|January 3, 2007|
Volume 9, Issue 1
|Midwifery Today E-News|
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Attend two full-day sessions on Traditional Midwifery and discover what our sisters from Central America have to teach us. You'll learn traditional techniques for dealing with shoulder dystocia, hemorrhage, posterior, postpartum care and more. You'll also participate in a discussion about ways to preserve and strengthen midwifery, and ways to institute birth change when needed. Go here for more information and a complete program.
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In This Week’s Issue:
Quote of the Week
The solution to adult problems tomorrow depends on large measure upon how our children grow up today.
— Margaret Mead
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The Art of Midwifery
The Midwife's Role…[requires] a greater understanding of the intimate relationship of the mother and the unborn infant, in order to understand how [to] facilitate the process of bonding. I propose that present formal methods of research would only give us a very general overview of the answers, unfortunately, as I suspect each mother and infant bond and development will be unique to that particular couple at that particular moment in time.
I believe at the moment all we can do is recognise that a spiritual bond exists, and then listen, learn and be there for each woman as she goes through each experience, giving her the care she needs as she needs it in the best, loving, supportive way that we can. From there we can hope that this will in turn encourage her to do the same for her unborn child and afterwards, as she embarks on the journey of motherhood.
— Jennifer Hall
Want to learn more about bonding? Midwifery Today Issue 58 contains more articles on the subject.
ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you've perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn! Share them with E-News readers by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spirituality and Bonding
For many mothers, the first step in understanding bonding as a spirit-to-spirit experience is to recognize themselves as spiritual beings. The same activities that enhance the mother's awareness of her own spirituality can enhance her awareness of her spiritual bond with her child. These activities include meditation, imagery, prayer, listening to music, time spent in/with nature, bodywork/movement/sensing, reading inspirational literature, attending religious services, creative expression such as artwork, and journaling. The mother can use these activities to connect to her spirit or higher self, and in the process, find she is more receptive to connecting to her child.
For example, the mother can meditate to relax, clear her mind, and ask any questions that come up from this deeper place of awareness. When the mind is clear, the mother's intuition (which some describe as the third eye or sixth chakra) will allow communication to take place and she will receive answers in the form of seeing images, hearing words or thoughts, or feeling a warmth in her heart, depending on her predominant way of sensing. She can also ask questions about the well-being of her child and pregnancy, and what might improve her health physically, emotionally or spiritually. When the mother has impressions, she can then journal them in words or in art to further facilitate the spiritual communication process.
Obviously, quiet time is essential for enhancing spirituality and connecting with one's unborn child. In our hurried society, this is the most looming challenge for mother and midwife alike. The midwife can "make a deal" with the mother to spend quiet time three to five times a week in one or more of the above introspective activities. Even if it is only 15 minutes of meditation at bedtime, the mother will begin to notice positive growth in her sense of spirituality and her connection with her child. (Not to mention a decrease in stress!) The midwife can also encourage her childbirth educators to engage in more of these spiritually awakening activities in classes.
— Kathleen Johnson, excerpted from "Spirituality and Bonding," Midwifery Today Issue 58
Get the whole story. Read more articles about bonding and the mother-baby bond in Midwifery Today Issue 58.
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Research to Remember
In a small study on mother-infant bonding, 29 mothers had their babies placed on their abdomen for an hour, while 30 others were simply shown the baby and it was taken to the nursery (routine care at the time). Observations of feeding behavior two days later showed that mothers who had the extended contact exhibited much more affectionate behavior than those who had the so-called routine care. This effect was greater in mothers with less social support. No difference was seen between those with first or with later babies. Interestingly, mothers of female infants showed more affectionate behavior regardless of the procedure used.
— Pediatrics 72(1): 79–83.
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Web Site Update
Read these articles from our most recent issue (Number 80) of Midwifery Today magazine:
This new article in Spanish is now online. Let your Spanish-speaking friends know! If you're studying Spanish, read it alongside the English version which appears in Midwifery Today magazine Issue 80:
Eugene, Oregon, Conference 2007
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I am a graduate student and herbalist collecting empirical data on the use of Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) by herbalists and midwives. If you are a midwife or herbalist who has used this valuable plant when working with women, particularly for a considerable number of years, please consider contacting me for a brief interview. My intention is to collect and share information on using this plant safely and effectively for women everywhere. While generally contraindicated in pregnancy, motherwort has been used postpartum as well as during many stages of women's lives. I would love to hear about your experiences.
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Question of the Week (Repeat)
Q: This year I gave birth to my first baby. After forceps failed, an hour-and-a-half emergency cesarean was performed. The first incision made was a low transverse. Upon discovering I had [what is known as] Bandl's ring [a ridge that forms around the upper and lower segment's of the uterus, a sign of threatened uterine rupture], a classical incision was made. My baby's head was through this ring and after about an hour-plus of tugging, the decision was made to pull her out breech. I am sure a single layer of sutures was used on my uterine incisions because the time spent sewing me up seemed extremely brief.
Subsequently my baby spent three weeks in the NICU and I returned to the hospital for ten days of IV antibiotics for a persistent postpartum infection. Despite the extreme amount of stress and worry this has all caused, I want to have one more baby. I appreciate any knowledge midwives have to share because I want to make a fully informed decision about my next pregnancy.
SEND YOUR RESPONSE to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Question of the Week" in the subject line. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the message.
Question of the Week Responses
Q: I injured my coccyx during vaginal delivery. The delivery was fine, but I noticed the pain continued after the rest of me was healed. I had an x-ray done one month postpartum and there was no fracture. The pain still comes and goes, and the constant pain in my tailbone even limited my breastfeeding to one month because of the pain. That was a huge letdown for me, and it still hurts emotionally to think I could never get comfortable enough to bond with my baby.
This pain is a constant reminder of how hard my recovery was. Is there anything I can take other than anti-inflammatory medications for the rest of my life? Also are there any exercises and stretches I can do?
A: You are not alone in this situation. A few great, conservative techniques have been used for decades by women with your type of injury. The first thing is to find a specially trained chiropractor in your area who deals with injuries related to pregnancy. They will evaluate the pelvis, coccyx, and related ligaments to diagnose what is perpetuating the injury. Then they will offer treatments to aleviate the symptomes while eliminating the cause. For more info, go to pregnancychiropractic.com/index.php.
Second, I recommend buying Pete Egoscue's book Pain Free Women. This book has safe recovery exercises for post-delivery recovery. I have seen this book change lives. Go to www.egoscue.com
The last thing to mention is the safety of taking Advil every day. This is dangerous, so you should speak with your primary care physician about how to cycle your pain medication safely.
— Jason Lindekugel, DC
A: My midwifery partner Genie once had a mom whose coccyx went out of place during labor and she was in intense pain afterward. We gave her homeopathics for bruising (arnica). She was barely able to walk. After a day of that we sent her to a great chiropractor who inserted his finger rectally and pushed downward and it worked great. Her pain was gone right away.
— Jodi Dewhurst
A: Tailbone issues can arise in pregnancy and in birth, but it doesn't necessarily mean the tailbone is broken. A good chiropractor (one experienced in treating pregnant and postpartum women!) can often help. Have the chiropractor evaluate your whole pelvic structure (including the pubic symphysis, sacrum, hips, etc.) as well as your tailbone. Sometimes a direct adjustment to the tailbone is needed but often just adjusting the area around the tailbone is enough. Your chiropractor will help determine what is needed. Bodywork on the soft tissues around the area (muscles, supporting ligaments, etc.) may also be helpful after the adjustment.
— Pamela Vireday, CCE
A: I would recommend an adjustment by an osteopathic physician. It is probably slightly out of place. I recommend osteopathic manipulations for both mother and baby postpartum if they are having difficulties with pain in hips, etc., or for baby if nursing problems are present or for fussy babies. Cranial sacral manipulations by osteopaths are very successful for a lot of problems.
— Danette Condon, DEM
Responses to any Question of the Week may be sent to E-News at any time. Write to email@example.com. Please indicate the topic of discussion *and the E-News issue number* in the subject line or in the message.
Think about It
Immediately after birth, the mother is still physically and psychologically at her most open. Her baby constitutes for her a powerful symbol of her motherhood, her individuality, her new family, the beauty and wonder of nature and the perfection of her own body and her procreative powers. To hold, touch, gaze at her newborn unhindered is to internalize these messages, to incorporate her newborn through all her sensory channels into the transformed identity with which the mother will emerge from her initiation experience. Often this bonding experience is powerful and positive enough to entirely override, in the mother's conscious perception of her birth experience, any negative feelings of powerlessness, humiliation, or pain she may have been experiencing before her baby's birth.
— Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD
Archival Birth Footage Needed
I am producing a documentary on midwifery and current trends in birth. I am looking for archival footage of birth of hospital maternity wards from 1940s, 50s or 60s, in particular during the Twilight Sleep era, showing the use of scopolamine. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Amy Slotnick
I find it quite awful that so much fear is involved in the answers to some of these questions. Fear breeds fear, and I can say that if midwives have fear in their hearts during births, they may be very well contributing to difficult births.
Fear breeding fear is something that occurs even in our subconscious. We have many layers of our persona and spirit. In order to overcome these problems, we truly need to understand fears first. We should not think about negative birth, unless it happens in front of us. That is when we should react. If we think the whole time about our fears before we reach that point, then we have already created a powerfully negative energy. As someone in whom a new mother has put her care, we are doing a great disservice.
We can overcome our fears. This should be a first step in becoming a midwife. We need to learn about our true spirits. We need to explore all the realms of our own fears until we realize what they are.
My own best book for understanding my fears is the book Zhuan Falun written by Li Hongzhi in China. www.falundafa.org/eng/books.htm
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