Cultural Differences in Waterbirth Practices

Many US practitioners are unaware that we do waterbirth differently than our European colleagues who developed it. Many of these European doctors and midwives are upset at that difference and would like US midwives to change the way we do waterbirths. There are two crucial differences in the way waterbirth is taught on the two continents. Read More

A Slower Transition for Waterbirth Babies

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 117, Spring 2016. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine Many people have noticed that some portion of waterborn babies seem a bit slow to come around. They aren’t stressed and they seem well-enough oxygenated, but still their transition to breathing air sometimes seems a little slower. They may be alert, have good tone and a strong heart rate (or maybe it is a bit slow as well) or sometimes they almost seem to be asleep, and they just don’t seem interested in breathing for a while. It is common for midwives to carefully watch that transition for a bit, about 15 to 30 seconds or so, and as long as all is improving, they wait and watch. Some midwives grab the kid and start working on him, stimulating him to start breathing since he seems To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More

Healthy Pregnancy: Fish and Oils

The typical American diet lacks many things, including healthy fats. Unfortunately it abounds in the unhealthy fats, such as trans fats, which rob the body of good health. Low-fat diets and diets high in trans fats are both unhealthy for the brains of developing babies. A 2010 study showed that a lack of omega-3 fatty acids during the developmental phase may have significant effects on neurocognitive disorders, such as ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia (motor-skills disability) and autism (Schuchardt and Huss 2010). Healthy fats have beneficial effects on the development of the fetal nervous system, although a high intake of other polyunsaturated fats may have subtle detrimental effects on the developing brain (Allen and Harris 2001). As always, balance is important. To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More

Calcium and Vitamin C Supplements: Effects on Preterm Birth and Preeclampsia

A lot of research has recently been done in the field of dietary supplements. Ordinary prenatal vitamin supplements show little effect in women with moderately good diets, and it’s difficult to tell if they show any effect in women with poor diets. However, some specific supplements show promise to improve outcomes even in developed nations. Since regions of the world experience vitamin/mineral deficits which are specific to that region, these places may benefit from specific supplements. For instance, there may be a widespread need for a supplement of vitamin A or iodine in the Himalayan regions of upland China, but this doesn’t apply to people in the US, and so the effectiveness of supplements vary by region. This article will look specifically at the effectiveness of calcium and vitamin C supplements on preterm birth and preeclampsia. Read More

Assuring Healthy Babies: Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 112, Winter 2014. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine There is a notable change in birth outcome statistics in the United States. After decades of steady improvement in reducing the rates of preterm birth and low birth weight, we are now seeing an increase in the rate of premature births and small-for-dates babies. In fact, the average weight of full-term babies declined from 1990 to 2005 (Donahue et al. 2010). The increase in preterm rates could be partly due to obstetrical intervention to induce earlier births in high-risk pregnancies. However, the decline in full-term birth weight was sharpest in low-risk women with uncomplicated pregnancies (Donahue et al. 2010). These are the very women who would be expected to have access to early prenatal care and nutritious food choices. But they are also likely to be To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More

Midwifery Today Responds to Study Questioning Homebirth Safety

Midwives respond to the study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology questioning homebirth safety. Read More

A Timely Birth

The timing of birth has major consequences for a baby. Too early or too late can mean the difference between life and death. Or so we have come to believe; and it’s undoubtedly true at the extreme ends of preterm and postterm birth dates. Read More