RESOURCES and REFERRALS :
This is a unique Listing of Organizations and Online Sites
We have brought together in one list organizations of all kinds that understand and promote the importance of the “Primal Period and birth as the most critical developmental stage for babies and parents and Rite of Passage in everyone’s life. We include groups and some individuals that offer valuable information, products, media, conferences and services to help parents and professionals.
American Association of Childbearing Centers (AABC) – a membership organization for professionals, students, parents and organizations, founded by Childbirth Connections, formerly called Maternity Center Assn – the oldest organization providing information and advocacy on behalf of childbearing mothers and babies; for professionals; advocates, sets standards, an annual forum for discussion of issues, conducts research and more.
American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)—the professional organization for nurse-midwifery and CM (certified midwives); working to bring midwifery care into hospitals around the U.S.; provides referrals for those seeking certified midwives and certified nurse-midwives in the U.S.A.
The Association for the Improvement of Maternity Services (AIMS) – provides evidence-based information, and shares research findings, with consumers and professionals in the hopes of raising awareness about childbirth-related issues, with a focus on the value of natural biological processes, informed consent and women’s rights. Formed in the late 1960s by Beverly Beech, author and one of UK’s pioneering birth activists.
The Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children (aTLC)) dedicated to supporting parents, caregivers, professionals, and policymakers in practicing the “art and science” of nurturing children from conception through teen years. Through it’s Proclamation and evidence-based Blueprint of Principles it blends age-old wisdom with leading scientific research that will support optimal human development from preconception on. It’s goal: to inform and support parents in moving from fear and defense-based coping behavior to what aids full development in their children and to create thriving families
The Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) – An organization of helping professionals and parents that provides information and research (through print, online and via conferences that draw people from around the world) on the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the “primal period”: pre-conception, conception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum. It’s focus is the needs and perspective of the “prenate” (developing infant, from conception to birth) and baby as well as the mother, father and family. In North America it is the primary information site for information on the impact of the environment on genes (epigenetics) and on identifying, preventing and healing of birth and “primal” trauma.
The Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children (ATTACH) – provides information on attachment theory maternal-infant bonding and attachment, early trauma, and attachment disorders; promotes healthy attachment and its critical importance to human development; referral services; holds annual conferences (since the late 1980s) open to parents, professionals and clinicians
Attachment Parenting International (API) – a lay organization that promotes parenting practices which create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents, because these practices fulfill a child’s need for trust, empathy, and affection and provide the lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships. It offers education, support, advocacy and sharing research to increase awareness of the importance of secure attachment. Its goal: helping parents and children thrive, by providing information that can reduce and prevent child abuse, behavioral disorders, criminal acts and other serious social problems. It does this by connecting parents through a growing network of local support groups around the world.
Birthing As Nature Intended, (B.A.N.I.)™ Childbirth education, practitioner and doula traings. Bringing birth back to basics by healing the Mind/Body/Spirit connection, as well as helping to let go and move through past birth trauma for parents and professionals. Through education, parents and practitioners alike, learn to exercise their power of choice in making informed decisions. Interventions serve a useful purpose when intervention is necessary but only when there is no other option. Nature and mother’s innate natural inner wisdom and body instinctively know how to birth in the most advantageous way for them, whether it is a change of position, or asking questions when needed to find out what natural options are available first. Trusting their judgment if the birth takes a turn and perhaps realizing that it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach of interventions. Sometimes, a “little something” may be all that is needed to get their birth back on track. Fathers and partners play a strong role and doulas are welcome to come to classes as they are certainly a valuable resource. Every parent has to feel comfortable with their decisions, but that is not possible unless they are truly informed. Taking responsibility for their child beginning with the caregiver they choose to entrust with this intimate and most important journey of their child’s life from conception, through pregnancy and continuing throughout life. The lessons and techniques learned will be carried for the rest of their lives and used far beyond childbirth.
Bioneers – We include this organization because of its inspiring annual conference (held since 1990) and recordings of those conferences. The name refers to biological pioneers, people working with nature (and the principles of “biomimicry”, following nature’s design) to restore and heal both nature and ourselves. Promotes learning from living biological systems, blending the best of earth-based (indigenous cultures) practices with practical and scientific evidence. Its goals are lofty yet do-able: to “unite nature, culture and spirit in an earth-honoring vision” that addresses the interdependence of economics, jobs, ecologies, cultures, and communities. Speakers come from around the world, and share models and strategies that can resolve urgent ecological & societal challenges.
This conference is always held at a huge Frank Lloyd Wright-designed civic center half an hour north of San Francisco. It is attended by 6,000 people (youth, as well as adults).Bioneers pioneered in the creation of simultaneous “satellite” conferences across the U.S.A. and now internationally. These satellite conferences, held on the same day as the Bioneers conference (which is usually the 2nd weekend in October) broadcast live, on big screens, the main sessions of the California conference each morning. Local communities then add afternoon sessions of local speakers, panels and workshops. Because birth and the Primal Period have an environment and ecological component, this Bioneers perspective is extremely useful in broadening the Birth Movement.
Birthing Project USA – an international organization and resource center devoted to improving birth outcomes and the quality of birth for women of color and their babies;the only national African-American maternal and child health organization; focused on pregnancy and the first year after birth; linking pregnant women with mentors in their community
BirthWorks – An organization founded in the principle that birthing is an innate process which most often works and requires no intervention, when women understand and trust their bodies. It offers childbirth educator and doula training and holds conferences that focus on developing women’s self-confidence, trust and trust in the natural process of giving birth through integrating holistic principle of mind, body and spirit. Also provides referrals to BirthWorks birth educators and doulas. Is closely affiliated with the pioneering work of French-obstetrician-surgeon, author and researcher Michel Odent and his Primal Health Newsletter, that shares current research on the epidemiological aspects of birth and the Primal Period.
Our Bodies Ourselves(OBOS) – An organization that began in 1970 and was for years known as the Boston Women’s Health Collective, renowned for its series of books, (beginning with groundbreaking Our Bodies Ourselves) which inspired the international women’s health movement. It is founded in the principles of giving women the accurate health information they need to make their own choices about their health, from childbearing to menopause and aging. Its focus: education and advocacy for social change and women’s empowerment; doing research and policy analysis, and organizing for social change; inspiring women to get involved in the political aspects of women’s health. Its primary goal, besides education and advocacy, is to show/remind women they are the real experts of their own bodies and health. From this perspective if offers a great deal of information on birth and motherhood.
Bradley Birth Education – formerly called The American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth, this is one of the original birth education organizations that focuses on training professional birth educators. From the start, it promoted what was originally a radical idea, that fathers could not only be present but also active in birth. It has always based it’s training programs upon natural, biologically “normal” childbirth principles. Today it continues to provide childbirth educator trainings and referrals to Bradley birth educators.
CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association) – One of the newer childbirth organizations in the U.S.A., it was founded to train professional childbirth educators, lactation educators, labor doulas, prenatal and postpartum doulas and continues to do this, while also providing conferences for the general public as well helping professional.
Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) – Begun in 1973 as a private, nonprofit U.S. organization, this organization working to protect children, continues to pride itself on having never taken government or corporate funding. It is devoted to providing a strong, effective voice for all the children of America, as individuals who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. It’s focus: the prevention of child abuse of all kind. It pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children, and those with disabilities; encouraging “preventive investment” by parents, helping professionals, communities and public policy, before children get sick or into trouble, drop out of school, or suffer personal and family breakdown.
Compleat Mother – This is an outspokenly “radical” (in the true sense of the word: aiming to get to the root of thing) publication that informs, promotes and advocates on behalf of natural, biologically normal childbirth, breastfeeding and bonding, including protecting babies from circumcision, and providing information about the safety and benefits of home birth and the “midwife model of care”.
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) – Formed originally to bring together all of the organizations training professional birth educators, and to put out information that everyone would agree was essential for parents and professionals, CIMS has become an education and advocacy group comprised of individuals as well as national – and some international – organizations. It’s focus: to improve the quality of hospital birth and obstetric care, and see that all women have access to high quality, “evidence-based care” that empowers women. In it’s research and educational documents (which are available both online and in print form), it emphases the importance of health professionals and institutions following practice guidelines that supported the mother’s innate knowing and scientific evidence. Its Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative consists of 10 simple yet radical principles to empower women (and their partners) in making conscious choices that meet their and their baby’s needs. They now also focus on highlighting hospitals, birth centers and nurses that empower women and promote mother-friendly and evidence-based practices. Also holds annual conferences that bring speakers from around the world, with a focus on birth and breastfeeding.
Citizens for Midwifery (CFM) – This is the first organization worldwide to focus on providing information, support and advocacy for what is now called ‘the midwife model of care’ for childbirth, which is a model that can be practiced by doctors and nurses, hospitals, clinics and birth centers, as well as by midwives. It promotes the true practice of midwifery as an independent profession, separate from both medicine and nurses. CFM also gathers funding that it gives away in the form of small grants to individuals and organizations struggling to make a difference in the world of birth and midwifery. It also provides referrals to midwives around the U.S.A.
Dona International (DONA) – Originally called Doulas of North America, this is the first and continues to be the largest organization that trains, certifies and provides continuing education and “evidence-based” knowledge and practical hands-on skills for doulas (the skilled non-medical, non-nursing helpers in pregnancy, labor and postpartum, which includes a few men but is predominantly women). DONA’s focus is on teaching how to provide emotional and physical support and help women and their families feel comfortable and nurtured in birth, with a goal of improved outcomes for all. It promotes a goal of every woman in the world who wants a doula being able to have one. Provides online referrals to doulas and local doula organizations around the U.S.A. and holds annual conferences to bring doulas and other helping professionals in birth (doctors, nurses, educators, researchers, etc) together to share knowledge, skills and research. It’s advocacy focus is to get “third-party payers” (such as insurance companies and governments) to understand the benefits of a doula’s presence during childbirth and the postpartum period.
Elizabeth Davis, CPM midwife – This is one of many websites about midwifery care and one of the few that provides information on women’s sexuality and spirituality, women’s intuition, and the “blood mysteries”. Elizabeth, a former practicing midwife, leads women’s circles, and does regular courses for women who are following a path to midwifery or who are midwives and want to expand their psycho-spiritual-sexual skills.
Faith Gibson, CPM midwife – Faith is a senior practicing midwife (more than 30 years in continuous home birth practice) and she is also a journalist/researchers who provides a website a vast amount of current research, history of birth and midwifery, and information on political issues related to birth and midwifery. Her site also provides a wealth of ideas and suggestions for policy and practical changes in society that will make birth safer and mothers and babies healthier.
Ina May Gaskin, CPM midwife —Know around the world by many as the elder of home birth midwifery knowledge and skills, Ina May’s website provides information and information about trainings by and other midwives who live and practice at the long-standing intentional community in Tennessee (U.S.A.) known as The Farm, that was founded in the early 1970s. The site also describes the history of this intentional community, which has had such a shaping influence on modern home birth and home birth-oriented midwifery.
HypnoBirthing® (and its various offshoots) is a method of relaxed natural childbirth education and preparation that makes excellent use of the human body/mind’s innate capacity self-hypnosis. It’s underlying belief is the premise, born out by the fact that not all women experience labor as extremely painful. Evidence proves that some women don’t have any pain and others experience pain but also ecstasy or orgasm. The most important factor in how women experience labor appears to be the negative, fear-based cultural training most woman get growing up, combined with whether or not they also carry unresolved trauma from when they were born, In addition, body type can affect both how it takes to bring a baby into the world and how much effort – and powerful sensations – are involved. Hypnobirthing® teaching is placed on pregnancy and labor, and well as pre-birth parenting, the sensitivity and consciousness of the pre-born baby, and the powerful impact of the mother’s imagination.
Institute of HeartMath – A unique and groundbreaking organization devoted to conducting independent scientific research and to gathering research evidence and disseminating information regarding a number of crucial issues: 1) bonding and its relationship to learning, 2) the biological connection between heard and mind, and 3) approaches for stress reduction and trauma healing for babies and children as well as parents and adults of all ages, the lay public as well as researchers, educators and helping professionals.
The International Birth and Wellness Project (formerly known as ALACE)– Begun as a training program for birth educators and then also for doulas, has become the International Birth and Wellness Project, providing “holistic” (including mind, body and spirit) birth services, education and advocacy for viewing birth as a critical rite of passage; teaches the understanding and trust of the process of birth, and respect for its transcendent and sacred aspects, as well as physical and emotional dimensions; provides referrals for prospective parents to ALACE-trained birth educators and doulas.
International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) – This organization is the professional organization that La Leche International created to promote breastfeeding among health and other helping professionals and to train professional breastfeeding (lactation) “consultants” worldwide. It provides continuing education in the form of workshops and conferences that highlight new and important information in the field of breastfeeding, regarding the qualities of breastmilk as well as the practice of breastfeeding. This organization provides support for a growing number of lactation consultants who are hired by, or work independently, in hospitals and clinics around the world.
International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) – Originally founded by one cesarean mother and outspoken advocate about the importance of limiting the number of cesarean births to medically necessary ones, and to support the psychological and physical healing of women who’ve undergone cesarean surgery. This is now the leading organization for information, support and advocacy for prevention of unnecessary cesarean births, healing from birth trauma resulting from cesarean births, and support for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). With the increasing difficulty of women finding any birth attendant who will help them have a VBAC (and the restrictions placed upon midwives in hospitals and birth centers as well as home births) more and more women turn to ICAN to help them get informed, find help, and becoming empowered in their next birth, as well as to help them heal from the psychological wounds that many women experience from cesarean birth. ICAN also provides information on the risks, as well as potential benefits of cesarean birth on babies.
International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) – One of the earliest childbirth education organizations in the world, which is also one of the larges. It today trains both professional birth educators and doulas and continues to hold annual conferences in the U.S.A. that are attended by people from around the world.
La Leche League International – The first grass-roots mother-to-mother group in the world to intentionally provide information and support for breastfeeding to any mother, anywhere. Today there are local La Leche support groups in communities worldwide. They are always free to anyone who comes and they always encourage women to come before the birth of their baby, to see breastfeeding and to learn about it’s benefits for mothers as well as babies, and to learn practical skills about the feminine “art” of breastfeeding. Their most well-known published work is the internationally renowned book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.
Lamaze International – One of the original organizations in the U.S.A. formed to promote the idea that women and men benefit from formal childbirth education taught by professional birth “educators”. It continues to train birth educators and also now trains doulas. Lamaze holds annual conferences that bring together professionals and parents from around the world to hear practical knowledge and skills, as well as research evidence that will help promote and support women – and men – in making conscious choices about birth for themselves and their babies. In the 1990s this organization, which previously had been known as promoting hospital birth for all birth, made a radical shift at the level of the Board of Directors. From then on Lamaze has both supported and promoted the “evidence based” idea that birth can safely take place in any setting when the mother and baby are in good health. Today is also provides referrals to for prospective parents to the large network of Lamaze-trained birth educators. Lamaze now has begun a corporate entity as well, and offers various products they feel will help parents.
Midwives of North America (MANA) –This organization, which grew out of the late 1960s and early 1970s home birth movement in the U.S.A. became the foremost organization to promote home birth and home birth midwifery. It soon created a professional training code for midwives and for training professional midwives who could be licensed in their state (in the U.S.A.) In its decision-making has always worked using a challenging – and time-consuming – but important consensus model, believing fiercely in the equality of women and the importance of embracing and supporting all midwives everywhere. This is a unique stance in a world where most decisions in the professional world continue made by an elite group. MANA continues to now support and offer training that is non-university-based, including in independent midwifery programs and schools, as well as through the apprenticeship model. MANA is one of the few modern organizations that continues to support the practice of passing on knowledge and skills from one woman to another through apprenticeship. Today MANA provides information, support and continuing education for any professional who is interested in the “midwife model of care” and the “hands-on” practice of midwifery. Today it supports midwives practicing in all settings (home, birth center, clinics and hospitals). It continues to promote the belief that midwifery is a separate profession from both medicine and nursing and that training is best done when the aspiring midwife is not first trained as a nurse. This belief and model is supported by scientific evidence and practice in many countries in Europe. MANA conferences, like Midwifery Today conferences are known for creating an ongoing sense of community and inspiration, as well sharing scientific evidence and practical skill learning.
Midwifery Today – This now-respected publication was started by one forward-thinking practicing home birth midwife to providing information, practical ideas and skills, and support for aspiring and practicing midwives who wished to have home birth practices. It has become a print and on-line journey that is known for providing information about midwifery as it is practiced around the world, both by indigenous and village women and by modern (often college-educated) women. It is unique also for the regional conferences it holds around the world and across North America that bring together aspiring and practicing midwives to hear from highly-experienced and elder midwives practical skills and tools that they have found to be valuable. These conferences always include a strong element of community building and story-sharing that goes on late into the night. Nay hospital-based midwives and nurses, and some administrator and midwife educators now attend theses conference, to get back the “spirit” of midwifery. Many midwives keep a full library of every issue of this journal.
Mothering Magazine – This groundbreaking magazine, started by two mothers in the 1970s to provide information and practical advice on birthing and “alternative” family life, was for decades run by Peggy O’Mara. It became known for her provocative and mother and father-supportive columns, as well as its articles that offered information and practical ideas on issues seldom supported or covered in “mainstream” media. The topics in this magazine moved out of just being focused on pregnancy, birth and early parenting to including issues as unusual or controversial as “conscious” conception, the spiritual dimension of childbearing and parenting, circumcision and “intactivism” (leaving a baby and child’s body “intact”), sleeping in the same bed with your baby (bed-sharing and also co-sleeping, or sleeping next to your baby) gay and lesbian parenting, alternatives to widely-held practices of “disciplining” children, and questioning vaccinations and vaccination policy. Early in 2011, owner-publisher O’Mara closed this beloved-by-many print magazine. What remains is an online forum where parents and professionals can communicate and share ideas with each other. Its emphasis on natural health and leading-edge research support natural alternatives to standard medical practices, ran throughout its years. Many families continue to have every issue of Mothering magazine.
National Association of Childbearing Centers (NAAC) – This is the original organization founded in the U.S.A., to promote and support helping individuals and communities create free-standing (out-of-hospital) birthing centers and it created and maintains a set of guidelines by which birth centers might most safely operate. It accredits birth centers and referrals to local birth centers around the U.S.A. and also provides trainings for individuals and groups who want to set up a successful birth centers, and to hold annual conferences about natural birth and midwifery and birth centers and sharing research about the safety and effectiveness of the birth center model.
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) – This center, founded by a mother, offers information and research on both male and female circumcision, as it is still practiced worldwide. It promotes “genital integrity” and provides practical suggestions for parents and referrals to physicians, lawyers and advocates who are working to end circumcision. It also holds international conferences.
National Women’s Health Network – This is a long-standing and respected U.S.-based information, support, advocacy and lobbying group for broad range of issues related to the health of women, including their reproductive health.
National Vaccine Information Center – This organization, founded by a woman/mother, is designed to provide information and research on the safety and risks of vaccines and help parents make conscious choices with regard to the vaccination of their newborns, babies and children. It provides advocacy for reforming current vaccination policies; support (in the form of support groups) for parents choosing not to immunize their children; holds international scientific conferences. In addition, it maintains a “registry” of cases of injuries and death that parents or professionals feel are vaccine-related.
Natural Child Project – information promoting attachment parenting; and referrals to parents practicing attachment parenting
Spinning Babies – This is a great resource for pregnant moms and birth professionals. It contains tips on optimal fetal positioning and how to balance the mother’s body. The site is full of information about what pregnant women can do to keep their body and baby in balance and help the baby to be in the best position for birth. There is a wealth of information about different fetal positions and techniques to guide the baby into place. Gail also does classes and workshops.
Think Twice Global Vaccine Institute – This is the organization founded by Neil Miller, research journalist and advocate of natural health practices, to provide what he calls “uncensored information on childhood shots and other immunizations” (including those given to newborns and babies, but also ones recommended or mandated for teens and adults). Miller’s focus is inform parents and professionals about the various risks and hazards of vaccines, especially those that parents are often told are without risk and necessary for their baby’s or child’s health in order that they can make conscious choices about if and when to vaccinate and with what shots. He also addresses issues of compliance to laws requiring parents to vaccinate and provides suggestions for what to do if parents choose not to follow what most doctors and public health authorities and laws state they must do. Miller is author of several books about vaccines that compile research findings from many sources. These books are for sale on this site, as is information and referral to other organizations and sites.
Touch the Future – This organization was founded by a father for the purpose of informing prospective parents, parents, grandparents, child care and other helping professionals about childrearing practices and forms of educating children (beginning with conception) founded in natural principles and evidence. Its focus: To incorporate and address psychological and spiritual – as well as physical and physiological – dimensions of babies (including in-womb “prenates”) and children – by providing practical suggestions for parents. It is perhaps the only organization that features the groundbreaking work of research-journalist author Joseph Chilton Pearce, whose numerous books (including “Magical Child”, “Crack in the Cosmic Eggs” and many others) weave together little-known research and models for how best to follow sound biological principles in birth and childrearing.
Water Birth International – This site is the result of the efforts of one woman’s advocacy and teaching (Barbara Harper RN) in the late 1980s, to spread the knowledge that waterbirth (either labor in water or birth in water) is both a safe and effective way to give birth. Her one goal, and the focus of this site, is to make sure that waterbirth is an available option in all settings (hospital, clinic, birth center and home) for all women. To this end, this site provides information, resources and referrals, and products (such as birthing tubs for rent or sale) for the use of water in labor and for water birth; referrals to local practitioners and rental and sale of birthing tubs. Barbara Harper has moved on to do trainings and give talks around the world to nurses, hospital administrators, doctors and parents. She can be reached separately.
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