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Learn from, be inspired by and chat with Ina May Gaskin, Peggy O'Mara, Michel Odent, Marsden Wagner, and twelve other talented and wise teachers at the Midwifery Today conference in Austin, Texas, March 4-8, 1999. It's our only U.S. conference in 1999!
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In This Week's Issue:
1) Quote of the Week
2) The Art of Midwifery
3) News Flashes
6) Midwifery Today Question of the Quarter
9) Coming Themes
1) Quote of the Week:
begin the second half of the birth process by nourishing our newborns at our breasts, we join all the women who have gone before us to assure that the human race survives."
- Sue Huml, IBCLC
2) The Art of Midwifery
It is important to know how to ask questions of a newly breastfeeding mother sensitively
and effectively, so that while information is being gathered the mother feels
supported rather than threatened or criticized. The best questions are those that
do not require a simple "yes" or "no" answer and do not put
words into the mother's mouth. In general, beginning a question with "what"
or "how" will elicit more information. These words will encourage a
mother to expand upon her answer.
For example, don't ask "Is the baby breastfeeding well?" Instead, use
"How do you feel the baby is breastfeeding?" -"The Breastfeeding
Answer Book" revised edition, Nancy Mohrbacher and Julie Stock, La Leche
League International, 1997
Remedies for Plugged Ducts
When a breastfeeding woman has a plugged duct or mastitis, have her crush ginger
root and massage it over the pinkened area above the duct. This improves blood
flow. Some women have succeeded using whiskey or tiger balm.
Make a poultice of alfalfa and minced garlic, moistened with warmed lemon juice.
Apply over the affected area ten to twenty minutes before nursing. A moist heat
pack may also be helpful.
- Jacquiline Dever in Midwifery Today's "Tricks of the Trade Volume One."
At Midwifery Today, we have lots of tricks up our sleeves! Purchase our two volumes of Tricks of the Trade and you'll see what we mean: Save $5 when you purchase both Tricks of The Trade Volume I and Volume II. Only $40 plus shipping! Call today to order: 800-743-0974. For more information, visit the links above.
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and supporters please request a complementary video. 888 MAYA WRAP (888 629-2972)
3) News Flashes
Breastmilk Fights Infections
Research teams in various locations have confirmed that breastmilk delivers not
just antibodies, but a battery of additional infection fighting agents. Among
them are retinoic acids, a family of vitamin A derivatives. In a study at New
York State Institute for Basic Research, one type of retinoic acid was shown to
reduce the rate of viral colonization to one-hundredth of that seen in unprotected
cells; another type reduced it to a ten-thousandth of the unprotected rate.
At the University of Umea in Sweden, researchers found that Helicobacter pylori,
responsible for stomach ulcers, didn't attach in cultures of the mucus-secreting
cells that line the stomach when the glycoprotein kappa-casein, one of the two
primary proteins in breastmilk, was present. The bovine form of kappa-casein has
no effect whatsoever on the virus.
Breastmilk also contains large quantities of interleukin-10 (IL-10), an immune
system molecule that inhibits inflammation, according to researchers at the University
of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Gastrointestinal disease, devastating to
infants, is the result of an overproductive inflammatory process. Interleukin-10,
also found in large amounts in colostrum, keeps the inflammation process in check.
- Science News, April 15, 1995
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Relactation is rebuilding a birth mother's milk supply after it has been reduced or dried up.
In one survey of 366 women who relactated, most reported not being as concerned
with the amount of milk they produced as they were with having the opportunity
to nurture their baby through breastfeeding. Although some mothers made the decision
to relactate based on their baby's intolerance of formula, most did so because
of the effect breastfeeding would have on their relationship with their baby.
In hindsight, 75 percent of the women surveyed felt relactation had been a positive
experience and the amount of milk they produced had been unrelated to their feelings
In this survey, more than half the
mothers established a full milk supply within a month. It took another 25 percent
of the mothers to fully relactate. The remaining mothers both breastfed and bottle
fed until the baby was weaned. Mothers who attempted relactation within two months
of childbirth reported greater milk production than those who attempted it later
on. Many women have found the length of time it takes to relactate fully (completely
meeting the baby's needs) is about equal to how long it has been since breastfeeding
was discontinued. Several weeks is a realistic expectation for most mothers.
When used in combination with frequent
nursing and/or milk expression, certain medications have been found to increase
mother's milk supply. One of the most commonly used is metoclopramide (Reglan),
which when given at 10 mg doses three times per day for seven to fourteen days
has been found to increase milk production an average of 110 percent in mothers
with one month old babies. When the metoclopramide is discontinued, milk supply
may drop, but not usually to the level it was before treatment.
Some babies switch to the breast easily;
others need lots of encouragement. In the aforementioned survey, 39 percent of the women queried reported that their baby nursed well on the first attempt, 32
percent said their babies were ambivalent about breastfeeding, and 28 percent
refused the breast. But within a week, 54 percent of the babies had taken the
breast well, and by ten days the number rose to 74 percent. Although babies younger
than three months and those who had previously breastfed tended to be more willing,
the most crucial factors were time, patience and persistence.
In another report six children between
twelve and forty-eight months who had been weaned for up to six months stimulated
their mothers to at least partially relactate through sucking alone.
A nursing supplementer can help avoid nipple confusion and stimlate the mother's milk supply at the same time. If a
mother's milk supply is very low, the nursing supplementer will offer a baby instant
reward at the breast. In order to avoid the baby becoming overly dependent upon the supplementer, suggest the mother try using the supplementer on one breast
only and after the baby's initial hunger has been satisfied switiching to the
breast without the supplementer.
- La Leche League International, excerpted from "The Breastfeeding Answer Book," 1997.
Buy Midwifery Today's Breastfeeding Book: A great resource for anyone who works with nursing moms. A fine gift for a mother-to-be. Topics: Ethics, weaning, herbs, mastitis, positions, and more! Paper, 72 pages, $15.
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the reasons why all women, especially mothers of premature babies, should breastfeed.
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5) Commentary: by Jill Cohen, midwife
On December 15, 1998 our local newspaper carried a front page news story about an HIV-positive mother who gave birth to
a baby on December 7. Because she chose not to treat her child with AZT but also
wanted to breastfeed him, the baby's pediatrician reported her to Social Services.
A court order was issued for her to stop breastfeeding and for the baby to begin
taking AZT. In addition, the state has taken legal custody of this child while
he remains in physical custody of his parents. While there are few cases across
the country of this caliber, it is notable that in similar cases the parents'
choice not to treat with AZT, which the medical community admits is highly toxic,
is most often based on religious convictions. This is not the case here, however.
In fact these are well informed parents who have done much investigation on their
own and are basing their decisions on medically based research and the discrepancies
that are evident within that research.
There are two major issues at stake
here. First is the issue of HIV, the effects of transference, the accuracy or
inaccuracy of medical research vs. the parents' right to choose care for their
child, and the effects of treatment vs, nontreatment in terms of side effects
and quality of life. Second is the issue of how the medical and state officials
tamper with the constitutional rights of parents in this society. Whose child
is this? If the parents are sound, competent, caring parents (which these folks
seem to be) are they not entitled to make informed choices regarding their child?
And what of the tactics used to dissuade these parents from their choice--taking
custody of their own child away with the claim that they are abusing him? Is it
possible that what authorities are terming abuse is in fact a caring stance backed
by information put forth to the public and read by these parents and supposedly
by the very officials claiming abuse?
In its September/October issue, Mothering
magazine published an article about the use of AZT in pregnancy and its use on
newborns. It also includes compelling information about the inaccuracy of HIV
testing and whether HIV in fact always causes AIDS. In terms of the Eugene, Oregon
case, the Mothering article is enlightening. Society and its purveyors of public
good tends to accept mainstream medical authority verbatim until its discrepancies
are pointed out, often in debate with more nontraditional medical authorities
who raise issues and ask questions. Meanwhile, where does this leave the parents,
and in this case a newborn who gets swept up in the debate? If the parents are
smart, conscientious and caring, they will do their research and inform themselves
on all the options and effects of treatment. They will make the best and wisest
choice taking into consideration all the facts available as well as their personal
and family values. Why is doing one's best and standing by one's ethics so vastly
disapproved of? Why is it not only challenged but disregarded to the extent that
one's beloved child is subjected by law to questionable treatment, when the medical
world has no idea how that treatment affects a person in the long run? What has
happened to our basic family rights? And why is society at war with the right
to question technology?
Interestingly, the same newspaper that published the story about the couple and their newborn ran a front-page story
the next day on the proven efficacy of AZT on HIV transmission rates in newborns.
The article mentioned Dr. Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular biology at
UC Berkeley who has consistently raised strong objections to standard research
on HIV/AIDS, only in passing, failing to mention alternative viewpoints in anything
but a dismissive tone. Is this the kind of research we want the public to continue
to swallow--the status quo, no questions asked, only one side explained in detail
as if it's a done deal?
Consider what happened with women who were given Thalidomide. Years after this drug was used--with faith in the
medical community's assurances that it was safe--it was proven that it caused
thousands of birth defects. And what about DES, a synthetic hormone used to prevent
miscarriages? It was later proven to cause vaginal cancer in the daughters of the women who had taken the drug during pregnancy, a very long-term price to pay.
After these catastrophes it became common understanding in the public and medical
realms that the use of chemicals during pregnancy should be banned. But here we
are again, taking the risk of making another major medical mistake at the cost
of our children!
In the face of this controversy lie the individuals who are affected by the disease itself and by the disease of our
cultural reactions. Prevailing medical stances don't always provide correct answers
to how to deal with either one. We don't know everything there is to know about
HIV, its effects on pregnancy, breastfeeding and infants. We don't know everything
about AZT and its effects, either. But we have to remember that parents have a
deep cellular, instinctual connection to their children. Their informed choices
should be held in high regard and honored when true negligence and abuse have
been ruled out. The Oregon couple and other families who have found themselves
in the same or similar situations have been wronged by a system that claims to
honor choice. When choice is not an option, what is left of our hopes and dreams?
What is left of our freedom? What do we tell our children?
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If you are a midwife and not yet listed with our referral service, then you are losing business. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a Professional Survey. You'll also find the widest selection of books and videos on waterbirth. And don't forget to register for the next World Waterbirth Conference that will take place in Portland, Oregon, at the Downtown Marriott, September 21-24, 2000.
6) Midwifery Today Question of the Quarter: What is your favorite homebirth story?
Join us in our Golden Issue--No. 50 of Midwifery Today magazine--and tell us your story. Please adhere to a 275 word limit. We'll choose the three best stories for publication! Send your submissions to email@example.com or Midwifery Today Question of the Quarter, PO Box 2672, Eugene, OR 97402 USA by March 15.
In response to Meg Stoyle-Corby's request for assistance in advising a client with gestational diabetes about nutrition
during the festival of Passover [E-News Issue 7]: It can be done. If your client uses the round shmura matzos, about
one third of one is equivalent to one bread exchange. It is true that matzo and
potatoes are staples, and that one may not consume dairy within six hours of consuming
meat. However, there are options. Eggs are also a staple. She can have dairy in
the morning, and eggs, chicken, meat or nuts for other meals. Peelable fruits
and vegetables are also allowed by even the strictest of opinions. For the two
siddurim, she does need to eat the required amounts of matzo and drink wine and/or
grape juice. However, depending on how elevated her blood glucose levels are,
she could consult her rabbi about how to work with her dietary restrictions to
satisfy both her health and religious requirements.
- Devorah Shulman
Brooklyn, New York
In response to Meg's request for her Jewish client and getting proper Kosher nutrition: There is a mailing list that
you can link up with from www.fensende.com.
This particular list is for the Jewish birthing community, or people interested
in the Jewish birthing community. You could join the list, ask your question,
and I'm sure there would be many knowledgeable people there to fully answer your
question. I'm sure it would not be an abuse of the list to join and quit after
you have gotten the information.
- Mary Doyle
midwifery student at Alivio in Chicago
Are we SURE that Jewish law requires her to observe Passover? I'd check with a rabbi given the situation. I realize
I may be comparing apples to oranges here, but it is my understanding that pregnant
Muslim women are excused from fasting during Ramadan. I think they are expected
to make it up at another time. Perhaps there is something similar here? With all
due respect, I find it hard to believe that a modified diet would be considered
a sin when she has gestational diabetes--what an interesting theological issue.
- Amanda Surbey
I am not sure I see the problem. As I understand it, gestational diabetes can be managed with good healthy eating.
This is the primary focus of a Kosher diet. Not mixing dairy products and meat
should not be a concern. By choosing calcium rich vegetables, like broccoli, the
woman can keep her calcium intake at a good safe level. Supplements can be added
to the diet if there is a real concern. Fruits and vegetables can be eaten with
both meat and milk. During Passover leavened bread/wheat products are the only
item eliminated from the diet. Matzah doesn't have to be a staple, just something
that is used in place of bread. There is always a way around it--if there is something
she needs nutritionally from bread, find an alternative. Let me know if I can
Actually, non-observance of Passover is not only an option, it is the rule for those with medical conditions because
observance may constitute a danger. Judiasm puts the health of its people before
almost anything else. Jews who have health problems are routinely encouraged not
to participate in rituals which involve fasting or other dietary measures.
Doula in Cambridge, Massachusetts
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When you do, we can be of assistance much more quickly. Thanks!
I have seen the new babe of Midwifery Today. Good work. I am impressed that this is EXACTLY what many had hoped for
the Internet, but instead we get mostly junk. Keep up the great stuff.Raymond DeVries
9) Coming Themes
- smoking and pregnancy
- placenta previa
- posterior labor
- cesarean section
- postpartum depression
- meconium aspiration
- tear prevention
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