The "Slow Birth" Movement

Somehow, we all got hooked into thinking that “quick was better” when it came to birth. When women tell their birth stories, it seems to be a point of pride to be able to say “I gave birth in 5 hours”, “I barely made it to the hospital”, “even with my first, it was so fast”. We hear these stories and may envy the women thinking that they performed in a fast, efficient manner and we view them as having a coveted talent.

I’ve been observing women giving birth for thirty years and I have given birth three times. From my experience, I don’t think that quick is necessarily a good thing when having a baby. Often fast births afford the woman no time to get her breath and regain her strength. Some women describe their fast births as feeling like they have been whipped around in a blender. In a rapid birth, the woman’s body sometimes displays the symptoms of transition after the birth of the baby (shaking, feeling hot/cold, vomiting). When a baby comes slower, there’s a building up of the intensity of the sensations so that the woman can adjust herself to the process that’s happening and, even though most women would like to shave a few hours off the whole thing, nevertheless, they know they can cope and that they will get to the finish line of birth. When the baby comes slower, the woman often dozes between her pushing sensations and seems to derive a great deal of energy from those short snatches of sleep even though they are interrupted often. The hormones of birth seem to allow the woman to operate in a different domain of sleep, energy and strength. I’m fond of telling women who are tired and discouraged at transition “You’re going to get a big burst of energy when you get the reflex to push” or “you’ll get an energy rush when you feel the baby’s head at your perineum”.

This trust in the process and knowledge that energy can ebb but then be regained in the birth process seems to be greatly lacking in today’s Western obstetrics. Slowing down or taking a long time to dilate is simply viewed as a problem and it’s a problem to be fixed by hurrying the woman’s body along. There’s no such thing as a resting phase, going in and out of the process, or simply a looooonnnnngggggg, slow birth process. This is not allowed and it’s viewed as pathological.
It hasn’t always been that way.

Waiting for the baby

Waiting for the baby

In his book “The Farmer and the Obstetrician”, Michel Odent does a comparison of big agri-business to modern hospital obstetrics. When we see the environmental disaster that large scale agri-corporations have produced and we know that the hospital obstetric system has produced a North America wide cesarean rate of 30% and rising, it’s clear there’s been a severe skewing of priorities and principles. We have to re-order our thinking about farming in order to survive: local organic farms, 100 mile diet, moratoriums on genetically modified crops, co-op gardens, raw diets—all these things have grown in the past few years as the few who knew they were important have held onto the knowledge (and the seeds) for the ones of us who were slow to catch on to the urgency.

Instead of talking about “fast food” that seemed so sensible a while back, we’re talking about slow food. Food that takes time, patience, work and integrity to grow, sow and cook. Some are even talking about “slow money” to fund “slow food”, the kind of financing that doesn’t look for a quick return and a scheme but rather looks to the quality of neighborhoods, children, the air we breathe and the long term future.

For those of us who know there’s something terribly wrong with the state of obstetrics in North America, we must call for a return to SLOW BIRTHING. Birth which understands that some women will wait for several days after releasing their membranes and have no pathology. Slow birth means returning to a time when induction of birth was reserved for very seriously ill women and undertaken with great trepidation. Midwifery would be patient beyond all known limits . . . practitioners only steering the birth process in the most rare cases. We would return to a time when practitioners used to say such expressions as:

“Every birth is different, every woman is different and every baby is different.”
“Don’t let the sun set twice on a woman who is in active labor (past 4 centimeters dilation).”
“Don’t practice “meddlesome midwifery”.”
“A good obstetrician does not pick unripe fruit.”
“A good practitioner has two good hands and knows how to sit on them.”

These are all things I heard when I first started attending births 30 years ago and, now, I never hear them. We must get back to those times when the cesarean rate was below 15% or we will perish. As a society, we cannot withstand the damage that is being done to large numbers of women, babies and their extended families. The idea that we can “turn hospital beds” in order to make maximum use of the dollar cost of that bed is insane when it comes to giving birth.
The notion that a woman can be induced with all the pursuant cascade of interventions simply for the convenience of scheduling staff or room availability is a crime. We must wake up and recognize that giving birth to a baby is one of the most powerful transformative events in a woman’s life. This process is so important to the family and the rest of society that all efforts must be made to have it flow normally. Our priority must be the well being of the newborn baby and the conditions that are favorable to a long, satisfying breastfeeding experience. What we are doing right now with inductions, surgeries and the mass use of narcotics in childbirth is as harmful to the planet as fish farms and DDT. The small band of people who have kept the notion of SLOW BIRTH alive so that society at large can get back to what we know is the holistic way to treat new mothers and babies must be listened to and appropriate action taken. Childbirth is not a frill, it’s not an expendable experience, it’s a fundamental lynch pin in forming the family and, without it, we are doomed to being a sick society.

Ultrasound precautions

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Here’s a link to an article with more info on ultrasound dangers from Green Health Watch:

http://www.greenhealthwatch.com/newsstories/newslatest/latest0701/ultrasound-hurt.html

These are the kinds of concerns that ultrasound professionals are now studying: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22343238

Flu Shots More Dangerous than any Flu

Here are a couple of videos that will show the dark side of the flu vaccines. The first is a Washington Redskins cheerleader who was training for a 1/2 marathon before getting a flu vaccine at the end of August. She now suffers from dystonia as a result of the vaccine.

This one (again from FOX News which is such an entertainment rather than hard news source, I know) is a vaccine expert telling a news service that he thinks the vaccine is more dangerous than the flu and particularly damaging to pregnant women and children. Please pass this on to pregnant couples:

This is a downloadable MP3 of Dr. Chris Shaw of the University of British Columbia discussing the damage that is done by aluminum in vaccines:
http://www.mediafire.com/?yzdztimmjny

Guest Post: Nutrition to prevent Flu

by Aliss Terpstra, CNP, Ontario, Canada

Handwashing can minimize the spread of live virus from hands to our own mouth, nose and eyes which are the portals to the mucous membranes that the virus needs to enter in order to cause infection. Handwashing can also reduce transmission to others, but will not protect anyone from airborne virus at close range. Handwashing and laundry do not aid the immune system once exposure has happened! I think it is irresponsible and unethical for our public health officials to harp on handwashing but deliberately avoid informing the public about solid scientific information on nutrient supplementation that is safer and more effective than an untested vaccine costing Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars. We can not adequately control our risk of exposure from others unless we are willing to live in a bubble until the ‘pandemic’ is over, but we can aid our bodies to resist infection and produce true immunity with mild illness or no illness at all. This kind of immunity tends to be permanent and will be passed on to the baby.

In addition to good quality uninterrupted sleep (not always possible with other children to tend, discomforts of pregnancy and need to empty bladder more frequently) and a diet with adequate natural FAT and PROTEIN during pregnancy, there is now good evidence that three nutrients protect against flu infection when supplemented. Not coincidentally, these three nutrients are needed in greater amounts during pregnancy and nursing, and CDC-NHANES recent studies found a high percentage of women of childbearing age to be mildly to severely deficient in at least one. They are:
Selenium
Iodine
Vitamin D

Drinking fluoridated tap water and consuming processed foods, tea and reconstituted bottled fruit juices increase the requirement for all three nutrients. Those of you living in B.C. are so lucky. Southern Ontario is 75% fluoridated and the grocery food supply is 100% fluoridated. To boot, our agricultural lands are selenium and iodine deficient so local foods are low in these nutrients.

Prenatal vitamins do not contain adequate amounts for optimal immunity. Health Canada does not approve of vitamin supplement formulas that produce optimal immunity in pregnant women. Ironically, factory farmed animals get optimal supplementation! Health Canada would also like all drinking water systems across Canada to have added fluoride from industrial waste source, to a level of 0.7 mg per liter. Hmmm I wonder why.

Check Dr. Mercola’s website for more info, Mike Adams, the Vitamin D Council (Dr. John Cannell), Harold Foster’s site, or the works of Marc Sircus OMD.
www.mercola.com
www.naturalnews.com

Aliss Terpstra CNP

Gloria Lemay's Regimen for a Flu-free Pregnancy

The publicity for the H1N1 vaccine is pervasive.  Pregnant women are being focused on as a group that should be first in line to receive the vaccine.  The fact that the vaccine is highly experimental and contains mercury (thimerosol preservative) has not escaped pregnant women and childbirth workers. 

When the public is polled about who will take the H1N1 vaccine, almost half the population say they will refuse it.  Thanks to the internet and other people-centered media, the experts who disagree with this mass population vaccine program have gotten the message out that the vaccine is far more dangerous than the disease.

What can a pregnant woman do to protect herself from H1N1 if she refuses the vaccine program?

Again, the media suggestions of sneezing into your sleeve and washing your hands with toxic sanitizers don’t get to the heart of the issue.  We all need to take charge of having the best immune response possible so these suggestions, although directed at pregnant women in the fall of 2009, are good lifestyle advice for everyone. 

1.       Go to bed at 10 p.m.  or earlier in a very dark room.  Healthy sleep is important.  Get rid of lighting in the bedroom (nightlights, electronic clocks, etc.)

2.       Change your bedding and towels once a week.

3.       Eat foods high in Vitamin C.  Grapefruit, oranges, kiwi fruit and red peppers.  Get used to these fruits as dessert.

4.       Eliminate white sugar and flour from your diet.

5.       Eliminate caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate).

6.       Buy a wool scarf and mittens and be sure to bundle up warmly when you go out into the cold.  Scarves help maintain your body heat and can be unwrapped and stuffed into your pocket when you go into a store or office building to adjust your warmth level.

7.       If you feel the first tickle of a cold or sore throat, cancel everything and go straight to bed with hot herbal tea and a bag of grapefruit.  Nip it in the bud with rest, Vitamin C and inner warmth.

8.       Here’s a link to herbs that are safe in pregnancy.  Learn to love your herb teas.

9.       Slow down and enjoy your pregnancy.  This is a special time in your life.  Say “no” to overbooking yourself and consider quitting work earlier than you planned. 

10.   Keep your partner healthy, too.

Your baby will thank you for adopting these measures and you’ll have more energy, too.  The first 3 days are the hardest and, then, you’ll love this routine.  I’m sure the comments will have lots more tips, too, read on.

Gloria Lemay’s Regimen for a Flu-free Pregnancy

The publicity for the H1N1 vaccine is pervasive.  Pregnant women are being focused on as a group that should be first in line to receive the vaccine.  The fact that the vaccine is highly experimental and contains mercury (thimerosol preservative) has not escaped pregnant women and childbirth workers. 

When the public is polled about who will take the H1N1 vaccine, almost half the population say they will refuse it.  Thanks to the internet and other people-centered media, the experts who disagree with this mass population vaccine program have gotten the message out that the vaccine is far more dangerous than the disease.

What can a pregnant woman do to protect herself from H1N1 if she refuses the vaccine program?

Again, the media suggestions of sneezing into your sleeve and washing your hands with toxic sanitizers don’t get to the heart of the issue.  We all need to take charge of having the best immune response possible so these suggestions, although directed at pregnant women in the fall of 2009, are good lifestyle advice for everyone. 

1.       Go to bed at 10 p.m.  or earlier in a very dark room.  Healthy sleep is important.  Get rid of lighting in the bedroom (nightlights, electronic clocks, etc.)

2.       Change your bedding and towels once a week.

3.       Eat foods high in Vitamin C.  Grapefruit, oranges, kiwi fruit and red peppers.  Get used to these fruits as dessert.

4.       Eliminate white sugar and flour from your diet.

5.       Eliminate caffeine (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate).

6.       Buy a wool scarf and mittens and be sure to bundle up warmly when you go out into the cold.  Scarves help maintain your body heat and can be unwrapped and stuffed into your pocket when you go into a store or office building to adjust your warmth level.

7.       If you feel the first tickle of a cold or sore throat, cancel everything and go straight to bed with hot herbal tea and a bag of grapefruit.  Nip it in the bud with rest, Vitamin C and inner warmth.

8.       Here’s a link to herbs that are safe in pregnancy.  Learn to love your herb teas.

9.       Slow down and enjoy your pregnancy.  This is a special time in your life.  Say “no” to overbooking yourself and consider quitting work earlier than you planned. 

10.   Keep your partner healthy, too.

Your baby will thank you for adopting these measures and you’ll have more energy, too.  The first 3 days are the hardest and, then, you’ll love this routine.  I’m sure the comments will have lots more tips, too, read on.

Opthalmia Neonatorum

Oh dear!  The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. has issued a bulletin saying that there is a shortage of the small erythromicin tubes for newborn babies. (see below)  Hospitals are wondering how to break up larger tubes into small doses for infants.  I guess they didn’t get http://wisewomanwayofbirth.com/ways-to-save-millions-of-tax-dollars-in-obstetrics/ my blog post of February 21, 2009, where I clearly told the U.S. government:

2. End eye ointment treatment of newborns.  Britain and Australia do not put antibiotics in the eyes of newborns who don’t need it.  If a baby gets an infection, they treat it.  Who makes all the money from this unnecessary tribal rite?  Curious minds want to know.  When nurses, midwives and doctors continue these practises they line the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies at the detriment of babies.

Perhaps the gigantic drug company payout of $2.3 billion in damages this past week is actually affecting their money making cartel?  Who knows what’s going on but maybe a few babies will benefit by not receiving unnecessary antibiotics.  Just think, those lucky babies will get a clear look at the world instead of the murky, oily one that we give to most babies born in North America.

Gloria

FDA statement 9/2/09:
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/DrugShortages/UCM180747.pdf
 

Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment Shortage
 

FDA was recently made aware of a shortage of Erythromycin Ophthalmic
Ointment due to a change in manufacturers.  Fera Pharmaceuticals recently
acquired the rights to the product and they are actively working to make
Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment available. Bausch and Lomb also
manufactures Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment and they are working to
increase production during this period of drug shortage. We anticipate
shortages of both the 1 gram and 3.5 gram tubes.

Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment is approved for prophylaxis of ophthalmia neonatorum due to gonorrhoeae or C. trachomatis and is the only product approved for this indication currently commercially available in the United States.
Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment is also approved for the treatment of
superficial ocular infections involving the conjunctiva and/or cornea
caused by organisms susceptible to erythromycin. Other products are also
approved for the treatment of these types of infections.
 What is FDA doing to address the shortage of Erythromycin Ophthalmic
Ointment?
 
FDA is working with manufacturers to increase production of erythromycin
ophthalmic ointment.
FDA has worked with the manufacturer to facilitate distribution of
available product to hospitals for neonatal prophylaxis use.
 
What can healthcare providers do?
 
While Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment is also approved for the
treatment of superficial ocular infections involving the conjunctiva
and/or cornea caused by organisms susceptible to erythromycin, health
care providers are asked to consider alternative drugs for this
indication during this time of shortage to maximize the availability of
Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment for prophylaxis of ophthalmia
neonatorum. (end of Bulletin)


The eyes have it
Added on April 14, 2015 Someone’s listening. The Canadian Society of Pediatrics has recommended against this treatment of babies’ eyes. http://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/ophthalmia-neonatorum Quote from the policy:

Applying medication to the eyes of newborns may result in mild eye irritation and has been perceived by some parents as interfering with mother-infant bonding. Physicians caring for newborns should advocate for rescinding mandatory ocular prophylaxis laws. More effective means of preventing ophthalmia neonatorum include screening all pregnant women for gonorrhea and chlamydia infection, and treatment and follow-up of those found to be infected. Mothers who were not screened should be tested at delivery. Infants of mothers with untreated gonococcal infection at delivery should receive ceftriaxone. Infants exposed to chlamydia at delivery should be followed closely for signs of infection.

A Big Birth Boomerang is Coming Our Way

Get ready North American birthies because this Sunday you’ll be seeing the Mother of all Rallies coming to you from Australia.  The government of Australia has had the temerity to threaten home birth choices and Australian families and midwifery supporters are coming out to the Parliament House in Canberra with a show of force that will wake up the world. 

The rally will be Monday in Australia but the corresponding times in North America are:

Pacific Daylight: 6:00 p.m. Sunday, Sept 6/09

Mountain Daylight: 7:00 p.m. Sunday, Sept 6/09

Central Daylight: 8:00 p.m. Sunday, Sept 6/09

Eastern Daylight: 9:00 p.m. Sunday, Sept 6/09

Greenwich Mean Time: 1:00 a.m., Monday Sept 7, 2009

Please light a candle or otherwise hold vigil for this historic event.  If you want to get more information visit the Australian alternative birth website:  www.joyousbirth.info

What’s at issue:  A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHERE, WHEN AND WITH WHOM SHE WILL GIVE BIRTH.