Thursday, November 20, 2008

Calling All Doulas ~ Do your Rain Stick Dance!

Thanks to NBC Contributor Marisa Belger, one less person in the world thinks we doulas do rain stick dances!

I must say I had to chuckle at that, included in an article Expecting Parents: What is A Doula.

Far from being hard-hitting journalism, this fluffy piece did feature valuable quotations from current DONA president Debbie Young.

But then again, we are talking about the main stream media here. Sigh....................

Absent from Ms. Belger's article was the statistical data accumulated over 25+ years and thousands of births stating the percentages of decrease in cesarean sections, epidural anesthesia, inductions, and the reduction in length of labor due in part to gravity positive positioning AND reduction of fear. Things expectant mothers want to know and need to know to make informed choices.

But then again, we are talking about the main stream media here. Sigh....................

Well, one thing they are not expecting is the upcoming press release and resolution from the November 8th Chicago Birth Summit. In December, there will be a media blitz with these two items being available in PDF format for inclusion on your website. If you have a birth website and would like to have these items on your site for your readers to read, please email me at You will be one of the first to receive them when they have been approved by the participating organizations.

Perhaps the press release and resolution will be picked up?

But then again, we are talking about the main stream media here. Sigh....................(CHUCKLE)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We are now on......

We are now on Twitter! Look for The Birth Facts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicago Birth Summit ~ Part 2

The chairs and tables were configured in a horseshoe so everyone could see and be seen.

Slowly but surely leader/representatives from 12 major nursing, midwifery, childbirth education and doula organizations came into the room. Some set up their laptops and we even had one organization attend via Skype then cell phone. The initial atmosphere was hesitant but soon the energy level rose!

Complete with two scribes in order to get a great set of minutes, the meeting began promptly at 9 am. The meeting opened with introductions of all of the attendees and their organizations and what their organizations are doing to work toward normal birth.

We spoke about the current obstacles to evidence-based maternity care. The obstacles included hospital administrations that do not have policies that are evidence-based; nursing students and residents are not taught techniques for normal birth so that may be a lost art in the not-to-distant future. We also talked about the significant rise in interventions, yet our ranking in the infant morbidity/mortality and maternal mortality/morbidity is still well below what it should be.

This discussion soon lead to the formulation of potential collaborative areas for the 12 organizations:

1. This coalition going to ACOG to exhibit
2. Coalition for going to Washington to influence Obama Health Policy
3. Resolution written about AMA/ACOG
4. Coalition going to AWHONN Leadership in Jan
5. Rapid Response Team – funneled to CIMS - we need to all join CIMS as individuals/groups
6. Recipe for accessing NSG schools & residency programs for normal birth

We then broke into small groups to tackle these potential collaborative areas and used graffiti sheets to facilitate the process.

The bottom line is that the group made a promise that all would join CIMS as participating organizations and that we would formulate a Yahoo Group to stay in touch. We appointed those who would talke the lead on the various collaborative areas.

CIMS will be the umbrella underwhich this coalition or task force will function, provided they want us :) Each mini-group has a lead person who will report to the group and also to CIMS.

One of the BEST things to come of this Summit was the formation of a Rapid Response Team to regularly disseminate positive research about normal birth AND to dispell any future proclamations/resolutions that are not evidence based. :)

I was so very excited about the energy, dedication and enthusiasm everyone had about the energy in the room. Some 12 individuals who collectively represented well over 41,820+ professionals.

Very exciting and not an experience I will forget any time soon!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chicago Birth Summit ~ Initial Post View

Chicago... November 8, 2008... Chicago O'Hare Hilton...

Twelve representatives from twelve organizations representing well over 42,000 nurses, childbirth educators, doulas, midwives...

I would like to thank the following organizations for attending: ICEA, DONA, CIMS, Waterbirth International, Lamaze International, MANA, ACNM, Birth Network, Hypnobirthing, Birthing From Within, ICAN, ICTC. The Summit was at the invitation of the host, Perinatal Education Associates, Inc. (an independent company whose goal is childbirth education).

The initial goal of this gathering was to respond to the AMA/ACOG resolution for legislation. But much more was achieved by this gathering of wonderfully empowered women.

Soon, very soon, the approved minutes and photos from this task force will be released. It is our goal to have all participating organizations' websites and their members who have websites to have these minutes and the responding resolution posted on those websites.

This historic meeting has truly long range implications.

Watch your certifying organization's website, this blog or for more information.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Birth Summit Becomes Reality

For the first time in history the leadership representatives of nursing, midwifery, doula, childbirth and lactation organizations have been invited to meet. It will happen November 8 in Chicago.

Why? The catalysts were many, including the AMA/ACOG proclamation of earlier this year. The fundamental work for this group is to establish a networking system of cooperation where in times of such evidence-lacking proclamations, the "other side of the story" can be told and heard by the childbearing public. This "other side" has not been cohesive but has been responsive to some degree.

Lest we allow history to repeat itself (looking back at the scopolamine issue of the last century and other instances), the medical community could very well slant information and influence the public to make decisions that are less than truly informed and perhaps hazardous to their own health. While some in the profession say that the responsibility of information gathering should be on the expectant parent (or professional), we also know that as human beings, we tend to take information from perceived authority figures without question.

However, this is a critical time to ask those hard questions about not only the typical obstetrical care in the United States, but also delve deeper and explore the training of physicians, nurses and midwives and ensure they are being taught ALL of the techniques necessary to give good care and "do no harm". For if health care professionals are not taught certain techniques, those techniques such as caring for women who request natural childbirth, will be lost.

How many new nurses or new residents that you know or work with are lacking the knowledge of how to assist a laboring woman who wants to have a natural childbirth? They are not aware of the importance of gravity positive upright positioning, the effect of massage/touch, optimal pushing techniques and the use of hydrotherapy. How can our educational institutions turn out professionals lacking these skills? Professionals are quite good at handling opportunities when labor becomes a crisis, but in reality, these opportunities are small in percentages.

We cannot let it up to just the leadership however. Every single birth professional needs to stand up and speak out for a more complete program of education for both expectant parents as well as professionals. This is not only in the classroom but also in the material both groups read.