Monday, January 17, 2011

Spinning Babies model at the class

When I do a Spinning Babies class, I ask the local hostess(es) to ask a local pregnant woman to come be our morning model. From 10:30-12 she helps us with Belly Mapping and the Pregnancy Protocol, heavily featuring Dynamic Body Balancing (Dr. Carol Phillips, DC). In Atlanta, GA, the first full day, and a Saturday after the ice melted from the roads, Nicole came to be our pregnant momma. See pictures at Debbie Pulley's Facebook. or
I ask for someone who is over due if possible, because these activities have led to labor beginning in 36 hours. When my model isn't due, 36 to even 40 weeks, they haven't started labor. But 41 weeks, we've seen labor in 12-48 hours.
Now, any 41 week mother could go into labor in 12 or more hours after anything, sneezing or laughing, right?
But when they feel a "thunk" or have to jump up during the activities because baby suddenly dropped, I'm thinking this is doing something.
Especially when labor goes so well. Its not scientific, but I am asking for researchers. Meanwhile, try it yourself!

The Atlanta Spinning Babies Workshop was hosted on January 15, 2011 by the Georgia Birth Network and See Baby Perinatalogist, Dr. Bradley Bootstaylor and his staff.
Saturday's pregnant model was Nicole King, and she was 41 weeks pregnant with her second baby. She sent me this email today, the workshop was on 1-15.:

Here is the quick version: 1.16.11, 4:02am Baby Boy DiBella 9lbs. 21in. was born at home in the tub caught (just barely) by our midwife. Total birthing time approx 1hr 40min :) Intense and perfect! Stay tuned for the official story today or tomorrow...thanks for all you had to do with my amazing birthing time :)

Nicole King HCHI, HCHD, ICI
Adventures In Childbirth

I'm giggling again!! She may well have had a short birth anyway, but she did do some amazing work at the workshop! Pictures will be added soon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How I came to be the Spinning Babies Lady


Leslie Lytle, a sponsor for the Spinning Babies and Resolving Shoulder Dystocia Workshops in Richmond, VA this year (2011) asked me how I came to the concepts behind my approach.

I didn’t come through academia. The community called me out.
In the hospital, I saw babies handled at birth with no understanding of their awareness and impressionable emotions. My desire was for babies to have someone there to welcome them, someone who recognized their sentiency. Observing birthing women, I became enamored with their ability to transform self impressions into the strength and tenacity (when sometimes needed) to give birth. To witness women birthing themselves into a new woman is also miraculous!

The first midwives to take me with them to births had me watch several births before giving me a role to play. Observing mothers and listening to the metaphors of midwifery and observing mothers again, I could check my beliefs with what I was observing.
Given the frequency of posterior labors,
I quickly found I wanted more information about how I might help better when women experienced a particularly long or obstructed labor.

Penny Simkin helped us all, in the birth movement, immensely by bridging the jewels of physical therapy with the benefits of emotional support. Together with the other founders of DONA International (and parent, doulas and doula supporters across the world now), she deserves much of the credit for making the continuous presence of the doula the greatest innovation in childbirth in the 19th century.

I began Spinning Babies to communicate the
teaching of midwife Jean Sutton (Optimal Foetal Positioning), and leader Penny Simkin (The Labor Progress Handbook) through a traditional midwife perspective.
While Jean Sutton and Pauline Scott's Optimal Fetal Positioning includes pregnancy and labor activities and postures to enhance progress, I still heard from a group of women that “did everything” and still needed a cesarean. Why?

When the answers within the culture of birth didn’t satisfy, I opened myself to other communities. In the world of bodywork, Carol Phillips, DC helped me understanding how fetal rotation can be enhanced or hampered by maternal balance. Observing her techniques in the births of my mothers, I found the answer I was searching for - that Balance may need to be restored before maternal posture or activities can be effective in this minority of birthing women. From Liz Koch I learned more about the Psoas, and from Collette Crawford, the benefits of certain yoga routines for pregnancy.

Many, many midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses, yoga teachers, and body workers have contributed to my understanding. Most notably my friend, Jan Hofer, midwife to over a 1,000 (remarkable for the state of Minnesota) who gave me the most lovely example of how a midwife can be with women.

Most importantly I learn from the mothers and babies I continue to observe.
One very important “ah-ha” moment came after connecting extended shoulders to a long arc rotation after yet another shoulder dystocia. In a long arc rotation an OP baby rotates to OA,
usually in labor, before the birth of the head. I began an in depth, and expediently experiential, exploration of Resolving Shoulder Dystocia techniques.


By addressing the baby’s rotation and descent in a series of techniques that simulate the natural progression of labor, success is increased (and injuries lessened) for both obstructed labors and shoulder dystocia (arguably also an obstructed labor, right?)


Seeking the “truth” in birthing offers many humbling and corrective discoveries that bit-by-bit increase the accuracy of my interpretations. I don't expect to reach the ultimate understanding, or a 3-Point Birth Methodology.

Rather, I present this material to learn this material. And in sharing, preserve some of the unique perspective of traditional birthing with women, couples, and birth practitioners of all kinds. Together, we can uphold the sanctity of birthing; physical, emotional and spiritual.

And that's what being the Spinning Babies Lady means to me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pelvic floor protection


A Spinning Babies visitor- "I along with many women, would greatly appreciate any info you could provide as to what to do during pregnancy and especially during the pushing phase that would prevent pelvic organ prolapse (rectocele, cystocele, uterocele, etc.) from occurring, or at least help keep any current prolapse from worsening."

For your pelvic floor protection:

No caffiene (yes!)
Regular inversions, legs-up-the-wall and if you can, shoulder stands
A myofascial pelvic floor release side lying release)

Yoga exercises for pelvic balancing and strengthening
Release of the Psoas muscle pair


In pregnancy the same
plus do the side lying release once in early labor and once during late labor, for instance in the presence of strong contractions but no (slow) progress or after the transition phase before a strong urge to push (if there is a lull then). Any time is fine, but those are examples.
Picture of a side-lying release (pelvic floor release).

A good fetal position for an average size baby is easier on the pelvic floor. Continue a short inversion every day (30 seconds).

In labor, use rotation friendly comfort measures (upright, walking, hands and knees, side-lying when resting and techniques if labor is slow due to fetal position).
Keep your bladder empty, especially during pushing.

Push on hands and knees or standing rather than on your back, any position other than on your back if you are not allowed to be on Hands and Knees or upright.

Don't hold your breath and push unless there is no progress due to either asynclitism or a hand in the way, or perhaps just size. (Rather take a little nap if the contractions are spaced, there's no urge insisting upon spontaneous pushing.)
Sit in a deep tub of water for a while during pushing, even if you don't birth in the tub.

Once in a while strong pushing is just necessary, but less likely for a second baby than for a first. Possible, but less likely.

Plus, avoid a pudendal block, epidural, episiotomy, vacuum or forceps! There is a lot of evidence that these things cause more pelvic floor damage. Of course, the vacuum or forceps is reasonable to consider if it avoids a cesarean, but deciding when it is necessary varies among providers. Try a pelvic floor release (again if necessary) if pushing is slow. I realize some women will pick an epidural. I don't want anyone to suffer, but don't deny yourself the support you may need, the preparation that may help, so you aren't left lacking support in labor.

Rest for 5 days after birth, no stairs, no carrying, no walks, not on your feet except to go to the bathroom or go to meals. Use a portable potty and a futon if you have to. Have prepared meals, friends bring food, etc.
Rest from day 6-14 in the home avoiding stairs except if you live on a multifloor home and need to use the stairs to go to the bathroom or to be with the family. Then down once and up once a day. Use a portable potty chair the rest of the time. Take your first outing at the end of this time, or in the second week. If you have to see the doctor before then, take a nap immediately afterwards and get help with meals that day.

Days 15-45 one errand a week, one visit a week to a parenting group or other place of support. No cleaning other than a short visit to the kitchen sink. No vacuuming or picking things up off the floor or carrying anything heavier than baby. Have someone else carry the car seat and carry baby in a sling, not the car seat of a baby carrier seat.

Continue at that time with yoga and pelvic floor balancing and strengthening most days (plan everyday and see if you can get in at least 5 days a week).

That's what's on the top of my head.

Whole Woman, Inc. has an article on Preventing Maternal Injury During Birth. You may find some more tips.

The Childbirth Connection has several articles on Preventing Pelvic Floor Injury and Dysfunction.

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.