December 23, 2009 § 3 Comments
ina may gaskin. the only midwife to have a maneuver named after her. the gaskin maneuver
How did the Gaskin Maneuver come to be?
IMG: About six years after I began assisting at home birth, I had a chance to go to Guatemala to do some development work following a tremendous earthquake. While there, I met a midwife, who happened to be the district supervisor of indigenous midwives. These indigenous midwives were too poor to have been able to go to school, so they were illiterate. However, the district midwife, whose midwifery education had taken place in Belize, along the lines of the British model, told me that the indigenous midwives had a better technique than what she had been taught to deal with the much-feared complication when the baby’s shoulders get stuck after the birth of the head. She told me that instead of twisting and trying to rotate the baby, they merely got the mother to turn over from her back to a hands and knees position with her back arched. This change of position usually solves the problem of stuck shoulders and the mother is able to push her baby out without further ado. Occasionally, additional maneuvers are necessary, such as delivering one of the arms.
I have had several obstetricians tell me that the positional change was the only technique that freed a badly stuck baby.
why is this called the gaskin maneuver? she didnt create or invent it. she appropriated it from indigenous midwives in guatemala. brought it back to the states. became famous and renown in her field in part because of this appropriation.
how is this not colonialism? what compensation did the indigenous midwives receive for their knowledge?
in the outlaw midwives manifesta, i write:
Mostly pregnant middle and upper class educated white women have the economic and racial privilege and choices to have a ‘natural/normal’ birth. These women, a small segment of the global birthing world creates their natural experiences by exoticising, fetishizing, imitating and co-opting the practices and images of 3rd world brown women childbearing cultures.