Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Using You Tube to Enhance Childbirth Education Part 2

Yes, you can use social media and You Tube to enhance your childbirth education classes. Referring couples or potential clients to videos to give them a preview of what they will learn in your childbirth class or look back on after class is over, can be helpful.   Below, are some great video segments on labor positions and comfort measures for birth, including water labor.

Positions for Labor from iBirth - included in the iBirth App.

Exercises for Optimal Positioning of the Baby - nice demo on birth ball and also pelvic rock!
But please stress caution at 4:03 and the Forward Leaning Inversion.

About water labor and water birth......

Friday, August 15, 2014

Using You Tube to Enhance Childbirth Education Part 1

Using social media is an important part of childbirth education in this decade!  As with other social media, there are wonderful resources and not so wonderful resources.

Thanks to Injoy Video and You Tube, I have selected some video clips that you can use in your childbirth education class to give that vital element of historical perspective.

Birth Images

 Birth Postures of the 1800s

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Fetal Biome: The Beginnings of Prenatal Parenting

In 2001, I was reading a book titled Prenatal Parenting.  The author was Dr. Fred Wirth, a staff neonatologist at Reading Hospital and Medical Center in Reading, Pennsylvania. 

Wirth brought to light communication with the unborn child and called the womb the “intrauterine temple of learning”.  He believed in the empowerment of women and that they should take charge of their health care, not only as a means to a more satisfying birth experience, but as an optimal pregnancy and birth outcome catalyst.

“Faith and prayer are pivotal to my belief that you can increase the safety of your pregnancy by taking more responsibility for its outcome.  Thinking you are incapable of handling such responsibility will only work against you.  You must have faith in your ability to do this.”

And why not? Women are creating a wonderful environment both physically and emotionally for this baby.  The “faith” and “prayer” do not have to be religious.  But faith and prayer in a higher power or meditation and relaxation can help alleviate fear – and fear begets tension and tension begets stress hormones, which can have multiple negative effects on the growing baby and the pregnancy.
Fear is a huge topic today – with media input such as television views of childbirth and certain books and embellished stories from friends!  Fear of childbirth or tocophobia may include nightmares, panic attacks and psychosomatic symptoms.  The fear may be rooted in the misunderstanding of the pain in childbirth or apprehension in being at the hospital during the birth.  In our society hospitals are the place of illness and death – not the ideal location for pregnancy which is mostly a situation of health and wellness.  Again with the media, we have created a culture of avoiding pain: this medication for a headache, this medication for arthritis, this medication for menstrual cramps – we don’t have time for the pain.  And why should we – just take medication.

Therefore protecting the fetal biome is more than eating the right foods or consuming enough liquid to avoid dehydration.  It is a psychosocial journey of learning about the roots of fear, education on methods of comfort measures for the tension, as well as understanding the mechanism of pain and how to use the pain to the advantage of both the mother and baby.

When the above skill set is in process of being mastered, a powerful emotional bond begins to take place between the mother and child.  As childbirth educators and doulas, we can help mothers establish this reverence for the fetal biome and facilitate prenatal bonding.  What we teach our expectant clients has an impact on their relationship with their baby and may greatly influence the pregnancy.  Focus education not only on the expectant mother or the growing baby but the two as a dynamic dyad where love flows back and forth.

Want to read Dr. Wirth’s book Prenatal Parenting?  There are copies available on Amazon: click here.  And as former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said, “Read this book!  You will learn how to improve your birthing experience, as well as the health and happiness of your unborn child.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

Climate Change in Birth

There is much discussion regarding climate change in the world.  There should also be conversations about climate change in birth.

Current conversation about birth talks about what is happening now: maternal morbidity/mortality, infant morbidity/mortality, breastfeeding rates à but what about the future?  How will the way we required women to give birth now, impact birthing in the future?

And furthermore, why should we care?

In his book, Childbirth in the Age of Plastics, Michel Odent points out that we just do not know
how interfering in the normal reproductive physiology impacts the future.  We already see an increase in autism and anorexia nervosa.  Could these be caused by a birth intervention, an alteration in the oxytocin system?  Odent says that the evidence points to yes.

What about labor pain?  Either women are fearful of it or they do not want to face it at all.  Regardless, the physiology of labor pain is not being taught in nursing or medical schools and only a handful of childbirth educators and midwives teach about the physiology of labor pain.  Hence, we are raising several generations of both parents and professionals who do not understand that labor pains are a guide for how the laboring mother’s body needs to respond to the labor.  The pains tell the mother how and when to move to assist with the Cardinal Movements.  Labor pain is unlike any other pain humans experience and should not be treated in the drive-thru method of getting rid of it.  It should be considered, contemplated and cooperated with.

During labor, mothers have restricted movement (inhibiting Cardinal Movements), have the pain removed by anesthetic/analgesics (inhibiting Cardinal Movements) and restricted in food and fluids.  Simply put, the medical community, in its zeal to care for laboring women, put those women at a distinct disadvantage and enable fetal and maternal distress to occur.  The medical community promotes the notion that labor and childbirth are emergencies waiting to happen and facilitate the self-fulfilling prophecy.

The aforementioned anesthetics/analgesics cross the fetal blood brain barrier and we are unsure of the results.  Natural pain and coping techniques such as positioning, touch, relaxation, breathing and hydrotherapy are systematically being removed from choice options for pregnant women. Many childbirth education classes minimize or remove exploration of these options due to perceived time constraints (“parents don’t want lengthy classes”), when in reality, parents don’t know what they want and are often disappointed when abbreviated classes are over. And besides, what tools can they use between onset of labor and getting “their” epidural?

Women are not encouraged and often miss out on falling in love with their babies during pregnancy.  They then miss out on the right of passage called labor with the glorious hormonal dance. 

Do we really want assembly line childbirth in the future?  And at what cost?

Odent,M. (2011) Childbirth In The Age of Plastics, Pinter & Martin LTD.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

CDC Releases US Breastfeeding Report Card

As part of the CDC, the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity released the 2013 Breastfeeding Report Card.

Beginning breastfeeding is at an all time high of 77% with an increase in skin-to-skin and rooming in playing key roles.  Yet not everyone rooms in or has skin-to-skin policies at their hospital:

Top five states with the highest beginning breastfeeding rates include Washington (87.9%), New Hampshire (88.5%), Idaho (91.8%), Colorado (89.1%) and California (91.6%).  Top five states with exclusive breastfeeding at six months include South Dakota (26.3%), Alaska (26.8%), California (27.4%), Idaho (27%) and Wyoming and New Hampshire tied at (24.9%).

States with the highest skin-to-skin were Maine (77.8%), California (79.6%), Oregon (77.4%), Vermont (90%) and Alaska (70%); rooming-in states were Alaska (95%), Washington (83.8%), California (72.6%), Idaho (70.4%) and New Mexico (69.2%).

We are improving but we still have a long way to go!  With Breastfeeding Week within site, let's push for better education and support to mothers for breastfeeding!

View the entire Report Card here.