Saturday, April 14, 2007

Doulas as the key to continuous care

A mother told me this story. Her baby was a couple weeks old. The birth went well, but now a fever and redness on her breast worried her. She called her midwife who wasn't clear about what it was. Whatever she told her to do may not have been enough, or soon enough, because the fever grew. Her doula was able to stop by. The fever had grown to 104 and the red made a streak on her breast. She told her, if it were me, I would go into the hospital.

The mother had mastitis, an infection of the breast. Perhaps her milk had become blocked behind a tight bra strap. She didn't have time to tell me the complete story.

My point is, that there are times when a mother's care provider isn't completely available. Whether that is because it is between visits, after the usual visits, a shift change, or a busy day, there are times when the mother has to figure out her health needs herself. When a mom is sick she may not rally enough to initiate a course of action. She may not recognize how immediate her need is. Mastitus can flame up fast. She may not realize a small symptom can become a big problem.

The doula has a motherly way of keeping an eye on the mother. The doula is not a medical person. She doesn't diagnosis or treat problems. But very often she has experience in spotting something out of the ordinary. She can suggest the mother take the extra step to get the care she does need when something like this comes up.

The doula fills the gap.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Inversion Worked

"Gail,

"Thank you so much for your help and information. She began the inversion pose, and when she went in on Friday for the version, the baby had turned! YES!"

This email note was from a local doula who was helping a pregnant woman who found out her baby was breech at 36 weeks gestation (one month to the due date). The doula emailed me on March 28th and the mom found out the baby was head down by April 6th.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Tsunami of Technocratic Reproduction

The natural birthing community is feeling the oppressive weight of the technoreproductive tide that threatens to wash out all birth as nature designed it. I remember the Florida nurse that told me her hospital administrators told their doctors to get to a 50% cesarean rate and maintain it. Once there, the number will only rise. With these real economic pressures, medical doctors have been finding ways to lure women into agreeing on cesareans. The patient-driving rise in the cesarean rate is a myth. Its what happens in the prenatal appointment that erodes women's confidence until agreement comes from the loss of other options.

Marketing is set up to justify these economic aims is soft served to mothers who then become convinced of the safety of surgery over nature.

Many dedicated people are trying to present the benefits of the physiological process of birth to families. Not just for the birth process, but for the making-of-a-mother process and the becoming-human process. There are hormones secreted in the brain of both mother and baby during labor that help activate our fore brains, where spiritual centers are, and when supported correctly reduce the activation of the reptilian, hind brain that operates from fear. Humanity starts with birth.

See more on birth hormones on the Childbirth Connection.
Read about the potential for estactic birth on Sarah Buckley's blog.
See more on marketing cesareans at Shiela Kitzinger's site.

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.