The article summarizes the main points made in the much longer report.

The Consumer Reports article can be read at:

http://www.consumerreports.org/health/medical-conditions-treatments/pregnancy-childbirth/maternity-care/overview/maternity-care.htm


and includes a quiz (http://www.consumerreports.org/health/medical-conditions-treatments/pregnancy-childbirth/maternity-care/maternity-care-quiz/maternity-care-quiz.htm).  The first question is (answer true or false): An obstetrician will deliver better maternity care, overall, than a midwife or family doctor.  Each question includes an explanation of the correct answer.

To learn more about the Millbank Report, see February’s Charis e-newsletter.

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Beneficial Herbs For Pregnancy

Beneficial Herbs For Pregnancy


Nettle (Urtica Dioica)

For those who have wandered into woodlands near water, stinging nettle will be a familiar memory. Nettle is a popular table green still today, eaten much the same way as cooked kale or spinach. Rich in chlorophyll, nettle is a world favorite for all urinary tract problems.

Contains: Chlorine, chlorophyll, formic acid, iodine, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sodium, sulfur, tannin, Vitamins A and C, protein, iron, copper, histamine, glucoquinine, and facilitates absorption of Vitamin D from the sun.

Nettle is a gentle yet powerful tonic to the adrenals, and is known to rebuild the adrenal cortex, improving energy levels. It has been used with great success in the treatment of adrenal exhaustion, one of the primary underlying causes of Chronic Fatigue and a host of other auto-immune disorders. As the adrenals are the fundamental glands of immune health, Nettle is used to improve general immune function, increasing resistance to illness caused by viruses or bacteria. With its strong affinity to the adrenals, Nettle is used extensively to eliminate allergy and hayfever symptoms. It has been used throughout time to restore kidney function, eliminating edema, cystitis, incontinence, and urinary tract infections. Improving liver function, Nettle reduces jaundice. The high Vitamin C content of Nettle ensures that dietary iron is properly absorbed, reducing headaches. By improving nerve signal to the muscle, Nettle helps increase muscle response time, reducing incidence of postpartum hemorrhage. By improving elasticity of the skin, Nettle helps prevent tearing of vaginal tissue. Combined with burdock root, Nettle is extremely helpful in the treatment of eczema. Nettle is an excellent promoter of abundant breastmilk.


Oatstraw (Avena Sativa)

Oatstraw, as any livestock breeder will confirm, builds the strongest possible body, with the greatest resiliency. Used extensively in European cultures throughout time for health and beauty, the United States has let this valuable herb slide into disuse.

Contains: Starch, silicic acid, calcium, Vitamins A, C, B-complex, LE, G, phosphorus, potassium, mucin, and protein.

Oatstraw contains Avenin, an amorphous alkaloid which is highly nutritive to cells, improving normal cellular reproduction. Its calcium is so easily absorbed that oatstraw is considered the premier food/herb for the nervous system. Working directly on the brain and endocrine system, oatstraw reduces nervous disability, anxiety, and epilepsy. Due to its ease of absorption, oatstraw has been used with great success in addiction recovery. As calcium is responsible for the enzymatic process by which nutrients are laid down in the muscle, oatstraw improves muscle tone throughout the body, reducing leg cramps and heart palpations, improving digestion and elimination. Improving muscle tone allows the cardiovascular system to function more vigorously, improving circulation to the uterus and placenta, and therefore, to the baby. Its high levels of minerals make oatstraw invaluable in building excellent bone density and enamel on teeth. Oatmeal’s high levels of silicic acid are responsible for its international fame for helping heal skin disorders such as acne and relief from topical inflammations such as chicken pox and poison ivy. Oatstraw, in cases of allergic reactions, seems not to affect the individual to the same degree as the oat grain and is often used without aggravation by those who cannot eat oats.


Red Raspberry (Rubus strigosus or idaeus)

Likely the most well-known pregnancy herb, red raspberry has been used throughout Europe and the Americas for centuries as the premier herb for the childbearing years. Growing easily in almost every environmental condition, even the youngest country child can identify the wild, briary canes as they overtake everything in their path.

Contains: Fruit sugar, pectin, citric acid, malic acid, Vitamins C and B2, niacin, carotene, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and improves Vitamin D absorption.

Red Raspberry is a specific muscle toner, working on the smooth muscle of the body, including the uterus. As it soothes spastic muscle behavior, it improves contractibility of the uterus during labor. The particular properties of the herb tone and nourish the ovaries and, by relation to the pituitary, reduces nausea, morning sickness, and intestinal spasm caused by excess progesterone. This same relationship has made red raspberry a popular herb for menstrual cramps and hot flashes. Due to its astringent qualities, it is used for mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids, and cold sores. The unique mineral blend in red raspberry promotes healthy nails, bones, teeth, and skin.


Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)

One of the richest mineral foods in the world, alfalfa’s roots grow as deep as 130 feet into the ground, allowing it to reach minerals not available at higher levels. The name “alfalfa” is Arabic and means “father of all foods”.

Contains: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, chlorophyll, biotin, choline, inositol, iron, PABA, sodium, sulfur, tryptophan, Vitamins A, B complex, C, E, G, K, P, and U,

Alfalfa is a restorative tonic which promotes pituitary gland function. It contains 8 enzymes known to promote a chemical reaction that enables food to be assimilated properly, helping to normalize weight, reduce incidence of ulcers, diabetes, and other digestive disorders. It alkalinizes the body, reducing arthritis symptoms, neutralizing uric acid, improving kidney function, and reducing edema. A toning agent to the intestines, it improves peristaltic action of the bowels, improving colon disorders and normalizing bowel movements. It contains anti-fungal properties. Alfalfa’s tryptophan levels help improve sleep patterns. In tablet form, alfalfa has been used successfully to reduce heart disease and improve arrhythmia. Alfalfa has been shown, in laboratory trials, to reduce cholesterol levels by reducing plaque.

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Charis “Teaching Birth” Workshop

THIS IS GOING TO BE A FANTASTIC WORKSHOP!!!
SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Charis “Teaching Birth” Workshop
Saturday, February 21, 2009
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

At the Breath of Life Birth Center
1900 East Bay Avenue
Largo, FL 33771

For childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, or anyone who would like to improve her ability to communicate with and educate expectant families. 

At our workshops, learning is interactive, hands-on, fun, and interesting.  All Charis workshops are taught from a Christian perspective, giving God the glory for His marvelous creation and how He so wonderfully created women to bear children. 

You will spend the day making new friends and becoming more skilled in preparing effective introductions, asking powerful questions, creating a learner-friendly environment, capturing the attention of learners, helping clients embrace their responsibility of making informed decisions, and so much more. 

In addition to the valuable skills acquired at the workshop, you will also take home with you an assortment of visual aids and other valuable teaching tools to enhance your future students’ learning experience. 

A delicious lunch will be provided for all the workshop attendees to enjoy as you get to know each other better during a midday break.

The cost is $200 for Charis members and $230 for non-members (includes one-year Charis membership).

To register, complete the registration form and mail it to:
Charis Childbirth
P.O. Box 6900
North Port, FL 34290

Registration must be received by January 28, 2009.

Register early… space is limited.

I’m Changing The World…

 
The Charis Midwifery Scholarship Fund

Training Midwives to Change the World

 
The impact a birth professional has on a woman’s life can potentially be one of the most profound of her lifetime.
This is true in the richest, most industrialized nations in the world, as well as in the poorest of third world countries. Glenn Martin, a missionary friend in the Dominican Republic, once shared with me that if a person does not begin a relationship with Jesus before the teen years, the next time he or she is statistically most open to the Gospel is during childbearing. Childbearing is such a critical time in people’s lives—and what an incredible opportunity birth professionals have!

God is strategically positioning Christian women as midwives in communities all around the world because of the incredible influence a midwife can have on each family she serves. Midwifery provides a unique open door into the lives and homes of people that is not opened to just anyone. What a beautiful, powerful way for God to show His love to the world!

Charis Childbirth is committed to the Great Commission, to doing our part to help as many missionaries, humanitarian workers, and foreign nationals as possible to become trained, skilled midwives through our uniquely-designed distance midwifery school so that they will be well-equipped to serve the world’s families during pregnancy and birth. As Charis midwives serve their communities with excellence, birth outcomes greatly improve and people’s lives are blessed!

A scholarship fund is being created so that every missionary or foreign national who wants to serve her community as a midwife will be able to get an excellent education regardless of her ability to pay tuition. Many missionaries simply do not have the support to cover midwifery school, and women in impoverished countries who want to make a difference in their communities will never have this opportunity without financial help! Our goal for 2009 is to raise enough funds to offer scholarships to 10 midwifery students.

Tuition for one midwifery student for one year is $3,500.

$875 will cover one quarter,

$292 will cover one month,

$68 will cover one week,

and $10 will cover one day.

As you plan for your charitable giving for 2009, would you consider sponsoring a Charis Midwifery Student? You will be helping to positively impact individual families’ lives—both physically and spiritually—and changing the world as a result! (No amount is too great or too small and all gifts are tax-deductible.)

Feel free to share this giving opportunity with your churches, social groups, coworkers, and friends. Perhaps your office, club, church congregation, or home group would like to collectively sponsor a midwifery student! Spread the word far and wide… who knows who might catch the vision and want to help these aspiring midwives get their education!

Mail your check made out to “Charis Childbirth” to
Charis Childbirth
Midwifery Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 6900
North Port, FL 34290

Thank you so much for linking arms with Charis Childbirth as we make a difference in the world, one birth at a time!

Blessings to you and your family during this Christmas season!

~Kristin Schuchmann
Executive Director, Charis Childbirth
To learn more, go to http://www.charischildbirth.org/

(Those who know me know that I’m always up for adventure… and the greatest adventures are the ones that friends do together and that make the biggest possible impact on the world. Thank you, friends, for joining me in this one!)