Birthfriend announces a new podcast

It’s still a little rough but I have a good friend who is a sound engineer and he’s coming over to help me with better equipment and recording advice, but it’s a start!

The new podcast is called Birthwise Mommycast.  I hope to feature news and commentary on all things birth oriented, from pregnancy through breastfeeding and early parenting.  Please listen and subscribe.  I promise it will get better with time.


EDIT:  I had to completely change my podcast name and location because I was apparently infringing on a trademark name, so if you made me a link on your own blog, please go back and change the link to reflect the new name and location.

If you also have a birth related blog, please add me to your links to increase traffic to both sites.

To more informed families!


Carla Hartley, a hero in the birth community

Just got back from the Trust Birth Conference in Redondo Beach, CA late last night and this is all fresh on my mind.  As a practicing midwife in an illegal state and serving a portion of the state where there are no other practicing midwives, it can get a little lonely.  Sometimes you feel there are more holes in the dike that you have fingers to plug up and opportunities for fellowship with others who truly understand are limited.  Educational opportunities for those who don’t live near an on-site school are limited also.  I’ve had to pay for and travel to places far and wide to learn new skills for the lack of an experience preceptor.

But over 25 years ago, a woman obviously called by God for such a purpose, set out to simply provide for the education of her own apprentices, but ended up founding a distance learning program that has the reputation of being one of the toughest, yet best in the nation.  She did so to her own detriment, often forfeiting her own financial well-being, sleep and reputation, just because she believed so strongly in the purpose of promoting more midwives who believed in birth and trusted it.  Not that we were to approach it with ignorance, but with knowledge and confidence.  Without her, I would not have been able to afford a quality midwifery education.  It wouldn’t have even been an option with my location.

Carla has again provided me with an opportunity to mingle with some of the biggest and brightest stars in the birthing community.  I’m so full right now, it’s hard to articulate.  I met, ate, shook hands, hugged, conversed, shared, listened to, took pics with, rode in vehicles with….names that only formerly resided on the covers and pages of books, magazine articles and research studies.  Now they are faces I know.  I also met fellow AAMI students and relished in getting the know the personalities and faces behind the names I only previously knew from online study groups.  Thank you, Carla, for the opportunity of a lifetime.  Thank you for caring enough about your passion to put yourself out there for either praise or criticism once again for not only MY benefit, but the benefit of a cause bigger than both of us, and more important to humanity than ever before.  Time will hopefully prove that you are truly a hero for our times.

Heather, we must have been in some of the same workshops but I didn’t get to meet you in person.  I wanted to feature your lovely drawing from Dr. Michel Odent’s workshop on whether our culture can survive the current cesarean epidemic.  He warned us that we need to learn to ask the right questions.  Because medicalized and medicated births, along with our current cesarean rate completely obliterates the beautiful hormone release that was meant for the bonding of mother and child, we need to be asking ourselves what the effect of several generations of birth without the influence of love hormones may be doing to our culture.  Here is Heather’s current drawing and a link to her blog.

Loved what Karen Strange had to say during the neonatal resuscitation course:  “Birth was meant to work as if no one else was there.”  YES!

Enjoy the panel on shoulder dystocia and the acronym, BREATH:  Breathe…panic is your worst enemy.  Calm yourself down and think.  Reassure the mother and those present (including baby), Exam, for position.  Assess, to see if there is something obvious that is holding baby up, like arms pulled toward baby’s back.  Turn, depending on your assessment of situation, move mother, then move baby if unsuccessful.  Help, the baby out.

Dr. John Stevenson:  met this precious physician from Australia who was “deregistered” from his livelihood as a doctor for practicing homebirths and continued to attend them for years to come because he saw something in these births he had never really noticed or seen too much in the hospital births previously…the lovely scene of bonding that we who catch babies get to experience again and again.   A mother and baby awashed with hormones meant to bond them for life.  Once you see it, you know…

Dr. Sarah Buckley:  her article on Ecstatic Birth and chapter 13 from her book, “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering” are the basis for an entire session in my childbirth classes.  It was wonderful to meet her in person, hear her lovely accent and learn even more from her workshops on the hormones of birth and prenatal testing/ultrasound.  Yeah?

Sheila Stubbs:  I didn’t get to attend Sheila’s workshop (thanks to Carla who provided so MANY terrific choices), but we rode to and from the airport together as we arrived and departed.  Sheila’s book, “Birthing the Easy Way” is one I highly recommend to clients who are sitting on the fence about homebirth.  Her wonderful sense of humor, practical analogies, personal stories and included facts and studies are a perfect combination to read.  She doesn’t understand the impact her book has made on so many lives, just seeing herself as a simple stay-at-home mother of many, but I hope after this conference she will know.  I SO enjoyed meeting you, Sheila.

Shonda Parker:  I didn’t get to attend her workshop either, as I had so many choices and since I am going to get to hear her in late April at the CMI conference, I just bought several of her books, including her newly updated “Naturally Healthy Pregnancy” and spent some time talking to her in the exhibit hall about the phase of our lives with learning to release our children into adulthood and how much we miss them when they leave.  You have a lovely presence, Shonda and I can’t wait to get to learn more from your books and workshops in April.

Rixa Freeze:  I love what you had to say about trusting intuition and the many examples of times when it proved to be the truth.  We need to learn how to separate our fears from real authoritative intuitive knowledge.  Thank you for being there and your work on these and similar topics for your degree.  And the Caramelized Pear and Toasted Pecan sounds yummy.

And for Carla:  The chance to finally meet you in person after only getting to know you through email and the phone was unforgettable.  I will never be able to thank you enough for the sacrifices you and your family have made.  History will prove you are truly a woman for our time.

Caesarean mothers triple hysterectomy risk for next pregnancy


mother and baby

Mothers who have a Cesarean birth more than triple their risk of needing a hysterectomy after their next pregnancy, British researchers warn today.

Doctors say the surgical scar significantly boosts the chances of complications which can rob mothers of their chance to have more children.

The biggest study of its kind found one in 30,000 women having their first birth normally had a hysterectomy to control severe bleeding.

But one in every 1,300 women who had one previous Caesarean birth had her womb removed and in women with two or more Caesareans, the risk rose dramatically to one in 220 women.

Now experts are calling for extra attention to be paid to women with a history of Caesarean delivery, who should be made fully aware of the risk of infertility.

The study was carried out by researchers at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) based at Oxford University.

The latest findings are likely to raise fresh concerns about the soaring numbers of Caesareans among mothers “too posh to push”, who want the convenience of a planned operation.

Experts are trying to cut the rate of Caesarean births which is up to one in three in some parts of the country – twice the 15 per cent recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Fewer than half of all mothers in the UK have a completely natural birth, with 55 per cent requiring forceps, ventouse (suction cap) or a Caesarean to assist with delivery.

Although emergency Caesarean births can be life-saving, planned surgery is recognised as riskier for mothers because they are more likely to develop complications and spend twice as long in hospital as women having a natural delivery.

There are also risks to infants delivered by Caesarean who are more likely to suffer breathing difficulties.

The latest study, led by Dr Marian Knight, honorary consultant in public health at the NPEU, used data about all 775,000 women who gave birth between February 2005 and February 2006 in the UK, and those who had a hysterectomy following childbirth.

The information is collected using a national surveillance system developed to study rare disorders of pregnancy, particularly “near-miss” events.

It found that a history of Caesarean delivery meant the mother was more at risk of needing a hysterectomy with each subsequent pregnancy.

Women with twin pregnancies, older mothers and those who already had three or more children were also at a higher risk of needing a hysterectomy.

The majority of hysterectomy operations were performed when the placenta – the life support system keeping the baby supplied with nutrients and blood – had grown abnormally.

It may have grown too low in the womb – known as placenta previa – or through the wall of the womb.

Another reason for the womb to be removed was its failure to contract properly once the baby was born.

Dr Knight said women should understand Caesarean section is “not a risk-free procedure”.

She said: “It is essential that women who have had a previous delivery by caesarean section are assessed in the last third of pregnancy to determine whether the placenta has grown in an abnormal site.

“This way, we can help to identify women who are at risk of severe bleeding so that measures can be taken to try to prevent it.

“Despite the risks, there are many circumstances in which delivery by caesarean section will still be the safest option for both mother and baby” she added.

Consultant obstetrician Professor James Walker, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said having a Caesarean could lead to problems in a following pregnancy because the placenta, or afterbirth, may grow into the scar.

The scar also affects the development of the womb lining, which may lead to excessive bleeding during delivery that can only be stopped by a hysterectomy.

Prof Walker said: “A first Caesarean is a safe procedure but it leaves a scar that can increase the risks next time.

“There is no reason for women to be frightened, the numbers having a hysterectomy are still low, but it’s a factor that should be taken into account when discussing the balance of risks and benefits for Caesareans.”