Review: Labor Kit

November 20, 2008 | 2 Comments

labor kit

The Labor Kit is a pretty nifty idea.

It’s a new product for pregnant moms who want to make sure they have everything they need for the big day.

It includes all kinds of goodies that women have traditionally packed for their trip to the hospital to give birth.

The Labor Kit I tested out looks like a handy canvas carrying bag (it can be reused as luggage later on) but inside it’s jam packed with the following:

* Tred Mates Pillow Pals non slip socks
* Kiss My Face organic lip balm
* Peri squeeze bottle (remember how  nice these are in those early weeks?)
* Large Stay Dry ice pack (for perineum care postpartum - ouch!)
* Thank You cards
* 20 Newborn Pampers Swaddlers diapers
* 4 extra large postpartum pads
* Pen and Labor Kit spiral bound notebook
* Box of 36 Gerber premium nursing pads
* Full size Lansinoh medical grade lanolin for nursing moms (this stuff is a lifesaver)
* Hospital checklist
* Stress ball to squeeze during contractions
* 2 pairs mesh underwear (great until you fit into your regular undies and to hold pads)
* Share the Joy contact list
* Birth Plan
* Large blue under pads to protect your mattress

This particular kit was not even the top of the line. There are two more kits that have even more stuff inside.

I think this is a great idea for moms who are birthing in a hospital or birthing center, but I think it would be awesome to see a “Green” kit with NatraCare nursing and postpartum pads, for example. The disposable diapers could be gDiapers, Tushies or Seventh Generation. The rest is pretty cool though.

You can see more info about these kits here: http://www.laborkit.com

NaBloPoMo #25

Preparing Your Older Child for the New Baby

September 14, 2008 | 2 Comments

I remember hearing horror stories about older kids and their jealousy towards the new baby in the house. One friend of mine even said her daughter tried to suffocate her baby with a pillow! Henry 2-months
Creative Commons License photo credit: Phil Scoville

I can’t imagine how that must have felt. It was also totally foreign to me because I didn’t have any trouble at all with my toddlers trying to hurt their new sibling. I never even saw any signs of rivalry or upset at all.

I think it’s because of some of the things I did during the pregnancy and in the first few hours, days and weeks after I gave birth.

Here are some of those things. I hope they help you if you’re about to go through this!

Sell them on “big brother” or “big sister”.

Speak in positive terms to them about what it means to be a big sis or big brother. Really play up the importance of their role and help them to feel special and needed. You will want to discuss how they can be your helper and how much you need them because after the birth you will be sore and tired.

You may want to assign them a specific task, something age appropriate. For a younger child, fetching diapers for you might be a good one. With my babies, I invited the older toddler to come and join us during diaper changes to involve them. We would chat and I would let them help any way they could, and it was a pleasant time. Help your child to appreciate how much you need their help.

Don’t plan any other major changes.

This would not be a good time to introduce any other major changes into their life, such as potty training, different sleeping arrangements or any other similar changes. You don’t want to overwhelm them nor add any added stress to their lives or yours.

If your toddler is still nursing, there is no reason to stop during your pregnancy or even afterwards when the new baby arrives. Many moms have found that tandem nursing (breastfeeding siblings who are not twins) is very rewarding and a wonderful way to ease the transition for the older child.

When they are assured of your place in their lap, they are not as likely to be jealous or resent the new baby. I found this to be absolutely true with mine. My toddlers were all still nursing when their siblings were born, and it was wonderful to help them adjust. I shared my story in the link above.

Talk to them.

Children understand more than we think. So, spend some time talking with them about the big event. You can tell them about what will happen when you go to have the baby, where they will be staying, and what they can expect. If you are having the baby at home or in a birthing center, you might want to consider allowing them to be with you at the birth. Children who are close by the mother during her labor are more likely to view the new baby as “ours” instead of an alien intruder! Some parents have found it helpful to read books that talk about getting a new baby in the house. These often explain how new babies need constant care and feeding.

It’s also helpful to share the story of their own birth with your toddler. Young children seem to love to hear the story of their birth! Talk about how it was such a happy day for you because you finally got to meet them. Tell them details, and let them watch birth videos if you have them, and allow them to go through their baby books and pictures.

Involve them in the pregnancy.

Take your older child to prenatal appointments if you can. This helps them to start bonding with the unborn child. This is a lot easier if you’re getting care from a midwife, who will welcome your other children and allow them to listen to the heartbeat or play with the stethoscope and other equipment! My kids always had fun when we visited the midwife for our appointments.240 - Checking In
Creative Commons License photo credit: eyeliam

My oldest son even cut his two baby sister’s cords when they were born. I have pictures of him all decked out as Obi-Wan Kenobi, complete with light sabre, when his first sister was born. He was so protective of her and called her Padme for the first few months of her life. ;)

Get help.

Going from one to two (or two to three, and on and on!) is a wonderful time to ask friends, family, Grandparents and others for a little help. While you and the baby are resting, could someone play with your toddler, arrange a playdate or take them to the park for a couple of hours?

A little extra one on one time with a beloved adult can make up for the fact that you are going to be giving the toddler a little less attention for awhile. This is a time for Dad to step up too. While he does need time to bond with the newborn, this can be a time of growth in the older child as he embraces Dad as someone who can also meet his needs.

Watch your language.

When the baby arrives, be careful how you phrase things. If your older child asks you for something and you can’t help them because you’re caring for the baby, don’t “blame” it on the baby. Say something like, “My hands are busy now, but I can play with you in a few minutes. Why don’t you come snuggle next to me and I’ll read you a story?”

Another tip that some moms have found helpful is to talk up the older child to the baby. We moms love to go ga-ga and talk goo goo over our babies, but why not brag on the older sibling? “Ooh look at what big brother is doing! He’s building a block tower and it’s sooooo tall!” This can make the older child’s heart swell with pride. I heard this tip from a mom I admired, and when I did it, I could see the older child’s face practically beaming. Of course, the baby can’t understand a word you’re saying, but that doesn’t matter!

If your child does express some negative feelings towards the new baby, do not deflect it or try to change their feelings. It won’t work! It’s insulting and we know how WE feel when someone does that to us. Instead, mirror them by saying something empathic, like “It’s tough having to share mommy with the new baby sometimes.” You don’t have to agree with them, just empathize. When we do that, they feel safe sharing their feelings, and are able to process and work through them better. But if we can all bent out of shape they feel misunderstood and frustrated, which doesn’t help matters.

There’s one thing that some people who come to visit your new family may do that you need to watch for. This always made me cringe every time I observed it! They overreact every time the older children touch the baby.

Another thing to be careful of when it comes to visitors is this: Don’t let them focus 100% of their attention on the new baby. People do this too, and they don’t mean any harm. But imagine how it feels to the older child when everyone around him is completely besotted with “baby this and baby that”. They don’t even ask him questions except to say, “So how do you like the new baby?” LOL!

If your guests or family members do this, tactfully steer the conversation around.

Clueless Aunt: “So, little Johnny, how do you like the new baby so far?”

Little Johnny: “Um, he’s ok. I guess.”

You: “Auntie, did you see the picture Johnny painted? It’s over there on the refrigerator. Johnny, would you like to show Auntie your new picture? Maybe she can get your paints out and you can draw a new one for her to take home to Aunt Joe.”

You might want to even ask family members and friends to bring a small gift for your older child when they come visit the baby. If they’re not cool like that, stash some presents or treats of your own, and whip them out when baby has a gift to unwrap.

Babies just aren’t that fragile!

It’s more important that your older child bond with the baby, and much of that takes place through touch. Train and teach your older kids how to hold and touch the baby. With a toddler, you may have to guide his hands or tell him to touch “Soft, like a butterfly.”

Don’t freak out whenever the older kids come around the baby, or they’ll come to resent him. You don’t want them to feel like useless, clumsy clods around the “precious” baby. It’s very hurtful to them. There were so many times that my older kids jostled the new baby like s/he was a sack of potatoes, and the baby never even woke up most of the time, much less minded.

Babies like stimulation and they find their big sibs extremely exciting! I noticed that my babies would turn their heads and follow a sibling around the room with their eyes. I made a point of saying this out loud to my older kids. I also reminded them that the baby KNEW them already because of hearing them for so many months in the womb.

They were really impressed by that. :)

Another thing alone these lines is, allow your toddler or older child to see and spend time with you as soon as possible after the birth. Don’t let other family members, including your husband if he’s overzealous, prevent them from reconnecting with you. Especially if you’ve been away at a hospital birth is this true. Don’t make a big deal over the new baby. Let them hug and kiss YOU and then notice the baby (who ideally should not be in your arms for this little reunion).

Don’t feel guilty.

It’s very common for moms to feel guilty about displacing their older child. I know I certainly felt this way when I was pregnant with my second child. I grieved for what I felt was a loss, and I was worried about my older son - as if he was losing something instead of gaining!

Remember that children have been dealing with the arrival of siblings since the beginning of time! They will be just fine, and will gain a playmate and perhaps a lifelong friend. Be positive about the transition and your child will likely pick up on your emotions.

Practice babywearing.

A baby sling or carrier can be invaluable for several reasons. For one, you can have your hands free in a sling, meaning you can play with a toddler almost like baby’s not there, where s/he naps peacefully. You’ll always have a free arm to pour a glass of milk, get a snack, offer a hug, a boost onto the swings, or to hold a book to read a story. Kids don’t mind so much the arrival of a new sibling as they mind the demand on your time. If you can still do most of the stuff you did before, it’s all good. walking in Garnethill
Creative Commons License photo credit: PhylB

Be prepared for your own emotions.

Nature has set things up so that your priority is to your newborn infant, and that’s as it should be. A lot of times we are surprised by the ferocity of our own feelings of loyalty to our new babies. It’s not that we don’t love our toddlers, because we do.

But during the early weeks, don’t be surprised at your feelings. You might see your toddler differently and are a little afraid that you’ve fallen out of love with him!

Don’t worry! These feelings will subside, and you’ll soon be seeing your toddler through normal eyes. A little extra sleep helps too!

Some recommended resources:

On Mother’s Lap

This book helps young children to see the “expandable” quality of a mother’s love.

The New Baby

I loved reading this book to kids #2 and #3 before and after baby #4 came along. They loved it too.

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

A wonderful book to teach you all about empathic listening and dealing with kid’s strong emotions.

Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond

A must read for a mom who is nursing while pregnant and wants to know “what to expect” afterwards.

Maya Wrap Baby Sling

This was my favorite all time sling. The unstitched style of the tail and no padding make it great for getting a truly hands free hold.

What was your experience with helping your older child make the adjustment to a new baby?

Miami Dade Students Protest Closing of Midwifery Program

August 23, 2008 | Leave a Comment

IN LIGHT OF UNFAIR TREATMENT, MIAMI DADE COLLEGE STUDENTS & SUPPORTERS PLAN SIT IN

MIAMI, FL (August 22, 2008) - Despite strong opposition expressed by students, mothers, midwives and concerned members of the community, Miami Dade College has closed the Midwifery Program. Students have called and written the College President, Dr. Eduaro Padron to request reconsideration and a meeting with the College Board of Trustees yet Dr. Padron has refused to meet with them.

The students are now planning a Rally to Save the Midwifery Program on Monday August 25th at 10:00a.m. The rally will be held at the office of the President on the MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. 2nd Ave, Suite 1401 on the fourth floor of Building #1 Miami, FL 33132.

The Miami Dade College Midwifery Students and their supporters will descend on the Wolfson Campus to demand a meeting and reconsideration for the program. We urge concerned members of the community to join us.

The Closing of the Program

On Friday, August 8, the College held a meeting to reimburse the 20 students who had paid for tuition and fees, and to discuss other educational opportunities that the College offers. At that meeting, members of the public showed up to express their disappointment and dissatisfaction, not only with the closure of the program, but also with the unfair treatment of the students, who were required to pay all tuition and fees a month prior to the rest of the student body.

The College claims tough economic times have caused them to close programs with low enrollment and high costs. However, Midwifery is the first and only one out of over 200 degree-granting programs offered at Miami-Dade College to be eliminated as a result of those cuts. Also, the cut took place even though Miami Dade College has reported higher than expected overall enrollment rates for the Fall.

Midwifery students, who had been accepted in May were devastated by the sudden cancellation of the program. Some students had relocated to South Florida, and many had already taken out loans to cover tuition costs. “Miami Dade College doesn’t seem to appreciate the important roll midwives play. We fill an important need by providing an affordable and accessible health care to at risk communities. As a public education institution, they have failed this community. I am outraged that Dr. Padron won’t even address our concerns,” said Melissa Chin Casesy, midwifery student.

MDC’s accredited Direct-Entry Midwifery Program, one out of only 10 in the country, was the first and only to be offered at a public institution, offering students a more affordable option compared to the programs offered at private colleges and universities. For example, completing the program at MDC would cost about $10,000 while at other schools, it would be upwards of $20,000. Since it’s inception in 1994, over 80 midwives have been trained and graduated from the program.

“With MDC’s program gone, the future health-care demands of our already under-served community can’t be met. How will midwives be licensed without this accredited program?,” said Jarene Flemming, a midwifery consumer and advocate. “With the alarming rate of infant mortality and the growing racial health disparities in South Florida, it is foolish to eliminate the one program best suited to train more health professionals to address this crisis.”

Midwifery in Florida
According to the latest Florida Medical Quality Assurance annual report, there are 115 active licensed midwives practicing in the state. About 11 percent of births are estimated to be attended by midwives, rather than by obstetrician/gynecologists, and the Florida Council of Licensed Midwives reported that births attended by Licensed Midwives in the state grew by 5.5% from 2005 to 2006. According to the same report by the Florida Council of Licensed Midwives, midwives had a cesarean section rate of 6.3 percent (compared to a 36.64 percent statewide average in hospitals the same year).

Miami Dade College is a public institution and has an obligation to the public it serves. To take away this program is to take away one of the only affordable opportunities in this country for women to become Licensed Midwives through an accredited program.
Media Contact: Jarene Williams 305.609.8502 or Melissa Casey 305.305.6927

Placenta Encapsulation and Ingestion

August 19, 2008 | 4 Comments

Carrie:  You’re back with Carrie at Natural Mom’s Talk Radio.  I am joined this week by Jodi Selander, with http://www.placentabenefits.info.  Good morning, Jodi.

Jodi:  Good morning, Carrie.

Carrie:  We’ve had some pretty unusual topics on this show before, but this one is definitely one of the top unusual topics, I have to say.  I’m pretty sure this show is going to get some definite interest and comments and questions and such.  Okay, your web site is all about the benefits of placenta encapsulation.

Jodi:  That’s right.

C:  So, let’s just do a quick overview of what that is.  What is placenta encapsulation, and why would a mom consider doing it?

J:  Well, basically, what I advocate through the web site placentabenefits.info is when a  woman has her baby, saving the placenta and through a fairly easy method, it can be dried, and then ground and put into capsules.  Then she can take those capsules for the first few weeks post partum, and they help her recover from the birth and the pregnancy much more quickly than she would do on her own.

C:  The first thing that comes to mind when I saw your web site was that this is something that a lot of animals do naturally.  For some reason, they have that instinctive wisdom to do that.

Is this something that is becoming more popular in recent years?  How did you get into this line of work?

J:  I got into it due to my own - I have some issues with depression.  During my first pregnancy, I didn’t know about this option, and I was on actual medical pharmaceutical antidepressants.  They had me stay on those through her pregnancy, and after she was born.  After I had her, I had some issues postpartum.

After she was born, I started doing a lot of research, and finding more natural ways of dealing with health and nutrition and things like that.  So when I got pregnant with my second daughter, I wanted to have a completely natural pregnancy.  I didn’t want to be on pharmaceuticals, and I went off my antidepressants at that time.

During my pregnancy, I heard about placenta, and using the placenta perhaps to stave off postpartum depression.  I was very curious about it, because here was a natural option that I could use.  I was no longer on pharmaceuticals and I didn’t want to go back on.  I started researching it, and it was just mentioned.  I wanted to find out if there was any actual research to back this up, or if this was just something that was just talked about among the very natural women.

I started doing the research, and I found that it was very compelling.  There was a lot of health and nutrition and a lot of benefits to be gained by the placenta.

And when I found out that you could actually make it into capsules, I was absolutely willing to give it a try.  While I wasn’t personally comfortable with eating it, per se, I could definitely take a few capsules.

So when my second daughter was born, I had a homebirth, and I had a special bowl set aside for the placenta.  My midwife put it right in there, and it went right into the fridge.  The next day, I started doing a process to prepare it and make the capsules. Within a few days, I was taking her capsules.

I had a fabulous post partum recovery.  I had a lot of energy, I never had any sort of blues or weepiness, or feeling like I couldn’t handle having - I had my three year old daughter at the time and my newborn, and was breastfeeding.

I actually had so much energy that my midwife had to tell me to slow down. She was like “You are still recovering from the birth, and you have to take it easy.”  My uterus was shrinking back down to size more quickly than she would have anticipated, especially being a second time mom. I just felt really great.

And that’s what launched the whole movement, was my own experience.  Then I started doing the service for women here, in my community, in Las Vegas.  After doing it for seven months and hearing story after story from my clients, where they really feel that capsules helped them and it was beneficial, and once they do it, they would never give birth without doing it.  That’s when I launched the web site.  When I realized that it wasn’t just me, or her, it wasn’t just her, this really helped women, and I really wanted to start a dialog about it.  It just was not being discussed openly.

C:  Right.  Wow.  You’ve talked about some anecdotal reports of women, and your own experience.

Is there any medical research that has shown that using the placenta has any benefits?  What is it about the placenta that is so beneficial?  What is it, specifically?  Is it the hormones?  Is it something else?

J:  There has been some research out there.  Let me go back to the fact that the placenta has been used medicinally for centuries.  Chinese medicine has been preparing the placenta for medical use for hundreds of years.Plastic placenta 2
Creative Commons License photo credit: damph

C:  I didn’t know that.

J:  Yeah.  It’s one of the most powerful tonifying medicines in their arsenal.  It’s used for a wide variety of ailments.  The two that I latched onto as far as being beneficial for post partum women, is that TCM uses it to treat lactation and fatigue.

In the 50s, there was a study done where they took dried placenta, and they selected over 200 women who they felt were at risk for having insufficient milk production for their babies. They gave part of the group dried placenta.  Since they weren’t sure by which mechanism the placenta would increase milk production, they thought perhaps it was the protein in it.  They did a control group with like dried beef.

They found that the dried placenta group had a significant increase in mil production in about 86% of the cases within 4 days of taking placenta.  They found that pretty much 100% of the women over the course of seven days had an increase in milk production in the placenta group.  That really backed up the TCM principles of placenta for lactation.

C:  It sounds like there’s more going on there than just - you can’t just compare the placenta to an organ meat, which is highly nutritious.  There’s something else going on.

J:  There is something else.  It wasn’t the protein, so it’s not just the fact that it’s a meat, kind of.  There is something else going on.  They were not able to discover exactly the mechanism.

What it could be is that the placenta, being an endocrine organ, meaning that it induces hormones, does retain hormones upon the birth.  There’s a wide variety of hormones that the placenta is instrumental in regulating in a pregnant woman’s body.  One of those is prolactine, which is a milk producing hormone, and, of course, oxytosen.  It could be one of those, and further study would need to be done to see if those are exactly the mechaammanisms by which it does increase milk production.

So those are the studies.  Anecdotally, as well, I’ve had clients who have had a first baby, they weren’t able to produce as much milk as they would like.  With their next child, they went ahead and encapsulated the placenta, and found that it did indeed increase.  They had a much easier time nursing their second child.  That is one of the key benefits, then.  If you are worried about milk production, it is something very safe and natural that you can try.
Creative Commons License photo credit: diluvi

The other main benefit, according to the TCM, traditional Chinese Medicine principle is fatigue.  And that is the other thing that I’ve really found, is that the capsules really help you with feeling so wiped out after the birth and after the pregnancy.  It really gives you a lot of energy, just makes you feel a whole lot better.

The mechanism behind that, we feel is likely due to the high iron content of the placenta. It’s packed with iron.  They’ve found that by supplementing with iron, it actually staves off the post partum fatigue that can occur.  Now, post partum fatigue and iron deficiency are both key factors in the development of post partum depression later on.  If we can kind of knock out, two of the big risk factors for post partum depression, then we can logically assume that it will probably help post partum depression down the road.

What I always talk about is that placenta is great for avoiding the baby blues, because postnatal mood disorders are a wide spectrum.  It can go all the way from baby blues, being the “mildest” form, all the way over to post partum psychosis.

The majority of women, 80% or more, suffer with some sort of post natal mood instability. Because your body will eventually regulate itself, and because the majority of women suffer from it, it’s not really considered even a disorder.  So women that have all these symptoms, the weepiness the irritability, the mood fluctuations, feelings of anxiety, just beinSleeping afterg overwhelmed, crying jags, things like that, they have these symptoms for a period of weeks, but they aren’t  able to get any help or support from it, because your body will eventually regulate itself.

So that’s what I advocate using the placenta for.  Why go through that, even for a few weeks?  For anyone that’s just had a baby, that’s the last thing that you want to be dealing with.

C:  Yeah.  I remember with my oldest, having that period of weepiness, the baby blues.  Just hearing over and over that it was normal, and I remember, at the time I lived in an apartment that was on the second story, and it was hot summer, but it was really beautiful weather.  I had the windows open.  I remember every time I would walk past my window to get to my bed, I would have this overwhelming fear that I was going to throw the baby out the window.  It really caused me a lot of anxiety.  Something was going to trip me, or some vacuum was going to inexplicably suck the baby out of the window.  I just thought “Oh, that’s normal.”  I had read that that’s normal, and blah, blah, blah.  Common and normal is not the same thing.

J:  Exactly. It’s common.  Becoming a mother is stressful, and you just want to do everything right. When you’re sort of having these strange thoughts and crying … Women internalise everything.  “What’s wrong with me?”  “Why am I feeling this way?”  “Does this mean I’m not a good mother?”  Let’s just avoid all that.  Does something that can really help make us feel a whole lot better.  All we want to do is feel normal, feel like ourselves.  I found that the placenta can really help with that.

C:  Why do you suppose that this has not caught on more than it has?  I’m sure that for a lot of my listeners, this would be the first that they’re hearing of it.

J:  I think that’s the main reason, is I just don’t think that it was spoken about at a level where the majority of women would be able to hear about it.  It’s been talked about, and midwives have known about the benefits for decades, and often encourage their clients to go ahead and ingest the placenta after the baby’s born.

But being modern women, that’s kind of a hard concept to get around, actually cooking it, or eating it.  That’s not something that the majority of women are going to do.  That’s the way it’s been presented, is make a smoothy, Placenta Pizza, there’s all these recipes and things.

I think that is just not something the majority of women can get their head around.  I couldn’t.  But the capsules are a very easy way to make this accessible to the majority of women.  Anybody can take a capsule.  I know a lot of us who do take charge of our own health, we do take herbs and various concoctions, and we’re used to taking herbal supplements.

So this, just the encapsulation part, I think really makes it accessible.  Hopefully now, through speaking to you and getting to your audience, with the web site, I’m just really trying to get it out there so that at least women know that it’s an option, and it’s something they can do.  Because you can’t have informed choice without knowing all the options.

C:  Right.  That’s right.  For me, I had three of my babies at home, so I still have three placentas in my freezer.  For a mom who’s giving birth in the hospital, is it possible for her to keep her placenta?  I noticed on your blog that you’re kind of celebrating that a mom won the battle to take her placenta.

To me, it’s just amazing that it’s even a conversation.  You birthed it out of your body, why is it a fight to keep it? I don’t understand that.  Talk to us a little bit more about that.  What would a mom do who had a hospital birth?

J:  Each individual hospital can make its own policy.  There is only one state in this country that protects a woman’s right to take the placenta home from the hospital after it’s born.  That is Hawaii.  No other state has any legislation.  It’s up to the individual hospitals.  Here in Las Vegas, I’ve worked with many of the hospitals.  I’ve gone in and spoken to the staff.  I have really tried to create this dialog about it.  Because I would have clients go in and ask for their placenta.  A lot of times, this is the first time they’ve had that request.  Any time it’s a first time, it’s unusual, there’s a lot of fear.  Coming from the hospital community, the placenta is regarded as medical biohazard waste instead of being a part of the baby.  We’ve had to do some advocacy and things like that.

There  was one hospital who had the request last year, the first one, and they told the woman that she couldn’t have it without a court order because someone at the hospital, [this is my personal opinion], but somebody at the hospital was personally offended by what she intended to do with it.  So they started this whole legal battle.  We won the court order last year, and the judge told them that it was hers.  She didn’t have any communicable diseases. She didn’t have HIV or Hepatitis C, or anything that would create a public health risk.  It was hers, and she could choose what to do with it, and it was basically none of their business.  So they had to give her the placenta.

Subsequently, I had four clients go to that same hospital, and they were told the very same thing.  “You can’t have the placenta without a court order.”  So here, we won this whole battle, and we thought we made some progress.  And here, they just decided to make every single woman go through the same thing.  A lot of moms, they just want to have the baby, they don’t want to cause trouble, they’re worried that fighting for it will cause some issues with staff, so they just let it go.

Then in April of this year, one of my clients said “I’ll go ahead and get the court order.  I want the placenta, I should have it, it’s part of the baby, and I want to do this.”  She went ahead and started proceedings to go to court, and then I again started organizing the protest, and sending out press releases basically saying that despite a former ruling, this hospital is still not mother friendly.  The same day that this woman, Erin Martinez was her name, she filed the paperwork; the press releases came out in the paper.  The hospital started getting calls, asking “What is this policy, and why are you continuing to deny women their placenta?”  They reversed their stance.

I had a call from a hospital spokeswoman, saying “We just wanted to let you know, we’re going to give her her placenta.”  So, by this time, knowing what their stance was, I was like “This is wonderful, and thank you.  That’s great.  But what about the next woman who asks?”  They said that they were revising their guidelines and would be releasing the placentas to women who requested them, given that they’re healthy of course.  Then we had, instead of a protest, a celebration rally the following Monday, and thanked the hospital.  Now, every hospital in Las Vegas releases placentas to mothers upon request.  It can be done.

Hospitals are businesses, and if their clients start requesting this, and saying that this is something that they want, women do have a choice where to give birth. If your hospital will not support your wishes, then you can choose to birth somewhere else, somewhere that will support your personal choice.

All I suggest is that she ask.  Just call ahead, don’t wait until the day of the birth.  Call ahead and talk to the nursing staff.  Ask to speak to a charge nurse if necessary.  Just start the dialog.  Say “This is something that I want to do.” You don’t have to say “I’m planning to eat it,” or anything like that.  A lot of times they’ll ask, just because they’re curious, but you don’t have to tell them just start the dialog, before you have the baby, to see what your hospital says.

C:  Good idea.  If there’s any time in a woman’s life where she’s entitled to make noise, it would be at her birth.

J:  Absolutely.

C:  Make trouble, be trouble.

J:  We can be empowered about our birth choices.  And, on the front page of the web site, too, with http://www.placentabenefits.info, you can go there and I have a whole page of tips on how to get your placenta released from the hospital.  It’s a common question, so I have a whole guide, basically, for how to do that.  If a woman is curious, I do have that all written out for you.

C:  How does a person find someone to do this encapsulation?

J:  We have developed a placenta encapsulation specialist training and certification course, where I’m getting women set up in communities all across the country to do this, to do the placenta encapsulation service for women in their community.  If you want to have this done, you can actually have a person who’s been trained and knows what she’s doing, and is knowledgeable about the process and how to handle placentas.  They’ll come right to your home.  You get the placenta home, and they’ll come right to your home and take care of it for you.  You never have to deal with anything.  All you end up with are the capsules, and you can start taking them just a few days post partum, then.

You can come to http://www.placentabenefits.info, click on find a specialist, and it’s all listed there by state, the service providers.  If there’s not somebody in your state currently certified and practicing, I do have the do-it-yourself encapsulation kit.  I give you the instructions, I tell you how to do it, I give you most of the basic supplies you’ll need, and you or your Mom, or husband can actually do the encapsulation process for you.

C:  And how complicated is that?  Tell us a little bit more about what it entails?

J:  It does entail some work in the kitchen, so you need to be somewhat handy in the kitchen.  But if you can cook a meal for your family, then you can pretty much prepare placenta.

C:  Okay.  Cool.  Well, and one more question.  How long does a Mom take placenta after her baby is born?

J:  She only needs to take the capsules for at least two weeks, and then she can start weaning off and see how she feels.  I have some clients who take them every day until she runs out of capsules.  That usually takes about five or six weeks post partum.  But most of the time, they’ll start weaning off after about two weeks, so two to three weeks post partum.

C:  It’s interesting.  I was going to ask how long does the placenta last if you encapsulate it and take it every day.  Because five to six weeks is the traditional - across many cultures, post partum women are encouraged to take it easy for that length of time.  That’s an interesting coincidence there.

J:  It is, isn’t it?

C:  Jodi, thank you so much for sharing this information with us.  This is definitely awesome for moms to know, that it’s an option, especially if they’ve had issues in the past with post partum depression.  But really, for all moms who just want to have the best post partum experience possible.  Thank you so much.

J:  You’re very welcome.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it with your audience.  I appreciate that, as well.

Creative Commons License photo credit: benklocek

Is Placenta Gross?

August 11, 2008 | 20 Comments

placenta crop
Creative Commons License photo credit: rkimpeljr

I have to admit, I was a little shocked when I read this post over at MomLogic. Actually, it wasn’t the post itself that got my goat.

It was the comments from the readers.

The general consensus was that placentas are gross.

Excuse me?

Let’s recap for a second, shall we?

According to Amazing Pregnancy, the placenta:

- Provides nourishment to your baby.
- Eliminates waste from your baby.
- Exchanges respiratory gasses with your baby, allowing it to breathe through you.
- Secretes various hormones such as chorionic gonadotropin, progesterone and estrogens that help regulate and maintain your pregnancy.
- Blocks some (but not all) harmful substances in your body from your baby.

Oh and don’t forget - your body creates this additional organ by growing it from scratch when you get pregnant.

Mind you - the blog post I linked to above wasn’t even advocating placenta preservation or encapsulation. Just the whole idea of placenta was gross to these women - and MOMS at that!

I’m sorry ladies, but if you think a placenta is gross, I feel sorry for you. You have major issues and need to seek help. My question is, if you think placenta is gross…

  • Do you also think your uterus is gross?
  • Do you think your birth canal/vagina is gross?
  • Do you think your breasts are gross?
  • Do you think your husband is gross?

All of these things come together to give your baby life.

If you think that’s gross, it must suck to be you.

I bet you also hate your thighs. And your stomach. And your hair. And your life.

I know this post will probably cause a few of you to leave my blog and never come back. That’s ok.

Buh-bye.

Because you would have gotten all offended next week anyway when I interview Jodi Selander of Placenta Benefits.

And since some of you are still reading, I’ll tell you what I think is gross.

  • I think it’s gross how many women are castrated without good reason.
  • I think it’s gross that people cut their son’s genitals for no good reason.
  • I think it’s gross that some people think breastfeeding is gross.
  • I think it’s gross that some people kill their growing babies.

Still here?

I think your body is wonderfully made, and an awesome gift with an amazing design.

What do you think?

And for the record, I didn’t eat my placentas, and it’s not something I would do. But neither I would not judge a mom with debilitating Post Partum Depression who decides to encapsulate hers and eat it.

Is it just me, or do you see the connection I’m trying to make here between thinking that placenta is “gross” and the cultural conditioning that we women swallow that tells us that we - and our bodies - are gross?

This hatin’ has got to stop ladies!

Accidental Subway Birth

June 26, 2008 | Leave a Comment

On my old blog I used to enjoy publishing accidental home birth stories. Actually many of them were taxi cab or car birth stories, lol! But this one is unique:

Woman Gives Birth on NY Subway platform

The story relates how the onlookers clapped and cheered and gave the Dad high fives. I wonder how these people view birth now? Instead of the uncontrolled screaming and carrying on you see women doing in the movies and on TV, they saw a normal birth - albeit in an unusual location! Watching this probably changed their ideas about birthing women no doubt.

I love collecting these stories because I have YET to read one in which mom and baby weren’t perfectly healthy :-)

Here’s to more accidental home births.

Unassisted Home Birth

June 9, 2008 | Leave a Comment

The following is a transcription of an interview that took place on NaturalMomsTalkRadio with Lynn Griesemer. You can listen to the interview or read below.

Carrie: Lynn you’re the mother of many, and also author of a book Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love. That’s what we’re talking about today, unassisted birth.

Probably many of our listeners have heard of unassisted birth or come across your site, but tell us briefly, what is unassisted childbirth?

Lynn: Unassisted homebirth is basically choosing to give birth without a Doctor or a Midwife, not paying anybody. We believed that we can do it on our own and that the best choice for us is to give birth on our own, outside the hospital, it usually happens at home.

To me it makes perfect sense.

C: It’s funny because as you were talking I thought how I used to collect stories about unintentional unassisted birth. I loved it - and I would publish them on my blog - oh here’s another baby born without anybody around, it was perfectly ok everything turned out great! Because that’s the way it is in the overwhelming number of cases.

But let’s talk about why a mom might consider not having a doctor or midwife present.

First of all, we’ve talked about homebirth before on this program and probably quite a few of the listeners know that I had 3 of my children at home. Probably some of the people listening to me right now have had home births. And we know some of the reasons why a mom might choose a home birth - having control over the experience, and not viewing birth as a medical event but rather a social one.

But why are moms choosing unassisted?

L: Probably two reasons. They end up on a journey to unassisted homebirth. Maybe they had a C section, then a natural birth, then a midwife at home, then they decide “We don’t need that midwife, we don’t want that midwife, we want ultimate privacy”. So they might gravitate towards an unassisted birth based on their history.

I’m seeing more and more that their first time births are unassisted home births. They are coming to the philosophy earlier. So with their first or second child, due to the philosophy of a birth that.. you know right now the media have going on the questioning of the high c section rate, terrible things going on at the hospital, the mishaps, the mistakes, the pressure to take drugs, we’re seeing negative things going on, and Ricki Lake’s Business of Being Born.

So there’s an awareness already being raised among many women that question what goes on in the hospital. But I think you want me to talk about why wouldn’t we choose a midwife?

And the reason I didn’t want to choose a midwife was because, first of all I had 6 children, 4 were born in the hospital, and 2 were born unassisted.

And in between that, after my 4th child I thought, gee maybe do I want a midwife?

I wanted to have the baby at home, I want privacy, I don’t need at the garbage that goes on in the hospital, I don’t want the drugs, I don’t wanted to be treated like very other patient, and by an assumption by a Doctor, or a midwife about how birth should unfold, what we need to do.

So there’s a lot of assumption… I could not truly make it a personal event with a midwife, because she is often bound by rules and regulations, or she brings her own philosophies to the birth. And philosophies could bring a little fear could bring a little - jut difference.

And I didn’t want a midwife because, in my area at the time, the midwives that I met had a business approach to birth. And they had a sort of directing - authoritative quality, whether it was subtle or whether it was blaring, there’s still some type of authority that is felt with many people when they have a midwife.

Other reasons why I wouldn’t want a midwife is because birth to me is very primal, and should be very uninhibited. I do not really want another woman at my birth. I either - I want my husband - since it’s such a truly intimate experience, I believe I only want those I am truly deeply intimate with at my birth. So that’s why I chose to invite my husband to be there at both of my last births playing a key role.
t8
Creative Commons License photo credit: madaiseA key participant, not somebody standing, watching, letting a midwife catch the baby, or letting sort of standing in the background. And I can understand why some women might want another woman at their birth, and that’s their choice. But for those of us who are choosing unassisted home birth, we’re choosing to skip that stage or forego a midwife.

C: Ok. Now the one question that comes up in my mind… because I’m not coming from the paradigm that birth is anymore dangerous than anything else in life… it has to be a medical event.

But have you ever talked to a mother who said “When I’m giving birth, my brains are all in my bottom, and having my midwife there, they were able to assist me to get into a better place, a slight adjustment of my position perhaps, or there were able to see an emotional current in the room that they could change...”

Because that was my experience with my third. She was my biggest baby, ten pounds, and my labor really stalled out for several hours, and she was able to make a suggestion and when I followed that, it immediately felt better and the labor started to really ramp up, and happen.

And because she was so big, it’s likely that if I had not been in that situation that - if I had been in the hospital there’s no doubt in my mind that it would have been a C section situation. But have you ever talked to a mother who said having a midwife there helped me to have a better birth?

And what’s your experience in terms of, what would have happened if the midwife wasn’t there in other words.L: Many women are happy with their midwives, because they know that they want another perspective there to help in situations like you said, another perspective, another idea.

As far as anticipating a problem or anticipating … I heard you say it was likely you would have had a C section, but maybe it’s possible… you don’t know if it was likely or probably, so it’s a very fine like that we walk.

I think I just have a lot of confidence that I don’t feel I need another perspective, I have my own, I’m trying to pay attention to what the baby’s doing, and some people think it’s taking too much chance.

There are a lot of midwives who are totally opposed to unassisted homebirth. They believe you should trust birth but that you should have a midwife there, just in case, to offer that little extra that might be needed … and granted, in some situations, there might be a little extra that might be needed.

But I think in most cases, we don’t really need that, so yes there are problems that can happen, but I just feel that if we completely trusted and we … I think it’s a leap of faith when we get into talking, whether a midwife or not a midwife, there’s just this extra leap of faith that maybe some of us who embrace unassisted home birth take that extra leap of faith.

Because sometimes I wonder, does someone hire a midwife because they have a little little little bit of fear, or I don’t know, did you have any fear at all, or you just really wanted a different - a woman’s perspective.

C: Hmmm…. Well, with my first I definitely had some fears and I wish that I had had him at home, but with my first I had him in a hospital. And I had a Certified Nurse Midwife, and I was very displeased with her! She might as well have been an OB. But I’m not sure - I probably had some fear anticipating the pain. I think every pregnant mother who has had a baby already and experienced childbirth has that freak out moment a few weeks before delivery hen they think, “Oh God, what have I signed up for?! It’s gonna hurt!”

t25
Creative Commons License photo credit: madaiseBecause we have this amnesia, probably biological in nature. But then it hits us and we’re like, oh my word, it’s really gonna hurt. And we have that little bit of fear. But in terms of worrying about the outcome, I really trust birth.

But let’s talk about what unassisted birthers do to prepare. Do they do anything special?

L: There’s many different things. With my first unassisted birth, I was seeing an OB for prenatal care as I was working up confidence. And I don’t see anything wrong with this I wasn’t totally convinced and ready to have an U/A birth so there are some people who see doctors, some occasionally might see a midwife for one appointment, there are some who are up front with their plans with family and with various care givers, a chiropractor.

So people reach out into the community to those people they think will support them and help them with whatever issue they may be having. As far as the birth itself, there’s really not a whole lot you need to do. Maybe boil scissors if you’re going to cut the umbilical cord. I think the most thing with preparation is to read the right resources, visit the right websites, and talk with the right people.

And some of the right people might not even be in your geographical physical location. You might need to find people online and one thing that is very difficult is when a woman wants an u/a home birth and the husband or the partner does not, and she either will sometimes have to compromise her heart’s desire and maybe hire a midwife - the right midwife who is very hands off, maybe standing off in the next room while the husband catches the baby, so some people have to make compromises and they’re working through this during the prenatal time, but there’s a lot of things you can do physically that you don’t need to go to an OB to make your appointments and have your blood and urine tested and have this test and that test.

When our country says that every woman needs prenatal care, it doesn’t mean we need prenatal care with a doctor. It just means we need to be eating the right foods, we need to try to eliminate stress in the workplaces or at home, e need to spend more time in solitude and quietly.

We need to spend time getting ready for this new baby that’s going to come into your life and it doesn’t mean rush rush rush with your others kids to this activity and that activity until your final moment of giving birth, and then you’re going to - this new person comes into your life and it’s going to kind of stop your life.

You have to maybe - have a mother in law that you might want to come visit after the baby’s a week old and stay for a week to help with meals, cleaning the house, there’s so much - those are the more important things to get ready prenatally than to go physically take care of yourself and get rested for this and that, and rule this out and rule that out.

I understand now there’s more tests going on to rule out whether the baby as Down’s Syndrome, and I’m seeing more women walk around in fear, afraid before they go in to take this test, afraid of waiting for the results, and going phew! My baby’s going to be perfect. And I think that is really missing the boat on accepting a child into your life, it’s really making everything so materialistic.

C: Yes, and I could never understand the - can’t remember what they call it - the test

L: AFP test?

C: yes that and

L: Amniocentesis?

C: Yes, and this is what I told my - I had one or two appointments with an OB who was kind of comfy with what I was doing. Sometimes it was “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

L: Right, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to do what’s going to protect you and your family.

C: Umhmm, what I told this Doctor was “look, I wouldn’t be aborting this child if it had two heads, so what’s the point of having this test”, and a high false positive and this and that, because it doesn’t matter if the child has Down’s Syndrome and it’s “well, maybe you should emotionally prepare for it.”

What does that mean? So I just don’t understand that and a lot of the other tests.

Tell us about your child birth success kit.

L: My kit was designed because I really want every woman in the childbearing years to have a great birth experience and not fail. And I believe it they go through all the materials in the kit they will reach success. It includes my book Unassisted Birth: An Act of Love, it includes my newly released CD called Your Body, Your Birth: Secrets for a Satisfying and Successful Birth.

I tried to produce a CD that’s 80 minutes long, because face it, oftentimes we don’t have a whole lot of time to read. And you know what? Our partners aren’t reading the child birth books that the women are. So this CD is kind of the subtle way to pop in and allow the husband to listen to, so that the woman can lead her partner into opening his eyes about.

It’s really rooted a lot in natural birth. So it talks about the problems of what’s going on in the hospital, some of the problems with drugs and technology, talks about safety and that just because you’re going into the hospital doesn’t mean it’s safer.

We home birthers get a lot of criticism that we’re doing something that puts us at risk, that is unsafe. So I talk a little bit about why it’s not unsafe to have a homebirth, and about the importance of goal setting and using your imagination and really something new about your body image.

Many women - I’m not going to say they’re shameful of their bodies, they’re afraid of birth - but we have to have a very strong body image.

I believe if we really know and feel comfortable with our bodies as they’re getting pregnant, and as we’re going to deal with the possible fear or pain or just feeling sexy and womanly, that we can have a good birth.

And that’s not really talked about a lot, among a lot of people. We just take it for granted some of those things, and um, and just anyways, so this CD is 80 minutes, and I also include a couple of other little things in the Kit along with a 30 minute phone conversation.

So I believe that as people read my book, listen to the Cd, read the other materials and then maybe call and chat with me - whatever’s on their minds, that they will have a renewed sense of giving birth with confidence and armed with - we need to be armed with more knowledge, and more confidence and just more information. So that’s my childbirth success kit for $59.95. And again, you can go to my website to look at some of these products if you’re interested, http://www.unassistedhomebirth.com

C: Ok. When I was looking at the site I noticed that you have some conferences that you coordinate. Tell us about those.

L: We have a conference coming up in July 2009. It’s going to be in Liberty, Missouri. Only July 4th so those dates and that place was picked for obvious reasons. July 4th commemorates the independence of our country and that commemorates our independence from our conventional child birth in the hospital.

We’re going to be very positive we’re working on getting speakers and topics right now and we’ll probably have a casual pot luck dinner the night before, we’re have the conference on a Saturday and we’ll have a lot of audience participation with topics of their choice on Sunday.

So it’s not just a conference where we lecture on topics that we choose, we actually want participants to come with what’s on their mind also. So it’s at the beginning stages of planning and you can see more on my website as time goes on. I plan on bringing in speakers to push the envelope of courage. Who are - let’s hear from some speakers who would be told you are high risk, you should not have an ua homebirth. You shouldn’t even be having a home birth.

We will have speakers for example, someone who has had one or two c sections and gone on to have a perfectly healthy baby, safe birth - an u/a home birth. And we’re focusing on husband and wife home birth, meaning we believe that it’s very important to the marriage relationship for the fathers to be involved. For the family. Now this doesn’t mean the father is taking a central role, I believe the woman is always in the central role of the pregnancy. It’s her body, it’s her decision.

But to invite your lover into your birth, whether he’s going to catch the baby, whether he’s just going to support you, and to be intimately involved, so some of the topics we talk about at this conference will be - we’re going to have a panel of Dads, now how many times do you see birth conferences, you see mostly women, mostly midwives. Where are the men?

When you see images of birth, you see a mother and a baby, maybe with the midwife. So we believe that the Dads are very important, because really Carrie when you think about it, if you make great love with your husband and you conceive a baby, doesn’t it make sense that the husband should be there at the beginning of that child’s life, involved in the birth, supporting this wonderful wife?

C: Yes it does make sense to me. It bothers me very much some of the stuff that I read in conventional parenting books and magazines. I was just reading one the other day, that was talking about a Dad’s perspective. And overall it was a great book but there were letters in there from men that made me want to vomit, it was just terrible. Talking about the difficulties that they had after seeing their wife give birth. Difficulties with intimacy, and viewing her differently, and that - I guess I don’t understand that.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be judgmental, but I wonder if some of that was because they felt that all the control and power was taken away form them because their wife had a hospital birth, and they were not the man in charge.

It is another man that comes in and sweeps in and has his hands all up inside of his wife! And I wonder if some of what they’re feeling is that effect.

At a home birth, the man - he’s not in charge but he’s certainly not a useless appendage. He’s busy, there’s plenty of work for him to do, there’s backs to rub and ice to get and lip balm and snacks and water to make sure is still warm in the tub and this and that. So there’s so much that he does, but I wonder if some of that isn’t due to that feeling.

L: I would agree with that, I think so and as you were talking, I support midwifes… and midwifery, and without good midwives and the field of midwifery, we might not be having unassisted homebirth because many women have had a midwife and then go on to have an u/a birth, and sometimes I do hear that the husband prefer their u/a birth because sometimes you have a midwife that sort of pushes the husband to the back. Maybe he’s rubbing the back but then the midwife is still in charge directing orchestrating the event.

Not all midwives - may be some, but this the presence of other women and women who invite - sometimes u/a births are not the greatest if the woman is inviting 3 or 4 people to her birth as if it’s some kind of community event.

So with those husbands who are complaining in the article you read, the ones thing that we can do in our culture is to just have people fear beforehand what might happen, what happens with a natural birth, with the woman might be really letting loose and moaning, and groaning, and maybe the husband could have some fear because he - mean don’t want to see their wives in pain, and many women experience pain for several hours.

And husbands want to protect women from this, but the way to do it is not to just walk into the hospital and allow your wife to have an epidural. So there’s so much education that needs to be done and I think there are many people in this country who are chipping away doing their piece and trying to bring information and raise courage. In a whole new paradigm of thinking, just a whole new thought process.

It’s just so assumed… almost 99% of the people hen a woman gets pregnant, on her mind is “gee what doctor and I going to pick and what hospital?” Its just assumed and how did we get to this point? We really have to go all the way back and that’s why I commend your show and all of your topics. Natural… if we really just think let’s go all the way back and think, what is birth?

Ok birth is a very primal, human event. We recreate, we procreate I mean. And let’s - we first should start everything in life with the least invasive, and then move on to the most invasive if needed. So a hospital should be our last resort in going to bring a baby into the world. Let’s see if we can try to do this, can we do this at a home alone naturally? If a woman honestly doesn’t care to work through pain or work through anything, maybe she needs to step it up and needs more. But the first step is not to run to the hospital, the first step with everything in life is to try to bring it at the natural level if possible.

C: Yeah, and it’s interesting how much fear that the hospital setting can bring up in a woman, especially a birthing woman, it’s a very unnatural thing for her to be in this brightly lit environment with strange milling about.

And for me personally, I had a lot of terror with my first birth in a hospital, worrying about my son being abducted. The changes of it happening are so very small, but I had no fear of that when I had a homebirth.

That’s something you don’t really think about but it plays into the whole entire experience. I didn’t even want anyone to put balloons on my mailbox, I forbid them to put something on the door or mailbox. I would’ve had that fear of advertising a newborn in the house. There was just another abduction of a newborn infant just a few weeks ago. It still happens. It still happens.

L: What about babies switched at birth? It still happens. They don’t let that information out and you’re right, woman just push these fears aside, push them aside. We have to start dealing with reality and with our real true feelings, and then dealing with them, not just pushing them aside. You’re right.

C: Those feelings serve a purpose, they serve a very important purpose to protect our infants when they’re at their most vulnerable stage of life.

With my 4th, if she had come an hour later it could have been unassisted because we - I was putting off calling, putting off calling because I was having such an easy time of it that the 4th was such an easy easy birth. And I just wasn’t having much pain at all but I was having very real regular contractions but I was totally handling it, and not losing my head. I mean in a good way that’s a good thing. And finally my water had long since broke, and the people are me were like “this is your 4th! We should probably call the midwife”, I was like no I don’t think this was it, I’m still talking to you, I can still sing the songs (I was listening to Patsy Cline.)

But then when I called her, there was a fire at the entrance of the neighborhood so she could not get in the neighborhood. My dad had to go pick her up at the entrance to the subdivision, so it took a long long time for her to actually get in the neighborhood. And by that point I as almost ready to push. So it as very very close to unassisted, but I’ll always have to wonder…. Because there won’t be another.

L: Let me say one thing. I think every woman who is pregnant should be prepared to birth unassisted. To not fear and panic. She gets in the car and goes to the hospital and the baby comes out, what are you gonna do? Don’t panic, just hold the baby close to you, keep warm you don’t need to cut the cord right away, you just really need to calm yourself down, put the baby on your chest, and put a little blanket over it. Look at it, see if the baby is responding, and pinking up… there’s this panic and this drama surrounding it, which scares people. Oh my gosh! Don’t wanna - make sure - we have to have the Dr. there! But, what are going to do if you don’t? We had an earthquake in California, 1989 a big one.. in San Francisco that took out some major roadways. There was a tornado about a year and a half ago in Kansas that leveled a whole town. There are natural disasters - what about Hurricane Katrina? There you had to be ready to birth unassisted, you cannot take for granted that you’ll be in the hospital, that everything’s going to be fine, so in the back of womens’ mind, they should know a backup plan. If I have to birth u/a and I going to panic?

C: Right, absolutely. Lynn this is one of my favorite topics in the world and I could talk with you for yours I’m sure. Thank you so much for being on the show and I’d love to have you back to talk about your Conference and other events that you’ve got going on.

L: Thank you I would be happy to come back and I just want to say the dignity of the human person is what we’re talking about, the dignity of women in birth, and birthing unassisted is the ultimate of that specialness of what it means tot be a human being. There’s nobody tampering with you telling you want to do, and I would highly recommend that people explore their options and listen to my CD or just consider unassisted homebirth if it might be right.

Natural Moms Podcast #84

June 9, 2008 | 3 Comments

Lynn Griesemer, mom of 6 and author of Unassisted Homebirth: An Act of Love is my guest this week.

Lynn joins us this week to talk about women who choose to go it alone - giving birth without the assistance of a Doctor or Midwife.

Why do some moms choose this path? What are the benefits? How does a couple prepare for unassisted homebirth? What challenges do couples who choose unassisted birth face?

Lynn also shares information about her Childbirth Success Kit which is available for purchase on her website.

While an unassisted birth may not be for everyone, Lynn’s experience and those of other unassisted birthers show that it is the right choice for some… and this topic is great for opening dialogue about our cultural ideas around birth.

If you prefer you can read a transcription of this interview here: Unassisted Home Birth

p.s. You may notice some minor audio editing flaws in this and last week’s show. I’m doing my own show editing and am not nearly as talented as my V.A. so bear with me as I figure this thing out! :)

 
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Review: Weston A. Price Foundation Membership

April 9, 2008 | 7 Comments

Well. I just spent 45 minutes writing this review, then hit “save and continue editing” and the article disappeared. Of course, I should have hit “save and continue editing” before I had been writing for 45 minutes.

Nutrition and Physical DegenerationSo you had better read this post and appreciate it dadgummit!

I read  Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price 3 years ago and was blown away. You know my overall philosophy of nutrition is a bit jaded, right?

But reading this book changed me a lot. It also made more sense than anything I had ever read before about nutrition.

Dr. Weston A. Price was a Dentist. He started to notice that his patients who were experiencing tooth decay and other dental problems often had chronic debilitating illness. So, in a quest to find out the secret to health, he set out to travel the world.

Dr. Price traversed the globe - he studied isolated peoples from the Swiss to the Gaelic islanders, from Inuit peoples in Greenland to Polynesians in the South Seas. He became fascinated by the fact that these folks - as long as they were eating their native diets - had no dental caries nor did they suffer orthodontia ills. They lived healthy lives into old age with no chronic illness, and the elderly stayed sharp in mind too. He also noticed that the women had a much easier time of labor and delivery.

Despite the fact that these folks had no toothbrushes or floss and had certainly never seen a Dentist before, they had broad, beautiful smiles with almost perfect teeth! While I wouldn’t necessarily vouch for their morning breath, the fact remains that they seemed immune to dental issues that plagued even “healthy” people in industrialized nations - Dr. Price’s contemporaries.

Dr. Price was determined to find out why this was so. So he began to study their diets. What he found was that as long as these isolated people kept eating the traditional foods, the effect remained. When they strayed (often as a result of “white man” diets thanks to the missionaries - white flour, white sugar, jams, candies, canned fruits and smiles.jpgveggies) they suffered quickly. The next generation would be born with crowded teeth, small jaws, maloclussions and they even became less physically attractive (how’s that for motivation to eat better? Prettier kids!).

While the diets of these people were extremely varied, they had several things in common. Some of these commonalities were:

  • An emphasis on animal foods. There were no vegetarians anywere to be found. All the cultures placed a very high value on animal protein - fish, meats, organs, eggs, dairy products. They went to especially great lengths to be sure that children and women in their reproductive years had these foods.
  • Lots and lots of fat. Whether is was coconut oil and palm oil or raw, nonhomogenized butter and milk, these peoples ate a large percentage of their calories as fat.
  • Specially prepared sprouted grains, naturally fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, kim chi and the like, and cultured dairy in the form of kefir, buttermilk, cultured butter.

There were a few other similarities but these were the most important. Here is a quote from the website that puts it succintly:

When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated peoples he found that, in comparison to the American diet of his day, they provided at least four times the water-soluble vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins, from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs and animal fats–the very cholesterol-rich foods now shunned by the American public as 902652_cows_in_field.jpgunhealthful.

These healthy traditional peoples knew instinctively what scientists of Dr. Price’s day had recently discovered–that these fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins A and D, were vital to health because they acted as catalysts to mineral absorption and protein utilization. Without them, we cannot absorb minerals, no matter how abundant they may be in our food.”

 That last sentence was a bit chilling. To think that as a mom I could take great care to feed my kids well - but missing one important element, they would not get the benefit!

Shortly after, I purchased Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, still one of my favorite cookbooks. The rebel in you just has to love the title! It’s far more than a cookbook though. It’s a research guide, home arts reference, nutrition book and more. It’s also kind of the official cookbook of the Weston A Price Foundation - its author, Sally Fallon, is the founder of WaPF.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the ideas of the late Dr. Price. (They’re also the folks behind RealMilk.org) I joined two months ago and am enjoying the quarterly journal, Wise Traditions, immensely. It’s far more than a magazine - this is a publication you STUDY, not read. I’m still working through my first two issues. I “read” them with pen in hand so that I can make notes to help me remember things I’m learning and can refer to in the future. And I enjoy the letters from readers all over the world immensely - they’re full of great tips and inspiring stories of people who have enjoyed tremendous health changes as a result of changing their diet to a more traditional one. I’m also very impressed with the depth of research that obviously goes into the articles. They delve deep and take a bit of work to get through.

When you join WaPF as a member, you also get a handy-dandy Shopping Guide to keep in your purse when you go to the store. It helps you make better food choices and recommends specific name brands.

Another neat thing about the magazine are the resources and advertisers in the back - they’re carefully screen to be “WaPF” friendly. They don’t just accept any advertiser willynilly. So you can feel good about supporting these small, local farmers who use sustainable methods to produce organic products.

It’s scary what’s happening to our food supply in this country - the megamonopolistic food conglomerates who control (according to industry experts) 98% of the food industry are making our food cheaper, faster and cardboard-er every day. They don’t care about your health or your family’s health. Eating their food is making us fat yet simultaneously malnourished. We’re slaves to our cravings and to the hundreds of additives (some of which are put in there just to trick our brains and taste buds into craving more) that are surreptitiously put into these fake foods.

It’s enough to make a mother mad. ;)

There is a lot more I could say about Weston A Price, and I am planning a series of articles to publish on this blog on the topics of raw milk, cod liver oil and grass fed meat. But for now I’ll just share two things about the WaP style of eating that have been pretty huge for me.

  1. For one, I’ve had stomach problems all my life. While a lot of this is due to stress (I put all my stress into my stomach!), I also have had issues with dairy products. Drinking one glass of milk would have me hurting.

    Not so with raw milk. I can drink it all day long and never have the first stomach pain. It makes so much sense to me. Just as human breastmilk has enzymes to help baby digest it easily, raw milk contains the enzymes that make IT easy to digest. I love it and have been drinking it for several years now. Raw milk also works wonders on my cravings for sweets (probably because of the fat content).

  2. Secondly - soaked grains. I’ve had issues with low blood sugar and hypoglycemia since I was a kid. I don’t do well with wheat at all, but I can eat oats… but they would trigger episodes of low blood sugar. I could eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and be shaky and weak 30 minutes later.

    However, when I soak my oats overnight (with an acid medium - such as a tablespoon of whey or sour milk in the soaking water), I can go all morning without getting hungry or feeling ill. I’m convinced that the reason for this is because since soaked grains are far easier to digest - and the body can get the full benefit of the minerals and vitamins due to a long soaking process that disables the phytates (enzyme inhibitors), I’m simply getting more nutrition from the same bowl of oatmeal!

coconut and coconut oil benefitsI have already sung the wonders of coconut oil… for one, it keeps me regular. And that is a huge blessing. ;) It also seems to help with my joint and muscle aches. My mother has fibromyalgia, and I’ve suffered with aches and pains since I was in my early 20’s, but the coconut oil seems to keep me lubricated… probably due to the antioxidants and healthy fats.

Check back later on this week for more about other tenets of the Weston A Price style of eating. And I encourage you to look into making a tax deductible contribution and joining WaPF.

 

Attachment Parenting International Announces New Parenting Education Program

April 2, 2008 | 1 Comment

attachment parenting internationalLast year on the show, I was honored to interview Lysa Parker, cofounder of Attachment Parenting International.

Attachment parenting was a word I heard a Mom say over 9 years ago at a meeting for parents who had taken Bradley Method childbirth classes. I thought it sounded so strange, but then I realized it embodied what I believed and what I had been doing with my young baby: cosleeping, nursing on cue, responding to baby’s needs, wearing him in a soft cloth carrier, etc. 

API has some exciting stuff going on right now to help parents learn and keep the principles of attachment parenting and I’m happy to help them spread the word.

What Is Attachment Parenting International?

API is a non-profit organization that promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. Some of the changes they would like to announce include:

  • A newly redesigned web site and new logo at Attachment Parenting.org;
  • Attachment parenting worldwide support forums;
  • Parent Education Program - a comprehensive series of classes for every stage and age of child development from infancy through adulthood;
  • A new book based on API’s Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting by API co-founders Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson which is expected to be available this summer;
  • A series of podcasts, webinars, chats, and forums with API Advisory Board members and other supporters of AP. Future events are scheduled with Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. James McKenna, and Kathleen Kendall Tacket. Check out the events page for more information.

These are just a few of many exciting things going on at API. I hope you’ll stop by and check it out for yourself.

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