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Wednesday Wrap Up | November 6

Weekly Web Links for the Childbearing YearYou would think someone who has been through medical school would know better….how NOT to hold a baby!

What a great example of the kind of nurse I hope all my clients get!

Dispelling common Myths about Midwives.

Interesting look at the gap between what the evidence – and the major professional organizations – say about VBAC and what individual women are hearing from their doctors as they explore the option of VBAC.

Which leads me to a question raised in this post: What is Dignity in Childbirth?

One thing that can be hard to really convey is that sometimes, a very nice, lovely person can be a bad match as a care provider for birth. So I loved the Well-Rounded Mama’s article “Nice is Not Enough”

Your funny for the day….Panicked Newborn Didn’t Realize Breathing Would be on the Apgar Test

One question I get asked frequently is if it is safe to sleep with your baby. I will refer to an expert on the topic, James McKenna:

Wednesday Wrap Up | November 6 Read More »

Wednesday Wrap Up 10/9

Roundup of great web linksGreat introductory article on how to know which pregnancy studies are legit. LOVE seeing this kind of info enter the popular media! (And to be honest, wish more reporters would read it!) To learn more, I suggest my other site: Understanding Research.

One of the things I try to do in my classes and in my doula work is help people gain skills in communicating and advocating for themselves with care providers of all kinds. One of my favorite blogs comes through again, with How to Communicate Your Birth Preferences at the Hospital

As a photographer, a doula and a parent, I fell in love with this unusual photography project from Russian photographer Jana Romanava.

I have heard every single one of these 5 Doula Myths! And they *are* all myths!

And while I am at it, I’ve heard every single one of these 6 Stupid Things People Say About Natural Childbirth, too!

I leave tomorrow to attend and present at the Lamaze International conference. I am not a huge user of Twitter, but I plan to Tweet from the conference, and I encourage you to follow the list by following the hashtag #Lamaze13 or subscribing to this list. Wish me luck with my two presentations, I am nervous! (And yes, there will be a post full of conference photos and musings when I get back!)

Today’s video is really amazing! Several months ago, one of the photos from this birth went viral. The photographer, Leilani Rogers, is a friend of mine. I aspire to be as good as she is one day. The video is below, to read more about the birth and what it took to get the amazing photos, read her blog post here. And I highly recommend you follow her on Facebook, too. She’s that good. (Now I’m gushing. I’ll stop now.)

Wednesday Wrap Up 10/9 Read More »

Wednesday Wrap-up 10/2

WednesdayWrapUpASome safe sleeping tips for you and your baby, tips that will work for a variety of choices about where your baby will sleep.

Not all care providers are alike. And you can’t count on the initials after their name as a good way to judge whether or not the care is good. So I liked this article that gives Ten Care Provider Red Flags – ways you can get a clue that maybe this care provider is not a good fit for you.

You’ve got to see this to believe it. An “apparatus for facilitating the birth of a child by centrifugal force” – someone actually applied for a patent for this! As far as I know, in the 50 years since the patent was filed, no one has actually built one!

One of the things I do in prenatals is help women identify the coping skills that they already have and use, and figure out how to adapt those coping skills to birth. So naturally I loved this article on the same topic from Lamaze International’s Giving Birth With Confidence blog!

Any expectant mom thinking about induction, either medically or a DIY “natural induction” should read Aviva Romm’s article. It has a great discussion of the ethics of induction, women’s right to choose, natural methods, and birth stories.

Some really thought provoking infographics about pregnancy and birth, courtesy of the institute of medicine.

Today’s video is one that follows a topic close to my heart, research and evidence based care. An educational parody for your learning enjoyment:

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Wednesday Wrap Up 8/28

Web Links on Pregnancy, Childbirth, Postpartum and BreastfeedingPeople say the craziest things when they don’t understand something. And quite a few people don’t understand home birth. Here’s a list of 16 things NOT to say to a mom planning a home birth. One of my personal favorites was when I was discussing with a neighbor that I have attended home births. She said that her daughter in law was planning a home birth, and my neighbor was OK with that but did not understand one thing. “She lives in a split level house. How are they going to get the birth bed and fetal monitor up the stairs?”

Interesting look at the way pregnancy comes with so many, many rules, limits and taboos in our society. And how many of them simply don’t hold water under scrutiny. I may have to read the author’s book!

Powerful journal article about abuse in the hospital setting. While the vast majority of my experiences are positive, I have on several occasions witnessed treatment in the hospital that I would define as abusive. The huge imbalance of power in the relationship between the “patient” and the “medical authority”, combined with our cultural training to follow “doctor’s orders” is a situation ripe for problems. It’s not an easy read, but an important one for all moms, and particularly for all professionals who work with laboring women.

Maybe it is because I am a childbirth educator. Maybe it is because I’ve spent much of my life working hard to make my classes be a great resource and worth the time of those attending. But I just loved Robin’s list of 4 Reasons to Stop Dissing Childbirth Classes!

Today’s video is a promo for the upcoming Empowering Fearless Birth event. I am so excited by the amount of interest and buzz the last event created, and the upcoming event looks even better. I will be there as a vendor and also presenting a session on finding good information on the internet. If you are at all interested in birth as a parent, as a professional, or as someone who was once born, please come! I would love to have you stop by my vendor booth and say hello! (And enter to win a gift certificate…)

(Also you can see my booth from the March event at 5:02 in this video!)

Wednesday Wrap Up 8/28 Read More »

Weekly Wrap-Up 8-21

Weekly Web Links for the Childbearing YearIt’s not at all unusual for even the most determined mom to say something along the lines of “I can’t do this any more, get me an epidural!” In fact in 14 years and hundreds of births, I can only remember ONE mom who never said anything like that. It’s a tough spot for a doula. I’ve got my tricks up my sleeve for helping moms get past that point, but I still enjoyed Jodi The Doula’s take on how to help moms at that point in labor.

An interesting theory about preterm labor….could disrupted sleep be one possible cause?

Interesting evidence connecting cesarean delivery with endometriosis.

An interesting – and fairly understandable – article on how to change the current health care system for cost savings AND better health outcomes. For an article that appears in JAMA, it is remarkably positive about midwifery and out of hospital birth.

This article led me to what looks like a great resource for moms who find out their baby is breech:

I loved this approach to supporting other moms: You’re Doing it Right.

Today’s video is a fun time lapse!

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Wednesday Wrap Up 8/14

Great article on things to consider when deciding if older siblings should be present for the birth. I’ve attended births where older siblings were present, and they were great experiences for everyone. But that doesn’t mean it is the right choice for every family.

Loved this article on “Is your lactation consultant an impostor?”

I’ve posted the link to Jodi the Doula’s article “No More Free Births” before. I whole heartedly agree with her. Recently there has been a firestorm of criticism over the article, so Jodi posted an excellent follow up: “A Doula for Everyone

This article discusses something that many don’t talk about. Some doctors try to stitch up mom’s perineum after a tear or episiotomy in a way that is tighter than normal, in attempt to increase their partner’s sexual pleasure. However, this so called “husband stitch” creates a situation where mom is painfully and unnaturally sewn up. Just say no to the “husband stitch” or to any efforts to “tighten you up a little.”

And just for fun: 18 Valuable Lessons Stock Photography Taught Us About Parenting.

This 4 1/2 minute video is a fantastic explanation for why it is crucial to let your baby choose their own birth date, even if you develop S.T.O.P. Syndrome. (That’s “Sick & Tired Of Pregnancy Syndrome”). For more info on this topic, download this fact sheet.

Wednesday Wrap Up 8/14 Read More »

Book Review: Deliver!

Deliver! A concise guide to helping the woman you love through labor.
This book is a short read – I finished it in about an hour – but is packed with lots of great information for labor support people. It’s very much targeted towards men who are in a romantic relationship with the laboring mom, and so might not be a good choice for a doula, friend or family member supporting the laboring mom. But for those in that type of relationship, this book is very useful.
I particularly liked the very simple approach. They don’t try to go into depth about the why, they focus on the how. The book is full of bullet points and diagrams to help get the points across.
There is excellent information on preparing for birth, including choosing a childbirth class, building a birth team, and writing a birth plan. I am not a huge fan of their advocating for birth “preferences” as I prefer a more assertive Birth Plan of Action, but they do make some very good points on how to write a document should you choose to do that.
In some ways, the book doesn’t meet the needs of dads all that well. In discussing the emotions of labor, they pretty much tell dads to simply “Be The Rock” – they don’t talk about how to stay strong for moms, they don’t suggest a quick chat with the nurse for reassurance, and they don’t discuss how doulas can help dads stay strong.
I also would have liked more information on how to build relationships with and negotiate with the staff. Things like questions that they might ask if they feel unsure about something suggested, etc.
The appendix on common complications is an excellent addition to the book, I think it would be very helpful for parents who pack this book in their birth bags.
Overall, this book would be a good addition to the birth bag for dads who don’t have a lot of time or who want a quick reference. I still would recommend the more thorough and broader book “The Birth Partner” for most uses.

Book Review: Deliver! Read More »

Wednesday Wrap Up July 31

Not sure what happened, but here we are and it is already the end of July!!
Oh my! You have to see this to believe it. It’s funny, crazy, and a little sad. Your baby is perfect just the way she is!

This is a fantastic explanation of newborn metabolic screening, what it is, why it is done, and the timing of the test.

Some useful tips on processing your worries and fears during pregnancy.

Thought provoking piece on fear and birth. Are we really serving women when we talk about fearless birth, painless birth, etc?

It’s a difficult read, but this is a powerful story of one woman’s birth experience that changed her life and made her an advocate for more humane treatment in birth. Her birth experience with birth trauma and PTSD is heartbreaking.

An excellent new blog for those who are doulas, from Amy Gilliland. Doulaing The Doula

I’ve seen quite a lot of people talking about Kate Middleton and how she looks right after giving birth. Was glad to see I am not the only one disgusted by the critical comments!

And to make your day complete (I hope!) here is a nice natural birth story video:

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Wednesday Wrap-up July 17

Very sweet article on getting to know your newborn. Makes me kinda miss those days!

Everything you ever wanted to know about the amniotic sac! Includes some lovely videos of babies born in the caul.

Fun collection of breastfeeding in commercials from the US and all around the world. I laughed so hard at some of these!

Now that it is midsummer, I present to you a very bad – but funny and relateable – Ode to Pregnant in Summer Women It’s been twenty years since my summer pregnancy and it still makes me sweat to think about it!

A short and sweet piece on Making Peace With Your Postpartum Body. Do it for your kids sake.

And, just because it’s fun to toot my own horn, the Utah Doula Association has a new site that features my birth photography on the home page!

Today’s video is an eye opening look at what need to be done to reduce infant mortality:

Reducing Infant Mortality from Debby Takikawa on Vimeo.

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Wednesday Wrap Up July 3

Wednesday Wrap-Up Graphic - Salt Lake City birth doulaLoved these 5 Things to Do in Your Baby’s First 24 Hours to help get breastfeeding off to a great start. They are what I have recommended to moms for years!

Oh how nice it would be if I had a crystal ball, but I don’t. And your cervix isn’t a crystal ball, either. It’s impossible to predict when labor will begin. I’ve had moms walk around at 5+ cm and not be in labor. I’ve had moms be told their cervix was “closed and rock hard” and they had a baby in their arms 18 hours later, after a spontaneous and smooth vaginal birth. You simply cannot predict a thing.

I truly loved wearing my babies in a sling. These days there are so many more options beyond just slings and carriers. The Hodgepodge Darling gives a good overview of the options.

It’s from another discipline entirely, but it gives food for thought when it comes to pregnancy and birth: Why Patients Hate the C Word. (And C doesn’t mean “cesarean”…)

Welcome to maternity care in the US: The most expensive in the world! Too bad the outcomes are not the best to go with it…

This week’s video is a fascinating TED Talk about prenatal learning:

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Wednesday Wrap Up June 26

Wednesday Web LinksLove this short and simple article on Embracing Life With a Newborn.

Did you know that in the Victorian Era it was fashionable among the wealthy to get breastfeeding portraits?

And then there’s the creepy “did they really think no one would notice” covered up mothers from the same era.

One of my favorite sites, Evidence Based Birth, is back at it with a review on “What is the Evidence for Induction or Cesarean based on a Big Baby”

I get asked all the time about how to make a smooth transition to bringing baby home when there are dogs in the house. Here’s one perspective on how to do that, from Cesar Milan.

While I always give parents a written timeline of their birth, I’ve always believed that BOTH parents should write down the birth story from their perspective. What I write will be interesting to the baby-all-grown-up, but what the parents write will be far, far more meaningful. I loved this article from a woman who came across her mother’s writing about her own birth.

Is Kate being Bullied About Her Birth? Great article on why women get mocked for planning the birth they want.

Todays video is a short one, but very useful. It comes from Dad Labs and shows several useful techniques in a little under three minutes:

Wednesday Wrap Up June 26 Read More »

Wednesday Wrap Up 6-19

Wednesday Wrap-Up Graphic - Salt Lake City Private Childbirth ClassesThe truth about which stretch mark treatments really work, and which don’t. Drawn from actual unbiased research reports.

Here’s a great list of fact sheets on various medications, herbal products, illicit substances, maternal conditions, etc. and their effects on pregnancy. Again, all drawn from unbiased research sources.

8 Stats you should know about your obstetrician. I don’t love the comparison to the Farm midwives that keeps popping up in the article, because birthing at The Farm isn’t a realistic option for most women. But if women knew these stats to compare their actual options against each other, these could be useful things to know.

Fascinating and very real article: The Push is Powerful Stuff! From a home birth midwife. Some women like pushing, preferring the active work to help move things along. Some don’t enjoy it but everyone needs to do it!

The most creative presentation of a birth plan I have EVER seen!

Speaking of Birth Plans, here are some articles from the perspective of a great L&D RN:
Part 1: Writing your Birth Plan; Tips from an L&D RN
Part 2: Top 10 Dos for Writing Your Birth Plan
And don’t forget to read my own article on Birth Plans!

Darrin LythgoeLove this “recipe” for helping women establish breastfeeding. It is what I recommend for moms struggling with supply or latch issues.

Today is my 21st anniversary, it’s been a (mostly) great 21 years, looking forward to many, many more. Here’s the great man who is behind all that I do. He supported me through 3 great births. He’s spent countless hours doing double parenting duty while I am at births, teaching, or attending conferences. He has used vacation days so I can be with clients. He has listened to me rant and rave about my frustrations with the maternity care system in this country. He has helped me with web design, listened to me practice my presentations, and proofread my materials. All while working a full time job AND running his own software business! I love him!

I’ve featured Ceci Jane before, but her birth videos are just so incredible! I love the older siblings here, and the real sounds of the laboring mom!

Wednesday Wrap Up 6-19 Read More »