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20/20 features American midwives in USSR.

20/20 Features American Midwives in USSR

Midwives Carol Leonard and Karen Pardini visited Russian and their "homevideos" of a birth in a Russian maternity clinic were shown on the television show 20/20 along with an interview with Leonard and more footage of Leonard showing approximately twenty doctors how a baby can be delivered naturally.

Russian women at the "roddom" (birthing house) are anesthetized so they are without pain, but unaware of what is happening to them. When the baby is born, the woman continues to stare at the ceiling; it will be three days before her baby is brought back to her. [Everyone viewing this birth was shocked and felt they were in a time-warp; however, I found the birth not very different from a video of a 1989 birth I have from a downtown Detroit hospital, or a hospital birth I attended with an Arab woman at a downriver hospital only one year ago. Ed.]

Leonard's delivering a baby came about when she heard a laboring woman cry out while she was lecturing to a group of doctors. Leonard went to see the young Russian woman, who had not been medicated yet. "I looked in her eyes and started rubbing her back, and she just folded into me," Leonard says. The Russian doctors, who had all come into the room to watch, told Leonard it would never work, and they were amazed as she helped the woman to relax and birthed the baby right up onto her chest. The mother embraced him with great joy and was helped to nurse by Leonard, who prevented the doctors from taking him to the nursery and examined him as he lay in his mother's arms. When Leonard looked around, she saw that many of the doctors were crying. They simply had never seen a normal, undrugged birth. The baby was named Milan, after Carol's sixteen year old son in New Hampshire. Leonard and Pardini have been invited back to Russia to train doctors who are enthusiastic about learning their natural childbirth methods. Contributions in support of the midwives' efforts may be sent to: The Soviet-American International Health Center for Better Health, 26 Neher St., Woodstock, NY 12498.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Jun 22, 1991
Words:367
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