Friday, January 26, 2007

Web wisdom needed

In trying to ask what Spinning Babies Web readers need I find that the lack of comments may have to do with not having the blog linked on my website!

What I need is web wisdom.

Jen's Lactavist blog is charming. Found a smart preview of shoulder dystocia techniques and added a post myself.

There is also a deeply sad and precious gift in sharing on the web, and that is hearing the stories of parents who have lost a child. Each time I hear from such a parent I am so sad that I am so slow at getting information out there.
So much to say and such need. We hold the world in each of our hands. We must do, to help.
It makes my limitations so much more harsh and painful.

Jen's blog is at

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What do you need?

I often wonder what the readers of Spinning Babies Website need. How could the main site be better for you personally?
This is an informal survey. Please post a comment to tell me what would make this site better so that you can find the information you want about fetal positioning. I have more ideas than capabilities, but your response would help me get motivated!

Monday, January 22, 2007

A woman's right?

Why is it called a woman's right when only physicians are given the right to do it?

Which phrase would be better for business? A woman's right or a physician's right?

If it weren't a business matter why would abortion be illegal outside a physician's facility?

If it weren't called a woman's right would we look a little deeper?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Positive View on What to do for Safe Childbirth

I realize that in my last post I propose the problem of status quo in the demise of maternity care.

What might be more constructive for parents seeking change is to read about what does improve the birth experience.

Some organizations have devoted much effort developing guidelines .

Lamaze has transformed itself over the last few years. Nothing is the same but the name. Lamaze has developed these 6 Care Practices, excerpted from their website:

Practices That Support Normal Birth
Research reveals not only the dangers of interfering in the natural process of birth, but also maternity care practices that help keep birth normal. The WHO identifies four care practices, and Lamaze adds two more (marked with asterisks: *). These practices ensure the best care for birthing women around the world.

  1. Labor should begin on its own.
  2. Laboring women should be free to move throughout labor.*
  3. Laboring women should have continuous support from others throughout labor.
  4. There should be no routine interventions during labor and birth.*
  5. Women should not give birth on their backs.
  6. Mothers and babies should not be separated after birth and should have unlimited opportunity for breastfeeding.

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Care has developed 10 Questions to Ask Your Care Provider:

Having a Baby? Ten Questions to Ask

Have you decided how to have your baby?

The choice is yours!

First, you should learn as much as you can about all your choices. There are many different ways of caring for a mother and her baby during labor and birth.

Birthing care that is better and healthier for mothers and babies is called "mother-friendly." Some birth places or settings are more mother-friendly than others.

A group of experts in birthing care came up with this list of 10 things to look for and ask about. Medical research supports all of these things. These are also the best ways to be mother-friendly.

Healthy mothers statistically have fewer birth injuries and have generally better satisfaction with midwife care. Check out Midwives Alliance and the American College of Nurse Midwives

The most researched improvement in maternity care since blood replacement is the doula. In fact, top reasearchers consider the doula (doo-la) to be the only obstetric intervention to improve childbirth without any harmful side effects. That's additionally amazing since a doula is a non-medical person at birth. A doula is a woman devoted to the mother's emotional experience of childbirth. She is a peer, not a medical professional, who knows about birth and how to comfort and reassure birthing parents. Check out DONA International for some great descriptions, articles, news releases and training information. Thats a good start.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Just for fun, birth photographer

I love to photograph births, but this birth photographer surprised even me.
See birth of healthy, hip Japanese baby.

If you can't see video screen, click here.

Spreading the Care for Truth

Everything I learn I apply to birth. How does any particular new knowledge corelate with what I know of the community of birth, the physiology of birth and/or the marketing of birth practices.

The Ghost Map
by Steven Johnson (Riverhead Books, 2006) chronicles the search for the cause of cholera. It highlights a particular epidemic in London, England. People thought cholera like other diseases were spread by bad air. London had lots of bad air. The sewage removal system was in its infancy. Sewage was poured into the River Thames from where a large portion of London had its drinking water piped to neighborhood pumps. Besides smelling bad, viruses were recycled back into the population at epidemic proportions. If the same percentage of deaths were to happen in New York City today, Johnson writes, as there were in the epidemics of the 1840s and 1850s in London, we would have 4,000 people a week dying in New York. A week.

Doctor John Snow's photograph makes me suspect he was gestating in a less than optimal foetal position (I'm not kidding, he looks, from the molding of his head, that he was probably occiput posterior, but perhaps breech). Evidently big thoughts were molded into his head, for he was a brilliant physician with a quick mind who saw relationships in events for the enlightenment of all. For instance, 3 months after the introduction of ether by a Boston dentist Snow figured out and invented a way to deliver ether in reliable doses to give more reliable pain relief and keep the patient alive more often. He was soon invited to give Queen Victoria Chloroform during her eighth birth and pain medications for labor suddenly became socially viable.

Meanwhile, Snow had been trying to persuade his fellow physicians that cholera was spread through contaminated drinking water. Marginally acknowledged and then ignored, Snow wasn't the only doctor investigating the waterborne theory. In fact, a Italian physician, Filippo Pacini, had just published his microscope findings on cholera. He, too, was ignored. The medical world simply agreed it was vapors that spread disease. Any research that challenged that assumption was inconceivable and aborted on contact with the medical community.

In 1854, a cholera outbreak only a few blocks from Dr. Snow's home gave him the chance to show the medical world some facts about the waterborne nature of cholera.

Reading this, I, of course, think about the spread of contagious habits in birth practice. As Marsden Wagner describes, the more doctors can know about the process of birth the safer they feel. This knowing trails along the assumption then that forcing all birth into the median of cases must be the safest approach. Rising prematurity rates and rising infant mortality rates result. The facts, however, can not defeat the marketable strategy of increasing obstetric internventions.

Research is no match for the contagion of profit boosting ideas such as induction of labor. There is plenty of research to shed doubt on the wisdom of inducing labor for reasons of gestational diabetes and suspected large babies, for instance. Yet it is done so often that the March of Dimes has launched a campaign to reverse the trend which causes rising rates of late prematurity. That is, a baby who is born at 35 or 36 weeks, shortly before term at 37 weeks the cut off date in gestation when a baby is considered full term. 37-42 weeks is the range considered full term.
Late premature babies die at a higher rate in the first year of life than babies allowed to gestate another week or two. Induction also increases the rate of cesarean section when the induction doesn't succeed at forcing open the unripe cervix.

Why do women allow this then? Why did people resist the news of the existence of tiny bacteria and viruses, which colonized weakened people and caused disease? Because influential people didn't yet believe the research. And we naturally want prestigious and wise people to care about us. If we adapt their belief system we can feel safe. There is a lot of sense to this and most of the time it is true. Their is strength in numbers. Women seek support when under stress.

Pregnant women reasonably seek the care of providers in the network of their insurance, friends or family or neighborhood clinics. They see care providers as caring, intelligent people who will do only what is best for them and their baby. And in the first two categories they are right. The providers do care, most of the time, and they are intelligent, no doubt. But they will not always do what is the best care practice for the mothers.

Why not? Because the best care as shown by new research is not the established norm. To change, providers will have to break social ties within their own support system and put themselves out on a limb. They would have to involve their nurses and clinic staff to change along with them. What a lot of work and with much suspicion and irritation among those that weren't interested in changing their daily routine. Then the profit margin may also be upset. One SC doctor quit after her hospital administration told her to increase her cesarean rate to 25% to match the other obstetricians in her hospital. That was the percentage, she was told, that made obstetrics profitable given the average rate of law suits against OBs. Only she wasn't getting sued because she had very strong relationships with her families who chose her specifically for her low surgery rate. Didn't matter, it wasn't fair to the other OBs.

Ok, if that is so, then why don't women walk out on the doctors who pump in the drugs and cut them open? Women in pregnancy are looking for a caregiver who is not only competent but cares about them and their pregnancy. Women see the caregiver, they hear the news that they will be induced (the baby's large, at 40 weeks, or 38 weeks, or "The baby is alive now, we can't guarantee that tomorrow"). They may be upset by the pressure to do something that feels wrong to them but where can they go? They have an established relationship with a professional. Even if she or he does things agressively they will still make it so mother and baby survive, won't they? If they break the relationship off, the pregnant women will be left to chance. They may put their baby at risk, so it seems better to go with the program than seek out a new relationship and be in limbo in the meanwhile.

Its said that Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome can occurr among women who had a normal childbirth (no complications reported). Its an epidemic of grief. Not to mention the injuries possible from unnecessary intervention.

What the birthing world needs is a visionary. What Dr. John Snow heralded for disease prevention we need in childbirth. We have visionaries, precious ones like Marshall Klaus and John Kennell, Michel Odent, Ina May Gaskin, Shiela Kitzinger and Marsden Wagner. These are some of the best singers in the choir. But who will shake up the docs?

And is it the doctors we have to change? Or is it the administrators of hospitals? Where is the point of vanishing returns on the mega marketing of machine-led childbirth?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Don't tell a Transverse lie

The Spinning Babies Website has evolved by adding articles, or posts in a way, addressing the various questions I have received about posterior babies and fetal positioning over the last five years. Currently, the most frequent question has been what to do about a baby that is lying in the womb sideways. This position is called a transverse lie. Rather than a vertical lie, the baby is sideways. Both breech and head down babies are in a vertical lie. It is easier for the baby to flip head down from a breech position than from a sideways position if the baby has been settled sideways awhile after the 7th month.

I added an article to the web site on transverse babies. Click on the top menu where the words say "breech and transverse."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Learning about Blogs

I've been reading Blogging for Your Business by Byron and Broback, and have gotten inspired. I read Christy Santoro's

and am even more inspired. But I'm a little lost in the where to click to make it come alive.

My hope is that more people in the natural birth, homebirth movement will blog and help save our species from the loss of physiological childbirth. We need birth to be human, think about it.

Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.