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Why Peace and Quiet is so Important in Early Birthing
Original Article By Gloria Lemay

"Turning on the light, causes inhibition of the oxytocin release. Many couples don’t call their midwives until they have sensations coming 5 minutes apart at 7:00 a.m. but they’ve been up since midnight timing every one of the early sensations."

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Cassandra Vore Walking sitting on sofa
That first night can make all the difference and yet so many couples act like it’s a party and don’t realize they are sabotaging their births right at the beginning. Staying up all night in the early part does two things–it throws off the body clock that controls sleep and waking and confuses the brain AND it inhibits the release of the very hormone you need to dilate effectively. You know that it can take days to recover after a night of partying or after working a graveyard shift. Don’t start your birth with that kind of stress on your hormone system. Find the rest of this article HERE.
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Alternative Methods of Checking Dilation {The Purple Line and More}
by Birth Without Fear

"Cervical dilation tells us one thing and one thing only – where you are right that second. It tells you nothing about what came before that check (when you compare to other labors or women) and it tells you nothing about what is to come. It only tells you about the here and now."

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Mom BT Leaning Forward
Studies also show that vaginal exams are not really accurate. When checking for exact dilation, studies show the accuracy to be around 48-56%. When allowing a margin of 1cm (which is a large margin of error when this information is used to time interventions or labor “cut-offs”) the accuracy is around 89-91%. [One such study abstract from real women in labor. And another study abstract which was done on models.] When you add in multiple people checking, the accuracy gets even worse. Yet, vaginal exams are considered the “gold standard” of assessing labor progress. And lets not forget that vaginal exams are just plain uncomfortable at the best of times – in labor they can be downright hellish.

So what are some ways of figuring out your dilation without actually touching the cervix?

The Purple Line or Bottom Line

This is a purple/dark line that shows up and extends well, to put it delicately, along your natal cleft. Or rather – your butt crack. The line starts at the anus and moves up the cleft. When it is all the way to the top, you are 10cm. Normally – you do have a bit of a line there. But this Purple Line or Bottom Line is not he line that is normally there (which is usually pink). This is a dark purple line. My suggestion is to check out your bum in early pregnancy so that you know the difference.Read about all the alternative methods HERE.
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Natural childbirth III: why undisturbed birth?
By Chris Kresser

"Spontaneous labor in a normal woman is an event marked by a number of processes so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character."

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Birth Story
Human beings are mammals
As often as we forget this, human beings are mammals. We share the same 175 million year evolutionary heritage of birth with other mammals. These similarities should be starting point when try understand the process of normal, undisturbed birth in our own species.

Like our mammalian relatives, human females are designed to give birth safely in the wild without supervision or medical intervention. It is as natural to us as eating, breathing, digestion, elimination and sleeping. It’s in our genes.

As physician and natural childbirth advocate Michel Odent reminds us:

When you consider birth as an involuntary process involving old, mammalian structures of the brain, you set aside the assumption that a woman must learn to give birth. It is implicit in the mammalian interpretation that one cannot actively help a woman to give birth. The goal is to avoid disturbing her unnecessarily. Find the rest of this article HERE.
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Epidural: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
By Kelly Brogan, MD

"Epidurals are a delivery method for narcotic pain-killers that pass through the placenta to the baby and have largely unpredictable effects on the birthing woman. Evidence supports risks to the baby including reduced tone, poor feeding, jaundice, withdrawal, and sensorimotor impairment."

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Epidural 2
As a type-A taskmaster, myself, I understand the lure of a predictable and painless depositing of your newborn after the long and fear-punctuated journey of pregnancy.
I’m here to tell you; however, what your obstetrician won’t.

Labor is a physiologic process that recruits neurochemical, endocrine, and immune systems into a dance that we barely have the tools to conceptualize.

When we meddle with this, when we attempt to standardize it, we put women and their babies at grave risk – physically, psychologically, and even spiritually. We rob women of an opportunity for psychospiritual transcendence.

As a science-minded medical doctor, I don’t wield this phrase with ease!

The process of conception, gestation, and birth cannot, however, be reduced to daily activities and routine life occurrences. There is something built into our consciousness that makes room for its own expansion around these life transitions. The process of bodily separation – woman from her newborn – involves a passage through a space of trance-like awareness.

If you buy the potential significance of these considerations, you may want to know what represents your greatest obstacle and impediment in achieving this life milestone. You may be surprised to learn that it is epidural anesthesia. This discussion is meant to shine a light on elective epidurals – that, “Why not? Who wants to feel crazy intense pain?” choice that 2/3rds of women (and up to 90% in some hospitals) opt for every day. Please read the rest of this informative article HERE.
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Pitocin Is Not Oxytocin
By Kelly Brogan MD

"So, when we manufacture a synthetic version of this hormone and commandeer a woman’s labor physiology, it should come as no surprise that there are unintended and poorly understood consequences."

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pitocin-bag
“The Love Hormone”. Sounds important, no? Turns out that we know very little about the hormone oxytocin, beyond that it is incredibly relevant to multiple metabolic, behavioral, and endocrine functions. In a compelling review entitled Beyond Labor: The Role of Natural and Synthetic Oxytocin in the Transition to Motherhood, Bell et al explore the literature suggesting that, once again, we cannot outsmart, outdo, or circumvent nature with pharmaceutical products.

What is Oxytocin?

One of the known roles of oxytocin is in the complex physiology of labor and birth. Perceived by the obstetrical establishment to be a “contraction chemical”, oxytocin’s effects are bodywide, and most notably, brain-based. During pregnancy, oxytocin receptors increase in areas of the maternal brain related to mood, stress, and attachment behavior. Specifically, its activity has been studied in the hypothalamus, lateral septal nucleus, periaqueductal grey, Broca’s area, nucleus basalis of Meynert, locus coeruleus, vagus, solitary tract, trigeminal nerve, and lateral reticular formation. It is secreted continuously in the brain and in a pulsatile manner to the body through the posterior pituitary. Despite efforts, the brain-blood ratio has not been well-elucidated leaving major gaps in our understanding. When it comes to hormones, the production and release of the hormone is critical, but so is the receptor activity – the action of the baseball in the catchers mitt, and receptor sensitivity varies from person to person based on genetics and adaptation to experience. Please read the rest of this informative article HERE.
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Estimating the Estimated Due Date
By Trina Hampton for Pathways to Family Wellness

“I’m due on May 27th!” I was told enthusiastically by a friend who just found out she was pregnant. It took more than a little effort to mask my cringe and share her joy.

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Mom w-Clock on Belly 2
Little did she know that within hours of her positive pregnancy test, she had already given in to one of the biggest misnomers of pregnancy—the “due date,” also referred to as the EDD, for estimated due date. This is the very first thing to be determined once a pregnancy has been confirmed. On the outset, this seems like a reasonable practice. Parents want to know when to expect their baby, and healthcare providers need to have a time line with which to measure the baby’s growth and well-being. Please read the entire article HERE.
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You’re Not Allowed to Not Allow Me
By Cristen Pascucci

For most women, pregnancy and childbirth are one of the few times we let other adults tell us what we are “allowed” and “not allowed” to do with our own bodies. It’s time to change our language around this to reflect the legal and ethical reality that it is the patient who chooses to allow the provider to do something—not the other way around—and to eliminate a word that has no place between true partners in care.

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bigstock-Sleeping-newborn-baby-43511446 457x640
The truth is that women, like all other U.S. citizens, have the right to make decisions about their bodies based on informed consent—a legal, ethical standard which requires the provider to convey all of the information around a suggested procedure or course of treatment, and the person receiving the procedure or treatments gets to decide whether or not to take that advice.  ACOG states clearly about informed consent in maternity care: “The freedom to accept or refuse recommended medical treatment has legal as well as ethical foundations. . . . In the obstetric setting, recognize that a competent pregnant woman is the appropriate decision maker for the fetus that she is carrying” (ACOG Committee on Ethics Committee Opinion No. 390 Ethical Decision Making in Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dec 2007, reaffirmed 2013). Please read the entire article HERE.
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Look at the Baby, Not the Scale
By Jay Gordon, MD FAAP

"In the first 24 to 72 hours after birth babies tend to lose about 3-10% of their birth weight and then regain that weight over the next 2 to 3 weeks."

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Michael Nursing copy
If a mother receives lots of IV fluids during labor, the baby could be born “heavier” because of the increased water. The somewhat higher weight could be measured if a baby were weighed right before it peed for the first time. The difference of this extra fluid retention might only be a few ounces, but some parents are told to be concerned when, at their baby’s two week checkup, the baby is a few ounces under birth weight.

Another common problem at early checkups is a baby that is not gaining what the practitioner considers to be “normal weight gain.” There is not general agreement on normal weight gain and the range in texts are from 4 to 8 ounces a week. Some babies are genetically destined to be a lot smaller or larger than others. Please read the rest of this informative article HERE.
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Cord Blood Collection: Confessions of a Vampire-Midwife
By Rachel Reed

"Cord blood contains magical stem cells, and the idea is that if your baby becomes ill in the future you may be able to use these cells as treatment. My concern with cord blood banking is the inadequate and misleading information given to parents."

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Placenta
"Even the term ‘cord blood’ is misleading – blood is merely collected via the cord. In addition the promotional materials talk about collecting ‘blood from the placenta’ without acknowledging that the baby/placenta are one blood circulation unit. After birth the blood from the placenta transfers to the baby, assisting transition to breathing. Knowledge about the short term and long term health benefits of allowing placental circulation to complete the job is becoming widespread."

Read the entire article HERE.
















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Advice to Expectant Mothers from a Labor and Delivery Nurse
By Carrie Halsey

"Taking a prenatal class is an excellent way to prepare for childbirth. I personally recommend the Hypnobabies course, but there are many other programs available."

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123 Mom and Friend 6
"Your perinatal team has varied knowledge, training, experience, bias, fear, and motivation. They are experts, but they are not perfect! They have seen a lot, but they haven’t seen everything. Some have not read a new research article in years, some haven’t slept in 2 days, and some had a maternal death patient with similar risk factors as yours. Sometimes they just want to go home on time and your labor is taking too long. Some of them are biased towards low intervention; others have never met a patient they didn’t want to take to the operating room."  Read the entire article HERE.
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Evidence-based Birth
By Maureen Whitman

Have you ever felt that some of the restrictions that were in place during the birth of your child did not work in your favor? Did you ever wonder if they had truly been essential? Was that cesarean section medically necessary or planned to fit someone else’s schedule? Are you currently pregnant and uneasy about being told you have limited options because of policies already in place that don’t have clear evidence to support them? If so, read on.

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bigstock Pregnant woman using laptop 12062225-small
LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE

Many birthing women are now taking a greater role in researching, making decisions, and managing their care options. Rather than simply taking their care provider’s word for it, pregnant women are insisting on scientific proof to back up claims that an intervention or procedure is truly necessary.

Organizations that advocate for pregnant women and individuals who are taking more responsibility for their maternity care are actively seeking to identify hospitals and care givers who utilize an evidence-based model.

As more comes to light about how standard maternity care in many places in the US (and internationally) is not always supported by the evidence from best outcomes, consumers are pushing for answers and demanding change. You can read the entire article HERE at peggyomara.com.

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Why Are We Asking Doctors if Women Should Have Midwives?
By Cristen Pascucci

"Shouldn’t women decide if women have midwives?"

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midwife
"Things are better than they were, but nowhere near where they should be.  Today, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) refuses to recognize the midwives who attend around 80% of birth outside of hospitals(8) (“ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births.”)(9).  They have only recently acknowledged “accredited birth centers” as acceptable locations, as their long-time policy has been that all birth should be hospital-based (a 2008 policy statement actually blustered, “Choosing to deliver a baby at home… is to put the process of birth over the goal of having a healthy baby”)(10). Thus, they do not embrace the position of their maternal health colleagues who believe all birth should be where women decide to give birth.  There is truth to ACOG’s assertion that the training and education for a very small number of these midwives is not standardized, but, really, those midwives and their clients aren’t looking to obstetricians for approval. And pushing those midwives underground certainly does not result in better training or safer births." Please read the rest of this fantastic article HERE.
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Alcohol and Breastfeeding
By Anna Burbidge - Le Leche League GB

With all the holiday festivities in full swing we thought you breastfeeding moms might find this information helpful.

"Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers." ~ Dr. Jack Newman

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Breastfeeding infant
Breastfeeding mothers often receive conflicting advice about whether alcohol consumption can have an effect on their baby, which can leave them feeling like they have more questions than answers. While women are often warned not to consume alcohol during pregnancy due to evidence that it could cause damage to an unborn child,  the risks of consuming alcohol while breastfeeding are not as well defined. Read all this great information HERE.
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What is the Evidence for Inducing Labor if Your Water Breaks at Term?
By Alicia A. Breakey, MA, PhD Candidate, Angela Reidner, MS, CNM, and Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN

Another amazing article from Evidence Based Birth!

"Many people are under the impression that once a woman’s water breaks, she only has 24 hours to give birth or she will automatically need a C-section. Where did this opinion come from? Is it evidence-based?"

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Pregnant belly
What is PROM?

Prelabor or “premature” rupture of membranes (PROM), happens when your water breaks before the start of labor.

Term PROM is when your water breaks before labor at ≥37 weeks of pregnancy.

Preterm PROM, or PPROM, happens when your water breaks before 37 weeks.

Read the entire article HERE.
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The natural caesarean: a woman-centred technique
By Smith J, Plaat F, Fisk N. BJOG 2008;115:1037–1042.

Maybe someday this will be how all C-secctions are performed!

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123 Baby Skin to Skin 1
"Although much effort has gone into promoting early skin-to-skin contact and parental involvement at vaginal birth, caesarean birth remains entrenched in surgical and resuscitative rituals, which delay parental contact, impair maternal satisfaction and reduce breastfeeding. We describe a ‘natural’ approach that mimics the situation at vaginal birth by allowing (i) the parents to watch the birth of their child as active participants (ii) slow delivery with physiological autoresuscitation and (iii) the baby to be transferred directly onto the mother's chest for early skin-to-skin. Studies are required into methods of reforming caesarean section, the most common operation worldwide."

Please read the rest of this informative article HERE.
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Choosing Your Women’s Health Care Provider
From www.midwife.org

Great information on how to choose the best prenatal health care provider for you!

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Midiwfe Mom Birth Center Doppler
Questions to Ask Your Potential Provider


When choosing a women’s health care provider, it’s important to know your full range of options so that you can make an informed decision. Your health is too important to rely on other people’s recommendations, or to just “go where you have always gone.” Your health care provider’s services and approach to care should match your unique goals and values. Asking potential providers questions about their education and type of care will help you decide who will best meet your needs. Below are sample questions to ask women’s health care providers that may help you in making your decision.

Questions to Ask a Women’s Health Care Provider or Maternity Care Provider

General Questions:
Did you graduate from a nationally accredited midwifery or medical education program? What is your degree?
Are you licensed to practice in this state?
What is your certification? (For midwives: Have you completed a national exam to earn a midwifery certification? What is that certification? (Click here for more information on the different types of midwives.)(For physicians: Are you board certified? In what specialty?)
How will you determine if the care you specialize in is the right care for me?
If I choose you as my health care provider, who else will be involved in my care?
What types of health care services do you provide? Can you provide care for more general health needs like flu shots and minor illnesses?
How long does it take to get an appointment and how long are typical waits at the office before I see you?
How long will my appointments be when I come for my yearly checkups and pap tests?
Do you offer family planning resources and birth control options?
How can you help me understand health care information and make good health care decisions?
Can my family members come with me to my appointments?
At which locations can I receive my care?
Who do I call when the office is not open?

You will find the rest of this article HERE.
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Twelve Signs You Can Trust Your Prenatal Care
By Cristen Pascucci

How do you know you’re getting good care? In the U.S., there is a vast range of maternity care practices.

Improving Birth is talking about what good care looks and they have put together a list of some signs you can trust the care you are getting.

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midwife
You are treated like an individual 
Every woman, baby, and birth is different. You may go into labor at 38 weeks or 42 weeks, and it might last four hours or forty. This is all normal. As the baby is coming, you may want total silence in a bathtub or you may need tons of support while you walk laps around the room. No one can predict these things. Birth is about what each pair of mothers and babies needs to be most safe and supported.

Your provider uses language like, “We encourage you to…” and “We support you in…” —not “You’re not allowed” or “We will let you.”

Language is important. It is an indication of how you will be treated in labor: as a respected adult or as a wayward child. It is a truly scary thing to hear in the delivery room, “That’s not how I do it,” when you’re saying you need more time or that you don’t want to be cut.

You can find Improving Birth's entire list HERE.
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Establishing Your Milk Supply
By La Leche League Canada

"Milk is produced almost continuously: the more often the baby nurses, the more milk there will be."

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Breastfeeding infant
The delivery of the placenta tells the body to start producing milk. This happens whether a mother is breastfeeding or not. By day 3-5, mother’s milk comes in and volume increases. Frequent nursing and regular removal of the milk stimulates the breast to produce more milk. Milk changes through a feeding and throughout the day to meet a baby’s changing needs. Foremilk, at the beginning of a feeding session, contains less fat and more water. Hindmilk, later in the feeding, contains more fat and is higher in calories. Babies need both foremilk and hindmilk to provide total nutrition

Breastfeeding early and often is one of the most important factors in getting breastfeeding off to a good start. Babies who are allowed to breastfeed within an hour of birth and then at frequent, unrestricted intervals, help mother establish a good milk supply sooner than those who are put on a strict feeding schedule. Newborns usually nurse about every two hours, or at least 8-12 times per day; some may nurse even more frequently. Feeds may not be spaced evenly throughout the day. Some babies cluster several feeds together and then sleep for a longer stretch.  The rest of this informative article can be found HERE.
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Magic Umbilical Cords
By Stephanie Soderblom

"Aaahhhh….that umbilical cord. That magical connection that grows life. It filters, it provides, it knows when to start and it knows when baby no longer needs it."


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Umbilical cords have two arteries and a vein that run the length of it. Those three vessels are surrounded by a special substance called Wharton’s Jelly. This jelly is thick and gelatinous when functional – this is to prevent the baby from accidentally causing it to kink and stop functioning (even true knots in the cord rarely cause problems because the Wharton’s Jelly prevents it from being able to tighten down and occlude blood flow to baby!)

When baby is born, this cord continues to function, providing the baby with not only blood and oxygen – but providing baby TIME! Time to transition to air breathing, experiencing the changes that babies go through at birth. As long as that cord is pulsing, it’s working for the baby the exact same way it did before the baby came out.

Once baby’s breathing and the cord is no longer needed, it goes through its own transformation. The Wharton’s Jelly in the cord begins to liquefy…tightening down on those vessels…clamping them off naturally. The cord slowly becomes thin, white, limp – dramatic changes from the thick purple pulsing entity it was when the baby was born!

Not clamping or cutting the cord until this transformation has occurred provides the baby with the benefit of extra blood, oxygen, gentleness and time!

Here you can see the magical changes of the cord! These pictures are ALL of the same umbilical cord…progressively taken over time.

THE FOLLOWING PICTURES WERE TAKEN OVER A PERIOD OF ABOUT 15 MINUTES – BABY WAS ATTACHED THE ENTIRE TIME… See the rest of this informative article HERE.
allcords1. Brand new! Right after birth the cord is thick, pulsing. We could actually SEE it thumping with the baby’s heartbeat.


2. There’s already a difference!! Look at how much thinner it is – less purple, less ‘tight’…


3. Less purple…thinner….


4. same piece of cord, same angle….now MUCH whiter, much thinner. But still not done with the transformation! You might think so though, huh! No…just wait.


5. NOW we are pretty much finished with the transformation. Compare this to the top picture of the same piece of cord….


6. Completely done, Wharton’s Jelly has liquified, the cord is not pulsing…it is thin, white, and very limp. Amazing!


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Twin Birth Study Finds No Benefits To Planned C-Section
By Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

This randomized study The Twin Birth Study: a multicenter RCT of planned cesarean section and planned vaginal birth for twin pregnancies 320 to 386/7 weeks, should help women understand that a planned vaginal birth is as safe as a planned cesarean section as long as the first twin is situated head first.

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Twins
"The results of the study show that vaginal birth is safe and should continue to be offered to women who are pregnant with twins," said Dr. Jon Barrett of Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, University of Toronto, Women and Babies Program, and one of the study's authors. "There's no evidence that a cesarean section is better for the babies or you."  The entire study can be seen HERE.


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