Thursday, April 29, 2010

Breastmilk Is a Cure for Cancer

What about this finding and the probiotics in breastmilk, is there an association ?
Its funny that Breastmilk Is a Cure for Cancer and they aren't announcing it from the roof tops. How could money be made from Mama's milk??
'Til that is answered, who will be interested in marketing? Meanwhile, if we have placental medicine why not milk medicine?

"Substance Found in Breastmilk Kills 40 kinds of Cancer"

Swedish researchers have discovered that a substance found in human breast milk has the ability to kill cancer cells, according to a study published in the PLoS One Journal.

The substance known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells), was discovered years ago, but has just recently been tested on humans.

In the trial conducted at Lund University in Sweden, patients suffering from bladder cancer were treated with HAMLET. After each treatment, the patients excreted dead cancer cells in their urine, healthy cells remaining intact.... More at Fox News

Monday, April 12, 2010

The tears of breech

The Ottawa Citizen heralds the re-newed Canadian acceptance of vaginal breech birth in Elizabeth Payne's article, Giving Birth the Natural Way. Andre' Lalonde, head of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, said last year, "The safest way to deliver a baby has always been the natural way," and then began to bring back breech birth to Canadian hospitals.
A young OB attends his first breech vaginal birth and baby Lily's birth becomes a promise of more safe breech birthing in Canada. Betty-Anne Daviss, CPM, highlighted in Payne's article, has been uniquely active in Ottawa, along with Robin Guy of the Coalition for Breech Birth, to educate doctors and parents to safer methods of breech birthing and making them available.

Breech vaginal birth has never been understood in American Obstetrics. Here, doctors neglected to learn from midwives the traditional skills for breech or any form of birthing. In Europe, midwives were brought into the medical model. Also, European and Canadian medical practice actually uses evidence-based research for practice, not just discussion.
That said, the Canadian 2000 Hannah Breech Trial did not choose a research form to accurately show the safety of skillfully attended breech births. Here is what Andrew Kotaska wrote about the Breech Trial in 2005,

"All major advances in technique have occurred in Europe—notable were Bracht's and Thiessen's introduction of a one-phase spontaneous birth resulting in the largest published decrease in perinatal breech mortality.3 4 Experienced European centres showing safety in vaginal breech delivery with these techniques were under-represented in the term breech trial, partly because some declined to participate. In contrast, the term breech trial was based in North America, where the vaginal breech birth rate is a quarter that in Norway or the Netherlands. The protocol superficially outlined a two-phase birth, neglecting techniques that are widespread in Europe and largely responsible for safe success with vaginal breech birth.5 Despite its design by North American experts, and its international vetting (minimally in Norway, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany), the protocol represented a simplified and outdated approach, comparatively less safe for achieving a vaginal breech birth rate > 50%. Declaring this standard the best achievable because it was studied in a randomised fashion seriously breaches the limits of evidence based medicine."

Yet, because of both the loss of breech skills in Canada and America and further, because of the 2000 Breech Trial, women here face a dearth of support when their babies are breech. They are gawked and gasped at by friends and strangers, "You're having a breech? Oh, that's so dangerous. You'll have to have a cesarean."

At the Minnesota Baby Expo this past weekend, several women approached me with their breech stories literally crying to be told. The first was a healthy woman carrying two breech twins due shortly. She burst into tears as she asked me if there weren't anything she could do to get her babies' head down? Two more women came to my table with twin singletons. One allowed me to have pictures taken while we went through a home, self-care breech protocol - things she could do herself at home to help balance her pelvis. I hope to post these photos on the breech section of

My body shakes and my brains sag in their sac recalling the mother who asked me if I'd ever seen a baby cut during a cesarean? Anticipating bad news, I quietly said I had heard of it. Of course, I wondered if the sweet, tiny baby she held by her heart was the baby she meant. But she turned and pulled up her shirt and told me of how when her mother came to the hospital in labor with her, the doctors discovered her baby, the woman now before me, was breech and they rushed her to surgery. In performing the cesarean section they cut her back open. The scar was surprisingly deep, long and puckered. She herself had been that sweet, tiny baby, trying to go about her birthing business and being cut right out of the womb. In this instance, literally cut. Newborns generally heal so well but this scar is broad and deep that I think, she must have been cut to her ribs! As she finished her story our eyes locked, frozen in mutual astonishment. Though she has come to terms with it in her way, telling it to someone who is comfortable with (physiologic) breech vaginal birth allows the absurdity of slicing into a rapidly progressing breech birth to be seen for what it is. She was less than 6 pounds when she was born. I hope she contacts me again, I didn't even get her name. She promised to send me a picture of her back next time she was pregnant! I hope she does! You should be confident in the truth of her story.

In all sincerity the breech twins mother tells me through her tears, "I'd do anything not to have a cesarean, but since its my first pregnancy, and perhaps if they weren't breech, well, I might have a homebirth , but you know, I don't want to do anything that isn't safe..."

The suggestion of changing obstetricians was also frightening to her. Once the stress is super high, women often won't do anything not to have a cesarean. Is this the strategy of the old boy's club?

Dr. Lalonde is quoted, "Vaginal births are the preferred method of having a baby because a C-section in itself has complications." He spoke eloquently for natural birth, and especially, natural breech birth, at the Ottawa Coalition for Breech Birth conference last October.

Women will accept the risks of cesarean section because they believe these risks take place in a controlled environment where they can be handled successfully. They don't think they can happen to them. They trust the recommendations of their doctor.
They have met and developed a relationship with the doctor, and even if the doctor makes her cry every time she leaves the clinic (women have told me that they do), she's put her trust in the persona of techno-surgical, medical authoritarianism (because, hey, it isn't evidence-based fact).
We tend to go with known dangers than trust the unknown. We tend to accommodate the person we see as most powerful rather than the person with the facts. Women have told me they won't leave their doctor because their doctor may get mad (I'm not kidding you), even to go to another doctor. Even to see a doctor with a good reputation and community praise...

Unless that woman has an inner strength to connect with her truth, a trust in the Divine, a trust in the Design. Support from her mate and a guide of some sort (doula, midwife, childbirth educator) to lead them to the person and place they can give birth with safely.
Really, it isn't whether she had a cesarean or a vaginal birth, home or hospital, that is the most important individually, but rather that she is heard and respected and nurtured while she brings in her child. Being surrounded by fear and ignorance during childbearing is not empowering whether or not you have a homebirth or a cesarean. I'm not into ideology either way. Every birth is different and each situation needs assessment before and during birth.

Giving birth to a breech baby vaginally, while in the knee-elbow (or hands and knees) position has been shown to be the safest. Safer than cesarean section as long as the labor is progressing normally, as long as the person attending knows the set of simple maneuvers to free trapped arms or to flex an extended head. As long as no one touches, turns, or otherwise surprises the baby who is birthing spontaneously.

Its ok to rescue a stuck baby, of course. The proper methods are simple if the entire physiological "method" is honored!

Right now, it may be as safe or safer to do this at home in America, if the midwife attending will go with such breech birth guidelines as recommended by UK midwives, Mary Cronk and Jane Evans.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Belly Mapping Workbook at Baby Expo

Tomorrow - er, um, later today, my family and I will be greeting expectant mothers and fathers at the Minnesota Baby and Kid Expo at the Belly Mapping Table. I'll also be presenting Belly Mapping and also facilitate an Optimal Fetal Positioning discussion.
We'll be chatting with visitors and selling the new Belly Mapping Workbook from Maternity House Publishing. Its 48-pages packed with illustrations and a cool transparency to help women in the third trimester interpret their baby's position in the womb. Nearly half the book covers what to do in pregnancy and labor for optimal fetal positioning.
Soon, it will be on sale through the above link to, and at the Spinning Babies Website for $14.95 plus shipping and handling. Come to the Baby Expo and get the book without paying for shipping and handling. We hope to be back to the Mpls Convention Center for the fall Minnesota Baby Expo in October.

Monday, April 5, 2010

911 on the risks of formula feeding-and a 411 on the benefits of breast milk

I wrote last year about my stepson John Froehlich's research success on protein changes and his grad team's tracking of milk changes over the first 28 days of breastfeeding. So it was fun to be in his kitchen tonight when he brought in a print of The Burden of Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: A Pediatric Cost Analysis, the Bartick and Reinhold cost analysis of pediatric diseases effected by breastfeeding. They figure the US would save $13 Billion dollars if 90% of US families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, no other food or drink.

They alert the US that 911 lives are lost, 95% of which are infant deaths, each year from formula feeding. The causes are such terrible effects as dying intestines (Necrotizing enterocolitis) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Other deaths and damage are caused by Asthma, Type 1 Diabetes, ear infections and atopic dermatitis (skin rashes, which are painful and irritating-not a condition that inspires -or permits- cuddling, as I can attest myself!)

John began drawing diagrams of the Human Milk Oligosaccharides with the complex and non-repeating patterns of long chain sugars (hexose, fucose). sialic acids and ...what were the squares... (John says N-acetylhexoseamine), anyway, he explained how these bond and supplement the mucosa of the baby's intestines lowering the ph so that many bacteria strains can't grow, but making the intestines favorable for our three friends, lactobaccilli, bifido infantis, and bifido longum.
They also make the intestines unwelcoming for the bad guys, bacterioides, which are over grown in formula fed baby's intestines. The bacterioides make formula fed babies vulnerable to portions of their guts dying out and perhaps killing the babies. (Any spelling problems are mine, I can't keep asking John how to spell them all, its late!)

We know not to feed our babies whiskey or rat poison.... But then, big companies with pretty ads are making money, so why would we stop that? Bottles are so "fun" after all.

Anyway, I say that with compassion to formula feeding mothers who have been lied to and duped by breast implanters, body image distortionists, sleazy jerks and all around nipplephobics in our culture. We all live in our culture and some of us go down. Let's bring up the images and support those breasts, ladies!

Ok, so, John was revving up on his chemistry endorphins (two months to his final lab days and his Chemistry PhD!)
He talked about others on the breast milk research team noting that Human Milk Oligosaccharides not only show up in the poop, but the pee of breastfed babies. This was exciting news, and maybe some other researchers knew about the Human Milk Oligosaccharides being in urine, John wasn't sure. But being in urine means that the breast milk magic goes through the intestines into the blood in whole and sometimes, partly used, molecules. They don't know where the missing pieces go entirely, but ... they know that sialic acid is good for the brain and they think maybe some goes there. (ya think? How else would those breastfed babes be an average 6 points higher on their IQs? -Unless Vic is right, they learn to count to two faster!

The formula companies are trying to find out what's in human milk for marketing and to reduce death from their products.
John made an interesting point:
A mother can feed her baby with something that will take many highly skilled technicians years trying to make, and it will be only an imitation of the ingredients of breast milk, they will spend years, then, trying to formulate it (which is different and meaningful) and they can never really do it like nature does it. After all, Breast milk changes over time to suit the baby.
Or, mothers can feed their babies right now, with something they make themselves at home, they can make it while they work, (and while they sleep for that matter) and they can make it in the car. And they can give it to their baby right now.

Disclaimer. The US public is inflamed that voices like mine proclaim the worth of womens' bodies own milk and criticism of non-breastfeeding. It's not the mothers I bark at, it's the irresponsible marketing and dispensing of what for many is poison to our children, not because the mother's Can't breastfeed, but because the maternity system and the formula/drug companies hide the real story so they can have either an easier time (some nurses and supervisors would rather not have to take expensive time helping mothers or improving birth practices that inhibit breastfeeding in the hospital) or, for companies, a profitable time in the grocery store. Arggh.
Of course, I'm in a rage! I've met several families who had damaged children from formula feeding, families that love their babies, that went with their doctor's doublespeak dismissal of their own associations recommendations to breastfeed ("Breast milk is best, but formula is well made, too, and its a personal choice." But its not an EQUAL choice! though its made to seem so.)

Of course, there are wonderful doctors who insist on and promote breastfeeding (such as Dr. C. Everett Koop and my great nieces' pediatrician in NJ, and the doctors we refer to here in MN and WI, etc.). And their are some mothers who can't breastfeed. Yet, there are women who can't conceive, too, and as painful as that may be, other women still have children. We need compassion for the women, rage for the machine. Education for the public.
There is no milk as good as mother's milk.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Citizens for Midwifery sets own recommendations for NIH VBAC policy

Willa Powell, President of Citizens for Midwifery, gives an excellent summary of the March 8-10, 2010 National Institute of Healths' Consensus Development Conference on VBAC. She gives this decision as one of the things the NIH got right:

"The Conference panel’s final report states: “Given the available evidence, TOL [trial of labor] is a reasonable option for many pregnant women with a prior low transverse uterine incision.” This is a really important and positive conclusion that we can all use to “encourage” our local hospitals and obstetricians, along with their insurers, to change their policies."

The NIH recognizes that physicians and hospitals have put up barriers to Vaginal Birth After a Previous Cesarean and recommends that those barriers are eliminated. they were not evidence-based then nor are they are not statistically valid barriers now.

Willa adds recommendations that the CfM would make,
  • All hospitals and OBs should start supporting VBACs, not just “offering” and “encouraging”. CfM believes the Midwives Model of Care represents that support of physiologically normal birth.
  • ACOG should rescind “ACOG #5” immediately. In doing so, insurance companies will no longer have a basis for dropping or threatening to drop malpractice insurance or raising insurance rates on practitioners and hospitals that offer VBAC, as those individuals and institutions will merely be responding to both the evidence and the guidelines. By rescinding “ACOG #5”, ACOG and its members would be taking a step toward rebuilding some trust and confidence of the women they serve.
  • Informed consent must be based on an honest risk assessment, including information about provider outcomes, provider bias and conflicts of interest, as well as the research evidence, in order to support all women, not just VBACing women to have healthy births.
These are accepted practices of experienced midwives around our country. Not every midwife can support VBACs when they work in a hospital that won't support VBAC or their training didn't provide understanding of the true safety and risk of VBAC. See a discussion on Informed Consent at
Read the Childbirth Connections article on Informed Decision Making; Informed Consent or Refusal.
Physicians and midwives shouldn't have to go out on a limb to provide evidence based care. Nor should one ideology be exchanged for another. Assessment and ongoing monitoring are needed while not needing to interrupt the woman's physiological flow of birthing.

As the Spinning Babies Website is updated later this year I hope to have a more comprehensive section on cesarean avoidance, VBAC success and more information on when and why a cesarean may be needed for lack of progress due to size or fetal position. Drop me a line and let me know what you would like to see covered on the topic of VBAC, cesarean and cesarean prevention.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Acupuncture while traveling

This winter has been extremely challenging with my skin. My acupuncturists, Tomas and Katherine Flesher, who run the 3 Treasures Community Acupuncture Clinic at the Ivy Building in Seward neighborhood, took a workshop by Colet Lahoz of The East-West Clinic in White Bear Lake and suggested I try her anti-Candida program. I had a little trouble getting started (I never fit the program!) so I went to see her. Her acupuncture involved about 3X the needles as I was used to in a community acupuncture clinic setting, many being put on my abdomen, face and neck. The drive was long but the results were great. If our insurance covers her, I think I'll see her monthly or so while I continue to see Katherine and Tomas weekly not just because of their low cost community clinic ($15-40 a visit) but the trust and enjoyment of a long-term relationship.

When I left Minneapolis on March 3rd, I didn't want to interrupt my weekly acupuncture routine. Tomas strongly suggested I find an acupuncturist when we got to Okinawa, near Japan.
Getting online in Okinawa I googled for an acupuncturist but came up short. No websites listed. Knowing that doulas around the world know their local resources, I googled Okinawa doula and came upon the online newspaper, Okinawa Hai! which featured an article on Mandy's love of childbirth including some, unfortunately currently non-practicing, local doulas --and another article Ancient Acupuncture Provides Relief.
Neither the article nor the comments following the article listed the featured doctor's name! And embarrassingly, even though I saw this gentle doctor 3 times I never got his name either! His card was entirely in Japanese. But someone in the newspaper comments listed his phone number, 937-3137 in Naha, Okinawa. Here's the sign (right) on the strip out Gate 2 of Kadena, 2nd block after China Pete's, left side of the street. And here's Ryan standing outside the door. You just open the door and step in.
The Ancient Acupuncture article gives very good directions, which led us right there. I called and made an appt the first time, scheduled the next one in person and, last, had a sudden opportunity to go see him without calling.
His door was locked and I thought I wouldn't be able to get in, but a school child perceptively saw my situation and showed me a door bell on the right hand side of the wall.
(Please let me say here that every Okinawan child I saw on the island looked well loved, confident and well-cared for. Everyone of them. And there were a lot of children. They had healthy skin, weights and seemed energetic and lively. The parent interactions were loving and calm. I'm convinced the healthy lives of Okinawa start with excellent nutrition and love. Everyone has a purpose.)
So there I was, showing up unannounced. The doctor was a little surprised to see me but very pleasant. I think he liked that a foreigner was coming often.
He spoke little, but spoke English just fine when he did speak. Here I am with his painless needles. He put a couple on my belly. He set a timer for about 20 minutes. Then he took the needles out and came back with a tiny needle on a wooden handle. He poked most of the previous needle spots very quickly with this tinier needle. That was also painless. Thirdly, he came in with a small "crochet hook" implement. I shut my eyes. He finished each appt. by pricking my skin in all the inflamed places with that little hook. It didn't really hurt but I felt it. I have to say, it was a bit weird. His manner was so eastern, calm, self assured though humble, that I just gave my self over to it. I just imagined he was letting the steam out. And whatever it was, it certainly helped! Each appt. cost 3000 yen, or about 32 US dollars.

Next, we were on to Davis, California to see John and Dianna. Soon it was clear I needed another appointment, "To release heat," Itay Neta said. He runs the Davis Community Acupuncture Clinic. Itay's style was western. His community clinic uses the same pricing as 3 T's. He spent quite a bit of time with me explaining how my skin was like the cover of a heating pot, first a rattle then bouncing over the boiling water and eventually unable to get itself back into balance as my skin became my body's way to release heat but the heat got stuck. Of course, I'm restating his words, and rather clumsily. His style was much more like I was used to at Three Treasures Community Acupuncture in Minneapolis, personable and informative. I like both approaches.
All of them want to see your tongue, though.

Spinning Babies Blog in top ten for new midwives

The Nurse Practitioner Schools data base and blog listed Spinning Babies Blog in the first ten of their 50 Best Blogs for Midwives.

The Nurse Practitioner Schools blog gives a brief description of the many nursing schools around the US. If you are looking for nursing credentials, perhaps to go on to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, their site may be an online starting point.

Other exciting blogs (probably more exciting!) listed were
  • Navelgazing Midwife: This blogger is a professional midwife in San Diego who shares her experiences via her blog.
  • Jan Tritten's Blog: Found on Midwifery Today, this blog talks about a number of issues that midwives will find interesting.
  • Radical Midwife: This midwifery professional specializes in water and breech birth, but posts on a variety of topics here.
There are 46 more, but if I list them all here, it wouldn't be fair to the Nurse Practitioner School folks who put up their list. Go check it out,

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.