If you knew what you don’t know, would you do what you do?

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It’s been fascinating to research the obstetrical history of the US.  To understand the origins of modern medical practice is an eye opening and somewhat disturbing experience.  The most difficult part to traverse is that the medical “establishment” for the many strides they’ve made toward our health and well-being, have also been responsible for some really awful things. Here are few from the last 50 years:  Thalidimde, mid and high forcep deliveries, episiotomy, the undermining and near eradication of midwives and their role in our society, and the newest addition to this list.. elective cesarean section.

To say there has been a “systematic” process on a societal level to undermine women’s confidence that she can birth or breastfeed- smacks of conspiracy theory.  But when i look at the evidence, the women who come to my hospital classes, when I listen to their fears and hear what someone out there has said they can or can’t DO… it’s hard not to think there is something systematic about it.

Women don’t believe they can birth or breastfeed… when the evidence, if we look at our anatomy and physiology is quite the opposite. There is an epidemic of fear about birth and handling the pain, there is a notion that we can understand everything we need to know about childbirth from a book, app, or some other intellectual process. As a society we are so disconnected from ourselves, from our bodies from an intuition that will guide us rightly.  We are told plain and simple that birthing is ‘dangerous’ and we need medicine and interventions and safely navigate these waters.

In nature about 6% of the population would require a cesarean section for the safety of either mother or baby. The World Health Organization says we should aim for 10-15%, which gives some wide latitude.  How do we then explain the US rate of 32-35% then?  Some of the hospitals I work at are as high as 40%.

My goal is not to create conflict or mistrust- however, I do believe women and their partners need to understand ALL their options.  “If you don’t know your options, You don’t have any”.  Ignorance is not bliss. So I encourage everyone to do their research about pregnancy, labor options. Research the hospital and the Dr. to make sure you are in alignment with their practices. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make changes if you discover you might be in a place not in accord with your desires.

Acupuncture To Turn A Breech….

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Approximately 3-4% of babies are in a breech position (bottom-down) at the end of pregnancy. Most women who have a baby in breech positioning have limited options for how they can give birth, with the majority (90% in the U.S.) giving birth by Cesarean. I have already written about the evidence for using external cephalic version, or the hands-to-belly procedure, for to turn breech babies. But what is the evidence for using other methods, like moxibustion or accupuncture, to turn a breech baby? Is moxibustion junk science or does it actually work?

Click Here

Placenta Consumption….

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Ok, we’ve not talking about throwing it on the BBQ… but Placental Encapsulation is a process where the Placenta is saved, prepared and freeze dried after birth and consumed by Mom.  The hormone drop after birth is significant and can trigger Baby Blues and Postpartum depression.  This is a wonderful way to get the hormone support needed for the postpartum period, PMS and even menopause.

The finished product after the encapsulation is a large jar of cranberry colored capsules- nothing gross or unsightly.

Here is a wonderful article about one woman’s journey and why she chose to encapsulate her placenta.

One important word:  Most placentas go to pathology for some examination after birth.. this is a NON – STERILE process, because usually the placentas are thrown away.  Make sure to inform your staff you are encapsulating, so they can use STERILE procedures in their examination process.

CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE

Birth Plans…

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Birth Plans came into fashion many years ago, and every couple has their “take” on what should be included in that document.  I often tell my students that Birth cannot be “planned” and often the harder we try and “make it” go a certain way, the further things sometime slip away. It’s always best to keep a flexible attitude when it comes to birth, holding a vision for what you might like, but being present for what’s happening and what’s needed in the moment.  I’ve come to really like the concept of a Birth Preference sheet. This simple 1 or 2 pages can be a great springboard for discussion with your provider about things important to you, and be a great way to let your staff ( in a hospital birth) know how they may assist you.  Take a look at one of my favorites (reprinted with permission).  It’s concise, the table format is easy to read, and shows that these parents have done their research.

_____________________________________________________________________________

We are excited about the arrival of our baby and to be sharing this experience with the doctors and nurses of XX Hospital.  Our ultimate goal is to ensure a healthy mother and healthy baby and we know we can achieve this with your help and guidance.

XXX, the birthing mother, will be joined during all stages by her partner XXX.  We also will be utilizing the doula services of XXXXX.

This is the portion of our birth plan which outlines our wishes for Labor and Delivery. At your earliest convenience, please read through our plan and bring any items of question or concern to our attention.  Mom can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Best Regards, Mom & Partner

 

Labor

Labor

Preferences

Notes

Natural/Unmedicated Unless mom or baby is at risk, we are looking forward to an unmedicated, natural childbirth.
Heprin Lock It is important for Mom to be able to move freely during labor. We would prefer a heprin lock rather than IV.
Fetal Monitoring Unless baby is in distress, please monitor intermittently to allow mom to move around.
Quiet Environment We would like a quiet environment to facilitate relaxation during labor.
Light Snacks/Liquids Mom would like to snack lightly and drink fluids to maintain energy and hydration during labor.


Delivery

Delivery

Preferences

Notes

Varied Pushing Positions Please allow Mom to try different pushing positions if desired.
Ease the Baby Out Please help Mom avoid tearing as much as possible by guiding her in easing the baby out.
Avoid Cesarean We would like to avoid a cesarean unless Mom or Baby is at risk.

Immediately After Birth

After Birth

Preferences

Notes

Delayed Cord Cutting We would like to cord to stop pulsating before being clamped and cut.
Breastfeeding Immediately We would like to try breastfeeding immediately after delivery to encourage placental delivery.
Spontaneous Placental Delivery We feel strongly about trying to deliver the placenta spontaneously.  Please delay administering Pitocin until at least after breastfeeding and cord cutting.
Newborn Care After Bonding Please delay routine newborn care until Mom has breast fed Baby and the happy family has had an opportunity to bond.

 

FOR NURSERY:

Thank you so much for taking care of our little boy for us while we are at the hospital.

 

This is the portion of our birth plan which outlines our wishes for Newborn and Postpartum Care. Please review at your earliest convenience and bring any items of question or concern to our attention.  Mom can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

 

Best Regards, Mom & Partner

 

Newborn Care

Newborn Care

Item

Notes

Bottle/Pacifier Please do not offer without our consent.
Postpartum Rooming-In We plan to room-in as much as possible.
Nursery Care If baby is moved to the nursery, please return him to mom for feeding at any time of day or night.

 

Newborn Procedures

Newborn Procedures

We have reviewed the list of newborn procedures and would like to proceed as outlined below.  If something is not on this list, please obtain our consent before proceeding.

Please Proceed

Notes

Bath We ask that baby only be rinsed with water – not scrubbed or cleaned with soap.  It is okay with us if some vernix is left on his skin to come off in its own time.
Temperature Regulation
Eye Ointment
PKU
Glactecosemia
Hearing test
Vitamin K shot
Pediatrician visit
OPT OUT- Hepatitis B Shot  no Consent given

 

Our Pediatrician

Practice Name

Address

Suite

City, State, Zip

Child’s Name – XXXXX

Alternative Birthing Gowns

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I often tell my students to explore alternative birthing attire. There is something in the psychology of retaining one’s personal identity in the hospital environment that is very empowering. Regular hospital gowns are unattractive and cumbersome – so much material.  Here’s a list of alternative birthing gowns around the web.  They range in price from reasonable to expensive. Look for a design that suits not only your color palette but your birthing plan, keeping in mind external monitors, IV’s, epidural lines for example.

Pretty Pushers

Binsi

dearJohnnies

Milk and Baby

Etsy  (birthing/ maternity gowns)

Gownies

Amazon