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August 5, 2010

The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth

May 5, 2010

Written by Sheila Kitzinger.

This was, by far, the best pregnancy book I’ve read.  It was very natural-friendly, birth center and homebirth advocating, and had none of the “here’s what could go wrong, ask your doctor how you should proceed at every turn” undertones that “What to Expect…” has.

It is filled with facts and statistics to back the claims it makes in support of natural birthing methods.

It is often claimed that, because far fewer mothers and babies die than say, 60 years ago, when most women had their babies at home, hospital birth must be the cause of this.  But, of course, the fact that two things happen at the same time does not mean that one causes the other.  Nor should we use statistics of home births from the past, or in developing countries.  Many other things are different, including our health, our access to contraceptives, and abortion, and our socioeconomic conditions.  These have a profound effect on perinatal mortality.  As the standard of living rises, fewer babies die at birth in every country, whether or not they are born in a hospital.  (pg 45)

There are full-color pictures of real-life people to demonstrate exercises to alleviates pain and strengthen the body, positions to try in labor, and examples of various other things to expect.

It also does a good job of explaining the why instead of just the how and what.

Childbirth is not primarily a medical process but a psychosexual experience.  It is not surprising that adapting your responses to the stimuli it presents should involve a subtle and delicate working together of mind and body. (pg 181)

Kitzinger explains the differences between locations of birth and stressed the importance of making the space a woman chooses her own and having privacy.

When women describe their birth experiences in hospitals, especially large ones, they often talk about all the people who wandered in and out, anonymous faces looking through the porthole window in the door, and conversation about them, not with them, conducted over their supine bodies.  Can you imagine the effect of having strangers and other observers around you when you took a bath, sate on the toilet, tried to sleep, or were making love?  Birth is a psychosexual activity that involves revealing that which is usually physically and emotionally private…To be watched by someone with whom you have you have no intimate and trusting closeness, to be inspected, criticized, applauded, and urged to do better, can interrupt and prove an obstacle to psychophysical coordination.  This is why it is important to create your own space for birth, and to arrange to have one or more companions with you with whom you feel not just comfortable but completely at ease…You need to choose a birth companion who will be like an anchor for you in a stormy sea. (pg 187)

She goes on to urge the woman to choose a female companion to attend the birth with her.

Research shows that if a woman has another woman with her during labor and birth she has a less need for pain-relieving drugs and her labor is shorter.  There are fewer operative deliveries (forcepts, vacuum extractor, and Cesarean sections) and episiotomies.  Babies are in better condition at birth and mothers are much more likely to look back on the birth as a positive experience.  Studies also have revealed that these women have fewer perineal lacerations, are more likely to be breastfeeding at six weeks, and are less likely to be depressed.

This all agrees with the research and findings behind professional doulas.  Statistics all favor doulas in every case.  Even women who end up with a necessary c-section are happier with the outcome because they feel supported and informed when making the decision instead of coerced into it as so many women feel these days.  Even in situations where the birthing mother didn’t know her female companion, such as a hospital-provided doula, reported benefits of a non-medical female support person.

Being in tune with the body and nature are big factors in a good birth experience.  “Purple pushing” consists of waiting for the beginning of a contraction, exhaling, then taking a deep breath holding the breath while pushing to the count of ten, then exhaling and repeating two more times before the end of the contraction.  But all evidence-based birth shows this is a horrible way to navigate the second stage of labor!

If we watch any mammal giving birth, a cat, for example, or a sheep, we notice that it does not take great breath and then “block” the birth canal by holding its breath.  A sheep gives birth with rather light, quick breathing. (pg 213)

Different positions for birth can help different situations.  While most OBs prefer a woman to be sitting or lying on her back, evidence shows that there isn’t a worse position.

There is no reason that you should have to be tucked up in bed.  there are definite disadvantages to the supine position (lying flat on your back) for your baby, since the blood flow in the large veins is in the lower part of your body may be obstructed by the heavy weight of your uterus, and this can reduce the blood flow through the placenta to and from the baby. (pg 213)

There is a chapter on the screens and tests that can be run to assess the baby’s health.  Doctors tend to rely too heavily on these tests and many times they give false-positives and lead to unnecessary interventions.

[Ultrasounds] are not good at estimating birth weight, although they can be more accurate with premature babies.  Research shows that the mother’s guess at her baby’s weight is more accurate. (pg 230)

So a woman must decide if the potential information that may be gained from the test is worth the risks involved.  In the case of ultrasounds, they are assumed to be safe.  But that has recently been called into question.

As far as we know, ultrasound is safe…On the otherhand, it is known that high-frequency sound waves continued for a long time can damage an adult’s hearing.  Questions have therefore been raised about effects on the baby’s hearing, since, although the sound waves are bounced off the baby for only a short time, the baby may be vulnerable at certain stages of its development…no one yet knows if any [babies] will suffer delayed effects in later life. (pg 231)

While many people will tell you there are different kinds of labor, many don’t know just how different labor can be.  Sadly, too many doctor have expectations of what “normal” birth should look like.  Women then get the impression that their bodies can’t give birth without help from drugs and machines.

In the U.S., the most common reason for a Cesarean is the diagnosis of dystocia – prolonged labor.  Thirty-eight percent of Cesareans are done for this reason.  Another 20 percent are augmented with intravenous oxytocin in its synthetic form (pitocin) for the same reason.  As a result, women suffer more infection, bleeding, and a longer hospital stay – and many are left with the feeling that their bodies have failed them. (pg 285)

So how slow is too slow?  Many doctors will suggest intervention at 12 hours after active labor has started.  The assumption is that labor should progress at 1cm per hour and that 12 hours is longer than the body really needs.  But the average first labor, when left to labor and not in a hospital setting with strangers and monitors and interventions is 15-17 hours!  And nothing under 24 hours is really considered to be “long” in the natural birthing world.  No more babies or mothers die when labor is left to a natural course and time-line.  Many doctors will even suggest minor interventions to “speed up labor” after only a few hours, telling the mother that breaking her amnio sac will help things move along.  But this practice isn’t proven and can lead to more painful contractions and introduces bacteria into an other-wise sterile environment.  Plus, the minute the sac is broken, the clocked is watched because most doctors won’t let a woman labor more than about 24 hours with her water broken for fear of infection.

Many women think that birth has to be painful.  They can’t imagine a natural birth because they think that they won’t be able to deal with the pain.

People often think that pain is just a matter of a “high” or a “low” pain threshold.  There are very few women who think that they have a high pain threshold and can bear pain well.  in fact, the idea of pain threshold being like a wall, with some of us possessing high walls and others low ones, is a myth.

It is now known that the pain sensation threshold is the same in all human beings.  In one research study in the United States, members of Italian, Irish, and other ethnic groups were given electric shocks ranging from mild to fairly strong, and every single person said pain occurred at exactly the same point.  Yet obviously we do not all react to the pain in the same way, because it depends on what is going on in our minds. (pg 304)

So each woman needs to learn how to deal with her pain.  How to handle it in a constructive way instead of dwelling in it and saying she can’t get passed it.  There are different ways to do this and they are as varied as the women who use them.  Hypnosis is a fairly new option in the US.

[Hypnosis] has the great advantage over chemical anesthetics of not reducing the baby’s oxygen intake or making the woman feel drugged and drowsy.  In fact, about a quarter of women who have had hypnosis in childbirth say that they experienced no pain… (pg 310)

Acupuncture is another option if the mother can find a provider.

In labor, electroacupuncture may be used at points in the ear for analgesia, and with this technique the woman herself can control the degree of stimulation.  In Bejing today, acupuncture is performed in preference to epidural anesthesia for 98 percent of Cesarean sections. (pg 311)

There are many other natural remedies that can and should be tried before resorting to chemical therapies.  Aromatherapy has long been used to calm or excite a person.  A cold wash cloth with some lavender oil is very calming when the woman is warm and anxious.  There are also different types of homeopathy available if you seek them out.

Lavender can be put directly on the skin.  It can be mixed with one or two other essences…Some essential oils are overpowering if you use more than one or two drops, so sniff the bottles first before you concoct your recipe to make sure that it is well balanced. (pg 312)

Unlike conventional medial treatments, homeopathy aims to treat the whole person, including the mental and emotional states that have an adverse effect on physical well-being…The more diluted the remedy, the more effective it is. (pg 313)

There is a section on the medical pain remedies available.  It explains what each option does, how it is administered, and the risks involved for both the mother and baby.  After her own research, the author found that:

…18 percent of women very much regretted having had the epidural and said in effect, ‘Never again!’ (pg 322)

She goes on to conclude that the circumstances around the choice of the epidural has a lot to do with the feeling afterward.  A woman who plans to get it all along, or knows that she will wait as long as possible, and then asks for it is much happier with her decision that the woman who feels that it was her only choice, or that the doctors or other people around her were pushing her to get the epidural.  It has to be her own choice while the others in her environment are supportive of any choice she makes.

You have the right to decide what happens to your body before during, and after childbirth.  You are not bound, either by law or out of politeness, to agree to procedures and investigations to which you object.  If things are done without your consent, it is a form of assault on your body. (pg 324)

Many time women don’t think past the point that the baby emerges, but there is a whole third stage to go through.  The placenta needs to be birthed, the cord clamped and cut, the perineum needs to be checked and repaired if needed, etc…One question that comes up is when the cord should be cut.  Standard practice is to clamp it and cut immediately after the baby is out.  But evidence shows that it’s better to wait until the cord stops pulsing.

If the placenta is left to separate naturally, it may take about half an hour or longer.  Clamping the cord immediately at delivery may make the chances of a retained placenta more likely.  If the cord is not clamped until after it has stopped pulsating, there is much less chance of a retained placenta.  This is because when the cord is clamped, blood cannot flow out of it, which would encourage the now defunct placenta to peel away from the uterine wall.  A blood-packed placenta stays firm and full and is less likely to separate. (pg 334)

Inducing labor is risky.  There’s no question about that.  However, there are many doctors who push women to induce so they can plan it into their weekly schedules, or because they say it will be easier or faster, or just because the woman is over 40 weeks.  So, it’s important to know the risks.

Extremely strong contractions are likely to interfere with the blood flow through the uterus.  In one study it was discovered that fetal distress was significantly more common in women taking pitocin, that babies were more likely to have low Apgar scores, and that far more of them than usual went to the nursery for special care. (pg 338)

Electronic Fetal Monitoring is very helpful when used sparingly.  The problem occurs when it is relied upon solely, instead of using it as a tool among others.

A major disadvantage of EFM is that it increases the Cesarean section rate by 160 percent, without any benefit to the baby.  The rate is reduced if fetal blood sampling is done before the decision to proceed to operative delivery, but there is still a 30 percent increase in the Cesarean section rate, again without any benefit to the baby. (pg 342)

Interpretation of electronic monitoring data sometimes causes more harm than good.  Half of all babies show some irregularities of heartbeat during labor.  Usually this is of no significance.  We don’t know how they manage it, but babies actually sleep during labor…But it has now been discovered that the baby only has to be roused a little for the heartbeat to pick up.  One way of doing this is to touch the top of the baby’s head.  Mothers have their own ways of achieving the save result – changing position, for example – and this may reassure the doctors. (pg 344)

Emergency Cesarean sections are often performed because of changes in the fetal heart rate that are judged to be signs of asphyxia.  Yet more than 50 percent of babies delivered by Cesarean section turn out to be in good condition, so operating was unnecessary.  What has actually occurred is a series of complex changes in the baby’s heartbeat as a result of a normal catecholamine (stress hormone) surge.  These alterations have then been misinterpreted as signs of fetal distress.

The Amercan College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), and now the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) support a policy of regular, frequent listening with an ultrasound stethoscope as equal or superior to electronic fetal monitoring in a low-risk pregnancies.  Despite this reversal of support for electronic fetal heart monitoring, most doctors and many midwives and nurses have not been well trained in auscultation, which also requires more staff time, and so continue to rely on EFM.

If the fetal monitor suggests that the baby is under stress, the baby’s blood should be tested in order to check the findings.  if the baby is having difficulties, this shows up in the blood chemistry.  But this testing is not often done.  A biochemical test carried out in order to assess the pH level of the baby’s blood cuts down the number of unnecessary Cesareans. (pg 345)

C-sections are also covered in a manner that both explains when and why they may be needed and when  and why they should be avoided.  It includes quite a lot of information about what to expect if it comes up, and the safety information needed to make a decision if the doctor says it’s necessary.  Many women feel pushed into a c-section that isn’t totally necessary, but just because it’s been a while and the doctor claims to be worried about the baby after a “long” labor.  But there are also medical reasons that doctors claim necessitate when they actually don’t have much benefit.

Research has been carried out on the outcomes of automatic Cesarean sections for multiple births and when women have diabetes, and it has been shown that this practice is unlikely to be of benefit.  Delivering all twins by Cesarean section does not save lives or produce babies in better condition…

…The Cesarean rate in the United States is approximately [33] percent and in some hospitals 50 percent or more.  But there has not been a corresponding rise in the fetal survival rate…

…Some doctors like to do Cesarean sections just because a baby looks as if it is going to be big.  This is not a good reason…(pgs 348-349)

And finally Kitzinger covers the “Once a section, always a section” mentality against VBAC, saying that many are unnecessary but aren’t given a chance at a trial of labor.

One professor of obstetrics says that problems of scar separation are ‘much less than the one percent that is often quoted,’ and that even if the scar is pulled open by strong contractions, “careful monitoring of the fetus and mother usually means that any harm to either is rare.’ (pg 349)

Many women don’t know about the ongoing and future problems a Cesarean can cause.

A Cesarean may have long-term effects, too.  A study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynacology reveals that nearly half of all women who have a baby by Cesarean section do not go on to have other children – almost one in three because of infertility problems, and one in five because the Cesarean experience was so awful they could not face another birth by this method.  Three times as many women are infertile following a Cesarean as those who have a spontaneous vaginal birth, and six times as many women suffer from the effects of emotional trauma. (pg 350)

Too many women aren’t told these types of statistics.  They look solely at present situation.  That is understood when the baby or mother is in immediate danger, but most the time there is time to take a break and reassess what is going on and maybe even try something differently before charging off to the OR.  Most c-sections are life-or-death situations, they are done “just in case”.

After the section about the medical side of birth and the hazards it can bring, the author delves into “Gentle Birth”.  She stresses the importance of a low-key vaginal birth.

…in spite of the relentless onslaught of contractions as full dilation approaches, the baby who is pressed through the cervix and down the 9-inch (23-cm) birth canal responds more vigorously to life than do most babies who are merely liften out through an abdominal incision. (pg 359)

The Gentle Birth section takes issue with many hospital policies,  practices, and attitudes.  Against all research, many hospitals continue to demand that certain things happen.  Unless women specifically demand otherwise, the vast majority of hospitals take the baby from birth to be cleaned, measured, and then placed in the warmer to keep warm or given to the mother swaddled in a couple blankets.

Research has shown that even a low-birth-weight baby keeps warmer when in flesh-to-flesh contact with her mother and nestling against her breast than when wrapped and put in a crib.  So ask a helper to slip your gown down over your shoulders or take if right off before the birth.  A blanket can easily be thrown over you and your baby or a heater can be placed over you both. (pg 365)

The immediate clamping of the cord comes again in this section as well.

Immediate clamping may reduce the baby’s red blood cells by over 50 percent. (pg 365)

Many hospitals also insist on bathing babies soon after birth which can be problematic as their bodies can’t yet regulate temperature.

But babies who have received drugs from their mothers’ bloodstreams, including narcotics, are not only sedated but also unable to prevent heat loss efficiently.  So if you want a bath given, you should not have had narcotics in the last five hours, your baby should be full term, weigh more than 5 lb (2.5kg), and not have breathing difficulties at delivery, and the room should be warm. (pg 367)

The book is very pro-breastfeeding , but a short segment explains how a baby will feed for pleasure and how a bottle-fed (formula or expressed milk) baby can be accommodated.

When bottle-feeding, remember to hold the baby close, cheek against your breast, just as if you were breast-feeding.  Although it may produce a less comfortable cushion for the baby’s head, a man can also do this.  The baby may sometimes like to lie nestled against your partner’s bare skin, and fathers who give a feeding like this in the middle of the night say how much they enjoy it.  Never feed a baby while he is lying in a crib or stroller, or even worse, prop up a baby to feed on his own in a crib, however rushed you are.  It can be dangerous. (pg 408)

The book concludes with a chapter covering baby care and postpartum recovery.  It stresses the importance of keeping healthy, both mentally and physically, in order to take care of the baby.

It’s best to do as much research as you can on your own, but if you don’t have the time or drive to do so, this is a great place to get the information you need to make solid decisions based in facts instead of assumptions.  Happy Learning!!

Helpful info for Daddies, Partners, and Doulas

April 5, 2010

Quotes are from The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin

For most women, the peak of pain in the dilation stage seems to be reached by 7 or 8 centimeters.  Electronic recordings made from within the uterus…show that after 7 or 8 centimeters contractions do not continue to increase in intensity, though they sometimes come closer together.   Contrary to most people’s assumptions, the contractions do not keep getting worse until dilations is complete or the baby comes out. (pg. 85)

This illustrates that if a woman waits as long as she can and then asks for drugs at 8-9 centimeters because she doesn’t want it to get worse, she need not worry.  It won’t get worse.  If you can handle it up to that point, you know what’s worse, you know what is to come, you can make it without drugs!

[Dads] Try not to take it personally if the mother criticizes you or tells you to stop doing something that you expected to be helpful.  Just say, “Sorry,” and stop doing it.  don’t try to explain why you did it or express frustration with her.  She is really saying that labor is so difficult right now that nothing helps.  You are the safest person for her to lash out at…(pg 88)

Men just don’t get it.  They can’t get it.  No matter what they have or will go through, they cannot relate to giving birth.  So, try everything you can think of to help, stop when she says something isn’t working and try something else.  It doesn’t matter if it’s massage she usually enjoys, or if it worked last time she was in labor.  It’s not personal, it’s not you, it’s just not working at this moment.

Seventy percent of cases of shoulder dystocia…happen in average-sized babies, and this problem cannot be predicted.  When this serious complications occurs, doctors and midwives use well-practiced techniques to resolve it. (pg. 228)

So, when the doctor plays the “Big Baby” card and fears that the baby could get stuck, just remember, ANY baby could get stuck.  It’s not reason to plan a c-section based on guesstimated size.  Especially since late-term ultrasounds are rarely correct and can be up to 2 pounds off in either direction.

The chances of a cesarean increase by two to four times in first-time mothers who have elective inductions, when compared to first-time mothers who have labors that begin spontaneously. (pg. 230)

So in other words, unless you want a c-section, just say “no” to non-medical induction.

[After the baby is born]…The warmest place for the bab (and the place where he will be happiest) is against his mother, skin to skin, with the two of them covered by a warm blanket.  Unfortunately, many hospitals customarily keep a baby in a warming unit while the nurse does all the newborn procedures.  Then the baby is usually wrapped and given a hat.  If the baby is presented to the mother all wrapped up, she should…place the baby naked against her skin with a warm blanket over both of them.  You should not uncover the baby or remove the hat.  If a newborn gets chilled…it may take a long time for him to regain his temperature. (pg 105-106)

Kangaroo care. Studies have shown that being held skin-to-skin against a parent’s chest and covered with a blanket keeps a baby warmer than does a heated baby bed.  The baby benefits not only from the parent’s warmth but also from his or her movements, soothing voice, touch, and even heartbeat sounds.  Both parent and baby are more content when they spend some hours each day in this “Kangaroo Care”.  Babies who have been “kangarooed” gain weight faster, suckle better, cry less, and are discharged from the hospital sooner.  Kangaroo Care has been done even with babies who are receiving oxygen or tube feedings or who are very premature or sick….(pg. 263

There is nothing the nurses or baby catcher needs to do to a healthy baby that can’t be done while the baby rests on mom’s chest and explores the breast for the first time.  Baby can be seen, watched, checked, and listened to all while mom hold him.

While a woman’s right to have a cesarean without medical justification is often unquestioned, her right to a vaginal birth is seriously jeopardized. (pg. 321)

The reasons for the sudden downturn in the VBAC rate are not clear.  No new evidence has revealed that VBACs are more dangerous than they were in the mid-1990s, when VBACs were promoted by insurance companies, government agencies, and many other organizations of medical professionals.  Researchers have found that uterine scars are more likely to separate with two recent practices: the use of a single-layer rather than a stronger double-layer closure after a cesarean delivery and the use of prostaglandins to induce a VBAC labor.  Provided that women have had double-layer suturing with their cesareans and that prostaglandins are avoided in their subsequent labores, VBACs are as safe as they were when they were very common…With modern surgical techniques and a supportive birth environment and caregiver, between 60 and 70 percent of women who attempt a VBAC will have one. (pg. 321-322)

It’s so sad that even though evidence shows that VBAC is a safe option when done correctly, many doctors continue to tell women that it’s safer to be sliced back open.  What’s sadder is that women believe them:(

The cord is often cut immediately, but a recent scientific analysis has found benefit to waiting for at least two minutes or until it stops pulsating – in five minutes or so.  Less likelihood of anemia for as much as six months exists in babies whose cords are cut later.  Until the cord is clamped or stops pulsating, the blood passes back and forth between the baby and the placenta.  It goes from placenta to baby whenever the uterus contracts, squeezing the blood from the placenta through the umbilical cord to the baby. (pg. 333)

There is no proven benefit to immediate clamping of the cord except in emergency cases when the baby needs care or the cord is wrapped around the neck and the baby can’t be delivered safely.

“Labor of Love” by Cara Muhlhahn

March 2, 2010

These are my favorite quotes from “Labor of Love”.

The implication of his comment was that I was too intelligent to be a nurse of midwife.  It’s ironic, because in Danish society, midwives are the ones with the best grades.  They are more highly revered than doctors. (pg. 45)

In the United Kingdom, A joint statement written by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in April 2007 states, “The Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists support homebirth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies.  There is no reason why homebirth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications, and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families.  There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman’s likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe, with implications for her health and that of her baby. (pg 166)

From experiences like those that happen most often in hospital births, a woman doesn’t learn that her body is an amazing vessel of creation that can do things she never dreamed.  This feeling, that I exist to defend, is an intangible that is very difficult to study and often lost to articulation.  Instead, in hospital births, all to often a woman learns that her body can’t do these things, and she is left with feelings of inadequacy. (pg. 172)

That’s right:  home is definitely safer in terms of exposure to germs!  The mother’s body has already dealth with the germs that inhabit her home.  In Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World, author Jessica Snyder Sachs states, “Children absorb the good bacteria they need to have populating their own digestive tract from birth on.  A Caesarian birth for example, results in a baby who is not exposed to the bacteria found in the mother’s perineal area, which raises the risk of developing autoimmune problems like asthma and Type 1 Diabetes.” (pgs. 173-174)

Why do so many women sign up for the disempowerment and added risks that come with hospital birth?…A woman in an ob-gyn’s office feels she needs to cooperate even though her instincts might be telling her to disagree, or question, because this person is going to deliver her baby.  Her life and her baby’s life will eventually be in the doctor’s hands. (pg. 174-175)

This results in the insidious process of turning one’s own instincts and intuitions over to the advice of the experts, even and especially when it contradicts a woman’s intuition.  Many women make this unfortunate and unnecessary mistake.  They choose a doctor they hear is “good” and then turn off their own voice, replacing it with “the voice of reason” — that of the expert.  This process is facilitated even more by the hormonal state of pregnancy, which creates an unusual psychological vulnerability in the pregnant woman.  By the time labor begins, the hierarchical power relationship has been conveniently laid down.  It’s almost impossible at the late state for a woman to take back the power. (pg. 175)

All medical practitioners trained in this country, including nurse-midwives, are trained to ensure safety in potentially risky situations while simultaneously minimizing the risk of litigation in the event of a bad outcome.  There two themes are always presented together, enmeshed like Siamese twins.  Preventing a malpractice suit becomes integrated into every clinical judgment call.  The reason why doctors place so much emphasis on minimizing risk and liability is that they have come to see themselves as ultimately responsible for every element of every outcome.  This simply isn’t true.  We are all only players in a complex chain of events. (pg. 179)

And hospitals aren’t all bad.  We couldn’t do without them in cases of emergency.  They have lots of intelligent doctors and machines and equipment and medications on hand that are great to have at your disposal when things are abnormal or become dangerous.  They’re just not great places for normal birth. (pg. 181)

The homebirth midwives with whom I associate in New York City are all equipped to deal with each of these outcomes.  I’ll venture to say that more often than not, their vast experience can promote patient safety better than the judgment call of a first-year resident, fresh out of medical school, who may be the person attending to the labor floor of a hospital. (pg. 190)

Regardless of where a birth takes place, safety is conferred by the ability of the health-care provider to make a quick diagnosis and then to stabilize the patient.  This happens as a result of clinical skill and the provider’s paying attention, which is where the one-to-one patient-midwife ratio at home wins. (pg 190-191)

The ability to remain unseen and not only to allow the birthing woman to have her power, but to help her achieve it, instead of stealing that spotlight, is what makes a midwife…amazing. (pg. 225)

Lord knows I had said many pithier things about empowerment and other aspects of homebirth…I read that article and felt once again, Are these people for real? They have come so close to such a huge, sacred event, with such immense political repercussions, and then profaned it, oversimplified it, and reduced it once again to the black and white of one of the usual themes: those who choose homebirth do so to prove that they don’t need the establishment.  To them, it’s some sort of crusade of rebellion against pain medication that somehow involves healthy eating.  People who oversimplify homebirth miss the real meat of the matter. (pg. 226)

breastfeeding is the best so back off!

February 10, 2010

So, some dumb ass answered a message board post I had put up looking for advice on how to get Eli to stop throwing his pacifier out of the crib.  Here’s what her reply said (having nothing to do with my request):
Instead of worrying so much about his pacifer, I’d be more concerned that you are still breastfeeding him at his age. If he’s on solid food, which I hope he is, he doesn’t need to breastfeed any more. It’s more for you than it is for him and that’s kind of strange. Wheat are you going to do when the new baby is here…. Put one kid on each breast? Kids should know how to use a sippy cup at a year old. If you’re really worried about nutrition for him,use a breast pump and put it in a cup.

So, since I took the time to write this up in defense of Eli’s needs, I thought I might as well copy and paste it here for anyone else who is retarded enough to have the same thoughts.  Hope this sets you straight if you think formula is as good as breast milk or that it has to stop any time before the age of 2!  I’ll put it in a blog as well so it will be around forever! lol

Sorry, but that’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.  You need to do some research if you think that breastfeeding needs to stop at a year.  They have done study after study and children benefit from breastfeeding as long as it continues.  The AAP recommends AT LEAST a year and then as long as it works for BOTH mother and child.  I don’t do it for me, I do it because my son hasn’t shown any sign of weaning.  I’d love to have my breasts back to milk-free and I’m sure my husband would, too!
The WHO recommends at least TWO years!  The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that babies be fed with breast milk only — no formula or solids — for the first 6 months of life. It is better to breastfeed for 6 months and best to breastfeed for 12 months, or for as long as you and your baby wish. Solid foods can be introduced when the baby is 6 months old, while you continue to breastfeed.
NO WHERE will you find scientific evidence that it’s bad to continue to breastfeed past the age of one.  I’m sorry you have been given (or maybe you just assumed) this information.  There are a lot of doctors out there who aren’t up to date on their breastfeeding statistics.  Because I breastfeed, my child has higher immunities to illnesses like colds and the flu.  He’s only been sick ONCE in 13 months and that was a mild cold with a snotty nose, nothing else.  “Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses and to help them fight off infection and disease.”  No ear infections (another proven benefit of breastfeeding because of positioning and the need for a stronger suck than on a bottle or sippy cup).  And he’s smarter, another thing you can look up.  Breastfed babies have a higher IQ and the longer they are breastfed, the more it helps.  Longer breastfeeding also contributes to lower allergies (both food and environmental).

This is not new information, I’m surprised every time I hear ignorance like yours.
Here are some 2005 findings by the AAP:
“Studies on infants provide evidence that breastfeeding can decrease the incidence or severity of conditions such as diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis. Some studies also suggest that breastfeeding may offer protection against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity and asthma among others.”
The 2005 policy recommendations include:
~ Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child (no FORCED weaning)
~ Mother and infant should sleep in proximity to each other to facilitate breastfeeding
~ Pediatricians should counsel adoptive mothers on the benefits of induced lactation through hormonal therapy or mechanical stimulation (yup, that means you should be nursing your adoptive children as well as your biological)
~ Recognize and work with cultural diversity in breastfeeding practices (breastfeeding 2 years and on)
~ In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
o 29% of energy requirements
o 43% of protein requirements
o 36% of calcium requirements
o 75% of vitamin A requirements
o 76% of folate requirements
o 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
o 60% of vitamin C requirements
— Dewey 2001
~ It’s not uncommon for weaning to be recommended for toddlers who are eating few solids. However, this recommendation is not supported by research. According to Sally Kneidel in “Nursing Beyond One Year” (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.)
Nursing toddlers are SICK LESS OFTEN
~ The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that children weaned before two years of age are at increased risk of illness (AAFP 2001).
~ Nursing toddlers between the ages of 16 and 30 months have been found to have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter duration than their non-nursing peers (Gulick 1986).
~ Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation” (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).
~ Per the World Health Organization, “a modest increase in breastfeeding rates could prevent up to 10% of all deaths of children under five: Breastfeeding plays an essential and sometimes underestimated role in the treatment and prevention of childhood illness.”
Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES

~ Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to prevent allergies and asthma is to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months and continue breastfeeding long-term after that point.

Breastfeeding can be helpful for preventing allergy by:
1. reducing exposure to potential allergens (the later baby is exposed, the less likely that there will be an allergic reaction),
2. speeding maturation of the protective intestinal barrier in baby’s gut,
3. coating the gut and providing a barrier to potentially allergenic molecules,
4. providing anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of infections (which can act as allergy triggers).
Nursing toddlers are SMART
~ Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest.

Benefits to mom:
“Research indicates that breastfeeding can reduce a mother’s risk of several medical conditions, including ovarian and breast cancer, and possibly a decreased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis in the postmenopausal period.”  The longer you breastfeed, the better off you are because it decreases hormones in your body that lead to cancers.
MOTHERS also benefit from nursing past infancy

* Extended nursing delays the return of fertility in some women by suppressing ovulation (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer (References). Studies have found a significant inverse association between duration of lactation and breast cancer risk.

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine cancer (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of endometrial cancer (References).

* Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom’s bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother’s diet. (References).

* Breastfeeding reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. (References).

* Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease insulin requirements in diabetic women (References).

* Breastfeeding moms tend to lose weight easier (References).

I’m guessing you are not in the medical field, I certainly hope not.  I also hope you aren’t spreading this misinformation about a natural process to too many people.

Feel free to do some research and try to contradict me, you won’t be able to.  And, for the record, yes, it’s called TANDEM NURSING.  It’s been going on since the beginning of time.  You feed the baby first to make sure they get what then need and then continue with the older child.  No different than nursing twins.

All this information was easily found in about a half hour.  Here’s where I got my information:

Where did you get yours?  I’m guessing it’s just the opinions of people around you or a doctor who isn’t up to date in his breastfeeding information.  I Googled “you shouldn’t breastfeed a toddler”, “not good to breastfeed a toddler”, and “risks of breastfeed a toddler” and NOTHING  to support these statements came up.  NOTHING.  Each statement only brought up links I had already checked on benefits of breastfeeding and support information.

Look down on all of us moms who are only doing what is best for your toddlers, but you have nothing to back up your statement except ignorance and old information.  And in the future, answer the question that is asked, don’t put in your opinions when they aren’t asked for or needed and have NOTHING to do with the advice being sought.

Eating while in Labor

February 8, 2010

Nutrition and Nourishment During Labor
by Dorinda Mitchell

Anytime you are with a group of women who are sharing stories of birth you will hear at least one woman complain of how hungry she was! Some women will even say, ” I would not have gotten sick if I could just have had something to eat!” As you think of the choices you have or your upcoming labor and birth have you thought about how you should nourish yourself? Did you know the research indicates withholding food and drink during labor is not beneficial? If this is the case, what should you be eating and drinking?

Let’s look at nourishment just before labor and during early labor. During the last days of pregnancy a shift to a high carbohydrate diet can be beneficial. This is because our body needs something called glycogen. Carbohydrates increase glycogen levels. If we don’t have these stored our body will convert fat into glycogen. When our body converts fat into glycogen we also produce a by-product called ketones. The production of ketones can result in slowing labor and fetal distress. To prevent ketosis IV’s are administered. As you can see what you eat sets the beginning course for your labor. Some suggestions for foods that help build stores of glycogen are breads, cereal, crackers, corn, pasta, potatoes, rice, and fresh fruit. During early labor you want to be sure to drink plenty of water, fruit juices, and Gatorade or sports drinks. These will help to replace electrolytes and keep you hydrated. You want to continue eating high-carbohydrate foods that will digest easily. This will help to prevent excessive fatigue. It is important also to avoid products such as dairy, spicy foods, and heavy amounts of protein.

As your labor progresses you will want to switch to more simple carbohydrates that will give you bursts of energy but will leave your body quickly. Some suggestions of these are juices, honey, and fruits. You may want to make up some juice-sicles to have. Even if you are at the hospital at this point most hospitals have a nourishment room with a freezer where they can be stored. During this period you will want to eat smaller amounts more frequently.

During your labor you may come to a time when your body may tell you to “stop!” If you don’t feel like eating now then don’t. Your digestive system will slow down, and it is okay to trust your body and what it is telling you.

Some of you may be thinking “This sounds great, but is my care-provider going to go for this? He/she said ‘No eating once labor begins!’ ” I can’t make promises as to how your care-provider will respond, but I can give you some factual research behind why staying nourished in labor is important.

The thought behind withholding food and drink is that if a woman has to have general anesthesia and vomits she could aspirate. However, the level of this risk is and always has been low. The other problem with this line of thinking is that even if there is no food in our stomach we still have gastric fluids. Anesthesiologists are trained to prevent the aspiration of fluids or food particles. In a Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth the routine withholding of food and drink from women in labor is classified as a form of care unlikely to be beneficial. At North Central Bronx Hospital the policy is to allow self-regulation of nourishment during a normal labor. This is what they have found in doing this. “� those women who nourished themselves at home during labor were likely to come to the hospital in more active labor than women who did not take nourishment. Women who do self-regulate their nourishment know what, or if, they need to eat and drink during labor�”

This, as with all issues concerning labor and birth, is something you will have to discuss with your care-provider. They may or may not be very open to this initially. You are the captain of your ship, though. Come armed with factual, evidence-based research and discuss what can be done. While some may say no eating once you are at the hospital, others may be very open. If your care-provider is not so open maybe you can plan to stay home until labor is well underway. Remember this, as with everything, there is a middle ground. So, happy eating!

* A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth, Enkin, Murray, MD, Keirse, Marc, MD, Renfrew, Mary, CNM, Neilson, James, MD. Oxford University Press, Oxford England. Second Edition, 1996.

* A Good Birth, A Safe Birth. Choosing and Having the Childbirth Experience You Want. Korte, Diana, Scaer, Roberta. The Harvard Common Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 1992.

GH’s portryal of birth

November 5, 2009

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS is why women are afraid of natural birth:( Stupid producers. She gets kidnapped, gets in an accident, finds an abandoned cabin, kidnapper shows, up…fine, it’s a soap opera, I’ve seen dumber. But the Soulder Dystocia?! She’s sitting there on the couch having the other woman “push the baby’s shoulders down as she pushes” to get her unstuck?! IDIOTS! Have her get on her hands-and-knees, the baby will pop out!

THIS is why women are scared of natural birth. THIS is why they go to the hospital when it isn’t needed. THIS is why they let doctors pull their babies out with focepts and vacuums (I was one of them) without trying anything else. THIS is why they agree to c-sections for “big babies” when there’s no evidence it’s safer than to atempt vaginal birth. Jesus…can’t we see one normal birth on TV? Have her take control, squat or get on hands-and-knees and pop that sucker out!

STUPID STUPID STUPID:( And those of us who believe that crap are more stupid…

And yes…I understand it’s just a show, but it’s like anything else, the more you watch the more you start to buy into it all, violence, sex, birth, it’s all the same. Watch natural birth? Believe it works. Watch crazy birth drama, believe it’s normal.

Why Jordan is intact

October 23, 2009

This might be more explanation than you were looking for…We had our first circ’ed because I didn’t know any better and basically left it up to my husband and figured “everyone does it, there’s no reason not to”.  He’s done and wanted his son(s) to be like him.  I also believed all those assumptions that it’s more hygienic and healthier.  At our hospital, the OB does it, not a pediatrician.  We did ask that he was numbed and my doc said she won’t do it otherwise, she doesn’t believe they can’t feel it.  From the beginning we had trouble.  She didn’t take off enough skin which has led to adhesions and constant redness and puffiness.  Most of the adhesions have let go and I’m told that the others may or may not.  If not, I will have to decide if we want them cut or left and if they are left, they could cause him pain later on then have to be cut, or they could aid him in regrowing his foreskin if he wanted to (yes, I guess this is possible!).

It wasn’t until I met other moms who don’t circ and I got pregnant again that I really looked in to it and found that there is no reason to circ and that there is no medical association on earth that recommends it!  Some insurance companies won’t even pay for it because it’s considered cosmetic.  I wish I had known that.  I also didn’t know that 1/3 of sexual pleasure is stolen with that skin:(  I now agree with most non-circ activists and consider it genital mutilation.  It doesn’t matter that it’s common, it’s no different than cutting a clitoris off just because it’s common in a tribe.  If there is no reason to do it, and we force it on babies, it’s’ mutilation.  If my second son decides he doesn’t like his non-circ’ed penis later on, he can always have it done, but it takes a lot of time and effort to regrow the foreskin (I will be getting all the info I can in case my first son wants to rectify our mistake).  People claim that it’s “cleaner” or “more hygienic” and that they do it “just in case”.  That’s like taking out every baby’s appendix at birth just so it doesn’t have to be done later in case they get appendicitis.

My husband didn’t agree, but when I asked him a few months ago said that he wasn’t mad that I wouldn’t let it be done again.  But no matter who wants it and who doesn’t, in the end both parents have to sign off on it and if the anti-circ parent cares enough, s/he can just refuse the surgery.  That is what it came down to with my husband.  In the end, I told him that I was the one going through pregnancy and labor and birth and if it was a boy (we didn’t find out either time) he would be perfect the way he came out.  I apologized to him for not being able to come to an agreement, but it was going to be my choice.  I did want to make him watch a video on circ but my friend who owns it was out of town and I went in to labor before I could get it.  I asked him later if it bothered him and he said it didn’t.  I think after you see your perfect baby and change diapers for a week, you forget that it looks different than some penises., and have some of the best information.  Or go to YouTube and search for Penn & Teller’s “BullShit” episode on Circumcision.  It’s go so much great information!

One last thought…I have come to look at it this way:  It’s not needed.  So, let’s compare it to a nose job.  You had a nose job and now you want your baby girl to look like you, so you have her nose altered to match yours at birth.  Uneeded?  Yup.  Crazy?  Sure.  Why is circumcision any different?  It’s an uneeded, painful surgery that we do because dad had it done.  I feel so much regret every time I change my son’s diaper and I wish just one person had told me that I shouldn’t do it and given me the facts…At least I saved my second son from it:)

Born in the USA

October 14, 2009

I read this wonderful book a couple years ago.  I think it should be mandatory reading for women and doctors (especially if you are contemplating kids in the near future).

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First

by Marsden Wagner

This book is written by an obstetrician who has been in practice as well as research.  He worked for the WHO in London and still consults on cases when needed.  Keep in mind that this is a book by a doctor who believes that his place is ONLY in high-risk pregnancy – a far different opinion than most OB/GYNs these days.  An OB is a specialized surgeon.  Having an OB attend your low-risk birth is the equivalent of having a brain surgeon check out your head when you bump it or a heart surgeon do your yearly physical.
It was one of the scariest things I’ve read and if you had an “emergency c-section” I suggest you do read it for information on VBACs but you will probably want to skip over all the facts regarding c-sections because you may quickly come to realize that your surgery was pre-emptive and not truly needed, had the doctor just slowed down, stepped back, and let the laboring woman’s body do its job.
He answers the question “Are Epidurals Safe?” Though your doctor may lead you to think otherwise, they can hardly be considered safe when 23% of women receiving one have complications.  There is a longer excerpt at the end about how unsafe an epidural block is if you are interested.
Following are some facts for the book and a few excerpts you may be interested in.  It’s sad that SOOOOO many women are scared about something that women have done for tens of thousands of years.  Only in the last 100 years has giving birth become a medical process needing “treatment”.  The question is, when statistics show that women don’t need medical help, why do we seek it?  This book gives the information on pregnancy and birthing that so many doctors don’t tell you and many don’t even know.
I only wish I had read this before having Eli.  Feel free to comment based on your own experience, but until you have read the book, know that you don’t have all the facts!
Just keep in mind, if my friend could go through 17 hours of labor, 5 hours of pushing, and have a 10-pound baby with a 15-inch head all the in comfort and safety of home with no complications, then you, too, can have an average-weight baby without the need for medical intervention.

Quick facts (pgs. 242-246):
There are twenty-two industrialized countries with lower infant mortality rates than the US.  All 22 provide universal prenatal care.

25% of US women receive little or no prenatal care. 1 in 2 of these women with give birth to a low-birth-weight baby (less than 5.5 pounds) or a premature baby (less than 37 weeks of gestation).

60% of infant death is linked to low birth weight.  It costs 2.5-times as much to raise a low-birth-weight baby to the age of 35 than a baby of average birth-weight.

Intensive care for one infant: $20,000-100,000.  This amount would cover prenatal care for 30 women.

Percentage of births attended principally by midwives:
US: 10%
European nations: 75%
Percentage of countries with lower infant mortality rates than the US in which midwives are principal birth attendants: 100%

Average cost of a mid-wife-attended birth in the US: $1,200
Average cost of a physician-attended vaginal birth in the US: $4,200

Number of scientific studies in which routine electronic fetal monitoring during every birth has been proven more effective than the use of a simple stethoscope to monitor the fetal heart: ZERO
Cost per year of using routine electronic fetal monitoring during every childbirth: $750 million

US C-section rate:
1965: 5%
2004: 29.1%
C-section rate targeted by the WHO and the U.S. Department of Health and Human services: 12%

Percentage of women in the US with C-sections who undergo repeat C-section: 91% (totally unneeded in eight-nine out of ten births).

Ratio of women dying from C-section to women dying from vaginal birth: 4 to 1

Average cost of C-section: $7,826

Evidence shows that when the c-section rate goes over 15%, the maternal mortality rate increases.
Evidence shows that midwives are safer than doctors to attend low-risk births.
Evidence shows that planned home birth for women with low-risk pregnancies is as safe as hospital birth.

“The key issue in the question of where to give birth, however, is who is in control.  Physicians, hospitals, electronic fetal monitors, and drugs do not have babies – only the mother of the child can do that. . .All maternity services should reflect this fundamental fact and should be designed to assist and support the woman.  Most of the present care system for birthing women in the US is designed not to assist the mother but rather to control her.
“Doctors control women with fear.  They have succeeded in convincing the great majority of American women that they cannot safely give birth outside the hospital; that nearly half of them have uteruses that are non-starters and need to have labor induced or augmented with powerful drugs; that up to two-thirds of them cannot tolerate labor pain and must be made numb from the waist down with an epidural block so they cannot feel the birth of their babies; that one-third of them cannot push out their babies but must have it pulled out with forceps or a vacuum or cut out by c-section.  When we try to make women believe that they can’t give birth without the help of men, machines, and hospitals, we take away their confidence and their belief in their own bodies – and with their confidence gone, any feelings of power and autonomy also disappear…” (pg. 190)

“Women who have epidural block for normal labor pain have risk of dying that is triple that of women who do not. . .”A woman also has a 15 to 20 percent chance of developing a fever after receiving an epidural block. When a woman in labor developed a fever, it means that a diagnostic evaluation must be done to determine if there is an infection in her body or in the baby’s body. These diagnostic procedures can sometimes be invasive, including doing a spinal tap on the baby, which is a painful and risky procedure in and of itself.”Another known complication of epidural block: between 15 and 35 percent of women who are given an epidural will suffer from urinary retention after the birth, a condition which, if it continues, necessitates putting a catheter in the bladder until bladder function returns.”. . .Studies show that around 10 percent of epidurals don’t work at all; there is no pain relief. Even when pain is blocked during labor, about one-third of the women given an epidural will trade a few hours of pain-free labor of days, weeks, or months of back pain after the birth. Studies show that 30 to 40 percent of women who receive an epidural during labor will have severe back pain after the birth, and 20 percent will still have severe back pain a year later.”The fact that when an epidural block is given labor does not progress normally has consequences as well. A great deal of scientific research has shown that women who receive epidural block for normal labor pain will have a significantly longer second stage of labor, and thus the epidural block means a four times greater chance that forceps or vacuum extraction will be used to extract the baby, and at least a two time greater chance that a C-section will be performed. . .”Although many women might be willing to take risks with their own bodies for pain relief, very few women are willing to put their babies at risk. But that is what a woman does when she agrees to an epidural. One common complication when a woman has an epidural is that there will be a sudden drop in her blood pressure, leading to a sharp drop in blood flow through the placenta to the fetus. This drop in blood flow can result in mild to severe lack of oxygen getting to the fetus, which if not quickly treated can result in brain damage in the baby. . .Studies have shown that in 8 to 12 percent of cases in which a woman is given an epidural block for normal labor pain, the electronic fetal heart monitor will show a severe lack of oxygen to the baby. In a further study, after having an epidural, three-quarters of the babies of healthy women in normal labor had episodes of slowing of the fetal heart rate, a symptom of fetal distress” (pgs. 54-55).

Epidurals also lead to sleepy babies and if you want to get off to a good start in breastfeeding with as few complications as possible, a sleepy baby is the last thing you want right after birth.

What makes you mad?

October 14, 2009

The question posted in my churches’ Facebook group (yes, we’re that hip…we have a Facebook group) was:

Well, here’s a place to start. On Sunday, I revealed that I’m pretty
angry about bottled water for environmental reasons and the fact that
there are plenty of places in this world where people literally don’t
have water much less clean water… I wonder what Angry Jesus would
have to say.

What makes you angry? Seriously, what makes you angry enough to take action and affect change?

I liked my answer so much I have pasted it here to share with you all,
if you are interested. I’d love to hear what makes you angry!

You probably don’t want to read all of this but you’ve opened a can of
worms with me…or rather one of those “can of nuts” with a snake that
jumps out at you;)

I am angry that ACOG and the media have women so afraid of pregnancy
and birth that they flock to surgeons for routine care instead of
midwives who have better statistics. How is it that we are supposedly
SO medically advanced and yet of all industrial nations we have the
highest c-section rate and perinatal death rates for both women and
babies. There are two possible answers to this. Either 1) low-risk
pregnancy and birth should never be over-seen by surgeons looking for
something to go wrong, inducing for non medical reasons and
administering drugs at the first sign of labor or 2) somehow, US women
have evolved so much that ONE THIRD of them are suddenly unable to have
healthy vaginal births. Hospitals and doctors are for sick people and
only 7-10% of women actually have something wrong with them or their
baby that requires obstetric care. But every day, ACOG and OBs lie to
women telling them that home birth is not a safe option, that birth
centers aren’t as good as hospitals, that VBACs are riskier than
scheduled surgery, that slowed labor is reason for surgery when the
baby shows no signs of distress.

How can our country look at our birth statistics in relation to other
industrialized nations and think that our way is the best? How can
media make show after show like “A Baby Story” with emergency after
emergency and think they are doing anything but scaring women out of
the natural process of birth?

How can a nation that is largely religious believe that God has made
them some-how faulty in reproducing to the point that offspring must be
cut out of them more than 33% of the time?

How can 85% of women spend more time researching their next car
purchase than they do their birth options? Most of us would never walk
in to a single dealership, take the first car dealer who walked up to
me and let him tell me what car to buy with which options, but that’s
exactly what women let their God-like doctors do.

People blame insurance for it. “Doctors are quick to cut because of a
fear of litigation and malpractice insurance goes up because of it.”
That’s because there is a huge difference between a woman who has a
midwife in a birthing center or at home and a woman who uses a doctor.
The difference is that a woman who believes her doctor is all-knowing
because s/he went to medical school can do no wrong and is solely at
fault when something goes wrong, whereas a woman who uses a midwife
knows that sometimes things happen in birth that can’t be prevented.
When compared to doctors with low-risk patients, Midwives have lower
c-section rates and lower death rates and are rarely sued when
something goes wrong. Their rates are much more comparable to those of
other industrialized nations.

How can that not make women furious? Women and babies are dying for no
reason and ACOG puts out a statement that home birth shouldn’t be legal
because it’s unsafe. If you want to look purely at statistics, it’s
hospitals that shouldn’t be allowed to deliver low-risk births. But
then OBs and ACOG don’t get any money.

Truly natural birth rarely ends badly. Natural birth is a birth
unhindered by IVs, artificial induction, or pain medication. A birth
that isn’t “managed” but watched over. A birth that is left to the
woman’s body because that woman comes from a long, unbroken line of
childbearing women. Birth didn’t become safer when it entered the
hospital, in fact, more women died because of hospital birth for many
years until germs were discovered.

Here’s my favorite quote:

“There’s a secret in our culture and it’s not that birth is painful, it’s that women are strong.” -Laura Stavoe Harm

What women don’t know is that OBs spend little time learning about
delivering babies in medical school and not one minute, not one written
page is spent on natural birth and its effectiveness. All the while,
midwives spend almost all their time learning how to safely deliver a
baby. How can that possibly have anything but a better outcome?

So, I have decided to go through doula training this summer in hopes
that I can help women learn about natural birth and help them through
it, even if they chose to do it in the hospital.

Oh, and routine infant circumcision…but that’s an even longer post.

Like I said…you probably didn’t want to read it all. But I feel better getting it out…thanks for asking:)