Categories
Birth Pregnancy

Natural Sacred Birth

Natural childbirth for healthy, low-risk women is the only natural function of the human body that typically occurs in the hospital. “Why is that?”, you may ask. Because our culture has co-opted Birth, babies, and women’s bodies for the benefit of capitalism – Big Pharma, Insurance companies, and Hospitals – the Trifecta of the medical-industrial complex. That is the only reasonable explanation as Women’s bodies have been successfully birthing live babies for literally millennia – else how would we be here? Birth has only been happening inside hospitals for about one hundred years and studies have shown that it’s safer to birth outside the hospital to avoid the unnecessary interventions that lead to worse outcomes. 1,2

Doctors are taught to fear birth

Medical schools have also contributed to the situation by instilling a climate of fear surrounding Birth mostly related to potential litigation. They believe that if the doctor is taught how to control birth, then they have control over being sued. In addition, natural birth is not taught to OBs because their focus is surgery. They are surgeons; the interventions they advocate frequently lead to surgery, and this is where they shine. Obstetricians are surgeons and if you are seeking the care of a surgeon, you are likely to have surgery. Very simple.

Birth cannot be controlled

Interventions in childbirth give the illusion of control over a natural bodily function that cannot be controlled. Women’s bodies will open and release the baby inside when the body and the baby are ready. This is normal, natural childbirth in a nutshell. Even the women doing the opening and releasing have no control over the process. The only control that is possible and productive is the act of surrender to this most basic bodily function. When a woman is able to fully surrender to every aspect – when and how – then when her body and the baby are ready, it will happen. The more surrendered a woman is to the process, the more efficient it is.

Thirty-eight percent cesareans in Palm Beach County

Our community (and there are many like ours) has not embraced this principle. It is very typical for women to be induced at 38 or 39 weeks of pregnancy for a myriad of reasons. We know that when labor is induced before the body and baby are ready, then things can go wrong. The body may not fully dilate no matter how much cervical ripening is chemically encouraged or how much Pitocin is given. Often the baby will not be able to tolerate the cocktail of chemicals involved between the induction drugs and the inevitable epidural. A woman may enter the hospital wanting a natural birth, but very few are able to tolerate the torture of hours of fasting, limited mobility and abnormally strong and consistent contractions, not to mention the flow of strangers into the room, the bright lights, uncomfortable bed, etc. An epidural is the only relief she can get in the hopes of maintaining her dream of vaginal birth. Palm Beach County has an average Cesarean rate of about 38%. That’s more than 1:3 women walking into the hospital expecting a vaginal birth and ending up having surgery to have their baby!This is NOT because Birth is dangerous. This is because our community has a culture of meddling with an otherwise normal, natural process. And that meddling leads to dangerous birth.

ACOG supports VBAC

The national organizations that oversee and regulate birth providers have reasonable recommendations regarding things such as vaginal birth after cesarean and breech birth. But the local OBs tend to disregard these reasonable and evidence-based recommendations. One example of how our local OB community rejects recommendations by ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the national organization for obstetricians and gynecologists), is with VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) candidates. ACOG recommends that doctors offer vaginal birth to women who have had 1 or 2 previous cesareans. They also don’t recommend inducing labors for VBAC candidates. Yet many OBs in our community still recommend repeat surgery for these women or insist that they birth by 39 weeks. They routinely induce VBAC candidates at 39 or 40 weeks which can lead to the very complication that they fear – a ruptured uterus. Also, there is no solid evidence that a woman with more than 2 cesareans is not a good candidate for a VBAC, but there are very few OBs that are willing to “allow” these women to attempt a vaginal birth.

ACOG supports out of hospital birth

Another example of how our community defies the national recommendations is through a document is known as The Levels of Care document that was endorsed by both ACOG and SMFM (Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, the obstetric specialists). In this document, it is recommended that all healthy, low-risk women birth outside the hospital in Birth Centers. If the situation changes, the woman is transferred to a higher level of care – one where the ability to perform a cesarean or other interventions such as Pitocin or epidural is available. There are even higher levels of care such as Intensive Care where caring for someone who is on life support machines is available and not all community hospitals have this option for women during or after childbirth, so she would have to be transferred from the lower level hospital to a higher one. The idea is that we have lots of birth centers, less of the community hospitals and only one or two regional centers to care for the very complicated cases. However, our local OBs do not encourage their healthy, low-risk women to birth outside the hospital. Rather, they look for reasons to elevate a woman’s risk and encourage interventions such as unnecessary inductions.

Birth is sacred

Birth is a sacred event that happens to each of us only once as we enter the world. How it happens is important for the one being born and for the one giving birth. If we are going to see a world that is healed from all of the devastations of poverty, war, climate change, and abuse it has to start with how we care for those giving birth and being born. I have grown up in my Midwifery career hearing the saying that ‘Peace on Earth begins with Birth’. We have to honor the process and respect both mother and baby by not causing pain and trauma but rather supporting, facilitating, and protecting the process. This can happen more easily out of the hospital in a woman’s home or in a birth center. However, I have not given up hope that we can shift the culture of childbirth within the hospital by spreading information and demonstrating a better way. We do this by supporting birth centers and encouraging the growth in the number of birth centers in our community.

Support the ‘birth’ of Gentle Birth Centers

I’m happy to announce the addition of a new birth center in Wellington – opening soon. Gentle Birth Centers will be teaming up with Midwife360 to create an integrated practice of home, birth center, and hospital care for healthy, low-risk candidates. We plan to open this spring and are located within a mile of the nearest hospital. Let’s change birth together!

Categories
Birth

Top Ways to Prepare for a Positive Birth Experience

The top ways to prepare for a positive labor and birth experience begin long before the actual labor starts. At Midwife360, we talk about our “Recipe for Success” when we are discussing a client’s birth plans. 

The core of our recommendations include self-education through reading books and online resources (see the reading and web organization list at the end of this article) and commitment to a healthy lifestyle through clean eating and regular exercise. We strongly advise eliminating processed foods, dairy, and inorganic foods. Through clean eating and regular exercise, it is likely that there will be an absence of disease processes such as diabetes and high blood pressure which can make a pregnancy cross the line into a truly high-risk status. If the pregnancy can be maintained in the low-risk status range, then recommendations such as induction of labor are more easily declined. 

Our “Recipe for Success”

Our “Recipe for Success” also includes hiring a doula and taking a deep meditation for labor course such as Blissborn or Hypnobabies. Many times the doula will be the one who teaches these courses. Doulas are invaluable as educational resources and typically have a wealth of information regarding comfort measures and labor preparation activities. They will meet with the client usually two times prenatally and will be the first to show up at the labor. They help with labor support if things are not progressing, and will let you know when to call the midwife or leave for the hospital. Meditation or hypnosis is a tool that can be used to cope with the surges of labor. It helps to keep the mind occupied with positive thoughts to allow the body to perform the work of releasing the baby unimpeded.

Positioning of the Baby 

The most common reason that labor doesn’t progress is the positioning of the baby. We recommend becoming familiar with an online resource called “Spinning Babies” that teaches postures that can be used prenatally to help ensure proper positioning of the baby in relation to the mother’s bony pelvis. This will ease the baby’s passage and create a more efficient labor process. Your doula will most likely be familiar with this resource and have the ability to guide you through the postures as well as know when to employ them in labor.

Using a Birth Tub 

The final recommendation in our “Recipe for Success” is to use a birth tub for labor and birth. The benefits of hydrotherapy have been recognized by midwives and laboring women for years. Some people call it a ‘liquid epidural’ as the sense of relief is so great when entering a warm tub of water in active labor. Sitting on a yoga ball or stool in the shower can have some of the same sense of relief, but immersion in water is better and helps lift the belly to remove the heaviness caused by gravity. Also, releasing the baby into the water helps with vaginal and perineal stretching and reduces tearing.

Visiting a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist 

In addition to the “Recipe”, we strongly recommend developing relationships with a chiropractor and acupuncturist who are skilled in caring for pregnant people. Get regular massages and take yoga classes or do yoga at home. All of these adjunctive therapies contribute to a body that is well adjusted and free from muscular and energetic blockages that can inhibit the passage of the baby when it’s time for birth. 

Preparing for a positive labor and birth experience ideally starts before pregnancy. However, with a determined mindset and a willingness to do the work, preparation for a positive experience can easily be accomplished in the 40 weeks of pregnancy. Decide where you want to give birth and hire a care provider that you trust. Check out the resources listed below and prepare to have an amazing, informed, respectful labor and birth experience!

Categories
Birth

An Open Letter to Hollywood Producers and Screenwriters

I am writing this letter to appeal to you to stop portraying birth in the manner that nearly every single movie, sitcom, or miniseries has always seemed to portray birth – that of a screaming, sweaty woman lying on her back with her feet up in stirrups and everyone else in the room standing over her, yelling at her to push. The baby comes out and the cord is immediately cut (even in Call the Midwife – the truest to real-life series which portrays childbirth) – this is not beneficial to the baby, was not likely done back in the 1950s in England, and shouldn’t be done today.

Human birth has been domesticated much the same way we have domesticated animals for our benefit. Human birth (especially for low, risk, healthy women) is the only physiological, normal process of the human body that takes place inside a hospital. It doesn’t belong there. It doesn’t work well with bright lights and loud noises and strangers hovering around. Much like our mammalian counterparts, humans do better to birth in a familiar environment, with dim lighting and no distractions. It is a bodily process that requires no input from the thinking mind.

Ask some of the Hollywood actresses and singers who have chosen to birth at home (or in a birth center) how they feel about this. Every one of them have raved about their experience and found an amazing bond with their baby and an easing into motherhood that doesn’t always happen so easily when babies are born in the hospital. Oftentimes, mothers and fathers are frightened by well-meaning care providers and may be treated disrespectfully or even neglected due to the assembly-line nature of hospital birth.

If birth was portrayed in the media as physiological, natural, and low tech (which it actually is for a low risk, healthy person). Then perhaps more people would have the courage to take responsibility for this bodily process that is more of an intimate experience involving the 2 people who created the baby than of the institutions who seek to profit from it.

After all, having a baby is a lot like pooping – what if we had to go to the hospital and get permission to poop? That would be weird… Clients can easily find well trained medical providers to assist them in the out-of-hospital setting to ensure that any potential complications are handled appropriately. This will have a dual benefit of making birth better for birthing people and unclogging the medical system that exists to help those who truly need it.

Let’s start seeing real birth scenes on TV and in the movies – please.

Categories
Birth Pregnancy

Birth Your Own Way

I saw a Facebook post recently, a fundraiser, for a woman who wrote about her search for a provider who would assist her in having a vaginal birth for her 4th baby after having 3 previous cesareans. For whatever reason (VBAC ban, or just no supportive providers to be found) she moved 3 states over just to give birth with a supportive provider. It seemed from the post that they actually moved their family to that location to be in proximity to this supportive provider. Due to moving during the pregnancy, they did not have the funds to pay for the birth upfront, thus the Facebook fundraiser.

How did we get here?

How is it, in our medically advanced culture, that someone has to actually move to a different state to achieve this kind of support? I know that we don’t have supportive providers in our community here in south Florida that would support a vaginal birth for someone with 3 or more previous cesareans. Though, I know that I would support such a person under the right circumstances. Those circumstances are that the pregnant person has to be in excellent health with a healthy, otherwise low-risk pregnancy. She has to be fully committed to her birth plans, to the point of saying “I am doing this with or without you”. In other words, fully committed to the choice for an out of hospital birth.

While there is no guarantee for the outcome, an otherwise healthy low-risk pregnancy has little added risk for VBAC or other complex physiologic circumstances like twins or breech. With good counseling on risks and benefits and the understanding of the limits of any guarantees, clients should be free to make the decision to birth outside the hospital in these situations. Actually, clients should be free to make the decision to birth vaginally and should be able to access a supportive provider wherever they feel the safest – whether that is in the hospital or outside of it.

I am a provider that supports VBAC, twins, and breech for a vaginal birth.

I have found that my sister midwives are not happy that I do this. They report feeling threatened by my choices to support these births out of the hospital due to the possibility that any bad outcome would reflect negatively on the birth community as a whole. They believe that if I have a bad outcome I am giving home birth a bad name. I believe that I am giving people options they would not otherwise have. There are only about 2% of people that choose to birth out of the hospital. Most of those that choose home birth are die-hard home birthers who would not go to the hospital unless someone’s life was in danger (literally). They understand that there are no guarantees in life (or birth) and they typically have educated themselves on the risks and benefits of out of hospital birth and willingly, gladly, sign the consent waiver for home birth under complex physiological circumstances.

Enter the twins

I recently assisted a couple with twins who wanted very little prenatal surveillance, and home birth with mostly a hands-off approach. She went into labor the day she turned 40 weeks. The first baby came fairly quickly and it was the most serene beautiful water birth! Soon after, we attempted to get FHT (fetal heart tones) for Baby B and were unable to locate them for a few minutes, then when we did finally find them, they were very low – the 60s. Mom was instructed to push to try to encourage baby to come quickly, and within minutes, someone called out, “head’s out!”.

When I reached over to touch, it was obvious that it was not a head, and I tore the sac to find 2 legs unfolding into the water. I instructed Mom to get out of the tub as it was a surprise breech (baby had been head down at the last ultrasound at 28w) and I was concerned because of the low FHT. The baby then came fairly easily, but her placenta was sitting on her head and plopped out right after her – complete placental abruption. This is likely the scariest and most serious complication that can happen at home. Luckily Baby A and mom were doing well, no bleeding noted and Baby A was transitioning beautifully.

We immediately began going through the NRP steps that we learn and practice for just this eventuality. We also called 911 as a baby that requires CPR needs to be closely monitored for 24 hours in case there are further issues with the heart and breathing. The paramedics arrived within 6 minutes and by then she was only requiring breaths with the bag and mask as her heart was beating on its own at the appropriate rate.

It was difficult to watch her go without the ability to witness her recovery, but we had no choice as we still had the first baby and mom to care for. One assistant and the dad accompanied the baby to the hospital, the rest of the team stayed at the house. Ultimately, she made a full recovery. She began breathing on her own before they even arrived at the hospital, and was discharged home the next day due to a lot of questioning by and the determination of her parents. She seems to be completely normal and adjusted to life outside the womb.

This couple had 3 previous birth center births and were only having a home birth because their favorite midwife was unable to support a twin birth at her birth center. They were completely uninterested in a hospital birth. I’m pretty sure they would have chosen to birth at home with or without trained medical assistance. Had there not been someone trained in neonatal resuscitation present, their baby could have died. I wonder how our community would have felt about that?

When I help clients with a breech baby, or twins, or VBA3C or 4,5,6,7C or VBAC twins or breech, or past 42w. They tell me there’s no way they will birth in the hospital or no hospital provider will give them a chance to try for a vaginal birth. I believe it’s better to have a trained provider than for them to try a free birth and have a tragic outcome. If there’s a tragic outcome anyway, they have taken full responsibility for their choices.

Think about the big picture

However, I truly believe that our job as out of hospital birth providers is to monitor and observe the big picture at all times and identify an emergency before it becomes one in order to access the proper medical care. This means that we are alert and focused on one mom and her baby(ies) at all times during the experience. This is why we love to work with doulas. It gives us the luxury to arrive in active labor, which is the ideal time to be sharp and ready as birth becomes more imminent.

While I do not relish the added stress of caring for a more complex physiologic situation. I do believe in women’s bodies and the birth process as an inherently normal, natural process. In situations such as those with previous uterine surgery, twins, breeches, or post dates, it is unlikely that there will be any major complications if the pregnancy is healthy and otherwise low risk.

In every situation, as long as the provider is on her toes, focused and present, a major complication can be handled without turning into a tragedy. This is why I will support these clients. I wish more of my colleagues could do the same. I understand that the CPMs would be risking their licenses to do so, but this is not the case for my CNM and OB counterparts. In their case, the fear of birth and mistrust in women’s bodies limits their understanding of what is possible and safe. I have found that many people are seeking healthier living, especially when they are growing a baby. Many are super open to discussions of the importance of a healthy diet, adequate water consumption, and exercise in pregnancy, which all lead to safer birth for everyone.

Don’t judge anyone for their choices in birth. Not when they choose a repeat cesarean or even primary cesarean, and not when they choose home birth – no matter what their circumstances. Every client has their own reasons to choose what is right for them and their families. And don’t judge the providers that help them when they have a track record of good outcomes. It is better to have a trained provider present and we shouldn’t have to hide or suffer unwarranted criticism for our willingness to help.

Categories
Healthcare Pregnancy

Call to Action

My name is Fadwah Halaby and I am a certified nurse midwife serving families in Palm Beach and Broward counties. I offer well-woman care with a holistic touch as well as pregnancy and birth services with birth in the clients home. This is a choice that any woman can make and a viable option for all low risk, healthy clients and even with some that have a more complex physiologic pregnancy – such as previous cesarean, twins, or breech.

Pregnant people have human rights too!

The bottom line is that we all agree that everyone should have certain rights by virtue of being human – we call them human rights. And these rights are repeatedly denied to many pregnant women because her care provider has decided:

  • that he or she is not comfortable with a given situation
  • has decided on a particular course of action
  • is determined to force the client to comply

This has gone so far in some cases as getting a judge to order a forced cesarean surgery by deeming the client incompetent to make decisions for her own body and that of her baby. It is ludicrous to imagine that a person who has conceived and grown a baby in their womb for 40 weeks does not have the best interests of that baby in mind when making decisions regarding the birth of the baby. No one has more of a vested interest in that baby than that pregnant person. And no one has more of a vested interest in the woman’s body than the woman herself. We have a right to choose to birth at home, in a birth center, in the hospital or anywhere else a person would choose to birth. This is a basic human right and is upheld in the laws and rules of our state.

What is not supported by our laws and rules is the right of that pregnant person to have the trained and licensed provider of their choice attend to them in any of these settings.

Nurse Midwives are trained to practice independently

As a certified nurse midwife (CNM), I am trained and licensed to attend to women in any of these settings. I have maintained hospital privileges without any negative incidents for more than 8 years and over 1600 births. Yet now that I am attending to women in their homes, I am not allowed to continue to care for them should they require a transfer to the hospital either before or during labor. ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the OB/GYN national organization) recognizes women’s right to choose their place of birth and makes a recommendation that if a woman wants to birth at home she should be a healthy, low-risk candidate, choose a CNM to attend her, and birth in an integrated environment. [ACOG Committee Opinion on Home Birth] And this, my friends, is the missing piece of the puzzle. The lack of integration makes out of hospital birth less safe for everyone.

Transferring from home to hospital is fraught with anxiety for both clients and home birth care providers

How many times have you heard stories of “train wrecks” – home birth transfers to the hospital when things have gone far past the point of being OK? Midwives dropping clients off at the door or not participating in the transfer at all are tales that are told by hospital personnel about home birth transfers. It is true that the out of hospital provider is bound by duty to shift location to the hospital once they feel that it is no longer safe to be at home and if it is for an emergent reason, then the 911 system should be employed to make the transfer. If it is for a non-emergent reason (as 90% of home to hospital transfers are), then the transfer can happen by private vehicle. In both cases, the hospital should be alerted and records sent ahead to facilitate care for the client and to give the receiving provider as much advance information as possible. The provider should accompany the client and be prepared to give a concise report of the relevant details and reasons for the transfer. This is considered a hand-off and according to JCHAO [Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation] is where most critical incidents happen.

One solution

Giving APRNs (Advanced Practice RNs or Nurse Practitioners) the ability to practice to the extent of their training (why are we being restricted from that in the first place?!) would make this situation much safer. By allowing the clients chosen provider to be a member of the team once the transfer to the hospital becomes necessary. I have not been able to maintain hospital privileges, not due to any malpractice or incidents. This is purely due to not having an obstetrician who doesn’t have a financial stake in me or my practice being willing to “take responsibility” for my actions. Really, why should anyone else take responsibility for my actions?

I am trained to work to the extent of my scope of practice like any other healthcare provider. To make decisions, prescribe medications and tests and to interpret those results and determine when consultation, co-management, or referral is necessary. LIKE ANY OTHER HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. There is no worry that OBs will start trying to treat people for heart failure – they would refer to a cardiologist. If they try to work outside their scope of practice, then they are appropriately reprimanded or relieved of their license to practice. We understand that we would be held to the same standards. However, to require me to find a doctor willing to take responsibility for my work and to require that they sign my application for hospital privileges places an undue burden on me and is effectively restraint of trade. This has to stop now.

Please support Senate Bill 972 and HB 871 to increase the number of health care providers and contribute to reducing the costs of health care. Reach out to your Senator and Legislator with a postcard, email, and/or phone call today! Click here or below to find your elected official now.

Categories
Pregnancy

Birth Similar to Love Making?

Pregnant couple relaxing on bed at home

Birth Similar to Love Making?

Pregnant couple relaxing on bed at home

Birth Similar to Love Making?

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Many of my clients ask about birth control options that do not have hormones. There are a few, mostly they are the barrier methods like condoms (male and female), diaphragms, and cervical caps, or surgery. But the copper IUD is the only one that is long term and reversible and does not have any hormones. Since the copper IUD is not the only long term, reversible contraceptive, I wanted to break it down here for you.

Natural Sacred Birth

Natural childbirth for healthy, low-risk women is the only natural function of the human body that typically occurs in the hospital. “Why is that?”, you

What to Expect From a Home Birth

So you’ve decided to have your baby in the comfort of your own home. What should you expect? As a CNM who has provided home birth services for nearly 6 years, I am going to provide you with an overview of the general expectations that await you in this experience.

What to Expect from a Hospital Birth

What happens when you choose to have your baby in the hospital? The specific answers to this question depend on whether you are sent there for induction or are arriving in labor. It also depends on your planned mode of birth – vaginal or cesarean. We will talk about planned vaginal birth in this article.

I believe that giving birth is similar to making love.

Normal, low-risk childbirth is very difficult to achieve in the hospital setting. Even when you have the most amazing provider, the very atmosphere prevents it. I believe the reason for this is related to the fact that childbirth is similar to making love. It’s not really such a wild idea if you think about it like this… For most people with a natural pregnancy, lovemaking is the act that starts the whole process. Pregnancy ensues and the body nurtures and grows the seed into a baby and through the maturation process until the appropriate time to release it into the world.

There is believed to be a multifactorial triggering process that is not well understood. However, it is common knowledge that once it gets going, labor responds well to dim lighting, quiet surroundings, and the soothing, loving support especially from the birthing person’s partner. Sound familiar?

What doesn’t work

When frightened, our mammal cousins have been known to stop their labors in order to move to safety. The same is true for humans, which is why there is an epidemic of Pitocin in use in most hospital Labor and Delivery units around the world. Normal labor does not respond well to bright lights, loud noises, and strangers. This has been discussed at length by obstetric greats such as Grantly Dick-Read and Michel Odent – both ardent proponents of unmolested birthing. Imagine trying to make love and achieve orgasm with all of that activity going on around you!

Your Partner

Another parallel between love-making and childbirthing has to do with the birthing person’s partner. Of course, the partner is included and involved with all aspects of the process as they were an integral part of making it happen. (What other hospital-based care takes place with the ‘patient’ AND their partner? No surgical procedures or any other procedures are a family event unless it’s a small child who needs a parent present for comfort.) In the majority of cases, the partner was present and responsible for planting the seed, and therefore is integral to the birthing process.

They have a bond in their union making the partner the one unique person in the room who is intimate with the birthing person. When the partner lovingly strokes and massages, whispers loving words of encouragement and is just completely present to the process, it causes the birthing person to release oxytocin which in turn causes the labor to intensify. Also, just like in love-making, the need for single-minded concentration is paramount to achieve the level of trust, openness, and surrender that is necessary for birth to happen.

Uncomfortable & Fearful

The combination of poorly designed rooms and standard interventions that are not evidence-based has created the need for using a dangerous drug on nearly all normal labors! When birthing people are not comfortable or if they are fearful, they will not be able to achieve the level of relaxation and focus required for efficient birthing.

Pitocin

Pitocin is the synthetic version of oxytocin – also known as the ‘love’ hormone. It is produced by our bodies when we hug another person (or animal) or make love, and it is this hormone that causes the uterus to contract and expel the baby.

We have discovered that we can give the synthetic version to pregnant individuals to start labor or make contractions stronger and closer together. But it is not without risks. It is a dangerous drug that can cause contractions that are too close together and too strong creating distress for the baby.

Pitocin is the reason for many emergency cesareans in labor. Having Pitocin creates the need for other non-evidence based interventions such as continuous monitoring and IV which in turn lead to another non-evidence based intervention – immobility, being stuck in the bed, usually on the back – all of these being extremely unhelpful to the laboring person. Another downside to Pitocin is the accompanying liters of IV fluids that the laboring person tends to receive.

It is not uncommon for someone to get 4, 5, even 6 liters of fluid during an induction, especially if they elect to get an epidural. All of this fluid can cause swelling and difficult breastfeeding due to the extreme engorgement that occurs. So instead of giving a dangerous drug to augment labor when people come into the hospital, why not redesign the physical space to encourage natural labor to do the job?

Let’s change things

We have birthed successfully without Pitocin for millennia before birth entered the hospital in the early decades of the 1900s. Let’s alter the external physical space and encourage practices that support the human body and psyche to birth naturally. The only people who require drugs to enable lovemaking are those with hormonal imbalances, it should be the same for normal, low-risk childbirth.

I propose that labor and delivery units set aside a block of rooms with dimmers on all the light switches, electronic candles sprinkled throughout the room, handheld dopplers for intermittent monitoring, multiple options for hydrotherapy including showers big enough for 2 people and a birth ball or shower chair and labor/birth tubs. They should have a welcoming attitude for partners and doulas; no standard IV or continuous monitoring; and healthy snacks. I believe that providers would find less of a need to augment labors and we could reduce our overall cesarean rates while improving client satisfaction.

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Midwife360 and the Scoop on IUDs

Many of my clients ask about birth control options that do not have hormones. There are a few, mostly they are the barrier methods like condoms (male and female), diaphragms, and cervical caps, or surgery. But the copper IUD is the only one that is long term and reversible and does not have any hormones. Since the copper IUD is not the only long term, reversible contraceptive, I wanted to break it down here for you.

Natural Sacred Birth

Natural childbirth for healthy, low-risk women is the only natural function of the human body that typically occurs in the hospital. “Why is that?”, you

What to Expect From a Home Birth

So you’ve decided to have your baby in the comfort of your own home. What should you expect? As a CNM who has provided home birth services for nearly 6 years, I am going to provide you with an overview of the general expectations that await you in this experience.

What to Expect from a Hospital Birth

What happens when you choose to have your baby in the hospital? The specific answers to this question depend on whether you are sent there for induction or are arriving in labor. It also depends on your planned mode of birth – vaginal or cesarean. We will talk about planned vaginal birth in this article.

I believe that giving birth is similar to making love.

Normal, low-risk childbirth is very difficult to achieve in the hospital setting. Even when you have the most amazing provider, the very atmosphere prevents it. I believe the reason for this is related to the fact that childbirth is similar to making love. It’s not really such a wild idea if you think about it like this… For most people with a natural pregnancy, lovemaking is the act that starts the whole process. Pregnancy ensues and the body nurtures and grows the seed into a baby and through the maturation process until the appropriate time to release it into the world.

There is believed to be a multifactorial triggering process that is not well understood. However, it is common knowledge that once it gets going, labor responds well to dim lighting, quiet surroundings, and the soothing, loving support especially from the birthing person’s partner. Sound familiar?

What doesn’t work

When frightened, our mammal cousins have been known to stop their labors in order to move to safety. The same is true for humans, which is why there is an epidemic of Pitocin in use in most hospital Labor and Delivery units around the world. Normal labor does not respond well to bright lights, loud noises, and strangers. This has been discussed at length by obstetric greats such as Grantly Dick-Read and Michel Odent – both ardent proponents of unmolested birthing. Imagine trying to make love and achieve orgasm with all of that activity going on around you!

Your Partner

Another parallel between love-making and childbirthing has to do with the birthing person’s partner. Of course, the partner is included and involved with all aspects of the process as they were an integral part of making it happen. (What other hospital-based care takes place with the ‘patient’ AND their partner? No surgical procedures or any other procedures are a family event unless it’s a small child who needs a parent present for comfort.) In the majority of cases, the partner was present and responsible for planting the seed, and therefore is integral to the birthing process.

They have a bond in their union making the partner the one unique person in the room who is intimate with the birthing person. When the partner lovingly strokes and massages, whispers loving words of encouragement and is just completely present to the process, it causes the birthing person to release oxytocin which in turn causes the labor to intensify. Also, just like in love-making, the need for single-minded concentration is paramount to achieve the level of trust, openness, and surrender that is necessary for birth to happen.

Uncomfortable & Fearful

The combination of poorly designed rooms and standard interventions that are not evidence-based has created the need for using a dangerous drug on nearly all normal labors! When birthing people are not comfortable or if they are fearful, they will not be able to achieve the level of relaxation and focus required for efficient birthing.

Pitocin

Pitocin is the synthetic version of oxytocin – also known as the ‘love’ hormone. It is produced by our bodies when we hug another person (or animal) or make love, and it is this hormone that causes the uterus to contract and expel the baby.

We have discovered that we can give the synthetic version to pregnant individuals to start labor or make contractions stronger and closer together. But it is not without risks. It is a dangerous drug that can cause contractions that are too close together and too strong creating distress for the baby.

Pitocin is the reason for many emergency cesareans in labor. Having Pitocin creates the need for other non-evidence based interventions such as continuous monitoring and IV which in turn lead to another non-evidence based intervention – immobility, being stuck in the bed, usually on the back – all of these being extremely unhelpful to the laboring person. Another downside to Pitocin is the accompanying liters of IV fluids that the laboring person tends to receive.

It is not uncommon for someone to get 4, 5, even 6 liters of fluid during an induction, especially if they elect to get an epidural. All of this fluid can cause swelling and difficult breastfeeding due to the extreme engorgement that occurs. So instead of giving a dangerous drug to augment labor when people come into the hospital, why not redesign the physical space to encourage natural labor to do the job?

Let’s change things

We have birthed successfully without Pitocin for millennia before birth entered the hospital in the early decades of the 1900s. Let’s alter the external physical space and encourage practices that support the human body and psyche to birth naturally. The only people who require drugs to enable lovemaking are those with hormonal imbalances, it should be the same for normal, low-risk childbirth.

I propose that labor and delivery units set aside a block of rooms with dimmers on all the light switches, electronic candles sprinkled throughout the room, handheld dopplers for intermittent monitoring, multiple options for hydrotherapy including showers big enough for 2 people and a birth ball or shower chair and labor/birth tubs. They should have a welcoming attitude for partners and doulas; no standard IV or continuous monitoring; and healthy snacks. I believe that providers would find less of a need to augment labors and we could reduce our overall cesarean rates while improving client satisfaction.