Birthowl’s natural childbirth


Comfort Nursing
January 11, 2010, 4:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“You are not a pacifier; you are a Mom. You are the sun, the moon, the earth, you are liquid love, you are warmth, you are security, you are comfort in the very deepest aspect of the meaning of comfort…. but you are not a pacifier!” — Paula Yount

Many moms feel guilty for nursing their baby to sleep. Nursing your baby to sleep is not a bad thing to do! It’s very normal and developmentally appropriate for babies to nurse to sleep and to wake 1-3 times during the night for the first year or so. Some babies don’t do this, but they are the exception, not the rule. Many children, if given the choice, prefer to nurse to sleep through the second year and beyond. Nursing is obviously designed to comfort baby and tohelp baby sleep, and I’ve never seen a convincing reason why mothers shouldn’t use this wonderful “tool” that we’ve been given.

Superhoop breastfeeding her boy

breastfeeding

 

Am I creating a bad habit by allowing baby to nurse to sleep?

Your baby’s desire to nurse to sleep is very normal and not a bad habit you’ve fostered. Don’t be afraid to nurse your baby to sleep or fear that you are perpetuating a bad habit. Baby often will seek the breast when sleepy or over-stimulated because it’s a comforting and familiar place to him. To associate the breast with wanting to relax enough to go to sleep makes perfect sense. As adults, we also do things to relax ourselves so we can go to sleep: we read, watch TV, get something warm to drink or a snack, deep breathe, get all snug under the covers, etc. Nursing does the same thing for your baby.

kellymom



Trusting in Birth
December 21, 2009, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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Surrendering to Birth

Surrendering to Birth

Childbirth is a normal, physiological process – a natural function of the female human body. Other normal physiological functions include sleeping, eating, taking a crap, breathing, etc.

All those other processes could be considered risky – for example, everytime you eat, you run the risk of choking to death on something, or falling ill from the food. But for the majority of the time, for the majority of us, we are able to eat without falling sick nor choking.

Take eating… We don’t take any preventive “just in case” measures everytime we eat. We simply eat without thinking about it, assuming that we will be fine.

So, why do we have problems trusting in the birth process, and that everything will be fine? Its different for each person, and to work through it, you need to know your own “why’s” and “becauses”.

Trust in birth. There is only one thing vital to the birthing process and that is a mother giving birth. Everything else is just decoration.

The true journey and progress is made within each individual mother and with each of her unique pregnancies and births. This is something only the woman giving birth can do, not anyone else and it would be arrogant to think that a birthing woman can’t do what she is already instinctively doing without support or assistance.

There is nothing to fear in birth. One should not be fearing complications, pain, inability to birth, intervention, unwanted presences, etc yet a lot of women have something to fear and that hinders the birthing process.

Women who freely choose to have a freebirth, often have worked out their issues beforehand and are left with a deep trust in birth and themselves.

Trust in it like you would in your ability to eat and your body’s ability to eat and process the food.

To give birth is to complete the cycle of creating a life, and it should be as sacred as the act of creating it.

Purebirth Australia – Unassisted pregnancy & unassisted childbirth resources. Information on obtaining birth certificates, maternity payments, lotus birth, solo freebirth, handling bleeding at home & other childbirth complications. Australian UC birth stories, photos & forums available as well!



Why Should Natural Birth Be Our Goal?
November 16, 2008, 5:48 am
Filed under: labour | Tags: , , ,

When birth is as natural as possible, when the mother is allowed to labor freely without interference from anyone, her labor will go more quickly and safely.

When human beings intervene in the birth process, they introduce elements which the body does not know how to deal with.  Drugs and medical procedures are obstacles to safe birth because they introduce variables into the birthing equation which are not part of your genetically encoded birth instructions.   Your body responds pathologically to drugs in your system, or being confined to a bed and not being allowed to eat or drink. When your body is sending you signals and you ignore them, or you can’t feel them because you have been given drugs or are too afraid to understand what your body is telling you, complications and further intervention are almost inevitable.

Any drug given to you during labor will reach the baby within a few minutes of administration.  Keep in mind that even though the dosage may be right for you, because the baby shares your blood system, the baby receives the same dosage as you do.  I’m sure you have looked at children’s pain relief or cold medications. On the package they always tell you how much to administer according to the child’s age and body weight.  When pain medication is administered to you, the mother, the dosage is administered according to your needs, not the baby’s.  They have to give you enough to numb the pain; you are getting an adult dosage which is much too much for a baby.  If that baby was out of the womb, and a doctor administered that dosage of pain medication directly to your baby, he would be cited for malpractice.  Because your baby is smaller than you, and the amount of medication in his system is too much, it takes longer for it to leave his system than it does you.  Babies of epidural mothers have more respiratory distress than other babies.  After the baby is born, if will often sleep more than normal and be lethargic.  Often these babies have no interest in breastfeeding for quite some time after birth.  They do not experience the calm, alert state that naturally born babies experience.  This quiet alert state is important to maximize postpartum bonding of mother and infant.

When your labor is induced or augmented with Pitocin, your contractions speed up and seem to occur back to back without a resting period in between.  This can cause the uterus to become exhausted and unable to contract effectively.  You may get dilated to a certain point and then make no further progress.  At that point a cesarean section becomes necessary.  Pitocin also increases the risk of uterine rupture because the contractions are much more intense.  Women often start out with Pitocin and the contractions become so painful that they cannot cope without pain medication.  So there are two drugs in your system instead of one.

Most hospitals require continuous electronic fetal monitoring.  This procedure includes strapping an ultrasound device to your belly to monitor the contractions, your heart rate, and the baby’s heart rate.  When you have this device attached, you must stay in bed.  When you have epidural anesthesia you must also stay in bed.  Lying in bed increases the length of labor, increases the pain of contractions, and reduces your ability to cope with contractions.  You MUST be able to change positions as your body tells you to.

Lying in bed often produces changes in the fetal heart beat.  Sometimes these changes represent true fetal distress, and sometimes they are interpreted as such when no danger exists.  Either way, if the mother was allowed to get out of bed and move around, these heartbeat irregularities often return to normal. Sometimes the irregularities are simply the result of the normal birth process and are not distressful at all.  Onlookers have no idea which is the case, so they always intervene.  Studies of electronic fetal monitoring have found that results are not always interpreted correctly, and that although the results may actually indicate fetal distress, other tests performed on mother and infant do not always concur that distress exists.  Where electronic fetal monitoring is used, there is always a rise in forceps deliveries and cesarean sections.  Electronic fetal monitoring has not been shown to significantly improve the outcome for mother and baby, but it does increase the amount of intervention.

In the hospital, you are often given a diagnosis of “failure to progress” if you do not dilate at least one centimeter per hour.  This diagnosis is based upon research done many years ago by a doctor named Friedman.  He kept records of many, many births, and averaged the length and progress of these labors.  He came up with what is now called “Friedman’s Curve.”  The average progression is one centimeter per hour.  If you don’t progress at least this fast, you will probably be given Pitocin.  If you still aren’t progressing with Pitocin, you will be “offered” a cesarean section.  Offered is a funny way to put it, since you will be told there is no other option.

How would you feel if you were told that the average woman is 5’4″ and that because you were 5’7″ you were abnormal?  That is essentially what is being said to those who don’t progress at least one centimeter per hour.  No one seems to realize that Friedman’s one centimeter per hour is an AVERAGE.  Averages are made up of highs, middles, and lows added together.  Some women progress in a steady manner, but many if not most labors progress in spurts.  You may make steady progress for a while, then have a resting period, and then pick up again.  Your labor is also affected by your emotional state, which is why distractions in the labor room must be avoided at all costs.  Many times, a change in the emotional climate is all that is needed to jumpstart labor again.

Your body knows exactly how to give birth.  All you must do is remove the obstacles so that your body can do what it knows how to do.  Allowing the woman to control her own birth insures that things are going just they way they are supposed to go.  Your body will not do something to sabotage your birth, unless obstacles make it impossible.  Focus on learning how to remove every obstacle possible.

http://www.unhinderedliving.com

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picture by Justin Henry



Prenatal Yoga Exercises for the first rimester
November 13, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: pregnancy | Tags: , , ,

1. Ardha Titali Asan (Half Butterfly)

How to do?

Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the right leg and place the right foot as far up on the left thigh as possible. Place the right hand on top of the bent right knee.

Hold the toes of the right foot with the left hand. While breathing in, gently move the right knee up towards the chest. Breathing out, gently push the knee down and try to touch the floor. The trunk should not move. Movement of leg should be achieved by the exertion of the right arm. Repeat with left leg. Slowly practice about 10 up and down movements with each leg. DO NOT STRAIN.

Benefits

It is an excellent practice for loosening of hip and knee joints, which shall enable faster delivery.

2. Poorna Titali Asan (Full Butterfly)

How to do?

Sit with legs outstretched. Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together, keeping the heels as close to the body as possible. Fully relax the inner thighs. Clasp the feet with both hands.

Gently bounce the knees up and down, using the elbows as levers to press the legs down. Do not use any force. Repeat up to 20-30 times. Straighten the legs and relax.

Benefits

Tension from inner thigh muscles is relieved. Removes tiredness from legs.

3. Supta UdarakarshanAsan (Sleeping Abdominal Stretch Pose)

How to do?

Lie in the back. Interlock fingers of both hands and place hands beneath the head. Bend knees, keeping the soles of feet on the floor.

While breathing out lower the legs towards the right, trying to touch the knees on the floor. At the same time move the head towards the left, giving uniform twisting stretch to the entire spine. Repeat on the other side by bending legs towards left, and head towards right.

Benefits

Removes constipation, improves digestion. Relieves stiffness and strain of spine caused by prolonged sitting.

4. Chakki Chalan Asan (Churning the Mill Pose)

How to do?

Sit with legs stretched out in front of the body about one foot apart. Interlock fingers of both hands and hold the arms out straight in front of the chest.

Make large circular movements over both feet, trying to take the hands over the toes on the forward swing and coming as far back as possible on the backward swing. Practice 10 times in each direction.

Benefits

Excellent asan for toning the nerves and organs of pelvis and abdomen preparing them for pregnancy. Useful in regulating menstrual cycle. Also an excellent post natal exercise.

5. Kashta Takshan Asan (Chopping Wood Pose)

How to do?

Sit in squatting pose with feet flat on the ground and one and a half feet apart. Clasp fingers of hand and place them on the floor between the feet. Straighten the arms and keep them straight throughout the practice. Elbows should be inside the knees. Imagine the action of chopping wood. Raise arms as high as possible, behind the head, stretching the spine upward. Look up towards the hands.

Make a downward stroke. Expel the breath making an “Ha” sound and removing all air from the lungs. Hands should return towards the feet. This is one round. Practice 5-10 rounds.

Benefits

It loosens the pelvic girdle and tones the pelvic muscles.

6. Marjari Asan (Cat Stretch Pose)

How to do?

Sit with buttocks on the heels (Vajrasan). Raise the buttocks and stand on the knees. Lean forward and place the hands flat on the floor. This is the starting position. Inhale while raising the head and depressing the spine so that the back becomes concave. Exhale, while lowering the head and stretching the spine upward.

At the end of the exhalation contract the abdomen and pull in the buttocks. Head will be now between the arms, facing the thighs. This is one round. It may be done for 5-10 times .Be careful not to strain yourself.

Benefits

This asan improves flexibility of the neck, shoulders and spine. Tones female reproductive system. Can be safely practiced during first 6 months of pregnancy.

7. Kati Chakrasan (Waist Rotating Pose)

How to do?

Stand with the feet about half a meter apart and the arms by the sides. Inhale while raising the arms to shoulder level. Exhale and twist body to left. Bring right hand to left shoulder and wrap left arm around the back. Look over left shoulder. Hold breath for 2 seconds, inhale and return to starting position. Keep feet firmly on ground while twisting. Repeat on other side. Do twisting smoothly without any jerks. Do about 5-10 rounds.

Benefits

Tones waist, back and hips . Induces a feeling of lightness and used to relieve physical and mental tension.

8. Tadasan (Palm Tree Pose)

How to do?

Stand with feet together and arms on the side. Raise arms over the head, interlock fingers and then turn the palms upward. Place hands over the head. Inhale and stretch the arms, shoulders and chest upwards. Raise heels to come up on the toes. Stretch whole body from top to bottom. Lower heels while exhaling and bring hands on top of the head. Relax for few seconds and repeat whole round 5-10 times.

Benefits

Helps develop physical and mental balance. Entire spine is stretched and loosened, helping to clear congestion of the spinal nerves. Also stretches rectos abdominal muscles keeping them nerves toned.

9. Utthanasan (Squat and Rise Pose)

How to do?

Stand erect on feet about a meter apart, with toes turned out. Interlock fingers of both hands and let them hang loosely in front of the body. Slowly bend knees and lower buttocks. Straighten knees and return to upright position.

Benefits

Strengthens muscles of middle back, uterus, thighs and ankles.

10. Kandharasan (Shoulder Pose)

How to do?

Lie flat on back. Bend knees, place soles of feet flat on the floor with the heels touching the buttocks. Feet and knees may be hip width apart. Grasp ankles with hands. Raise buttocks and arch back backward.

Try to raise the chest and navel as high as possible, without moving feet or shoulders. In final position, the body is supported by the head, neck, shoulders, arms and feet. Hold pose as long as it is comfortable. Release ankles and relax.

Benefits

Realigns the spine and relieves backache. It massages and stretches the colon and abdominal organs, improving digestion. Tones female reproductive organs and especially recommended for women who tend to miscarry. Should not be done in advanced stages of pregnancy.* Under expert guidance, it has been successfully used to turn the baby when it is a breech presentation.

http://www.healthandyoga.com



Advantages and Benefits of Breastfeeding
  1. Saves Lives. Currently there are 9 million infant deaths a year. Breastfeeding saves an estimated 6 million additional deaths from infectious disease alone.
  2. Provides Initial Immunization. Breastmilk, especially the first milk (colostrum), contains anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents that protect the infant against disease, especially diarrhoea. These are not present in animal milk or formula. Breastmilk also aids the development of the infant’s own immune system.
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  3. Prevents Diarrhoea / Diarrhea. Diarrhoea is the leading cause of death among infants in developing countries. Infants under two months of age who are not breastfed are 25 times as likely to die of diarrhea than infants exclusively breastfed. Continued breastfeeding during diarrhea reduces dehydration, severity, duration, and negative nutritional consequences of diarrhea.
  4. Provides Complete and Perfect Nutrition. Breastmilk is a perfect food that cannot be duplicated. It is more easily digested than any substitute, and it actually alters in composition to meet the changing nutritional needs of the growing infant. It provides all the nutrients and water needed by a healthy infant during the first 6 months of life. Formula or cow’s milk may be too dilute (which reduces its nutritional value) or too concentrated (so that it does not provide enough water), and the proportions of different nutrients are not ideal.
  5. Maximizes a Child’s Physical and Intellectual Potential. Malnutrition among infants up to six months of age can be virtually eradicated by the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. For young children beyond six months, breastmilk serves as the nutritional foundation to promote continued healthful growth. Premature infants fed breastmilk show higher developmental scores as toddlers and higher IQs as children than those not fed breastmilk.
  6. Promotes the Recovery of the Sick Child. Breastfeeding provides a nutritious, easily digestible food when a sick child loses appetite for other foods. When a child is ill or has diarrhea, breastfeeding helps prevent dehydration. Frequent breastfeeding also diminishes the risk of malnutrition and fosters catch-up growth following illness.
  7. Supports Food Security. Breastmilk provides total food security for an infant’s first six months. It maximizes food resources, both because it is naturally renewing, and because food that would otherwise be fed to an infant can be given to others. A mother’s milk supply adjusts to demand; only extremely malnourished mothers have a reduced capacity to breastfeed.
  8. Bonds Mother and Child. Breastfeeding immediately after delivery encourages the “bonding” of the mother to her infant, which has important emotional benefits for both and helps to secure the child’s place within the family. Breastfeeding provides physiological and psychological benefits for both mother and child. It creates emotional bonds, and has been known to reduce rates of infant abandonment.
  9. Helps Birth Spacing. In developing countries, exclusive breastfeeding reduces total potential fertility as much as all other modern contraceptive methods combined. Mothers who breastfeed usually have a longer period of infertility after giving birth than do mothers who do not breastfeed.
  10. Benefits Maternal Health. Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of fatal postpartum hemorrhage, the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and of anemia. By spacing births, breastfeeding allows the mother to recuperate before she conceives again.
  11. Saves Money. Breastfeeding is among the most cost-effective of child survival interventions. Households save money; and institutions economize by reducing the need for bottles and formulas. By shortening mothers’ hospital stay, nations save foreign exchange. There are none of the expenses associated with feeding breastmilk substitutes (e.g. the costs of fuel, utensils, and special formulas, and of the mother’s time in formula preparation).
  12. Is Environment-friendly. Breastfeeding does not waste scarce resources or create pollution. Breastmilk is a naturally-renewable resource that requires no packaging, shipping, or disposal.
  13. Breastfeeding is Clean. It does not require the use of bottles, nipples, water and formula which are easily contaminated with bacteria that can cause diarrhoea.
  14. Milk intolerance is very rare in infants who take only breastmilk.

http://www.rehydrate.org/breastfeed/index.html
Photo by Tony Ocado



THE CRITICAL SENSITIVE PERIOD
November 10, 2008, 2:37 am
Filed under: birth | Tags: , , , ,

Michel Odent on Mother & Baby separation:

Oxytocin is more than just the hormone responsible for uterine contractions. When it is injected into the brain of a mammal, even a male or virgin rat, it induces maternal behavior, i.e., the need to take care of pups. One of the greatest peaks of oxytocin a woman can have in her life is just after childbirth, if the birth has occurred without any intervention. It is also necessary for the “milk ejection reflex.” In fact, oxytocin is involved in any episode of sexual life, and both partners release oxytocin during intercourse. It is even involved in any aspect of love and friendship: when we share a meal with companions, we increase our levels of oxytocin.Morphine-like hormones, commonly called endorphins, also play important roles in the birth process. Up to the birth of the baby, both mother and fetus release their own endorphins, so that during the hour following birth they are still impregnated with opiates. It is well known that opiates induce a state of dependency. When mother and baby haven’t yet eliminated their endorphins and are close to each other, the beginning of a deep bond is created. In fact, when sexual partners are close to each other and impregnated with opiates, another kind of bonding may result that follows exactly the same model as the bonding between mother and baby.

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It is not only the mother who is releasing hormones during labor and delivery. During the last contractions, the fetus is also releasing a high level of hormones of the adrenaline family. One of the effects of this is that the baby is alert at birth, with eyes wide open and pupils dilated. Mothers are fascinated by the gaze of their newborn babies. It seems that this eye-to-eye contact is an important feature of the beginning of the mother-baby relationship, which probably helps the release of the love hormone, oxytocin. Both mother and baby are in a complex hormonal balance that will not last long and will never happen again. Physiologists today can interpret what ethologists have known for half a century by studying the behavior of animals: where the development of the capacity to love is concerned, there is a critical, sensitive period just after the birth.



Backache…not for me.
October 22, 2008, 6:16 am
Filed under: pregnancy | Tags: , , , , ,

More than 50 percent of moms-to-be complain of back pain in the last half of pregnancy. Back muscles get a triple whammy during pregnancy: your ligaments, which are relaxing to allow for easier passage of the baby through the pelvis, are looser all over, putting more strain on your muscles, especially those supporting your spine; your overstretched abdominal muscles force you to rely more on your back to support your weight; and the change in your posture and the curvature of your spine as you compensate for your front-heavy body creates still more work for the back muscles. In the third trimester especially, these overworked muscles and back ligaments will protest in pain.

 

6 Simple Strategies to Prevent Backache:

1. Perform simple low-impact aerobic exercises such as swimming and biking to strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles.

2. Wear sensible shoes. Both high heels and totally flat shoes can strain back muscles. Try shoes with wide, medium-height heels (no higher than two inches) for dress, and walking shoes for casual wear.

3. Avoid jogging on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, which can be jarring to the spine. Instead of jogging try fast walking, and on natural surfaces like grass, earth or sand, which are easier on the muscles and joints than pounding a hard surface.

4. Don’t twist your spine. When you stand or sleep be sure your shoulders and hips are aligned. Avoid awkward reaches, such as getting a heavy box down from the top of a closet or lifting a sleeping toddler from a car seat. If you must under undertake activities that call for awkward lifting, see if you can rethink the job. Consider unbuckling a toddler’s car seat, for example, and turning the seat toward you before you lift your child out.

5. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. When you do sit, use a footstool to raise your knees a bit higher than your hips and take pressure off your lower back. If you must stand in one position for a while, put one foot forward and place most of your weight on it for a few minutes, then switch your weight to the other foot. Better yet, prop the forward foot up on a stool, telephone book, drawer, or cabinet ledge.

6. Sleep on your side, and frequently shift sleeping positions.

 

4 Safe Ways to Treat Backache:

1. Rest. Usually, simply resting strained muscles will ease the pain.

2. Soak in warm water. Try soaking in warm water or standing in the shower with a jet of warm water focused on the painful area.

3. Pack the back. Many mothers swear by a hot or cold pack (or alternating both) on the painful area. If baby pressing against your spine seems to be the cause of pain, as is common during the final month, try the knee-chest position for a while.

4. Massage it. Ask your mate to give you a back massage. Practice these back massages now so he can later become a useful masseur to help ease the pain of back labor.

www.askdrsears.com