In a Nutshell..... Why do I do this?

Last Friday, I rode with the midwife I assist to do our home visit with one of our clients. We typically make a home visit before the birth so we can familiarize ourselves with the route - makes it so much easier than driving cold turkey in the dark- and we get the sense of the layout of the home in terms of the birth. This was a repeat client but she had moved since her last birth. It took a bit of doing to get there and it was a lovely rural type setting. The weather was warm and the sky was clear and blue. She greeted us with her toddler. We chatted and toured her cozy home. Then we did the prenatal appointment- belly check, fetal heart tone check, urine check, blood pressure check- etc. Her little one showed us some of his toys. I admired some of her homemade toys and she showed me how to do the blanket stitch in order to finish the edge of her handmade doll. We lingered a bit and I remembered her last birth. I'm very much looking forward to attending this birth. We hugged goodbye and waved as we slowly drove out of the driveway. I looked out the window as they stood there watching us leave. For me- the next time I see her she will be in the midst of labor, as I'm typically not called until labor is advanced. The midwife precedes me and calls me to assist when she needs me which is usually later in labor. The mama looked so beautiful with her round belly and her precious little one was standing there by her side. It was as it should be. I felt almost moved to tears and I thought " We have the best job in the world!"Every woman deserves this type of prenatal care. We get to know the family. We listen with respect and true interest. The midwife builds a relationship with the mama and the family. When labor begins we attend as invited caregivers. We will be the supporters of the process. The birth will be attended with care and attention. The family unit is respected and supported. The baby will be gently and lovingly welcomed into the arms of his/her mama and in his/her own home. I love home birth. Love it love it love it.Post partum care is equally wonderful. They don't have to go anywhere. We leave them settled in in their own bed. Personal attention. Family support. Breastfeeding support. In addition to the personal visits there is the continual availability for phone consultations. Midwifery does not leave mothers and babies in the lurch. I'm so proud to have a share in this model of care. I wish this type of care for all families.So, there it is..... I love this work. It never grows old. As is the case with this family we build a history with our clients. What a privilege. If only more women availed themselves of this dignifying and respectful model of care. As a nurse part of my role is education. I feel the need to make this model known as an option. I'm using this blog as one way to accomplish that goal.
Posted by Helen at 9:43 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Resource for moms following traumatic birth

Grassroots Network Message 805024
A new resource for mothers following traumatic birth

Dear Friends,

You may already know about Solace for Mothers: Healing after traumatic childbirth , a resource for mothers started by Sharon Storton.

Now there is an online community associated with this very useful and thoughtful website. Please read the announcement below and feel free to forward to other lists and individuals!

Susan Hodges “gatekeeper”

This message is to announce a new online discussion board called Solace For Mothers, An Online Community For Healing Birth Trauma. It is for women who have experienced trauma around the process of giving birth. For these women, giving birth has left them feeling deeply disappointed, traumatized, or even violated. We want these women to know that they are not alone, that birth trauma is very real, and that other women have had similar experiences and feelings. We have created an online community as a place for women to begin or continue their healing journey.

In the online community, there are different categories and forums, and the topics covered are issues that often come up for women dealing with birth trauma. It is our hope that women can virtually support each other on their healing journeys in this online community, and perhaps eventually connect with each other in the real world if they choose.

There is an introduction page (got to, scroll down and click on “online community”) and from this page you can register for the discussion board. Due to the very personal nature of this subject, we have made an effort to keep this community private, and women must register before being able to enter or view posts. If you do not fall into the category of a woman suffering from birth trauma, or if you would like to see a preview of the community before joining, you may visit this link to do so This link is not the actual community and you will not be able to view members' posts from there, it will simply give you an overview of the topics covered.

We are sending this message out via email and posting it to online communities and to lists in order to reach these women. Please send this message to anyone who you feel may benefit from it.


Jenne Alderks and Jennifer Zimmerman, creators and moderators of the discussion board

Supported by Sharon Storton and the Solace For Mothers team

Monday, May 26, 2008

New study shows epidural during birth may negatively affect breastfeeding
December 11, 2006

Epidurals given during labour and birth are associated with decreased rates of breastfeeding, both in the short and long term. A large study of Australian women, published today in the open access journal International Breastfeeding Journal - - found that women who had epidurals during childbirth were more likely to have breastfeeding problems in the first week and to give up breastfeeding before six months, compared with women who had no analgesia.

Siranda Torvaldsen, from the University of Sydney, and colleagues from other institutions in Australia studied 1280 women who had given birth between March and October 1997 in the Australian Capital Territory. Of these women, 416 (33%) had an epidural during the birth of their baby, 172 (41%) of whom also had a caesarean section.

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding 'may cut arthritis'
Women who breastfeed for more than a year reduce their chance of rheumatoid arthritis by half, research suggests.

Sweden's Malmo University Hospital compared 136 women with the condition to 544 without for the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases study.

They found women who had breastfed for 13 months or more were half as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis as those who had never breastfed.

Those who breastfed for between one and 12 months had a 25% decreased risk.

The study also found that simply having children and not breastfeeding did not seem to protect the women against developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Around 400,000 people in the UK have the condition.

The surprising results from this research demonstrate how much more we need to know about rheumatoid arthritis and its causes
Rachel Haynes, Arthritis Care

The study notes that women have more than a two-fold higher incidence of rheumatoid arthritis than men.

It is known that breastfeeding is linked to raised levels of a hormone called oxytocin, which can reduce stress hormone levels, lower blood pressure and induce well-being.

However, breastfeeding also raises levels of another hormone - prolactin - which is known to stimulate the immune system, and may actually raise the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Different results

Professor Alan Silman, medical director of the Arthritis Research Campaign, said the study shows different results from previous studies.

"In the past we have shown that breastfeeding was a risk factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis in a small group of women soon after giving birth to their first child.

"This is slightly different in that it looks at longer-term risk. One explanation could be that women who breastfeed may lead healthier lifestyles than women who don't, but we don't know the mechanisms that would explain this fully, and not enough work has been done in this area."

Rachel Haynes, from the voluntary organisation Arthritis Care, said: "The surprising results from this research demonstrate how much more we need to know about rheumatoid arthritis and its causes."

But she added: "It is important that women feel able to make informed choices by balancing their lifestyle with the full range of evidence about the pros and cons of breastfeeding."

The Infant Feeding Survey, published in May last year, showed that most women are failing to follow government advice, with fewer than one in 100 women breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months.

While 76% of UK mothers started out breastfeeding - a rise of 7% since 2000 - most resort to formula milk within weeks.

Fewer than half of mothers are still breastfeeding by the time their child is six weeks old, and only a quarter do so at six months.

The study also looked at the role of the contraceptive pill, which has been previously suspected of cutting the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

It has been thought the pill could offer a protective effect because it contains hormones that are also raised in pregnancy.

But the research found that taking oral contraceptives did not offer the women less chance of developing the disease.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/05/12 23:03:34 GMT


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bringing Baby to Work

Check out the info on bringing your baby to work. It's on the Attachment Parenting web site (see link list)

Citizens for Midwifery- New Fact Sheet

Grassroots Network Message 805021
New CfM fact sheet!

Dear Friends,

CfM created a well-received poster for the Coalition for Improving Maternity Care (CIMS) conference in February titled “What Does Good Maternity Care Look Like?”, and we have made a hand-out version. The colorful flier (which also looks good in black and white) includes the Midwives Model of Care, CIMS’ Ten Steps of Mother Friendly Care, and Lamaze’s “Six Care Practices that Support Normal Birth”, side by side, with their urls, with the caption “Supporting evidence-based care, and promoting healthy mothers and babies!”

We have now posted this flier at:

Please feel free to print it out and use it for classes, conferences, whatever. It gives a powerful message of “you don’t have to take my word” for what constitutes good maternity care!

Susan Hodges, “gatekeeper”