MRI Techs Post Top 100 Natural Birth Blogs

The MRI Technical Schools site posted a list of the Top 100 Natural Birth Blogs.  The compiler, L. Fabry, did a wonderful job of categorizing and providing brief bios of each blog.  Categories include: natural birth info, natural birthing stories, midwife blogs, and more.  Please do check out this list!

I’d like to thank MRI Technical Schools and L. Fabry for including Trial of Labor on this list.

Are naturally-born babies more calm?

I’ve really started to pay attention to how babies act in the days, weeks, and months after they are born. I’m starting to really buy into the idea that naturally-born babies tend to be more calm, more confident, and sleep better than babies who experience traumatic births.

Fact. My daughter didn’t sleep well and was difficult to calm as a young baby.

Fact. My student’s wife just had their first baby at home. Calm. Chill. That’s how this baby is described.

Fact. My best girlfriend here in town just had her third baby at a birth center. Calm. Chill. I’ve seen first-hand how calm and secure this little guy is. He’s only 2 days old and he clearly recognizes his mother’s voice. They were only at the birth center for a few hours following the birth. And my friend is SO IN LOVE with him.

Now, I’m not trying to suggest that ALL homebirthed babies or all babies born at birth centers are calm and quiet, and ALL hospital-born babies are difficult, but as I’ve learned from Diane Wiessinger, the birth environment and the birthing act/ritual have a tremendous impact on the mother-baby dyad.

Dr. Sarah J. Buckley, MD writes: “The connections between events at birth and long-term health certainly deserve more study.1 But we cannot afford to wait for years for researchers to prove the benefits of an undisturbed birth. Perhaps the best we can do is trust our instincts and vote with our birthing bodies, choosing models of care that increase our chances of undisturbed- and ecstatic- birthing.”

The three examples that I made above – my child, my friend’s child, and my student’s child – are not the only ones that I can think of that strengthen my belief that how a baby is brought into the world is critical to his/her health, happiness, and development. Talk to everyone you know who has had a baby and find out what their early experiences with their children were like. I’m certain you will observe patterns in what you hear and see.

1. Odent M. Primal Health Database: Birthworks, 2003 http://www.birthworks.org/primalhealth/.

Labor “Drama” Misrepresented

This idiotic take on labor is what “could have been avoided.”  Why is it that people don’t understand that labor isn’t something to be avoided except in extreme circumstances?  Many benefits for both mother and baby occur thanks to labor, the benefits of which are known and proven.

When asked about his girlfriend Camilla’s labor, Matthew McConaughey said: “I wouldn’t say she’s (Alves) suffering but she’s having to dig deep… She’s tired, she’s exhausted, she’s in pain.”  Camilla’s 40 hour labor ended in cesarean but doesn’t regret the process in which they were engaged, claiming that “it was a great journey for both of [them].”

Click here to read an insightful take on the media’s treatment of McConaughey’s “alternative” perspective on birth.

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“Black Market Birth” – Request for Your Stories

A friend of mine in ICAN is working on a very important project.  She will be making a presentation to the American Public Health Association (APHA) in October:  “VBAC Beyond Borders.”   One thing that she asked us to share is her need for stories regarding “Black Market Births.”  She writes:

Specifically, I am looking for birth stories of women who delivered in hospitals with VBAC “Bans” in place.   I am also very interested in stories of homebirth where VBAC itself was explicitly illegal.  At some point, I will be looking at HBAC in states where midwifery is unregulated or “alegal,”  but at this time am most interested in births where homebirth midwifery is regulated, but VBAC is outside the practice regulations or scope of practice.

Please send your stories and questions to ICANMidlandssc *at* gmail *dot* com.

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Hospital Waterbirth VBAC

I was catching up over at the True Face of Birth and was immediately drawn to a link about a successful hospital VBAC.  The story posted at Bellies and Babies is awesome and inspiring, and how wonderful to read the woman’s narrative and that of her doula!

I was tremendously impressed with the two obstetricians mentioned in the story.  The first OB ultimately told the woman that he wouldn’t allow her to VBAC.  (At 36 weeks this was BAD FORM.)  She found a provider who was supportive of her choice to have a vaginal birth, and it “sounds” like this OB really knew how to stay out of the way and let the mom do the work.  He also was educating his nurse about the whole process – how normal it is to be in water during the late stages of labor, how normal it can be to birth a baby in water, how normal it is to push at will (as opposed to pushing in 10 count blocks), how normal it is to birth the placenta when it is ready to release from the womb.  I am also impressed with the first OB – the one who told her “no.”  He evidently did some research after she left his practice and changed his mind about VBACs.  It takes guts and humility to be able to change your ways and be open to new practices (as if vaginal birth or even VBAC is a new practice).

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy reading these stories as much as I did.

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When doctors don’t support women’s choices

As you can tell, I am back to reading my google alerts.  I came across a post titled “Cesarean vs. VBAC – Birthing Story” and decided to read it.  It seems to me that this is the very type of woman who needs the support and resources that ICAN, CIMS, Childbirth Connection, Conscious Woman, and the like provide.  Women are understandable very protective of their birth stories, so I didn’t post a comment.  However, she may come across my post if she tracks her pings.

I’d like to address specific details of her story.

  1. “I was instructed to read through the risks of VBAC and give in my consent in writing…. this during my first visit to the doctor.” She wisely decided to wait to “consent” to the mode of delivery.  Understandably she had concerns and questions due to the manner in which the information was presented to her in her first visit.  Furthermore, she states that her doctor never seemed to discuss the benefits of normal birth.
  2. “No mommy would want to carry a healthy baby for 9 months only to risk the baby’s health during delivery.”  Absolutely!  And natural birth advocates believe that every woman deserves the right to weigh the risks and benefits of cesarean versus normal birth for herself.  OBs are not upfront about the risks to both baby and mother from cesarean delivery much less the harm that occurs once mom and baby are home.  Doctors suggest procedures and tests that have not been proven to aid the birth process yet may have a negative impact on normal birth.  These include continual fetal monitoring, artificial rupture of membranes, induction, vaginal exams, IV, episiotomy, and the list continues.  These interventions usually only benefit the doctors and nurses.  And did you know that amniocentesis carries a substantial risk for pregnancy loss?
  3. “My mid-wife advised me to wait till the 35th week before I made any decision. But the doctor would not wait till such time. Even before I gave my written consent on my preference I got a call from doctor’s office about scheduling my C-section for the 13th May. (my due date was 26th May).  This irritated me to great levels. While one of the major benefits I was going to get by opting for C-section was a date of my choice, the doctor had deprived me of the same by just giving me one option.”  OBs suggest that it is safer to perform a cesarean before Mom goes into labor.  However, scheduling a cesarean 2 weeks before a due date is risky.  It is sad that this OB was intent on taking this woman’s last “choice” away from her.
  4. “Besides, I knew that I was making good progress and could go in for VBAC.”  Women should trust their instincts about birth and surround themselves with people who support their needs and desires.
  5. “During my 40th week appointment, the doctor examined me and said that I had made no progress at all since 37th week. The baby’s position and the cervix measured the same. She also scared me that the baby was big and it could be a very hard delivery for me.”  The next day at the hospital she began labor on her own. 
  6. “The nurses who were monitoring me repeatedly started asking me if I really wanted to go in for C-section which was scheduled at 11:30am.”  Hooray for her nurses!!  It seems like they wanted to encourage her to have a normal birth!
  7. “I got a call from the doctor immediately … I must say it almost sounded like a threatening call. She said if I didn’t go for C-sec at the decided time, she was not going to be available for the entire week and that some random doctor from the hospital.”  Yes, that was a scare tactic.
  8. Her “big” baby weighed just over 7 pounds.

The reason I’ve quoted and listed these points from her story is that this story is all too common.  When are we going to stop this abuse, this subversion, this last form of modern sexism?