Wizards, quilts and soothsaying

wizard_penguinIn honour of the date, I have chosen, formatted and uploaded a couple of articles to which I have new footnotes to add but which, more importantly, will allow me to post cool seasonal pictures 😀

(Never let it be said that I am less than honest about my motives! 😉 )

Firstly, I offer Women, wizards and patchwork quilts, which contains references to Star Wars as well as Harry Potter but actually deals with the serious issue of maternal mortality.  It is shocking that some of the issues that Ina May Gaskin was talking about ten years ago in relation to the US approach to maternal death – and which she and colleagues have attempted to bring to greater attention through the Safe Motherhood quilt project – have still not been addressed.  I have not chosen to upload this article today only because of the date, though: I was particularly struck by an article that Ina May wrote in the Autumn 2013 issue of Midwifery Today called Cytotec* and the FDA in which she presents an update of the evidence in this area alongside quotes from women and families who have been affected by the use of this drug.  If you are not familiar with these issues and want to learn more, Midwifery Today’s website hosts a couple of related, free historical articles on this drug by Marsden Wagner: Midwives and Cytotec: a true story (2001) and Cytotec Induction and off-label use (2003).

* Cytotec is more commonly known in the UK and some other countries as misoprostol.  

witchThe second article is a January 2013 EM editorial published called Association, prediction and soothsaying.  While I was clearly right in there when I said I couldn’t predict the future(!), I wanted to share it because it introduces a question that I remain fascinated by.   This question might also be considered rather appropriate for the season, considering that it concerns the use of herbs and other alternative therapies:

“We also have to decide whether … we take the position that women need to take ‘expert’ advice on everything and should not even use stretch mark oil without professional say so, or whether … we are willing to engage with the complexity, reflect on the issues and encourage women to tap into their own knowledge, relying on experience and intuition as well as the evidence that is available in a particular area.” (Wickham 2012: 51)

More on midwifery knowledge soon, and Happy Samhain / Hallowe’en 😀

Gaskin IM (2013).  Cytotec and the FDA.  Midwifery Today 107: 8-14.

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