Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM, PdD(Hon.) is founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. This 41-year-old midwifery service is noted for its women-centered care.
Early in her career, while in the mountains of Guatemala, she learned an effective method for dealing with a feared obstetrical complication (when baby’s shoulders become stuck during birth) from indigenous midwives. Her campaign to promote this low-intervention maneuver began in 1985. Fourteen years later the "Gaskin maneuver" became the first obstetrical procedure to be named for a midwife in this era. It is now included in obstetric textbooks and the ALSO (Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics) course as one of the most effective methods for dealing with this feared complication. The Farm Midwifery Center is noted for its low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality despite the inclusion of many vaginally delivered breeches, twins and mothers of more than five babies.
Author of Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, and Birth Matters, she promotes joyful birth, maintenance of breech skills and recognition of certain ingenious skills and techniques used by indigenous midwives of Mexico and Brazil.
She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Thames Valley University, London, England, in November 2009. In December 2011, she accepted the Right Livelihood Award in a ceremony in the Swedish Parliament.