A team of professionals from APPPAH presented at the 62nd Annual Convention of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), one the largest conferences for midwifery in the United States.  The conference was held May 20-24, 2017 in Chicago, IL, and attracted between 1700 and 1800 birth professionals.  In existence since 1955, the ACNM was created to serve the needs of certified nurse midwives and certified midwives.  It has a membership of 7,400 professionals, and offers a grand convention every year with many educational tracks. 

APPPAH’s team was spearheaded by PPNE student and certified nurse-midwife of 37 years, Heather Clarke.  She organized a pre-conference about prenatal and perinatal psychology.

"Midwives and nurse-midwives consider birth a normal physiological event. They naturally promote immediate maternal infant bonding. The pre and perinatal workshop enhances their sensitivity by enabling them to be more mindful of the psychological needs of prenate during this critical perinatal period,” Clarke reports. 

Presenting with her was PPNE Mentor Susan Highsmith, PhD, and Director of Education Kate White.  Their topics included introductory information about the mission of APPPAH and the consciousness of babies, how babies learn in the womb, some cultural aspects that are involved in its acceptance, the role of epigenetics and polyvagal theory and what to do about it, social determinants of health with regards to race and class, and case studies that represent the conditions that midwives work with every day.   Part of the day was experiential, offering midwives short experiences of the somatic skills APPPAH developed for their professional educator program.

The preconference, Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology 101, drew twice as many as registered. The most impact for the midwives who attended was addressing preconception, ways to work with epigenetics, and getting support as a professional on the front line of birth. 

“We introduced the concept of two layers of support,” Director of Education Kate White reported, “Midwives see and experience a lot while supporting families during this time.  We know that how we are in relationship with them really makes and difference. We worked with them to feel layers of support in their body and feel the difference it can make in their work.” 

“The country and the world needs midwives,” stated ACNM’s Chief Executive Officer, Frank Purcell, in a brief interview, “and ACNM is where the midwives are.” 

APPPAH seeks to join ACNM’s efforts to spread the word about the positive impact of midwifery, and marry the paradigm of their quality of care with APPPAH’s mission of education about the baby’s experience. 

Heather Clarke is seeking to create a caucus, or special interest group, within ACNM about PPN.  She needs 15 signatures. If you are a member of ACNM and willing to support this effort please contact Heather at hclarkemidwife@gmail.com.

“We are singing your song,” Susan Highsmith said at the outset of the preconference.  See more about ACNM at midwife.org.