Friday, February 26, 2010

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

If you are not yet a fan of Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, you should be. You can read about her on her website:

She is speaking today at the CIMS Conference in Austin Texas. And she began her session with this (free) video! Again, go to her website to download it and share and embed!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Importance of CIMS

This week is the annual meeting of CIMS, The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services.
CIMS announced that filmmaker, family advocate and author Ricki Lake, and many other conference faculty, will address the 2010 Mother-Friendly Childbirth Forum and Annual Meeting. Lake, an integral figure in the birthing community since the 2007 debut of the documentary The Business of Being Born and subsequent projects that encourage childbearing women to become informed maternity care consumers, has traveled tirelessly around the United States to discuss the state of the birthing “industry” in an effort to demonstrate how all parents-to-be can benefit from taking a more active role in their birth experiences.
A pre-conference event, International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization’s IMBCO International Day 2010 will be held on Thursday, Feb. 25, and includes presentations by Helene Vadeboncour, Mayri Sagady Leslie and Debra Pascali-Bonaro.
Your attendance at the CIMS (and the IMBCO) meeting is vital. Why?
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. Their mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. This evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family-friendly model focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs. Where else do all other maternal/child health organizations come together under "one roof" to problem-solve today's maternity care situation?
As an organizational member of CIMS and host of the 2008 Chicago Birth Summit, we (Perinatal Education Associates) supports CIMS and their mission/model. If you cannot be at the CIMS Conference this week, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog! We will be bringing you photos, interviews/videos and more from this very important conference!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What We Could Learn From Bees

My grandfather kept bees. I remember warm summer days, when the breeze blew gently through the grassy orchard. In the background, you could hear the melodic hum of the bees in the hives.

Bees, like humans, may be solitary or may live in various types of communities. Sociality, of several different types, is believed to have evolved separately many times within the bees. In some species, groups of cohabiting females may be sisters, and if there is a division of labor within the group, then they are considered semisocial.

If, in addition to a division of labor, the group consists of a mother and her daughters, then the group is called eusocial. The mother is considered the "queen" and the daughters are "workers".
In birth, we could learn a lot from bees. Bees comfortably co-exist, even when bees are female. Bees work together without bringing their own personal agendas to the work that needs to be done.

They solely focus on that job – gather pollen and make honey.

Bees function with a sense of purpose.

Bees don’t bring their own agenda.

Bees don’t try to be birds, squirrels or cats.

Bees adapt to their environment to accomplish their goal.

Bees can accomplish their goal in a white box, homemade hive or in just about any protected space.

Bees are the best at what they do; better than any other pollinating insect.

Bees don’t turn on each other and are not mean or vile to each other.

Bees care for the queen when she is pregnant.

Bees are used positively on advertisements such as cereal or honey.

This is the ultimate lesson that the bees teach us and challenge us to accomplish: How to live our life in a way that by taking what we need from the world around us we leave the world better than we found it.

We could learn a lot from bees.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.

Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.

A study published in December 2009 in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, from the Laboratory of Research in Reproductive and Gestational Health, Quebec, Canada, suggests that exposure of placental cells to low doses of BPA may cause detrimental effects, leading in vivo to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, prematurity and pregnancy loss.

Parents and caregivers, can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of themselves, their infants and children to BPA:

  • Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.

  • Polycarbonate containers that contain BPA usually have a #7 on the bottom

  • Reduce your use of canned foods.

  • When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.

  • Use baby bottles that are BPA free.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Embracing the Miracle by Barbara Harper

The most important work anyone can do is to support and nurture a pregnant woman towards a conscious, gentle and empowering birth experience! Midwives and doctors, doulas and childbirth educators hold the future in their hands, as well as in their hearts and minds, each and every day. Everyone connected with birth influences the treads of our society while participating in the most creative, powerful and mystical of all human experiences.

Birth is our “source” experience in the body. When we were born we were conscious participants in our own birth. We learned and made decisions in utero and the birth affects our subsequent mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The perinatal experience, especially the immediate time after birth, is the origin of our emotional (stress) response to every situation we encounter. The decisions we make at birth are the foundation or source for the beliefs we live by each and every day.

My personal journey working with pregnancy and birth started over thirty years ago when I worked as a labor and delivery nurse in hospitals. My epiphany began when I met and was deeply influenced by two people. The first was Dr. Tom Verney, a psychiatrist from Toronto, Canada, who came to teach a workshop in Santa Barbara, after writing “The Secret Life of the Unborn Child.” His full day workshop convinced me that babies remember everything about their birth experience, then repress those implicit memories and the material surfaces when the stress of life experiences triggers a response. The other person was a birth activist, healer, designer and educator, Binnie Dansby. Binnie helped me prepare for the birth of my second child, 25 years ago. We prepared for a gentle waterbirth and in doing so, I learned about fear and how it affected women in labor.

Fear of birth is reinforced by the conditioning we receive in all forms of communication from our parents, our teachers, the images on television and movies. Fear always creates conflict. Love and fear are both right brain responses and cannot co-exist. One must leave for the other to be present. Fear often translates into anger, resentment, critical judgment or criticism. Fear stops the flow of life energy, stops the flow of Love... stops action. .. stops birth! When we feel safe and protected we see a different result.

“A thought planted in the mind and nourished by the breath, takes root in the heart of every cell in the body,” Binnie informed me. There is so much research today on the biology of the mind. Before sounding too new age about this information, know that the Judaic and Christian sacred literature is also full of example after example of intention, thought and consciousness – connecting with God and allowing spirit to move through and do the work. And there is so much information on how to break strongholds (negative thoughts and patterns of action) and reform that way of thinking.

Healing begins the very moment a life-enhancing thought (an affirmation) is chosen to replace a life-diminishing thought, no matter how you may be feeling or experiencing energy moving or not moving in the body. We may not always be able to choose how we feel, yet in every moment, we have the power to choose what to think and speak.

This lesson is most clearly illustrated with women in labor. When contractions begin to intensify and the woman begins to shout, “No,” her body tenses and everything slows down. By asking her to say, “Yes”, even through the energy surge, encouraging her to look into the eyes of her partner, doula, midwife…to open her throat and moan and sing and allowing herself to be supported, in a short time, perhaps even with the next contraction, she will experience a visible transformation. The same woman, same body, same energy will open and in a few ‘energy surges’ she will be saying, “Thank You’ to her body and opening and letting go. Personal power is the ability to choose. All of our choices make a difference.

My first waterbirth was a transformative experience on every level - from saying, “yes,” to my body, my baby and the energy; to birthing in water and experiencing an orgasm as he was born. I realized that we can, through intention, always and in all ways, create a safe, supportive and nurturing environment in which we can listen to the voice of God – to the divine. No one unveils their inner most being fully to anyone, especially themselves, until they know that it is safe and that there is someone who completely accepts them exactly as they are. Once you experience this completely and have integrated that experience into your life you can provide a loving atmosphere for others. That is when we become “be-las” instead of “do-las.”

My life turned upside down that night and the weeks following. I gave my first waterbirth class in my living room just a few weeks later. I tried to impress upon the midwives who came that by creating a scared space for birth we can honor the whole, complete, forgiving, powerful, creative consciousness within ourselves and for those around us and especially for those coming into this world. It is never too late to express and except our original design – God’s perfect design for our lives – that which we came into life to fulfill. My plan was to teach midwives, doctors and parents about the miracle of waterbirth and to expect that we could affect an immediate change in how we welcome babies into the world. It may have been a pretty grandiose plan to think that we could change entire healthcare systems in entire countries, but it is now working.

By developing acceptance, compassion, and patience and gentleness in our care for ourselves, we can take conscious evolutionary steps together, open and learn together, acknowledge new possibilities for growth, and change our minds together. We can break generational patterns and change here and now.

Ask yourself, “How would you approach birth if you were convinced that the baby is making decisions? “ I have asked this question of doctors and midwives in over 40 countries around the world. In mainland China, no one actually believed that a baby could possibly know, sense and hear what was being said during a birth. I continue to share startling revelations about prenatal and perinatal consciousness everywhere I am asked to teach waterbirth. My next stop is Vietnam, where I will ask the same questions and teach about the miracle of waterbirth, as well as the amazing truth about God’s original design for our lives.

Water magnifies our thoughts and intensifies the birth experience. Do I think that everyone should birth in water? No, absolutely not. But water is an amazing miraculous tool for support and consciousness.
To learn more go to

by Barbara Harper ©2010

Barbara is a former OB nurse, a midwife, Doula, childbirth educator and the author of Gentle Birth Choices, book and DVD. She is the founder and director of Waterbirth International, an organization dedicated to making waterbirth an available option for all women. She is also the mother of three grown children and one grandson. She lives and works from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.