Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Coming Together...It is time...

What if all of the leaders of childbirth organizations came together for a summit meeting?

What if leaders came together for a summit to talk about the state of birth in the US?

What if the leaders who attended the summit put away their organizational differences and all focused attention on educating expectant parents?

What if the leaders focused on the increase in cesarean section, increase in inductions, increase in epidural anesthesia and the LACK of change in the maternal/infant mortality/morbidity rates?

What if they dedicated their joint marketing services to educate parents for the next 12 months?

What if the organizations' members rededicated their efforts to present objective and evidence-based information ~ with honesty and truth?

What if all of the efforts work? What if the cesarean rate, induction rate, anethesia rates went down? And WHAT if the maternal/infant mortality/morbidity rates in the US got better?

A Coming Together...It is time...because the time is NOW!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hospitals/Birth Centers Do Not Have Practices That Promote Breastfeeding

Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies - it is especially designed. It is associated with decreased risk for infant and maternal morbidity and mortality. The US still ranks in the low 20's amongst industrialized countries for infant and maternal morbidity and mortality. That means 27 other countries do things better.

Maternity practices in hospitals and birth centers throughout the intrapartum period, such as ensuring mother-newborn skin-to-skin contact, keeping mother and newborn together, and not giving supplemental feedings to breastfed newborns unless medically indicated, can influence breastfeeding behaviors during a period critical to successful establishment of lactation. Many facilities tout that they "have implemented" practices or are planning to implement such practices...what is so hard?

One hospital administrator told me that it was hard for nurses to change. WHY? If there is evidence to show that certain practices are better for mothers and their babies, it seems to me that a nurse has no business standing in the way of health and well being!

It is 18 months before 2010 and currently only four states (Alaska, Montana, Oregon and Washington) have met all five of the Healthy People 2010 targets for breastfeeding. In a study of 2,687 facilities, 70% of facilities report providing discharge packs containing infant formula samples to breastfeeding mothers. 24% reported giving routine supplements of formula to healthy full-term infants. 30% reported giving glucose water and 15% reported giving water to infants.

If hospitals are good places to have babies, then why do their practices NOT support this assumption? And why are they so slow in making changes?
And why are not more of us more vocal about these facts?

For more information on this study and the statistics, click here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

2008 Water Birth Week!

The week of June 16 - 21 has been designated as 2008 Water Birth Week in Dayton Ohio!

The celebration will focus on the amazing affects of hydrotherapy on labor and birth AND the fact that there are NO side effects on the mother or baby, given an uncomplicated pregnancy/labor!

The celebration will be enhanced by the arrival of Barbara Harper RN, CCE, CD, the international expert on water labor and water birth. She will be speaking at the Dayton Area Labor Support meeting on Thursday evening at 7 pm, speaking at the Waterbirth Credentialing Workshop on Friday June 20- at Miami Valley Hospital and hostessing the Dayton premiere of "Orgasmic Birth" at Wright State University on Saturday June 21 at 7 pm.

At a time when expectant women are looking for alternatives in birth, they are seeking more and more information ~ we are proud to be one of the nation's leaders in birth! Dayton, Ohio.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Link Between Oxytocin in Labor & Autism?

For nearly 8 years, researchers have been examining oxytocin's capability of crossing the maternal placenta and oxytocin's possibility of crossing an underdeveloped or stressed infantile blood brain barrier at birth, a causal connection between oxytocin excess and behavioral disorders such as autism can be supported from a molecular perspective.

Researchers have done experiments in lab animals, tracing the administration of radioactive oxytocin crossing such "barriers". "Barriers" may not be the right term, as it indicates the fact that there may be obstacles. Few obstacles if any exist in the placenta or blood brain areas.

Conversely, treatment of autism can sometimes include oxytocin!

A 1998 study found significantly lower levels of oxytocin in blood plasma of autistic children. A 2003 study found a decrease in autism spectrum repetitive behaviors when oxytocin was administered intravenously. A 2007 study reported that oxytocin helped autistic adults retain the ability to evaluate the emotional significance of speech intonation.

Clearly, we NEED to explore completely the risks/benefits of medications given to laboring human mothers BEFORE adding them to the routine.

Modahl C, Green L, Fein D et al. (1998). "Plasma oxytocin levels in autistic children". Biol Psychiatry 43 (4): 270–7.

Hollander E, Novotny S, Hanratty M et al. (2003). "Oxytocin infusion reduces repetitive behaviors in adults with autistic and Asperger's disorders". Neuropsychopharmacology 28 (1): 193–8.

Hollander E, Bartz J, Chaplin W et al. (2007). "Oxytocin increases retention of social cognition in autism". Biol Psychiatry 61 (4): 498–503.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Importance of Zen

Everyone needs a little time of relaxation, some call it Zen while others call it vegitating. The only place in the universe where I truly feel relaxed and at home is on the beach in Santa Barbara.

There is a unique tranquility here...a place where heaven meets earth...the closest that you can get to God and still be alive. At least for me.

I am thrilled to be here...and for the next 5 days. I will return renewed and refreshed and revitalized. Ah...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

FDA Looks at Safety of Meds for Pregnancy/Birth

It has taken the US Food and Drug Administration to come to the conclusion that changes need to be made to the physician labeling of prescription drugs - to better inform expectant mothers (they call them patients as if they are ill, which they are NOT) as well as health care professionals about the risks of medicines used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Out of the nearly 6 million pregnancies in the US each year, expectant women take an average of 3-5 prescription drugs during pregnancy, says the FDA. And with the history of medications in the US being given without adequate research (DES, Thalidamide, Cytotec) that have had catastrophic results (or hazardous outcomes), I think it is just about time that adequate labeling WITH adequate research is accessible to all who are considering or do become pregnant.

I am somewhat concerned that it has taken so very long for the FDA to come to this conclusion. In no other part of medicine does something ingested impact two people at the same time. When an expectant mother ingests a medication, it impacts both the mother and the fetus. And why will the increasingly better drug labeling "have a huge impact on public health and well-being for women" (according to Rear Admiral Sandra Kweder MD)? What has not been shared with us so far? What has been kept from us? What have they known and not shared?

For years, the FDA has toyed with maternal and fetal health and well-being. I think this "decision" is long overdue and too little, too late for many couplets.