Monday, December 28, 2009

"Yes ICAN" Give Birth
ICAN, (International Cesarean Awareness Network) is a wonderful resource in many ways.
ICAN keeps abreast of all of the issues surrounding cesarean section, VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), cesarean recovery, mother to mother support and much more.
There are chapter meetings in many parts of the country, but if there are no meetings in your area, there are online forums for support and information gathering.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thoughts on the Nativity

The birth of Jesus Christ is cloaked in mystery and the miraculous. Christians believe the biblical account of Gabriel, the angel, being sent by God to a young Hebrew virgin named Mary with a message that would change the course of human history forever. The message was that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that she would give birth to him and that He would save His people from their sins.

Mary is betrothed to Joseph, an honorable man, who through a few angelic interventions of his own comes to terms with the reality that they have been chosen by the Almighty to be the parents of the Messiah of Israel.
I have tried to imagine what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph to bear the reproach of their circumstances.  Both Mary and Joseph had to adjust their concepts of reality and trust in the word of the LORD. They were faithful stewards of the gift of God and were obedient to obey instructions to go to Bethlehem to be taxed, in spite of Mary being "great with child."

What must it have been like to take that long donkey ride to Bethlehem and realize that you are in labor with your first baby ?

What must it have been like to be away from your mother and sisters and close women friends at such a time ?

What must it have been like to arrive in Bethlehem and there is no room in a clean, comfortable inn  in which to give birth ?

What must it have been like to have to give birth in a stable with animals as your attendants ?

There is no biblical record of any midwives being present, but were they there ?

The humility of the birth of Jesus is astounding. The simplicity is something to contemplate and serves to remind me that this is the way that God chose to enter the world and relate to us. Pause, and think about that.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nothing Says "I LOVE YOU" Like Breastfeeding

I made these cookies for a LLL meeting that I was attending.
They symbolize the slogan "Nothing Says 'I love you" like breastfeeding !
Here are some slogans that I , and others, have come up as possible tags for breastfeeding advertisements.

"The gift that lasts a lifetime."
"Kid-tested-mother approved."
"It does a body good."
"I'm lovin' it."
"The ultimate Universal Heath Care Plan."
"Purely You"
"The other white milk."
"Don't be fooled by cheap imitations"
"Colostrum, a little dab will do ya"
"With a name like breastmilk, it has to be good"
"Happy Hour"
"Domestic milk on tap, two for the price of one."
"The 100% safe immunization"
"It's what's for dinner"
"The breakfast of champions"
Better for baby than any udder milk"
"Human milk for human babies"
"A smart choice = smarter children"
"Mmmm Mmmm good!"
"Eat at Moms, two lines open, no waiting"
"Open 24 hours "
"The healthy fast food"
"The pause that refreshes"
"Because Mama knows best"
"Designer nutrition for babies of any age"
"Liquid gold"
"Choosy toddlers choose breastmilk"
"When you want to give the very best"
"The difference is measurable"
"Connecting you anytime, anywhere"
"Because you are worth it"
So easy, a cavewomen can do it"
"Eat fresh"
Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's breastmilk"
"The ultimate green energy resource"
"Why pay more?"
"Just do it"
"Breastfeeding works for working mothers"
"The ultimate Happy Meal"
"Tastes great, less filling"
"Good to the last drop"
"The very breast food for baby"
"Comes standard in two attractive containers"

Let me know if you think of more !

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Doula Advantage

Today I am reviewing a great little book, The Doula Advantage : Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positive Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant, by Rachel Gurevich.

An expectant Mom has so many choices these days, but choices can be overwhelming. When I first started as a doula in 1993, I was one of two in my area, and now there are dozens from which Moms can choose.
But you may be asking, "Why should I choose and doula, and how do I choose the best doula for me? "
I'm so glad you asked. That's where this book comes in.
The author interviewed 235 women and birth professionals, including yours truly !
And what she determined agrees with the research which shows that the right doula can make pregnancy and childbirth the celebratory experience it was meant to be. Doulas can also help women have more positive birth experiences, even when a cesarean, or other interventions are medically warranted. But the majority of the time, a doula will help reduce the incidence of invasive procedures that often lead to more of them.
You'll also learn the many ways that doulas provide labor support, how to find, choose and hire the right doula, how specialized doulas can help you before or after the baby's birth, how doulas help the dad-to-be, and much more. I highly recommend this book to all expectant mothers and fathers.

Monday, December 21, 2009


A recent study has shown that supplementation of asymptomatic pregnant women with one fish oil capsule per day is a potentially cost-effective intervention in the prevention of pre-term labor before 34 weeks of pregnancy.  Published in the December 2009 edition of the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, the study authors investigated the potential cost-effectiveness of alternative “test and treat” strategies in the prevention of spontaneous pre-term birth before 34 and 37 weeks’ gestation.  They studied asymptomatic women in early pregnancy and symptomatic women with potential pre-term labor in later pregnancy.  Systematic reviews found evidence on the accuracy of 22 types of tests and on the effectiveness of 40 possible interventions.  The authors conclude that the use of effective, affordable and safe interventions, like supplementation with fish oil capsules, are likely to be the most cost-effective strategies for prevention of spontaneous pre-term labor
 and birth.  To access the study abstract online, go to :

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Healthy Hydration for Expectant and New Moms
One of the fun things about blogging is that I hear from manufacturers of many cool products for expectant and new mothers. I want to say from the "get-go" that I have not been paid for this endorsement, and I will only endorse products that I have personally tested and found to be of the highest quality. 
Such is the case with HINT, a great tasting, essence of fruit infused drinking water. It contains no artificial additives and no sugar. Just a "hint" of the flavor of the fruit. My favorites are the watermelon and blackberry, but they are all very refreshing and wonderful. I am hooked!

HINT retails from $1.79 to $3.00 a bottle, depending on where its purchased.  HINT is  available at Whole Foods and Stop N Shop, Dean & Deluca and specialty stores around the country.  Check the website for retail locations by your zip code. Cases can also be purchased online at

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mead Johnson Guilty of False Advertising, U.S. Court Finds

Enfamil 20 Calories Premature Lipil, With Iron  - 3 oz X case of 48

Mead Johnson guilty of false advertising, U.S. court finds.
(from )

U.S. formula manufacturer Mead Johnson's advertising for its Enfamil
brand is misleading and unfounded, according to a federal court ruling.
The ads at issue made claims that "only
Enfamil Lipil is clinically proven to improve brain and eye development"
and that other formula products could cause inferior development.

In 2004 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned Mead Johnson
against making similar claims in its ads in Canada.

Mead Johnson will pay $13.5 million to PBM, a rival company,  as a result of the suit which
will be one of the largest penalties ever levied in a false advertising
suit. The suit acknowledges PBM as the victim because the
compay lost profits as a result of aggressive adversiting by its rival.
But what about compensation for the real victims of Mead Johnson's
mistruths? Namely, the mothers who were discouraged from breastfeeding by
Mead Johnson's irresponsible claims. For a full article on the story visit:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beware of Substandard Maternity Care

Beware of substandard maternity care !
Be a shrewd customer when it comes to your care, because you and your baby deserve the very best.
Take this little quiz so that you can make choices for a safe and healthy birth.
Consumer Reports Maternity Care Quiz

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Webster's Technique for Turning Breech Babies

To read more about the Webster's Technique and how to find a qualified chiropractic physician , go here

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Good for Your Sole

Fibromyalgia Hands-On Therapies

Are you feeling tired, uncomfortable, or nauseated in your pregnancy?
You may be surprised to know that an ancient form of healing called reflexology can actually help treat many common pregnancy ailments and even help you during your labor.

Reflexology, which may have been around for over 4000 years, was originally practiced by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese was first recognized in the Western world, in 1913, when William Fitzgerald observed that pressure on specific parts of the body could have an anesthetizing effect on areas in the body. They practice of modern reflexology theory was further developed in the 1930s by Eunice Ingham, who defined reflexology as it is more commonly practiced today.

Reflexology is the technique of applying gentle pressure with the hands or specialized tools to the reflex points on the feet or hands to clear the vital energy pathways that become blocked. It is thought that the hands and feet are like mirror images of the body, with various points and zones representing different structures and organs.

A treatment involves the therapist applying pressure, stretching, and movement to find the blockages and break up patterns of stress, restoring balance and relieving tension. Reflexology treatments can also improve a patient’s circulation and elimination - two very important factors in maintaining good health and well-being.

Benefits include deep relaxation, better sleep, relief from hormonally induced headaches and improved mood. Women have reported relief from common pregnancy ailments such as morning sickness, back ache, fluid retention and swelling,

Other reported benefits include:
  • Reflexology may help labor begin naturally without the use of drugs
  • Many mothers enjoy the benefits of reflexology during labor, and midwives, doulas and labor and delivery nurses have observed the benefits of treatments on the mother during the birthing process.

Although there are very few contraindications to reflexology, it should be undertaken by a qualified practitioner, preferably with experience in all stages of pregnancy.
However, there are some conditions where it should be avoided altogether and these include:
  • Pre-term labour - at any time before 37 weeks gestation
  • Placenta previa - if Grade II or III after 32 weeks gestation
  • Hydroamnios - if there is too much amniotic fluid around the baby after 32 weeks gestation
Suzanne Ezner, a midwife and reflexologist, also advises women with some conditions to seek medical advice before having reflexology. These include:
  • Women with a risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Women with a risk of pre-eclampsia
She also suggests that in cases where the mother-to be is diabetic she should be asked to check her blood sugar before and after treatments, as reflexology helps to balance the endocrine system and insulin production.

I became interested in reflexology when I took a course on it through the Utah College of Midwifery. I saw the positive benefits for my pregnant clients and decided to pursue further education and certification through Integrative Reflexology 
Claire Marie Miller, who developed this form of reflexology, has a very comprehensive knowledge of the physical needs of expectant and birthing women, so this is a great training for birth professionals. You can be sure that your Certified Integrative Reflexologist has been well trained. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

La Leche League is "ALLL" about Mother-to-Mother Support for You
La Leche League is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, education, information, and encouragement, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.
The breastfeeding community throughout the United States has access to a 24 hour toll free helpline service by calling 1-877-4-LALECHE (1-877-452-5324). This helpline provides information, education, and support for women who want to breastfeed, and to healthcare providers and others. Callers have access to the most current breastfeeding information, receive support from a helpline volunteer who is an accredited La Leche League Leader, and receive contact information for local LLL Leaders and Groups.
I have been a LLL Leader for six years, even though my children are grown. LLL made such a difference to me as a new Mom, and I want to pass that on. Call a LLL Leader today and visit a meeting. During pregnancy is a great time to start !

Monday, December 7, 2009

WIC is for Women Infants and Children

North Carolina WIC - Women, Infants & Children
Este Pagina En Espanol
(Picture of preschool children at a playground)WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children and is also called the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program. WIC is a federal program designed to provide food to low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children until the age of five. The program provides a combination of nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals for health care. WIC has proven effective in preventing and improving nutrition related health problems within its population.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds the WIC Program. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Women's and Children's Health Section, Nutrition Services Branch administers it. County health departments, community and rural health centers, and community action agencies provide the services.

Google "WIC" and your state for more information on how to apply for this great nutritional support program. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Women With Long First Stage of Labor After Induction Are At Greater Risk For Cesarean

According to Reuters Health, in a report on Nov 27, 2009, pregnant women who spend a longer time in the first stage of labor after induction are more likely to require cesarean delivery and are also at greater risk of morbidity, new research shows.

To investigate, the researchers reviewed records for 3620 singleton, term pregnancies induced and delivered during the second stage. The duration of the first stage was defined as the time between the onset of labor (not the initiation of labor induction) to complete cervical dilation.

For most women (64.2% of firt time mothers, and 82.6% of mothers who had previously given birth), the first stage of labor lasted less than 12 hours. Compared to these women, those whose first stage of labor was from 12 to 24 hours long were twice as likely to require cesarean sections, while the risk for women whose first stage of labor lasted 24 hours or longer was 7.44-times greater. Babies born to women with first stages longer than 24 hours were 2.03 times as likely to be admitted to the intensive care nursery.

Among first time moms,, 6.5% of whom had a first stage of labor 24 hours or longer, 43.5% delivered vaginally, 10.9% had operative (vacuum, forceps or episiotomy) vaginal deliveries, and 45.6% delivered by cesarean section.

The researchers conclude: "Although we do not recommend a specific time limit for labor induction, the question of when to intervene should involve a thorough evaluation of the ongoing risks of further expectant management versus the risks of surgical intervention as well as the incorporation of patient preferences into the decision-making process."
Am J Obstet Gynecol 2009;201:477.e1-7.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Eat, Drink and Give Birth

Some studies have shown that if women will eat and drink during labor, they can reduce the length of the labor by as much as 90 minutes. Labor is very hard work, and the body needs the energy to work effectively. Dehydration  and low blood sugar, means more painful contractions and slower labor.
Fatigue combined with a slower labor may make a woman feel that she needs to resort to medications.

Good things to have on hand are clear liquids, such as broth, or herbal teas such as raspberry with honey for energy. Some mothers like toast with a tiny bit of peanut or almond butter, or banana with honey. As long as you don't have an epidural, there is no reason why you cannot eat to hunger and drink to thirst in labor.

Just imagine trying to run a marathon after having nothing to eat for many hours. You would most likely not be successful. Labor is like a marathon, and your body needs reserves of energy that simply cannot be met by IV hydration. So talk to your care providers about eating and drinking in labor because birth is normal, and normal people eat !

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


According to a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), more than 900 “late preterm” births occur every day in the US, with more than 333, 461 occurring each year.

The percentage of babies born preterm in the US has increased by more than 20 percent between 1990 and 2006, with most of these babies born during the later preterm period (34 to 36 weeks of gestation).

 The NCHS report, “Born a Bit Too Early:  Recent Trends in Late Preterm Births” also shows an increase in the number of late preterm births resulting from induced labor or cesarean delivery.

The "induction seduction" is something that happens every day in our country. Women think that their babies should be born on or before, their due dates. They do not understand that a "due date" is an estimate, not a definitive date. Every woman and every baby are unique. In reality,  a birth can normally take place either two weeks before or after a "due date" and unless there are very clearly defined medical reasons why a medical induction should take place ( rare ) than women should allow labor to begin on it's own. Otherwise, women risk having a baby that is born too early with all of the problems that brings, not to mention the very real risks of major abdominal surgery for themselves.

To access the report online, go to