Monday, August 15, 2011

Maternity Thought Process Swings Toward Health

It has been brewing for several years. 
It has been spoken about in professional journals and at childbirth conferences.
And now, it is finally here.

The maternity thought process in the media and in established care facilities such as WIC and hospitals is changing and gratefully, the media is reporting it.  Jumping on the bandwagon (literally) of the Big Pink Bus for breastfeeding awareness, local communities, LLLI and WIC offices promoted World Breastfeeding Week and then Breastfeeding Month (August).

More and more hospitals are realizing that the increase in NICU admissions is NOT a good thing for fiscal management and that they are a BAD thing for society.  From coast to coast, hospitals are banning - yes, banning - early elective cesareans and early elective inductions.  To say that early elective inductions and cesareans rates had gotten out of hand is a small statement.  With the CDC confirming the US cesarean rate of 34% and also the US slipping further in maternal/infant morbidity and mortality was a clear indicator that the increase in interventions were NOT saving lives - if nothing else, contributing to the catastrophic morbidity and mortality rates.

Of course, we need quanitifying data to show us what we and Mother Nature have known since the beginning of time: vaginal birth has extensive benefits for mother and baby.  In a 2006 published report in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology (Buhimschi et al Advantages of Vaginal Delivery CLINICAL OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY Volume 49, Number 1, 167–183), the authors finally admit it:  Despite an impressive amount of effort and extensive research, our knowledge of parturition remains limited. Scientists have exhaustively investigated ‘‘the timing of birth’’; yet, we still have a limited understanding of the biologic mechanisms that control the events initiating delivery, and consequently, we lack tools to prevent these mechanisms from acting inappropriately.

Further the state:

Thus, it is not surprising to see that the overall rate of labor induction 
overall rate of labor induction has doubled 
as part of our efforts to ‘‘save life.’’ 
Although there is compelling evidence to suggest elective induction of labor significantly 
increases the risk of cesarean delivery 
the concept of elective primary cesarean section is not anymore a ‘‘myth.’’

While it is abundantly clear that for most care providers the ultimate goal is a safe and healthy mother/baby dyad, it is also clear that humans really do not have as firm a grip on the power of the mother's body during labor and birth NOR do we have an extensive knowledge base of the impact of the birth process on the newborn and ultimately breastfeeding.  For if we did, our statistical data would be reflective of it.

The authors' final statement does give hope to those of us who've championed evidence-based maternity care and education:  
Therefore, we all have to rely on high-quality studies that can guide our
decision-making and make obstetric practice safer for both the short- and the longterm future. We believe that establishment of clinical protocols aimed at identifying cases appropriate for vaginal delivery or for cesareans should become a clear objective of each department, and that consistent implementation of these guidelines would significantly improve maternal and infant outcomes.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Your body, your baby, the Hormonal Orchestration

(If you are viewing this through Facebook, please go to for easier viewing of the video!)

During one of my presentations, "The Hormonal Orchestration of Birth" I reference the Fight or Flight Hormones (catecholamines/adrenaline) and Ina May Gaskin's work on sphincters. Professionals get it.  Now, in childbirth classes, I ask the support partners if they could have a bowel movement in the middle of Times Square on New Year's Eve?  The answer is "NO". 

This video is a great illustration!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

What The Big Latch-On Is......and Isn't

This is World Breastfeeding Week - a week where we focus on the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and moms.  Those benefits are NUMEROUS.  And I appreciate all of the publicity, don't get me wrong.

The negative hoopla around World Breastfeeding Week and the Big Latch On is what concerns me.  So let me set the record straight and give you references to combat the bad press.

What the Big Latch On Is............
According to La Leche League, the first record for one location for simultaneous breastfeeding was from Berkeley California in 2002 where over 1000 mothers participated.   In 2006, an international record for one location was set in the Philippines where over 3700 mothers participated.  From there, the Philippines have partnered each year with other countries and in October 2010, recorded 9,826 mothers in 325 sites in 16 countries.

On Saturday, August 6 at 10:30 am local time, for one minute, women nation wide will be breastfeeding.  Information about registering your local event and the how-tos of signing up for participation in this very special event are on the La Leche League website.  Click here for the specific page.  There are also a "Rules" page and a section where forms for registering your event are located.  Want to know where in your state the events are occurring so far?  Scroll down a little farther on that page and events are divided by state and are in a table format.

Additionally on the La Leche League website, you can find a "Kit" to use to help you celebrate World Breastfeeding Week.  This kit includes professionally designed brochures to print off, planning tips, publicity tips.......if it is too late for you this year, this is a good website to bookmark for next year!

What the Big Latch-On is NOT............

The Big Latch-On is NOT going to be a distraction to any public location in which it is held.  It is not a lewd or obscene event.  It is only 60 seconds of feeding other human beings.  There will be women (of all ages) breastfeeding their children (of all ages), in an effort to reverse the public view of breastfeeding: all too often breastfeeding is the underdog of feeding babies.  The Big Latch-On strives to set the record straight - breastfeeding is the Gold Standard.

So go get your LATCH ON on August 6.  
If you are not breastfeeding a child, go and support those who will be on that day.  Don't hesitate!
And be sure to check out the Milk For Thought Pink Bus coming to a town near you!
Look at the 2011 Breastfeeding Report Card.

And look for the United States Breastfeeding Committee to announce on August 6, that August will be declared National Breastfeeding Month!