November 12, 2010

Birth Is Instinctive

Birth Is Instinctive. Women's bodies are designed to give birth. The knowledge about how to give birth already exists inside every women.

When you here those words what does it mean to YOU?

We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the statement listed above. Please use our comments section to participate in an open friendly discussion!

September 17, 2010

Reclaiming Our Birthrights

By Melissa Feldman

By reclaiming our connection to nature, women get in touch with their nurturing skills, which help to preserve our own species. According to an article "Wild at Heart" that appeared in O The Oprah Magazine in July 2002: "Women know in our bodies, our souls and our histories what it means to be domesticated, managed and tamed. Yet medical research has revealed that our bodies work on an innate circadian clock that changes with the ebb and flow of sunlight and seasons."
I gave birth to my four children during the natural childbirth movement in the late '70s and '80s. While pregnant with my last two children, I became interested in the alternative childbirth scene. I intuitively connected with the idea of the Leboyer method, in which lights were turned off and babies were welcomed to this world in a warm, comforting environment.
I also read about how women could have control in how they gave birth, in the positions they assumed and by working with professionals who were open to how they wanted to give birth. So I decided to take a training to become a doula. I attended several births and thought about becoming a childbirth educator as well.
I had heard about BirthWorks International from the women who gave the doula workshop I participated in. Reading about the BWI philosophy, which "Provides high quality training that instills confidence that the knowledge about how to give birth already exists within every woman", struck a chord with me.
I also realized that natural childbirth methods that were available when I was given birth had been created by men. It was gratifying to learn that in the early 1990's, a new generation of women reclaimed their innate ability to give birth in a way that suited them and wanted to educate other women, as well. I wanted to be part of this movement. Self-expression was a strong impetus for me.
Helping women to find their own voice during the process of giving birth can help them become more empowered in all areas of their lives. Women helping women is an idea whose time has come.

September 10, 2010

Chewy Oatmeal Bars

Combine, mixing well:

2 Ripe bananas
1/2 cup agave nectar
8 oz. plain organic yogurt
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons of sunflower oil
2 Tablespoons of unsweetened soy milk

In another bowl, mix:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dried coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine dry and wet ingredients and then stir in 3 cups of rolled oats, 1 cup of dried fruit (such as raisins, cranberries or goji berries)
3. Spread into 9x13in ungreased pan and bake 28 to 32 minutes
4. Let cool on rack. Cut into squares.

recipe provided by Tracy Gary. Tracy is the founder of Intuition Nutrition.

September 3, 2010

Not So Safe

By Mali Schwartz, BirthWorks International Board of Director-Secretary

I was 23 when I had my first child, my first and only son. He was born in the summer of 1975, at the very height of the natural childbirth movement. I remember being diligent about going to my Lamaze classes, accompanied by my husband. I really enjoyed the nurse who gave the training; she was very personable, and I felt that she really cared about each individual class member.
This training helped me in certain ways. I went into early labor in the late evening, around 9:00p.m. My water breaking alerted me to the fact that something would happen momentarily. Remembering that I had to count the amount of time that passed in between each and every contraction, I walked the hallway near our bedroom, pacing back and fourth and feeling increasingly sensitive to the pain.
Finally I roused my husband from his deep sleep and we rushed to the hospital, getting there at midnight-a bewitching hour. As my contractions grew closer together, I practiced my breathing exercises, my husband coaching me at all times. I was interrupted by a medical intern who insisted that he had to do an internal in the middle of a contraction. That's when I lost it big time.
The minute he started poking around, I couldn't handle the intensity of the sensation, and I instinctively reached my arm out and gave him a strong punch in his stomach. He was quite taken aback, but at that point in time, I truly didn't care about social conformity's. My husband apologized for me, and the intern made a quick exit.
I felt violated by this procedure and had a very strong negative reaction. I didn't feel like abiding by the rules, and reacted from a different part of my psyche-a part I wasn't even aware that I had. This was standard procedure of this hospital and could potentially create sensations in the mother of feeling exposed, when most mammals, including human beings, yearn for privacy and seclusion.
I guess the internal examination was the last straw for me. Being hooked up to a monitor, unable to move around, staring at the glaring white walls that reflected the harsh florescent lighting and finally my feelings of vulnerability were stretched to the limit. Looking back on this experience and knowing what I know now about birthing, it was not the ideal enviroment to encourage feelings of being safe and protected.
Although I have never attended a home birth, the idea of a women laboring in an enviroment that she is so familiar in, surrounded by the people she loves, having the lights turned down low, is the type of scene that lets the woman open to the sensations of birthing her baby. She is able to access the part of the brain that is responsible for our emotions, sensations and feelings, called the limbic system. According to Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova, a mid-wife and pioneer of Conscious Birth in Russia, "limbic imprinting happens in the part of the brain which is not directly connected with the cortex. ...That memory lives in the body throughout the rest of our life whether we know it or not."
While the woman is giving birth, the limbic part of the brain is reactivated and is extremely sensitive to stimuli from outside sources. And the baby also is imprinted, based on the type of birth he or she experiences. While most of us would not contemplate the idea of giving birth outside in nature, Elena created a film "Birth As We Know It" featuring 11 natural births-several including women who birthed their babies in warm shallow lagoons, part of the black sea.
According to Dr. Michel Odent, Elena's film prompts us to re-examine basic features of human nature. "Her film explains why millions of women all over the world dream of giving birth in the sea among dolphins." Elena's role as a midwife is to help women eliminate their own birth trauma. She feels that a woman may give birth the way she, herself, was born.
According to a 1995 study by Dr. William Emerson, a pioneer of prenatal psychology, 95 percent of all births in the United States are considered traumatic, 50 percent rated as "severely" traumatic. In expressing her personally deep and beautiful healing experience in helping women and their babies experience being birthed in Love, Elena states, "Healing of one's birth trauma allows one to enjoy the delicious, juicy experience of comfortably owning a body, being fully engaged in life and loving it."
She goes on to then say "by reprogramming our limbic imprint and transmuting our suffering and helplessness during birth into the love and joy of being born on this planet, we can regain our authentic power, clear the pain of our ancestors from our system and set the stage for our children to step into their lives as peaceful, empowered guardians of Earth."

August 27, 2010

Choices In Childbirth, by Cathy Daub

At every turn of life, there is a choice to make. When I was pregnant with my daughter, who was a single footling breech, I had to decide whether to go into labor or opt for a Cesarean two weeks before my due date like the doctors advised. I took the time to think about it and decided that there was a chance she could turn in labor. She didn't turn but to this day, I am grateful that I felt the contractions of labor. I will never wonder, "If only I had labored, maybe she would have turned."
I had another choice as to whether or not to go back to work when she was young. I thought about it. I decided that I would never have this opportunity again and wanted to enjoy every minute of it fully, so I stayed home. To this day, I am glad that I did.
Each time I had to make a decision, I took time to think about it. Awareness and expression of thoughts is very important. In BirthWorks classes, birthing parents are given ample opportunity to express their thoughts, fears, and joys. Speaking fears is a way of releasing them. They hear stories from other women who have given birth. They begin to develop a base of current and evidence-based knowledge. This will serve them well when having to make decisions in labor.
In childbirth, women are faced with many decisions such as choosing their birth place, the birth team, positions in labor, and whether or not to accept various medical procedures and/or obstetrical drugs. These decisions will be based on knowledge, love, self-confidence and too often fear.
A fear based thought might sound like, "If the contractions become too painful and I can't take it, I'll request an epidural." A thought based on knowledge and love/self confidence might sound like "If the contractions become too painful, I'll go into the birthing pool and find positions to work with the contractions, and I'll make sounds. Thousands of other women have done this and I can do it too!"
I believe that choices women make in childbirth that are based on fear and/or lack of knowledge, are ones they later live to regret. Choices they make that are based on love and self confidence are usually ones they feel good about in the months and years after birth. Regardless of the choices that women make, I believe one thing- that every choice a woman makes is right for her at that point in time because she is her own best friend. If indeed we are doing our very best at any given point in time, what more can we ask of ourselves than that? It is not anyone's place to judge another person's choice. As childbirth educators, all we can do is offer information in terms of options, and alternatives to expand the available choices open to birthing parents. And we can do one more thing; we can offer them our love.

This is a letter written by our BirthWorks president Cathy Daub for the Summer 2006 Edition of our newsletter.

Please feel free to use our comment section below to post your thoughts and experiences of choices in your own childbirth.

August 20, 2010

We Have A Winner!!!!!

The winner of the BirthWorks T-shirt is (drum roll please):


Congratulations Celeste, you have won a BirthWorks T-shirt. Contact me at to claim your prize!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway. We will be having more giveaways in the future, so be sure to keep following us!

August 18, 2010

Breastfeeding; Not So Pure And Simple

This is a wonderful article written by one our our BirthWorks Educators and Trainers, Joan-e Rapine. This article was also published in our newsletter, vol. 7 issue 3.

Breasfeeding – Not So Pure & Simple
Excerpts from a paper on Beyond the Breast-Bottle Controversy by Penny Van Esterik (Rutgers, 1989)
By Joan-e Rapine, CCE

The breast-bottle controversy goes far beyond boycotting a product or its manufacturer.
In her book Beyond the Breast-Bottle Controversy, Penny Van Esterik examines the
controversy from every possible angle and brings up many points to consider, such as the
environment in which many women live, medicalization of infant feeding, turning infant
feeding into a status symbol, and breastfeeding as a feminist issue. As to existing studies,
Van Esterik says: "What is significant is what does not get researched, what questions are
not asked" (16).
It is easy to question people's choices when they have everything available to them and
all resources at their disposal. However, when people live in poverty with limited
resources, if any at all, questioning their decisions would be unfair and inappropriate.
Many people, especially in developing countries, have no choices available to them.
There are women who breastfeed because that's the only choice they have, while others
'choose' not to because of physical and emotional constraints. I have seen families living
in the streets of Lima, Peru – a mother sitting on a dirty old tarp, selling lemons, while
her children take turns at her breast. Children as old as nine or ten were nursing,
probably the only 'meal' available to them that day. That mother may have had no choice
but to breastfeed when her babies were born; she most likely could not afford not to. On
the other hand, there are women who have to earn a living and cannot afford to stay with
their babies and breastfeed (I am referring to women, in developing and developed
countries, who will die of starvation if they do not earn a living). There are also women
who are so malnourished, due to poverty, that they are unable to produce milk. All of
these situations are not a matter of choice, but harsh realities of many women around the
world. Some women live in such inhumane conditions, that they lack the spirit it takes to
protect their infants and do what is best for them. As Van Esterik wrote: "The cold,
damp mountain air blows through the flimsy walls of the shack, chilling Rosa's body and
soul and reducing her will to struggle for her infant sons " (36).
Although technically countries are separately governed, they are part of the "world
system" (55-63), which Van Esterik describes as a "unified hierarchical system" (55). As
long as economy and politics continue to influence all parts of the world, breastfeeding
mothers will face many challenges in their decision-making. "Certainly, …women have
some choices as to how they participate in the world system, but they cannot choose not
to participate in it" (62).
One of the world system's effects is that women living in poverty are not only influenced
by their poor living conditions, but by the aid they receive. When I lived in Guatemala I
helped distribute the monthly shipment of food aid, which provided the local 'poor'
villagers with powdered milk and refined flour, sugar and rice. Not only are these foods
traditionally not used in Guatemala, they provide no nutritional value and may contribute
to weakened immunity and disease. Nursing mothers were the main target of this aid and
many accepted the food articles, believing them to be healthier than their own traditional
rice (unrefined) and beans. Ultimately, it was the nursing infants who suffered from their
mothers' poor nutrition. Other women accepted the food, but did not use it themselves.
Instead, they sold it and used the money to purchase corn, beans, molasses, and
vegetables. It seemed that the more remote the village and the simpler the people lived,
the healthier the choices they made.
Another way the world system affects infant feeding in developing countries is by
allowing companies to advertise formula as the better choice. Most new mothers want
the best for their babies and are easily influenced by advertisements for 'better' ways to
care for their babies. Mothers are convinced that formula is superior to breastmilk and,
despite their poverty, they purchase the pricey infant food. Many mothers cannot afford
to buy the formula regularly and 'stretch' it to make it last longer by diluting it, which of
course deprives the infant of whatever nourishment formula actually has. In addition,
most families lack the means for proper use of formula, such as clean water, refrigeration
and ways to sanitize the bottles and nipples. I have helped treat many bottle-fed babies,
gravely ill with cholera and a variety of parasites whose mothers used unserilized water.
When those mothers were asked to their reasons for not breastfeeding, they usually
replied that they wanted to be like American mothers. Whether American mothers breast
or bottle-feed is not the issue, but what the formula companies are telling mothers in
developing countries.
In addition to being advertised as a superior infant food, artificial infant foods have also
become a status symbol. Since formula can be costly, only wealthy women would be
able to afford it, so when a mother is seen bottle-feeding her infant, it may be easily
assumed that she is wealthy. She now has status. In addition, with the world becoming
more technological, technology equals advancement. When formula is described as
"scientifically designed" and "developed", or as "new and modern" (178), women
wanting to be viewed as advanced would choose formula over 'primitive' breastfeeding.
New mothers are also very vulnerable and have many fears about their ability, or
inability, to breastfeed successfully. One of their greatest fears seems to be having an
insufficient amount of milk. Formula manufacturers take advantage of this fear and
provide a 'solution' in the way of supplementation with formula, which is likely to cause
milk production to decrease. Once the mother's fear has manifested she becomes very
thankful for the supplementation, unaware that it may have been the cause of the problem
in the first place. This makes "infant formula manufacturers… both the cause and the
cure" (128) for the problem. Even well educated women in western societies fall prey to
this game. They fail to recognize formula as the problem, disguised as the solution.
As technology advanced, doctors became an authority on almost everything, including
childbirth, breastfeeding and childrearing. The medical profession has created a
dependency on medicine and doctors by labeling normal conditions as diseased ones and
then creating medications to correct them (112). Infant feeding, too, has fallen under the
jurisdiction of doctors and has 'earned' itself a set of rules and regulations. Mothers are
advised by their doctors on how long and how often they should breastfeed their babies.
Since breastfeeding offers no financial advantage for anyone but the breastfeeding
mother, it is not beneficial to promote it. Unfortunately, the physiological and
psychological benefits do not count when it comes to politics and economy.
I feel that medical doctors have no place in the world of mothers and infants (except for
when true medical assistance is needed). Doctors are trained in treatment of disease, and
pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding are normal processes that do not require
treatment. Mothers need guidance and support through patience and love- things most
doctors are not trained in. When a natural process is portrayed as abnormal or diseased, it
is difficult to see it as anything but that. Furthermore, the medical profession has become
partners with infant formula manufacturers (143). This partnership may not be officially
documented, however, they depend on and promote each other. I find it very disturbing
and have lost my trust in the medical profession.
The decision to breastfeed depends on so many factors – some of which are in the
mother's control, but many are not. It seems that world economy and politics play the
biggest role, and while well intending individuals and organizations may focus their
attention on the mothers, perhaps global attention is needed. Van Esterik quotes Dr.
Vicente Navarro, Professor of Public Policy, Sociology and Policy Studies: "The greatest
potential for improving the health of our citizens is not primarily through changes in the
behaviors of individuals, but primarily though changes in the patterns of control,
structure, and behaviors of our economic and political system" (150-1). While
breastfeeding is individual and intimate, it is affected by worldwide factors. Our goal
should be "not to have every woman breastfeed her infant, but to create conditions in
individuals, households, communities, and nations so that every women could" (211). We
must begin to question global environment and its effect on what we eat and breathe. We
must also question world economy and the effect that greed has on our future.
When evaluating the breast-bottle controversy it's easy to get lost in statistics and facts.
However, breastfeeding is a very personal choice and may not always be easily explained
in a scientific factual way. Women "may well find they have no words, models, or
metaphors for expressing this intimate power" (107). This may render the whole issue of
breastfeeding difficult to study on a scientific level because one must rely on truths that
may not be supported by facts. When examining breastfeeding it is important to keep in
mind that "there's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the
truth" (Maya Angelou), and as Van Esterik has conveyed so well in her book, there are
many truths to breastfeeding.

August 13, 2010

BirthWorks Giveaway!

As announced on our Facebook page BirthWorks has recently hit 400 friends on Facebook! To show our gratitude and thanks to our loyal friends, BirthWorks is giving away a t-shirt to one lucky friend! The t-shirt is the BirthWorks Human Values design and comes in blue, yellow, or gray. The winner will be able to choose color and size.

In order to be entered in our giveaway please follow this blog and leave a comment in our comments section below. For some additional entries you may do any or all of the following:

1: Follow us on Twitter
2: Follow us on Facebook
3. Make a facebook post on your facebook page about our giveaway with a link to the blog
4: Tweet about our giveaway with a link to the blog
5. Suggest your friends to become a fan of our face book page

For each additional entry you have done be sure to leave a comment about it so we may enter your name the correct amount of times.

A random winner will be chosen using We will announce the winner on this blog one week from today so be sure to check back. Good Luck!

Thank You for all your support!

August 10, 2010

Workshop Review: Raleigh, North Carolina

The is a lovely review, written by Lauren Farnsworth, of our 2006 North Carolina Childbirth Educator workshop.

The BirthWorks weekend retreat was nothing like I had experienced before. Through guided exercises, we explored feelings and philosophies about birth, discussed our relationships with our mothers, identified feelings of blame and guilt and released grief over past birthing experiences. Unlike other childbirth education workshops, BirthWorks uses emotional exercises and discussions to lift fear and empower the inner voice.

Over three days, I experienced incredible healing. In any other setting it would have taken more time to merely touch the surface of my feelings. By isolating blame and guilt, I was able to work through issues with my daughters birth. I realized that my birth was intended to be what my mother was denied with her children. I felt lifted after expressing grief over my mother's passing as I now explore what it means to be a mother.

Our views about and experiences with childbirth represent so much of who we are. By delving into the emotional realm of birth, I was freed to relinquish pain and hurt that may limit my ability to grow and blossom. The birth of a baby is our re-birth, and how better to enable the metamorphosis than to trust our ability to create.

-Lauren Fransworth

August 6, 2010

Breastfeeding Advice

What is the best advice you received in regards to breastfeeding? If you could share one piece of advice with a new or expectant mother preparing to breastfeed what would it be?

Any products (i.e. lotions, pillows, pumps) or books you would recommend?

We would love for you to participate in an open discussion in our comments section, regarding the questions posted!

August 5, 2010

How long?

How long did you breastfeed for? If you are still breastfeeding when do plan to start weaning? What are your thoughts on extended breastfeeding?

We would love to hear your thoughts on the above questions. We invite you participate in an open discussion in our comments section!

August 4, 2010

Did you have support?

Did you find your friends and family to be supportive of your decision to breastfeed? Was there anyone you found to be not supportive? Did you seek support from an outside source, i.e. La Leche League, Post Partum Doula, Lactation Consultant?

We invite you to participate in an open discussion in our comments section regarding the questions posted.

August 3, 2010

Was it everything you expected?

How did your first few breastfeeding sessions go? Was it harder than you had anticipated? Did you find that breastfeeding came naturally to you or did you find it to be something you needed to work hard to establish?

We would love to hear your thoughts and the experiences you had during the first few days of your journey in breastfeeding. Please feel free to use our comments section to participate in an open discussion based on the questions posted!

Recipe: Lactation Cookies

These delicious cookies are used to help a breastfeeding mother increase her milk supply. They taste great and really work!

If you have any other helpful hints for increasing your supply please feel free to post them in out comments section!



1 C butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
4 T water
2 T flaxseed meal (no subs)
2 Lg eggs
1 t vanilla
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 C Thick cut oats
1 C Chocolate chips
2 T Brewers Yeast (no substitutions)


Preheat oven at 375.

Mix 2 T of flaxseed meal and water, set aside 3-5 minutes.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs.
Stir flaxseed mix into butter mix and add vanilla.
Beat until well blended.
Sift: dry ingredients, except oats and choc chips.
Add butter mix to dry ing.
Stir in the oats and then the choc chips.
Drop on parchmant paper on baking sheet.
Bake 8-12 minutes.

Let cool and ENJOY!

August 2, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

This week is World Breastfeeding Week. Being that BirthWorks is huge supporter of breastfeeding, we would like to take this opportunity to honor one of Mother Nature's greatest gifts.

Each day this week we will be posting a breastfeeding related question and we invite you to use our comments section to post your answers and participate in an open discussion.

We would also like to feature some of our readers "Breastfeeding Stories" throughout the month of August. Just like a birth story the journey of breastfeeding may have it's ups and downs with unexpected twist and outcomes. We would love for you to share with us the experience you have had during your journey through breastfeeding. If you have a story we can feature on here please send it to , with "permission to publish" in the subject line. Please feel free to also share with us any pictures you may have!

Today's question: What did you do or wish you did while pregnant to prepare yourself for breastfeeding? Were there any particular books or classes you took that you would recommend?

Please use our comment section to post your answers

July 27, 2010

Workshop Review: "Three Days of Love"

by Brittany Sharpe McCollum

One woman's first hand account of her beautiful experience attending a Childbirth Educator Workshop held in Cherry Hill, NJ

My South Philly backyard has become Monterrosso and this cheap glass of Chianti is now straight from the hills of Tuscany. It's amazing what three days of love can do.

I have always been intrigued by our behavior when we walk into a room of strangers, all seated neatly in a circle. We smile, say hello, then look in our bags as if there is something important in there that we are so relieved to pull out. 'Ah, yes, chap stick is just what I needed' or 'Oh, yes, just checking, uh huh, it's still in there, no need to bring it out.'(That is my personal favorite) And to think, this was us, when three days later we were spilling tears and sharing stories as we hugged each other goodbye.

It seems impossible to give this time the credit it deserves. It was a space so different from the everyday life of work and even home. I have never before been in a group setting where I felt love from everyone. Not just existence or presence but radiated love.

It's hard to say whether that feeling is due to the serendipity that led us each to Cherry Hill for those three hot July days or if it is that way for each group in Birth Works workshop. I am sure it stems from both the fate that brings people together and the sound philosophies of BirthWorks that led us all there.

My nature does not position me as the class clown, the center of attention, or the nerd (although sometimes I find myself leaning in that direction). By choice, I am somewhat in between these three. When I was urged to rebirth through the turtleneck exercise by a lovely woman with a longing for the mountains, I said "no,no." Then I found myself saying "okay". She later whispered, "I knew it was for you".

I wriggled. I squirmed. I worked through that tight, dark, warm space like it was my life. And, in a way, it was my life. I pressed myself haphazardly against the rug. Soon I fell into rhythm, a dance. The birthing dance, perhaps, that good old pelvic rocking with which we are all so familiar. And I worked that collar down, down, down, over my hair, over my forehead, over my eyes. And I kept my eyes closed. There was no alternative. I was birthing and that is intense and focused energy. My eyes remained shut until that last piece of sweet-smelling cloth worked its way under my chin. And I could breathe. And nothing felt better than the hug I received, that initial human contact, as my eyes opened upon the room.

It just happened that that day was my birthday. Really, it was. And it just happened that I had been born by cesarean. And it just happened that that exercise occurred to the minute of my birth years earlier. I believe my re birthing has now set free generations and generations of my daughters to come. Yes, lovely woman, that was mine.

We all may not have had that sort of healing during our time together but I do believe that we all breathed a little deeper, felt a little stronger, and smiled a little truer. Imagine if 12 women from around the country, strangers days before, can pour love upon each other, enough to flush the cheeks and raise one's head, what we can do as a world of sisters pouring love upon one another... That is birthing. That is growth. That is beauty and wisdom. Only good things can come.

If you have a BirthWorks Workshop experience you would like to share for our blog, please send it to

July 23, 2010


In May of 1981, forty women from the United States and Canada met in Boston for a conference with Nancy Wainer to discuss cesarean prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). Their energy, enthusiasm, and dissatisfaction with the current medical obstetrical management of birth were profound. Under the direction of Esther Booth Zorn, this group of individuals joined with others to bring about the International Cesarean Awareness Network (originally known as CPM--the Cesarean Prevention Movement). The organization was officially established in June 1982 with the publication of its first newspaper, The Clarion. It soon became apparent that there was a need for a comprehensive, inspiring, and activating childbirth education program. Cathy Daub, PT, had designed and taught the first BirthWorks classes in 1981 in her home in New Jersey. She agreed to bring the BirthWorks program to ICAN and chaired the ICAN Education Committee, which developed BirthWorks into a national childbirth certification program. The BirthWorks manual was written and edited by the change makers in childbirth including Nancy Wainer, Doris Haire, Diony Young, Lynn Baptisti-Richards, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, Gayle Peterson, Claudia Panuthos, Elizabeth Noble, Anne Frye, Cathy Daub, and others. A pilot program was run from 1985 - 1987. BirthWorks became a full certification program for childbirth education in 1988. In 1995 BirthWorks became an independent non-profit organization with a full Board of Directors. In 1998 BirthWorks developed a certification program for doulas. Today, the BWI Leadership Board, faculty, professional staff, and regional ambassadors are working together to ensure that all women have the opportunity to give birth with faith and dignity. BWI remains committed to VBAC support and education.

Current BWI Advisory Board:
Dr. Michel Odent
Susan Ludington, PhD,CNM
Kirsten Uvnas-Moberg MD, PhD
Mary Zwart
Heloisa Lessa, CNM
Jan Tritten
Henci Goer
Ina May Gaskin
Bethany Hayes, MD
Barbara Harper, RN
Marshal Klaus, MD
Lewis Mehl Madrona, MD
Jean Sutton
Suzanne Arms
Nancy Wainer
Ray DeVries
Phyllis Klaus, MFT, LCSW
Doris Haire
Elizabeth Davis