In 2000, Ina May Gaskin, founder of the modern midwife movement, was inducted into the High Times Counterculture Hall of Fame at the annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. Perhaps someday cannabis will be legal to use during childbirth, as it was for thousands of years before reefer madness set in.

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Comment by Margaretha Keijzer on June 16, 2009 at 7:45am
I remember Ina May Gaskin coming to Amsterdam in 2000. We met when we both were guests at the house of Beatrijs Smulders, who's midwifery duties I was to relieve her from for a few days. I very much admire Ina May for all her good works dedicated to promote normal fysiological births. May be her influence can even reach Holland in time. Though dutch midwives are certified medical professionals by law, they are trained by gynaecologists originally. It often results in a rather medical point of view, which needs to be altered. Over the past two decades there was a terrible shortage of midwives. Also they started to work part time in order to be able to raise their own families. For the sake of continuity of obstetrical services, they organized themselves often in group practices. This meant forsaking continuity of care however sadly enough. The nursing at the home deliveries was always done by maternity nurses anyway. They also work part time these days. This parade of different caregivers, resulted in a huge rise in referrals to the gynaecologist during pregnancy and birth. Many first time pregnant girls became very anxious because they could not build up a relationship with just one midwife. They no longer feel confident about their bodies and are now demanding epidurals. Apparently it seems that we are again 25 years behind the american situation when it comes to awareness of what is happening to female reproduction. The same thing happened to knowledge about breastfeeding. It is just picking up again in this country. Let us hope that women in Holland can find courage and faith again in nature's facilties to give birth without medical interventions, but they will have to get organized and work together with dedicated midwives to protect the home birth even in this country. Hail to Ina May Gaskin and all women promoting normal physiological births for the sake of a life time health for mothers and their children. Preferably without the use of cannabis though....
Gre Keijzer


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