The Importance of Breastfeeding

This is a fantastic article about the importance of breastfeeding and how it is even MORE important that vaccinations. I breastfed my son for almost 10 months and I am planning on breastfeeding my daughter for at least a year (we’re almost at 5 months!). It is so important to breastfeed and there really is no reason not to. It’s FREE. It’s MUCH healthier (can’t even compare to formula). And it creates a special bond between you and your child. Formula is none of those. (I understand that some people can’t for medical reasons etc. and I understand that and sympathize with them). Companies who make formula can “try” to make it as close to breast milk as possible. They can add calcium, vitamins, etc. but they can NOT add antibodies!

http://nutritioncare.net/blog/2011/03/03/breastfeeding-vaccines-to-pick/?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d731adbf5b3cf00%2C0

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Stay informed: The Risks of Inductions and C-sections

A friend recently posted these 2 articles. Keep yourself informed by reading them when you have a chance!

Problems and Hazards of Induction of Labor:

http://www.dona.org/PDF/CIMSinduct-fact-sheet.pdf

The Risks of Cesarean Section:

http://www.motherfriendly.org/pdf/TheRisksofCesareanSectionFebruary2010.pdf

10 Ways to Prepare a Mom For a Bad Birth

Excellent Post from: Mama Birth : http://mamabirth.blogspot.com/2010/09/10-ways-to-prepare-mom-for-bad-birth.html

1.  Treat her pregnancy like a disease and her baby like a foreign tumor-  

This will set the stage for feeling sick, hating pregnancy, and wanting it to end as soon as possible.  It will also plant the seed of doubt in her bodies ability to do something right.


2.  Test, Test, Test-

Instead of talking with her and listening to her concerns, just run expensive and invasive tests for diseases and conditions that most likely don’t affect her.  This way she won’t have time to tell you what is really going on like she would if she actually KNEW her care provider, and (as an extra bonus) it will fill her with anxiety about her pregnancy and birth.  Things could go wrong at ANY time.

3.  Tell her her body does not work-

It is important to do this subtly.  You don’t want mom to get angry enough to run for the hills, just instill enough self doubt that she feels like she needs you.  Some good phrases: “You are measuring just a little bit large….” or “I’m concerned about your borderline test results with regard to X, I think we need to do another test….” are good examples.  (And of course, an oldie but a goodie, “You are gaining a little bit too much weight…”)


4.  Do frequent vaginal exams during pregnancy-

This helps establish dominance because she is in a subservient position with you as the Alpha dog.  Also, it is uncomfortable and we all know that nobody questions anything when they have no pants on.  It is also a great time to employ #3 (ie-  “Ummm, your pelvis is quite small…”)


5.  Remember, you can always find a reason to induce-

By the time the due date is fast approaching mom should be well aware of her complete inability to function without you and have a baby under her own power.  She is ripe for suggestion and now is the time to offer induction.  Also, she will be tired and uncomfortable (especially if she is focusing on #1) and she will feel like you are helping her out.  Remember, anything can be given as a reason to induce, from small baby to large baby and everything in between.

6.  Give her a due date-

So far you have been sure to treat the pregnancy and birth like a test that she is incapable of actually passing.  The due date is a perfect end to this.  It makes her more open to #5 (induction) and it reminds her that unless she does things perfectly (ie- has baby on the correct appointed day) she will not be receiving an A on her pregnancy/birth test.  How can a woman who does not have her baby when appropriate actually give birth properly?


7.  Remember, pitocin is your friend-

Now time for labor!  Now, even if mom is one of the rare ones who has her baby when she is supposed to, you can still use the pitocin to make it more painful.  And, if not, you can use it for the induction.  By now she will be practically begging you to help her get her baby out.  Pitocin serves lots of functions: 1) great for induction 2) great for making labor more painful 3) great for making her have the baby quickly and 4) great for making you feel needed.

By now mom knows that she can  not do this on her own without technology and she knows that labor is PAINFUL and HORRID.  Don’t tell her that the pitocin makes it worse.  She will just be glad you are there to make it better for her.


8.  Drugs!-

She will be kneeling at the alter of modern technology and medication at this point and will be so grateful for the “experts” around her who are capable of making all the pain go away.  This is where you come in.  Only a licensed expert can dispense pain relief.  You might not be a knight on a white horse, but you have a white coat and a needle and that is good enough!


9.  You can always SECTION!-

And- if all of the above doesn’t work to get that baby out- don’t worry- you can save the day with the expensive, quick, and invasive c-section!!!!

There are lots of benefits to this.  1) You get to save her and the baby (shh, don’t tell anybody you put them in danger in the first place with 1-8) and 2) Even though you cut her open and pulled her baby out, she will be grateful you were there to take care of things!  She truly could not have done it without you.  Thank goodness she was in a hospital!


10)  Remember- the baby is ALIVE!-

Now after all of this sometimes mom will grieve that un-medicated birth (usually because they have some horrible friends who like that awful Riki Lake movie).  Now is the best time to point out that she really has no right to grieve that kind of birth loss, after all, she has a healthy baby.  This is also a subtle reminder to her that she is selfish and a bad mother.

It sounds crazy boys, but follow the above 10 rules and we will keep those ladies coming back for more!

Women Speak Out About What’s Gone Wrong with the United States Birthing System

Very very good article from : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tabby-biddle/women-speak-out-about-wha_b_781205.html?ref=fb&src=sp#sb=370053,b=facebook

 

“Women die in childbirth as a result of systemic failures including: barriers to accessing care, inadequate, neglectful or discriminatory care, and overuse of risky interventions like inducing labor and delivering via cesarean section.”Amnesty International

For many of us who haven’t yet been through childbirth, there’s an image we have of what it’s like: A woman is rushed to the hospital in a taxi; she gets put in a wheelchair and is rolled down the hallway in dire emergency; then we see her screaming, and yelling in pain and then… there’s the baby.

Sadly, this is the image that a lot of television shows have put into our minds, and have led many of us to believe: Birth is scary. Birth is dangerous. And it might be better if we just numb out through the whole experience.

Because so many women don’t have an image of what a natural, empowered birth looks like, there is a lot of fear surrounding the act giving birth. Accordingly, the majority of women give their inner authority over to doctors in their birth process. They trust the doctors more than themselves. The problem with this is that many women aren’t aware that the majority of her doctor’s medical decisions are being made today for monetary and legal reasons, and not necessarily for the good of her and her baby.

Here is the reality: Hospitals are businesses. They want those beds filled and emptied. They aren’t really interested in having women with long labors hanging around. And there is something else you should know: Having a baby in a hospital might not be as safe as you thought.

Did you know that the United States has the second worst newborn death rate in the developed world… and one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all industrialized countries?

You can go to any other developed country in the world, and you will find that they are losing fewer women and fewer babies around the time of birth. The important thing to know here is that in these countries, midwives are attending 70 to 80 percent of the births (doctors are there for the small percentage that have complications). In the United States, midwives attend less than 8 percent of births.

Why is this number so low?

“I’ve interviewed a lot of nurse midwives and I’ve noticed that as soon as their practice reaches over 30 percent of the women in a certain hospital, the doctor will start firing them because that’s too much competition,” said medical anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, in an interview for the documentary The Business of Being Born.

Hmmmm… interesting.

The common way to have birth now is be Cesarean section. Today in the United States, the Cesarean section rate is at an all-time high. Since 1996 the C-section rate has risen 50 percent, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Today one out of every three babies comes into this world by C-section.

This seems like a crazy statistic. What is really going on here?

Marsden Wagner, M.D., former director of Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization, gave his opinion in an interview for The Business of Being Born: “A Cesarean is extremely doctor-friendly, because instead of having a woman in labor for an average of 12 hours, 7 days a week. It’s 20 minutes, and I’ll be home for dinner.”

Many women come to the hospital with a plan for a natural birth, but all too often their birth plan changes very quickly based on a doctor’s decision (that is not necessarily based on any real complication). For example, one friend of mine had written a birth plan with her doctor. She would be having a natural, vaginal birth at St. John’s Health Center in in Santa Monica, California. On the day of my friend’s birth, her doctor did not show up. So my friend was then under the charge of another doctor. This doctor decided that instead of the natural birth my friend had wanted, she should have a C-section. His reason: she was taking too long in labor.

But the doctor forbade my friend from squatting and getting on all fours (apparently against hospital policy), even though it felt so good for her and it opened up her pelvis. (FYI: When he left the room, she went ahead and squatted anyway.) My friend knew she could give birth naturally. She felt deep inside that she had the strength and power to do this. She trusted herself. But the doctor kept insisting on a C-section.

After fighting off some medical interventions that the doctor was insisting on (one of these was the “fetal probe”), and a lot of eye rolling and shaming from the hospital staff in the process, her baby was born. While my friend was happy as can be about her new baby girl, she explained to me: “The birth was something that should have been beautiful, but degenerated into something that wasn’t.”

As Nadine Goodman, Public Health Specialist, has put it: “What the medical profession has done over the past 40, 50 years is convince the vast majority of women that they don’t know how to birth.”

I have heard too many stories from friends and family members where the hospital told them that they were open to the natural birth they wanted, but then the reality was so different. First came the Pitocin to speed up the labor, then the epidural to dull the pain from the strong contractions caused by the Pitocin, and then the C-section “for the safety of the baby.”

“We need to make sure that we reduce the overuse of interventions that are not always necessary, like C-sections, and increase access to the care that we know is good for mothers and babies, like labor support.” — Maureen Corry, executive director of Childbirth Connection

As Dr. Eden Fromberg, OB/GYN, has admitted in an interview: “There was a doctor who used to train me who said, ‘They can never fault you if you just section them. Just section them.'” In other words, the current thinking in the medical world is: avoid being sued at all costs.

“There’s the prevailing sense among doctors that you don’t get sued for the C-section you do, only the ones you don’t,” said Nan Strauss, a maternal health researcher for Amnesty International, quoted in The New York Times. Amnesty International published a report earlier this year declaring the country in the midst of a crisis in maternal health care.

The reality is that once the hospital starts with an intervention, it becomes a domino effect. They say: Thank God we were able to do all of these interventions to save your baby. But, as Eugene Declerqc, Ph.D., Professor of Maternal and Fetal Health at Boston University School of Public Health has said
…. the fact of the matter is if they didn’t start the cascading of interventions, none of the rest would have been necessary.

[By the way, putting a woman flat on her back for giving birth literally makes her pelvis smaller and makes it much more difficult for her to use her stomach muscles to push. The result: It is much more likely that she will need an episiotomy and a vacuum or forceps will be used to deliver the baby.]

Negotiating their way through the hospital environment is a power struggle that many women aren’t interested in, so they are choosing to have their babies at home.

“For most women who are having a normal, healthy pregnancy, it can be safer to have a home birth,” said Cecily Miller, prenatal and perinatal specialist living in Los Angeles, in an interview with me.

When I asked Ms. Miller to tell me more about the benefits of a home birth for expectant moms, here is what she told me:

“Giving birth is a rite of passage. It is an initiation into motherhood. If we want an empowered initiation where women are honored in the female body, and we are ushering in new life to the society, then women need to feel safe in their birth process… Giving birth is the most intimate experience we can imagine. And how we make love is how we want to give birth.”

Cecily explained to me that the qualities of making love and the qualities of the environment — dim lights, private space, intimate space — is the same conducive environment for birth. It should be a place where a woman feels she can be herself, which, as Cecily explained, is usually at home.

Sure makes sense to me.

When a woman is at home she can groan and make natural sounds (these sounds actually open up her pelvis); she can eat when we she needs to; rest when she needs to; have privacy when she needs to; kiss her partner, be held; walk around, look out at nature, and basically do what feels best for her. “The comforts of home afford a woman her ground, her roots… and then the body will naturally in most cases, open, and will give birth,” explained Cecily.

A friend of mine who had both of her babies at home described just that: “The best thing about giving birth at home was that I never had to leave my home. I could be rooted there. My husband brought me smoothies. I could hop in the tub when I wanted to. I could get on all fours. Then after the birth, I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was curl up with my baby, and that is exactly what I did.”

When I asked her about her confidence level for her home birth, she explained to me that through her birth classes and her yoga practice she felt prepared. “Deep breathing, steady focus, determination, and a desire to do it myself helped me bring my babies into the world.” she said. My friend explained that when the time came, she allowed her body to take over and do the rest. “I really do believe we are all strong women. I think the whole hospital realm has brainwashed women to think: ‘Oh you can’t handle this, so we will give you drugs.’ It’s pretty sad.” Agreed. She added: “While giving birth was the most challenging thing I’ve done in my life, having my children at home was comforting, inspiring and empowering.”

While a home birth might not be for every woman, it’s my hope that more women will consider it as an alternative to the institutionalized and currently over-medicalized environment of the hospital. As Cara Muhlhahn, a Certified Nurse Midwife in practice for more than 10 years, has said: A home birth gives the power back to the woman.

Have you gotten your flu shot?

Pregnant women urged to get flu shot

from: http://www.babycenter.com/204_pregnant-women-urged-to-get-flu-shot_10338412.bc?scid=momspreg_20100921_B:4&pe=2Uwcn7F

Fri, Sep 17, 2010 (HealthDay News) — As flu season approaches, a coalition of the nation’s largest public health organizations are highlighting the need for pregnant women to protect themselves and their babies by getting immunized.

“Based on expert medical opinion, we urge all pregnant women, and women who expect to become pregnant, to get their influenza immunization because the flu poses a serious risk of illness and death during pregnancy,” Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, said in a news release from the organization.

“The flu vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective,” she noted. “As an added bonus, during pregnancy, mothers pass on their immunity, protecting babies until they are old enough to receive their own vaccinations.”

On a cautionary note, however, experts point out that pregnant women should be sure to get the influenza shot, rather than the nasal spray vaccine option. The shot is made with a killed version of the virus, whereas the spray contains a weakened, but live, virus.

That said, the current education campaign highlights the fact that pregnancy increases the risk for sometimes fatal complications associated with the flu virus, including bacterial pneumonia and dehydration. Immune system changes that accompany pregnancy also increase the risk that a bout with the flu will require hospitalization, researchers have found.

Citing research presented in the April issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the March of Dimes news release noted that in the United States, pregnant women constituted 5 percent of all H1N1 fatalities in 2009 despite the fact that they made up just 1 percent of the American population.

Therefore, beyond getting vaccinated, pregnant women are advised to take additional precautions. Frequent hand washing, the use of hand sanitizers, and limiting exposure to children and sick people are some of the ways pregnant women can limit their flu risk.

People in close contact with pregnant women and/or young children should also be vaccinated, experts advise. And if and when a pregnant woman develops flu-like symptoms, medical attention should be sought immediately.

In its national effort to raise awareness of such pregnancy-specific flu risks, the March of Dimes is joined by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Pharmacists Association, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For his part, Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean and distinguished service professor of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City, praises the effort to draw attention to the particular threat the flu virus poses in pregnant women.

“We discovered in the last influenza season that many pregnant women were not aware of this need,” he noted. “And also their obstetricians were not aware. And part of the reason is that pregnant women were not traditionally listed among the high-risk groups, such as people 65 and older, and individuals with any chronic debilitating health complication requiring ongoing health care,” Imperato explained.

“Health care providers and those providing critical services — such as firefighters and police — were later added to the list, but it’s only in the last couple of years that we added pregnant women,” Imperato noted. “Because of the physiological changes that take place in their bodies that make [pregnant women] more vulnerable . . . it’s very critical that they get immunized.”

On another note, this year, adults seeking immunization will need just one flu shot, as opposed to the two that the CDC recommended last season.

The CDC pointed out that last year’s concern over the H1N1 virus necessitated one shot for that flu as well as a second shot targeting the seasonal flu virus. This year, however, a single vaccine has been developed to protect against three types of flu: the H3N2 virus, the influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus.

A few more induction articles

Article about elective induction: http://www.hencigoer.com/articles/elective_induction/

Article about inductions leading to c-sections: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=117420

Article/study about inductions doubling your chance of a c-section: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65K6DW20100621

Induction = C-Section (most of the time)

Every time I hear of a friend who is going to be induced I immediately think to myself, “I wonder what time she’ll have her c-section today?!” I can tell you countless stories of people (including myself) who were induced only to be wheeled off to the OR to be cut open. Why do inductions so often fail? Well, first off, they are NOT NATURAL. God intended for women to go into labor naturally and when WE try to alter God’s plans, things often DON’T go our way. I’ve read several articles recently about inductions (and their risks, see my previous post) and there is ALWAYS a paragraph or two about how inductions INCREASE the chance of a c-section.

This article shares more risks and goes into more details about the drugs used (Cytotec, Cervidil, Pitocin, etc.) in labor induction. http://www.asnatureintended.info/3/post/2009/11/problems-and-hazards-of-induction-of-labor.html

Here is a portion of the article:

“First-time mothers have approximately twice the likelihood of cesarean section with induction compared with natural onset of labor. This risk is due to the procedure itself, not any reason that might have led to inducing labor.  Inducing labor at 41 weeks in a hypothetical population of 100,000 first- time mothers will result in somewhere between 3,700 and 8,200 excess cesareans and cost an extra $29 to $39 million.”

Remember like someone once said, “When you buy the hospital ticket, you go for the hospital ride.” Induction leads to more painful contractions, which leads to getting an epidural, which leads to slowing down the labor process, which leads to a diagnosis of “failure to progress,” which ultimately leads to a C-SECTION. If you want to DECREASE your chances of having a c-section, then DO NOT agree to be induced.

Other interesting facts you’ll find in the article I mentioned:

1. Inducing labor for suspected big baby produces no benefits but increases the likelihood of cesarean section.

2. No credible evidence supports inducing labor in women with gestational—as opposed to pre- existing —diabetes.

3. Studies claiming to support routine induction of labor at 41 weeks of pregnancy have serious flaws.  No research supports routine induction at any earlier point in pregnancy; no sound research supports routine induction at any point in pregnancy.

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