Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Labor Positions and How They Work!

Are you looking for free videos to use in your teaching?  This is a nice, short video on the purpose and value of positions and changing positions during labor.   If you haven't subscribed to my YouTube Channel, "Connie Livingston", I have more there under the playlist "Childbirth Education".  Enjoy!

Monday, March 09, 2015

MTHFR: Implications for Childbirth Educators, Doulas and Lactation Consultants

MTHFR or methylenetetrahydrofolate reductaste is a gene found on a certain chromosome in every human cell.  The MTHFR gene creates an enzyme responsible for a process that changes the amino acid homocysteine to methionine, another amino acid.  Amino acids are the primary ingredients of proteins, and methionine makes proteins and other critical compounds.  A mutation of this gene can generate a disruption of the normal function of MTHFR, which breaks down the homocysteine.

Mutations are classified as heterozygous or homozygous.  If the mutation is heterozygous, the
mutation is on one strand (allele) of the chromosome. There are few if any clinical implications for those with a heterozygous mutation.  If it is homozygous, the mutation is on both strands or alleles.  It is estimated that mutations occur in 12% -17% of all humans.

High levels of homocysteine (or hyperhomocysteinemia) can cause inflammation in the body, such as to blood vessels.  High levels of homocysteine have been linked to cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, certain cancers and fractures.  Research is now focusing on severe MTHFR mutations that cause problems during pregnancy – most notably, miscarriage.  The miscarriages are produced by a clotting disorder.    There may be thyroid complications, pre-eclampsia, placental lesions and of course miscarriage.  Pregnancy complications rise 80 fold for those who have a homozygous mutation.

Just how to treat MTHFR is controversial.  Depending on the mutation, treatment can include supplementation with folate, care providers may also suggest a regimine of anti-clotting medications such as heparin or Lovenox.  While the package insert for Lovenox states that “Lovenox is not expected to harm an unborn baby.  However, some forms of this medication contain a preservative that may be harmful to a newborn.”  Much of the treatment seems dependent on the type of mutation.

To learn more about MTHFR and Pregnancy, here are some valuable websites.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Full Worm Moon Coming March 5; Equinox March 20

Full moons present interestingly in hospital ER’s and ob units.  The gravitational pull is known to affect the biological rhythm in humans, presumably due to the fact that humans are 80% water.  Studies world-wide have verified this phenomenon.

The names of full moons come from our Native American culture.  According to the Farmer’s Almanac, tribes tracked and named the moons based on the activities in a certain season.  For the Full Worm Moon, this signals the beginning of spring….despite the current blanket of snow in many parts of the US.

Originating with the Algonquin Tribes from New England to Lake Superior, the Full Worm Moon was the spring moon.  Spring found that the hard, previously frozen ground had thawed and earthworms began their journey to the top of the ground.  The earthworm presence (their casts or fecal leavings)  signaled robins to begin foraging for food and their songs begin to fill the cool air.  This moon is sometimes called the Sap Moon (when sap from Maple trees began flowing), the Crow Moon (due to Crows cawing), or the Lenten Moon (during the Christian season of Lent and the last full moon of winter).

In March, there is also the vernal equinox, this year on March 20.  It is called the vernal (spring) “equinox”  from the Latin words equal night.  Thus the night and day of March 20 will be nearly the same length in time – 12 hours.  If you happen to be in Chichen Itza, Mexico on March 20, go to the pyramid known as El Castillo.  This pyramid has four staircases from top to bottom and these staircases are built at such an angle that the sunlight looks like an huge snake coming down the stairs on the equinox.   Or if you are in England, you might visit Stonehenge for the annual  gathering.

Like the full moon, the equinox is a time of balance, cleansing (spring cleaning), and renewal.

So watch out about 1:05 pm EST on March 5 and 6:45 pm EST on March 20! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Are Brelfies the Next Internet Trend?

If you are on Facebook, you have seen them.  And Facebook is trying to ban them or delete them.

What are they?  They are “brelfies”.

Brelfies are breastfeeding selfies.  Photos of mothers and babies, breastfeeding are the latest
trend and it isn’t only celebrities such as Pink that are doing it.  Regular people, just like you and I, are taking photos of them breastfeeding.  Facebook, trying to enforce their nudity policy is trying to delete these photos, but most moms think Facebook is wrong to include breastfeeding photos as nudity and delete them.  It is estimated that one in five mothers of breastfeeding babies have already posted a “brelfie”.  Celebrities such as Alyssa Milano, Gwen Stefani and Pink even post brelfies.

On Wednesday February 25, 2015, Twitter lit up after a woman stated that those who post brelfies are just “showing off.”  However, the parade of mothers who posted in response said the things a lot of us say: “It is natural for babies to eat at the breast.” “Breastfeeding should not be sexualized.”  Some photos were calming and beautiful, but some mothers posted photos that were comical and clearly jabbing at the woman who attempted to pass judgment. 

You can Google the word brelfie or even check out the #Brelfie hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.  There are even brelfie pin on pinterest.
It is my hope that brelfies help to make breastfeeding more mainstream.  And why not?  Isn’t that what breasts are intended to do?  Feed babies?  If brelfies do change the way people “look” at breasts and breastfeeding, this brelfie movement will demonstrate the power of the consumer. 

Professionals can advocate in many different ways for change to occur, but it is (and always has been) the consumer who has the power.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Don't Be Afraid of the Blog! Part 3

What to post when you are not inspired!

Blogging is most easy for those who like to write.  Writers and birth researchers have a lot to say – all of the time!  With new studies literally being published daily, it would be feasible to update your blog 3-4 times a day with new material.  However feasible that is, it is just not practical.  And sometimes, writers’ block is a reality.

Writers’ block comes when you are not inspired or on fire about a certain topic.  It may come when other facets of your life take precedence.  It may come when you are highly stressed. And some days, it doesn’t have a reason to appear.

So what does a blogger do when you either don’t have time to post or have writers’ block?  Here are a few suggestions that I have used over my eight years as a blogger:

1. Find a new video and post it OR put up a treasured oldie.  Combing through YouTube is great as you can not only find videos to use in your practice but you also learn which ones NOT to refer to your clients and peers.  All a video needs is a sentence or two about why you like (or don’t like) a certain video. (See a sample video clip below).

2. Invite a guest blogger to post on your blog.  Newer bloggers want to get noticed and drive more people to their own blog.  Experienced bloggers realize this and often are happy to share exposure.

3. Schedule a blog carnival.  What is a blog carnival?  An established blogger hosts the carnival selects a topic(s) for the carnival.  Then the host puts out a call for submissions to others asking them to participate in the carnival.  If the carnival is one day, the host may only ask for small submissions in order to put them together.  If the carnival is a week or perhaps a month, the host will be posting each day of the week or month.  The guest can publicize his/her blog and thus drive more people to the guest’s.  A carnival also calls attention to the host’s blog.  To maintain the integrity of the host blog, the host will need to proofread the guest blog entries for grammar, punctuation and, in the case of birth professionals, evidence-based information.

4. Post a meme, photo, or cartoon.  You can make memes on sites such as memegenerator.net.  These can be funny, true or funny and true.  Hosts avoid aggressive or
New Product Reviews
snarky memes as that may detract from the audience.  If you post a photo or cartoon that originally was not your own, you will need a photo release or permission to reprint on file.

5. Information about a book, video or new product.  Often you will see a video, read a book or use a new product and can’t wait to share it with your peers.  Your blog is the perfect place to showcase your finds!  Book reviews and video reviews help others select what is right for them as long as they trust your opinion.  Remember that any type of review is your opinion mixed with factual details (such as length of a video, cost of new product or publisher of a book). 

Don’t forget that whatever you post on your blog, publicize it on your website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media.  Having a social media circle of promotion can be key to your success as a blogger!

Sample video clip from Mothers Advocate (www.mothersadvocate.org