Some things…

just never change. I have personally changed and grown SO much over the past…errr…. couple of decades…. that is is always a surprise to me that change is so difficult for some. A few of my children really struggle with it, but I personally and invigorated by NEW THINGS. What is really spectacular is when someone “NEW” turns out to be something “old”… and it’s better than what is “current”!!! I recently stubbled onto an old article on the importance of SALT for pregnant women. This particular article was an advertisement, endorsed by a physician, written in the 20’s. He was seeing so much swelling and lethargy that he posted the ad in his own name and on his own dime. His solution came from a long family history of farming, where lack of real salt is a common factor is preterm birth, lack of appetite and the general downturn in a female animals productivity.

Certainly, female HUMANS aren’t exactly the same as other female mammals from a physiological (or ethical) perspective. However, a woman’s basic need for trace minerals (found in sea/real salt) & potassium (also found in real salt) increase during the childbearing year. Swelling is your body’s way of screaming for more fluid and in all but the rare cases of true eclampsia can be “cured” by the liberal use of real salt and the removal of the commercially available fake kind.

Here is an “advertisement” (and I apologize for that) for Real Salt (the brand). There is just so much good information here on why real salt is important that I’m linking to the entire file. Enjoy the reading!

Advertisements

Rant or Rave?

I just have to put this out there – to the universe, families I serve, etc. etc.

BIRTH BELONGS TO WOMEN and FAMILIES. It does not belong to midwives, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, etc. etc. etc. I get so tired of hearing about all the hoops pregnant and birthing mothers are made to jump through – “You must do XYZ at weeks 1, 2 and 3. And of course an ultrasound at 20 weeks to confirm dates and make sure baby is ok. Oh, and the quad screen. Of course you’ll want that.” FEAR, fear… FEAR.

Poor mother is sitting  there stunned, shocked, frightened, bullied… certainly with a continual onslaught of emotional and physical affronts during her pregnancy she will experience some – SOME – hiccup in her labor or birth. If we treated animals this way while pregnant entire species would die out and become extinct.

Sigh. Remember Mama: you are the ONLY PERSON ultimately responsible for your womb-baby. You carry her, you feed and nourish him. You ALONE birth this person into the outside world. Choose carefully those whom you would invite on your journey.

Gunnarr’s Blanket

(Gunnarr has the traditional Scottish spelling and is pronounced “gun-er”.)

I began an afghan for Gunnarr before he was born. Of course we didn’t know if “he” was a boy or girl so I chose a lovely green color – organic cotton – a lovely yarn and a challenging pattern for my knitting skills. Certainly doable though. I’d been knitting for a couple of years and knew all of the stitches.

Well.

It just wouldn’t come together. I tried and tried, frogged and frogged… and only NOW, with his 9 month birthday looming, is it nearly complete. It was quite a journey, but of course, so was his pregnancy and birth. I’ll blog about the pregnancy another time, but for now will talk a bit about his birth.

I had the MOST lovely home labor I could have dreamed of. Predictable labor pattern, totally what I wanted with my husband at hand, in the water, candles.. music… got the 10 cm and felt like pushing after about 6 hrs. I couldn’t believe how fast it was going! 🙂

And I pushed. And Pushed. And PUUUUSSSHHHEEDDD. Nothing. Changed positions, used homeopathics, contractions hard and strong… the little fellow wouldn’t budge.

Now, of course we hasn’t a little fellow at all. 🙂 He weighed 10 pounds and 8 ounces and was 23 inches long! But I’ve seen 10+lb’ers be born slick as a whistle, easy and in a state of bliss… it just wasn’t happening for me.

6 hours later, Gunnarr plugging along just fine, he was born surgically in our local hospital. He was fine, I was devastated. Even though I made the decision to transport, even though he was ok and so was I (physically) it really REALLY hurt.  A few months later I attended a butter birth… big baby whose mother I now call my friend… and she had MY birth. And it hurt again.

Then today, as I am finishing up Gunnarr’s afghan…. it suddenly started just falling into place… the last few stitches, the edging… all of it. And it hit me: “This doesn’t look exactly like I envisioned it but it still is a nice little blanket!”

Sometimes crap happens. Sorry for using that word, if it offends anyone. But it does. And it’s messy, and it stinks, and well… who wants it? Not me! But it happens. So we clean up the mess and move on. And once in awhile, something beautiful turns up in spite of it. 🙂

Salt in pregnancy

I’ve been recently compiling a few more resources on salt intake during pregnancy. There simply is no science to support the idea that REAL, WHOLE salt should be reduced or eliminated during pregnancy NOR that doing so will decrease swelling.

Here is a great handout on SALT in pregnancy (not to techy). It is from the UK with some US sources.

MidwiferyServices.org has a lovely section on salt to this tune:

What’s Up With Salt?

Sodium is an extremely important component in your diet and yet many women still get misguided advice to not eat salt while pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stopped recommending salt-restriction to pregnant women in 1974, when it was finally acknowledged that this was not only not beneficial, but was potentially harmful!

Sodium works together with protein (albumin) to maintain a normal circulating blood volume. A pregnant woman needs additional sodium to help support her expanding blood volume. Additional sodium goes to the baby and to the expanding breast and uterine tissues also.

Commonly, friends and family will offer advice to cut back on salt if you are experiencing swelling. This is not a healthy solution to this problem (if it really is a problem) and can in fact cause problems. The correct response to swelling is to increase protein and fluid intake. You may even need additional salt if it has been hot or you have experienced increased perspiration. The general rule of thumb is: Salt your food to taste.

And this is my all-time favorite article on the salt-myth because it includes some discussion (often lacking) about the importance of the TYPE of salt you use. Thank you Maryn!!!

Boy oh boy…. CASTOR OIL

Of all my posts on this blog, the one that has stirred the most controversy is the one on Castor Oil for Induction. The article I posted wasn’t even a blog post, but a short synopsis of the research I did to support MY POSITION on the effectiveness of castor oil as an induction method.

Just today I received a rather snarky response to the article claiming that I “didn’t effectively research” and was “one-sided” putting women who might read it and “not do their own research” at risk. Oh, and that I cited an article/study that was irrelevant to the use of CO as it relates to induction. I cited many articles, many more than one, and AGAIN: I was writing this article as an assignment. I had to SUPPORT my position. And I did just that.

Geesh. I’ll approve the comment, of course, all in fairness, but I think the author went a BIT too far in her umm…. criticism? of my post.

Listen, it’s a free world out there. I post my thoughts and positions relating to birth on this blog ‘cuz it’s mine. 🙂 You are free to comment, critique, whatever. Just be fair. And remember that is IS my blog, and as such I can post MY thoughts and positions on it.

SO I will say again: I do not believe castor oil is safe for use on a scarred uterus (ie: VBAC), and may cause some really funky labor patterns in any woman’s uterus. Bottom line: I believe that induction disrupts that wonderful chemical symphony that the body (and the baby) creates to begin labor WHEN IT IS TIME. So whether it’s castor oil, prostaglandins, Cytotec, WHATEVER, fundamentally I believe it changes the energy that surrounds a birth when compared to one that begins spontaneously.  And ***I*** believe it changes it for the worst, not the better.

And again, I’m a US citizen and am entitled to post just that: my beliefs. And for the record, they are based on MOUNTAINS of research, not a “whim” and certainly not without a great deal of care and thought as to the possible implications my beliefs might have on others who read them.

I will be quite transparent: I do not believe induction is safe, healthy, natural or any of the other commonly used adjectives that commonly surround it. I believe induction is sometimes warranted, but within very limited parameters and with VERY careful consideration given to the implications of that decision. I do believe a woman has the right to choose it, but also believe she should be fully informed.

And since “anyone can google castor oil induction” and find out how to do it with little information provided on the risks, I thought a balanced response to that information was in order. 🙂

So… hit delete, or whatever you want to do – that’s cool (free country after all) but don’t accuse me of being cavalier with information that just might save someone’s life and the life of their baby. Because I certainly am not.

Induction Doubles Risk of Cesarean

Ok, so if you’re going into a hospital that has a 30% cesarean rate, and you go in for an induction, does that make your chances of a cesarean go up to 60%? Probably not, but it did make me ponder. SO many of the induction I hear about from friends, relatives, etc. end in a cesarean. To say that half of them do is not a stretch.

CONCLUSION: Labor induction is significantly associated with a cesarean delivery among nulliparous women at term for those with and without medical or obstetric complications. Reducing the use of elective labor induction may lead to decreased rates of cesarean delivery for a population.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II

(C) 2010 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Here is the article just published with these stats:

Labor Induction and the Risk of a Cesarean Delivery Among Nulliparous Women at Term

Ehrenthal, Deborah B.; Jiang, Xiaozhang; Strobino, Donna M.

Obstetrics & Gynecology. 116(1):35-42, July 2010.

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181e10c5c

I get kindof sick

… when I think about becoming pregnant again. I’d really like to, don’t misunderstand. One more baby, the end of an era, all that. But. The thoughts of thwarting all of the well-meaning yet condescending voices that will surround my scarred uterus makes me nauseous. Truly. There are so many reasons why NOT to have a repeat cesarean, yet the voices we hear are why “TO” have one. The media, the mother-in-law, the mom, sisters, friends, colleagues…

Blogs like this remind me of the fight, the comments, the ugliness that follows pregnant women in our society who don’t play by “the rules”.

But I have fought this fight before. I can certainly fight it again. This next time around though I think I’ll choose my outings more carefully.  I was so happy to be expecting last time after so long that I didn’t arm/guard myself against the inevitable comments regarding my VBAC attempt. Next time I will be more careful. Because The Voices are so powerful, even if we see the sheer lunacy behind them.

Canadian study supports safety of planned homebirth

This ia really exciting. The study found HERE compares not only planned homebirth vs. planned hospital birth but also throws in planned hospital birth with both physician AND midwife. I often hear, “Well, I had a midwife in the hospital. That’s about the same as a homebirth.” No, it isn’t and here is the support for that position.

Not only are the planned homebirth outcomes better ACROSS THE BOARD, but they are bett with a homebirth midwife vs. a hospital midwife. Really cool info to have when asking or arguing for the safety of planned homebirth. (This booklet from Molly also has some great talking points in it!)

🙂

This just made my day. The canadian system has it’s caveats, no doubt, but the overall theme is that planned homebirth is SAFE with a trained midwife. I could do without the “registered” midwife thrown in there because I think it undervalues the work and safety of trained midwives who refuse to register (and there are many many GOOD reasons to not register). Of course they could not participate in the study and I doubt they were asked to. Afterall, who are they and WHERE are they? That, of course, is a question for another day. 🙂

Domicilary Obstetrics

Here in the US, homebirth midwives normally seek to remove and distinguish themselves from the term “obstetrics”. It conjurs images of sterile green hospital walls, episiotomies, paternalistic care, and the dreaded bed and stirrups of 2nd stage.

I recently came across the term used in a most delightful way at the Homebirth Australia site.. It’s definition most creativily defining what homebirth midwives do:

However, domiciliary obstetrics is the ‘art of invisibility’ and without complications a woman gives birth herself, supported and aided by her midwife. -Jan Pilgrim

I would love to have turned that phrase. “The art of invisibility”. Yes! A watchful eye, careful watching, gentle hands. THIS is the art of the midwife.

Hook me up…

That’s me. Or at least it feels like it. Nobody ever told me the first few weeks of nursing stink. Some kind soul finally bequeathed me that information and I perservered. In the past (with the other 4 children) I got so sore, infected, bloody, etc. etc. that I gave up around week 3 and just pumped until my milk gave out. This time, we’re going on week 5, almost 6, and Caed is nursing quite well sans bloody nipples. Still, I feel someone akin to the sister pictured above… the little guy would like to be attached at all times.

And if anyone writes to suggest a wrap or sling so he can nurse on whenever he wants to I will cyber-slap ya. Seriously. My touch-bank is FULL with a capitol “F”. And of course since he likes to eat ALL THE TIME, he isn’t sleeping worth a darn so I’m going on 6 weeks with no more than 4 hours of sleep at any one time. And that was ONE given time. Otherwise, we’re eating, I mean… he’s eating… every couple of hours or less.

So here’s to you sister, that told me it would get better, and here’s to me for perservering through just about every kind of “issue” a breastfeeder can have, and here’s to ALL the mom’s who have to work HARD to breastfeed their babies. Kudos to you. And me. 🙂