Ina May Gaskin, America’s leading midwife

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Ina May Gaskin teaches a class in midwifery at The Farm in Summertown, Tenn., in 2007. (AP file photo/Mark Humphrey)

Hour 2

INA MAY GASKIN has often been called “America’s leading midwife.” She has practiced for nearly 40 years at The Farm Midwifery Center in Summertown, Tennessee, attending well over 1,200 births, and she’s the only midwife who’s had an obstetric maneuver named after her. She is the founder of the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, a national effort to draw attention to U.S. maternal death rates: A woman who gives birth in the US today is more likely to die in childbirth than her mother was. With one in three babies born via cesarean, the US ranks behind 30 other nations in neonatal mortality rates, and 40 other nations in maternal mortality rates. Ina May Gaskin’s new book, Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta, shows how to trust women, value birth, nurture families, and reconcile modern life with a process as old as our species.

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