Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Born in the caul

Classes always love to talk about how some babies are born "in the caul" -- inside the intact amniotic sac. This amazing photo is from a birth I recently attended. (Shared with permission, of course!) This mama was in an upright position (in a birth tub on hands and knees), so the baby's head is upside down. The dark purple shape is the baby's lips, and you can see the little squished nose just below, and even the creases of this sweet baby's closed eyes. When the baby is born, the amniotic membrane peels away.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Birth Stories

We had a great discussion this week in class about the importance of birth stories.

I remember when I was pregnant, I couldn't get enough of reading birth stories. Spiritual Midwifery and Sheila Kitzinger's collection Giving Birth: How it Really Feels were wonderful companions to me.

People in our class right now are loving Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. We all agree that it can be so nourishing to see all the different ways birth can unfold, and how people respond to, and grow through, labor and birth as rites of passage.

At the same time, it also be hard to filter things out. I've never met anyone who feels empowered by "A Baby Story" on TLC. And what about when random people want to tell you about their harrowing experiences? How can you get what you need from the birth stories people inevitably want to tell you when you're pregnant?

One strategy is to steer conversations into helpful directions by asking questions like, "When did you feel strongest in your birth experience?" "How did you make it through the challenging parts?" "What was the most helpful thing your partner did for you during labor?" "When did you first feel your parenting intuition kick in with your newborn?"

For those of you wanting more birth stories, here are some good online resources:
Birth Story Diaries
Positive Birth Stories
Birth Stories Blog

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cord Clamping

One question that comes up often in classes is "when is the cord cut?" The answer is: that's a great question to ask your care provider! In some medical practices, it is common to cut the cord early, in the first minute after birth. Other care providers, midwives especially, typically wait until the cord has stopped pulsating or until the placenta has been born to clamp and cut the cord. Of course, you can specify your preferences, but it's helpful to know what's common in your care provider's practice.

Some parents prefer to not cut the cord at all, but to burn it, or to practice lotus birth -- these are topics for another post.

Physiologically, the baby's blood supply in utero involves the entire circulatory unit that includes the placenta and the umbilical cord. After the baby is born, the placenta continues to pump the baby's blood to the baby via the cord, so the cord will typically pulsate for around 2-5 minutes after birth.

While it has long been believed that delaying cord clamping increased rates of jaundice, research has failed to show any increase in pathology related to jaundice as a result of delayed cord clamping. The benefits to babies of delayed cord clamping are well-demonstrated, and include better tissue oxygenation and iron levels, even months after the birth.

Here's a great video demonstration of how early cord clamping affects the baby's blood volume:

For further information:

Academic OB/GYN: Delayed Cord Clamping Should Be Standard in Obstetrics
Details current research on the timing of cord clamping and offers some thoughts about the difficulty, and necessity, of changing standard medical procedures such as early clamping.

Nicholas Fogelson MD: Video of Grand Rounds Presentation on Delayed Cord Clamping
Great video presentation that goes into further detail on related research and its implications for practice.

Cord Clamping and Jaundice

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just as pain does not equal suffering...

The absence of pain does not equal the absence of suffering! This insightful article from Birth Sense outlines some interesting research on the experience of birthing with an epidural. A birthing woman's need for labor support does not end if she has an epidural!

If you are planning an epidural, or even if you are not planning an epidural but plan a hospital birth — do yourself a favor and hire a doula for continuous labor support.  It can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with your experience.  I think the fact that continuous support influenced birth satisfaction more than pain relief  explains why many studies conclude that women who had unmedicated births (most often these are women who have doulas and/or midwives during labor) were happier with their experiences than those with medicated births.  It’s not the medication or the absence of medication that made the difference, but the presence of someone there to give continual support.  A partner may give excellent support, but partners need support, too!  Partners get tired, need to eat, go to the bathroom, get discouraged, just like laboring moms do.  A doula is there for both of you, and a good doula will give you your space when you need it, time for just the two of you when you need it, yet be there with just the support you need at the right moment when it is needed.
 Read the entire article here >>

Monday, April 4, 2011

Archive Site for Hypnosis Recordings

There are two pages that exist for the Hypnosis Tracks.

First is the Day of Birth Recordings:

Second is the page for practice before birth:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recipes from class!

from John and Brynn

1 1/2 C. Raw Cashews
1/3 C. Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1/4  C. Olive Oil
1/4 C. Sunflower Oil
1/4 C. Raw Sesame Seeds
Several Pieces Roasted Red Pepper
1/4 C. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 C. Water
1 Tbs. Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 Tsp. Salt
1-2 Jalepenos
6 Cloves Garlic

Blend and Serve!

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
from Maggie and Heal

1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks (roughly one 4-ounce bar, chopped)

Stir together the first six ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. They should still be quite soft and just flecked with bits of brown. Allow them to set up on the baking pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Iowa City Babywearers March Meeting

The Iowa City Babywearers group meets the first Saturday of the month from 1:00-3:00 at Fair Grounds Coffeehouse (345 S. Dubuque St.) Next meeting is Saturday, March 5.

IC Babywearers on facebook

This group is for people in the Iowa City area who are interested in the benefits of wearing our children in cloth baby carriers. Experienced babywearers and those merely testing the babywearing waters are equally welcome. Join us for monthly meetings and learn about the art of babywearing using carriers such as slings, wraps, mei tais, and traditional carriers!