Sunday, April 24, 2011

Walk for Midwifery, April 30--Join Us on the Millenium Trail!

International Day of the Midwife
Journée Internationale des Sages-Femmes

SATURDAY APRIL 30th 11am-1pm
SAMEDI LE 30 AVRIL de 11h a 13h





Why walk? Because you feel concerned about midwifery regulation issues, because you would like to see this service offered equally to ALL women and families of the Yukon, because birth needs to be humanised and women need to be empowered in their birthing capacities, because too many unnecessary obstetrical interventions are being done, because it is important for the future of your family and children, to finally give the choice to women now and of future generations to birth supported by midwives.

Pourquoi Marcher? Parce que la cause des sages-femmes vous tient a coeur, parce que vous aimeriez voir ce service accessible a TOUTES les femmes et familles du Yukon, parce que c'est important d'humaniser la naissance et de redonner le pouvoir d'accoucher aux femmes, parce que trop d'interventions obstétricales sont non nécessaires, parce que c'est important pour le futur de vos familles et de vos enfants, pour enfin donner le choix aux femmes de maintenant et des générations futures d'accoucher avec des sages-femmes.

Contact: Karine 456-4728 and/et Kathleen 335-3836

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Childbirth Education--Weekend Workshop, April 8-10

Pregnant and want to prepare for childbirth and parenthood?

I am considering offering a weekend workshop here in Whitehorse of the Connected Childbirth course content.

The course would run Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday April 8-10, 2011.

I have one interested expectant couple, and need at least 2 more to offer the course (maximum 6 expectant women).

Cost is $199, and includes a partner. Location to be announced (we are hoping that one of the course participants will be willing to open their home for the weekend).

Please contact me immediately if you are interested. Pass the word to your pregnant friends!

Asheya Hennessey, B. Ed.
Founder & Executive Director, Mothers of Change for Maternity Care
Founder, Yukoners for Funded Midwifery


Friday, February 4, 2011

Doula Services in Whitehorse

In the absence of funded midwifery in the Yukon, midwives are only available in their full professional capacity for homebirths.

For some women, this is exactly what they want and they are willing to pay for it. For others, the lack of funding or homebirth-only option, or both, prevent them from hiring one of the excellent midwives who work here in the Yukon.

Doulas are a good compromise for those looking for one-on-one care supporting natural birth, like that provided by a midwife, but planning a hospital birth. Doulas are birthing support professionals, who offer emotional and physical care for the mother and her partner. Doulas are not health care providers, and do not offer medical services or advice. Doula services are less expensive than midwifery services, which may be more affordable for some families.
Research has shown that using a privately hired doula (not a doula or nurse employed by the hospital) has many benefits, including:
  • reducing the mother's experience of pain
  • reducing the use of epidurals
  • reducing interventions and Cesarean births
  • shortening the length of the birthing process
  • increasing the mother's satisfaction with her experience.
A doula will typically come to the mother's home at the beginning of the birthing process and support her at home until the mother is ready to travel to the hospital. The doula will continue to support the mother and her partner at the hospital, providing one-on-one care and natural pain relief methods, such as massage, position suggestions, aromatherapy, encouraging breathing for relaxation, positive messages, visualization, and emotional support.

I maintain a list on this website of doulas currently offering services in Whitehorse, and I am now also taking clients.

I am available to support women who are planning to birth at the Whitehorse hospital and who are hoping for a natural birth with minimal interventions.
If you are interested in finding out more about my services, please contact me, Asheya Hennessey, at 867.456.7711 or

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mother-to-Mother Milk Sharing

Breastmilk is nature's normal, optimal food for infants. Exclusive breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby until at least six months of age, and breastfeeding until at least two years of age and beyond provides children with immune protection and nutrition.

But what to do if a parent can't produce milk or can't produce enough milk? In the case of a woman who is attempting to breastfeed after giving birth, the first answer should be to seek help from a lactation consultant, as it is extremely rare that women cannot produce enough milk for their babies. However, there are certain conditions that make it difficult for women to breastfeed, and of course there are also situations where the biological mother is absent.

The answer that first comes to mind in these situations for many people is commercial formula, which comes with many health risks.

A new initiative, Eats on Feets, which is a take 'Meals on Wheels,' started by Emma Kwasnica, a Canadian mom, is trying to make breastmilk available to all babies through woman-to-woman milk sharing networks. The idea is simple, but radical, with the potential to revolutionize feeding of infants who cannot get breastmilk or enough breastmilk from their parents.

Create facebook pages. Invite women to join. Use the facebook page as a platform for this network of women to communicate about the need for donated breastmilk for a particular infant, so that women who have breastmilk to donate can connect with the parents who need the breastmilk. That's it. No intermediaries. No money. Just the community of women supporting each other.

To find out more about Eats on Feets Yukon and to join the network of Yukon women, go to the facebook page:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Doula Training in Whitehorse

Doula Training
October 15-17, 2010

For anyone interested in supporting women and their families
during late pregnancy, childbirth & early postpartum.This is an intensive workshop that explores the emotional, social, physical, mental and spiritual aspects of birth and the immediate postpartum period. The training focuses on current practice, evidence-based care and supporting a Yukon community of Doulas. The cost of the workshop is $375.00, including manual, snacks and lunch.

For more information, please call Heather Ashthorn, CPM 633-6770

Friday, August 20, 2010

YFFM Membership

YFFM now has two types of membership: supporting membership and voting membership.

Supporting Membership
Supporting members receive e-mail updates on midwifery in the Yukon but are not part of any decisions YFFM makes. Supporting members have no responsibilities.

Voting Membership
Anyone who directly indicates they would like to be a voting member may become one. Voting members are involved in the decision making of YFFM. Voting members are responsible to stay involved in any discussions, and to attend meetings if they are able. If they are not able to attend meetings, voting members should participate in discussions through e-mail and phone conversations. Voting members are also expected to help with any activities YFFM undertakes. Professionals (midwives, nurses, doctors etc.) may be voting members, as long as they ensure there is no conflict of interest between their participation in their professional organization and the purposes of YFFM. If a conflict of interest arises, professionals are expected to remove themselves from the decision making process.

If you would like to become a member of YFFM, please e-mail and indicate which type of membership you would like.

Upcoming YFFM decisions may include working on regulations, depending on whether the government decides to regulate midwifery in the Yukon or not.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Addendum to YFFM Midwifery Regulation Consultation Response

Addendum to Midwifery Regulation Consultation Response
on behalf of
Yukoners for Funded Midwifery
May 14, 2010

In the last few weeks of consultation, there has been discussion among members and supporters of Yukoners for Funded Midwifery regarding what regulations would look like. The consumer response to whether to regulate is not unanimous, with some consumers thinking it is better to integrate midwifery into the health care system as quickly as possible in order to obtain funding, and others concerned about the potential costs to the profession and to women if a careful, considered, consumer-centered approach is not taken, especially in light of the Yukon Medical Association President Dr. Tadepalli’s position on the exclusion of homebirth and the unknown overall position of the Yukon Medical Association.

Women who have used and paid for midwifery services in the territory are aware of the high caliber of those services and highly value their experiences of informed choice, continuity of care, and the optimal environment created for physiological birth without unnecessary interventions. These are the true consumers of midwifery services, and the consumers who are truly informed about the benefits of midwifery the way it is currently practiced in the Yukon and the potential disadvantages of regulation.

We are concerned that members of the public who have not used midwifery services, including childbearing women, do not currently have enough information about the advantages and disadvantages of regulation to make an informed decision. We are also concerned that all of the public, including consumers of midwifery services, do not have enough information regarding what regulations would actually look like to make an informed decision on the question of whether midwifery should be regulated. Our initial consultation response reflects this lack of information.

We are also very concerned that if midwifery should be regulated that consumers and midwives will not be at the center of all discussions, planning, and final decisions. This concern is highlighted by Health & Social Services neglect to inform YFFM that we were in consultation beginning on April 1, 2010. YFFM only found out that we were in consultation from a Yukon News reporter on April 12, 2010. This raises grave concerns as to the importance the government places on consumer input. Regulations that are not consumer and midwife designed put the public at risk for harm, acting in opposition to the very public safety they are supposed to create.

In light of these concerns we request that the Yukon government delay a decision about whether to regulate or not until after more information has been gathered on what regulations would look like.

We propose a public information campaign created and led by consumers and midwives, with support from the government for networking with stakeholders and the provision of funding for the campaign from the government. YFFM is currently preparing a survey to begin the process of gathering information regarding what regulations the different stakeholder groups would like to see. We would need to explore possible models of regulation and funding of midwifery services, and their impact on Whitehorse and the communities.

It is also important that the First Nations be included in any stakeholder discussions, and their exclusion from the process so far is a severe oversight on the part of Health & Social Services, and in fact in many ways significantly negates the process so far, as the voices of the First Nations have not been heard.

The health of mothers and babies in the Yukon is of utmost importance, both now and for the future. We will not sacrifice ourselves or our babies on the altar of government procedure or doctor’s uninformed opinions. Birth belongs to mothers, midwifery belongs to mothers, and we will not be satisfied with a process that does not put our concerns, our choices, and our leadership as the directive for all decisions.

Please respond to our request for a delay in the decision on whether midwifery should be regulated and the proposed information campaign by Friday, May 21, 2010.