A study of the food intake of nearly 2000 pregnant women showed a correlation between eating apples and a significantly reduced risk for development of asthma and wheezing by their offspring by the age of five. No other foods were considered to be related to this finding, although prior research has shown that mothers who consumed vitamins A, E, D and zinc also have a reduced risk of asthma and wheezing, as well as eczema.
The other finding was that children of mothers who ate fish were less likely to have doctor-confirmed eczema.
According to the researchers, "The present study suggests beneficial associations between maternal apple intake during pregnancy and wheeze and asthma at age five years." They also pointed out that the findings in regard to eating apples during pregnancy "suggest an apple-specific effect, possibly because of its phytochemical content, such as flavonoids."
This research has the potential to make a significant impact, in light of the fact that nine million children in the US have been diagnosed with asthma at some time in their lives, and four million of them suffer from asthma attacks each year. Asthma is shown to be a leading cause of school absenteeism, as well as the third-ranking cause of hospitalization.
— www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=67384, accessed 2 May 2007
Professional Education in Breastfeeding and Lactation
April 14–18, 2008
Train to provide accurate and consistent breastfeeding/lactation information to support new families in feeding their babies from birth through the weaning process. Learn to work with other healthcare providers, ensuring continuity of care for breastfeeding mothers and infants. Sign up at www.signup4.com/lactationeducationtraining or (510) 625-5873.
Who should attend: MDs, LLLI leaders, RNs, midwives, LCs, childbirth educators, and doulas. CEUs available.
Some women experience an urge to load up on carbohydrates in the 24-hour period before the onset of active labor, similar to what an athlete may do in preparation for running a marathon on the following day. Go for it! (I had a bread, salad and pasta dinner at a local restaurant 12 hours before my second child was born and never felt nauseated in labor, which started about five hours after the meal.) This strategy is especially recommended for women facing a scheduled induction. Avoid having the hard work to hit after essentially fasting for 24 hours or more.
EAT IN EARLY LABOR. This is essential and must be maintained throughout the day. Don't just settle for breakfast and stop there. Eat every 2–3 hours, whatever is appealing. You may want to avoid heavy, greasy foods such as pizza or fast food (which don't digest easily under the best of circumstances).
Avoid substances that will cause a blood sugar level spike, such as soda and other forms of concentrated sugar (read labels!). These are dehydrating and ultimately lead to blood sugar crashing.
If planning a hospital birth, eat a banana on the way to the hospital. Despite most TV depictions of how women go into labor (i.e., a sudden contraction alerts her to the need to rush to the hospital where she gives birth soon after on her back, typically involving various emergencies for dramatic effect), most women have plenty of time to take care of themselves with little need for high drama.
During labor, try a variety of the suggestions below, alternating them. A little protein here, some electrolytes there, something sweet to boost your energy, the Pregnancy Tea—you get the idea. That will keep a mom going if the labor is long.
Drink lots of water, at least 4 oz per hour throughout labor, more if it's a hot day and you're sweating a lot. Have your support team help you with this. (Note to all attendants: Your job is to encourage the mom to drink throughout her labor. If she is willing to drink, asking for liquids and consistently taking several gulps when offered, then just keep the supply coming and keep an eye on her to ensure she doesn't stop drinking at some point. However, if the mom is disinterested in drinking and reluctant to do so, then frequent small sips will be necessary. Keep offering!)
Finally, don't hesitate to accept IV fluids if you can't keep anything down over a long period of time and are getting dehydrated. While healthy women will not need routine IV fluids, dehydration can cause your labor to be dysfunctional and non-productive. An IV can turn the picture around and is an appropriate use of medical intervention.
— Patty Brennan
Excerpted from "The Birth Marathon—Food Drink for Labor and Birth," The Birthkit, Issue 56
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American College of Nurse-Midwives 53rd Annual Meeting
Boston, May 23–29, 2008
Join your colleagues for the number one continuing education, networking, and business meeting for midwives nationwide featuring inspiring and informative education sessions lead by top women's health care experts. Discounts are available for ACNM members and Friends of the College. Register today at http://www.midwife.org/AM.
|"I am opening up in sweet surrender|
to the beautiful baby in my womb."
Watch "Of Nature and Birth"—a DVD Slide Show by Harriette Hartigan—for a powerful affirmation of how we can and should trust birth. Order this DVD for a beautiful beginning for your presentations to birthing classes. Add it to your lending library as encouragement for a pregnant woman to open as a flower on her birth day. Order the DVD.
What do babies want?
They want to be loved and cherished. They want to be given support and understanding that will help them develop into compassionate and empathetic individuals. The DVD What Babies Want will show you how the events during birth and the prenatal period can influence our children for the rest of their lives, and how our society is the result of how we welcome and raise our children. Anyone who is pregnant or planning to be should watch this DVD.
Buy the DVD.
Be Prepared for Hemorrhage
Order "The Hemorrhage Handbook" and you'll learn the tricks, remedies and philosophy of care involved in hemorrhage and hemorrhage prevention during the childbearing year.
Buy the book.
Watch women reclaim their power as bearers of life…
…when you watch Born in Water: A Sacred Journey. This DVD is a fantastic collection of seven waterbirths, including a home waterbirth, and shows women surrendering to the power of their labor and giving birth without intervention. Anyone with preconceived notions of waterbirth as risky will find that this DVD dispels those fears and misconceptions about this gentle way to give birth.
Buy the book.
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Read these articles newly posted to our Web site:
A Modern Midwife's Experience with Ancient Maya Techniques of Abdominal/Uterine Massage—by Anne Hirsch
"In this article I will share some brief theory and many anecdotal experiences that are representative of what is reported over and over again by women receiving this treatment or practicing the self-care techniques."
The Primal Touch of Birth: Midwives, Mothers and Massage—by Kara Maia Spencer, LMT
"The midwife will perform a massage at every prenatal visit, during the birth and at postpartum visits. The mother's mother may also massage her, as will her mother-in-law. The mother will then massage the new child. This dynamic web of touch has been played out all over the world, connecting midwives, mothers and massage, for thousands of years."
2008 DONA Conference in Vancouver • July 17–20
Join DONA International for an enriching educational and interpersonal experience within the exquisite surroundings of historic, diverse and culturally rich Vancouver! Speakers include Steve Buonaugurio, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Harvey Karp, Andrew Kotaska, Penny Simkin, Nancy Sinclair and Nick Wechsler. Access the conference brochure on the DONA International Web site www.DONA.org for complete details on the core conference and pre- and post-conference workshops.
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Q: I have a girl in class who has expressed a lot of fear and anxiety regarding her upcoming birth, from lots of surgeries (urogenital) as a baby/child. She remembers "things being done to her, no control, no choice, no voice, doctors talking at her, not to her, bloody surgeries, pain, etc., and "having to be strong and brave". She mentions already feeling some resentment toward baby for "having to endure labor/birth pain". She does not want her experience to prevent her from bonding and loving her baby.
This realization of fears is a huge step. It's much harder when they arise during labor and no one is prepared or knows what they stem from or what to do with them! I suggested she discuss with her midwives so they are aware and can help her during labor. We discussed the significance of having an unmedicated labor vs. having a labor where she feels safe, protected, unviolated, where she has some control of choices and that does not produce emotional trauma for her.
I welcome a discussion of whatever you can think of that may be helpful. I think they are considering hiring me as a doula, so also anything from that standpoint would be appreciated.
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.
Q: I am looking for some feedback about menstrual cycles while breastfeeding. I understand that exclusive breastfeeding generally stops the ovulation process. Several moms that I know of experienced this, but they seem to be feeding through the night. One in particular, however, is exclusively breastfeeding, but baby sleeps for 5–8 hours at night.
The periods have returned but only a fraction of what they normally are. The baby is 15 weeks old, so I am assuming that the lochia are complete. These periods are coming about every 3-1/2 weeks.
Does anyone have info on this?
A: I exclusively breast fed my son: no bottles, pacifiers, etc. I did not get my period back until he was 15 months old, ironically on my very first night back at work.
— Tara Goldin, RUN
A: In my experience as a Fertility Awareness Instructor and assistant midwife, even with exclusive breastfeeding, women often return to fertility quicker than in the past. I have heard and witnessed many such stories and have my own ideas about why this might be.
A baby sleeping as much as 5–8 hours at night, though a blessing, can surely contribute to the body's return to fertility. In my experience though, even with "by-the-book," exclusive breastfeeding, one can no longer rely on any given amount of time as "safe" for remaining annovulatory.
When a woman's cycle returns, she will commonly have several months or longer (especially while still breastfeeding) where her cycles are not all regular or ovulatory, or, lack the sufficient progesterone amounts to sustain another pregnancy (hence, a shorter cycle). As breastfeeding patterns shift, so does fertility, as the amount of breastfeeding hormones directly affect the suppression of ovulatory hormones (though other factors, such as time spent with baby, skin to skin contact, return of "normal" lifestyle seem to be a part of the equation).
When using this information for birth control, I recommend to my clients that they resume charting (cervical fluid checks, cervical positioning and basal temperature) as soon as their postpartum bleeding ends, just to be safe. They may have months of no change in patterns, but at least when the shift occurs, they will be aware of and can prevent another pregnancy too soon.
I hope this helps, feel free to contact me with more questions if you'd like, as this is one of my favorite topics!
— Sarah in Oregon
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.
Lamaze International recommends that a woman allow her body to go into labor on its own, unless there is a true medical reason to induce. Allowing labor to start on its own reduces the possibility of complications, including a vacuum or forceps-assisted birth, fetal heart rate changes, babies with low birth weight or jaundice, and cesarean surgery. Studies consistently show that inducing labor almost doubles a woman's chance of having cesarean surgery.
— Lamaze International Press Release, 21 Feb 2008
I have read the article about how not to do episiotomies and how to protect the perineal area during the second stage (E-News 10:5). An excellent article; I could not agree more. In our practice we use only organic olive oil or K-Y jelly during the time of the descent/crowning on the perineum. Organic sesame oil or calendula-infused organic olive oil also would be good choices.
Perineal massage is recommended only from 37 weeks gestation; K-Y jelly or evening primrose oil (high in EFAs) would be good choices. Mineral oil is drying; it interferes with fat-soluble vitamin absorption (A, D, E, K). Recent European studies indicate that it may contain cancer-causing chemicals. For the same reasons, please do not use mineral oils or Vaseline on babies.
— Irma N. Versteegh, RM
In response to the quote in E-News 9:18, I believe the winner of the "uncontrolled experiment without informed consent" award goes to circumcision, not formula feeding. Circumcision has been happening longer, continues still and is also an experiment being performed on non-consenting human beings—the only surgery in search of a disease.
Even removing historical religious rites from consideration, circumcision was promoted as long ago as 1860. In The Lancet 1: 344–45, Athol A. W. Johnson promotes circumcision of boys with long foreskins to "cure" masturbation. But the first infant formula wasn't invented until 1867: "In an attempt to improve the quality of manufactured baby foods, in 1867, Justus von Liebig developed the world's first commercial infant formula, Liebig's Soluble Food for Babies.
— Melissa Evans, AAHCC
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