Natural Breech Birth Deserves Our Support!

A friend posted a link to the Coalition for Breech Birth on her gmail status. I’m so thankful to know about this resource now.  The following quote applies to all low-risk mothers (regardless of fetal presentation or previous cesarean):

“However, caesarean surgery, while it presents many advantages for the surgeon, has lifelong ramifications for the birthing woman and her family, including issues with subsequent pregnancies, secondary infertility, vbac availability, and depression, not to mention a risk of death in childbirth increased threefold over vaginal birth. Women should not be obliged to accept these serious risks as ‘standard of care’. . .”

Please have a look at this site which provides links to the original report that caused breech birth to fall off the natural birth map and the subsequent research that DISPROVED the report authored in 2000 that continues to govern obstetrics & midwifery access and practice to this day.

What drew me to childbirth advocacy

I received an excellent question from a Facebook friend the other day.  And even though my response is brief, I suppose this might be a question that a lot of folks have for people like me!

“So I’m curious… What led you to become involved with ICAN? Personal experience or passionate commitment to natural childbirth? Or both?”   “I am always interested in how people come to be involved in this kind of advocacy.”

My brief response:

I had a cesarean in 2004 and didn’t fully understand the impact of it until much later. I joined ICAN when it was time to try for another baby and have been involved ever since. So, now it’s personal experience as well as passionate commitment to evidence-based practices in obstetrics as well as spreading the word about the benefits of natural childbirth, VBAC, homebirth, birth plans, doulas, midwives, whatever! Also, I’m very concerned about the national cesarean rate and our local rate in Missoula. That’s it in a nutshell!!

And of course I suggested that she have a look at my blog!

Medical Stalker Goes Way too Far

Many people in the natural birth advocacy realm are aware of “Dr. Amy” and her polemic blog.  I was distressed to see that in addition to pillaging the homebirth and unassisted childbirth forums at Mothering on a regular basis, she is now stalking the birth trauma forum there!  If you’re interested to read her post, you’ll have to search for it yourself.  I am not going to directly link to her site.

My concerns over this behavior include:

  1. Did she get approval from these people to use her comments?  I would venture to say no.  It is one thing to directly quote from a public blog where the intent is PUBLISHING (with a link back, of course) and a whole other thing to directly quote people who are gathered together in support around a sensitive topic.  This would be more than bad netiquette.
  2. Her reason for being at the birth trauma forum – I have yet to read anything unique at her blog.  I have seen her quote and give “statistics” (laughable) based on posts at the homebirth and UC forums at Mothering and thought that was pretty low.  And now she’s raiding the birth trauma forum to gather content for her blog?
  3. Her lack of sensitivity and understanding as demonstrated by the quotes she selected for her blog
  4. The lack of privacy and sacred space that moms who are recovering from birth trauma need and deserve

I sent a private message to the birth trauma moderator.  Here’s what I sent:

“Dr. Amy” is stalking the birth trauma forum – [I removed the post link here b/c I don’t want to directly drive traffic to her site.] Perhaps this should be a private forum? It’s bad enough that she posts every dramatic thing from the homebirth and UC forums on her blog, but really I think she has gone too far. I really hope that the Mothering Forum Moderators will take this concern under advisement and develop a strategy to better protect moms who need a place to commune and don’t deserve to have their stories exploited.

I hope that interested parties will voice their opinions at the Mothering Dot Commune site or to other responsible parties at Mothering.  Additionally, I hope that people will turn to more private venues such as the private forums at the International Cesarean Awareness Network website or private support lists on Google Groups or Yahoo Groups.  These women have been through so much.  They don’t deserve to have their stories exploited even though they are posting on a public forum.

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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/.

Recent Interesting Reads

Not that I’m voting Republican, but I am curious to know anything about Sarah Palin.  Who is this woman and how did she secure the VP slot on the Republican ticket?  Here are my guesses: (1) She’s such a nobody that when McCain loses, no Republican with a political future would be sacrificed and (2) Should McCain/Palin pull out a win, they have Alaskan Oil in their pockets.  But I digress – read this post at Jezebel about Sarah Palin’s brand of feminism.  I don’t mean to be polemic, and well, when you hear it enough times, it ceases to be polemic and looks more like the down-low on shadiness.

Researchers from the University of Connecticut released a study which looked at the relationship between cesarean rates and malpractice rates.

“When I compared the malpractice rates to cesarean delivery rates prior to 1999, both were declining at a similar rate,” says Spencer. From 1999 to 2005, however, both were increasing. “I can’t say one led to the other or visa versa,” he says, but he speculates that rising medical malpractice rates are driving up cesarean delivery rates.  “With our data, we cannot prove a causation but only suggest an association.”

An insightful read from the UK, especially:

“Since the 1970s, the medicalisation of childbirth has been a hot topic for obstetricians, midwives and feminists. There exists in maternity services a clear division between the interventionists, typically headed by the obstetricians, and those, such as midwives, who favour a low-intervention approach. Caught in the middle are the women giving birth. Those who opt for high-tech hospital births are condemned for giving in to unnatural patriarchal models of healthcare and betraying the sisterhood. Those who eschew medical and technological assistance are deemed irresponsible and reckless. They can’t win.”

No, we can’t seem to win, especially those of us who have already been cut once.  To put our babies through a “trial of labor” is considered irresponsible and reckless at best by a growing majority of care providers and the general public.

And finally, I’ve never liked Dr. Phil.  I’ve watched enough of him on TV at various times in his career to know that he has nothing new to add to my knowledge base.  I find him to be a subversive character – wish I could remember the exact moment I decided that, but it was many years back and had something to do with him blaming a wife (in front of her husband) for their marital distress.  I don’t know who was at fault, but Phil pinned the whole thing on the wife and was using this icky patronizing tone.  Ick.

I digress.

Over at Inspired Mama I came across this post – Dr. Phil is asking for homebirth disaster stories.  <sigh>  I’m reproducing it below so you don’t HAVE to click on the link unless you want to go to the horse’s ass, I mean, mouth.  (Keep in mind that when you click active links it raises their “rating” in search engines.  Click at your own risk.)

DO YOU REGRET HAVING A HOMEBIRTH?
Did you have a child at your home?

Did you want to have a soothing experience where you were in control and could bond with your child?

Did it not go the way you planned?

Do you regret having a home birth?

Do you regret using a midwife instead of going to a hospital?

Did you have your second child the traditional way in a hospital?

If you or someone you know regrets having a home birth please tell us your story below.

Be sure to be specific and include details!

Here’s an idea – instead I recommend flooding the Dr. Phil show with letters about how wonderful homebirth can be, how difficult VBACs can be to achieve within a hospital environment, and how the current maternity system ruins natural childbirth.

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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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