Natural Childbirth — Postpartum Period

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Homebirth in the News 11/2008 2

Generally speaking, when homebirth is covered in the media, it is usually with a condescending attitude or outright horror at the "risks" that women take for a homebirth. As many of us now know, that is nonsense and it appears that the trend of homebirth for well screened, low risk women is on the rise. Not just on the rise with the fringe either. Homebirthers are a highly educated, professional bunch. Homebirth in the News Yesterday's issue of the NY Times had a great piece on the rising trend of homebirths in the NY area with credit given to "The Business of Being Born" for bringing much needed attention to the ridiculous state of hospital births in America today. (Go Ricky! Go Ricky!) There was another very positive article on homebirthing in today's issue of TheLedger.com. In other news... Why do we (in N America) feel such righteous indignation toward those who practice genital mutilation on girls, yet we continue to look the other way when baby boys are routinely mutilated for religious, cultural or worse yet, cosmetic reasons?? A quote from the article: "The term “female circumcision” is synonymous with female genital mutilation, and acts as a blanket term for a variety of disfiguring surgical alterations. The World Health Organization firmly opposes female circumcision and considers the removal of the clitoral hood to be a prevailing form of genital mutilation. Male circumcision, however, is a term applied only to a single, familiar cultural practice, and is not considered mutilation. Male foreskin and the clitoral hood are biologically homologous and so mutilation of these body parts should be treated with similar concern. The acceptance of male genital mutilation is an outdated social construct that needs to be looked at from a less dichotomous perspective. It’s almost the same thing, so why treat it differently?" www.cordweekly.com Also see how high copper levels may have an influence on postpartum depression at wellpostpartum.com. Apparently blood copper levels rise in pregnancy and fail to go back down post partum in a number of PPD cases. Risk factors from the article: "Copper excess risk factors: Pregnancy Presently taking estrogen containing medication (e.g. OCP, HRT) Currently take multivitamin containing copper Regularly use copper tea kettles or pans Blue-green stains in bathtub, toilet or sink (suggestive of elevated copper content of water) Family history of: Postpartum depression ADD/ADHD/Autism Wilson’s Disease" www.wellpostpartum.com Last, check out these great tips from Gloria Lemay's wonderful blog about very specific ways you can really help out someone who just had a baby. Funny reading for someone who just had a baby and had to entertain tons of visitors and very useful information for someone who genuinely wants to help out.

Parenting, Postnatal and Postpartum Tips 1

Parenting tipsby Julian Hall Shortly after your baby is born, you may be somewhat focused on what you experienced during labor and delivery and less on your baby. This is perfectly normal. It was a monumental event in your life, and there is a transition period. Don't be afraid to share your feelings with others or write about your experience in a journal. As you adapt to your role as a mother, you may find yourself feeling stressed or anxious. You might question whether or not you will be a good mother, and you are probably feeling a bit exhausted and overwhelmed. You might even feel a little let down or blue. If you understand whats happening to your body and emotions, you will be much more likely to face the challenging first few months of motherhood. The following postpartum tips may help. Taking good care of your physical health is vital right now. Schedule time to eat meals, exercise (even if its just a walk around the block), and rest. Your body has worked hard through the pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and it will take another 40 weeks or more for things to return to normal. Immediately after delivery, your uterus will begin rapidly decreasing in size. Within several weeks, it will have returned to normal size. As well, you can expect to have vaginal bleeding, called lochia, for a couple of weeks while your uterus sheds its lining. If you are not breastfeeding, you will probably have a menstrual period within 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth. If you are breastfeeding, it may be many months or even years before menstruation returns. You can expect that you will be experiencing some postpartum pains and discomforts for a few days and possibly weeks, especially if you had a cesarean birth or an episiotomy. Don't try to overexert yourself until you are feeling, for the most part, pain-free. Other common complaints of women after giving birth include:
  • Constipation
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Sweating
  • Swollen, painful breasts (from breastfeeding)
  • Overall fatigue
Try to keep in mind that the aches, pains, and fatigue of being a new mother will go away on their own quickly. If, however, you feel that there may be a complication or problem, such as excessive bleeding, unexplained pain, or fever, don't hesitate to call your doctor. It is also very important to take care of your emotional wellbeing during this transition period. Many new mothers are surprised by how drained, sad or fragile they feel after giving birth. These feelings are normal, and it is frequently referred to as the baby blues. It is estimated that about 7 in 10 women develop some degree of the baby blues, and it is thought to be caused by both a drop in hormone levels and dealing with the stresses of taking care of a newborn. While these feelings may be confusing or even scary, they will fade quickly. When you are feeling down, remind yourself that you have taken on a huge responsibility being a mother. Feeling sad, angry or anxious occasionally does not mean that you are a failure as a mother, and it does not mean that you are mentally ill. What it does mean is that your body is adjusting to the changes that follow giving birth. For a small percentage of women, new motherhood brings feelings of despair, hopelessness, or severe anxiety. This is referred to as postpartum depression. Women who have mood disorders prior to pregnancy or who have a family history of mood disorders are more likely to develop this condition. If you are prone to depression, you may want to discuss this with your doctor or midwife before the baby arrives. There are many good treatments and counselors who can help relieve postpartum depression. Make sure to talk to a medical professional right away if you experience any of the following signs of postpartum depression:
  • Baby blues that last for more than a couple of weeks
  • Unexplained anger or depression that develops one or two months after delivery
  • Feelings of hopelessness or sadness that seem to be getting worse each day
  • Inability to sleep, even when tired
  • Sleeping most of the time, even when the baby is awake
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Lack of feelings for your baby
  • Panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
About the Author: Julian Hall of GiftBabies.co.uk - The Baby Gifts Company - The Most Unique, Innovative Gift Ideas for Babies, Christening Gifts, Newborn Gifts, Personalized Gifts, Organic Clothing, Nappies, Blankets and New Baby Gifts Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/spiritual_marketplace/2294615400/

Birthing Around the World 7

birthing around the worldSince ancestral times, birthing around the world was showed off in different customs based on varying beliefs around the miracle of life that birthing means. Birth has been also associated to fertility of the earth, and is the symbol of construction that rules the universe. In Egypt, mortality of both babies and pregnant women were regarded so high that a plea for divine intervention became a rite on the day of childbirth. Hator, Aset and Tawaret were invoked to protect the life and discover the destiny of a newborn. The Roman obstetrician Soranus (98-138 AD), wrote a book used until the 16th century describing childbirth care and common customs to observe before and after delivery. In the Middle Ages, European women were whipped to induce labor. During the 18th century, things would change. In 1739, the first obstetric wards in Great Britain were opened, and shortly after the Scottish obstetrician, William Smellie would publish his Treatise on Theory and Practice of Midwifery 1752. Midwives attended pregnant women and changed old customs, particularly during the next century when modern times began. In 1849, a doctor in Manchester reported three mothers and babies death after experimenting with five cases and because anesthesia was involved, a new superstitious belief was born. The turn of the century brought more studies on pregnancy, but people kept some custom even until today. In Germany, pregnant women visit a midwife before or instead of consulting an obstetrician. Doctors are considered "optional" on the birthing day. In several German cities, local government keeps a list of acceptable names for the newborns. Parents must choose a name from it, otherwise file a form compelling their reason asking for a non-listed name, a custom that is kept in an effort to protect children from potential ridicule after parents choose exotic or misspelled name. In Brazil, pregnant women are meant to have a Cesarean childbirth, because it is a delivery custom, although the government is making efforts for encouraging other childbirth methods with the hope to reduce the public expense that Cesarean surgeries cause to the state. In Turkey, there are no baby showers or special celebrations before or after the birthing day. The new mother and baby remain isolated for 20 days, after which they go from home to home visiting family and friends on an individual basis and celebrating with a special beverage. Japan is a nation with a cultural custom that dictates 21-bed days for women after giving birth, as in Mexico old time traditions make a women stay 40 days in bed, custom which only survives in a few remote rural communities today. The United States is multi-cultural nation where some of these customs are continued by immigrants, and others are resulting from the fusion of local and country home traditions. Author: Nicky Pilkington About the author: For more information about understanding childbirth and other childbirth information you can check out childbirth.me.uk Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/paopix/244067624/

Psychological Pain of Childbirth 2

Psychological Pain of Childbirth Birth is an extraordinary event for families and for the whole community. We have come a long way, and it is now rare for women to die in childbirth. There are still, however, many unanswered questions. Why is birth still perceived as dangerous, when it is such a natural event and there has never been a safer time in history to give birth? The physical pain of childbirth is well known but the vast majority of women suffer from the rarely talked about psychological pain of childbirth. Were we truly cursed by God in Genesis? These are questions that can become important for a woman, particularly after undergoing a particularly traumatic or surgical childbirth. Birth is a rite of passage into womanhood and if unplanned major assistance is provided it is not uncommon for a woman to feel that she has perhaps failed. Unresolved relationship issues may also surface which can be detrimental to the birthing process while also being distressing. "What happened?" a woman may ask, or even "Am I fit to be a good mother?" My own beliefs regarding child birth have developed from a life long interest that began for me in rural England, as a small child, watching farm animals as well as my own pets give birth. I was likewise drawn to the local women who regularly shared stories, not meant for my young ears. This of course only whet my appetite further! Telling one's story has, in psychology, always been the beginning of understanding and of healing. In my practice, in my research and now on my website I encourage women to share their birth stories. By sharing our words we open new possibilities for the entire community. A growing body of research together with my years of experience, including working with post birth trauma, has led me to predict a swing back towards natural birth, and indeed a new psychological model for birth is now emerging. The emphasis for those wanting a natural birth has been to be physically and mentally prepared. Caregivers often lack a psychological viewpoint and because of this I am often invited and consistently welcomed training and supervising medical staff in understanding the deeper emotional needs of mother and child at this significant transition. Being psychologically prepared for the birth of a child is as important as the physical preparation! Your well-being in both areas requires planning and preparation. This will benefit both you and your child. Hypno birthing, calm birth and an experienced Doula are all beneficial tools to consider for yourself. I will share with you my five golden rules of natural child birth; 1. Birth is a inward experience, such as meditation or prayer. Don't have anyone present while you are birthing that you don't feel totally comfortable ignoring or who is going to distract you. Your partner may be better helping with preparing food for the next few days, answering and making phone calls cleaning house or keeping company with other friends and relatives. Can you meditate comfortably for an hour or more with your partner present without being distracted by their presence or them being hurt by you ignoring them? Even if you don't meditate, try doing something like this with your partner to see if it feels comfortable. This can be a useful guide. Hypnobirthing is becoming very popular now and is very good for preparing both partners for the kind of state that a woman will deliver the most positive outcome for all involved . This can and should be part of your childbirth education or childbirth classes. 2.Adrenaline slows and disrupts (and can even put a brake on) the sequence of natural body chemicals necessary for a smooth delivery and bonding between mother and child. Any issues of fear around the birth (experienced by either partner) needs to be addressed well before time. The doctor, midwife or support person that you choose should be trained to help keep you calm and focused "inward" if you should be-come agitated or afraid. 3. Practice positions for first and second stage labor that you feel comfortable meditating or relaxing in. In the bath, in Open Lotus position, sitting up in a chair etc. Follow your bodies signals about what is comfortable. Feeling totally relaxed and no pressure on you to perform or give attention to others is powerful pain relief. Accept totally that your body knows what is happening and knows what to do. Birth is a neurochemical process, trust your body and let the process unfold. 4. Have a good relationship with your doctor or midwife who will be present at the birth. Make sure that they are aware of your intended approach. Not all caregivers have had training in the positive psychology of birth, these ideas may be new to them and you may need to take some time choosing the right support. This is vital to you feeling safe and secure. 5. Resolve emotional issues with yourself and your partner before the birth. Do you long for more attention from your partner? The birth process is not a good time to look for this. Do you feel resentment or fear about your partner controlling or possibly abandoning you? These issues can arise during birth bringing unwanted adrenaline into the equation. If unresolved they can get worse after the baby is born rather than better. There is wonderful help available for these and other unresolved emotional issues and needs. Start preparing psychologically for the best birth experience for yourself as soon as you plan to become or become pregnant. For those who have suffered an invasive or traumatic birth in the past, understanding what happened and how it might have been different can be very healing. For Childbirth education and childbirth classes visit www.newbirthways.com for more information. For those with unresolved emotional issues from a past traumatic birth experience help is available and will make you a stronger and more confident woman and mother. Happy new beginnings. Susan

Sheryl's comment:

Susan's five golden rules of birth can all be addressed with an unassisted childbirth.

1. Birth becomes an inward experience when you trust the process and allow your primal self to do what it already knows how to do. 2. Humiliating, painful and invasive procedures and interventions done by doctors and midwives is one of the primary causes of adrenaline surges during childbirth as a woman's fight or flight response is engaged. This can be avoided by avoiding the cause of the "attack" and only seeking medical attention if there is a problem. 3.Doctors and some midwives will force you into unnatural and damaging birthing positions particularly during the actual delivery. You need to allow your instincts and your body to naturally choose the best positions to labor and deliver in. The easiest way to ensure an optimal birthing position is to avoid birth attendants. 4. You will not have to try to educate or enlist the support of a doctor or midwife who are used to doing things in a way which benefits them and their schedule if you do not use a doctor or midwife. 5. An unassisted birth requires a greater amount of preparation and responsibility and this includes preparing mentally, physically, psychologically and naturally engaging the full support of your partner. By: Susan Dalby About the author: Birthing options/Birth classes/Parenting classes/Hypnobirthing/Post Natal Depression/Creating a Birth Plan/Positive psychology/Birth related PTSD (post-traumatic stress -disorder) and it's effect on relationships and sex/Individual, couples and group counselling. Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/xymox/156973810/