This short video with commentary, might be helpful to student midwives. Gloria
Home Birth Supply List
Please let me know well in advance if you are unable to find any item on the list. Collect all supplies and place them into a box. Place the box in an easily accessible place. Please tell the midwives where the supplies are kept when they arrive for the birth.
24 flat incontinent pads to use under Mom’s bottom (22” x 24”)
1 box of 4”x4” gauze squares
2 boxes of Super Kotex pads (overnight)
1 box or bag of salt (cheap, for stained linens)
1 450 ml bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide (for removing stains from carpets, etc.)
1 small bottle of bleach or Sudsy Ammonia
1 100 ml bottle of Witch Hazel
1 sealed small bottle of Olive Oil for perineal massage, baby’s bum
1 bag of “pure” cotton balls
2 large green garbage bags
2 Plastic sheets (shower curtain liners work)
1 flashlight with extra batteries
1 plug-in room heater (if needed)
1 hot water bottle
1 nail brush
1 tea strainer
Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (book)
Bath pillow, candles, ice cubes, popsicles, plant mister, music, camera/film, tapes, thermometer, massage cream, heating pad, small Fleet Enema (if you get constipated a lot in pregnancy), reusable cotton menstrual pads.
Preparing Your Home:
Make up 5 casserole dishes to get you through the first days after birth and freeze them. Put a plastic sheet on your bed in the last week of pregnancy in case your waters break. Dust and clean the bedroom. Clean the toilet and bathtub. Clear off the top of a chest of drawers or other surface for us to put our instruments on. Make arrangements to have your pets out of the house during the birth.
6 face cloths
6 bath towels
2 bed sheets
2 cotton cloth diapers
6 receiving (flannel) blankets for baby
1 undershirt and nightie/sleeper for baby
Put clean linens in HOT dryer for one half hour. During the last 10 minutes throw in 3 brown paper grocery bags and heat them through. When dryer finishes, fold the hot linens with clean hands and put them in hot bags. Seal them with staples or tape and label the outside. Store in a dry place. You do not need to use your best linens…clean is our main concern.
Electrolyte Balanced Drink (Labour-Ade):
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 crushed calcium tablet (or 1/4 tsp calcium powder)
enough water to make 1 quart
Mix all ingredients together- use warm water to help dissolve the honey and calcium, and then chill. You can also make ice cubes. Buy enough ingredients to make 4 quarts. This is a delicious drink for after the birth as well. *After the baby is born you can add 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar to this drink to assist with peeing after the birth.
Parents’ Guide to the Newborn
Keep your caregiver informed of any concerns about your baby.
Phone number of dr., public health nurse, midwife, or other provider Name_______________________Phone_____________________
Your baby’s breathing
Noises such as snuffles, grunts, wheezes, etc are not a concern by themselves. Babies can be noisy breathers. They have small amounts of mucous in their airways from the birth process and they are adjusting to air breathing. It is normal for the breathing to be irregular—sometimes rapid and then followed by slow, deep breathing. When your baby cries vigorously, he/she will become redder in the face and take deep, gasping breaths. This is normal.
Concerns about breathing to notify your caregiver about are:
1. Chest retractions–if your baby draws the chest wall in noticeably when breathing and you can see the outline of the breast bone with every breath.
2. Prolonged rapid breathing–the rate of breathing in a healthy calm newborn should be about 30 to 40 breaths per minute. If the baby is doing a panting breathing when calm (60 or more breaths per minute) for more than 15 minutes, have your caregiver check.
3. If your baby seems to have worrisome breathing and blueness around the mouth, call your caregiver.
FEEDING Within 8 hours of birth, the baby should be waking to feed every two hours and latching on to the breast well. Demanding to be fed is a very good sign of health in a newborn. Your baby needs only what is in the breast, do not feed water. If baby seems lethargic and doesn’t wake to feed for 4 hours, call your caregiver immediately. This behavior might mean the baby has a serious infection.
COLOUR A small amount of blueness and coolness in the extremities (hands and feet) is normal. Some mottling of the chest and tummy is normal. Many parents are alarmed by the baby’s whole body going dark red like a strawberry, this is a normal result of changing blood circulation in the newborn. Generalized blue or gray colouring (rare) would be alarming.
TEMPERATURE Only take your baby’s temperature under the armpit. Digital thermometers can be purchased for about $12 at the pharmacy. If the temperature falls below 36.1 degrees Celsius (97 F) or goes above 37.2 degrees Celsius (99F), look to see if you have bundled the baby too warmly or if the baby needs more covering. Adjust the baby’s garments and recheck the temperature in 15 minutes. Call your caretaker if abnormal temperatures persist. The usual rule of thumb for baby covering is to look at what the adults are wearing and then add one more layer for the baby. The baby being skin to skin with the mother is a good way to help the baby have a normal temperature and breathing rate.
URINE The baby may only have one wet diaper per day for the first two days. Once the breast milk is in, the baby should have at least 6 very soaked diapers in 24 hours. Urine should be colourless. Some babies have crystals in their urine (orange staining that looks like face makeup) and this is not a concern in the first 3 days. After the third day, that orange staining can be a sign that the baby is dehydrated. Increase the time at the breast and advise your caregiver. Little girls may have a spot of blood in their diaper which is their first menstrual blood, this is normal. By the fourth day, the baby should have at least 6 very wet diapers per day (the diaper will feel heavy in your hand).
BOWEL MOVEMENTS In the first 24 hours of life, the baby will pass meconium (blackish, tarry stools). Next, the stools will be brownish, greenish and quite soft. Once the milk is fully in (around day 3 of life) the baby’s stools are the colour and consistency of yellow mustard. The baby should have two poops the size of a loonie (silver dollar) as a minimum every day. A well fed baby usually has much more than the minimum.
UMBILICAL CORD Fold diapers down away from the drying umbilical stump. The cord will be dry and blackened within 24 hours and the clamp can be removed. The stump usually rots off by 5 to 10 days after the birth. Don’t put peroxide or alcohol on the cord. It heals best if left alone. Because it is rotting flesh, there is usually a foul odor when it is ready to fall off and it can be quite goo-ey looking. If there is redness on the abdominal skin surrounding the belly button area, notify your caregiver.
EYES The policy in hospitals is to treat the baby’s eyes with an antibiotic cream called “Erythromicin”. If you do not want your baby to receive this antibiotic, let your caretaker know in advance and sign a waiver. Newborns can have plugged tear ducts which cause discharge to accumulate in their eyes. Bring any discharge concerns to the attention of your caregiver.
INTACT PENIS Keeping your son’s penis intact is now the recommended policy of physicians’ groups. There is no special cleaning that needs to be done. Simply bathe your baby in a warm bath and leave the foreskin alone. The foreskin is attached to the glans in babies (much like the fingernail is attached to the finger) and the separation process may take years to complete. Only the boy should retract his own foreskin, this should not be done by parents or medical professionals. For more info on caring for your intact son, there is a handy free brochure at this link http://www.nocirc.org/publish/pamphlet4.html
JAUNDICE Yellowing of the skin of the newborn in the first 24 hours of life is unusual and should be called to the attention of your caregiver.
After Day 2, some yellowing is normal. Usually the face and chest are the most yellow places on the body. The baby may be sleepier than normal with jaundice and you may have to wake the baby to feed every two hours. It’s important that the baby remains well hydrated in order to get rid of the yellow cells from the body. Let your caregiver know if you are having trouble waking/feeding the baby or if the yellowness extends out to the hands and feet.
Gloria Lemay, Vancouver, BC
This is an online conversation that I had with a grand multip (woman who has given birth more than 5 times). There are special things about birth after the fifth baby. . . for instance, sometimes the process can be stop and start for days and, then, suddenly. . . here’s the baby. There is nothing wrong with that way of birthing but, because large families are relatively rare, many practitioners lose faith and patience and brand the woman as “failure to progress”.
Another unique thing about women carrying a fifth or more baby is that they are prone to what midwives call the “blue right leg syndrome”. It can be alarming to see how blue the right leg becomes in pregnancy but, then, the baby is out and the woman’s right leg looks just fine again. I like to read things by the midwives in the USA who serve religious groups with big families. Lots of little anecdotes like that.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN GLORIA AND CAROLINE
I am wondering if you could answer a couple things for me.
I was reading your post about the 30 Minute Third Stage, and saw your comment about the anti-bleed tea. I’m curious to know more about this.
I understood that shepherd’s purse was not to be used until after the placenta was delivered, and that it was dangerous to use it before.
I see that one of the ingredients for your anti-bleed tea is shepherd’s purse. Can you share with me how it differs in the tea, as opposed to using the tincture? Also, is this safe to use as a grand multip? This is my 10th baby, 14th pregnancy.
I tend to bleed a fair bit with my births, and I am trying to be prepared this time, (due in August) and read and research things that I could/should try to have on hand, especially in case my attendant doesn’t make it here on time. I tend to go quickly, and feel a strong need to be prepared this time.
Thank you for any input you are willing to share (smile emoticon). Caroline
Hi Caroline, One of the things with grand multips that really helps prevent bleeding is going for a 1/2 hour brisk walk. One of my clients found some research on it and it really seems to work. I don’t know why. As far as the shepherd’s purse, no one can really do studies on these herbs and their use after a birth. We worry more about after pains with grand multips. Therefore we give a cramp bark /cinnamon tea. A couple of things that I’ve seen lately that interest me for the after pains are 1. Increasing magnesium supplementation after the birth. 2. Emptying the bladder more often than you think you need to. Just get up and pee if it’s been a while and don’t wait till you feel like pee’ing. Apparently these 2 things are very helpful for cramps. Thank you for writing. I’d love you to have a smooth, relaxed birth. Gloria
Thank you so very much for your time!!
These are some very interesting points.
I’m curious for a little more information on the brisk walk. Is this something your recommend in labor? Or for the days leading up to birth?
I feel so much peace about our upcoming birth. Much more so than I’ve felt with any of the others. But I also am loving to learn as much as I can about birth as a whole, and things that could be useful for my own as well.
Thank you again. Caroline
You’re very welcome, Caroline. I mean a walking program starting NOW. I never ask women to walk when they are in the birth process. I’m afraid they will hit me! ha ha. You’ll know what you want to do when having the baby, it’s the preparation that’s important. By a walk I mean a brisk walk with no kids, no purse, flat shoes and really walking as fast as you can. Gloria
Gloria, Thank you! I will start doing that today. ?
I am soaking up as much information as I can.
I also have to say that I love following your page and reading on your site. So much information that has been so useful.
Thank you for everything you do!!
Makes me wish I was in Canada and could meet you! Caroline
That’s very sweet of you. You are exactly the woman I am writing for, so many people just can’t “get” what I’m trying to communicate.
I am loving the learning! I have been trying to dig as deep as I can, and find as many different ideas and perspectives as I can. I’m always thrilled when I find new perspective that makes sense!
Will you be offering your online class again in the future? I would be very interested in taking part, if you do.
Added: Another tip I will give to grand multips. When you have lots of older children, they ALL want to hold the new baby. This gets to be a competition and a struggle and it could be a reason why the mother might bleed too much. Explain to the entire family like this: “It’s very important that Mommy has the baby on her skin for the first day of the baby’s life. That helps Mommy’s body to change over from being pregnant to being a nursing mother. If we want Mommy to stay at home and be healthy, we are ALL going to wait until the baby is 24 hours old before we take turns holding the baby.” In most families, the kids really understand this and they don’t mind so much not holding the baby as long as no one else is either.
I have had this article from the New Statesman (a British magazine) in my files for decades. I’ve given it to many women to underline the importance of daily quality protein in pregnancy. I can’t find any reference to it on the internet and I publish it here in order to have this history preserved. Remember when reading it that no one had home computers in 1984 and there were no search engines. We had to rely on TV, magazines, newspapers and medical libraries back then. There was no email so the British postal service was the way these women contacted each other. For this young woman to undertake this project in those days is truly amazing.
The terms toxemia (spelled toxaemia by the British), and pre eclampsia have both been retired and now all these words are under the umbrella term of “Pregnancy Induced Hypertension” (PIH). Enjoy the read and leave comments. Thanks Gloria
New Statesman 6 January 1984
WOMAN HEAL THYSELF
John Hargreaves on a new approach to toxaemia
FEW PROFESSIONALS care to be lectured in their own field by their clients. But when Dawn James faithfully followed her doctor’s advice during pregnancy and succumbed nevertheless to a disease which kills an average twelve women and hundreds of fetuses every year in Britain, no one could tell her why. This 27 year old woman, living in a council flat in Hackney—‘shy, and not a speaker type at all. . . from a working class background and a secondary modern school’ –determined to find out for herself.
Two years later, she was invited back by the Senior Nursing Officer to the hospital where her baby was born, to explain to the midwifery staff what she believes are the causes of toxaemia of pregnancy and how it can be prevented.
Pre-eclamptic toxaemia (a misnomer because it is now recognized that no ‘toxin in the blood’ is involved) is a condition unique to pregnancy, generally diagnosed upon appearance of two of a triad of symptoms—high blood pressure, swelling, and protein in the urine. Abdominal pains, headaches and blinding flashes of light may alert a pregnant woman that something is seriously wrong. At its extreme, the condition becomes eclampsia, the epileptic-like convulsions that can be fatal to mother and baby.
Diagnosis of pre-eclampsia is confused by the fact that all three of its cardinal symptoms may arise from other causes, many of which are entirely benign. This is often not recognized by doctors, who may begin treatment of healthy pregnant women, sometimes causing problems where none in fact existed. Even in genuine cases, standard medical treatment with bedrest, sedatives, drugs to control blood pressure, and early induction of labour does little to ameliorate the condition. Many doctors believe that the only effective treatment is to end the pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia is still hailed as ‘the ancient enigma’ in obstetric journals, and a consultant dealing with a reader’s problem for ‘Woman’ magazine wrote recently ‘the cause of pre-eclampsia is not known. . . Because of this it is not possible to give advice on how to avoid it.’ While midwives have taken Dawn James’s findings seriously, the obstetric profession remains obdurate and aloof.
It was in the women’s magazines that Dawn James began her own search, with a request that others who had suffered pre-eclampsia write to her. She had 200 replies. She sent them a questionnaire, and compared her findings with what she had learned from the textbooks. Pre-eclampsia was supposed to be more common in twin pregnancies, overweight women and diabetics, and to run in families. None of these categories fitted Dawn James, and none was common among her correspondents. These women, anxious about their future, had invariably been reassured by their doctors that pre-eclampsia was a disease of first pregnancies only. Yet out of the 32 respondents who had undertaken another pregnancy, 23 had suffered pre-eclampsia again! With the support of many of these women, Dawn established P.E.T.S., the Pre-Eclamptic Toxaemia Society.
DAWN BEGAN a massive educational effort involving correspondence with the experts’ across the three continents and delving through the medical journals reaching back over a hundred years. But alongside continuous reportage of this work in the quarterly P.E.T.S. newsletter, Dawn kept publishing the personal experiences of her members – tragic accounts of unsuspecting women meticulously following their doctors’ orders and yet succumbing quite suddenly to convulsions and coma and having either a premature, low weight baby (with a much higher risk of mental or physical disability) or a stillbirth.
An underlying theme did begin to emerge from Dawn’s reading, and that was the supreme relevance of the mother’s diet. John Lever at Guy’s in 1843 was probably the first obstetric physician to take a dietary history, noting a single daily meal of bread and tea from a woman with puerperal convulsions. The work of Hamlin in Australia, Strauss in North Carolina and, especially, Brewer in California made a strong impression. Here was an account of the aetiology of pre-eclampsia – from inadequate nutrition, through liver dysfunction, low blood albumin and reduced blood volume—which made sense and was supported by the evidence amongst the severely undernourished subjects involved. But how could this apply in Britain in the 1980s?
By the time the next newsletter was compiled, Dawn had made the most significant step of all, by simply asking herself, as so few obstetricians have asked of their patients since John Lever, ‘what exactly had I been eating?’ ‘During the first twelve weeks of my pregnancy, I was constantly vomiting day and night and survived a few weeks mostly on bottles of lucozade. . . then, at about 5 months, I was told I had gained ‘too much’ and that I should cut down on my food. I felt really hungry all the time and would sneak a potato or some bread until my husband would remind me of the expert advice and I would go back to mostly salads. . . . When I was in hospital. . . I hardly ate at all during those two weeks prior to my induction.’
Again and again, the personal experiences indicated maternal under-nutrition, sometimes instigated by doctors setting artificial weight limits. And more scientific studies, conducted by dieticians and public health physicians rather than obstetricians were given a new prominence in P.E.T.S. They showed that pre-eclampsia could be effectively prevented by thorough nutrition counselling or diet supplementation.
The obstetric profession doesn’t like this idea. ‘I would counsel that you drop any reference to Brewer’s work,’ wrote Professor Ian MacGillivray about the California champion of the nutritional thesis, ‘if you wish to have any support from research workers into this problem in the United Kingdom or for that matter, any part of the world.’
Nancy Stewart, another P.E.T.S. member and recent editor for the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, believes that this is inevitable given the training and role of obstetricians. ‘Prevention through good nutrition is a woman-centred approach, which means being in touch with women’s daily lives. And it has to do with health, rather than disease. This is the approach of midwives, as the guardians of normality. Obstetrics is not about health, but about diagnosing and treating disease. It is a male science, and within the political structure of maternity care it is these men, trained to approach pregnancy as a medical event, who have the power to define health care.’
Pre-eclampsia is more prevalent among unskilled working class people and teenaged, Asian and single mothers—those statistically least likely to meet the extra nutritional demands of pregnancy. How can a few informed women hope to change the system of maternity care to benefit these in greatest need? Midwives may learn eagerly from P. E. T. S., and may even recall the days when their duties included baking and delivering egg custards to get concentrated protein into poor pregnant women, but their role as independent practitioners is being rapidly diminished into one of obstetric nurses.
Perhaps P.E.T.S. can work its approach into the health care system through the back door, women taking the lead. But in the meantime as many as 15 per cent of women in pregnancy are diagnosed as pre-eclamptic, and very few of them discover in time the protective effects of sufficient high quality foods. Instead, they are categorized immediately as high risk and referred to the obstetric clinic, where sophisticated, expensive diagnostic procedures chart with scientific precision the worsening and irreversible damage to their babies.
(Transcribed by Gloria Lemay, Vancouver BC Canada from the original magazine article)
I had a great time being interviewed by Alain Desaulniers, DC, recently. Enjoy this podcast. Love, Gloria
Thanks so much for sharing about your AWESOME birth story and for your willingness to share so openly and authentically. I hope that millions are transformed through your words and message! I look forward to connecting with you soon! You rock!
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It’s a special thing to have a baby in North America at Christmas time. Photos of the new baby under the tree with the gifts, extra time off from work, a time of holiness joy and good cheer, . . . you would think it would be the ideal time to give birth. Unfortunately, many little newborns end up in hospital at this time due to the timing of their arrival.Photo credit http://www.gracemogadamphotography.com/2015/05/08/newton-newborn-photography-william/
1. This is sugar time. The chocolate, cookies and candies are everywhere you look and sugar undermines the immune systems of the family members leading to colds and flu.
2. Staying up late. Parties given by neighbours, school, church, etc., tend to go late and the older kids in the family are affected and can get sick at this time by the late nights AND THE SUGAR.
3. The pregnant parent is either nesting in with the new baby or is hugely pregnant and doesn’t want to go to events, so the other parent takes the bigger kids and doesn’t pay close enough attention to the sugar or the late hours.
4. The children at school tend to be getting coughs, colds, flu and they spread it to the siblings of the new baby. Those older siblings sneezing or coughing on the new baby leads to trouble.
5. Christmas travel. A lot of pressure can be put on the family of a new baby to drive 100 miles (or more) for Christmas day family dinners. No matter how much the family thinks this is a good idea, IT IS NOT. The newborn should be kept warm and cozy at home because those long car trips are exhausting, no matter how much planning happens in advance. The nursing parent has to take care of her breasts/breast milk supply. All this is best done at home.
If the breast feeding gets thrown off at this season of the year, it can result in the newborn baby failing to thrive and/or the nursing parent getting mastitis, sore cracked nipples or a diminished production of milk.
What can you do to make sure that your new baby stays out of the hospital during this season?
1. Screen all visitors by asking them “Are you sure you are completely well? We don’t want any bugs around the new baby.”
2. Buy lots of grapefruit, kiwi fruit and oranges and make them the whole family’s dessert through this time. Keep a big bowl of this healthy Vitamin C-packed fruit out and visible. Keep stocking it up. Don’t bring sugar-y foods into the house.
3. If you have older kids in school, pay close attention to their diet and sleep. Keep them healthy. Both parents need to be responsible and communicate with each other about this.
4. Both parents need to watch their own health. Stay away from alcohol, take your vitamins, keep your schedule calm, have afternoon naps, avoid annoying people, etc.
4. Take a year off from the hype and pretend you’re in a stable with cattle lowing. In the big scheme of things, you’ll be glad you did. Have a really peaceful Christmas giving thanks for the miracle of your very own healthy newborn Christ child.
These photos are a great demonstration of how the placenta, cord and baby keep working together after the birth when left intact. They were donated by a family to their midwives and I share them here with permission. If you’d like to see them on the original website, the link is http://www.nurturingheartsbirthservices.com/blog/?p=1542
The first picture was taken within the first minute or so of the birth….and then, pictures were taken “every so often” about every 3-5 minutes when the cord had changed a little more. The last picture was taken about 15-20 minutes after the birth.
Please credit or link to the original website if you share any of these photos. Thanks, Gloria.
“Adaptation to life outside the womb is the major physiological task for the baby in third stage. In utero, the wondrous placenta fulfills the functions of lungs, kidney, gut and liver for our babies. Blood flow to these organs is minimal until the baby takes a first breath, at which time huge changes begin in the organisation of the circulatory system.
Within the baby’s body, blood becomes, over several minutes, diverted away from the umbilical cord and placenta and, as the lungs fill with air, blood is sucked into the pulmonary (lung) circulation. Mother Nature ensures a reservoir of blood in the cord and placenta that provides the additional blood necessary for these newly-perfused pulmonary and organ systems.”
Sarah Buckley, M.D.