Just an FYI for all of you…
Midwives Resistance: How Native Women are Reclaiming Birth on Their Terms
2 FULL DAYS:
Indigenous Midwifery: Ancestral Knowledge Keepers – $150. (Proceeds go to Native American Midwives Alliance)
When: October 14-15, 8:00-5:00PM
Indigenous Birthworkers Network Birthworkers who are Midwives, Doulas, mothers…
According to Cheryl Tatano Beck, traumatic birth is defined as “an event occurring during the labor and delivery process that involves actual or threatened serious injury or death to the mother or her infant. The birthing woman experiences intense fear, helplessness, loss of control, and horror” she had later revised that statement to include the woman feeling stripped of her dignity.
What is the cause of women perceiving their birth experience as traumatic? It is the systemic elimination of protective care during the birthing process.
In Beck’s study of 40 women she says that there were four themes that emerged. Theme #1 was to care for the women and treating them as human beings. Theme #2: Lack of Communication. Theme #3 was safety. Theme #4: The ends will justify the means.
With theme One: #1 women feeling they were objectified, and treated arrogantly and with a lack of empathy. The women were #2 left alone, and abandoned. The #3 birthing mother’s needs were not met by the hospital staff. An example given was of a woman from Puerto Rico who was on all fours, when a nurse brought in 20 students to observe…without her consent.
In theme Two: #1 no one communicated with the woman in labor. They were described as having conversations with one another within earshot but not directly talking with or to the laboring mother. As if she were non-existent.
In the third theme: the #1 laboring mothers felt that the staff (nurses and doctors) did not adequately deliver safe care. #2 The mothers were not being allowed input into the care being given for their own selves and actually fearing for their own and / or the infant’s life!
In theme Four: entailed #1 the sense that what was endured and experienced by the mothers was the sense of being “pushed to the background” as everyone around them were celebrating the baby’s healthy birth. These women #2 felt invisible, only the infant mattered.
The experiences mothers have had led to severe post-partum trauma and depression. Beck, Driscoll, and Watson’s book Traumatic Birth goes into detail about feedback loops [pp. 10-12] that describe the interaction of the mother and child after a traumatic birth, with a listing of the causes and consequences of the cause. Sometimes even breastfeeding is difficult, creating “…intruding flashbacks, disturbing detachments with their infants, feeling violated, enduring physical pain, and insufficient milk supply…” Often the anniversary of a traumatic birth amplifies the feedback loop.
My own reaction to the shared experiences the women in this book had illustrated the barbarism of western medical professionals, a barbarism that is completely contrary to those principles I listed from the ACOG website in part #2.
The women who tell their story of childbirth weave an astounding sense of personal alienation. It is no wonder that there is PTSD, depression, self-destructive behaviors, socially isolationistic behaviors and pelvic floor injuries as a result of the improper calloused form of care received. Many of the women feel as though they were raped, yet most had no “history of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse” so birth precipitated a sense of having “the loss of the soul”.
I only touched on a small portion of the book in these three posts. In the next few blogs, I would like to address how we can alter the outcome for women in these circumstances and possibly change childbirth for women.
What can you do to prevent problems in labor, and miscommunication with your doctor? My recommendation is to follow the recommended diet for pregnancy, exercise (for pregnant women), drink a lot of water, and attend to the prenatal visits.
Never be afraid to ask questions!
Why a certain test is being done, what does that word mean, etc. Some things I can assist you with during the Childbirth Education coursework…but asking the questions of your doctor is important. You get to know your doctor, and he/she can get to know you.
Your right as a patient is to have any procedure or test explained to you, by your doctor.
Questions such as:
-Is the particular procedure / test done because it is required?
-Who requires it?
-Why is it required?
-Is it because of doctor concern? What precipitated that concern?
Your doctor is not GOD.
If the doctor is not responding to your questions or you are not comfortable with the explanation / or attitude of the doctor you still can address the issue. Sometimes just a rewording of your question is helpful. If still you are not being listened to, the following outlines your rights…
HIPPA law outlines a patient’s rights:
To Clear Communication
The AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics clearly states that it is a fundamental ethical requirement that a physician should at all times deal honestly and openly with patients. Patients have a right to know their past and present medical status and to be free of any mistaken beliefs concerning their conditions.
To Informed Consent
Informed consent involves the patient’s understanding of the following:
- What the doctor is proposing to do
- Whether the doctor’s proposal is a minor procedure or major surgery
- The nature and purpose of the treatment
- Intended effects versus possible side effects
- The risks and anticipated benefits involved
- All reasonable alternatives including risks and possible benefits.
Within the perimeters of informed consent, the doctor ethically understands the responsibility of:
- The patient being told what the doctor is going to do
- That the patient is helped to understand the medical implications
- Whether it is a minor or major procedure
- The risks and benefits
- Alternatives with the information about risks and benefits
The patient rights also include:
- Freedom from force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion
- The right to refuse or withdraw without influencing the patient’s future healthcare
- The right to ask questions and to negotiate aspects of treatment
The 3rd part follows in one week…
Many things come up during the labor and birthing of a baby. These may or may not be emergency-level events. A woman in labor is focused on the process they are involved in: birth. The woman may not be aware of what is being discussed around them, nor the things happening that may alter their ideals of the “perfect” birth.
Here are some things that may occur:
- Slow dilation of the cervix
- Labor stalling
- Movement of the baby stops
- Blood pressure of the mother rises
Often doctors in the hospital will want to intervene. The remedies may be interventions that you really do not need.
These interventions could possibly be:
- IV insertion
- Inducing labor (Pitocin)
- Or even the decision to have a c-Section (read my blog post on this here: )
The first two can be alleviated by using gravity (walking, dancing, leaning forward onto the labor bed with feet on the floor and doing squats). Usually stressors or nervousness are the cause.
With Labor stalling, if already dilated 6-7cm, it could very well be a natural stall while going into the next stage of labor or “Transition” (Balaskas 127-131). Body tension can also effect how labor progression.
Low moaning sounds are effective here, in that the vocal cords being activated relaxes the sphincter muscle group of the pelvic floor, as Ina May states ” The state of relaxation of the mouth and jaw is directly correlated with the ability of the cervix, the vagina, and the anus to open to full capacity (Ina Mays Guide, 170). The sphincter muscles will close due to stress or fear. Goer suggests that “obstetric management can obstruct progress (The Thinking Woman’s, 108)”
Remember: Babies are birthed when they are READY. Not on some sort of perceived time schedule. This is a process that cannot be forced.
If the baby stops movement, inform your doctor. You can use “kick counts” as a method to monitor movements if you are concerned. In active labor, the baby tends to move in a spiral as baby moves into birthing position . Sometimes stopping movement for a short period of time can be an indicator of the baby 1) shifting position 2) resting before birthing.
Blood pressure issues could be gestational diabetes, or just stress. The cause for the blood pressure rising needs to be found. High blood pressure is also a symptom of pre-eclampsia. But if you were not having signs of this condition and diagnosed in pregnancy (which is why prenatal visits are essential) then it may be something else.
Of course, water by mouth could assist in lowering the blood pressure level. Here is suggested reading for you to understand the seriousness of this condition: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Preeclampsia-and-High-Blood-Pressure-During-Pregnancy
So now we move onto the second part of this discussion, published one week from this page.
What needs to happen, in order to fix a broken system? Your probably wondering what I mean by a broken system. I am talking about the care of women, and especially birthing.
In a nation that has been considered “advanced” we are so far behind the eight-ball that it becomes shameful. Our c-Section rates were seriously through-the-roof, and although some improvement has been made still higher than most “civilized” countries! The average being around 31%.
Along with that outrageous number of c-Sections are the ever-climbing mortality rates of women in birth, predominately women of color. This is shameful in a country that is supposed to be “advanced”!
On top of both high c-Section rates, and high mortality rates for birthing, is the across-the-racial-board birth trauma. It should NEVER happen! But, we have nurses and doctors who force women into procedures, who intimidate and threaten.
The media makes it seem that birth is both dangerous and extremely painful. When that consciousness is embedded in the psyche of women, and you have a medical field that relies on mechanical means to monitor births… the stage is set. We have normalized bad birthing practices, and outdated concepts about birth.
That is without discussing the current political scenarios.
The next few blogs will address the history behind, and the current information about birthing in the United States. The outdated concepts surrounding birth practices need debunking. The normalization of bad birthing practices needs to have a light shown upon it, in order to make it STOP.
It is time to become educated,
and create a change!
My sister site will also be publishing this information, although later, at joyousbirth
Fresh Shoots – A. Officinalis.
Useful for mild cases of cystitus, fluid retention and for slight cases of edema. After urination you can smell a distinct aroma that is caused by t breakdown of asparagus in the system.
It is an excellent source of folic acid and selenium.
Dried Root – A. Racemosus / Shatavari (Ayurvedic Medicine)
Shatavari means “she who possesses a hundred husbands” due to its usages. Used for debilities associated with female sexual organs. It has rejuvenitory properties. It can assist with fertility issues.
Recipe with Fresh Shoots
Prepare shoots for cooking. While preparing pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with oil. lightly spray shoots and roll in raw sesame seeds, lay on the cookie sheet spread slightly apart. Bake until the seeds are a golden brown. Enjoy.
Citris Aurantium: Fresh Fruit
Both the unripe and ripe fruits are used in Chinese Medicine. The unripe bitter fruit is more potent. The unripe bitter fruit (zhi shi) is used for constipation or to move stagnant chi energy. It can be used to make an expectorant for coughs. This bitter fruit is NOT recommended for use in pregnancy.
The ripe fruit has multiple properties for the pregnant woman. It is high in vitamin C and when eaten with the pulp, it contains Rutin.
A Small Orange contains the following nutrients:
|Amount Per 1 small (2-3/8″ dia) (96 g) 100 grams 1 fruit (2-5/8″ dia)|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0.1 g||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 0 mg||0%|
|Potassium 174 mg||4%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11 g||3%|
|Dietary fiber 2.3 g||9%|
|Sugar 9 g|
|Protein 0.9 g||1%|
|Vitamin A||4%||Vitamin C||85%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||5%|
|*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.|
Sweet Orange Essence Oil
The essence oil of the sweet orange blossom can be used in a diffuser for lack of energy and / or depression. Sweet Orange is an excellent choice for women who are having difficulty in labor and who are lacking energy. Do not use the essence oil in the bath during pregnancy, and use with extreme caution with infants present. Be sure to dilute with a carrier oil, such as Sunflower or Almond.
Neroli Essence Oil
Neroli is derived from the bitter orange blossom. It should not be used during pregnancy, but can be used during labor and right after delivery. Neroli helps with stress, fright, exhaustion, and shock. It is also great for anxiety. An excellent choice when there are complications in labor causing the mother to be exhausted, and anxious. If there has been a traumatic birth it will assist with the shock after the birth. Use only with the advice of a trained professional who knows about aromatherapeutic treatments. Do not use in a bath and limit its use around infants.
In the next few blogs I will be discussing the healing aspects and nutritional aspects of some common foods. These are beneficial for a variety of reasons and good to use in dishes, or to have whole, on your plate!
These particular foods I would recommend to include in your diet for a healthier pregnancy…
These will be:
Any warnings for pregnancy and lactation will be included, and where possibility of a recipe or two. All references for these are on my reference page.
NOTE: Imagery is from free-domain imagery sites. If I have used any images that are not free to use, please email me [firstname.lastname@example.org] and I will remove them.
This seems to come up a lot when women tell me their birth stories. I cringe inside, because the majority of the time it ends up with a c-Section.
What is it?
Symptoms are: elevated protein levels in the Urine; high blood pressure or steadily rising blood pressure; headaches; swelling of ankles, face and hands; upper abdominal pain; visual disturbances; kidney, heart, or thyroid problems (Romm, 211).
Toxemia (a later stage of this condition) is life-threatening. Do not ignore these symptoms!
How can it be prevented?
A good diet
Plenty of water (plain, at least 6 Eight ounce glasses daily)
Lowering stress in your life, 2 aspects: exercise and some sort of meditative practice.
What can I do if the doctor says I am beginning to have pre-eclampsia?
For High-Blood Pressure
Eating well (see my nutrition hand-out), exercise (see my handout for exercise), and lowering stress will all assist in lowering high blood pressure when the other indicators are ruled out. Often times women do not drink enough water and water is the first thing the ER recommends for high blood pressure.
These are things you can do to lower the swelling:
- Elevate your feet for 20 minutes a day
- Lie on the left side when sleeping or resting (assists blood flow)
- Exercise 30 minutes a day (even a long walk will help).
- Eat more protein and salt foods to taste. You can use natural mineral waters to assist in electrolyte balancing.
Herbals: add Epson salts to foot soak, drinking nettle and dandelion infusion (assists in balancing the kidney retention and flow of fluids).
Why would it be of benefit to you as a mother to carry your baby, using any method?
It would assure you that continuity is available for your baby. After nine months of carrying the fetus, where gentle rocking motions were constant, it would make sense to allow for this continuity to continue outside the womb.
You and your baby are bonding in the first few months after birth. Babies need to feel, smell, and touch you for assurance. It stresses baby to have separation from you. Yet, you need to get things done, right? Baby-wearing allows for both!
It assists in cognitive development (Gross-Loh, 46) when you carry your baby. The baby is in a calm state, content, and observing all the time while learning about their world.
You learn about your baby as well. The attachment of mother and baby is strengthened; mother is able to understand baby’s cues easier which develop a mutual trust.
Let’s take a look at some of the various methods used (by country):
Mexican women use the Reboso, a traditional shawl wrap that usually would be given to girls at Menarche and worn as a shawl or neck wrap until needed for carrying a baby. The Lakota use a cradleboard, the Japanese and Malasian women carried babies on their backs…
Things to Consider:
In the first six months after having a baby the hormone relaxin may be in your system. It is important to be aware of “postural adaptations that may adversely affect your spinal joints (Ohm, 18)”. If feeling Fatigued or feeling muscles tightened (such as tightened muscles of the neck or shoulders). Jeanne Ohm recommends a chiropractic visit.
When you are using your baby wrap, sling, or carrier consider your back. The higher up and closer your baby is, the more comfort you will feel.
Consider the type of carrier you will use. Of great concern are the types of slings that are like a pouch and hand low, with lots of material. It is potentially dangerous for the baby as the baby may lie in a “C” position with his/her chin tucked towards the chest. This position can potentially cause breathing issues, or asphyxia (suffocation).