Birthowl’s natural childbirth

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.


The Sound Environment of the Womb

The sound environment of the womb is very rich. There are various interpretations as to the noise level, ranging between 30 to 96 dB. (decibel being a measure of sound intensity or loudness). A whisper can register 30 dB., a normal conversation is about 60 dB. and rush hour traffic can average about 70 dB. On the other hand, shouted conversations and motorcycles reach about 100 dB. Rock music has been measured as 115 dB. and the pain threshold begins at 125 dB. Yet, recent research with hydrophones have revealed that the womb is a “relatively quiet place” (Deliege & Sloboda, 1996), something comparable to what we experience in our environment between 50 and 60 dB.

Uterine sounds form a “sound carpet” over which the mother’s voice in particular appears very distinct and which the prenate gives special attention because it is so different from its own amniotic environment. These sounds are of major importance because they establishes the first patterns of communication and bonding. Some researchers have discovered that newborns become calmer and more self-regulated when exposed to intrauterine sound (Murooka et. al 1976; DeCasper 1983; Rossner 1979).

lullaby from the womb

The soothing sounds of the ocean and water are probably reminiscent of the fluid environment in which we began life. Tomatis suggests that the maternal heart beat, respiration and intestinal gurgling, all form the source for our collective attraction to the sound of surf and may have to do with our inborn sense of rhythm. Prenatal sounds form an important developmental component in prenatal life because they provide a foundation for later learning and behavior. With fetal sound stimulation the brain functions at a higher level of organization.

The ear first appears in the 3rd week of gestation and it becomes functional by the 16th week. The fetus begins active listening by the 24th week. We know from ultrasound observations that the fetus hears and responds to a sound pulse starting about 16 weeks of age (Shahidullah & Hepper, 1992); this is even before the ear construction is complete. The cochlear structures of the ear appear to function by the 20th week and mature synapses have been found between the 24th and 28th weeks (Pujol et al. 1991). For this reason most formal programs of prenatal stimulation are usually designed to begin during the third trimester. The sense of hearing is probably the most developed of all the senses before birth.

Four-month-old fetuses can respond in very specific ways to sound; if exposed to loud music, and their heart beat will accelerate. A Japanese study of pregnant women living near the Osaka airport had smaller babies and an inflated incidence of prematurity-arguably related to the environment of incessant loud noise. Chronic noise can also be associated with birth defects (Szmeja et al. 1979). I recently received a report from a mother who was in her 7th month of pregnancy when she visited the zoo. In the lion’s enclosure, the animals were in process of being fed. The roar of one lion would set off another lion and the sound was so intense she had to leave the scene as the fetus reacted with a strong kick and left her feeling ill. Many years later, when the child was 7 years of age, it was found that he had a hearing deficiency in the lower-middle range. This child also reacts with fear when viewing TV programs of lions and related animals. There are numerous reports about mothers having to leave war movies and concerts because the auditory stimulus caused the fetus to become hyperactive.

Alfred Tomatis notes that the ear is “the Rome of the body” because almost all cranial nerves lead to it and therefore it is considered our most primary sense organ. Embryonically, according to him, the skin is differentiated ear, and we listen with our whole body.


Momma Michelle:

My pregnancy was healthy, normal and perfect in every way until I was induced for being “overdue” at only 40 weeks 6 days. The typical hospital interventions began, and eventually I was wheeled off to the OR like so many women today. Now ask yourself, why would a healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy *need* surgery?? The cesarean section rate in the United States is at epidemic porportions. This is unacceptable. Our children deserve better. Women deserve better. If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or know someone who is–Be informed! Know your options! Most pregnancies do not need doctors or hospitals. Your body knows best. A cesarean is not “easy” or “glamorous” like Hollywood makes it out to be. It is ugly, painful and risk-laden surgery. Make well informed decisions. Don’t be another statistic.

Mi embarazo era sano, normal y perfecto de cada manera hasta que me indujeron para ser “atrasado” en solamente 40 semanas 6 días. Los interventions típicos del hospital comenzaron, y apagado me rodaron eventual a O como tan muchas mujeres hoy. ¿Ahora pregúntese que, por qué una mujer sana con un embarazo sano * necesidad * cirugía?? La tarifa de la sección cesariana en los Estados Unidos está en los porportions epidémicos. Esto es inaceptable. Nuestros niños merecen mejor. Las mujeres merecen mejor. ¡Si usted es embarazado, intentando llegar a ser embarazado, o sepa a alguien que es — sea informado! ¡Sepa sus opciones! La mayoría de los embarazos no necesitan doctores u hospitales. Su cuerpo sabe lo más mejor posible. Un cesariano no es “fácil” o “encantador” como Hollywood lo hace hacia fuera para ser. Es cirugía fea, dolorosa y de risk-cargado. Tome las decisiones informadas bien. No sea otra estadística.

Turning Fear and Pain into Relaxed Focus for Birthing

When my wife became pregnant with out first daughter, we did a lot of research into my wife’s family birthing experiences and other cultures. We found that her grandmother gave birth in a Hawaiian sugar plantation by herself.

Two children were born to her in this manner. There was no pain or distress. Labor was a matter of minutes once her waters had broken, she took a day off work, and resumed work the next day with her baby strapped to her back.

To her such an outcome was unremarkable. A later birth in the local hospital was another matter. She reported that as very painful and the labor took 10 hours. She found the whole experience very unpleasant, and demeaning in how she was treated.

We found several cultures where birthing is gentle, quiet, relatively painfree, and labor is measured in minutes once the water bag has broken. (This is not to say that conditions are ideal in many other areas in these cultures. They are not.)

We decided after comparing home birth with hospital birth to have our baby at home. We found a very supportive and kind midwife and ignored the warnings of disaster and threats of prosecution for manslaughter if anything happened to either mother or child!


When her waters broke her contractions were strong and regular and birth seemed imminent. Then as soon as the midwife and two friends arrived everything stopped. My wife was displaying symptoms of fight or flight. So I sent everyone out of the room to make tea, and as flight was impossible I got her very angry and for quite a while she pounded the pillows and mattress and shrieked her rage as loud as she could.

Once she had discharged her rage her contractions restarted and her cervix dilated, and she had a very easy birth. This experience gave me a new perspective on birth and how the birth process can be effected. From then on whenever I was called upon to attend a birth I began to suggest and apply some techniques that I had developed for mitigating or resolving chronic pain.

For a while I was quite puzzled as to why so many birthing mothers went into fight or flight when midwives, Doulas family or friends arrived or they went to a hospital. Particularly as so many these days have undergone extensive preparation for the birth with relaxation classes. Then I realised that the adrenalin rush is a primitive response designed for survival and we have probably underestimated it’s power, and while conscious training will help under some conditions, if a birthing mother unconsciously senses danger, birthing will cease until either the threat has left or the adrenalin has been discharged with violent exercise, and no amount of training will inhibit it.

We are almost certainly the only species that allows relative strangers into the birthing environment. The cultures that appear to have benign births are those where the birthing mother is attended by people who she has known all her life, or she is encouraged to give birth by herself. Even then, if the wise woman or midwife of the tribe senses a family member present who stimulates tension for the birthing mother she is asked to leave. Which brings me to a very important aspect which can have disastrous consequences for the neonate. It is to do with that we are also the only species which allows strangers into the nurturing environment before maturity.

Happy birthing and nurturing.
Rayner Garner <> 

Photo by Madaisa

A father’s birth story


A new member of the tribe arrived last night at 9:14pm but not without a fight.


Apparently, Calder liked his mommy’s womb so much, he was hesitant to leave it. Can’t say as I blame him. Karin labored for nearly 40 hours. She did not take any drugs for the pain, which was, at times excruciating. Karin took control at 9pm and taught Calder his first lesson – about who was in charge. She simply insisted he come out and meet his parents. Despite repeated attempts to scurry back up into the safety of the womb, Calder came out with his mouth open, screaming his presence to the world. He does not yet have the power of words, but I’m pretty sure he was saying HERE I AM.

Karin was simply amazing. She is the strongest person I have ever known. You have never in your life seen anyone so calm, so brave, so focused, so dedicated to her child. Karin was a hero last night, to me, to our baby, and truly to anyone who saw her struggle. It was the hardest thing she has ever done, and she stepped into it with power, with grace and with unfathomable courage.

In the last 30 or so years, Motherhood has taken a hit in some quarters, by some feminists, as something less than befitting a strong modern woman. While surely that attitude has resulted from the years of patriarchial oppression of women in modern western society, nothing – nothing- could be further from the truth.

Any woman who ever doubts the nobility, the beauty or the honor of motherhood, should have been in that room with us to witness what I saw – a woman in complete control of her body and her life, fully conscious and capable of ferocious, irrepressible love. And any man who ever doubts a woman’s ability to accomplish anything, anything, in this life has certainly never seen one in her finest moment. I was fortunate enough to bear witness to one such woman, in one such moment, and it was something to see. I plan on telling my son this as soon as he is able to understand the words. And he will understand.

<!–[if gte vml 1]&gt; &lt;![endif]–><!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>He will understand that his mother is a warrior of peace. A warrior of love. Karin suffered pain and mental exhaustion to ensure that her son, my son, our son, would be born into his life fully conscious without any drugs coursing through his veins, and subsequently fully aware of his entry into the world. She fought for his health. She fought for his spirit. She fought for his life. And he appreciated it. Calder took to his mothers breast immediately. He hugged her tight in his first minute of life while the umbilical cord, still attached to his mother, pulsed gently between his skin and hers.

So Calder is born unto this world with a crushing, all encompassing love and respect for the woman in his life. Many men forget this. I will make sure this young man never does.

I have never had more faith in the human race than I do right now. I am joyful and hopeful for this world because of this baby, the woman I married, and the lesson I learned last night about how truly powerful human beings can be.

by Nick Raio 

Prenatal Influences

from “The Secret Life of the Unborn Child”
by Thomas Verny, M.D. with John Kelly

… at one time or another nearly every expectant mother senses that she and her unborn child are reacting to one another’s feelings. …

  • The fetus can see, hear, experience, taste, and, on a primitive level, even learn in utero (that is, in the uterus — before birth). Most profoundly, he can feel — not with an adult’s sophistication, but feel nonetheless.
  • A corollary to this discovery is that what a child feels and perceives begins shaping his attitudes and expectations about himself. Whether he ultimately sees himself and, hence, acts as a happy or sad, aggressive or meek, secure or anxiety-ridden person depends, in part, on the messages he gets about himself in the womb.
  • The chief source of those shaping messages is the child’s mother. This does not mean every fleeting worry, doubt or anxiety a woman has rebounds on her child. What matters are deep persistent patterns of feeling. Chronic anxiety or a wrenching ambivalence about motherhood can leave a deep scar on an unborn child’s personality. On the other hand, such life-enhancing emotions as joy, elation and anticipation can contribute significantly to the emotional development of a healthy child.
  • New research is also beginning to focus much more on the father’s feelings. Until recently his emotions were disregarded. Our latest studies indicate that this view is dangerously wrong. They show that how a man feels about his wife and unborn child is one of the single most important factors in determining the success of a pregnancy. …

On Inducing Labour
Excerpts from “The Tree and the Fruit- Routine versus
Selective Strategies in Postmaturity” by Dr. Michel Odent
According to traditional wisdom in rural France, a baby in the womb should be compared to fruit on the tree. Not all the fruit on the same tree is ripe at the same time. A fruit that has been picked before it is ripe will never be fit to eat and will quickly go bad. It is the same with a baby. In other words, we must accept that some babies need a much longer time than others before they are ready to be born. If you have some apple trees in your garden, you will listen to your common sense and choose an individualized and selective approach: you will not pick all the apples on the same day.
An induced labor is more difficult than a labor that has started spontaneously. It usually leads to the need for epidural anesthesia and an oxytocin drip, which more often than not precedes a cascade of interventions, culminating in a vacuum, forceps delivery or an emergency cesarean. The “labor induction epidemic” helps to explain the rising cesarean rates all over the world.
In Peace
One drawback of the current prevailing strategy is that many women don’t spend the last days of their pregnancy in peace. If they have not gone into labor spontaneously, they become obsessed with the date they were given for induction. Their emotional state probably tends to delay the onset of labor.
Some try non-medical methods of induction. These women may not realize that any effective method (from acupuncture to nipple stimulation and sexual intercourse) may initiate labor before the baby has signaled its maturity. There is no natural way of inducing labor. Some methods are undoubtedly unpleasant and even dangerous. This is true even of castor oil or blue cohosh.
Photo by Kelly and April