Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, is founder and director of The Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. Founded in 1971, the Center had handled more than 2200 births by 1996, with remarkably good outcomes. Ms Gaskin herself has attended more than 1200 births. She is author of ‘Spiritual Midwifery’, now in its fourth edition. For twenty-two years she published Birth Gazette, a quarterly covering health care, childbirth and midwifery issues. Her new book, ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’ was released 4th March 2003 by Bantam/Dell, a division of Random House. She has lectured all over the world at midwifery conferences and at medical schools, both to students and to faculty. She was President of Midwives' Alliance of North America from 1996 to 2002. In 1997, she received the ASPO/Lamaze Irwin Chabon Award and the Tennessee Perinatal Association Recognition Award. In 2003, she was chosen as Visiting Fellow of Morse College, Yale University.

Ms Gaskin’s  pioneering of a low-intervention but extremely effective method for dealing with one of the most-feared birth complications, shoulder dystocia, has resulted in its adoption by a growing number of practitioners. The ‘Gaskin Maneouver’ is the first obstetrical procedure to be named for a midwife. Her statistics for breech deliveries and her teaching video on the subject have helped to spark a re-appraisal of the policy of automatically performing cesarean section for all breech babies. As the occurrence of vaginal breech births has declined over the last 25 years, the knowledge and skill required for such births have come close to extinction.

Ms Gaskin’s centre is noted for its low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality despite the inclusion of many vaginally delivered breeches, twin births and ‘grand multiparas’. Their statistics were published in ‘The Safety of Home Birth: The Farm Study’, by A. Mark Durand [American Journal of Public Health, March, 1992, Vol. 82, 450-452]. She was featured in Salon magazine’s feature ‘Brilliant Careers’ in the June 1st, 1999 edition.