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Midwife Wisdom Goes Digital, Holds Potential to Change Hospital Birth Practices

by Cassie Moore, Writer and Editor, American College of Nurse-Midwives

With a 32.9% cesarean rate, an increasing maternal mortality rate, and skyrocketing health care costs, the United States needs midwives now more than ever—but do most people know the benefits that midwives bring to health care? As we gear up for the May 5 Global March for Midwives, we’ll be featuring several posts about individual midwives who are making a big difference in our field.

Let’s start the celebration with Whitney Pinger, CNM, director of Midwifery Services at the George Washington University Hospital. Since 2008, Whitney has been helping change perceptions of midwifery and natural birth in her community with a simple, yet potent PowerPoint presentation originally entitled Pearls of Midwifery.

This innovative teaching tool demonstrates how evidence-based midwifery practices support physiologic birth. For example, one section of the presentation depicts non-pharmacologic methods of pain relief that laboring women can use to diminish suffering, such as hydrotherapy and freedom of movement. The presentation also highlights evidence-based practices, such as delayed cord clamping and skin-to-skin contact.

Pinger first showed the presentation at grand rounds during National Midwifery Week in 2008 and received an incredible response from her audience.

“After the presentation, many physicians and nursing colleagues told me it was one of the best and most useful grand rounds they had ever attended,” says Pinger. “This is a powerful tool, and it is essential that we share it with midwives nationwide.”

Realizing what a difference the presentation could make, she brought it to the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) in hopes of sharing it with midwives throughout the United States. ACNM’s national office staff added new features to the presentation, including fully referenced slides, suggested speaking notes, and a printable checklist of clinical practices applicable to all birth settings for distribution to colleagues.

In 2010, the ACNM DC Chapter earned the inaugural ACNM Media Award for the presentation. Evidence-Based Practice: Pearls of Midwifery is now a FREE resource for ACNM members, and is available for nonmember midwifery advocates for $69.

How You Can Help
ACNM’s vision is that Pearls of Midwifery will change hospital birth practices from the inside out. Now that Pinger and ACNM have created this free resource, we need midwives like you to take it into the real world of clinical practice. Here’s how you can help make our vision a reality:

  • Present Evidence-Based Practice: Pearls of Midwifery at grand rounds, a staff meeting, or even a nursing or medical college classroom.
  • Print the checklist and distribute it those who attend your presentation, or hand out the checklist to clinicians in labor and delivery to pique their interest in the Pearls presentation.
  • Most importantly, give us your feedback. How have you used the presentation? Was it a positive experience? Has it made a difference in your practice or university?


Want to know more about the Pearls? Tune in for a free virtual presentation on May 5 at 2pm EST with ACNM Director of Professional Practice and Health Policy, Tina Johnson, CNM, MS.

Posted By Melissa Garvey | 4/11/2011 1:06:30 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


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