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Make plans now to attend one or both these conferences:
* Ocho Rios, Jamaica, December 2-6, 1999
Birth Without Borders--Weaving a Global Future
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Look for the link on the homepage.
- Mothering magazine: Mothering is in its 24th year of providing inspiration for attachment parenting. Mothering guides, nurtures, and supports while providing the latest on controversial parenting topics.
- Cascade Health Care: Cascade HealthCare Products, Inc. began business in 1979 with the primary goal to provide supplies and equipment for the emerging profession of midwifery. We have developed a complete product line that not only serves midwives, but nurse midwives, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, visiting nurses, birth centers, WIC programs, nurse practitioners, doulas, and professionals dealing with expectant parents, families and women's healthcare.
* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 23-27, 2000
Mainstreaming the Midwifery Model
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In This Week's Issue:
1) Quote of the Week
2) The Art of Midwifery
3) News Flashes
4) Enriching Our Knowledge
5) The Fullest Application of Herbal Remedies
6) Question of the Week
7) Question of the Week Responses
9) Why I Became a Birth Practitioner
1) Quote of the Week:
mind is stretched by a new idea, it will never again return to its original size."
- Oliver Wendall Holmes
2) The Art of Midwifery
One of the most irritating nuisances
of pregnancy is itching skin. In general, this is caused by an overtaxed liver.
My usual recommendation is to take dandelion root tincture (Taraxacum officinale)
twice daily. As the liver is nurtured and strengthened, the itching will stop,
or at least lessen considerably. Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus) is also a good treatment
for itching. Both these plants are mildly cathartic (help empty the bowels) and
diuretic, which is useful for removing toxins from the stressed liver.
- Katy Polone, Midwifery Today Issue 26
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Midwifery Care: Using Alternatives
Midwifery Today Philadelphia post-conference all day workshop
Monday, March 27, 2000
Instructor: Lisa Goldstein, midwife and herbalist
A full day of information about the use of herbals and homeopathics in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. An extensive
reference book will be given to class participants. Slides will be shown for plant
identification and there will be demos for making herbal tinctures, oils and salves
and homeopathic solutions from pellets. This class is for everyone!
For more information, call 1-800-743-0974. Please mention Code 940.
3) News Flashes
False Hypertension Linked With Cesareans
Many pregnant women may undergo unnecessary cesarean sections because they have "white-coat hypertension"--high
blood pressure that happens only when they are around doctors, a study reported
in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests. Almost one-third
of pregnant women have such false high blood pressure.
Believing it is real hypertension, doctors usually treat it with blood pressure
lowering drugs, which can compromise a woman's ability to have normal contractions
and in the study led to apparently unnecessary cesareans, said research author
Dr. Gianni Beliomo of Assisi Hospital in Italy.
Researchers studied 144 pregnant women who had high blood pressure during the
final third of their pregnancies and found that 42 had white-coat hypertension.
The women's blood pressure was normal when it was not being measured by a health
professional, as shown by portable monitors the women wore for 24 hours.
Nineteen of these 42 women ultimately underwent cesareans (45 percent), a rate
similar to the 42 cesareans (41 percent) among the 102 women with true hypertension.
But only 13 cesarean deliveries (12 percent) were done among a comparison group
of 103 women with normal blood pressure.
- AP wire service report, submitted by Rayner Garner
4) Enriching Our Knowledge
To use herbal medicine requires a
departure from the idea that the only valid knowledge comes from scientific research.
The scientific method is a powerful and useful paradigm, but we can enrich our
knowledge by allowing the possibility of learning from perspectives outside the
bio-medical model. Just because an herb has not been studied does not mean it
is ineffective or unsafe. Tradition of use and knowledge of the plant based on
observation and experience are valid as well. As noted by R. F. Weiss, a leading
German physician, where there is a long tradition of use by a population, [the
herb's] action has to be considered established, even without double blind trials."
For example, there is general knowledge regarding the use of prune juice for constipation.
We know what prune juice does, and that it is safe. It is not necessary to study
its safety and efficacy. [Similarly], when there has been widespread use of an
herb over time for a particular effect, there is validity to that knowledge.
The World Health Organization recommends that in a rational approach to evaluating
the safety and efficacy of herbal products, historical and cultural usage should
be combined with modern scientific research.
Herbal Preparations and Dosage Guidelines
Storage: Store dried herbs away from
light and heat.
Quality: The freshness and quality
of the herb, meaning the care with which it was harvested, dried and processed,
are the most important factors in the effectiveness of the herb.
Water-Based Preparations: Water-based
preparations must be made from dried, not fresh plants. In the fresh plant the
cell wall is still intact, so most of the constituents cannot be extracted. Drying
is necessary to rupture the cell wall and allow release of the constituents. A
larger quantity and broader range of the nourishing properties of the plant are
available in water than are in alcohol.
Simple teas are appropriate for flowers
and seeds which open and release their contents easily, or for herbs where the
volatile oils are a major constituent.
Infusions are used to prepare the
leafy portion of plants. Leaves have tougher cell walls so it takes longer for
the constituents to come out of the plant into solution.
Cold infusions are used for a few
plants which contain valuable constituents that would be damaged by heat.
Decoctions are used to extract the
more dense parts of plants such as roots or barks.
External applications of herbs, such
as poultices, compresses and fomentations, are used to accelerate healing and
prevent or draw out infection.
Essential oils are very strong and
are almost never used internally.
Infused oils: The fresh plant is simply
packed into a jar, covered with olive oil, and allowed to sit for two weeks. Salves
can be made by simply adding beeswax.
Tinctures are alcohol based preparation.
Some herbs work better in tincture form, since some plant constituents are more
soluble in alcohol than in water. Some plants are more effective medicinally if
the fresh plant is made into tincture; in other cases, dried plant is more beneficial,
and with some herbs it doesn't matter.
Glycerites, the sweet fraction of
oil (oil minus the fatty acids) does not have the same extractive properties of
alcohol. Most herbs are not effective in this preparation.
Powdered, prepackaged herbs have been
extensively exposed to air, causing oxidation and rapid loss of potency. Grinding
and encapsulating the herbs oneself is the best way to maintain high quality if
capsules are preferred.
Standardized extracts are chemically
manipulated to isolate, measure and concentrate specific compounds that are considered
to have beneficial activity. There is more potential for side effects with these
extracts. And the synergistic effects of the plant are diminished or lost.
- Cindy Belew, CNM, Herbalist, "Herbs and the Childbearing Woman, Vol. 1,"
a self-published book
5) The Fullest Application of Herbal
Using an herb only on the basis of
getting rid of unpleasant diseases without seeing the symptoms in the bigger picture
(the family ecology) is an allopathic practice and an intervention. Herbs can
be used this way--to fix something wrong--and/or herbs can promote the crisis
of suffering leading to healing which I consider of greater benefit.
Where I live in Utah, childbearing women have legs like the Rand-McNally Road
Atlas. A fairly high elevation coupled with a diet heavy in meat and sugar cause
varicosities in the legs and vulva. Add to this picture grand multiparity-it is
common for women to have a dozen children, most close in age.
Using astringent herbs to relieve the symptoms without honoring the way this condition
presently serves is a disservice. What good does it do to shrink veins if the
way the mother handles the pressure within isn't corrected itself? Stress is what
each of us makes of life--using herbs without seeing how each life handles stress
implies the need for more herbs to be used when the disease shows itself again.
And again it will--disease is the soul's way of calling to attention unbalanced
What I am emphasizing is the intention. How is the herb given and taken? Herbs
as topical band-aid, or herbs as healing agents, and/or herbs to relieve and heal
at the same time?
- Jeannine Parvati Baker, "Midwifery and Herbs," Midwifery Today Issue 26
For information on Midwifery Today conference auidotapes on herbs and alternative practice, go to http://www.midwiferytoday.com/mt/product/audioherb.html
6) Question of the Week: If you have any new insights or information about gestational
diabetes, please share it with E-News readers.
Send your responses to email@example.com
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7) Question of the Week Responses
Q: What is one of your favorite herbal
remedies or preventatives? Be specific about amount, frequency and application.
Think outside the usual!
I don't suppose my favorite is at all "outside the usual." Nonetheless, nettles is my favorite preventative herb!!
I encourage *all* my clients to drink 16-32 oz. of nettles tea every day! For women who just cannot drink this tea or in that quantity, I suggest taking the herb in capsule form (2 caps, 3 x day).
Nettles tea is a superior natural thirst quencher, high in vitamin K, iron and important anti-oxidants. Mixed with other woman-friendly herbs such as oat straw, red raspberry leaf and red clover, these herbs support the expanding blood volume and tone the uterus. It is a wonderful and refreshing beverage hot or cold. Taken during labor, it provides all important, blood clotting vitamin K for mother and baby. After the baby comes, it continues to refresh the mother, and helps increase milk production.
- Kim Mosny, CPM
I am an aspiring midwifery student in Germany. The midwives and doctors here use tea tree oil on the suture wound.
A few days after a woman has had an episiotomy or has torn, she is given a syringe
with the needle still attached, filled with tea tree oil. She is then shown how
to use a mirror to see her wound and to drop a few drops of this wonderfully cool
oil directly on it. If she is not comfortable doing this, the postpartum midwife
will apply the oil. Putting the oil in the syringe with needle allows accurate
application. This is standard practice here and from personal experience, I can
attest that it really works well.
- Kiersten Figurski
To increase milk when mine gets low, I have found that Mother's Milk tea, made by Traditional Medicinals, works well.
If I drink one cup in the morning and another cup around noon, I am nearly dripping
by afternoon. Even one cup in a day makes a significant difference. It contains
fennel seed, anise seed, coriander seed, spearmint leaf, lemongrass, lemon verbena
leaf, althea root, blessed thistle leaf, and fenugreek seed, a good tasting combination.
This tea is available at some health food stores and is also available from Cascade
Healthcare Products or Blooming Prairie Coop.
The other "herbal" remedy (broadly speaking) I have found effective
for increasing milk is oats. When my milk has gotten low, I eat a generous serving
of oatmeal for breakfast. Later in the day I can see a difference in the quantity
of my milk. I continue to eat this for a few days until my milk is reestablished
at a sufficient level.
Of course, these remedies should be combined with the common sense solutions of
plenty of liquids for mom and enough rest. Making milk is hard work for a mom's
I am a student midwife and work with herbs. Two herbs helpful for diabetes and safe during pregnancy are buchu and
uva ursi. The dosage would be: as a tea, boil a heaping teaspoon of uva ursi in
a pint of boiling water for thirty minutes (low boil to prevent evaporation).
Remove from heat and add an ounce of buchu leaves. Steep. Do not boil buchu leaves.
Buchu is originally from Africa. If you have trouble finding the ingredients,
I can help you.
Louise Hay states a probable cause for diabetes is "longing for what might
have been; great need to control; deep sorrow; no sweetness left." The affirmation
she recommends is, "This moment is filled with joy. I now choose to experience
the sweetness of today." I have seen metaphysical work effect healing.
As a fitness trainer, I was taught how exercise and nutrition help diabetes. Exercise
promotes the entry of glucose into the cells and so can lower a diabetic's glucose
levels. Too much exercise can bring on an episode of hypoglycemia. A safe recommendation,
with your care provider's approval, would be: walking, plenty of hydration and
the Bradley or Brewer diet (which can be accommodated to vegetarians). One key
to stabilizing blood sugar is the required 75-100 grams of protein daily, eaten
in six meals throughout the day. Pasta should be cooked al dente. White flour/sugar
products should be replaced with whole grains. Carbohydrates break down into sugar,
so limit portions.
Reply to: WINGDEL@aol.com
In response to the topic of miscarriage [Issue 43]: the emotional effect is an important part of the experience for caregivers to consider. Women and their partners each respond, sometimes with grief, and it is a passage to acknowledge.
I am a fabric artist, aspiring midwife and mother of three. My three daughters were born at home into the hands of my
mother (also a midwife) and me. The joy of their births has been exquisite.
Three months before becoming pregnant with my third daughter, I had a miscarriage
at about 5 weeks. I was devastated. I bled and bled, but had no actual baby to
look at, bury, mourn. I made what I now call an "Unborne Grieving Bag."
I dyed fabric to look like a placenta, and on it I quilted a tiny fetus I made
from soft fabric. I made a small bag, also hand dyed to look like a uterus, and
I put a blotchy red and blue dyed drawstring at the top to look like an umbilical
cord. Inside the bag I put healing herbs and ceder chips, and my little quilt
baby. I carried the baby around in my bra for about a week, taking it out and
kissing it, talking to it, and shedding tears over it, carrying it against the
warm place I would have nurtured it, fed it and cuddled it. I named my baby, and
placed special objects I found inside the bag with it to remember and honor it.
The grieving bag helped me tremendously in working through my grief. Since then
I have made many of these bags for others who have lost children and have also
used them to do a healing workshop in my home.
I now make the bags available, for US$20, to whomever might need one. Working
through my grief, I have found a way to make an income for my family, enabling
me to continue to stay home with my children and also fulfill my art. I can be
contacted for orders by phone or email.
- Allie Alden
In reference to Jennifer Landels' response to Valerie El Halta's recommendations for avoiding premature and low birthweight twins (Issue 43 & 42): it is important to know the difference between a single anecdotal
experience and the study of large numbers of like events. [Jennifer] is a well
nourished, intelligent and educated woman who is aware of her body and its functions.
Compare that with the deprived uneducated woman and you'll see large differences
in outcomes. The problem may be sociological of course but that's what the "medical"
safety net should be there to catch.
- Phil Watters
I am interested in knowing the differences
between a doula, a traditional midwife and a nurse midwife. Please explain.
What are midwives' experiences with
babies in whom hypospadia was treated and those who were not?
Does anyone know how toxemia may affect
the next pregnancy? I became pregnant when my baby was one year old, and my midwife
says the liver profile doesn't look good. My liver was apparently damaged when
I had toxemia the last time. I'm wondering what to expect this time around.
Share your responses to Switchboard
letters with E-News readers! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org If an
email address is included with the letter, feel free to respond directly.
9) Why I Became a Birth Practitioner
I am a 21 year old student, preparing to study midwifery formally. I traveled for almost 3 years before beginning my
college education (I am taking anatomy) and saw so many young mothers smoking
around their babies or even during pregnancy. I met very nice young women who
treated their pregnancies awfully.
I wondered and worried and decided that people must not realize how sacred it is to bring life into this world. I have never had children but I know it is so special and must be treated as such.
When a mother is pregnant, everything possible should be done to give this baby
a healthy start to life and the mother, a wonderful experience. So I decided I
wanted to help this happen by becoming a midwife. I plan to work with poor families
wherever my help is needed, foreign or domestic. I would love to correspond with
others who feel the same.
- Kelsey Fries
Reply to: Quiltur@aol.com
Why did you become a birth practitioner--or why do you aspire to become one? Send your responses to email@example.com
8) Coming E-News Themes
Coming issues of Midwifery Today E-News will carry the following themes. You are enthusiastically invited to write articles, make comments, tell stories, send techniques, ask questions, write letters or news items related to these themes:
- Waterbirth (Nov. 5)
- Omnium Gatherum (Nov. 12)
- Gestational Diabetes (Nov. 19)
We look forward to hearing from you very soon! Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Some themes will be duplicated over time, so your submission may be filed for later use.
This publication is presented by Midwifery Today, Inc., for the sole purpose of disseminating general health information for public benefit. The information contained in or provided through this publication is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be, and is not provided as, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Midwifery Today, Inc., does not assume liability for the use of this information in any jurisdiction or for the contents of any external Internet sites referenced, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advertised in this publication. Always seek the advice of your midwife, physician, nurse or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or for answers to any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.
The content of E-News is copyrighted by Midwifery Today, Inc., and, occasionally, other rights holders. You may forward E-News by e-mail an unlimited number of times, provided you do not alter the content in any way and that you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. You may print a single copy of each issue of E-News for your own personal, noncommercial use only, provided you include all applicable notices and disclaimers. Any other use of the content is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Midwifery Today, Inc., and any other applicable rights holders.
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