I’m really excited as a Midwife and a Doula, and someone who loves all things birth, about the launch of this new project. I’m equally excited that the 2 front runners of this project are Brits!! 2 wonderfully passionate film makers Toni Harman and her partner Alex Wakeford, inspired by their own childbirth journey, decided to launch a new global film project about birth-a video website aimed at birth professionals (and anyone else interested in birth) to empower women to believe that they CAN give birth fully informed of their choices.
What’s great about these videos is that they offer credible evidence-based information and opinions from leading birth experts around the world. Toni and Alex have not just filmed anyone, they have filmed many of the BIGGEST, most influential names in the business, including…Ina May Gaskin, Sheila Kitzinger, Michel Odent, Elizabeth Davis, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Cathy Warwick (RCM), Mary Newburn (NCT), Marilyn Curl (Lamaze International), Dr Sarah Buckley, Professor Soo Downe, Professor Lesley Page, Professor Cecily Begley, Professor Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg, Professor Ngai Fen Cheung, Associate Professor Denis Walsh and lots more leading midwives, academics, obstetricians, authors, doulas, birth educators and birth warriors around the world.
The One World Birth website launched today, is a fantastic video resource aimed at birth professionals, campaigners and parents who want to place their finger right on the pulse of what is happening in birth today. It’s an on-going, online TV channel about birth. The idea is that people like you and me use the site as a ‘grab bag’, taking clips that interest us and spreading the word via as many different social media mediums as possible. They want us to post their clips on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, blogs…wherever, to get as much exposure to this information as possible. They want us to power the revolution in birth! Stand up and shout, wave our hands and make our voices heard! The only way the wheels of this revolution will really get moving, is by uniting all of the voices around the world. We need to build a strong, powerful community of passionate followers in order to create a global movement to make change.
They’ve done their bit, let’s do ours!
Save Birth, Change the World.
Join them today at www.oneworldbirth.net
An article published in the Los Angeles Times, last month, really left me feeling deflated. It brought me back down to earth with a bang as I remembered just how big a job it is to create awareness and change surrounding a topic as huge as childbirth. On the other hand, it did make me even more eager to be part of a new birth movement.
The article is based on a new study led by Dr. Michael Klein of the Child & Family Research Institute and University of British Columbia. Researchers surveyed 1,318 healthy pregnant women, all pregnant with their first baby. The study found an amazing lack of knowledge from the women about various childbirth options. Less than 30% of first time moms attended prenatal childbirth education classes, with many reporting that they informed themselves via books or the internet instead. However, many still couldn’t answer basic questions about the pros, cons and safety issues of many common interventions in labor, including the use of epidurals, episiotomies, cesarean deliveries and other childbirth issues. It seems women are happy to go along accepting the notion that ‘doctor knows best’, when quite clearly (some of the time) they don’t!
Why are women not paying attention to what is happening to them? Why are we not asking more questions? Why are we not doing their own research? Everyday we are surrounded by technology. Technology has become everything. We are at ease with it and find it reassuring. The latest and most up-to-date technological equipment is much prized and sought after in all areas of our lives. We become so distracted by the many gadgets laid out before us-ipads, laptops, GPS, Bluetooth, Tweets, ipods, iphones, apps for everything you could possible imagine, that sometimes, we no longer have to think for ourselves! It is easy to see how this would automatically transfer on to the birth scene. But in the birth world, technology really isn’t everything! Don’t get me wrong, it does have its place, and in some circumstances it can be life-saving, but for the majority of the time, it is unnecessary. Just because a hospital has every gadget and machine to hook you up to under the sun, doesn’t make it the safest place to give birth. Long before maternity units opened their doors to the masses, the only items traditional Midwives carried were their hearts, their hands and their intuition, and despite popular belief, actually had extremely good outcomes considering the times.
If only we spent the same amount of time researching the things happening to our bodies and our babies, as we do the material things in our lives, maybe the birth world wouldn’t look quite such a scary place!
Come on ladies, take control, know your options and inform yourselves!!!
- Natural Birth by Aleksandra Evanguelidi (smiffybaby.com)
- Childbirth: #1 Reason for Hospital Admission for U.S Women (smiffybaby.com)
- Join the Revolution (smiffybaby.com)
Ever wondered what Midwives do? Here’s a quick snippet!
- Neonatal Mortality Rate Reduces by the Hands of Midwives (smiffybaby.com)
For all you wonderful birth professionals…
Thank you to ‘Bring Birth Home‘ for sharing.
I had the honor of making a consumer presentation to the Pennsylvanian Board of Medicine on behalf of Certified Professional Midwives for their appeal for licensure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Currently, there are no laws, therefore no regulation, regarding CPMs in Pennsylvania. Access to a midwife CPM is the right of every woman who desires it. This was my presentation to the Board.
This is a fantastic step in the right direction along the road to normalizing natural birth for women in the South Bay area. Women attending Torrance Memorial, now have the opportunity to a vaginal birth after [a previous] cesarean (VBAC). This is excellent news, as currently the c/section rate at this hospital stands at 40% (almost 10% higher than the national average), meaning, all of those women now don’t automatically have to undergo a repeat cesarean section a second or third time around. Previously, women who wanted a natural birth following a c/section would have to travel to a Westside facility. Now women have the choice they deserve.
“Women would have to leave the area and travel to have a vaginal birth, which is a big problem,” said Patricia Grube, the South Bay representative of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN). “For myself and many women, this is a positive development all around.”
- Happy 3rd Birthday to my 1st VBAC Baby (thefeministbreeder.com)
- Vaginal Delivery May Be OK After C-Section (health.usnews.com)
- New C-section policy: Better for women? (salon.com)
- Policy Change Aims to Reduce C-Section Rate (wellness.blogs.time.com)
- VBAC or Scheduled c-section? (ask.metafilter.com)
- New policy aims to cut repeat C-sections (msnbc.msn.com)
- New guidelines aim to reduce repeated C-sections (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Vaginal Birth After C-Section? 4 Factors to Consider (health.usnews.com)
- Vaginal birth after C-section is good option, experts say (dispatch.com)
- New U.S. guidelines aim to reduce repeat C-sections (ctv.ca)
How refreshing! I just finished reading the following article, ‘Talk breastfeeding with your OB’, that I came across online, written by an MD, who is not afraid to put up his hands and admit that his knowledge surrounding lactation is limited. Good for him, I say. In my book, there is no shame in admitting your own limitations. I believe it only makes you a stronger person. If only more people were able to do this. This only came to light when his wife decided she wanted to obtain her IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) certification. He admitted that he only remembers 2 lectures from medical school on lactation physiology, which he completed 27 YEARS AGO, in 1984!!
How much does your OB know about the physiology of breastfeeding or the best way to support nursing mamas? Who will you turn to if you need support?
Breastfeeding isn’t as easy as those glossy pictures on the cover of mothering magazines would have us believe. Breastfeeding is natural, but it is a skill that takes time to develop for both mom and baby. It takes a lot of dedication and determination, but however bumpy the journey, it is well worth the ride. It’s well documented that in addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first 6 months of life, breast milk helps protect your baby from a long list of chronic and acute illnesses, including ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Every day really does count, in terms of the benefits of breastfeeding, not just for the baby, but for mom too.
With breastfeeding promotion and awareness on the rise, I can’t help but feel our mamas are being set up for a fall. Many women start out breastfeeding, but give up sooner than they had planned, even though breastfeeding is medically, nutritionally, and emotionally the absolute best thing you can do for your baby. ‘Many women struggle to breastfeed for as long as they might otherwise like, and many don’t receive the support that might make a difference‘ (Maria Quigley, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Oxford University). According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) statistics, 3 out of 4 women initiate breastfeeding, suggesting that most women want to breastfeed. However rates at 3, 6 and 12 months remain stagnant and low. The CDC reports that just 43% of infants are still breastfeeding at 6 months of age, and only 13% are breastfeeding exclusively, nowhere near the recommendations from the World Health Organization (the WHO also recommend breastfeeding continues in addition to solids foods for at least the first year of life). These figures illustrate the struggle mothers continue to face with breastfeeding and that our support systems are failing our moms. Breastfeeding is an important public health issue and should be given a higher priority within our society. Parents of today are raising the future generation. How can we expect them to succeed when postpartum support within our maternity system is so poor? 50+ years ago, families stayed in the same towns they grew up in, extended family members all lived under one roof, and the women of the village supported each other when it came to childbirth, but in today’s world where family members are spread across different countries and continents, who do moms turn too? I think that women today are lacking a very important network of women in their lives.
We know that a mother’s decision whether or not to breastfeed, can be hugely influenced by her care provider, and hospitals and maternity units set a powerful example to new moms and families. The Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is a global program sponsored by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), to ensure that all maternity units become centers for breastfeeding support. The BFI Initiative awards, encourages and supports birthing facilities that offer optimal levels of care for lactation, based on the UNICEF ‘10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’. Any birthing facility, no matter how big or small, or how many births it supports, can apply for BFI status. The facility has to undergo external evaluation to demonstrate that the facility meets all of the ‘10 Steps’ requirements. However, in America today, only 4% of all babies are born in a BFI accredited facility.
If women in America were given the support they deserve, or even the same amount of postpartum support other women around the world receive, we would see a dramatic change in our breastfeeding rates, not only at birth, but rates at 3, 6 and 12 months would be significantly higher.
As the MD of the above article writes,
‘the best situation is one which all care providers are familiar with one another and are willing to work together on the patient’s behalf’.
- Even breastfeeding for a week is helpful! (blessingtree.wordpress.com)
- Booby Traps (smiffybaby.com)
- Comment is free readers on … breastfeeding | The people’s panel (guardian.co.uk)
- Antibodies and Boobies (ask.metafilter.com)
- Have your say on … breastfeeding (guardian.co.uk)