Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good News on Umbilical Cords !!!!

Check out Gloria's blog on on of my FAVOURITE topics here

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Let’s take a minute to recover from that thought, shall we?

Another baby girl made her grand entrance into the world on Novemeber 13th, 2008. She was born in hospital and was home three hours later. With today’s advance Health Care system, how could something like this have occurred?

Nine months prior to this delivery both her mom and dad were shocked that they were expecting another baby. After a traumatic delivery with their first child, born by caesarean section, they had not known if they would risk another pregnancy, another surgical delivery. Mom is quoted to have said ‘if I ever get pregnant again, I will have a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC), even if it means we stay at home to deliver the baby’!! The nerve! This topic has remained quite controversial among health care professionals. Some physicians have even gone as far as to suggest that first time caesarean moms schedule surgical deliveries for all subsequent births. Not this mom, she would hear nothing of it. So, as a new reporter for Confessions of a Birth-a-holic, I desperately wanted to chronicle the couple’s experience with this thing called natural birth, and a VBAC at that. How would they succeed? Here is their story…

First of all, these parents took matters into their own hands. They researched and planned for a successful VBAC delivery. How? First they made sure they understood the evidence surrounding the risks and benefits of a VBAC. They were confident in their decision that a VBAC was best for both mom and baby. After much searching, they also located a physician who would support their decision. Many of the doctors they talked with discussed a trial of labour. But this mom was not comfortable with that kind of terminology; she was focussed on a successful natural labour and delivery. Baby’s mom really felt that she had been robbed of the natural childbirth experience with her first baby, who was a footling breech and subsequent caesarean section. With this pregnancy, she was determined to welcome the marvels of womanhood through a vaginal birthing experience. Wow, I think to myself as I reflect on this ideology, the wonders of a woman.

There were many other facets involved with the preparation for the birth. In order to prepare mom for the physical and emotional challenges of labour and delivery, she took a self-instructed hypnobirthing course. That said, during labour she is quoted to have said ‘turn this s--t off’ while listening to her hypnosis CD’s. Apparently the hypnosis preparation was not as efficient as their other chosen support system, a Doula. Huh? What the heck is that you ask? I was dumbfounded upon hearing of this professional but apparently there are women experienced in childbirth who want to provide physical, emotional and informational support to mothers, before, during and after childbirth. News to me (and now you) but not news to this couple! Their Doula was hired because they knew her, liked her, admired her and trusted that she could provide them with the information and support they would require to accomplish their goal of a VBAC.

Since mom had much invested in the vaginal birth of her second child, the Doula had her work cut out for her. She knew personal details about this couple, and the mom specifically (which is a whole other story), that meant she would have to have a heightened awareness of the labour progress and when to head to the hospital. Although mom had earlier said she would rather stay at home than risk a caesarean, she also knew that, as a VBAC patient, her doctor was more comfortable with her delivering in hospital (even if they would have to get a disco ball to give mom the birth experience she so desired).

As luck would have it, baby was one-week post dates (note sarcasm here). Mom went to a doctor’s appointment only to find out that her cervix was posterior. That’s right, there was nothing…notta…zip…zero…ziltch…happening ‘down there’. This news always causes stress for a pregnant mom, since every day after d-day is a ticking time bomb to induction. Not good news for a VBAC mom. But, as luck really would have it, one hour after hearing this news, pressure waves started. Mom had a feeling that these waves were ‘it’ despite having had two previous days of what she referred to as ‘surfing the waves’. So, in response to the realization of the impending birth, mom headed to Fuddrucker’s for a last supper of sorts (it is reported that women labour more efficiently after consuming the Hawaiian Chicken Salad from Fudd’s). Several hours later, mom called her Doula to let her know that the day had arrived, it was a second coming for the mom and she was prepared! The Doula responded by checking in on the emotional state of the couple and setting up a birthing tub for mom to labour in. When mom finally decided to use the tub, she knew the Doula and her tub were God sent.

After a few hours of labouring in the shower, on the bed and in the bathroom, it was finally ‘tub time’ and mom spent four solid hours squatting in that labour tub, with her Doula and her husband never leaving her side. She had finally found her rhythm, as the Doula had counselled them she would. The entire time in the tub, her Doula provided counter pressure on her back during each contraction. Looking back, the mom has said ‘it was almost relaxing…if one can call intense, bulldozing, abdominal pain relaxing’! The Doula also whispered encouraging words and ensured the couple that things were progressing normally. Whew! What a relief to both mom and dad! And speaking of dad, he was also an amazing support during this physically and emotionally demanding task. Eyewitnesses say mom actually bit his leg or hand during some of the contractions. I think we can safely assume that the Doula was happy that she was not on the receiving end of those fangs.

As labour progressed and got more intense, the impending transfer to the hospital was inevitable. The couple desperately wanted to labour at home for as long as possible, in order to avoid unnecessary medical intervention, but they still wanted to deliver in hospital. Time was of the essence and this couple completely trusted their Doula to know when to leave and how to get mom, so far progressed in labour, out of the tub, into the car and to the hospital. And the Doula did. She knew exactly when it was time; she remained calm and supportive while they relocated. They arrived at the hospital 10 cm dilated. Hooray! Mission accomplished. Ah…no…wait…she still had to actually deliver the baby!

Being at the hospital was a whole new experience that required additional support from the Doula. I mean, who makes these hospital policies where the husband is meant to wait in line to fill out forms, whilst a mom in need of physical and emotional support stands alone? Thank goodness for the Doula, who never left the birthing mom’s side. Not to mention, it might have been a bit awkward for a woman to be alone, wearing only a T-shirt and boots in the hallway, leaning over a wheelchair, moaning and groaning. Then again, this is the ER, so maybe not.

Once the paperwork was completed the threesome headed for labour and delivery. This is where mom was in for a real shock. No one had ever told her that the hallway from the elevator to labour and delivery is about a 100-kilometre distance! I was also shocked when she told me. It seems unbelievable. But, I feel it is my duty to let pregnant women know, if you deliver in hospital, you will be required to pass through this extremely long hallway. It’s the only way to get there. Apparently this dad is quoted to have said ‘it doesn’t look that long’ (I believe she may have bit his hand clean off with the next contraction). Luckily, the Doula reassured them that at the end of this little hallway, they would finally reach their destination.

Upon examination by the attending physician, the parents were thrilled to hear that it was time to welcome baby into their waiting arms! They thought this would be quick and easy. The baby would arrive in 20 minutes, give or take a few and they’d be calling all their friends and family with the dirty deets of the birth. Wrong. Thank goodness for the Doula. She was a calm presence, a wealth of knowledge and a great support for the parents while baby took her sweet time descending the birth canal. When the pushing wasn’t progressing, the Doula suggested switching positions, played soothing music, provided physical support and constantly whispered encouraging words to the mother. It was the Doula, not the doctor, nurse or spouse, who eased the fears the mom had of feeling the baby crown and her fear of tearing. She reassured mom that her perineum was being protected and that when the baby crowned, she would be born. It was exactly what mom needed to hear and with the next wave, baby arrived. Finally, with the collaboration of mom, dad, doctor and the Doula, the VBAC birth was successful. Mission accomplished.

I asked this baby’s mom about her feelings on her VBAC experience and this was her response:
“I believe birth is one of the most important, life-impacting journeys a woman goes through. It was a right of passage that I longed for. I wanted to be able to experience the complete submission of myself to my body, to let go and allow my body and my baby do the job they were designed to do. I did this with the support of my husband and my Doula. This was a major accomplishment and despite that, there was no hero cookie handed to me when it was over (which was fine, I wasn’t hungry anyway). Besides, I had my supportive Doula, my proud husband to give me all the kudos I required. The only thing I’ve pondered since the birth of my baby is this, where were the news media and television crews???”

I couldn’t agree more. Woman naturally births 7 lbs 14 oz baby girl! Now that is news worthy!

( this was submitted by an amazing mom who loves to write in third person)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Natural Approaches to Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy - by Denise Tiran

Originally posted on Nov 2009 on the MIDIRS WEBSITE

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) is an underrated and often disregarded condition which has immense significance for the mother and her family.

Indeed, it is not simply a condition which affects only the mother, but impacts also on her partner, her children, her job and her everyday life.

The term ‘morning sickness’ is a misnomer, because whilst many women have early morning nausea on waking, due to hypoglycaemia, many continue to suffer throughout the day and even into the night. Similarly, the traditional midwifery advice that symptoms will resolve spontaneously by the beginning of the second trimester can be discouraging, for many women feel unwell for the duration of the pregnancy, and others, whose condition may have improved in the mid-trimester, may experience a return to NVP towards term as the hormones change in preparation for labour.

Midwives should be able to differentiate clearly between physiological NVP (even when it is severe) and pathological hyperemesis gravidarum. Physiological nausea occurs in up to 85% of pregnant women (Jewell & Young 2003), with approximately half of these experiencing vomiting, but pathological hyperemesis occurs only in about 2.4% of the total (Power et al 2001), or between one and 20 cases per 1000 pregnancies (Kuscu & Koyunco 2002). Hyperemesis is defined as persistent vomiting causing weight loss of more than 5kg, with dehydration requiring fluid replacement, usually in hospital (Power et al 2007). However, undervaluing mothers’ subjective accounts of NVP may contribute to increased stress and unnecessary delays in instigating the appropriate treatment, particularly when the condition becomes pathological (Munch 2000). The effects of NVP are what the mother says they are, and the dismissive attitude of many GPs and some midwives is unhelpful and unkind.

NVP is largely considered to be ‘hormonal’, but this is an easy answer to a complicated question, because many different hormones are involved. Nausea has variously been attributed to oestrogen, progesterone, chorionic gonadotrophin, thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroxine, prostaglandins, testosterone and cortisol as well as other chemicals such as serotonin 5-HT, histamine and dopamine. Vomiting is triggered by changes in the brain, gastrointestinal tract and vestibular apparatus in the ear. NVP is exacerbated by tiredness, stress and anxiety, and appears to be worse in women with a history of muscusloskeletal problems, notably back, neck or jaw conditions (Tiran 2009). However, it is not the purpose of this paper to discuss the myriad causes and predisposing factors which contribute to NVP, and readers are referred to Tiran (2003) for a more comprehensive exploration of the subject.

Lifestyle advice
There are many suggestions which midwives can offer to women with mild to moderate NVP, although, often, women will try to cope alone until the symptoms have persisted for longer than they anticipated. The ubiquitous ‘tea and dry biscuit before getting up’ regime is not always appropriate, although those who feel more nauseous when they are hungry (as on waking) will gain some short term relief from eating. Unfortunately, biscuits are not the best means of satiating hunger, because the fast-release sugar is quickly metabolised and hypoglycaemia follows, leading to a vicious circle of eating – nausea – eating, and the risk of excessive weight gain. Slow-release carbohydrates are better, including bananas, porridge, jacket potatoes, wheatgrain toast, rice crackers etc. Women should not be made to feel guilty about eating a poor diet at this time, but should be encouraged to eat whatever foods are attractive to them, and which are not vomited back.

Nausea may be exacerbated by iron, so avoiding routine ingestion of iron-containing multivitamin supplements in early pregnancy may have some effect in reducing the severity of symptoms (Gill et al 2009). Additionally, the palate tends to be very sensitive and resulting stimulation of the gag reflex triggers retching and vomiting, so attempting to swallow large tablets (such as vitamin B) is ill-advised (Koren & Pairaideau 2006); a liquid preparation such as Floradix™ may be more palatable if a mother is known to be vitamin and mineral deficient. Conversely, some authorities advocate the use of vitamin B6 as a treatment for gestational sickness (Power et al 2007), although Masino & Kahle (2002) advise caution as there is some suggestion that large doses may affect neurological development which could be permanent after fetal exposure. For women who are able to eat relatively normally, consuming foods rich in vitamin B6, such as avocado, bananas, yeast extract, wheat bran, wheat germ, sardines, mackerel, beef, poultry, brown rice, cabbage and free range eggs may help.

Rest and sleep are important to reduce fatigue and it has been shown that many women spontaneously resort to ‘napping’ (O’Brien et al 1997), although occupational commitments or dealing with other children may preclude this as a long term strategy. Any means of alleviating stress should be advised, including taking time off work or adapting working practices where possible, such as working from home. Manageable exercise and obtaining fresh air should be encouraged if the NVP is not so severe that it confines the mother to bed, and relaxation and complementary therapies can be advised (see below). It is also necessary to ensure that partners and family members appreciate the nature of the problem. Some partners become over-solicitous and fear that the NVP will be harmful to the mother or baby, athough it appears to be nature’s way of protecting the materno-fetal unit (Brown et al 1997, Huxley 2000). However most men find it difficult to cope if the NVP lasts more than a few weeks, and diplomatic counselling may be needed to assist them in dealing with the situation.

Ginger, in the form of capsules, syrup or a tea made from the root has been shown in numerous studies to be an effective antiemetic (Ozgoli et al 2009), reducing the number of vomiting episodes and comparing favourably with vitamin B6 supplements (Ensiyeh & Sakineh 2008) and other prescribed medications (Pongrojpaw et al 2007). Ginger appears to be almost universally known as a remedy for morning sickness and is readily advocated by midwives (personal communications), despite many having insufficient information to advise women accurately and safely. Ginger is also recommended by many obstetricians (Power et al 2007) although little advice appears to be given regarding dosages and there is scant acknowledgement of the pharmacological nature of ginger, despite wide variations in the proportions of the active components in many commercially available preparations (Schwertner et al 2006). It should be remembered that ginger is a herbal medicine which works pharmacologically, with side effects such as heartburn, and that it also has the potential to interact with drugs (Marcus & Snodgrass 2005). There is evidence to suggest that ginger has anticoagulant effects, especially if taken in excessive amounts or for prolonged periods of time, a factor which may preclude its use by women with haematological conditions, those on warfarin or other drugs with anticoagulant effects, and in those suffering threatened miscarriage (Thomson et al 2002, Borrelli et al 2005, Jiang et al 2005). Mothers and midwives mistakenly believe that ginger biscuits are acceptable but, although the large amount of sugar may bring temporary relief from a rise in serum glucose, any antiemetic effect is not due to the minimal amount of ginger in a biscuit. In addition, ginger is, in Chinese medicine terms, a ‘hot’ or ‘Yang’ remedy which, if taken by a woman who is already too ‘Yang’, will only serve to increase her symptoms (Tiran & Budd 2005).

Commercially produced wristbands, originally intended for travel sickness, are widely available and can be very effective. They work by stimulating an acupuncture point, the Pericardium (P6) or Neiguan point, on the inner aspect of the wrist, from where an acupuncture energy line (meridian) travels through the body to rebalance internal energies to and from the heart. Stimulation of the P6 point with acupuncture needles can also be undertaken by appropriately trained professionals. There have been numerous good calibre research studies on P6 stimulation and sickness of various aetiology, including NVP (Helmreich et al 2006, Streitberger et al 2006, Shin et al 2007, Can Gürkan & Arslan 2008). Siting of the wristband, with the stimulation button directly over the precise area for the P6 point, is important as incorrect positioning will make the bands ineffective, and is one of the reasons why use of P6 stimulation may be unsuccessful in some women. Stimulation of the P6 and other relevant points may also be undertaken by an acupuncturist, but mothers should be advised to find a qualified practitioner, preferably one who is experienced in treating pregnant women.

Vestibular stimulation
NVP is triggered, and can be exacerbated by, abnormal effects on the vestibular (balancing) mechanism in the ear (Black 2002). NVP is often worse for women prone to travel sickness, and normalisation of the balancing mechanism can be a simple means of reducing the severity of symptoms. A study of women with hyperemesis gravidarum indicated that electrical stimulation of the vestibular apparatus was effective in reducing nausea and excessive vomiting (Golaszewski et al 1995), and a contemporary commercial DVD (Morningwell™) is now available from the National Childbirth Trust. This uses inaudible pulsed frequencies overlaid with music, and must be used with personal headphones so that the pulsations rebound on the vestibular apparatus in the ears. The manufacturers claim this to be 90% successful in suppressing NVP, a fact which was borne out by a small study by a midwife in Hampshire (Mayo 2001).

Relaxation complementary therapies
Relaxation therapies can be helpful in cases where the NVP is worsened by stress and psychological factors, but midwives with little knowledge of complementary therapies should be cautious when advising women about these. Aromatherapy is not always acceptable because of the dramatic changes in the woman’s sense of smell which can occur, and because many essential oils are contraindicated in pregnancy (Tiran 2001). Reflexology can be helpful when administered by an experienced and well trained therapist, but it should be noted that most reflexology training courses discourage practitioners from treating women in the first trimester. On the other hand, reflex zone therapy, practised primarily by conventional healthcare professionals including midwives, nurses and physiotherapists, can be extremely effective in reducing the severity of symptoms, in some cases completely resolving the condition (Tiran 2009). Shiatsu, given by a practitioner who is trained to treat pregnant women, can also be beneficial, and massage may appeal to some women (Agren & Berg 2006). Psychological therapies such as hypnosis may also be of use (Simon & Schwartz 1999). Often, just listening to the mother and validating her symptoms can be a relief which enhances her coping mechanisms.

Other complementary therapies
Osteopathy and chiropractic, which are ‘professions supplementary to medicine’ and whose practitioners are statutorily regulated in the same way as midwives, are safe in pregnancy and will be effective for many women with NVP, but particularly those with a history of musculoskeletal problems. Homeopathic remedies can be useful for some, but it is important that the remedy is selected carefully in accordance with the individual mother’s precise symptoms. Although many homeopathic remedies are available over-the-counter, inappropriate administration can prolong the symptoms and may exacerbate the condition. Other herbal medicines can sometimes be beneficial, but mothers are best advised to consult a qualified and experienced practitioner, rather than self-administering remedies which may not be safe during pregnancy.

NVP is a common physiological condition of pregnancy, but one for which the incidence appears to be growing, perhaps due to stressed lifestyles, work commitments, delay in childbearing, environmental toxins and other factors. Whilst midwives may not always see women in the first trimester and be in a position to advise them in the early stages, they frequently come into contact with mothers in later pregnancy who are still suffering. Advice about lifestyle, dietary adaptation and simple self-administration of natural remedies may be sufficient to ease the severity of symptoms in many women, and midwives can also refer women to appropriately qualified complementary practitioners. This is, however, a specialist area of midwifery practice which deserves more attention in pre-registration education and subsequently in clinical practice.

Breaking news
Ginger use during pregnancy is being questioned due to a new report from the Finnish government. Finnish authorities are warning pregnant women not to consume ginger supplements, drinks, or teas. Ginger contains chemicals that are cytotoxic in vitro. The concern is that these chemicals MIGHT be harmful if consumed in large quantities. So far, no obvious problems have been seen in pregnant women taking ginger supplements in doses of about one gram daily. Advise women not to overdo it. More is not necessarily better. Also, consider recommending pyridoxine (vitamin B6) first for morning sickness. Vitamin B6 12.5 - 25 mg three or four times daily is safe and often effective for mild nausea.

Agren A, Berg M (2006). Tactile massage and severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy-women's experiences. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 20(2):169-76.

Black FO (2002). Maternal susceptibility to nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: is the vestibular system involved? American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 186(5) (Suppl):S204-9.

Borrelli F, Capasso R, Aviello G et al (2005). Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Obstetrics and Gynecology 105(4):849-56.

Brown JE, Kahn ES, Hartman TJ (1997). Profet, profits and proof: do nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy protect women from “harmful” vegetables? American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 176(1 pt 1):179-81.

Can Gürkan O, Arslan H (2008). Effect of acupressure on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 14(1):46-52.

Ensiyeh J, Sakineh MA (2008). Comparing ginger and vitamin B6 for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial. Midwifery Feb 11. [Epub ahead of print].

Gill SK, Maltepe C, Koren G (2009). The effectiveness of discontinuing iron-containing prenatal multivitamins on reducing the severity of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 29(1):13-6.

Golaszewski T, Frigo P, Mark HE et al (1995). Treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum by electrostimulation of the vestibular apparatus. Zeitschrift fϋr Geburtshilfe Neonatologie 199(3):107-10 [Article in German].

Helmreich RJ, Shiao SY, Dune LS (2006). Meta-analysis of acustimulation effects on nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Explore (NY) 2(5):412-21.

Huxley RR (2000). Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: its role in placental development. Obstetrics and Gynecology 95(5):779-82.

Jewell D, Young G (2003). Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, issue 4.

Jiang X, Williams KM, Liauw WS et al (2005). Effect of ginkgo and ginger on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of warfarin in healthy subjects. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 59(4):425-32.

Koren G, Pairaideau N (2006). Compliance with prenatal vitamins. Patients with morning sickness sometimes find it difficult. Canadian Family Physician 52(11):1392-3.

Kuscu NK, Koyuncu F (2002). Hyperemesis gravidarum: current concepts and management. Postgraduate Medical Journal 78(916):76-9.

Marcus DM, Snodgrass WR (2005). Effectiveness and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. Obstetrics and Gynecology 106(3):640.

Masino SA, Kahle JS (2002). Vitamin B6 therapy during childbearing years: cause for caution? Nutritional Neuroscience 5(4):241-2.

Mayo L (2001). A sound remedy? A new treatment for ‘morning sickness’. Practising Midwife 4(10):16-7.

Munch S (2000). A qualitative analysis of physician humanism: women’s experiences with hyperemesis gravidarum. Journal of Perinatology 20(8 pt 1):540-7.

O’Brien B, Relyea J, Lidstone T (1997). Diary reports of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Clinical Nursing Research 6(3):239-52.

Ozgoli G, Goli M, Simbar M (2009). Effects of ginger capsules on pregnancy, nausea, and vomiting. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 15(3):243-6.

Pongrojpaw D, Somprasit C, Chanthasenanont A (2007). A randomized comparison of ginger and dimenhydrinate in the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 90(9):1703-9.

Power ML, Holzman GB, Schulkin J (2001). A survey on the management of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy by obstetricians/gynecologists. Primary Care Update for Obs/Gyns 8(2):69-72.

Power ML, Milligan LA, Schulkin J (2007). Managing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a survey of obstetrician-gynecologists. Journal of Reproductive Medicine 52(10):922-8.

Schwertner HA, Rios DC, Pascoe JE (2006). Variation in concentration and labeling of ginger root dietary supplements. Obstetrics and Gynecology 107(6):1337-43.

Shin HS, Song YA, Seo S (2007). Effect of Nei-Guan point (P6) acupressure on ketonuria levels, nausea and vomiting in women with hyperemesis gravidarum. Journal of Advanced Nursing 59(5):510-9.

Simon EP, Schwartz J (1999). Medical hypnosis for hyperemesis gravidarum. Birth 26(4):248-54.

Streitberger K, Ezzo J, Schneider A (2006). Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting: an update of clinical and experimental studies. Autonomic Neuroscience 129(1-2):107-17.

Thomson M, Al-Qattan KK, Al-Sawan SM et al (2002). The use of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) as a potential anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic agent. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 67(6):475-8.

Tiran D (2001). Clinical aromatherapy for pregnancy and childbirth. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Tiran D (2003). Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: an integrated approach to care. London: Elsevier Science.

Tiran D, Budd S (2005). Ginger is not a universal remedy for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 15(3):335-9.

Tiran D (2009). Reflexology for pregnancy and childbirth: a definitive guide for healthcare professionals. Edinburgh: Elsevier Science.

Denise Tiran is Director of ‘Expectancy’, the leading provider of professional education on safety of complementary therapies in pregnancy and childbirth. She would be interested to hear from midwives who would like to consider training to become Expectancy registered ‘morning sickness’ consultants.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

After three days and three nights on a gentle journey, Daniel emerged. He opened his eyes and bathed in the silence and awe shared by all who were present. Home is where your story begins....welcome.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Science & Sensibility » umbilical cord clamping

Fascinating interview with a researcher who has been demonstrating that babies do better in life if they get time to change over from womb breathing to room breathing with their "life line" intact.

Source: www.scienceandsensibility.org
Consider the Source is a new series of interviews with prominent researchers working to improve the health outcomes of women and infants around the time of childbirth.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prevention is best during flu season

Dear friends,

As we approach flu season, it is good to be reminded of ways to prevent it. There are better ways to prevent the flu than being vaccinated. Check out the following points to keep yourself and your family in good health during this winter season.
This means to not only refrain from sugar, but all foods containing sugar, which are most foods on the shelves of the supermarket. Read labels very carefully. In fact, when you read the labels first, will find that you will have to put most foods back on the shelf.

Sugar makes a perfect environment for viruses. Sugar completely destroys your immune system. It destroys the germ-killing ability of white bloods cells to kill bacteria and viruses up to five hours after intake. It interferes with the transport of vitamin C which is needed to fight the flu and robs the body of nutrients such as zinc that are vital for the immune function.

Sugar affects everyone, but has more serious consequences for children. Keep your children away from all sugar and especially when flu viruses are around. That means at Christmas time too!

Also, please reduce carbs as they turn to sugar in your body. Especially eliminate all whites--not only white sugar, but white flour, white pasta and white rice. Completely eradicate pop and sweet teas. I refuse to have sugar in my pantry.

The stronger your immune system, the less likelihood of getting the flu or any disease.

Here are some ideas for building up your immune system for you and your children. You can do what suits you best--or do them all!

My daughter, Serene, who has eight children, gives herself and the children the following once a day or more as needed.

½ cup chopped onion
A whole bulb of chopped garlic
2 TBS chopped fresh ginger root
1 chopped jalapeño

Put all ingredients in a quart jar, cover with raw vinegar and let sit 4 - 6 weeks. Strain out vegetables and use 2 TBS. or more each day. If you do get a cold or the flu, take every hour. Serene gives her children 1 TBS. each day as a preventative.

1, 000 mg morning and evening

Give children three drops in water once a week. If you notice any signs of flu or colds in the family, give three drops in water once a day. Adults should take 10 - 15 drops in water at the slightest sign of a cold or flu. You can obtain this extract at a health food shop.

To make it easier for toddlers to take these vitamins, mix the following:
1 TBS. or more of yogurt (no sugar added)
Crushed Vitamin C tablet, smaller dosage for toddler
Juice of ½ orange
2 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
Stevia for sweetening
Mix together and give to toddler as needed.

1,000 mg each morning to children
1,000 each morning and evening for adults. Most adults need much more than this. The consensus is that anything up to 5,000 mg a day is safe and beneficial for most people. After a hydroxyl test, most people find they need more than this. The optimum levels for the body are 60 - 90 ml. Vitamin D builds the immune system and also fights cancer.

This is a marvelous food that builds up the body's own natural defenses against viral infections, disease and cancer. Take as much as you can each day. You can't take too much. Use the Extra Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil for medicinal use. Put 1 TBS. or more in your smoothies. Use it for all your cooking instead of other oils. You can use Expeller Pressed for cooking.

If there are any signs of flu in even one of the children, Serene gets her children to take a banana and dip it into coconut oil (about 2 TBS coconut oil). This is an easy way for the children to eat it. You can also get the children to put the coconut oil behind their ears and massage it into their lymph glands and also in their nose.

Use coconut way every way you can. Use it for all cooking instead of other oils. To try some delectable recipes with Coconut Butter (it is called butter when it is cold and goes hard, and oil when it is soft in the summer or heated) you can order COCONUT RECIPES by Serene Allison from the Above Rubies website: www.aboverubies.org

This is another super oil. I only use Coconut oil or Red Palm oil for cooking in our home. Every other oil turns to Trans fat when it is heated. Not only are these safe oils to cook with, but they add many nutrients to your body. Both Coconut oil and Red Palm oil strengthen the immune system.

You can put a little Red Palm oil in your smoothies. My husband spreads it on his bread, but I have to admit, I cannot take it that way. But use it as much as you can in your cooking. The following is a smoothie recipe to try:

Ginger Sunrise
2 fresh oranges
2 lemons, peeled with knife, removing yellow rind, but keeping the white pith
1 - 2 bananas (great for children, eliminate for adults as fattening)
2 TBS. Red Palm Oil
1 large handful of flax seeds or chia seeds
2 TBS. Coconut oil
2 chunks fresh raw ginger (about 1")
Sweetening - Stevia
Ice cubes
Blend very well in Vita Mix or good blender until smooth.


Also www.TheHomeGrownFamily.com
Charity Callis, Toll Free: 1 877 841 2861

Go to http://www.rainforestcoconutoil.com/ and check out their website.
Email: rainforestmkt@gmail.com 
Toll Free: 877-558-5518

To find out more about these immune boosting oils, check out THE PALM OIL MIRACLE and THE COCONUT OIL MIRACLE by Bruce Fife.

There is nothing like lack of sleep to run down your immune system. Sleep and a healthy diet are your best preventatives against the flu and colds. Make sure you have adequate sleep, especially during flu season. Try to get to bed early.

I grew up with the old wives' tale that the hours of sleep before midnight are the most beneficial. Science has now proved this adage, although I must admit I have broken the rule most of my life. I am now trying to go to bed earlier. The plan is to go to bed no later than 10.00 pm--9.00 pm is even better.

Staying up much later than 10.00 pm causes your adrenal glands to make cortisol. This is taxing on the adrenal gland and can lead to adrenal fatigue. Does this sound too hard? It is actually better for your health, and you will accomplish just as much by getting up earlier in the morning. And remember, I am preaching to myself!

I have a friend who uses the following for her family. The taste is wonderful.

½ cup elderberries (check the Internet for dried elderberries)
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 TBS grated fresh root ginger
2 cups water
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Add ½ cup honey. Store in refrigerator. Take 2 TBS. each day to prevent colds and flu. If you have the flu, take every hour. This recipe only keeps two weeks in the fridge so you will need to make a fresh batch every two weeks.

Any easy fighter is to chop up 1 or 2 garlic cloves very, very finely. Pop in your mouth and swallow before you have a chance to taste the flavor or imbibe the smell. This is an easy and wonderful way to fight the flu. I find this simple and effective.

Many folk use the following Natural Antibiotic Recipe using Young Living Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils. Here is the recipe from Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils, compiled by Connie and Alan Higley, 10th edition.

12 drops Thieves Oil
6 drops Oregano Oil
2 drops Frankincense Oil
Put drops in a "00" size capsule and ingest one capsule every 4 hours for 3 days, then every 8 hours for 4 days.

To purchase oils, go to Amazon.com

BURIED TREASURE - ACF (Acute Cold and Flu Formula)
This is highly effective for fighting colds. You can purchase it as your local health food store or online. Our daughter, Pearl, always has it on hand for use at the first sign of a sniffle.


Horseradish root is a powerful antibiotic and useful for fighting the flu, as well as urinary tract infections and even cancer. I have just harvested the roots from m y garden and am getting ready to prepare it as a sauce and to use in other recipes. Check the Internet for all kinds of wonderful recipes.

Prepare the following to use as needed. Slice or chunk the horseradish root, place in blender and grind, adding small amounts of vinegar for a good consistency, about 1 TBS vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar) to 1 cup horseradish. The vinegar preserves the horseradish and enhances the flavor. Vinegar stops the heat-building enzyme activity that grinding causes. If you want hotter horseradish, wait before adding the vinegar. Adding the vinegar right away will make the horseradish milder.

Horseradish will take your breath away, bring tears to your eyes, but at the same time clear all your sinuses, help ward off the flu and make you feel great!

You can add 1 TBS. of horseradish to your coleslaw or even to your meat loaf you are preparing.

This is another old wives' tale that I grew up with, but I still do it and believe it works. If someone gets a cold or flu in the house, I cut an onion in half and put it in a strategic place. Supposedly the germs go to the onion. If my husband has a sniffle, I cut an onion and put half by his side of the bed and half by my side of the bed. He complains of the smell but puts up with it!

A lot of germs come through the ears. As a preventative, pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide in the ear. I love to feel it bubbling in my ear. Do it once a week (perhaps on the weekend), one night in one ear and the next night in the other. I find it easier to do it this way as the peroxide doesn't run out from one ear when pouring it in the other ear.

An herb which strengthens the immune system and fights off infections. Check the Internet for purchase. Adults only.

Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially before eating. Wash under running water for 20 seconds or sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY while washing. It is most important to train your children to do this.

I find myself doing this and am having to get into the habit of not rubbing my eyes, mouth or nose. Teach your children about this also.

Check the Internet for a Neti Pot to clear nose and sinuses.

The H1N1 vaccination has many dangers. Check out more information before allowing yourself and your family to become a victim to these shots.

The Swine Flu Vaccine, unlike other flu vaccines, contains squalene, an additive which when introduced into the bloodstream, causes crippling auto-immune diseases like Lou Gehrig's disease, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, polyarteritis nodosa, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Squalene in vaccines has been strongly connected to the Gulf War Syndrome. The H1N1 vaccine contains 1 million times more squalene than the vaccine given to Gulf War soldiers (which resulted in 140,000 veterans contracting the auto-immune disease Gulf War Syndrome). The use of squalene is illegal in the USA and UK but is being allowed under the emergency pandemic decree. Dr. Russell Blaylock states, "If you receive the vaccine, there is little you can do to protect yourself--at least by conventional medicine. It will mean a lifetime of crippling illness and early death."

The US government has given vaccine manufacturers (Novartis, Baxter, Glaxo-Smithkline, CSL) complete legal immunity from any deaths or injuries resulting from their vaccines.

If you are interested you could check out some of the following sites which are listed below.

Internet sites to check out:

















Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What NOT to read

What Not To Read
Posted by Nicole D on her fabulous blog
Read Time: 7 minutes

You know that show "What Not to Wear"? Well, this is my version of that show... only it's a blog post, not a TV show... and it's about reading material, not clothes... ... ...Every "Don't Read" is explained and critiqued in detail, and then I provide three alternate options for "Instead Read". These three alternatives are broken down into three sub-categories: Citizen (for the average Joanne, safe to give at a baby shower without offending), Seeker (for the one who is definitely looking into her options but not sure what she wants), and Sold (she knows, she has researched, she is a proactive consumer, it's hard to offend this chic).So, without further ado, I give you WHAT NOT TO READ:DON'T READ: What to Expect When You Are Expecting - while learning to crawl, my second-born found and proceeded to rip every page out of my copy of WTEWYAE. She had the right idea. This book is chock full of enough scare-tactics and medical promotions to frighten and confuse any mama-to-be right into a panic attack (if not premature labor). I have never seen so many women turned into anxious balls of nervous wreckage after reading this book. Although it contains a lot of relevant educational material, it is delivered in such a way that women are not brought into that knowledge in an empowering and positive way; but instead leads women to believe that there are so many cautions, tests, deviations, and alternatives that something is bound to happen, just wait. Empower and educate, it does not. There are many better options.INSTEAD READ:
(Citizen) Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth - Miriam Stoppard compiled this easy to read walk through of everything from ovulation to breastfeeding. Filled with beautiful photographs and illustrations, it is user-friendly and educational. She treats pregnancy as beautiful, normal, and natural - allowing women to look at themselves in awe. The sections on birth provide step by step information on the stages as well as coping techniques/positions and possible interventions.
(Seeker) Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn - Penny Simkin co-authors this book, which is a much more thorough and in-depth educational piece than it's counterpart above. It deals much more with variations, interventions, medications, and the like while also continuing to provide this information in a non-threatening, non-frightening light. She remains factual without becoming intimidating or sentimental. Some key components that make this a great book: the role of the birth partner, charts on interventions/risks/benefits, and emotional and physical landmarks of pregnancy/labor/birth and postpartum.
(Sold) Having a Baby, Naturally - This book is similar to the two above, without the illustrations and photographs of the first and without the non-biased POV (they explain, in detail, their slant and reasoning for natural) of the second. This book is a great companion for homebirth mamas or women who are already more 'crunchy-minded'. In particular, I love that they devote a full section to the expectant father. This is a GREAT resource for natural pregnancy, birth, and parenting, but only for those who are already set on that path.DON'T READ: Planning for Pregnancy Birth and Beyond - basic. boring. Those are the two key words I can come up with for this particular book. It is written to be very hospital/intervention/test-friendly, giving you lots of good topics, but very hospital childbirth class-like advice. It is written like a text book and not very easy of a reference. PFPB&B definitely writes from the model of pregnancy as a medical condition/event.INSTEAD READ:
(Citizen) The Pregnancy Book - Similar to my review below, this book is an easy read, never talking over their audience, but providing practical, fun, medical, and optional information in a month by month setting. It is a good pregnancy guide, but when it comes to birth, I defer to my recommendations below.
(Seeker) The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth - A very in-depth look at interventions, medications, and birth, as well as a hard look at the obstetrical system, this book dissects the medical research to give sound, well-rounded information. This book can be hard to digest, but arms women with an arsenal of information to make informed decisions on just about everything they might encounter during labor and birth.
(Sold) Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering - Written by Dr. Sarah J Buckley, this book is fully balanced with information on intuitive birthing and parenting, and evidence-based birthing and parenting. She takes the best of maternal/ancestral wisdom and medical/research wisdom and combine the two to give an insightful look into gentle birth and gentle mothering.DON'T READ: Easy Labor: Every Woman's Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy During Childbirth - although the authors give well-rounded information on both the medical and non-medical means of pain relief for labor and birth, I felt it was a bit of an overplay on how painful labor and birth was - revisiting pain repeatedly, over-sensationalizing it. They also downplay the risks and side effects of epidurals, while also downplaying the effectiveness of alternate comfort measures; which, as a result, champions medical pain relief options. End result, "Hi, birth is painful, REALLY painful. Non-medical pain relief is ok, but man, just you wait, yer going to want your epidural".INSTEAD READ:
(Citizen) Your Best Birth - Ricki Lake's new book, YBB gives great advise on options, all your options, in a non-biased, non-confrontational way. She presents all concepts of labor and birth, including choosing your doctor or midwife, your birthplace, writing a birth plan, and how to become a proactive consumer in your healthcare. It is not as in-depth as some of the other books, but it definitely gets women thinking, just like her informational documentary, "The Business of Being Born"
(Seeker) The Birth Book - Dr. William Sears gives you the good, the bad, the ugly, the best - all in very readable format and without the scare tactics. He gives you the options as well as the risks and benefits of each - no sugar coating it. There is adequate information on various childbirth options, plenty of birth stories to peruse, and no lack of information - this book helps women to become educated to their options without having an obvious bias, treating them as individual's, proactive consumers in their own healthcare options.
(Sold) Birthing From Within - Pam England outlines a childbirth preparation by means of discovery; viewing childbirth as a journey, an opportunity to tap into a new woman, the mother. She teaches that, through self discovery, letting go of birth baggage, and learning about the emotional journey of childbirth, a woman can have a truly fulfilling birth experience. This is put on my Sold list as it can come across as rather hippy-liberal.DON'T READ: The Best Birth: Your Guide to the Safest, Healthiest, and Most Satisfying Labor and Delivery - I can honestly not find one good thing to say about this book. She poo-poos on any birth except a hospital, Obstetrician assisted birth, she touts that the only thing that the medical community is interested in is a healthy mom and baby, the book is extrememly post-modernistic, idolizes the medical community as 'doctor know's best', and seeks to undermine the assistance of a doula or other childbirth professional stating that 'you already have the only doula you need' (she wastes a whole section on why she would NOT recommend a doula - calling them trendy). She teaches that childbirth methods (goals, plans, preparation) only lead to guilt and miss sight of the real goal: a healthy mom and baby. Though I agree with her end-goal, our path to get there is completely different. She teaches abdication and compliance to hospital policy rather than research and becoming your own informed, educated, proactive consumer.INSTEAD READ:
(Citizen) The Official Lamaze Guide - written in a similar vein to Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way, this book differs in that it focuses a great deal on birth when allowed to unfold naturally, how to encourage that, what can disrupt that, Lamaze coping techniques, and how to assimilate personal strengths/traits into the birthing room.
(Seeker) Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way - Susan McCutcheon writes this book in a way that some consider it a childbirth preparation class without the classroom. It outlines the reasons for a natural birth, the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, labor, and birth, the emotional as well as physical signposts of labor and birth, and teaches a number of relaxation techniques and positions for labor and birth, all while encouraging husband's to be active participants and assistants.
(Sold) Ina May's Guide To Childbirth - Ina May challenges the cultural assumption that childbirth is a medical, frightening, and painful experience by providing a whole section of amazing childbirth stories that turn your preconceived notions on their heads. In addition, she gives honest, effective, and logical instruction, without getting methodical, on ways to help progress and assist in the labor and birthing process. Other Great Reads:Birth - the Surprising History of How We Were BornBirth as an American Rite of PassageThe Birth PartnerImmaculate DeceptionA Child Is BornSpiritual MidwiferyHeart and HandsSupernatural ChildbirthThe Joy of Natural ChildbirthActive BirthGentle Birth ChoicesThe Lord of BirthAnd there you have it - my official "What Not To Read" list, with alternatives - of course. I look forward to your own critiques as well in the comments and feel free to share with others.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Home birth with midwife as safe as hospital birth- Canadian Study!

Updated Mon. Aug. 31 2009 12:51 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

Giving birth at home with a midwife present is as safe as a hospital delivery accompanied by a doctor, suggests a new Canadian study, which found home births were associated with fewer adverse outcomes for both mother and baby.
The study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, analyzed nearly 2,900 planned home births in British Columbia that were attended by regulated midwives, more than 4,700 planned hospital births attended by the same midwives and more than 5,300 hospital births attended by physicians.
The research found that women who had a planned home birth had a lower risk of having to undergo obstetric interventions such as electronic fetal monitoring, epidural, assisted vaginal delivery and caesarean section, and adverse outcomes such as hemorrhage and infection. More...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Chase's Birth Story

Hi Lisa,
I just wanted to send a quick note to let you & Kari know how things went with the birth of baby Chase and also to thank you so much for all of the support offered through the Birth Rhythm & Labour Instensive classes!
Last Friday, I was about to get ready to pick up some things for the baby's arrival when lo & behold, my water breaks!

So, we quickly pack some things (we had nothing ready, as we weren't due until July 7th) and head on over to the hospital. In a rush, I forgot a few of my "must have" things - my birth plan & my relaxation cd's. Once I was checked out by the resident, I was told that I would need to be induced (which was my personal "worst case scenario"). But after thinking about it, I figured if that's the way it was going to be, it didn't really matter as long as I had a healthy baby. That said, I was very happy that when the attending physician came to check on me around 6pm, she told me I wouldn't have to worry about being induced until the morning, and it was pretty likely that I would go into labour on my own.

So, I had a nap early that evening and around 7 began wandering the hospital. I headed back to my room around 9pm, only to be greeted by the nurse, asking me if I needed any pain medication to help me sleep. I told her no, that I was fine & continued to wander around the labour assessment hallway. Not long after that, I was finally starting to feel a bit crampy, so during the contractions I would assume one of the positions learned in Labour Intensive and occasionally get a back rub from my husband to work through it.

A little bit later, I stopped by the nurse's station to let them know that the contractions were becoming a bit more intense and closer together. Once again being offered pain medication, I simply refused & told the nurse that I would continue walking the halls. That went on for a while until the contractions got to the point where I told my husband that I didn't know what to do to help myself, so stopped by the nurse's station and was asked if I wanted pain meds or to try the shower.

Of course, I had opted for the shower which helped for the first little while and then the contractions had gotten to the point where I really had to "let it out". Since the shower wasn't helping anymore, I decided to head back to my room and talk to the nurses again.

But, the nurse got to my room before me and asked if I wanted some pain meds (notice the theme?) and to get checked. I refused the medication once again & agreed that I should get checked out. Once I laid on the bed, the pain got so intense that I finally told my husband "I don't think that I can do this without an epidural!"...turns out that I was almost fully dilated!

At around 12:15am, I got moved into the birthing room and in the moment, completely through my birth-plan out the window (I had meant to ask if I could deliver in any position, but the sitting/stirrup position, but it completely slipped my mind). When Brandon left the room, I recall saying to the nurse "I didn't want an epidural, but I think I want one now!". She said to wait & see as I would be getting checked again and it was probably too late. Sure enough, I was down to my last few contractions and they had brought me nitrous oxide to see if it helped.

In the end, I did decide to try it for a couple of contractions, but I think it only really helped because I was able to get my breathing back in control. Once I was ready to get pushing, things went really well and I gave birth to the most perfect, beautiful & alert baby girl at 1:25am on June 27th.

Even though I had deflected from my original idea of the "perfect" birthing, I wouldn't change a thing, as to me THIS WAS the perfect birthing. That said, I do think that if we have a second child, we will definitely be hiring a doula. As much as I got lost in the moment, Brandon did as well. He once had said that he wasn't going to actually watch the birth happen, but in the end, he was too in awe to do much more than dab my face with a cold cloth (fortunately, our team of dr's & nurse's were really good cheerleaders!).

For me, I think that the classes I took from you & Kari played a big role in making this happen. Not only did I learn the coping techniques, but more than anything, I had walked into the hospital without any fear.

I'm assuming that the nurses didn't really panic while I was in assessment, because I was so calm through it all. Even after the baby was born, one of the nurse's had commented on how laid back we were in our rooms, while some of the other new parents were stressed like crazy!

I've been recommending your classes to everyone that I know and will continue to do so, as I found that they were an amazing support!
thanks again!

Amy Derbowka

New research points to damage caused by C-sections


C-section Births Cause Genetic Changes That May Increase Odds For Developing Diseases In Later Life
ScienceDaily (June 29, 2009) — Swedish researchers have discovered that babies born by Caesarean section experience changes to the DNA pool in their white blood cells, which could be connected to altered stress levels during this method of delivery, according to the July issue of Acta Paediatrica.

It is thought that these genetic changes, which differ from normal vaginal deliveries, could explain why people delivered by C-section are more susceptible to immunological diseases such as diabetes and asthma in later life, when those genetic changes combine with environmental triggers.

Blood was sampled from the umbilical cords of 37 newborn infants just after delivery and then three to five days after the birth. It was analysed to see the degree of DNA-methylation in the white blood cells - a vital part of the immune system.

This showed that the 16 babies born by C-section exhibited higher DNA-methylation rates immediately after delivery than the 21 born by vaginal delivery. Three to five days after birth, DNA-methylation levels had dropped in infants delivered by C-section so that there were no longer significant differences between the two groups.

“Delivery by C-section has been associated with increased allergy, diabetes and leukaemia risks” says Professor Mikael Norman, who specialises in paediatrics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “Although the underlying cause is unknown, our theory is that altered birth conditions could cause a genetic imprint in the immune cells that could play a role later in life.

“That is why we were keen to look at DNA-methylation, which is an important biological mechanism in which the DNA is chemically modified to activate or shut down genes in response to changes in the external environment. As the diseases that tend to be more common in people delivered by C-section are connected with the immune system, we decided to focus our research on early DNA changes to the white blood cells.”

The authors point out that the reason why DNA-methylation is higher after C-section deliveries is still unclear and further research is needed.

“Animal studies have shown that negative stress around birth affects methylation of the genes and therefore it is reasonable to believe that the differences in DNA-methylation that we found in human infants are linked to differences in birth stress.

“We know that the stress of being born is fundamentally different after planned C-section compared to normal vaginal delivery. When babies are delivered by C-section, they are unprepared for the birth and can become more stressed after delivery than before. This is different to a normal vaginal delivery, where the stress gradually builds up before the actual birth, helping the baby to start breathing and quickly adapt to the new environment outside the womb.”

The authors point out that the surgical procedure itself may play a role in DNA-methylation and that factors other than the delivery method need to be explored in more detail.

“In our study, neonatal DNA-methylation did not correlate to the age of the mother, length of labour, birth weight and neonatal CPR levels - proteins that provide a key marker for inflammation” says Professor Norman. “However, although there was no relation between DNA-methylation and these factors, larger studies are needed to clarify these issues.”

Professor Norman states that the Karolinska study clearly shows that gene-environment interaction through DNA-methylation is more dynamic around birth than previously known.

“The full significance of higher DNA-methylation levels after C-section is not yet understood, but it may have important clinical implications” he says.

“C-section delivery is rapidly increasing worldwide and is currently the most common surgical procedure among women of child-bearing age. Until recently, the long-term consequences of this mode of delivery had not been studied. However, reports that link C-section deliveries with increased risk for different diseases in later life are now emerging. Our results provide the first pieces of evidence that early ‘epigenetic’ programming of the immune system may have a role to play.”

The authors feel that their discovery could make a significant contribution to the ongoing debate about the health issues around C-section deliveries.

“Although we do not know yet how specific gene expression is affected after C-section deliveries, or to what extent these genetic differences related to the mode of delivery are long-lasting, we believe that our findings open up a new area of important clinical research” concludes lead author Titus Schlinzig, a research fellow at the Karolinska Institutet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to treat vaginal problems

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/garlic.asp I love this article about using garlic to treat yeast infections or GBS. It's written by a CNM and she makes the point that simple treatments like this won't be studied because there's no profit incentive. The women can Facebook it tho, right...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Julie's Birth Story

Hi Lisa,

I wanted to share my birth story with you and Kari and to thank you both for all
the support and preparation Tony and I received during the birth rhythms and
labour intensive classes.

I went to bed after my yoga class on Monday June 8th and woke up at 3:30am in
labour. When I realized I was really in labour I had a moment of panic ("I
can't do this" "I'm not strong enough") and then I remembered all the women I
knew who had taken this journey before me and I let go of all fear. The rest of
the day was transcendently peaceful! I slept on and off between contractions
throughout the night and then got up at 7am to begin my more focused journey.
Tony and I walked around the neighborhood and then around the birthing pool
throughout the day - I must have walked about 50 miles by the end of the day
:-) Walking was definitely the ritual that was working for me. Between each
"expansion," I was able to focus on returning to my "baseline" and felt as
though I entered more and more into labourland as the day progressed. At around
5:30pm walking just no longer seemed to work, so I entered the birthing pool!
The waters brought such relief - in all my life I've never felt such a
wonderful feeling! I began pushing at around 6pm and through deep moans and
even some powerful growls, I gave birth to a beautiful son at 7:26pm!

I can't even express to you how grateful I am for all the preparation Tony and I
did and received. I was able to trust myself, trust the process, and connect
with my baby. In doing so, I birthed him with a profound sense of trust and

Thanks to you both!


Eating Healthy during pregnancy

Raw Pleasure Logo



Eating healthy During Pregnancy

At the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia they were rebabysearching to see if what the mother ate affected the lifelong food and flavour preferences in their babies. Dr Mennella had a group made up of pregnant and nursing mothers drink carrot juice every day. Once eating food the children who were exposed to the taste of carrots through the amniotic fluid or breast milk were much keener on carrots than those whose mothers had not drunk carrot juice!

A similar study was then done on peaches and found the same result.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Meet the Doulas Open House!

June 17th, 8-10 pm
502 Main St.

Birth Rhythm Doula Services welcomes you to our casual gathering and viewing of the new documentary by Marshall Klaus, a world renowned researcher: " The First Hour of Life." " We now know that the first hour and a half are what one calls a 'sensitive period' for a certain number of processes to take place and for bonding to begin. This is a precious time that cannot be repeated."

No RSVP required. All expectant families or curious welcome.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Can Be Much Kinder

Watch this short video for a discussion about cord clamping and other moment of birth interventions...here

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Programs

Baby Sign Language

Join me for this fun and interactive program using stories, songs, finger plays and rhymes that will help you and your child communicate through Sign Language before your child can speak. For Ages birth – 2 years
Tuesdays, April 28, 2008 (6wks); 10:45 -11:45
Located at Buttons ’n’ Bows
$60 (handouts included)

Rhythme & Rhymes

Give your child a head start on language development and social interaction

Please join me in this interactive, family oriented and fun filled class of rhyming and story telling and action verses for children up to 18 months, & 18 months to 3 years

Enjoy this opportunity to:
Meet other parents with children the same age
Give your child a chance to interact with other children his/her age
Give your child a chance to experience a semi structured environment
This program will focus on using rhythm and rhyme to interact with your child
Offer movement that will use fine and gross motor skills

This class uses rhymes, finger plays, songs and a few stories with some explanation on how they can be used at home. These explanations relate to dressing, bathing, feeding, bed time and in general, how to calm a child or just play with them

nBows Boutique
Thursdays, April 23, 2009 (4WKS)
Birth to 18 mo: 10:45-11:45 am
18 mo – 3 yrs: 9:45 – 10:45am
$25 per family

Please call Tracy at 477-1097 for more information. Or email itsybitsytinytalk@hotmail.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009



Breech Birth in Canada

Despite recent research clearly indicating that vaginal breech birth and caesarean section are equal in both safety and risk, obstetricians persist in not informing families that vaginal birth is an option, and nearly all of the breech babies in Canada and the US are born by Caesarean section. The mother's birthing history, family circumstances, and family beliefs about birthing are rarely taken into account. If women ask, they are usually told that vaginal breech birth is too dangerous. Families are rarely given the impression that Caesarean birth is dangerous, despite the fact that the risk level is identical.

We believe that the birthing family has the right to decide which mode of birth is appropriate for their breech baby. We believe that informed consent means that families have the right to know that vaginal birth is not only possible, but considered completely normal internationally. We believe that families have the right to know that Caesarean surgery has significant risks equal to that of vaginal breech birth, and should be undertaken with full awareness and acceptance of these risks.

In early 2009, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada will issue new guidelines that encourage care providers to offer vaginal breech birth to women. This policy change is an important first step in the re-normalization of vaginal breech birth in Canada and the return of choice to women and their families. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a similar change in July of 2006.

However, a guideline change alone does not solve the problem - guidelines are only guidelines, and care providers are expected to make case-by-case recommendations to their clients. This "case-by-case" judgement call, for many care providers, will continue to feature a strongly worded push towards surgical birth for breech. The guideline change will not of its own accord cause doctors and midwives to make changes in their informed choice discussions that would permit women to exercise their right to choose.
The real change must come from women. Know your rights. Know the evidence. Don't be "polite." Demand an unbiased informed choice discussion. If your care provider is not comfortable or qualified to "catch" a breech - or not willing to have this discussion - make it clear that you expect a referral to someone who will. It is your right to choose how your baby comes into the world, and the evidence is on your side.
Add your voice. We need you.

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