Archive for June, 2009

New Movie: Reducing Infant Mortality and Improving the Health of Babies

Posted on June 27, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Breastfeeding, Cesarean, Pregnancy, vbac | Tags: , |

This is a very important topic. As many people as possible need to see this film.

From The Unneccesarian

Reducing Infant Mortality, a free online film, will be released this summer as a tool for drawing attention to infant mortality and health issues as national health care policy is debated on Capitol Hill.

According to the film’s web site, the U.S. health care system is failing babies and families before, during and after birth as evidenced by the country’s worldwide infant mortality ranking of 42nd, with more than double the infant deaths compared to the top 10 countries of the world.

The filmmakers report that they are seizing the opportunity to make a 10-12 minute video to point out the flaws in the way we care for babies and families and to identify the keys to improved care at a time when the U.S. government is working to reform health care.

Of particular concern to the creators of Reducing Infant Mortality is the “astronomically high” African American infant mortality rate of 16 deaths per 1,000, which is similar to countries such as Malaysia and the West Bank. Their hope is for legislators and public policy makers to rethink the current health care system and incorporate the midwifery model of care to save taxpayers millions of dollars each year and promote a new measure of success for the infant’s first year of life—thriving, not just surviving.

The extensive list of experts interviewed for the film includes Michel Odent, Thomas Verny, Marshall Klaus, Phyllis Klaus, Marsdsen Wagner, David Chamberlain, Karen Strange, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Jennie Joseph, Sarah Buckley, Bruce Smith, Yeshi Neumann, Paul Fleiss, Maria Iorillo, Stuart Fischbein, Debra Bonaro-Pascali and Judith Prager.

The Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization, is the fiscal sponsor of the Reducing Infant Mortality film project. Tax deductible donations to support the film can be made by check or electronically via the website. The film’s creators are looking for networking partners to help promote the film and provide a contact e-mail on the site’s home page for those interested in helping.”

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More Info on the Brewer Diet

Posted on June 26, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Pre eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Brewer Diet | Tags: , , , , , |

This website is very informative and explains how the Brewer Pregnancy Diet works in great detail. The author if the site is Joy Jones. She is an RN and childbirth educator with extensive knowledge of the Brewer diet and nutrition in pregnancy.

The Brewer Diet, as I discussed in a previous post, focuses on protein, salt and calories. Joy goes into depth on the benefits of the diet and how nutrition can affect:

Premature Labor
Blood Pressure
Mistaken Diagnoses
Underweight Babies
Gestational Diabetes

As I have said before, diet cannot necessarily cure every pregnancy issue but it can affect many aspects of pregnancy and it is something that we can and should control. Please be sure to read about the Brewer diet if you are pregnant and pass this on to anyone you know that is pregnant.

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Hospitals Can’t Handle VBACs? Then What Can They Handle?

Posted on June 26, 2009. Filed under: Cesarean, vbac |

Great article. Another one I wish that I had written!

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A History of VBACs and Cesareans in the USA

Posted on June 25, 2009. Filed under: Cesarean, vbac | Tags: , , , |

This is an awesome article on the history of VBACs and c sections in the USA.

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The Six Care Practices that Support Normal Birth (Part Two)

Posted on June 25, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Cesarean, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

As I said in Part One of this article, there are six care practices that support normal birth. Lamaze International says “The six care practices below are supported by research studies that examine the benefits and risks of maternity care practices. Therefore, they represent “evidence-based care,” which is the gold standard for maternity care worldwide. Evidence-based care means “using the best research about the effects of specific procedures, drugs, tests, and treatments, to help guide decision-making.”

Unfortunately, in the U.S., the trend is not towards normal birth and adhering to the six care practices that support normal birth. Maternity care in the U.S. has a “prominent position, large expenditures and troubling performance” according to the Milbank report Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve released in October of 2008. This report discusses the issues with the U.S. maternity systems, the overuse of routine interventions and the harm they cause and closing the gap between them and the normal birth practices for healthier moms and babies. I will talk about this report in depth in another post as it has some great information that every pregnant woman should know.

Care Practice #1: Labor Begins on its Own

This seems so obvious but women are being induced more and more and for more and more reasons that really are not means for induction. In my Truth About Pitocin post, I discussed the difference between medical inductions and elective inductions. The medical reasons for induction are:

* your water has broken and labor has not begun.
* your pregnancy is postterm (more than 42 weeks).
* you have high blood pressure caused by your pregnancy.
* you have health problems such as diabetes that could affect your baby.
* you have an infection in the uterus.
* your baby is growing too slowly.

Suspected big baby is not reason for induction and ACOG doesn’t recommend it either but it is commonly a reason for induction. Also common to that is the birth of an 8lb baby after the induction failed and a cesarean had to be performed when if given time, the mother would have spontaneously began labor on her own when both she and the baby were ready.

Also important to note is that a pregnancy is not considered post term until AFTER 42 weeks. Only after 42 weeks should the pregnancy be induced if all else is normal.

Labor induction is not without risk. Research has shown there is a significant increase in

* vacuum or forceps-assisted vaginal birth;
* vacuum or forceps-assisted vaginal birth;
* cesarean surgery;
* problems during labor such as fever, fetal heart rate changes, and shoulder dystocia
* babies born with low birth weight;
* admission to the NICU;
* jaundice (yellow skin caused by the breaking down of red blood cells) that required treatment; and
* increased length of hospital stay.

In addition, the chance of cesarean is nearly doubled when induced and there is a higher risk of prematurity as due dates are only estimates. There are also psychological effects as it makes us think that there is something wrong with us for not going into labor on our on. I have had clients ask me if I thought a friend was capable of going into labor or if someones water can break on it’s on. These are pretty valid questions, especially for a first time mom who has seen most of her friends get induced for one reason or another and every one of them had artificial rupture of membranes (water broken for them). The thing is, our bodies will not stay pregnant forever. We are meant to birth the babies that we grow. We are just forgetting that in this day in age where most women are given pitocin and think that they just HAD to have it or they couldn’t have birthed their baby. It’s really sad that we have come to this. We do not HAVE to have pitocin to give birth.

Care Practice #2: Freedom of Movement During Labor

This one is pretty simple but too often women are told to get in the bed and stay there. Usually this happens because they are on some medication (pitocin, cytotec, anesthesia) that requires continual fetal monitoring and IV lines. All of this is counterproductive to what the body and the baby are trying to do. The uterus works better when a woman moves around. It’s a muscle and movement increases circulation. The pelvis not stationary. It moves and flexes and bends and as it does the baby is able to moved and wiggle down into it with the help of gravity. Being on the back in bed prohibits this movement and closes the pelvis up making a smaller exit for the baby to move in to.

The research has shown that movement causes:

shorter labors,
more efficient contractions
greater comfort
less need for pain medicine in labor

Even if there is a medical reason to have continual electronic fetal monitoring, there is enough slack in the line to get out of bed and sit in a chair or a birth ball or to sway with your partner.

Care Practice #3: Continuous Labor Support

I am a doula, I think every woman should have a doula. It’s not because I am trying to justify the profession or the cost or to promote myself, but I really believe that no woman should have to birth without someone who is trained to support a laboring woman. There is a big difference between a doula and a loving partner, a doula and a best friend who has had five kids and a doula and the grandma. While a doula does form a relationship with her clients, she doesn’t have that intimate relationship these other people do and can help the laboring woman without the emotions that are often involved with these family members. Doulas are also trained professionals who study birth and labor and ways to make labor easier and more comfortable with different positions and massage and other techniques that even someone who has had a few kids of their own may not know. Doctors, midwives and nurses often times have several patients at once and cannot stay with the laboring woman.

The research has shown that the presence of one-on-one support such as that of a doula a less likely to have:

have a cesarean section;
give birth with vacuum or forceps;
have regional analgesia (e.g., an epidural)
have any analgesia (pain medication)
report negative feelings about their childbirth experience

Doulas can also help incorporate the partner into the labor experience. Often times partners are very inexperienced in childbirth and they are nervous and worried and are scared of labor pains. They are often scared and unsure of how to help their partner even though they very much want to. I have found that they are relieved to have the help of a doula, especially once labor kicks in to high gear and they do feel more of a part of the labor process when they are shown ways to help the mother. It gives them a greater sense of importance and usefulness that they very much appreciate. I love working with the partners as much as the moms because they are so willing and grateful by the end. Even the strongest, most loving and supportive dads benefit from having a doula around.

There are three more care practices supporting normal birth. I will discuss them in Part Three.

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Age Poll

Posted on June 24, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I am curious to know what the curve is for the age of my readers. If you don’t mind, please select your age group, it’s anonymous. I am sorry to lump 50+ all in one group but my assumption is that by 50 most women are no longer in their childbearing years. Thanks!


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Breastfeeding: The Real Economic Stimulus Packages

Posted on June 24, 2009. Filed under: Breastfeeding |

This article discusses a new breastfeeding campaign. I think it’s awesome and very well done.

The Best For Babes Foundation expects this ad to appear on billboards and buses in the near future. Keep your eyes out and help spread the word about this incredible foundation and their great ad campaign! Read the entire press release here: Best for Babies Gets Bold.

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Reporting Cytotec Induction to the FDA

Posted on June 23, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Cesarean, cytotec, Pregnancy, vbac | Tags: , , , , |

I wrote a post on the dangers of Cytotec last week and sitrred up some conversation on this topic on a mommy board that I have been a part of since I was pregnant with Graham. One of the moms, Margaret, was induced with Cytotec and didn’t know anything about it at the time and had a pretty terrifying delivery as a result of it. Both mom and baby were fine but in the months after her daughter’s birth, she began to learn more about Cytotec and the dangers of it and she was understandably outraged by what she found. She sent me this link . It is the FDA’s MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form. If you were induced with Cytotec, you can report the information here and hopefully raise the awareness of it’s dangers by demanding action from the FDA. To read more about it, please go to The Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation. Tatia and her baby Zorah died as a result of an amniotic embolism caused by an overstimulated uterus induced with Cytotec. It’s a sad story but one that needs to be told so that more women become of aware of the dangers of this drug. Please pass this information on to anyone you know that was induced with Cytotec or to any women you know that are pregnant.

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The Six Care Practices that Support Normal Birth (Part One)

Posted on June 22, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Cesarean, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Many of you know that I will training to become a Lamaze certified childbirth educator. I am hosting a Passion for Birth (PfB) seminar in Seoul in October. PfB is a program accredited by Lamaze that focuses on how to ‘stomp out boring childbirth classes.’

I chose PfB and Lamaze for many reasons.I chose PfB because I liked the way the material is being presented. Stomping out boring childbirth classes, that’s GREAT! How many of you have been to a hospital childbirth class that was a full day of listening to someone tell you about when to show up to get your epidural, what the hospitals policies are and how everyone is required to have this or that done to them once they are admitted? How much did you learn about birth? About natural birth? Normal birth? Did you leave more nervous the when you got there? Were you worried about your birth plan being respected? The idea that PfB has of teaching CBE’s how to teach evidence based care and to be fun and interactive at the same time really inspired me. The other reason for chosing PfB is Ann Tumblin. My husband ran across her when I was pregnant with my son. We were searching for doulas in Korea and her name came up as she has been here to train Korean doula instructors for DONA. She was really nice to my husband and he remembered her (and she remembered him) over a year later when I decided to train as a doula myself and looked her up. I was trying to find other doulas in Korea to learn from. She was just amazing with her advice and with how willing she was to talk to me about being a doula and a childbirth educator. When I found out she was coming to Korea again in October, I just HAD to see if we could have a PfB seminar while she was here. I can’t wait!

So with the PfB portion of the childbirth educator training in place, I really had to spend some time learning about Lamaze International, since that’s who my certifying agency would be and whose care practices I would be teaching. I was one of those people who heard ‘lamaze’ and thought of the old school hoo-hoo, hee-hee breathing that I saw laboring women do in the movies. I was apprehensive because I took the Bradley Method when I was pregnant and while I loved the classes, the amount of childbirth education I received and the relaxation techniques, I had gathered that Lamaze was considered second rate to the Bradley Method. Just to set all this straight now so there is no confusion, I really do love and respect the Bradley Method and even considered becoming Bradley certified but I didn’t go with it because it is more of a method. I wanted flexibility so that I can teach normal birth but not necessarily methodically. I wanted a birth philosophy that was in line with my own way of thinking. All that said, I remember my classes making me think that Lamaze was in fact some kind of patterned breathing technique. It was but in the 80’s they changed from a method to a philosophy and that philosophy spoke to me when I started digging in.

I have a very strong idea about what kind of childbirth educator I want to be, about how I want to teach and the way I want my classes to be. For instance, I want to keep my classes to ten couples or less. I would like for them to be in someones home, mine or one of the students. I want to develop relationships with the students and answer their questions honestly and factually with evidence based answers. I want to instill trust of the birth process and of a woman’s ability to birth into my students. I want them to leave my classes with the knowledge and the confidence to have whatever kind of normal birth they want be it hospital, home or even unassisted. I want them to know that they have choices and a voice in the birth of their child. I believe that with PfB and Lamaze that I can accomplish these things and I am looking forward to my seminar very much. I just hope we have enough participation!

The title of this post is “The Six Care Practices that Support Normal Birth”. These are the care practices that Lamaze teaches. They are:

1. Labor begins on its own

2. Freedom of movement throughout labor

3. Continuous labor support

4. No routine interventions

5. Spontaneous pushing in upright or gravity-neutral positions

6. No separation of mother and baby after birth with unlimited opportunities for breastfeeding

I labeled this post Part One because I knew it would get long. In Part Two, I will discuss the six care practices. Stay Tuned!

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MUST READ: This is What a Nursing Toddler Looks Like

Posted on June 20, 2009. Filed under: Breastfeeding |

I hope that I raise my son to be as amazing as this kid is:)

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