Gaskin, a longtime critic of American maternity care, is perhaps the most prominent figure in the crusade to expand access to, and to legalize, midwife-assisted homebirth. Although she practices without a medical license, she is invited to speak at major teaching hospitals and conferences around the world and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Thames Valley University in England. She is the only midwife to have an obstetric procedure named for her. The Gaskin Maneuver is used for shoulder dystocia, when a baby’s head is born but her shoulders are stuck in the birth canal.
Ina May Gaskin is one of my heroes. My concern is who is going to take her place when she is no longer with us? She is in her 70's and she has personally done more for home birth and getting minimum standards for home birth midwives than any one I can think of. She is so out spoken and well respected - even in the medical community. She is an amazing woman. I love that she is always focused on the positive aspects of the birth process. The article in the NY Times was interesting. It also showed how confusing finding a practitioner that can and is willing to support the birth process in hospital. Many midwives in this environment either have their hands tied or choose to practice the medical model. First time parents have no idea how to interview a practitioner so much is based on assumptions and personalities. I help parents in my area learn about options and narrow down the practitioner choices for them. I feel blessed to be doing this work!