I got into the car a few hours ago and was on my way to a postpartum visit. I heard some good news on the radio, or so I thought: In many public schools, high-sugar sports drinks and candy bars are going to be taken out of vending machines. Hooray! But then, the second part…


At The Pool

So,  yesterday I went to the outdoor pool at the condo to which I moved a few months ago. It was a warm, sunny day – the kind I dream about on the bitter cold, grey, frozen days of winter, which seem to last forever. There were only two people at the pool – and…



I wrote this response to a man who emailed me telling me that he and his wife were thinking about circumcising their soon-to-be-born son. I have strong beliefs about how important it is NOT to know the gender of the baby before it was born, but as they had already found out, this was beyond…


Recent Article: In the Last Days of Pregnancy

Here is a link to a recent article by Jana Studelska CPM/LM, and a bit to whet your whistle: “She’s curled up on the couch, waiting, a ball of baby and emotions. A scrambled pile of books on pregnancy, labor, baby names, breastfeeding…not one more word can be absorbed. The birth supplies are loaded in…


A Moment in Transition – by Alison Groves

A moment in transition….    The dull ache in my back subsides for a time, but it wont be long, I realize, until I will feel the increasing push and pull of that experience again.    I place a hand on the window-ledge to steady myself and take a cleansing breath.  The air is suddenly…


Interventions Increase Risk

This article recently appeared in The Atlantic. Take a look!  


You Want to Give Birth Where? by Michael Robertson

Nancy suggests making printed copies of the following article and giving it to friends and family who express concern about your decision to birth at home!   You Want To Give Birth Where? By Michael Robertson Mothering Issue 140, January/February 2007   It was 1999 when my wife, Windy, told me that her pregnant friend…



One of my recent clients, a lovely woman with a sweet new daughter, kept a beautiful blog of her pregnancy experience.  I hope you enjoy reading what she wrote.



BayStateParents Magazine’s March 2012 issue features an article about Nancy and about her Heal Your Birth Tears Workshops.  

Too Little Amniotic Fluid: Another Cesarean Averted

Around the same time that the couple who had been told that they had too much amniotic fluid and a huge baby – and so they would have to be induced and quite probably have a cesarean section – came to see me, another couple came to me for a consult as well. This couple…


Too Much Amniotic Fluid?

This wonderful couple came to me two days after their “due date” which had been calculated by an ultrasound – we all know that ultrasounds are notoriously inaccurate for dating babies. This was their first baby and they had been scheduled for an induction the following day and had been threatened, heard the word “cesarean”…


New Year’s Eve Birth!

This was the third baby for the family but the first home birth. Five year old Gemma and three year old Keira were leaning over the tub and squealing with delight as their baby brother was born! Their cat was pretty enthralled, too…


A weekend event to be held in Florida in February, 2012 and in Westwood, MA beginning Friday, June 1, 2012 at 6:00PM, continuing through 3:00 PM on Sunday, June 3rd This workshop is designed for women who were left disoriented, misunderstood, disgruntled and enraged after a birth experience that didn’t go the way they had…


Miriam Pollack: Circumcision: Identity, Gender And Power

I had the great privilege of spending time with Miriam Pollack, an articulate writer and eloquent speaker who is passionate about issues of gender, power, and violence. I urge you to read Miriam’s recently published article in the Huffington Post.  A version of this work originally appeared in Tikkun Magazine, and is well worth re-publication, again…



Many years ago, I got a call from a woman who was on her way to Boston in labor. She was from Maine but was coming to Boston as her two year old had been diagnosed with cancer that very day – he had a fast growing kind, and she was told by the doctor…


THE EPI-NO? (a repost)

I wrote a piece about the Epi-No – a device which stretches the woman’s vagina before birth. I am not in favor of this device,  no way, no how, but due to numerous emails from the Epi-No people, I am taking the blog down temporarily and will rewrite it at some point, although my view…



At 2:28 AM, an adorable, pink, healthy baby boy was born. We waited to weigh him of course, until he was about two hours old, as we figured he would weigh approximately the same as what he weighed when he was born, and we don’t cut the cord for at least an hour after a…



I have a degree in Speech and Language Pathology and have always been interested in how we speak/communicate, the words we choose and how we use them. My ears hurt. Day in and day out, I hear words and phrases that upset them:  the doctor who delivered my baby; the midwife who did my birth;…


PLEASE COME TO BOSTON (isn’t that the title of a song?)

Oh oh oh I attended a lovely VBAC with a beautiful nine pound baby girl two weeks ago here in the Boston area. The couple interviewed me during their sixth month of pregnancy and decided to move to Boston for a month and birth here with me. They rented an apartment about twenty minutes from…


Nancy Wainer, quietly making a difference every day

It’s wonderfully delightful when something like this – a story of someone I’ve helped – comes along.  Mamas, let this encourage you also.  It can be done.  Warmly, Nancy   I had my VBA2C 18 months ago. My first c/s was for my triplets who were 3 months early, and that incision was vertical–giving me…



Why is it exactly that hospitals give Vitamin K injections to all newborns?  I was asked this question again recently, and I wish more people were asking.  I was taught that Vitamin K does nothing for bruising, believe it or not.   Hospital staffs will tell you it is a very high risk to decline Vitamin K, that it…



I am waiting for Hurricane Irene as it makes its way up the eastern seaboard. It isn’t even close by yet, but it is already raining so hard that I can’t imagine where all the water will go. And will my birds, the ones who feed at my feeders every day, will they all be…


SADLY, I’M NOT LAUGHING (Continuous Monitoring of Babies During Labor)

I received an email today from Gloria Lemay, midwife extraordinaire from Canada. She wrote, “I saw this on a nurses list today and laughed out loud.” Gloria was referring to a comment on the Perinatal Nursing Discussion List. The subject on the September 3rd list was “VBAC – refusal of monitoring.”  The post went like this:…



I have had the privilege of working with a number of wonderful midwives in the last years during my midwifery training. Among the many things that I have learned, I hear one of Valerie El Halta’s sentences running through my head at births. Val teaches the difference between an intervention and an intercession (which I…



In answer to a question about VBAC: (when the doctor says it was a good thing they did another cesarean, because the scar looked thin) If the scar has held up until and during labor it has most probably proven its integrity. This was discussed in my first book Silent Knife in some detail. Also,…



The woman who called me today told me that when she mentioned to her OB that she was leaving her practice and going to have a home birth, the doctor looked as if she was going to blow a gasket. “Those aren’t safe!” she almost screamed to this woman, who set up an interview with…


J-Lo/ C-Sec

I was at the hair salon today reading the magazine on the top of the pile on coffee table in front of me while I was waiting to have my hair cut. I was so glad to read that Sandra Bullock is doing well and quite relieved to learn that Justin Bieber doesn’t have to…



I went to the weekly “Ring Ding Sing-A-Long” program for children at the library today with Anna (the light of my life, almost 16 months). There was a woman there with a stroller that held three little ones, approximately six months each. She promptly put them on the floor on blankets and it did appear…



(a letter from Nancy in reply to an impassioned e-mail from Greece) Oh Bernice,  I am crying right along with you. You were given such bad advice every step of the way. I am so sorry. It appears as if the addiction to do unnecessary cesareans is not only confined to the USA. Three weeks…



Ouououou….now you can not only get soft toilet paper, but you can get ultra soft toilet paper. We are so used to thinking that ultra means better…. and so it would stand to reason that ultra-sound would be better than just plain sound, right? Most women have no idea that the little machine with the…



A woman wrote to me just today. She said she is staying home to birth. As far as I’m concerned, she has the best possible chance of avoiding a c-section that way. She’s already had four – I’d say that was enough for anyone, wouldn’t you? If the incision holds up to term, it has…



My clients drink little or no milk. We are the only mammals that drink another mammal’s milk. Once weaned, all other mammals refrain from drinking milk. Cow’s milk is really not for humans (hence all that lactose intolerance – or is it all the chemicals that are now put into milk that make it a…



Our ancestresses didn’t use them. Lightweight as they are, they would have perhaps been somewhat cumbersome to carry out into the fields, where many of our ancients had their babies. I ask my mothers not to sit on them until we are absolutely certain that the baby has its head in the correct position.  In…


SAY “CHEESE!” ????

One of the advantages of a home birth is that the woman/couple gets to orchestrate this event. At most hospitals, you can’t even video the birth. Are you kidding me? And people put up with that???? I mean, not everyone wants to have their birth recorded, but that’s not the point. The point is that…



Oh oh oh , what woman who wants to feel the full ripeness of her femininity when she is pregnant wants to have a mucous plug – a glob of snot – in her vagina? The Yoni (Sanskrit word for sacred place/space) would never hold on to such a substance – it would sneeze it…


ARE YOU GETTING GOOD PRENATAL CARE? (Numbers, Numbers, Numbers?)

Most women aren’t even getting adequate care, let alone good. They think that waiting in a waiting room for thirty minutes or longer is inevitable. If the room is crowded, well, it must be a good obstetrical practice.  They think that being seen by someone different each month is fine, who cares if the person…


LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION (Position, Position, Position)

No one wants a long, unproductive labor with excruciating pain in the back.  How many thousands of times have I heard the sad stories of women who labored for hours and hours only to find out they were two centimeters, maybe three or four?  Or they got to eight and then – nothing….  Or the…



And so I’m in the market with a cart-load of groceries waiting in line to check out. The pregnant woman in front of me has what looks to be about a five year old hanging off the grocery cart, screaming. Her three year old, who is sitting in the cart, is wailing at the top…



This couple came to see me when they were two days past their “due date” ( remember, Folks, it is only a GUESS date)  with their first baby for a consult.  They were, in their own words, in a state of total anxiety and panic. Their obstetrician had told them that there was too much…



Another midwife was sentenced to go to jail today. Birth is NOT MEDICINE, and attending a woman in labor is not practicing medicine without a license!! — it is a natural, physiological process that has been going on since the beginning of time – since even BEFORE there was medicine OR doctors.  The witch hunts…



So this morning, I was rushing into Whole Foods to get something and asked a stock person if she could assist me in finding the item. She was turned away from me and so I didn’t notice she was pregnant. When I realized she was, I said to her,  “Oh, you are pregnant!”  and she…



Hospitals are made for sick people.  Pregnancy is not an illness.

Almost every woman who walks into a hospital today is faced with acquiescing to hospital policies – or suffering the contempt and fear that accompanies her refusal to "comply."  Women get  any number of excuses when they ask (rather than demand or simply decide) to birth naturally: We've never done it that way; we tried it once and it didn't work out; you won't make it and you'll be begging us for help before it's over; it's not our responsibility; you'll disturb other patients . . .

People have been being born for as long as there have been people.  Many objections to homebirths, or even natural births that take place in hospitals, cite misinformation or throw around fear and shaming emotional ammunition.

In cultures where the process of birth is trusted and respected, in places where pregnancy is not feared, in women who see themselves and the their bodies as sacred and trustworthy, birth happens naturally, easily, joyfully, and even pleasurably.

Our bodies are not broken.  Our ancestresses upon ancestresses have known how to birth naturally and successfully, or else we would not be here.  Trust your body, trust your birthing.




When a woman who swims at my Y heard that I was writing a book on pregnancy, she asked me if I planned to include any material on prenatal testing.  She said that when she was pregnant, she had had a routine AFP test done.  The test showed that she was carrying an anencephalic baby.  She insisted that the test be done again.  This time the test came back with different results: the baby had Down's Syndrome.  The third test?  "Not completely normal," said the doctor, "but close enough." (whatever that meant).  Judy said once you get the results, and there's any question at all, you are no longer waiting for a baby.  You are waiting in the delivery room for the doctors to tell you if they were right or wrong.  She said that her husband was great throughout the pregnancy: he said to her, "Don't worry, honey.  If the baby is this or that we'll deal with it."  But he fell apart afterwards (the baby was perfectly fine).  Judy said, "He never played with the baby.  He just kept testing him."  Her relatives concerned that the initial diagnosis might be right, continually asked, "Do you think he looks alright?  Don't you think his eyes are funny?"  Clearly, they had been prejudiced by the results of the test.

excerpted from Open Season: A Survival Guide for Natural Childbirth and VBAC in the 90's, by Nancy Wainer (Cohen), 1991




Q – I've never been anemic before, but I'm early in my pregnancy and more tired than I remember being with my previous pregnancies.  I'm planning a homebirth, but I was thinking of going in to the Dr. to get the iron test done, though I really don't want to go see my OB because I know the scolding I'm going to get about my previous homebirths.

A – There is no point scheduling the test until you decide what you would do differently if the numbers are low – and – why not assume they are – and do that stuff anyway. Floradix with Iron and Herbs is great, eating every three hours( hey, I eat every two or so!) with lots of foods with iron – get a list on line…. No sugar, white flour, caffeine except for rare treats and before you eat one, you know the deal – eat a fresh fruit or a fresh veggie combined with a whole grain and a protein first so that the baby gets all the GOOD stuff first. 

Remember, a second, third, or fourth baby requires care and feeding – even more attentive than the others -as when you plant tomatoes in the same garden every year, in order to get good tomatoes, you need to really take extra care of the soil !!! 



Another beautiful birth this past Friday!  This dear woman birthed a ten pound two ounce baby! She hired me three weeks ago — she was told she had too much amniotic fluid and the cord would prolapse. The ultrasound said she was carrying a ten pound baby and they wanted to section her.

The woman who hired me a month ago on a Friday night and who birthed the very next day, was told she did not have ENOUGH fluid and the baby would strangle on the umbilical cord — she'd had two sections and birthed quickly and easily.

I also attended a woman in Connecticut last week, who had a beautiful 8 pound 12 ounce baby – a "lightweight"!

No one has faith anymore that women can birth – they don't even bother to palpate ( FEEL) the woman to assess the fluid levels – they have no idea what feels right and what doesn't any more – and they wanted to induce all of these women for a variety of reasons, which would have resulted in three more cesareans for sure.



Q – I am past my due date and I am starting to hear about scheduling an induction.  Can I have an induction and still have a vaginal birth?

A – Women have the best chance of having their babies naturally when their bodies go into labor naturally … induced labors ( some doctors will induce VBACs and some won't) increase the chances of having another section as the body is not ready to have the baby — if the body was ready, it
would be in labor!

Many of my VBAC mothers are past their "guess dates"  - and that's all it is, a guess. Remember to stop drinking milk, if in fact you have had it during the pregnancy. There are natural things that can help a woman go into labor ( IF the body is ready) – including acupuncture and homeopathic remedies, etc. but faith and trust are also natural things that go a long way. All your ancestresses had babies naturally and I believe that under the right circumstances, you could as well.



Q – Can I really have a vaginal birth at home after a cesarean?

A – Two weeks ago, I was contacted by a couple who called me on a Thursday afternoon. They came to  see my that night and we talked for two hours.  Their medical midwives, who had supported a VBAC in certain ways throughout the pregnancy, were beginning to pressure her and to talk about having a section after all. The next night, Friday, at 8 PM, they called and said they had decided to  have a birth at home and asked if i would attend them. The next day, Saturday, the woman went into labor and birthed at home. So you see, it is very possible to have a natural birth after two  - or more  -  cesareans. If you go onto the ICAN website, you will see that women with three, four and five have natural births. But it is imperative that you be with care providers who are relaxed, who are not "knife happy," and who are not fearful — and who want a natural birth for you just about as much as you want one for yourselves. Otherwise, you get cut again…. which is less time or the staff, less anxiety for them, and more $ for their pockets and for the hospital ( I am writing my third book and so I am "in" to all of this stuff again, big time!).



Exciting things!

I was selected by Mothering Magazine as their February 2011 Living Treasure – and – my work is being archived at the Schlesinger Womens History Library at Harvard University….. I guess future generations will be able to see the birthing practices of us here in the early 2 thousands…..



Was interviewed Thursday night, got hired at 8PM on Friday and the couple had a vaginal birth after two cesareans on Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are on cloud nine and so are we.