Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Birth & Breastfeeding 2009

We are at the opening verse of the opening chapter of a new year.
Step outside, wherever you are. Breathe in the new air at 12 midnight on New Year's Eve.
Renew your commitment to mothers, babies and their health & well-being for 2009.
Make at least ONE of your new year's resolutions about this commitment.
Send me your birth-related resolution either as a comment on this blog or through private email at info@birthsource.com. Include your first name and state/province/country in which you live. I would like to post the resolutions on Birthsource.com!
Joy, happiness and strength in 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Facebook & Breastfeeding

Yep, Facebook banned breastfeeding photos and may have bullied several mothers into taking down breastfeeding photos.


They have done breastfeeding advocates, lactivists, educators, consultants and specialists as well as mothers and babies an enormous favor! They have focused attention on this very normal, natural and without contest, the best food for babies - breastmilk.

Rocketing breastfeeding to the very top of major news magazine shows this morning and even on the Sunday (12/28) news, Facebook has single handedly done in less than 3 days what breastfeeding professionals have been trying to do for years. It single handedly boosted the conversation about the positives about breastfeeding into the limelight.

See the New York Time coverage ~ click here

Except for some Neanderthals who persist that breasts are primarily sexual objects and not sources of food for babies, most who report the story about Facebook defend breastfeeding.

What else can I say?

Thanks Facebook!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Natural Childbirth

Christmas ~ the celebration of the most famous natural childbirth. No physician or midwife, no epidural or episiotomy. No hospital or birth center.
A simple manger in a simple barn, surrounded by warm loving animals. Mary labored and gave birth to our Savior.
Joseph was hopefully helpful, and probably got direction from some helpful Angel Doulas.
Merry Christmas from Birthsource.com (Perinatal Education Associates.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Evidence-based labor and delivery management

There is a new study providing guidance for management decisions during labor and birth. Published in the November 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the autheors performed searches on MEDLINE, PubMed and Cochrane.

Evidence based good quality data favors hospital births, delayed admission, support by doulas (stating it was one of the most effective interventions, training birth assistants in developing countries, perineal massage from 34 weeks on (fewer epis or tears), perineal massage & warm packs during second stage and upright position in second stage.

The data did not seem to favor home-like births (stated there were no trials available), enemas, shaving, routine vaginal irrigation, amniotomy (increased cesarean delivery), "hands on" method (described by Ritgen in 1855 and involving pressure on the infant's head on crowning results in more epis and 3rd degree lacerations) , fundal pressure (less satisfaction by mothers) and episiotomy ("should be avoided if at all possible"). An astounding statement is made about oxytocin (well, it is technically Pitocin) augmentation: "Oxytocin augmentation has not been studied as a primary isolated intervention for human labor. In fact, dozens of different doses have been used in different studies, without direct comparison in a randomized trial. Therefore,there is insufficient evidence to assess the effect of any specific regimen for oxytocin use in labor." There you have it, straight from the horses' mouth.

The data was not current or was insufficient on restriction of food/fluids during labor, the use of IUPCs, or aromatherapy.

I applaud any policy changes that come as a result of this study particularly about doulas, perineal massage, upright/gravity positive positioning for second stage, episiotomies etc. However, it is disturbing to see that the data they found did not favor home-like births especially since there is a myriad of data suggesting otherwise.

Perhaps we ARE making small steps. Perhaps things ARE changing. Perhaps one day we will see evidence-based maternity care. After all, we have been talking and writing about it for nearly five decades.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Cries of the Children

  • The national average of expectant parents attending childbirth classes ~ less than 27%.
  • Inspite of increased interventions during labor and birth, the US ranks well below other nations in infant mortality/morbidity and maternal mortality/morbidity. In other words, our intervention rate is not commensurate with positive pregnancy outcomes.
  • Babies born too early by induction or by cesarean ~ their lungs not developed.
  • Newborn reflexes delayed due to the medications used during labor and birth.
  • Industrial additives (plastic) found in infant formula that our babies drink.

Based on the facts above, the way in which we care for the newest members of our society, before and after their births, in no way reflects evidence-based care. The latest assault on our intelligence is that there is an acceptable amount of industrial plastic additives, melamine, that we can put in infant formula to give to babies who have just been born.

On one hand we speak of Dr. Harvey Karp's research about the fourth trimester and how babies should be in an external womb to nurture their continually developing nervous system. He identifies countries where they do give their babies the nurturing and intense caring and how these babies thrive and are content, without "colic" and crying and fussing.

Yet on the other hand, we allow off-label use of Cytotec, an ulcer drug, to be used to induce labor before the baby's readiness, we bombard the developing fetus with a myriad of drugs during a difficult physical time for the baby (labor) and then we feed our newborns formula laced with plastic resin.

In short, I feel we are teetering on the sharp edge of losing respect and value for life.

In the wise words of Suzanne Arms, "If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindess replace fear and hatred. We must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation ~or love and trust."

Before it is too late, pledge with me to make 2009 a year that we take birth back from those who would do more harm than good.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Watch 20/20 on 12/12

ABC 20/20 Air Date A segment on Orgasmic Birth will air on ABC's 20/20 12/12, December 12th, at 10pm EST. Help spread the news!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Industrial Plastic Powder Binder In US Infant Formula - Is Anyone Else Angry?

The FDA is "allowing" trace amounts of melamine in US infant formula.

Why should you care? What is melamine?

Melamine is an organic compound the is often combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin. Melamine resin is used in making whiteboards, floor tiles, kitchenware, fire retardant fabrics and more. Melamine can be made into foam products such as Magic Erasers and melamine dishware.

Now the FDA is approving melamine in infant formula. Apparently infants are not as important as cats/dogs (food for these animals last year was recalled).

Earlier this year, the FDA recalled nondairy coffee creamer from Taiwan when traces of melamine was found in King Car Food Industial Co. products. Less than a month after that recall, the FDA again went on record and issued a Health Information Advisory to proactively reassure the American public that there is no known threat of contamination in infant formula manufactured by companies that have met the requirements to sell such products in the United States. That advisory also warned members of Asian communities in the United States that infant formula manufactured in China, possibly available for purchase at Asian markets, could pose a risk to infants.

Now, two months later, the FDA is saying that trace amounts of melamine are ok to have in infant formula and give to our babies.

On November 28, the FDA made this statement in a media brief: "Melamine is not naturally occurring and is not approved to be directly added to food in the United States. However, melamine is approved for use as part of certain food contact substances. Low levels of melamine are present in the environment and trace amounts may occur in certain food commodities as a result of approved uses. Parents using infant formula should continue using U.S. manufactured infant formula. Switching away from using one of these infant formulas to alternate diets or home-made formulas could result in infants not receiving the complete nutrition required for proper growth and development."

This is truly interesting if you follow the chronological order of contradictory statements made by the FDA.

Several thousand babies in China became ill, having suffered acute kidney failure, with several fatalities, having been fed formula milk contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine. The toll is far higher than was previously admitted by the Chinese authorities, according to the BBC.

For a list of other foods where melamine has been found, click here.

If you are outraged by this contradictory group of statements by the US FDA, let me know! Refer everyone to this informational blog entry!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Marketing 101 for 2009

It has become crystal clear to me in the last few days that birth professionals should, as one of their New Year Resolutions, market their profession and businesses more clearly, more often and more aggressively.

One of the biggest reasons why women are so afraid of childbirth is that they have been told for several decades that birth is a horrible event, one that is far beyond their capabilities. To reach their goal of a health baby, they NEED induction, they NEED medication and they NEED assistance from maternity care professionals. Ignore the fact that women have been having babies for centuries. Ignore the fact that, especially in the US, in spite of the fact that medical intervention percentages have skyrocketed, there has been NO reduction in the maternal mortality and mobidity or infant mortality and morbidity.

Pharmaceutical companies under the disguise of formula companies (or vice versa) continue to pour millions of dollars in the labor/delivery units and NICUs (neonatal intensive care units) in exchange for the distribution of "free" breastfeeding packets that contain samples of formula. Women continue to use epidural anesthesia regardless of the impact that such medications have on their infant and that baby's developing neuro-structure. And worse yet, women elect to have cesarean sections too early for the baby's lung development and then sing the praises of the NICU, where their baby is housed for several weeks due to preterm or near term delivery.

And while no one is looking, save for a few diligent professionals, the AMA and ACOG have published a resolution calling for legislation to govern by whom and where women can have their babies. If allowed to continue, women will have "given up" their rights to midwifery care or home birth without even knowing that right was in jeopardy.

These words may scare some, and inflame others by their harsh nature. However, all of the above is the truth. Women NEED information that is steeped in evidence and research so that they can make the best possible intelligent decision necessary.

In a climate where many professionals may be tempted to give up, DON'T. We need you too much.