February 13, 2002
Volume 4, Issue 7
Midwifery Today E-News
“Omnium Gatherum”
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Midwifery Today Conference News

Birth Reborn
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: March 21-25, 2002

Speakers will include: Penny Simkin, Michel Odent, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Marsden Wagner, Marina Alzugaray, Nancy Wainer Cohen and Harriette Hartigan.

Healthy Birth
Guangzhou, Guangdong, CHINA: June 7-9, 2002

The three-day conference will have components of Midwifery Today conferences as well as the presentation of several papers. Chinese doctors have been asked to arrange for midwives to be present as well as doctors, and it has been noted that we are interested in Chinese medicine. A hospital focused on the practice of Chinese medicine is located across the street from Shamin Island, where our venue is located.

Revitalizing Midwifery
The Hague, THE NETHERLANDS: November 13-17, 2002

A two-day midwifery education conference precedes three days of international conferencing.



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Midwifery Yard Sale on Ebay

Huge collection of books, magazines, tapes and misc. supplies. Great for student or to add to an existing library and supply closet. Moving. Must GO. Complete books for the AAMI Carla Hartley course, plus so much more! Credit cards accepted thru Paypal!! Go to:

Quote of the Week

"Technology has turned the fetus into a patient, reducing the mother to being the 'maternal environment' and preventing attachment until after the ultrasound has shown the fetus to be 'normal.'"

- Jennifer Hall

The Art of Midwifery

To encourage an occiput posterior (sunny-side-up) baby to turn, I recommend asynclitic exercises such as walking on an uneven surface (e.g., one foot on the curb, one foot off, or up and down stairs) and lunges with one leg up on a chair or stool.

- Charity Bailey, midwifery student, New York

The Psychology of Childbirth by Nora Tisdall. Theories related to childbearing such as self, self-image, self-concept, and perception of control. Only $16.95 at Midwifery Today's Storefront!

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News Flashes

During pregnancy, supplementation with folic acid may protect babies from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Australian researchers report. They studied parents of 83 children in a pediatric cancer center and 166 healthy, age- and sex-matched controls to determine what supplements were taken during the children's life in the womb. The protective effect of folate supplementation was an unexpected finding.

- Lancet 2001 (358): 1935-40

Did you miss the 2001 Eugene, Oregon conference?

Audio Tapes

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Learn about Getting an Apprenticeship, Massage and Other Techniques from Mexico, Serving Women in Hospital Birth, Spanish for Midwives, Doulas and Childbirth Educators and much much more!

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A Web Site Update for E-News Readers

Birth Song Midwifery Workbook
Cost: $24.95 plus shipping and handling

LOOKING FOR A MIDWIFERY WORKBOOK to help you with your studies? The Birth Song Midwifery Workbook has eleven chapters that cover the basics of normal birth and midwifery. Included are exercises, informative line drawings, and a nine-page glossary of midwifery terms.

COMPLETE YOUR LIBRARY of Midwifery Today back issues. Find them at Midwifery Today's Web site storefront.

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Get our Beginning Midwives' Pack, the package designed with YOU in mind. You'll receive a subscription to Midwifery Today magazine, the 332-page book Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education, and four audiotapes about the realities of being a midwife and the art of midwifery.

Midwifery Today's Online Forum

Have any of the midwives [on the Forum] caught a breech baby? I may be facing a breech birth soon and would like some input. - Kelley

Go to our forums to share your thoughts and experience.

Question of the Week: Stroke

I have a client who is 24 yrs old and is due March 14 with her first baby. She just had a stroke. It occurred in the right temporal lobe and was caused by a heart defect (atrial septal defect). The woman has had the heart problem all her life and never knew it. She was always into sports, very active, and it was never a problem. Now with the blood increase of pregnancy it became a problem and she threw a blood clot. She is now on blood thinners (Lobinox) and going through rehab. Her left side is paralyzed at this point. Has anyone ever had a similar case? Doctors are changing their stories constantly. One says he wants her to heal and carry this baby (who is fine at this point) to term so she has time to heal. Another says she needs to be induced (38-40 weeks) and needs Pitocin and epidural because she can't push this baby out - it could cause another stroke and may damage her heart. They may want to use forceps or vacuum extraction. C-sec is out of the question because of the blood thinners. The doctors in this area have never seen this happen before so they don't really know what the limitations or side effects are. The family is going to the Philadelphia area to see about other options. The father is a chiropractor and both dad and mom wanted this to be as natural as possible. What is a realistic expectation? Will natural birth be riskier than the meds and side effects of interventions? What about not pushing the baby out and letting mom let the baby come down with minimal pushing and minimal breath holding?

- Marlene

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Question of the Week Responses

Q: Would readers please share their experience and information about endometriosis and pregnancy/labour? Our pregnant client has quite severe endometriosis, with nonpregnant symptoms of frequent nausea, very painful cramping premenstrually and during menstruation, heavy bleeding and bleeding from the rectum.

- Anonymous

A: My experience is not as a midwife but as a woman who has endometriosis. I am also a nurse in labor and delivery and have a sister-in-law who is a CNM and also has endometriosis. In both my pregnancies I had nausea and vomiting for all nine months. I don't know if that was related to the endometriosis or the hormonal changes. For her pregnancies, my sister-in-law was less sick and for a shorter period of time.

My labor and delivery went well with both children. My sister-in-law's labor went well; delivery was a struggle. Why the difference? The endometrial implants I had were within the uterine cavity and tubes. My sister-in-law's implants were on the bowel, bladder, and outside of the reproductive organs. She had nothing on the tubes and very few implants near the uterus. Pushing was quite problematic because she felt her bladder was being pulled down with each push. She opted for a pudendal block, which relieved the intense pressure and pain.

I think that where the implants are and how extensive the implants have invaded the sites determines not how sick one is but the comfort level during pregnancy, labor and delivery.

- Catherine Mascari

This client's nonpregnant symptoms match mine almost exactly. Before my first pregnancy 18 years ago I had severe menstrual symptoms that began with my very first period. On the first day of any period I would not only bleed heavily but also have very regular cramping. The cramps would get closer and closer together until I would begin vomiting, get very panicky, sweat heavily, have diarrhea-like symptoms and then I would pass a very large clot. Once the clot was passed, the cramps would slowly subside and I would fall into a deep sleep. When I had my first labor it was like having these "cramps" all over again.

A doctor put me on birth control pills, which helped, but after several years I became concerned that all those hormones were not good for me. I was told by four different doctors that I would "never get pregnant" because my endometriosis was so bad. I was off the pill for about four years before I conceived.

The baby came at 34 weeks. The labor was relatively short for a first timer - eight hours. I dilated to 4 cm and stayed there for several hours before progressing to 10 cm within 30 minutes. I hemorrhaged after the birth of the placenta but did not need to be transfused. After my first baby I never had endometriosis symptoms again. The second pregnancy was seven years later. Labor was basically the same, although it lasted five hours and started spontaneously at 40 weeks. Again I "hung" at 4 cm dilation for two hours, went to 10 in 30 minutes, and the rest was pushing (baby was 3 lbs. bigger). I hemorrhaged again, no transfusion. After the first baby I realized my periods were very much like labor - they progressed the same way even with a transition-like stage.

My oldest daughter showed symptoms of endometriosis when she began her periods. However, we used Traditional Chinese Medicine to help her and she has been symptom-free since. She had only one episode of severe cramping with all the other symptoms I had at her age. I wish I had known about TCM when I was her age!

- Anonymous

More about pica [Issue 4:6]:

Craving soap is often a result of a lack of trace minerals in the diet, a form of pica. I highly recommend supplementing and my favorite is red raspberry leaf tea because of its high concentration of trace minerals. Three cups of tea a day is good, and more is better. It's very easily assimilated so her pica should improve quickly depending on the amount of tea consumed.

- Connie Banack, CLA/CLD, CPD, CCE, ICAN president

A patient with severe pica may have very low iron stores but still have a normal hemoglobin and hematocrit. Also check her zinc level. The best reference I found about this subject is Ambulatory Obstetrics, 3rd edition, by Star, et al.

I had a similar case recently with a woman who craved soaps, cleaning substances and bleach. I consulted with one of the hematologists in my clinic, and informed him of her low ferritin level and low zinc levels (also associated with pica). He made some recommendations for iron supplementation as well as zinc. These remedies helped somewhat but the cravings continued until birth. The woman said the most important thing was knowing there was a reason for this compulsion.

- Anonymous

More about kidney stones [Issues 4: 2, 3, 4]:

There is one other factor about calcium to consider. Calcium does not normally float around freely in the body. It occurs bound with other molecules. The most common form of kidney stone is made of calcium bound up with oxalate, an alkaline compound. Calcium bound with oxalate causes alkaline urine and it sediments out and forms stones more readily. The presence of calcium bound with citrate (which is acidic) in the kidneys prevents this from happening. Calcium stripped from bones is always bound with oxalate. So adding calcium to the diet, reducing caffeine intake and quitting smoking, all of which encourages retention of bone calcium, will reduce the amount of calcium bound with oxalate. In addition to ensuring adequate intake of calcium (and vitamin D required to use the calcium), one must also avoid consuming foods that contain oxalates such as strawberries, rhubarb and especially grapefruit juice. One must also increase intake of citrate to switch the pH balance to acidic. Lemonade is one example of an excellent source of citrate.

It is also important to remember that not all kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate. Some stones are made of other kinds of material and signal a different source for the stone. This is why your doctor wants you to catch and keep any kidney stones you pass. The stone can be tested for content. Different stones require different treatments. No treatment should be used without guidance from your doctor.

- Natalie Bjorklund

More about placental tear [Issue 4:5]:

I am an herbalist in the Chinese Tradition. I studied in China in the OB/GYN department of a large traditional hospital and have practiced with a focus on women's health for 20 years. My teacher, Dr. Qiu, used a special decoction - called Bu Jue Tang or Supplement Certainty Soup for placental tears and early detachment of the placenta - with dramatic results. Below is an excerpt I translated from her book. A case study regarding the use of this formula can be found at www.whitepinehealingarts.com.

Bu Jue Tang, Supplement Certainty Soup

Herbal Constituents:

Ren Shen Radix Ginseng (or Dang Shen Radix Codonopsis), 30 g.
Huang Qi Radix Astragalus, 24 g.
Bai Ji Mo Rhizoma Bletillae Striatae Powder, 6 g. Stir in.

Method: Decoct in water

Function: Consolidates qi, absorbs blood, "weeds through the old to bring forth the new," stops bleeding and engenders flesh.

Principle Use: Treats early detachment of the placenta.

Formula Explanation: This prescription contains Huang Qi Radix Astragalus, which has a warm quality and a sweet bland flavor. It can raise yang and supplement qi as well as heal wounds and grow flesh. It also can absorb blood and stop bleeding, consolidating so that the bleeding spontaneously stops. Ren Shen Radix Ginseng, (or Dang Shen Radix Codonopsis) increases strength, supplements the middle, and boosts qi. Bai Ji Rhizoma Bletillae Striatae sticks and pastes, takes in and closes, and repairs damage. Therefore this prescription is called "Supplement Certainty Soup." It has a very good effect for early detachment of the placenta.

- Anonymous


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International Connections

I am looking for a midwife in India who can accept me as an apprentice. I do not have any birth experiences or even knowledge, but I feel that midwifery is something I am supposed to be doing this life. In Japan, it is so hard to find someone I can work with and learn from. If you know a midwife in India, would you please let me know? Thank you so much for your time.

- Mika

Reply directly to: mikastars@hotmail.com


INTERNATIONAL MIDWIVES, please direct your questions, comments, and needs to "International Connections." We're here to help you!

Are you interested in connecting with birth enthusiasts and midwives around the globe? Join IAM!

The International Alliance of Midwives is an online directory of individuals and organizations working to change birth. Only $20 a year!


Dr. Helen Caldicott is again speaking out against nuclear proliferation on earth and in space and supporting women and children against the terrors of a world gone mad for war. If you or your organization is interested in endorsing a grassroots movement of midwives in opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and/or if you are interested in hearing Dr. Caldicott, please contact me at tduncan@pacifier.com, 503-325-1935.

- Sue Skinner

Bathing baby [Issue 4:6]:
I'm very interested in holistic care. When I had my son, I didn't give him his first bath until he was a month old. He never had skin problems or cradle cap until after I started bathing him. The only reason I started to bathe him was because of pressure from family and friends about "hygiene" and the inference of how bad a mother I was for not bathing him. I'm now expecting baby number two and will definitely wait even longer before the first bath.

- Christine Goodwin, Three Rivers, MI

Frequent miscarriage [Issue 4:6]:
Have this couple had their karyotypes checked to see if one of them has a balanced translocation? Frequent early miscarriages can be caused by many things; one partner with a balanced translocation is one of them. For those who may be unfamiliar with this condition, it occurs when part of a chromosome containing some of the DNA is broken off and moved to another chromosome or part of a chromosome is flipped within itself. The person with a balanced translocation has a full genetic compliment and so is normal. However, when it comes time to reproduce, the changed chromosome cannot line up properly with the partner's chromosome in making the new baby. The resulting embryo does not have the correct DNA compliment and is often lost as an early miscarriage.

Fortunately, a person with a balanced translocation has another unchanged chromosome in the pair so having normal children is still entirely possible. Or they can have a child that is the same as themselves, normal in every way but having this balanced translocation. Such a couple has to have the right combination in each pregnancy to carry to term and have a healthy baby and so may have many miscarriages before that happens.

A trip to a geneticist may be in order to rule out this possibility. In a couple in which one partner has a balanced translocation, one unfortunate outcome can be a baby that makes it to term but has an unbalanced chromosome compliment that causes severe birth defects. Careful prenatal monitoring may be in order for such a couple. Because balanced translocations can travel in families over several generations, if one is found, geneticists will usually offer testing to other family members as well. The clinical geneticists in the department where I work routinely offer karyotyping to any couple who have had three or more miscarriages to rule out a balanced translocation. While they don't find them frequently, they do find them often enough to justify offering the testing.

- Natalie Bjorklund

I had severe heartburn in the entire last trimester of my pregnancy. A few times a week I would get it so bad I would have to make myself throw up to relieve the acid. Can making myself throw up cause the baby to lie transverse? She was transverse from four months until the night I delivered. I was told I had a lot of amniotic fluid at my scan two days before my due date, but they didn't give me measurements.

- Sherry

Honey [Issue 4:4]:
Babies up to age one shouldn't have honey because of the possibility of ingesting botulism spores. Around age one, the gastric lining is mature enough to prevent the toxin from passing into the bloodstream; before then, all bets are off. The mom ingesting honey, either raw or cooked, is not a problem, both while pregnant and nursing. Remember the general rule: If it makes nursing more difficult, it probably isn't necessary.

- Lynette

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