Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Practicing with The Pearls: Primary Cesarean Prevention at The George Washington University

Whitney Pinger was selected to present Practicing with The Pearls: Primary Cesarean Prevention at The George Washington University at the 2012 conference of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

WISDOM Midwifery at The George Washington University is demonstrating that, when applied to clinical practice, and faithfully followed, The Pearls optimize a woman’s chances of having a normal vaginal delivery.

The Pearls have led to what Pinger calls Primary Cesarean Prevention. When The Pearls are our clinical guides – and we are supported by practice laws that make midwives independent providers and OB Departments that consider midwives Attending Providers and Clinical Professors – a Cesarean Section Rate of less then 5% can be achieved.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Video: What babies learn before they're born

Watch this fascinating video of a talk by science writer Annie Murphy Paul about her work on what a fetus learns before birth: What babies learn before they're born

Murphy Paul is author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives and writes a weekly column at called Brilliant: The Science of Smart.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Soulfull Wellness: WISDOM Mom Writes About Nourishing Your Life

One of our WISDOM women writes Soulfull Wellness, a blog about nourishing your life from inside and out. Find recipes for healthy eating, ideas for healthy being, and thoughts on motherhood.

We recommend an especially touching and poignant post on breastfeeding: When Breast Isn't Best.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Whitney Pinger and WISDOM profiled in the Washington City Paper

Whitney Pinger and the WISDOM Midwifery practice at the GW MFA is profiled in a new piece in the Washington City Paper.

Read the story: "Real Midwives of D.C"

Here's an excerpt:

Pinger says she was first exposed to the idea of natural birth in a high-school biology class and apprenticed with local midwives. At the University of California-Berkeley, she wavered between medical school and midwifery school until visiting the Frontier Nursing Service in rural Kentucky, one of the country’s first midwifery practices. “I really didn’t like the operating room,” Pinger says. “My tribe was the midwives.”....

Nowadays, Pinger says, her vision for maternity care is bigger than GW: She wants to see what has happened there go national. “The model is definitely replicable,” she says. “Doctors, nurses, midwives—we can do it all, high-risk and low-risk women, all together.”

This may be the moment to go forth. Concern of a workforce crisis in obstetrics, combined with a new swell of activism around birth issues, spurred by The Business of Being Born and the book Pushed, present a political climate ripe for collaboration. Those involved in promoting this kind of maternity care say they see an awakening among consumers about what kind of birth they want to have.

Pregnant mom dances herself into labor at 40+ weeks [video]

What a great video! A woman who is 40+ weeks pregnant with twins dances herself into labor to "Let's Get it Started."

The mom writes: “Trying to induce our twins at 40+ weeks after trying everything else. I went into labor two days later and had a natural, un-medicated hospital birth (with the support of my awesome husband and our amazing midwives).” Here's the video.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Primary Cesarean Prevention: New Initiative Headed by Whitney Pinger, CNM

Whitney Pinger, CNM, Director of WISDOM Midwifery at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, puts her Pearls for Normal Birth into clinical practice, and she and her staff of talented midwives follow them faithfully. As a result, she is demonstrating that following “The Pearls” optimizes a woman’s chances of having a normal vaginal delivery.

As Whitney explains it, "With the Pearls as our clinical guides -- and with policies that respect the independent practice of midwives -- we can achieve a cesarean rate of less than 5%." Practicing with "The Pearls" is the essence of the new initiative, Primary Cesarean Prevention.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The story of WISDOM at GW Hospital

Read about WISDOM
Midwifery at GW Hospital
Here's the story of how WISDOM and Whitney Pinger's team of midwives came to be at GW Hospital -- and their model of care:

"Choosing Natural Childbirth: Options Offer Women the Best of Both Worlds" (pages 4-5) in the Fall 2011 issue of the GWU Hospital Health News.

The bottom line: Overall, the midwives at GW Hospital have a vaginal delivery rate of nearly 95% and a C-section rate of less than 5%. Meanwhile, the national cesarean section rate is 32% (as of 2007).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The story of two births: one with midwives, the other on a 24-hour clock

by Ami Thakkar
I gave birth to my baby daughter at the GW Midwife Center with Whitney Pinger in early 2011 in a starkly different experience than I had two years back at Sibley when I gave birth to my son.

I live overseas in Lao, PDR, and came back to Washington D.C. (which is my permanent home) to give birth after Whitney and I stayed in touch over email and phone while I was living abroad. 
I was able to have a natural vaginal birth (in fact, it was a VBAC) because of Whitney's care and support. She knew all the right things to say and do, beginning at the moment I started having contractions. At every stage, she was able to give me the right advice to help my contractions develop and to make my breathing and laboring and pushing as effective as possible. I trust her 100%. I also want to commend the nursing staff at GW Hospital whom I found extremely attentive and caring, with their priority always being the mother and baby.

In contrast, when I had my baby boy at Sibley, the doctors were extremely aggressive and put me on a 24-hour time clock to have my baby. They immediately started me on pitocin, even though they knew my strong desire was to have a natural birth. They poked and prodded me on the hour and after 26 hours, I had to end up getting a c-section. I felt the hospital was more interested in selling me things than taking care of me and my baby. Within 24 hours of giving birth, I was visited by professional photo company and asked if I wanted to buy nursing bras. In addition to this, the nurses pushed for my newborn to have formula, when I wanted to exclusively breastfeed. I am 100% convinced that if I had been with Whitney for my first birth, it would have also been a natural vaginal delivery. I know this because she would have given me very different advice than what the doctors at Sibley had given me. 

I can only hope that the medical field will fully back and support Whitney and the midwifery field.

Happy Midwifery Week!

National Midwifery Week is October 3-9 -- a week organized by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to recognize midwives and increase public awareness about the excellent care that midwives provide.

Here's how you can celebrate: Join Team Midwife to show your support for WISDOM midwives and help communicate the value of midwifery care to the public, hospital administrators, and legislators.

One year later...

Dearest Whitney,
Today is Henry's 1st birthday and while we are all rushing around buzzing with excitment and preparing for a fun family celebration, I am constantly thinking about you and the day that Henry was born. The weather was a lot like it is today (maybe not quite as chilly), and by this point in the day (mid-morning) I was deep into pushing, pushing, pushing! There is no way I could have known just how much my life would change in a few of the longest short hours I've ever known.

Today, Henry is an amazingly happy, bright, healthy, strong, confident, curious child. He has a light in his eyes like I have never seen before. He brings such joy into my life everyday, and he has taught me how to love in a way that I never knew existed.

You were there when Henry came into our lives and into this world. You taught me how to birth, how to believe in myself, how to be patient, and how to trust. These are all things that have helped mold me into the mother I am today and therefore the incredible being that is Henry. I know you touch many souls everyday in this same way. You will always be connected to this day deep inside of me and I will continue to thank you endlessly.

Thank you for sharing your love and light with with me. I am so blessed to see it and live in it everyday. I hope you are well!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Midwives are the guardians of normal and natural birth…

This month, Our Bodies Ourselves celebrates 40 years as an invaluable resource for so many women.

Whitney Pinger reflects on the impact Our Bodies Ourselves has had on her: "As a young teen in the 1970s, OBOS taught me that women’s health was ours, and that we did not have to give up or strength and power. I learned that midwives are the guardians of normal and natural birth and that is what I have come to incarnate... Read her full post.

See also Our Bodies Ourselves on the midwifery model of care and Choices in Childbirth: A Statement by Physicians, Midwives and Women’s Health Advocates who Support Safe Choices in Childbirth.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Whitney Pinger and natural birth featured on NBC Washington

Whitney Pinger and the WISDOM Midwifery practice at George Washington University was featured recently on NBC Washington.

Watch the story.

The theme: WISDOM midwives support women in having a natural birth in a hospital setting with a c-section rate of less than 5%. In this way, WISDOM midwives optimize the chance of normal vaginal delivery with the back up of hospital technology if intervention is necessary. "It's the best of both worlds," Whitney says in the video.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

March for midwifery in the Palisades 4th of July Parade

We marched in the 2011 Palisades
July 4th Parade to give a loud
shout out to  midwifery care in DC.
Where's Your Midwife? 
My midwife is at GW!"

Proud WISDOM women marched along midwives, doulas and families at the Palisades July 4th Parade this year to shout out the importance of access to normal birth with the support of midwives for all women in Washington, DC.

The DC Affiliate of ACNM sponsored the float: a red pick-up truck decorated with belly casts.

Friday, June 17, 2011

100 WISDOM births at GW!

On June 17th, we had a party to celebrate our first year and our first 100 births at GW. WISDOM women joined Whitney and people from GW who helped make possible all of the success in our first year.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

WISDOM is growing!

Two new midwives have joined our practice: Nora Fisher CNM, and Marsha Stalcup CNM (both previously with Takoma Women’s Health before they closed their doors in 2007). Now with five WISDOM midwives, we're thrilled to be able support more DC-area women achieve in-hospital, midwifery managed pregnancy care and births.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

WISDOM at GW receives honorable mention as a "collaborative practice"

Whitney Pinger and her GW colleagues have been recognized for the new collaborative practice model they've launched at GW in the past year. Their paper, “Successful Models of Collaborative Practices in Maternity Care: Midwifery at The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates,” has been selected for an honorable mention by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American College of Nurse-Midwives.

The two organizations are promoting collaborative practice between obstetrician-gynecologists and certified nurse-midwives and/or certified midwives. The organizations believe "Health care is most effective when it occurs in a system that facilitates communication across care settings and among providers... Ob-gyns and CNMs/CMs are experts in their respective fields of practice and are educated, trained, and licensed, independent providers who may collaborate with each other based on the needs of their patients. Quality of care is enhanced by collegial relationships characterized by mutual respect and trust, as well as professional responsibility and accountability.”