June 5th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

“I don’t believe that midwives deliver babies. I believe that midwives help women deliver their own babies into this world.” —a midwife

When making a decision about your health care…

February 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I found this little acronym on Rixa Freeze’s “Stand and Deliver” blog. I thought it was good, and might be helpful to some mothers and fathers. So often the “routine” procedures, tests, and ways pregnancy and birth are managed are viewed as absolutely essential—when actually, they aren’t always necessary. So for the thinking mothers and fathers who truly want to be involved in their care…here are some questions to help you determine (along with your care provider) what tests and procedures are truly of benefit, and those that are just “routine”.

(Disclaimer: Although she does have some excellent articles on various pregnancy and birth topics, I do not endorse everything on her site.)

Trying to make a decision? Get BRAINED!

Ask yourself, and your caregivers, these questions:
Benefits – How could the recommended course of action help me or my baby?
Risks – How could the recommended course of action harm me or my baby?
Alternatives – Are there any other courses of action I could consider?
Intuition – What are my gut feelings about this?
Nothing – What happens if I do nothing?
Evaluate – Can you give me some time to consider my choices? Then…
Decide – Now that I have the information I need, I’m ready to make a decision.

Benefits- How will this procedure benefit me and my baby?
Risks – What are the risks to me and my baby?
Alternatives – What are some other things we might try instead?
Instinct/Intuition – What is your gut telling you?
Now/Never/Nothing – What if we don’t do the procedure right now? What if we never do it? What if we do nothing?
Safety/Satisfaction – Will this procedure increase the safety and satisfaction of the birth for me and my baby?

(At the end of her post, she adds this addendum.) To give credit where it’s due: the BRAINED acronym comes from a handout that someone gave me from “Lucina Birth Services.” The BRAINS acronym was passed around on a doula list serve.

Breastfeeding helps babies sleep better at night…

January 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve always believed that breastmilk was best for babies, because God perfectly designed it to nourish babies (He created the human body, so He would know what formula would be best, right?!). However, I always find it fascinating to discover the different ways in which breastmilk and babies are perfectly suited for each other. The article below explores one such aspect of breastmilk. Enjoy!

“Sleep Inducers” in Breastmilk Change over 24-Hour Period


Sánchez, Cristina L.; Cubero, Javier; Sánchez, Javier; Chanclón, Belén; Rivero, Montserrat; Rodríguez, Ana B.; Barriga, Carmen. “The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers”. Nutritional Neuroscience Vol. 12(1):2-8. 2009.

As reported at PHYSORG.COM

Breast milk contains various ingredients, such as , which perform a very important role in regulating babies’ . The new study, published recently in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, confirms that the composition of changes quite markedly throughout the day.

The scientists looked for three nucleotides in breast milk (adenosine, guanosine and uridine), which excite or relax the central nervous system, promoting restfulness and sleep, and observed how these varied throughout a 24-hour period.

The milk, collected from 30 women living in Extremadura, was expressed over a 24-hour period, with six to eight daily samples. The highest nucleotide concentrations were found in the night-time samples (8pm to 8am).

“This made us realise that milk induces sleep in “, Cristina L. Sánchez, lead author of the article and a researcher at the Chrononutrition Laboratory at the University of Extremadura, tells SINC.

“You wouldn’t give anyone a coffee at night, and the same is true of milk – it has day-specific ingredients that stimulate activity in the infant, and other night-time components that help the baby to rest”, explains Sánchez.

In order to ensure correct nutrition, the baby should be given milk at the same time of day that it was expressed from the mother’s breast. “It is a mistake for the mother to express the milk at a certain time and then store it and feed it to the baby at a different time”, points out the researcher.

The benefits of breast milk

The World Health Organization (WHO) says breast milk is the best food for the newborn, and should not be substituted, since it meets all the child’s physiological requirements during the first twelve months of life. It not only protects the baby against many illnesses such as colds, diarrhea and sudden infant death syndrome, but can also prevent future diseases such as asthma, allergies and obesity, and promotes intellectual development.

The benefits of breastfeeding also extend to the mother. Women who breastfeed lose the weight gained during pregnancy more quickly, and it also helps prevent against anemia, high blood pressure and postnatal depression. Osteoporosis and breast cancer are also less common among women who breastfeed their children.

More information: Sánchez, Cristina L.; Cubero, Javier; Sánchez, Javier; Chanclón, Belén; Rivero, Montserrat; Rodríguez, Ana B.; Barriga, Carmen. “The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers”. Nutritional Neuroscience Vol. 12(1):2-8. 2009.

Source: FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

I made a mistake; I was wrong

December 24th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Such immensely difficult words to say at times, but why? Because we want to be right, we don’t want to make errors, and, in the case of laboring mothers, we don’t want to give them false information or false hope.

Today, I read a midwife’s account (on her blog) of her making a mistake when checking dilation. I found it encouraging to read about how she handled it, and how well the situation turned out.

This is her story:


One of my VBAC clients called me to say she was having regular sensations. She seemed to be in the early stages of birth so I settled in to just wait it out. About 10 p.m. at night, things picked up dramatically so I decided to do a dilation check (this was 20 years ago). To my surprise and delight, she was 7 cms dilated. (that should have been a clue that I was making a mistake. When the external world doesn’t match the internal exam, check more carefully). I held her and massaged her all night long while the others slept. By morning, everything had petered out and I couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t actively pushing by that time. She had been snoozing between her sensations through the night but I’d had her on the toilet, walking around, in the shower, etc. I did another exam only to realize, at that point, that I had completely blown it, she was only 2 cms dilated and wasn’t even in the birth process yet. That was one of those awful moments when you have to say BOTH of the top two difficult things at once. I said “Theresa, I’m sorry I’ve made a mistake. Last night when I checked you it wasn’t accurate. Right now, you are 2 cms dilated and you’re not in the birth process yet. I shouldn’t have been encouraging you all night that you’d be having the baby soon. Right now, the only way that this will work is if you’re willing to begin anew. Cancel everything we’ve done so far and get back to the very beginning. You need to eat, get some sleep, downplay this early stuff, relax. Everything is normal and healthy but I have made a huge blunder and I’m sorry.” The worst thing I could have done in this situation is to lie to this woman and tell her that she had gone backwards in her dilation—yes, many practitioners do this. It’s so unfair to a woman who already thinks her body might fail her. Not only that, but I think somewhere in the woman’s own “knowing” place, she realizes that she has not really been in the birth process.

This amazing woman did begin anew. She and her husband forgave me for my mistake, rested, ate, relaxed, summoned their patience and had a home VBAC for their baby. I will be grateful to them forever.

~Gloria LeMay

The Fruits of the Womb

December 24th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

No, I’m not talking about babies this time…I’m talking about the womb itself!

I was reading a midwife’s blog today and discovered this short instructive video on the various sizes and shapes of the womb as it grows and changes from the pre-pregnancy shape and size, to the 20 week size, to the term size, to the postpartum shape and size—all with fruits!

I thought it was a great way to give expecting moms and dads—and student midwives—a visual aid.