A little behind the game on this one, but I do love this sketch by Jim Gaffigan about kids and homebirth…
A little behind the game on this one, but I do love this sketch by Jim Gaffigan about kids and homebirth…
The Royal Derby Hospital where I did my Midwifery training in England, is leading the way in Midwifery led care after receiving a £224,000 make-over in order to create a ‘home from home’ environment within the birthing unit. The maternity ward now homes an in-hospital birthing center where low risk moms can choose to give birth with minimal intervention, in a homely environment. It is well document that the environment in which women give birth, has a huge impact on the progression of labor and a woman’s overall childbirth experience. Staff within the unit wanted to create an environment where families could receive one-to-one care from a midwife in a “private and friendly” setting, without emphasis on medical intervention.
Last year, the Government announced it was awarding the Derby hospital a grant of £224,000 to make improvements to its maternity department. The money has been used to install a second birthing tub. The second birth pool will be used by women considered ‘high risk’ in the hope that this will bring a sense of normality back to their pregnancies. A separate entrance to the birthing center has also been created, along with the addition of a kitchenette for families to use during labor. Improvements have also been made to the overall decor, adding mood lighting and murals to the rooms. Floor mats, colourful lights, birthing chairs, birth balls, music and aromatherapy treatments will also be available to help create an “atmosphere of tranquillity”.
Lets hope hospitals across the pond can follow in the same footsteps in the near future to help support moms to give birth naturally. Not everyone is suited to an out of hospital birth, and therefore may need or want to give birth in the hospital. These women should still be able to receive care in an environment which is welcoming, relaxing, and conducive to natural birth. As Midwife Sue explains, ‘ultimately, this is about giving women more choice when it comes to how they want to give birth. The birth rate is going up and we think it is really positive that we can offer this atmosphere of normality – with the option of medical support if mums need it.”
This is such a beautiful post about weaning, taken from the blog ‘The Single Crunch‘, written by Kimberly, a work at home mama to two girls. This beautiful story had me welling up as I fast approach this place in my life also. I felt the need to share this story as it is so touching, and I am sure may people can relate to it. This is a topic that is not talked about enough. There is so much focus placed upon the actual act of breastfeeding, and the duration of breastfeeding, but not a lot of attention to what happens afterwards. I would love to hear more about other people’s weaning stories and experiences.
I learned that all human beings are mammals. All mammals hide themselves, isolate themselves to give birth. They need privacy. It is the same for humans. We should always be aware of this need for privacy.
~ Michel Odent
Despite what we are led to believe, our bodies work pretty well. They work in the same way they have done for millions of years. Our bodies have the same innate level of wisdom and survival features that they always have. The same ones that have allowed our species to successfully exist on this planet for hundreds of generations. When you really think about it, Mother Nature came up with a pretty fantastic design (although it may not always seem like it) for pregnancy, labor, birth and breastfeeding. When it all unfolds naturally, the concoction of hormones, emotions, reflexes and innate behaviors that evolve from both the mother and the baby, paint the most perfect picture.
In the last 3 weeks I have ‘midwifed’ and witnessed some of the most beautiful and inspiring births I have ever attended as a midwife, which have touched my heart in a number of ways. Sometimes as midwives we get so weighed down with the logistics and politics of our job, that it takes the shine away from the magical moments we have the privilege to share with our clients. 2013 has given me the strength and the opportunity to grow and really fly as a midwife, and I’m sure 2014 will be no different. I want to thank the families who have welcomed me in to their birth experience, I am grateful to you for allowing me the opportunity to spread my wings a little further. I love the lessens I get to learn through my work-it makes me feel humbled every day. I am entering 2014 with a new energy and passion for the work that I do.
#birth #midwife #GraceFull #lessonslifeteaches
I love how this one photo has sparked so much debate. What started off as an edgy alternative to the typical cutesy pregnancy pics, has gone viral across the globe! From LA to London, to China, Germany and New Zealand. It seems like everyone has something to say on the matter. Cross Fit’s Facebook page, where the photo was originally posted, has received over 16.5K ‘likes’ and 1.7K comments! Lea-Ann Ellison is now at the center of a media frenzy. She is being interviewed for newspapers and magazines (such as the Huffington Post, In Touch magazine, the London Metro and the Daily Mail to name a few) all over to tell her story and to give her thoughts on exercising whilst pregnant. She hopes that all this hype will bring attention to an important health issue. In her own words, “I can’t believe this photo has caused this much stir, but it makes me hopeful that it will inspire other strong healthy moms to continue on doing what they love.” (And, her midwives concur)!!
Photo by Nick Stern
I learnt something very interesting today, which I had never considered before. The window of opportunity for introducing new foods to infants is limited. It best time usually ranges from around 4-6 months to around 12-14 months. This, interestingly, corresponds to the time at which they begin to sit up with support to when the begin walking and running around freely on their own. This is an evolutionary protective mechanism so that once kids are up and running all over the place they become suspicious of unfamiliar fruits, vegetables and meats. This is a good thing because, lets face it-we can’t keep an eye on our kids every second of the day. This protective mechanism is designed so that if we were still ‘in the wild’, it would (hopefully) protect our kids from picking up and eating something which could potentially be poisonous. As this time frame is limited, it is so important to introduce infants to a wide range of colorful foods. According to Dr Greene, ‘if you let them sample something enough times…they can more easily acquire a taste for it than at any other period in life’. It is important to make the most of this nutritional window. Introducing infants to a rainbow of colorful tasty fruits and vegetables, whole grains and varied textures, rather than bland processed flavors, will set them on the right path for healthy eating through in to adult life.
Does anyone else think the traditional oral glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes, is enough to put anyone in to a diabetic coma? For regular healthy women who are conscious about what they eat, this test is highly inappropriate.
Let me explain why…
Firstly, let’s go over some basic physiology to understand how a healthy body deals with the breakdown of sugar (glucose). As glucose is ingested, blood glucose levels rise almost immediately. The pancreas responds by secreting insulin. Insulin helps the liver store excess glucose as glycogen until it is needed. As blood glucose levels begin to fall a few hours later, the stored glycogen is converted back to glucose to provide energy until more food can be eaten.
What many people don’t realize is that during pregnancy the placenta produces the hormones Lactogen, Estrogen and Progesterone, all of which counteract the function of insulin. The placenta also makes potent enzymes that destroy Insulin. Why would that be, I hear you ask. The body suppresses insulin purposely to allow more glucose to remain available in the mother’s bloodstream for longer periods of time. This is known as ‘glucose sparing’. Glucose sparing increases as pregnancy advances, peaking during the third trimester when the fetus gains most weight and needs more nourishment to grow. In other words, at 28 weeks (the time gestational diabetes screening is performed) the body actively creates higher levels of blood glucose (the very thing the test screens for) so that it is available for the baby to use to support its growth in the last trimester. In the medical field this is seen as a malfunction, a glucose ‘intolerance’, however this is normal pregnancy physiology.
For those of you who are not familiar, I will briefly explain the procedure of the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
The problem with this test in women who don’t ordinarily ingest such high levels of glucose, is that their body is not used to handling the overload. The pancreas cannot produce sufficient quantities of insulin fast enough to meet the demand. Therefore levels become temporarily elevated until the pancreas has chance to catch up. This decreased carbohydrate tolerance is known as starvation diabetes. When the pancreas catches up with the glucose overload, insulin surges, and glucose levels plummet. This is called the rebound effect. This shock reaction is not true diabetes. A woman with a diet with a low intake of refined carbohydrates is at high risk of starvation diabetes.
Giving a woman a concentrated refined sugar load before testing is not recommended. She can have a physiological reaction to the glucose overload which can mimic diabetes. When the pancreas is presented with such high levels of glucose, not enough insulin can be produced fast enough to compensate. A temporary peudo-diabetes results, making results abnormally high. When the pancreas catches up insulin surges and blood glucose levels crash. This rebound effect actually mimics hypoglycemia. The period of time for this to occur varies, but often the 1-3 hour OGTT is not long enough to allow levels to come down to a normal baseline.
This test is bad enough to put the mother through, but think what effects this has on her unborn baby. Think carefully before willingly undergoing this seeming ‘harmless’ procedure.
Ask your health care provider for alternative screening methods.