Monday, April 30, 2012

Introducing....May ~ a month to come together to celebrate Birth!

We have come along way....and we still have a long way to go. But the strides we've made are strides to be proud of...and sometimes smile at, because they are good common sense!


May is Blog Carnival Month!

Yes, only about 24 hours (depending on where you live) until May 1 and that is the beginning of the Childbirth Today Birth Blog Carnival!

So far we have 31 writers pledging their submissions to educate, invigorate and refresh your practice as birth professionals!  These writers are coming from all over the world, from the US, Canada, Australia and more!

There is a lot to celebrate in May!  May 5 is International Day of the Midwife, the week prior to Mother's Day is Childbirth Education Week, and May is Doula Month!  Not to mention, Mother's Day being in May!!

So join us beginning tomorrow, May 1 (in the US, where we are located) for an enjoyable month of guest blogs!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

MS Tag or Q R Code?


There are two similar marketing tools currently available to the tech savvy business person: MS Tags and QR Codes.  While I have covered QR Codes in a previous blog post, I wanted to talk about the MS Tag and compare/contrast the two to give readers a more well rounded view.You are seeing Tags and Codes everywhere, from billboards to magazines to informational/promotional items such as business cards and ads.  But what is a Tag?  The brother/sister team of Tags and Codes are in a family known as NFC or Near Field Communication. Both are scan-able from apps that can be downloaded for iPhones and Droids.  According to Microsoft, "Depending on your choice, you can create a simple campaign delivering a line of text or a phone number, or go further and help people use your mobile site, see a video, download an app, get contact info, and much more. You don't have to worry about them typing in your URL or finding you online – using Tag instantly puts the relevant info at their fingertips."

Why would a birth professional use a Tag or Code?  Here are a few reasons:

1. Keep the look of your business up-to-date with the market that you are trying to reach.  If you are marketing your services to childbearing women, then this demographic does use Tags and QR Codes.  So you should too!

2. Drive more people to your site for services!  Many people have smartphones and can download the apps for reading both Tags and Codes.  So why not let them view your website or Facebook page from their phone?

3. Tags and Codes are free.  In the world of marketing, free is good.  Free is great!  

4. When used as a jpg (or photo), Tags and Codes can be used in a myriad of different ways: from car magnets, to postcards, flyers, bookmarks, etc, helping you to stretch your marketing dollar.

5. Making Tags and Codes take almost no time.  If you have 20 minutes, and are computer savvy, you could make both for your business.

In today's world, a person needs to visit a site 7+ times before they will act on anything the site has to offer.  Increase your visibility today by making a Tag or Code.

To make a Tag, click here
To make a Code, click here

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Studies, Practice Changes & Evidence II

Following up on my previous blog regarding examination of studies, I recently came across this website and wanted to pass it on to readers as an excellent resource for beginning to understand research -->

On her site, Andrea Lythgoe talks about her background and how she came to create the website: "Currently I have my own doula and childbirth education business, Pampered Birth, I teach natural childbirth classes at St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT and I teach a history course and a research course for the Midwives College of Utah."

On Understanding Research, Andrea has several great aspects including "Finding Studies" which explores the internet resources available to those looking for studies; "Journals" a comprehensive listing of journals that publish birth research; "Resources" where she listed other valuable research sites such as our The Birth Facts; a dynamic grouping of articles about research and an extensive glossary of terms used in research.

If you are beginning to explore the ins and outs of research and would like to know how to begin, Andrea's site is the place to go!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Studies, Practice Changes and Evidence….OH MY!

When studying statistical data in most medical professions, it is generally accepted that studies have an expiration date.  That is, if a study is older than three or five years, the data is seen as invalid.  The study is too old, times have changed, practices have changed. 

Yet some studies done with the human body, such as labor and birth, may be valid regardless of the date.  Why?  Because depending on the parameters of the study, the subject matter does not change.  The human body does not evolve that quickly to make a study in 1965, for example, out of date.  What may change is the method by which data is discovered – technology changes and thus the data may change. For example, with childbirth education, many of the studies done at the dawn of the natural childbirth movement in the 1960s are still valid today, the parameters are different and if redone, the newer study would include web access and online learning.  The basics may still be applicable.

When discussing evidence-based medicine, the evidence must be current.   US organizations such as ANA (American Nurses Association) , AWHONN (Association of Womens Health Obstetrics and Neonatal Nursing) , ACNM (American College of Nurse Midwives) or ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)  are charged with the duty to present to their members with the most current practicing standards for creating best practice.  These standards are a compilation of leading edge knowledge/research to be used in the creation or revision of policies, procedures, practice guidelines and also as clinical benchmarks.  Basically, it helps everyone practice from the same playbook.

Gaining evidence is so easy in our technological world.  Just searching for MEDLINE, Cochrane, MIDIRS, Pubmed or CINAHL can provide not only current evidence based information on a topic but in some instances, a historical prospective as well.  Understanding our past and knowing our present helps to provide care that makes a difference.  In these databases, one can also find information from other countries.  While some medical professionals may see evidence from other countries as not applicable to the US due to a variety of confounding factors, the data does give one cause to pause particularly if the country cited has a significantly different maternal morbidity/mortality or infant morbidity/mortality than the US.
Education-based professionals such as childbirth educators, lactation consultants and doulas need only to look at studies and dissect them, putting them in lay terms and put them in the hands of expectant and new parents.  In order to have full informed consent, parents need to have the correct information, not what is geographically traditional or “the way we’ve always done it”.  The birth professional, too, is accountable in learning the most current information ~ with the accessibility to the internet, the excuse of “I haven’t heard about that” begins to pale.  A great first step would be to read through information from Childbirth Connection

Let’s take breastfeeding for example.  There are multiple resources by just typing in the word breastfeeding into a search engine.  The Surgeon General’s Call to Action is one of the very first pages to come up.  Stuffed full of evidence based research, this is an important read for any perinatal care provider.  Why peri natal care provider?  Because peri indicates the entire spectrum of the childbearing year – if we think that birthing practices or newborn care practices do not impact breastfeeding, think again!  Important to know about also are the HealthyPeople 2020 Objectives for Maternal, Infant and Child.  While many are repeated from 2010 (because the US didn’t meet the goals by 2010), some others have been added.

The evidence for best practice is available.  The next blog will focus on why it takes so long for change to happen and how you might be able to become a catalyst for change in your community.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dads & Doulas ~ Debra Pascali Bonaro

Thanks to Debra Pascali Bonaro of the film "Orgasmic Birth" & Patrick Houser of for this great segment explaining about how Dads and doulas work together in harmony at birth!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Blog Carnival: In Celebration of Midwives Day, Doula Month and Childbirth Education Week

May is a huge month for birth professionals ~ midwives, childbirth educators and doulas are celebrated together with Mothers everywhere!

To help in this celebration, Childbirth Today is holding a Blog Carnival!  What exactly is a Blog Carnival?  A Blog Carnival is an opportunity for writers to write about their favorite topics, on a site hosted by an established blogger.  Whether you are already a blogger, would like to blog and never have, you are welcome to send your 200-500 word blog post with any copyright free photos and please included references you quote such as journals or books. Please submit in MS Word format - if any editing is done (like punctuation), your post will be sent back for your approval. Photos must be in Jpg format and with proof of them being copyright free OR that you give Childbirth Today/Perinatal Education Associates permission to reprint on the blog.Topics are anything birth and breastfeeding, written without bias. Evidence-based please. Interviews are great! Send links to your business website(s), Facebook page, your existing or new blog etc. This is all about celebrating the work you do as a birth professional (not limited to midwives/doulas and childbirth educators) and promoting YOU!

But why celebrate midwives, doulas and childbirth educators in May?  Perhaps it is because of Mother's Day or perhaps it is because of the bond these three professions have with mothers?

Formal celebration of Midwives Day began in 1992, but had been celebrated here and there throughout the 1980's.  According to the International Confederation of Midwives, "The International Day of the Midwife is an occasion for every individual midwife to think about the many others in the profession, to make new contacts within and outside midwifery, and to widen the knowledge of what midwives do for the world. In the years leading up to 2015, ICM will use the overarching theme “The World Needs Midwives Today More Than Ever” as part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the need for midwives. This reflects the WHO call for midwives and the need to accelerate progress towards MDGs 4 and 5."  In many other countries, midwives are responsible for the low-no risk expectant mothers, leaving obstetricians to do the work of caring for medium to high risk mothers.  Midwives care for a wide range of mothers, from teens to  indigent populations to the financially comfortable.  Since time began, midwives have been serving women - it is regretful that they just enjoy one day of honor!

Doula Month, began by DONA International, has a reputation of celebrating all labor support assistants, doulas, and mothers' helpers.  The word 'doula' means servant, and therefore doulas have been serving women since the ancient Greek times - nearly 3000.  Since we think 'doula' is a new word, our concept of doulas is often incomplete or inaccurate.  Some believe doulas to only serve when the mother is having an all natural childbirth.  While this is partially true, doulas have also been proven (see medical literature: Cochrane Database (21 trials, 15 countries) to make significant differences in births where medication and cesareans are used.  Postpartum doulas support new families and can help to stabilize the new family and possibly reduce postpartum emotional problems.  As in any profession on earth, there are doulas who take their sometimes radical agendas with them and promote those agendas as true doula care.  It is vital that both expectant mothers and professionals understand the true scope of practice of doulas.

Childbirth education is probably as old as both doulas and midwifery, although it didn't come into terminology until the mid 1950s.  Since then, a myriad of organizations have sprung up to train and certify childbirth educators, however the oldest and most well-known are Lamaze International, the International Childbirth Education Association, and the Bradley Method.  As often the first educators that expectant mothers encounter, childbirth educators are ready to teach a wide range of learners, in a variety of settings - from traditional classroom situations to the casual/inpromptu elevator talk!  Regardless of the certification or organizational relationship, childbirth educators all agree that their overall goal is to teach women (and their families) about their bodies and how wonderfully those bodies work in conceiving, growing and birthing a baby!  To this end, mothers will find the fear of pregnancy/labor/birth reduced, and share in the joy that birth can bring!

If you provide care for expectant mothers, you are invited to the 
2012 Childbirth Today Blog Carnival.  
Join us on Facebook or email me at  
We are accepting blogs for publication beginning May 1.  

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach

Amy Romano
Amy Romano and Henci Goer are two names in the childbirth community that can be trusted for deciphering research and making it usable.  They have been busy...very busy.

Their latest project, Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach, a book due to be released in late May or early June doesn't disappoint.  While I am only half-way done with the advanced review copy, it is clear that Romano and Goer have their fingers on the pulse of evidence based information and a continuing dedication to helping birth professionals not only understand this information, but also how statistics can be spun for a certain outcome.  They also point out how often times the evidence is ignored for a myriad of other reasons.

Henci Goer
Romano said, "We wrote it for birth professionals and advocates to analyze the evidence basis for physiologic care and explore what is driving medical management in spite of evidence."  With chapter such as "The Cesarean Epidemic", "Optimal Care for Initiating Labor", and "Optimal Practice for a Maternity Care System", present an unbiased review of the literature...the medical literature and clearly identify the obstacles to change in our system.

Romano and Goer have truly given us a gift in Optimal Care in Childbirth: The Case for a Physiologic Approach : a comprehensive, evidence-based blueprint for action.  Generally speaking, this essential book examines the gap in maternity care between evidence-based optimal care and current best practice given by many maternity care practitioners.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg!

I want to personally urge you to pre-order this book and join in the dynamic discussion.  

It will renew and revitalize you and your birth work.  I guarantee.  

"Like" their Facebook Page too!  While there, sign up for email alerts for publication date and events!