A Sampling of Recent Pregnancy-Related Research

January 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Every once in a while, I like to peruse pregnancy-related research on Google Scholar and Google News. Here’s a sampling of research I found relevant from 2017 and early 2018. Some of the findings seem pretty unsurprising, but I felt they were worth mentioning. Study abstracts are linked in parentheses following each summary.

Hyperemesis gravidarum, pregnancy hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and cesarean section are associated with an increased risk for postpartum depression in first-time mothers (Psychological Medicine, January 23, 2017).

Stronger maternal-fetal bonding during pregnancy leads to a stronger maternal-infant bond after birth (American Journal of Perinatology, February 17, 2017).

Childbirth education classes and birth plans are associated with a higher incidence of vaginal delivery (Birth: Issues in Prenatal Care, March 2017).

Mistreatment (including discrimination and abuse) by a care provider during childbirth is associated with a higher incidence of complications during delivery and postpartum (Maternal and Child Health, September 2017).

5 Tips for Avoiding Pitocin in Childbirth

December 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Avoiding Pitocin graphic

 

Over seven years ago, I wrote one of the most-shared and viewed (and most controversial) posts on my blog, Pitocin’s Untold Impact. In it, I discussed the potential negative impacts of Pitocin, the synthetic form of oxytocin used in hospitals to speed or start the childbirth process. There has been a huge rise in labor inductions within the past twenty years. The CDC reported that “the rate of induction of labor more than doubled from 1990 through 2010, from 9.6% to 23.8%.” The year my first baby was born (she is now a teenager), the New York Times reported that “one baby in five is now born after the birth process has been started by a drug.” In 2006, in a study of 5500 low-risk, first-time mothers, 40% were induced and 70% received Pitocin at some point during labor (see Jennifer Block, Pushed, p. 5-6).

The Healing Gift of Magnesium [Super Sale!]

December 16, 2017 at 11:18 am

Starting today and going through January 23, Mg12 has their entire selection of Dead Sea magnesium products 20% off! With the “birthfaith” coupon code, you can get an additional 10% off as well! So it’s an awesome time to stock up, and of course it’s an excellent time to share the joy of magnesium with the people you love. I’m giving Mg12 products to a bunch of people this year (just like every year).

Start shopping HERE!

Mg12 christmas sale 2017

Birthing without an Agenda

November 5, 2017 at 12:04 am

Who is to say that this moment is not a part of creation?
Or this one?
Or the one about to arrive, across the vast distance of time?

-David LaMotte

When I was pregnant for the first time, my primary goal with my birth was to get through labor without an epidural. Thanks to my husband’s support and an angelic doula-like nurse, I succeeded.

With my second, I wanted to have a midwife, and I wanted to have an easier recovery (no stitches). With my certified nurse midwife’s help, I was able to give birth unmedicated to a posterior baby with just a “skid mark” and some minor stitches.

For my third birth, I was desperate to give birth with an fully intact perineum. It was a magical home birth experience, and I didn’t tear at all!

After delivering my previous three babies on my bottom, I really hoped with my fourth baby to give birth in some other position. Following a near-painless labor, I delivered my fourth baby on my hands and knees.

My primary goal with my fifth baby was to give birth upright. After an emotional, but exceptionally supported labor, I delivered with my upper body cradled in a birth sling, standing with bent knees.

Dead Sea Magnesium [Giveaway]

October 27, 2017 at 10:50 am

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you’re well aware of my magnesium obsession. No shortage of posts about its many uses and virtues around here:

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The Dead Sea contains vastly more magnesium chloride than any other body of water on our planet

Never Settle

August 18, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Dont-Settle-for-Close-Enough

A few months ago, we made an offer on a house we really liked in a neighborhood we really liked. It was right around the corner from some of our friends, and it had a swimming pool and a swing set and beautiful saltillo tile in the kitchen, dining room, and hallways. However, after the home inspection, we decided to pull out of the deal. There were just too many expensive repairs that would be needed, and the sellers weren’t willing to help with any of them. Part of me was relieved, but another part of me was devastated. For the following month, I continued looking for a home, but everywhere there only seemed to be dead ends and homes that just didn’t have the things I really wanted.

Hospital, Birthing Center, and Home: From a Mom Who’s Done Them All

November 14, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Though I haven’t had an operating-room birth or an unassisted road-side birth, I have given birth in just about every other location with just about every type of birth attendant. For those who may want to know how my births compared, I thought I’d give my pros and cons for each scenario. Before I do, however, I’d like to emphasize that I don’t think birth location is as important as who you choose for birth attendants. I believe most women can have a positive birth experience in any location as long as the people they are surrounded by are kind, supportive, and capable. See my post on this topic here. Keep in mind that these were my personal experiences, and I do not intend to imply that my experiences would be expected to occur in every hospital, birth center, or home birth.

hospital-birthing-center-home

Hope’s Birth: The Right People

January 9, 2016 at 8:15 am

[Part one of Hope’s birth is HERE, and part two is HERE.]

My midwife partners and I at the The Farm learned by observation and experience that the presence of even one person who is not exquisitely attuned to the mother’s feelings can stop some women’s labors. All women are sensitive. Some women are extraordinarily so. -Ina May Gaskin

Apparently, reading Ina May Gaskin is a great way to boost oxytocin levels. My contractions had fizzled out when I curled up in bed to read, but within twenty minutes or so they were back. I kept reading for a while, but eventually I turned off my lamp and slept through the waves. As I slept, I noticed the contractions, but they were never strong enough to wake me completely.

Sometime around 4:00 a.m. my husband got up with an earache. I decided to get up too and start timing my contractions again. It was not the ideal time for him to be sick (ha, is it ever?), but I did my best to make him more comfortable with all the various natural remedies up my sleeve. It was looking highly likely that we would be having a Christmas baby, so he promised he would focus on supporting me despite his aching ear.

I really didn’t want to call my midwives. It was Christmas morning! And I especially didn’t want to bother them if it was just a false alarm. I waited until contractions were coming between 5 and 10 minutes apart and lasting a minute. And finally I bit the bullet and paged them. Amy was the one who called back (she was on-call until 7:00 a.m.). I told her I felt like maybe I was holding my labor back because I wasn’t yet at my birth location, so I felt like I should probably come in. She said that was fine and that she would meet us at the birth center.

Third Trimester: Preparation and Sanctification

December 21, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Last week was crazy busy. That was probably true for most of us. Now that all the Christmas preparations are finished, all the holiday events have been attended, homeschool is on break, and my school-employed husband is home for at least two weeks, I feel like I can finally mentally, physically, and spiritually prepare myself for my baby’s birth (I’ll be 38 weeks tomorrow). On Thursday afternoon I told my husband, “All I want to do for the rest of the year is take baths and showers and sleep and meditate.” He said, “I can support you in that.” I said, “Good answer.”

The other day I was looking for ideas of how to nurture myself during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Google brought up a few things, but nothing was quite what I was looking for. So I bagged trying to get ideas from other people and decided to just do what my soul wanted me to do. Here’s a list of the things I’ve been doing to prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for my upcoming birth.

37 weeks

Six Things for Sunday: Speedy Edition

December 14, 2015 at 8:47 am

It’s super late, and I should be going to bed, but I just wanted to post a quick update. Like speed-walking, but since I’m walking  sl-ow-ly these days, it’s speed-blogging instead. ;-) Here are this week’s “Six Things for Sunday”…

Copy of six things for sunday

Dead Sea Magnesium [Giveaway!]

September 26, 2015 at 4:42 am

You remember the dad and his Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

windexYeah…

That’s me and magnesium.

Something hurting? Magnesium! Can’t sleep? Magnesium! Constipated? Magnesium! Morning sickness? Magnesium! Kid stuck a marble up her nose? Magnesium! Ha. I jest. But really in my mind there are few things that can’t be helped with some extra magnesium.

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you’re well aware of my magnesium obsession. No shortage of posts about its many uses and virtues around here:

Hopes for Next Time

July 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Back in 2010 I wrote a post with some of my hopes for the upcoming birth of my 4th baby. It turned out that many of the things I wanted to experience with her birth didn’t work out. I did get to experience a near-painless birth, but it wasn’t anything like what I had envisioned. So here’s what I’m hoping for with birth #5…

1) Mother Blessing Celebration

With my last births, my co-authors gave me a “virtual mother blessing” and sent me a bonsai tree and beads for a birthing necklace along with lovely messages and prayers for me. It was wonderful. But this time I want a real-life mother blessing celebration with all my hippy/birthy friends (who can make it) physically present. I want henna on my belly, and flowers in my hair, and candles and the whole nine yards. Getting this child here has been a long and agonizing process, and I know I will need a lot of love and support to complete this journey and bring this child earth-side.

Exhale

June 26, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Take a deep breath.

This was my go-to stress-coping strategy for decades. We hear it all the time, right? Take a deep breath.

So when, after having four kids, I felt like I was drowning every day, when the weight of the world was just too much, I opened my mouth, and I took a deep breath. And another. And another. And I kept taking deep breaths because I didn’t know what else to do. And when I started feeling like I couldn’t get enough air, I just tried harder… more deep breaths… more gasping for air… more forcefully. And then the panic set in. And still I opened my mouth, sucked in my belly, and gasped for air.

It was a long time before I finally realized what my body was trying to tell me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t get enough air. That’s not why my deep breaths never seemed to satisfy. The problem wasn’t that I needed more air. The problem was that I needed to exhale.

When we are under stress, our nervous systems cannot distinguish between a financial crisis or a bear attack. The response is the same: fight-or-flight mode. When the threat is more abstract, as most modern crises are, rather than actually life-threatening, we need a way to tell our nervous systems that the fight-or-flight response isn’t necessary.

Magnesium for Healthier Moms and Babies

February 28, 2014 at 11:00 pm

My brother and his wife came into town and visited us on Monday. My brother mentioned that he was having horrible neck pain. “Magnesium!!” I yelled at him as I slathered his neck and shoulder with magnesium oil cream and spray.

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It’s been several years since I read The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. But I was skimming through it the other day and came upon the chapter about magnesium’s impact on pregnancy-related issues and early infancy. I shared some of this info in my 2010 blogpost “Magnesium for Pregnancy and Beyond,” but I felt impressed to share a bit more today. I’ve got a lot to do today, so I’m going to be lazy and just quote Dr. Carolyn Dean.

Power Poses for Childbirth?

January 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm

About a week ago, I saw a TED Talk video that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. In this 20-minute video, Amy Cuddy shares a “free, no-tech life hack.” Her research on body language demonstrates that we can infuse ourselves with greater confidence and serenity in the face of a challenging situation simply by changing body positions. She calls them “power poses.” Here’s the video, if you’re interested. Totally worth your time.

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