Tricks of the Trade: Gail Hart, Mary Bernabe, Janice Marsh-Prelesnik, Margie Kline, Beth Bailey Barbeau, Samantha Norman, Ann Noviello, and Tracy Pemberton
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.
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.
This is an article that teaches classic midwifery, bringing back some sadly forgotten tricks for the midwife’s tool kit.
A very informative article on nutrition in pregnancy, highlighting the importance of fish oils.
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.
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 restricting weight gain either by choice or in compliance with birth attendant’s instructions to restrict weight gain, and this may be contributing to the trend of small-for-dates babies. All women—even those who are overweight—must gain weight in order to nourish a healthy baby and maintain the pregnancy to term. Unfortunately, many women in the US still
The memories of birth will last a lifetime, for both mother and baby. As this article reminds us, women’s choices regarding how and where they birth do matter.
Midwives respond to the study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology questioning homebirth safety.