Freedom for Birth Ina May Gaskin Documentary Press Release

For Immediate Release


Philadelphia, PA 8/27/2012 -  A new documentary that reframes childbirth as the most pressing global Human Rights issue today is launching with hundreds of premieres all over the world on the same day, Thursday 20th September 2012.

Local Merion Station mother and business owner, Aliza Bancoff of Main Line Doulas, LLC, is hosting a screening in Bryn Mawr.

Freedom For Birth is a 60 minute campaigning documentary featuring a Who's Who of leading birth experts and international Human Rights lawyers all calling for radical change to the world's maternity systems.

Hermine Hayes-Klein, US lawyer and organiser of the recent Human Rights in Childbirth Conference at the Hague, the Netherlands says, “the way that childbirth is being managed in many countries around the world is deeply problematic. Millions of pregnant women are pushed into hospitals, pushed onto their back and cut open. They are subject to unnecessary pharmaceutical and surgical interventions that their care providers openly admit to imposing on them for reasons of finance and convenience. Women around the world are waking up to the fact that childbirth doesn't have to be like this and it shouldn't. Disrespect and abuse are not the necessary price of safety”.

Made by British filmmakers Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, Freedom For Birth film tells the story of an Hungarian midwife Agnes Gereb who has been jailed for supporting women giving birth at home. One of the home birth mothers  supported by Ms Gereb decided to take a stand.

When pregnant with her second child, Anna Ternovsky took her country to the European Court of Human Rights and won a landmark case that has major implications for childbirth around the world.

Toni Harman, one of the filmmakers says, “the Ternovsky vs Hungary ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 means that now in Europe, every birthing woman has the legal right to decide where and how she gives birth. And across the world, it means that if a woman feels like her Human Rights are being violated because her birth choices are not being fully supported, she could use the power of the law to protect those rights. With the release of “Freedom For Birth”, we hope millions of women become aware of their legal rights and so our film has the potential to spark a revolution in maternity care across the world. In fact, we are calling this the Mothers' Revolution.”

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), says: “A safe childbirth should be a fundamental human right for women. Sadly, for many, many millions of women and their babies across the world this is not the case. The world is desperately short of the people who can help to ensure and deliver this human right; midwives. There is a real need for leaders of nations to invest in midwifery care in their countries. I hope that the making of this film which the RCM is supporting with a screening will go a long way to help make skilled maternity care a reality for those women who currently do not have access to it.”

Lesley Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives adds, “Too many women across the world are dying or suffering terribly because of a lack of skilled maternity care. This is unacceptable and I call on all Governments across the world to give women the right and access to safe care in pregnancy and childbirth.”

Ms. Hayes-Klein concludes, “Freedom For Birth” holds the answer to changing the system. Birth will change when women realise they have a right to meaningful support for childbirth and claim that right. Birth will change when women stand up against the abuses that are currently suffered in such high numbers and say, No More.”

A local screening of Freedom For Birth will take place at xxxx [Add details of  location, date & time of screening] organised by [Add your details].

Additional Notes

Additional information about Freedom For Birth can be found on the website:

The filmmakers are aiming for 1,000 screenings happening across the world on Thursday 20th September, 2012. The countries with confirmed screenings include the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Belgium, Hungary, Israel, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Iceland, USA, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Each screening is being organised by local birth campaigners.

The film has been selected for screening in the Cambridge Film Festival on 20th September.

Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford are a filmmaking couple who have set up a cross-media global film project called One World Birth to provide educational videos featuring the world's leading birth experts

Freedom For Birth is Harman and Wakeford's third documentary film about birth. They were inspired to make films about following their own difficult birth of their daughter four years ago. A cascade of interventions in their birth led to an emergency caesarean section.

Contact Information:

Toni Harman, Producer/Director, Freedom For Birth +44 (0) 1273 747837 Website:
High resolution still images available on request.

CHOP Special Delivery Unit: Hospitals We Serve

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Special Delivery maternity Unit was specifically designed to be a safe haven inside CHOP designed specifically for the needs of a laboring mother and their family. Families come here knowing that their baby will have very special medical needs immediately at birth and after. Often times babies come from surrounding hospitals, and mom is required to stay in the hospital they birthed in for 1 day or more, while baby is transferred to CHOP.

Birthing directly in the CHOP Special Delivery Unit, mom's are not separated by many buildings or even miles away from their baby. They are able to actively participate from minute 1 in their babies care and decision making. This is something that would not be possible for babies expecting to be born with very special medical needs and born in a hospital without the abilities of such an advanced NICU and surgeons.

For more information on CHOP's Special Delivery Unit, please visit their website:

Philadelphia area Childbirth Classes on the News

I was happy to find this article, Top Childbirth Classes in Philadelphia, from May 2012. Some very deserving local childbirth classes were the features of this great article about childbirth classes in the Philadelphia area. Check it out!

Bryn Mawr Birth Center Friends Alumni group

Four years ago The Birth Center in Bryn Mawr started an alumni group.

Taken from their facebook page:

"A group for alumni families and clients of The Birth Center in Bryn Mawr, PA. The community of TBC Friends is a vital support network for families as they go through life's stages. Through a variety of communications and events, TBC Friends will keep families connected to each other and to TBC. The members of the TBC Friends will continue as advocates, community resources and supporters of TBC’s programs and mission. TBC is not formally affiliated with TBC Friends Events."
The group offers fun events throughout the year, including play ground  play dates, CPR classes, film screenings, How-To lectures etc.
This year I decided to join the organizing committee. We are currently preparing for the 4th annual TBC Friends Picnic scheduled for next month. After the picnic is over, we look forward to planning some more really great, FREE events!
 Please visit the facebook page for more information about events or how to get involved in the committee:

Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood is 150 years old!

I had no idea that Lankenau hospital in Wynnewood is over 150 years old, wow! I live just about a mile away from it, and have for most of my life. I went to my pedeatrician there as a child, had many a ER visits there growing up, and now I attend births there as a doula. I love the continuity that comes with living in the same town that I grew up in.

It was also the place that health insurance was conceived. If you paid 25 cents per month, you would be entitled to free admission. Amazing.

Lankenau hospital is such a blessing to have so close to home. 

Here is a link to the article about their 150th birthday story:

Philadelphia Bryn Mawr area Hypnobabies Education

Hypnobabies Philadelphia offers a complete childbirth education course. Today I connected with Carrie Ballek of Hypnobabies Philadelphia. Although the title is "Philadelphia", she also has a class location in the Bryn Mawr/ Wayne area.

The next class session starts September 8th, 2012 and will be held for 6 consecutive weeks at Aly's Wagon in Fairmount section of Philadelphia. Consider this course if you are due from December 2012-January 2013

Karen Zamperini will be offering the same class in her Bryn Mawr area location starting on September 23rd. Consider this course if you are due late December 2012-Feb 2013.

I am so excited to be able to tell you all about their classes. Hypnobabies is a truly amazing program. I teach many aspects of the meditation programs in my two prenatal visits. But I would very highly suggest these programs in addition to the prenatal appointments that I offer.

From the Hypnobabies Philadelphia website:

Hypnobabies Philadelphia offers group and private Hypnobabies classes to expectant couples, single moms and birth professionals in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania areas. Visit this page often for updates, latest news and links.
Why choose a natural, easier birth using Hypnobabies? The benefits are many:

● Most of our moms use fewer drugs or no drugs, which means less risk of side effects for you and your baby, due to elimination of the Fear/Tension/Pain Syndrome, and using post-hypnotic suggestions.

● Most Hypno-mothers have shorter labors since there is less resistance of the birthing muscles when pain and fear are mi
nimized or eliminated.

● Hypno-Moms generally have much more energy throughout first and second stage, due to your total relaxation throughout the birthing process.

● The birthing environment is much more calm and peaceful when you, the natural childbirth mother are comfortable, relaxed and confident.

● Breech and posterior babies can be turned using hypnosis.

● Blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature can be lowered and nausea, back and hip pain eliminated with hypnosis during pregnancy and labor.

● There are fewer interventions for failure to progress and therefore fewer complications during labor for our mothers and babies.

● The deep relaxation in Hypnobabies sessions has also helped many a nervous birth partner to enjoy their partner's pregnancy and childbirth, and the skills that the Hypno-couple learns for relaxation and hypnosis will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

● As a Hypno-Mom, you are easily "deprogrammed" from the usual negativity of childbirth stories and scenarios you may have heard or read, by way of training in Hypnobabies classes and audio CDs which have positive messages and hypnotic suggestions. This automatically allows you to have a much more positive attitude and confidence in birthing. It is truly a gift that you are giving yourself, an amazingly easy way to enjoy your pregnancy more and actually look forward to your baby's birth!

Belly Cast in Philadelphia

Main Line Doulas is excited to announce that we will now be offering belly cast service!
My studio is fully equipped with all materials and equipment necessary. You sit back and relax while we create this beautiful memento of your pregnancy.

Click on the "Belly Cast" button above for belly casting package information.

FREE Bradley Method Course Philadelphia!

I was visiting the Holly Vicki Bradley Method course website to find the link for one of my clients... and I discovered that  for the Grand Opening of her Bradley Method of childbirth education courses in Ardmore, the first FOUR couples to register will receive the entire 12 week course completely free!!

Quick, run, register NOW, seriously, this is a $240 value(although I'd say it's an even greater value than that).

Here is the link to her website:

P.S. I have no connection with Holly, other than that I recently discovered her website and will be attending a few of the classes in her upcoming series to listen in a bit and learn more about the Bradley Method. And of course I really want to support new local child birth professionals and foster close relationships with others in the field.

Philadelphia Area Doulas

Philadelphia area doulas

Find a Doula in Philadelphia

Main Line Doulas not only serve the Main Line, but also the entire Philadelphia area need for doulas. We serve all of the Philadelphia area hospitals. The Main Line is such a perfect location to be able to serve the Main Line Health system, as well as hospitals in Philadelphia.

 If you are interested in finding a doula, please click above to learn more about all of our services!

Kourtney Kardashian Pregnant Belly Cast Philadelphia

Kourtney's Belly Cast:
Last night as I was winding down, I decided to watch a little of my guilty pleasure, The Kardashians(wow, I am publically admitting this)

Although in real time, Kourtney has already had her baby Penelope, but watching it on tv, she is still pregnant. In this episode, she had a midwife come to her home to create a belly cast of her pregnant belly. I was so happy to see belly casts featured on national television. They are such a wonderful keepsake of pregnancy and a beautiful piece of art to display in your home.

I learned how to create casts from a very young age, around 7 years old. My mom was a sculptor and would take casts of my face, hands and arms to help her create her sculptures of children. I learned the techniques along with her at professional art institute, The Fleshier Institute in Center City Philadelphia.

So needless to say, I've been doing casts for a long time. Please contact me if you would like to hire me to do your belly cast. I suggest that belly casting be done between 30-39 weeks.

Bradley Method Holly Vicki Ardmore PA

I am so excited to be sitting in on a Bradley Method course being taught by Holly Vicki right here in Ardmore, PA. Such a convenient location right by the R5 train station, close to center city Philadelphia, Delaware County, Montgomery county and of course, the Main Line.

It's every Saturday for 12 weeks. Gosh that's a lot of weeks. I don't know if I'll be able to get to every class. But I really like that it's more time than the average childbirth education course. I always wish that pregnant women had more support at the beginning stages of pregnancy, more community. It's so helpful for mom's to have that early peer support, that comradery during the tough stages. And that extra practice time to really remember things and get them right. I suspect that I will shortly learn that Bradley being so long, purposefully is this way to allow couples to gain that comradery and community that would lack in shorter courses.

This is my introduction to the Bradley Method. I've learned a bit about it through my studies(I've read the book), but have not gone in depth learning about how I can best support a couple using the Bradley Method as a doula. This course is for expecting parents, not doulas. But I think this will be the best way for me to really learn the ideologies of the method, by learning what the expecting couples learn.

You can find out more about Holly Vicki and her Bradley Method classes by going to her website,

Her next two course series start August 25th, 2012 and November 17th 2012. They are on Saturday mornings at 10am for one hour. Pick the one that will bring you closest to your due date(but not over... like a game show;-)

Abington Hospital: Hospitals ML Doulas Serve

Under construction. We love serving moms birthing at Abington Hospital!  Browse my other posts while I am working on this one.