• Home
  • June 2021 What's in a Name in Childbirth Education Newsletter


What’s in a Name in
Childbirth Education?

Fallopian tubes, Eustachian tubes, islets of Langerhans, Kaposi sarcoma, Epstein-Barr virus: In medicine, anatomy, and all fields of research or academic inquiry, procedures, methods, theorems, discoveries, diseases, and more are associated with the names of those connected to their study.

The fields of childbirth and lactation education are no different. These disciplines are filled with names we may take for granted without knowing anything about them. Behind the names are actual people who have made lasting contributions to their field.

Read on to learn more about four of the people behind the names in childbirth and lactation education, and discover just a few of our educational resources that share their invaluable contributions.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Sometimes called “false labor,” “pre-labor,” or more accurately “practice labor,” Braxton Hicks contractions are common in the third trimester. Many of the educational resources in our product sections dedicated to pregnancy and labor and birth—such as our With Child™ Desk Version, How Will I Know if I’m in Labor Booklet, and Signs of Labor Tear Pad—explain the differences between the Braxton Hicks contractions of practice labor and the contractions of true labor. So, why are practice labor contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions?

Our How Will I Know if I Am in Labor? Booklet explains the
differences between Braxton Hicks and true labor contractions.

John Braxton Hicks (1823–1897) was an English obstetric physician and member of the Royal College of Physicians in London who was considered a pioneer in midwifery. He wrote more than one hundred medical publications. In 1860, he wrote the first account of bipolar version of the fetus—the manual turning of the fetus in the uterus using exterior and interior manipulation—that became known as the Braxton Hicks version. In 1872, he wrote the first account of the pre-labor contractions that have since become known as Braxton Hicks contractions.

Fun fact: Since 1985, Braxton has been among the top 1,000 most popular names for baby boys in the United States. To date, it was most popular in 2017, when it ranked as the 118th most popular name for boys. Could more widespread prenatal classes for expectant parents and teaching about Braxton Hicks contractions be responsible for the popularity of the name Braxton?

Leopold’s Maneuvers

For years, our Abdominal Palpation Model (on its own or as part of our Abdominal Palpation Model Set), has been one of our best-selling training models. A great teaching tool for training healthcare professionals, the model comes with a fetal model that features a weighted body, movable limbs, firm buttocks, and head with palpable anterior and posterior fontanels. The Abdominal Palpation Model is designed to demonstrate and provide training in the performance of Leopold’s maneuvers, the method of abdominal palpation that is used to determine fetal lie, position, and presentation in the uterus. The model offers the ability to provide immediate visualization of the fetus after using palpation skills, providing instant feedback for students to assess their findings.

Watch as Childbirth Graphics advisory board member Christine R. Miller, MSN, CNM, uses our Abdominal Palpation Model to demonstrate Leopold’s maneuvers.

So, who is the Leopold behind Leopold’s Maneuvers?

Born in Saxony, Germany, Christian Gerhard Leopold (1846–1911) was an obstetrician gynecologist with an extensive resume who taught midwifery at Leipzig University and became the director of the Royal Gynecological Infirmary in Dresden. He trained thousands of physicians and midwives, advocated for advice centers for mothers, and received special commendation in the field of midwifery. Throughout his many writings and lectures, he disseminated what became known as the four Leopold’s maneuvers used to determine the position of the fetus in the uterus. By relying on external examination and disinfection methods, his goal was to prevent puerperal fever, a devastating and deadly infection affecting mothers in the days after giving birth. By determining fetal lie, position, and presentation and the shape of the mother’s pelvis, Leopold’s goal was to discern whether the delivery would be complicated or require a cesarean delivery.

Apgar Score

As discussed in our With Child™ Desk Version, shortly after birth (usually at 1 minute and again at 5 minutes), an Apgar assessment is conducted on a newborn to score a baby’s health in five categories: Appearance (skin color), Pulse (heart rate), Grimace (reflex irritability), Activity (muscle tone), and Respiration (breathing rate and effort). The acronym APGAR summarizes the five categories. The Apgar assessment is done to determine whether a newborn requires immediate, special medical attention. Scores range from 0 to 10. Most babies don’t get a 10 however, because their hands and feet remain cyanotic (blue) until they are warmed up.

Our Healthy Newborns Flip Chart shows images of
typical newborn appearance, such as vernix and cyanosis.

APGAR, however, is far more than just a convenient acronym; it is also the name of the creator of the Apgar score, Virginia Apgar, MD (1909–1974). An American obstetrical anesthesiologist, Dr. Apgar earned her MD at Columbia University and was a full professor at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. By 1952 she had developed the Apgar scoring system, which became standard practice across the globe and helped lay the groundwork for the field of neonatology. Among her many other achievements, Dr. Apgar earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) and worked to help prevent birth defects and premature birth, including advocating for the importance prenatal care and a healthy pregnancy and promoting rubella immunization.

Marmet Technique

Childbirth Graphics offers the Manual Expression of Breasmilk: Marmet Technique Tear Pad, which explains how to perform the Marmet technique, a method of hand expression of breastmilk that has worked successfully for thousands of mothers. The Marmet technique combines a method of massage and stimulation to assist the milk ejection reflex.

The two-sided Manual Expression of Breastmilk: Marmet Technique Tear Pad explains
the Marmet Technique, which has been used successfully by thousands of mothers.

The Marmet technique was developed by Chele Marmet, a highly accomplished breastfeeding educator and true pioneer in the field of lactation consultation. In a time when professional breastfeeding support wasn’t yet in existence, she overcame breastfeeding challenges with her own children. With her breastfeeding knowledge in demand, she used her expertise to help other mothers and babies and eventually was asked to offer clinical lactation training to healthcare professionals. In 1979, she co-founded the Lactation Institute in Los Angeles. A true visionary, Marmet is credited with conceptualizing lactation consulting as a new allied health profession in 1977. Marmet recognized that the new profession would require extensive formal education and stringent certification guidelines. Through the hard work of Marmet and others dedicated to the vision of making lactation consulting an allied health profession, the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) was founded in 1985.

What’s in the name “Childbirth Graphics”?

At Childbirth Graphics, we strive for our name to be synonymous with high-quality childbirth and lactation education materials and models that our customers will return to again and again. Learn more about our wide range teaching materials and educational models by browsing our childbirth education subjects.

©2021 Childbirth Graphics®