Helen M. Mikul Oral History Interview, 2022

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  • This oral history interview was conducted with Helen Mikul on October 17, 2022 by Josephine McRobbie as part of the Duke Midwifery Service and Durham Maternal Health Oral History Project, which was funded by The Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund. During the interview, Mikul discusses her role as a midwife with Duke Midwifery Service, her dedication to working with Spanish-speaking clients, and the uniqueness of midwifery as a healthcare profession. In this interview, Mikul speaks vividly of the skills that Duke Midwifery Service midwives provided to Duke clients, and also shared with their Duke colleagues in the teaching hospital environment. She shares how she and her Duke Midwifery Service colleagues taught students and trainees the strengths of different birthing positions, maneuvers for safe birth during shoulder dystocia, strategies for postpartum care and the delivery of the placenta, as well as approaches to caring for clients experiencing stillbirth or the the loss of a pregnancy. Mikul reflects on how receptive the students were to this information and describes how during her time at Duke, more trainees began encouraging clients to try hands and knees and side-lying positions for birth (as opposed to the medically-standard stirrups position). The themes of this interview include medical training, midwifery, and family planning.
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