Guidelines

Thank you for writing for Birth Issues.

Without you there would be no content! However, since we are all volunteers (with families and jobs) we are always thankful when our editorial guidelines are kept in mind while writing. Thank you for helping our team of dedicated but human none-the-less volunteers. We don’t want to burn out!

Birth Issues follows professional editing guidelines. Authors wishing to submit a story or article must be aware that, at times, significant changes to their submissions may be asked of them. Editors are uncommonly compassionate and they want your voice to be heard, however we encourage authors to also accept that unlike mainstream magazines, Birth Issues upholds high editing standards that may make lay writers feel defensive. It is not the editors intention to do so but it has come to light that at times,  just like childbirth, editing can be a traumatizing experience. Communication, gentleness, listening, and exploring your resistance to change during the editing will be part of the journey. We at Birth Issues promise you that we will do the same. We want you to feel celebrated and honoured. We are on the same team!

Editorial process: Major edits to stories or articles are made in collaboration with the author(s). These include issues around word count, timelines, tone/style, changes to the structure of the submission, fact checking, and the editor asking for additional content. If approval between an editor and an author cannot be reached, the submission can be postponed to allow further time for discussion.
Proofreading process: Text formatting, spelling, and typos are changed without author approval.
Editorial notes: Out of respect for the voice of an author and to fulfill Birth Issues’ educational mandate, editors may add editorial notes at the end of submissions rather than enforce content within the submission. They are added without author approval.

At the top of your submission and in the following order:

1. Date: Include the date of your submission

2. Contact info: Please include your phone numbers, email address, and home address at the top of your submission. The editors need it to contact you during the editing process and to send you a paper copy of your story. This information will not be published.

3. Photos: If you are submitting a story, include at least 3 photos (you in labour, your newborn, a current family photo). NOTE: If the photos were taken by a professional photographer, do not forget to provide us with their copyright information (e.g. official business name).

4. Title: Include a title for your submission. If it is a birth story, attempt to make it discreptive of your experience. e.g. you had a home birth with a midwife after a previous cesarean so you could call your story “My healing home birth”.

5. Author’s name: Include the name of the author of the submission immediately below the title. e.g. By Claire MacDonald

At the bottom of your submission, include,

Biography: Please include a 50 words bio at the end of your submission. Authors are often informal and cheeky. They present themselves in the 3rd person and share with the readers the number of children they have, their professions, their hobbies or their belief about birth. Please do not include emails, websites, phone numbers or business names. You can see how bios are done in past issues of Birth Issues. You can add the name of your midwife, doctor, nurse, and doula in this section.

General guidelines:

Word Count: Because we have a restricted amount of space and want to publish as many submissions as possible, please keep your submissions to the following word count. If you had a VBAC, twin, or breech vaginal birth you can have an extension to include the context surrounding your birth.

Articles – 1500 to 3000 words

Biographies – 50 words

Birth announcements – 50 words

Birth stories – 500 to 2500 words

Parenting tips – 200 words

Font size and style: Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx). No PDFs, no Google docs. Unfortunately, if you do not have access to Microsoft Word, we will not be able to accept your submission. Make sure you use Times New Roman font and 12 font size. The text should be void of italics, bolds, underlining (unless it is a bibliographic reference), capital letters, double/triple punctuation (e.g. !!!!), or automatic formatting (e.g. automatic numbering). Thanks.

Names of professionals: Do not identify birth attendants (i.e. doctors, obstetricians, nurses, midwives, doulas) nor businesses in the body of a story or article except in birth announcements and biographies. Instead they can be referred to by their title (i.e. ‘my doctor’ or ‘the midwife’).

Place of birth: Include where you gave birth, e.g. the name of the city for a home birth or the name of the hospital. If you gave birth outside of where you live, please name the place where you live (city, village, county, province).

Criticism: If a submission includes a criticism of the care provided by a birth attendant it should not be slanderous. Editors would advise the author to provide contextual information and to communicate non-violently rather than write a diatribe on a person. Authors can for example share their disappointment about how their care did not promote team building and how it fragilized their commitment to their vision.

Style: Birth Issues is a magazine published and written by lay people. We all share what we have learned just as an elder would share her/his life experience. We encourage you to write articles in an informal style and in the 1st person so that your voice is heard. Very often it helps to have a paragraph with a personal story to make your point more real. So personal examples of how something has been beneficial is appreciated.

Theme: Every print issue of Birth Issues has a theme. If you want your story or article to be published in that issue, you run a greater chance of being published if you stick to the theme.

Claims/Research: When you are writing make sure that your claims are backed by scientific research. Use a citation/bibliographic reference. For resources go to the PubMed database, Birth Psychology, Canadian Journal of Midwifery, Midwifery Today, SOGC, or The Lancet to find references from refereed journals. When quoting, include author(s), date of publication, title of book or journal article, publication city, publisher, page. Websites are not suitable references.

Please no infomercial articles: We value businesses and understand your need to get known in the birthing community. However if you are thinking of submitting an article, it is very important that readers do not feel they are being sold something. Our readers know most of the basic benefits of exercise, herbs, acupuncture, massage, yoga, etc. So make sure your article has depth.

– Articles and advertisements: If you have submitted an ad and an article in the same issue of Birth Issues, we cannot guarantee that they will be placed next to each other.

If you are having any issues or questions –

don’t hesitate to contact the Editor in Chief at bi_editor@asac.ab.ca

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