Your Child & Guns

The “gun issue” is one that is steeped in double-sided propaganda and is often used to further a hidden agenda. Can we skip the politics and agree that a lot of people own firearms in America? Even if you don’t … Continue reading

Babywearing: Health Benefits for Parents and Child

Hello, my name is Kara and I am an occupational therapist and one of the new WMC trusted community members. I am very excited to share my journey, both professionally and personally, with this community of moms in SETX. By … Continue reading

Water Safety at Home

I have been thinking a lot lately about drowning. I know that’s usually a hot topic at the beginning of summer, but humor me. It’s Southeast Texas, and swimming pools are probably getting plenty of air time already. Every year we … Continue reading

No Name Calling!

Some of you may be aware of the “Big Push for Midwives” campaign that is on-going.

Yesterday, this article came out, talking about how physicians are continuing their anti-midwives smear campaign to the airwaves.

I have to say that when I read this: “During the segment ACOG reiterated its claim, which has been thoroughly debunked by a large and growing body of medical literature, that out-of-hospital delivery is unsafe. Describing women who choose to give birth in private homes and freestanding birth centers as “hedonistic” mothers who knowingly put the lives of their babies at risk for the sake of an “experience” they believe will be like a “spa treatment,” members of the group echoed last year’s position statement claiming that women who choose out-of-hospital deliveries base their decisions on what’s “fashionable” or “trendy.”, I became quite offended.

I don’t know about you, but I make medical decisions for my family based on research. More to the point, on EVIDENCE BASED research.

Though I am not one of the majority of women who have birthed in Southeast Texas via c-section, the alarmingly high rate (43.7% in 2004 and rising) of cesarean births was a primary motivating factor in my decision NOT to birth my second child in a Beaumont hospital. We opted to birth in Houston, a 2 hour drive away.

The nearest hospital is aproximately 7 minutes away from my house. We have an ambulance station less than 2 minutes away… from a “prepared for an emergency” standpoint, birthing at a local hospital would have been ideal. Unfortunately, I know that I cannot have the birth that I want in our hospitals. That leaves me with the options of either birthing at a hospital or birth center in the Houston area, or birthing at home.

I want to clarify that when I say “the birth that I want”, I’m not asking for anyting unreasonable. I want to be able to move around, walk, not be “required” to be strapped to uncomfortable monitors that also “require” that you be fairly still lest the monitor slip and not pick up the baby’s heartbeat. I want to be able to eat something if I get hungry, not be forced to go for 12 or more hours doing the mos intense work I will ever do while letting my body feed on it’s own reserves (which is not ideal for my health or the baby’s). I want to be allowed to make progress without being tied to the clock ( a rate of 1 cm per hour as the hospital’s “policy” requires is outdated! Read this!!), and also without the ‘threat’ of pitocin if my labor is not progressing ‘fast enough’ – and I want the determining factor on ‘fast enoough’ to be out of concern for my baby’s health, not because it’ almost shift change. I want to have only the people that I want around me, privacy and respect for my space and the goings-on within it, not a stranger with cold hands who knocks once and then comes in without my permission and does things that interrupt my process (I’m just going to check your blood pressure – why don’t you get out of the focused mental space you’re clearly in and accomodate me for a minute?). I want to feel loved and respected while I am birthing, not like I am taking too long or that I am burdening you because I don’t want your “policy” to interfere with my birthing.

Knowing what I know now, I want to be in MY space, where *I* call the shots (with the help of my doula, and under the care and advisement of my midwife).

So, that said, why all the fuss about homebirths? Let’s research a bit, shall we?
If you’ve seen “The Business of Being Born”, then this is familiar territory for you. If you haven’t seen it, then I highly recommend that you check it out.

Prior to 1900, ALL babies were born “at home”. Ther wasn’t an alternative, and though there were some losses (as there still are today), the attendants at those births were skilled in assisting a birthing mother use her body’s own work to get the baby out. They knew how to walk and physically support a laboring woman, how to keep her in the mental headspace to accomplish the taxing job of birthing a baby. They were there with hands-on support to guide her emotionally and respect her wishes regarding her own body.

Then comes the new profession of “medicine” and those interested in practicing it. Like mama always said… they call it “practicing” because they haven’t perfected it yet! With the new field of obstetrics, all these highly trained doctors now need patients – but how can they “practice” their craft if all these midwives are taking up all the pregnant women? How did they go about changing that? Unfortunately for us today, the AMA went on a smar campaign to sway the public into believing that “granny midwives” were unskilled. “Unskilled” apparently means “dis not go to medical school”. I know many midwives and doulas and other birth professionals who “did not go to medical school” that I would choose to assist me in the birth of my baby presicely for that reason.

Skip ahead to today. I have heard many people gasp in (awe? horror? shock? admiration?) disbelief when they find out that someone is planning or had a homebirth. Why is that so shocking? Is it as ACOG says, that women today are dumb enough to birth outside the hospital because it is fashionable? Or is there more to it? Do these women know something that ACOG doesn’t? More importantly, I think the real question is, ‘Why is ACOG so desperate as to resort to name-calling in an attempt to discredit women?’.
I love this quote (from the above article):

“ACOG clings to this ridiculous fantasy that women choose to deliver their babies outside of the hospital because they want to be like Ricki Lake, Demi Moore or Meryl Streep and that if women would only watch enough fearmongering stories on morning television they’ll be brainwashed back into hospitals,” said Katherine Prown, Campaign Manager of The Big Push for Midwives. “Insulting our intelligence and promoting policies that deny us choices in maternity care are not exactly winning strategies for stemming the tide of women seeking alternatives to standard OB care.”

You tell ’em, Katherine!

For additional reading, we suggest:
Midwifery: A History by Illysa Foster M. Ed.
Listen to Me Good The Life Story of an Alabama Midwife by Margaret Charles Smith and Linda Janet Holmes
The History of Midwifery and Childbirth in America: A Time Line Prepared by Adrian E. Feldhusen, Traditional Midwife
American Medical Association Apology Sparks Discussion on Race Posted by Christine C.

Home Birth With Midwife As Safe As Hospital Birth: Study

What’s the Big Deal With BPA?

If you’re like me, then when you hear the latest ‘green’, ‘safety’ or ‘nutritional’ trend, you just kind of go with it until you get five minutes of peace to actually look it up. That’s what I did when I first started hearing about Bisphenol A (which I’m still not sure how to pronounce), otherwise known as BPA. I heard it was bad for you, and they came out with all the cool new bottles that boasted “BPA-free!” so I just went along with it. I even got my hubby a super cool reusable water bottle with a soft tip (kind of like a sippy cup J) and a mister discretely built into the top to cool him off at the golf course. But aside from all the groovy new goods, what is BPA and why is it so terrible?

BPA is a chemical made into products such as flame-retardants, epoxy resins ( used in some children’s dental fillings), fungicides, pesticides (currently banned in the US) and polycarbonate plastics- one of the most common everyday uses. Polycarbonate plastic is what water bottles, baby bottles, some eating utensils, canned food and formula linings, plastic wrap and food storage containers, as well as many other consumer products, are primarily made of. Because it makes plastic more durable, and therefore easier to process until an attractive end product results, it has been the material of choice for generations. It’s also cheaper, which doesn’t hurt it’s popularity in the industry, either. Using alternative methods makes it more expensive to produce an attractive product, which in turn makes BPA-free plastic goods more expensive, in addition to being less durable.

Despite it’s durability during processing, BPA erodes over time, allowing it to leach out into the water or food that it holds. It also deteriorates when it is heated or chilled, making it an even bigger risk for infants and toddlers using BPA laden bottles and sippy cups. Some of the risks associated with BPA include chromosomal abnormalities, reproductive issues- including low sperm count, infertility, miscarriage, early puberty and early menopause- decreased brain function, disruption of the endocrine system, male feminization, prostrate problems, cancer and insulin resistance. It also acts like estrogen in the human body, which can wreak havoc, especially in men. While the FDA contends that BPA is safe (based largely on industry-sponsored studies….), it has garnered enough concern from the city of San Francisco to ban the sale of baby bottles made with BPA, and for the Canada Department of Health to demand more research be done. As with most hot button public issues, there are plenty of parties on both sides of the fence as to whether or not BPA is truly safe. The jury is still out on whether BPA is “officially” harmful to humans in the amounts we encounter on a regular basis. The US National Toxicity Program has stated that after exhaustive studies, they find no real harm in people, although lab animals involved in the research weren’t so lucky- the offspring of females exposed to the chemical while pregnant were especially susceptible to harm. Personally, if it’s bad for the mice, I don’t want to try it out on my own kid.

So what’s a mom to do? Make sure none of your products have the #7 recyclable symbol on the bottom, and use items with a #1 or #2 only once. Fortunately, BPA-free merchandise is on the rise, and it’s becoming easier to find the goods we want without scouring the globe. Our Basic Foods carries a variety of safe reusable drinking bottles, and HEB on Dowlen now has glass baby bottles with removable silicone grips that are super cute. Glad and SC Johnson don’t use BPA in any of their companies’ food-related products. As for avoiding it in other forms, use glass or ceramic vessels to reheat food in the microwave, and replace cling warp with wax paper. Of course, you can find anything you need online as well. I love the steel sippy cups at www.bpafreekids.com and the hand made ceramic bowls and plates on Etsy.

While there is yet to be an official snubbing from the FDA, I’d prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to BPA. And that bottle that mists icy water on my face when there’s 100 % humidity is pretty awesome.

Want to do a little research of your own? Check out www.ourstolenfuture.org/NewScience/oncompounds/bisphenola/bpauses.htm, where you’ll find the results of several BPA studies or the CDC‘s report at http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/factsheet_bisphenol.pdf. You can also search the FDA’s or the National Toxicity Program’s websites.

~AnnA

ACOG at odds with other OB governing organizations in the world?

Interesting stuff…

This was taken from the CIMS newsletter, here.

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently revised its 2003 guidelines for induction of labor.  The ACOG Practice Bulletin, Number 107, published in the August 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology serves as a resource to help medical practitioners make decisions about appropriate methods of cervical ripening and induction of labor and their effectiveness.  At least two of the ACOG recommendations, inducing labor for “psychosocial” (non-medical) reasons and cervical ripening with the synthetic prostaglandin misoprostol (trade name Cytotec), differ from labor induction practice guidelines issued by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which drafts clinical guidelines in the U.K.
Induced labor puts women and babies at risk.  Compared to women who go into labor on their own, women who have an elective induction are at increased risk for intrapartum fever, instrumental birth, cesarean section, and are more likely to use analgesia including epidurals. Babies are at risk for irregular heart rate patterns, shoulder dystocia, neonatal phototherapy to treat jaundice, neonatal resuscitation and admission to a neonatal intensive care unit.  These risks are documented in CIMS’ “Evidence Basis for the Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care” (see Step 6, pages 42-43).  According to the white paper “Idealized Design of Perinatal Care” published by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, “Based on a review of U.S. medical malpractice claims, [the labor-inducing drug] oxytocin is involved in more than 50 percent of the situations leading to birth trauma.”

These complications of labor also impact mother-infant attachment and the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.  See “Breastfeeding is Priceless” (PDF).

Although ACOG approves of “psychosocial” induction, NICE clinical guidance (PDF) warns that induction of labor has a significant impact on the health of women and their babies; it should be clinically justified and should not routinely be offered on maternal request except under extraordinary circumstances.  SOGC advises that there is no benefit to elective induction (PDF).  Because it is associated with potential complications, elective induction should be discouraged and only provided after women have been fully informed of the risks and of the inaccuracy of establishing gestational age.  ACOG approves of inducing labor at 39 weeks while SOGC states gestational age should be at least 41 completed weeks, and NICE guidelines state induction for non-medical reason can be considered at or after 40 weeks.

Misoprostol, an inexpensive synthetic prostaglandin, was developed and is marketed to prevent and treat gastric and duodenal ulcers.  The use of misoprostol for cervical ripening and induction of labor (off-label use) is approved by ACOG, but not recommended by either SOGC or NICE.  Misoprostol, also known as PG1, is not approved by the manufacturer for use in pregnancy (PDF).  Misoprostol is associated with excessive uterine contractions, fetal heart abnormality, hemorrhage, hysterectomy, and sometimes fetal death.  Both SOGC and NICE recommend its use be restricted to clinical trials.  For a more detailed discussion of the use of misoprostol for induction of labor, see Science & Sensibility.com.

Nearly one in four births in the U.S. is induced (PDF) and according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), although it is not entirely clear what proportion of these inductions are elective (i.e. without a medical indication), the overall rate of induction of labor is rising faster than the rate of pregnancy complications that would lead to a medically-indicated induction.  According to Childbirth Connection’s report, “Evidence-Based Care: What it Is and What It Can Achieve,” the most common gestational age at birth among single babies in the U.S. is now 39 weeks rather than 40 weeks.”

Consumer information on induction of labor is available from:

I find it interesting that the guidelines that our country uses are at odds with those used by Canada and the UK, and yet those countries have better maternal and infant mortality rates than we do. Am I the only one that sees a connection there?

If they say social pressure is not a good reason for induction, and they say that babies fare better when mother goes into labor on her own, and they say that mother fares better when allowed to go into labor on her own, and they remind us that the drug commonly used in US inductions is not approved for use in pregnancy… yet ACOG allows (if not encourages) all of those things… and THEY have better outcomes, it would seem to me that ACOG would be adopting some of those same policies when they update, rather than continuing to go in the opposite direction.

~h