Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New CDC Guidelines For Pregnant Women/Swine Flu

The CDC has posted an extensive guidance page for health care providers who work with expectant mothers and who may encounter or be exposed to the Swine Flu.

Pregnant women are known to be at higher risk for influenza and complications.

If you care for pregnant women in any type of setting (doula care, childbirth education, midwifery, hospital), please read this informative information:

This does not have to be a pandemic.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Increasing Maternity Care Transparency

The Birth Survey announced today that consumer survey results rating health care providers and birth facilities are now available online at The Birth Survey is the first ever consumer ratings website dedicated solely to providing feedback on obstetricians, midwives, hospitals, birth centers, and home birth services. The consumer reviews include overall ratings and recommendations for birth facilities and care providers, and also a seven-item set of questions on providers’ interpersonal and communication skills, facility intervention rates, and information on finding good care. A national average of ratings is also displayed to provide comparison with individual ratings.

If you are affiliated with a hospital, check it out!

If you are a nurse, or midwife, check it out!

If you are a consumer, check it out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Breastcrawl Video!

Common Sense is not so common therefore should it be called Uncommon Sense?

When Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" and published it on January 10, 1776, it created quite a stir. Arguing in the people's language and with then-present-day references, Paine set out in print to show the meaning of independence from British rule.

The same can be applied to birthing.

Paine argued that it is ridiculous for an island to rule a continent. I submit, in many cases, it is ridiculous to have careproviders with little or no training in normal birth to be "managing" women who are candidates and seek normal birth.

America was not a "British nation"; it was composed of influences and peoples from all of Europe. Since it is well documented that every pregnancy is different and every birth experience is different, physicians and midwives should not practice by standing orders.

Even if Britain was the "mother country" of America, that made her actions all the more horrendous, for no mother would harm her children so brutally. The real truth about inducing too early and the detrimental effects it has on newborns, the long term side effects of epidural anesthesia on women and their babies, and the dangers of the rising cesarean rate.... ok, nuff said.

The distance between the two nations made governing the colonies from England unwieldy. Careproviders who are trained in crisis intervention are worlds away from normal birth. While in a small percentage of labors, intervention is necessary and often life-saving, birth is not a crisis waiting to happen. For God's sake, teach the careproviders to help women birth normally!

Britain ruled the colonies for its own benefit, and did not consider the best interests of the colonists in governing them. Between careproviders who don't seem to want to accept that babies come when they want to and not on a schedule, and insurance companies that want to drive the birthing boat, women are left with fighting for the options they deserve to know about.

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom."
The above is a direct quote from Paine's pamphlet, "Common Sense". How does this compare to policies on electronic fetal monitoring, being hydrated and nourished during labor, application of medication to induce or augment labor, episiotomy, length of labor, etc.
Frankly, the comparison is frighteningly similar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happier, Healthier Children with Breastfeeding

Perhaps it is because I breastfed my two, very well adjusted, intelligent children.
Perhaps it is because I have been a birth advocate for 29 years.
Perhaps it is because I know the biology, and psychology behind it all.

No matter the "perhaps", it still amazes me that we have to spend billions of dollars and study something like breastfeeding and spending time mothering our children to validate the impact and importance of it.

Take the recent results from a 29 year study from the University of Queensland Mater Hospital.

"I'm not sure that it's the breastfeeding, or whether the breastfeeding is a marker for the kind of attention the mother wants to pay to the child, but we're seeing children who are happier, healthier, with better mental health in children who are breastfed," says Dr. Jake Najman.

Monitoring began in 1981 when the mothers turned up for their first pregnancy clinic visit at the Mater Hospital, then at the child's birth, five days later, at six months of age, five years of age, and then when they turned 21.

Dr Najman's team invited 8,400 mothers at the beginning of 1981, who gave birth to 7,223 children, who have been followed up ever since.

It is so simple. Breastfeed and mother your babies. Love them. Care for them. And watch the impact that will have on society.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Let Me Introduce You to ~ Perchlorate

First it was BPA....then rocket fuel or perchlorate in inant formula.

However, this is not new! While the article everyone is talking about comes from the March 18, 2009 issue of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, finding perchlorate in infant formula, our food and our water is regretfully not a new occurance.

Being the wife of a rocket scientist (really!), I found that perchlorates are the salts from perchloric acid. These salts occur naturally in our water supply (in ground water in as many as 35 states and in cow's milk where cows ate plants watered with crops exposed to water with percholates) and via manufacturing - specifically for rocket fuel. They have been used by the medical community for nearly half of a century to treat disorders of the thyroid. Their impact on newborn infant brain growth and development is not known and difficult to estimate, according to the CDC. Read the CDC pamphlet on human consumption of perchlorate.
According to testimony on April 25, 2007 by Robert Brackett PhD on the FDA's ARole in Measuring and Assessing Perchlorate Levels in Food and Beverages before the Committee on Energy and Commerce, US House of Representatives:
Consumers should not view the low levels of perchlorate in the foods tested as an indicator of the "risk" of eating certain foods, particularly when many of the foods are important components of a nutritious and balanced diet. Some of these food items are also important sources of iodine. Until more is known concerning perchlorates occurrence in foods, FDA continues to recommend that consumers eat a balanced diet, choosing a variety of foods that are low in trans fat and saturated fat, and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Perchlorate has been found in liquid and powdered infant formula brands. A list of liquid infant formulas previous identified with perchlorate as an ingredient is found on the site of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Read the article from the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology