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Birth Balance Blog

A series of topics related to preconception, pregnancy, labor, birth, bonding, and post partum issues. Feel free to make suggestions for future topics.

Requesting a Break – Part III

October 5th, 2009

“Well, there you are!” Ms. Radiology comments as she limps back into the room. I’m wondering where she thinks I would have gone since, I can’t walk and the crutches are way the hell over on the other side of the room!

“Do I get to go somewhere else? “ I impatiently prod.

“Oh, yes,” as she hands me the crutches, “I’m going to bring you back to your examination room,” she cheerfully retorts.

“Great.” I squeeze out under my breath, gritting my teeth while breathing out at the same time. I muster up my strength; pull it together and crutch/hop my way down the various hallways, back to the exam room. I look as if I have all the balance and ability to do this, knowing I am being fueled by high doses of adrenaline and a deep desire to get to the airport on time.

I’m surprise I arrive safely and rather quickly back to the room. My eldest sibling, Mary, is patently awaiting my return. I plop up on the exam table, dangle right leg down and bend left leg up and supported over my right knee.

We wait. While biding our time until someone walks in and can tell me if it is broken or not, Mary asks a few questions about the ‘radiology’ experience.

As I am in the middle of the yarn, a small framed, blonde woman walks into the room. She’s wearing the traditional white jacket and carries a file. She seems neat, clean, serious, quiet and could benefit by courses on laugh therapy.

Mary and I exchange glances as my animated story comes to an abrupt halt and the room becomes quiet.

She sits at a small desk in a swivel doctor chair and coolly reports with a deadpan face, “It seems you have a non-displaced, distal, fibula fracture. I would like you to see someone in 2-3 weeks for a follow up on…”

My brain is a bit mushy at this point and I have NO idea what she just said other than the word, FRACTURE.

“Wait, wait, wait, wait..” I impatiently interject, then lightly continue with a smile on my face, “…you’d think I fell on my HEAD because I have no idea what you just said…could you please write everything you are saying on a piece of paper? I will never remember it.”

With an expressionless look, the doctor gazes at me for a pregnant moment, says nothing, then looks down at a piece of paper on the desk and responds, “Of course.” She proceeds to legibly write down on a piece of prescription paper what she just said.

Mary and I share eye-popping glances, smiling and shrugging our shoulders as we cover our mouths from giggles. The doctor’s conversation continues with the practicalities and firming up my ‘next steps’. (No pun intended).

Pain meds are a big topic. It’s all about covering up the pain in life, right?Take a pill; cover it up particularly in a Country with more legal prescription drug addictions than, marijuana, cocaine and alcohol combined. I am about to be prescribed one of the most popular: vicodin. (House, look out.  Here I come.)

I explain to the doctor, I generally don’t take allopathic medicines, so I don’t really need something that strong or very many pills. (I have NO IDEA what I am in for with the kind of pain I am going to experience in the next couple of weeks. I ‘m still in shock, so I don’t even feel the full extent of this fracture, yet.) She fills out another piece of paper containing the prescription and hands it to me.

I graciously thank and shake her hand, and she slips out of the room as quietly as she came in.

“Well, she certainly could stand a few lessons in ‘patient relations’,” my sister comments.

“Yah, I don’t think they very many courses like that in medical school, do they Ms. Nurse Practitioner?” I ask my sister smiling as I jump/hop off the examination table and sit on a chair, next to her.

Another, more pleasant woman enters the room. I assume she’s the nurse, lighter energy and a pleasant smile. She fits me for a walking boot cast and upon my request, pleasantly inserts an ice panel, which helps cool the swollen, fire laden ankle.

I notice it takes extra focus on my part to correctly remember the instructions regarding the ‘mechanics’ of the boot cast. Left leg needs to be 90 degrees at the knee, slip in the foot slowly and make sure the heel is flush with the back of the boot. Fold and strap the foot pieces first and then along the calf.  Make sure the velcro straps are secure but not too tight.  My eyes periodically check my watch. It’s 1:35 pm. The flight is 2:40 pm. ‘I’ll be OK,’ I reassure myself by focusing on what I do want instead of do not want: an integral point for the law of attraction.

At one point the nurse jokingly exclaims, “…and the boot matches your outfit! How perfect!”  I peer at Mary out of the corner of my eye, smiling, reminding her of my comment earlier in the car, “It DOES matter how fabulous one looks!” We have a good laugh. I am soooo ready to get out of this room.

Next instruction;  hop to the payment window. While propped on one foot, dropping a crutch as I search for my credit card, I finally find the card and hand it to the woman behind the window sitting at a desk. She processes my records effortlessly and easily with a smile and midwest, “Thank you very much,” hands me back my card and bill.

WOW!  The full fee, no insurance, emergency visit, walking boot cast, 3 x-rays, the doctor’s consultation: $245! In New York City, I couldn’t walk into an emergency room for under $500 and that is just to walk through the door! PLUS, I would have never been able to make my flight because I would have had to wait 5-10 hours to see someone. There are certain advantages to being in the Midwest. Yet, sorry, family…the Big Apple calls me.

Next, I tunnel through a few more hallways and doors and make it to the original waiting area. I see my sister standing in line for my prescription to be magically filled out, all in the same building! As I stand waiting, simulating a ballet dancer, I prop my leg and foot on top of the horizonal support railing, easing the pressure of the blood and fluids pooling in the ankle. I hand my credit card over to Mary and within a few minutes, my drugs are in hand at a reasonable, $24! Wow, the Midwest, at least in Iowa, has quite a health care system.

We are out of there, on to the airport. It’s 2:05 pm. 40 minutes before my plane departs.

More to come in Part IV…

Pica – Chalk Craving in Pregnant Women

October 3rd, 2009


When a woman, pregnant or NOT desires or craves chalk, for taste or the sensation of crunching, there is an iron  deficiency in the woman and she is  anemic. (more tired, need energy building foods). Once she gets the iron balanced in her system, she will NO LONGER have the craving for the chalk.

When one supplement’s their diet with iron pills, it is important to take the iron pills with something acidic, like orange juice, BECAUSE it helps to ENHANCE the absorption of iron in your body.

When one takes rolaids, it is COUNTER PRODUCTIVE to the absorption of the iron in the body. Rolaids is an ANTACID, (not acidic) and you NEED acid to absorb the iron in your body. So, you are just canceling out the iron supplement each time a rolaid is taken.  It doesn’t matter if one takes one or ten…IT IS NOT GOOD!  Research shows if a pregnant woman has to choose between chalk and rolaids, the more favorable choice is the chalk.  It doesn’t have the antacid element to it.  STOP rolaids immediately if your doctor has suggested this as a solution away from the chalk.

Eating iron rich foods is imperative.  If one needs to find foods that will satisfy a need to CRUNCH try something like ALMONDS or other kinds of seeds or nuts rich in iron. Leafy green veggies are high in iron and so are dried apricots which are ALSO high in Vitamin C, ( an acidic source )

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Floradix is a liquid formula that will help to enhance the iron absorbtion in one’s body when eating iron rich foods.

Floradix Formula Iron (250mL) Brand: Flora http://www.amazon.com/Floradix-Formula-Iron-250mLBrand/dp/B0002DUFKU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1254578184&sr=8-3 Uses: Energy, Anemia etc.. The absorption rate of Floradix (liquid iron gluconate) is twenty-five per cent compared solid iron tablets that have an absorption rate of two to ten per cent. Floradix provides maximum absorption by using the most highly absorbable form of iron, iron gluconate. Floradix also contains B vitamins and vitamin C to enhance absorption, herbal extracts to increase digestion, and fruit juices to ensure proper stomach acidity. A twenty milligram dose of Floradix satisfies the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of fifteen milligrams of iron for women of child-bearing age.

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Homeopathic remedies to help get your minerals balanced in one’s body are:

1.  Ferrous Phosphate:  6X or 12X strength, take 1-4 times per day, 4 pellets. This very useful cell salt is known as the “oxygen carrier”. It has the ability to carry oxygen to all the cells of the body for use in conversion to energy.

2,  Bio-chemic Tissue Salts:  take 5/6 of these COMBINATION  3-4X’s per day. The 12 Tissue/Cell Salt Combination As the name implies, this is a combination of all 12 salts in a single tablet. This combination can be used daily in much the same way as you would take a vitamin or supplement. To treat specific conditions, however, select one of the single salts listed above. RECOMMENDED POTENCY – 6X is the most widely used potency These are all the different MINERALS combined into the 12 Tissue/Cell Salts. Calcarea Fluoricum Calcarea Phosphoricum Calcarea Sulphuricum Ferrum Phosphoricum Kali Muriaticum Kali Phosphoricum Kali Sulphuricum Magnesia Phosphoricum Natrum Muriaticum Natrum Phosphoricum Natrum Sulphuricum Silicea (Silica)

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How Much Iron?
The recommendation increases to 27 mg for pregnant women.

http://www.healthcastle.com/iron.shtml
Iron Rich Foods containing Heme Iron (Iron found in animal protein)
Excellent Sources               Good Sources
Clams                                       Beef
Pork Liver                                Shrimp
Oysters                                     Sardines
Chicken Liver                           Turkey
Mussels
Beef Liver

Iron Rich Foods containing Non-Heme Iron
Excellent Sources Good Source

Enriched breakfast cereals Canned beans
Cooked beans and lentils                 Baked potato with skin
Pumpkin seeds                               Enriched pasta
Blackstrap Molasses                         Canned asparagus


Warning: Pregnant women should not eat liver because of its very high Vitamin A content. Large amounts of Vitamin A can be harmful to the baby.

The absorption of Non-heme iron can be improved when a source of heme iron is consumed in the same meal. In addition, the iron absorption-enhancing foods can also increase the absorption of non-heme iron. While some food items can enhance iron absorption, some can inhibit or interfere iron absorption. Avoid eating them with the iron-rich foods to maximize iron absorption.

Iron Absorption Enhancers  (GOOD to eat)
Meat/fish/poultry
Fruits: Orange, Orange Juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit etc
Vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, potato, green & red peppers
White wine

Iron Absorption Inhibitors  (BAD to eat)
Red Wine, Coffee & Tea
Vegetables: Spinach, chard, beet greens, rhubarb and sweet potato
Whole grains and bran
Soy products

Is Spinach a good source of Iron? Written by Gloria Tsang, RD
Published in May 2006 (HealthCastle.com)

Spinach and Iron has been a highly discussed topic in our free nutrition forum. Many readers know that spinach is a source of iron. However they are confused that spinach is said to contain an iron absorption inhibitor as mentioned in our Iron Rich Foods article.

Spinach – a source of Iron
Spinach is a source of non-heme iron, which is usually found in vegetable sources. Unlike heme iron found in animal products, non-heme iron is not as bioavailable to the body.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked spinach provides ~3.5mg of iron whereas a cup of raw spinach only contains 1 mg of iron.

Spinach – also inhibits(stops) iron absorption
Spinach also contains oxalic acid (sometimes referred as oxalate). Oxalic acid binds with iron, hence inhibiting its absorption.

Spinach is not the only food containing high levels of oxalic acid. Whole grains such as buckwheat and amaranth, other vegetables such as chard and rhubarb, as well as beans and nuts all contain significant levels of oxalic acid.

So Should you or Should you not eat Spinach?
You do not need to give it up if you are a spinach lover! Simply eat spinach with any foods containing iron absorption enhancers. Here are some examples:

Iron Absorption Enhancers  (Good to eat)
Meat, fish, or poultry
Fruits: Orange, Orange Juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit and other Vitamin-C rich fruits
Vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, potato, green & red peppers
White wine

Requesting A Break – Part II

September 28th, 2009

I have learned from my visits over the years, pretty much everything in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is fairly close together. Post office, right up the street. Need to go get milk, oh, that’s about 7 minutes away. Visits to my father, not more than 15 minutes.

Lundy Pavilion

The drive to Mercy Care Center takes all but ten minutes, yet in the excruciating pain pulsating through my ankle and leg, I bite my lip and redirect my mind to more pleasant thoughts. It’s funny, what keeps going through my head is, “This is all in divine order. Nothing is out of place.”

“Well,” I blurt out. “At least I look fabulous to go to the emergency center.” I washed and curled my hair; great make up, power-jewelry on and fashionable black and white New York outfit.

Mary turns and squints her mouth as if to say, “Like we really care here!”

When Mary parks the van, I manage to peel my body off the seat and slide out of the van, dangling my bulbous left foot, laden with a ten pound cool pack and 9 inch wide, 4 foot long support wrap. I wonder what’s worse, the break or the concentrated bowling ball at the end of my foot.

Mary runs around the side of the van and produces the metal walking sticks. The crutches, oh yes, crutches. I think I missed that course in the school of life. Mary HAPPENS to have a couple of sets, because not only has she had the privilege to take the course, her twenty something sons have also engaged in class as well. Without missing a beat, Mary chimes in, “These will save you a good $100 off the bill.”

Great! I ponder, now how the hell do I use them? OK, under the armpits, up against the side of the body, hang on at the palm poles and balance. Crutches first, hop on right leg next, all seems easy enough. Man, the lymph nodes under my armpits are really being activated. How in the world am I going to do this for a number of weeks???

Mary sees the terror in my face, reads my mind, she says, “You can’t put the crutches right under your pits. Rest them along side the body and focus your weight bearing on your palms.”

OK then, here we go. Doors are held open for me. People look on with faces of concern and pity. Avoiding the glances, I look down, one step, literally, in front of itself until I reach a cushioned chair in the waiting area.

Mary rushes over to the registration window and I prop my foot up over an adjoining chair just to relieve the pressure. There is a big burly, red headed, bearded, Harley Davidson man right across from me, with his girlfriend or wife. They both look on with empathy.

As I settle into the chair and my body for the first time since the fall, I feel my nose begin to burn, eyes start to water and I blink back crocodile tears while I experience a tightening around a regressed five-year-old mouth. I want to cry out loud but there are too many people. (Actually compared to NYC, there is hardly anybody in this waiting room. But this point anyone beside myself feels like too much!)

I see out of the corner of my eye Mr. Harley Man gets up and saunters over to me. “Wow, man, what happened?” he asks sincerely as the sound of chain jingles in his pocket.

“Oh, I broke it,” I cordially reply, fighting back the tears, avoiding eye contact.

I regressed at that moment, to a comment made by one of my black students at a high school I was teaching at 30 years ago, “You can always tell when a white folks are going to cry or have been crying. Your nose and eyes get all pink and shit.” I was at the ‘pink and shit’ stage. This man’s true act of grace and heart felt kindness, burst my dam and humongous tears poured out of eyes, rushed down my cheeks and onto my sheik New York attire.

“Ah, man! You’re goona be all right! I’ve broken so many bones in my body. It hurts, but you’ll get better real fast, ” Mr. Harley says to me as his huge palm pats my timid shoulder.

I gaze up at him with the tears streaming down my cheeks and splashing onto my chest. “Thanks.” I timidly grin with a sort of embarrassed and genuinely grateful response.

My sister sits down next to me after completing the duties of registration board, credit card exchange and other logistical procedures; I can’t begin to wrap my head around. Now I know what it’s like to a hospital in labor and am asked a million questions in the midst of all that is happening.

The wait is relatively short. I look at my watch and keep saying to myself, “I am already on the plane, already in New York.” The emergency clinic is so clean. Definitely the Midwest!

A woman opens a door and calls my name. I hobble and hop past everyone else in the waiting area then down the hall into the examination room. My sister has been invited to come with me. Hey, I need someone to carry my stuff.

The nurse asks a number of questions about my allergies, how did the accident happen and then proceeds to take my blood pressure. Before she does the reading, I take a deep breath out and calm my nervous system. 113 over 73. Mary comments, “Not bad for someone who just broke their ankle!” I have resolved myself early on there is no room for fear, only trust.

Ok then, what’s next? Radiology. A very large woman comes waddling into the exam room and says, “Follow me.” I feel strong, I feel powerful with my metal appendages. I keep the tops of the crutches against my body and not nestled into my armpits. My strides are long and steady. I am going to make the plane on time. Maybe even with time to spare.

She leads me into a huge empty grey room except for a long cold table. Up I go onto the cold slab. The technician takes my crutches and places them as far away from me as possible. She rambles on about the weather, her knees, pain, difficulty walking and slowing down. I keep on breathing and seeing myself on the plane.

She asks me if I could be pregnant and I say, “It would have to be a miracle if I am, because I no longer menstruate and haven’t had sex in awhile.” Her mouth opens, then closes and a little smile arranges around her mouth. “Alrighty then,” the technician lays a heavy apron over my ovaries and exits the area.

A large camera hovers over my leg. She asks me to lay the leg this way, prop it that way, turn a little more this way. Done! Good, on the plane, on the plane. She teeters back and forth as she waddles over in pain to remove the metal covering from my privates.

“OK then, it will take about 2 and a half minutes for the x-rays to process. Hopefully this will work because there were funny sounds coming out of the machine before you got here and I hope we won’t have to do it again,” she says in a gleeful voice while exiting the area.

“Oh great! That’s all I need is to vibrationally mess up the machine! I see myself on the plane, I am in NYC by tonight.” I ponder quietly.

The long, cold table is fairly uncomfortable so I sit myself up on my elbows, listening to Ms. Techie on the phone talking about recipes for the Sunday picnic. I also hear the x-ray machine buzzing and whizzing away. Breathe out, on the plane, tonight, today, easily, effortlessly, focus on what it is I want, only what I want and desire.

The machine clicks off…I wait for the conversation on the phone to end. It continues for another minute, then two, three, four, five, six. I’m losing now. I wonder if I should scream out in a New York fashion, “ Yo! The pie is done. Dinger has dunged! Helloooooo! X-rays are awaiting us.” But I don’t scream it out loud. I scream it in my head.

Breathe out, on the plane, seven, eight minutes, more conversations about food, food, food. OK, this is it, no more Ms. Nice Guy…I sit on the edge of the table, that feels like it should be holding dead people and I scream at the top of my lungs, “GET OFF THE F—-PHONE!!!” (Only in my mind though.)

All of a sudden I hear, “Well then, we’ll see you all on Sunday, bye bye now.”

I blurt out, “I think the x-rays are done. I’m a bit on a time schedule, I do have a plane to catch you know.”

She responds, “Oh, they ARE finished aren’t they?”

“DUHHH,” I think to myself, yet I contain that thought.

“OK, you are in luck, these did turn out, there’s an odd line across them, but looks like all is well.” She cheerfully chimes in. “Are you traveling first class?”

What an odd question, I think. “Ah, no, but if this can get me first class, I’ll work on that.”

She looks at me rather strangely and then proceeds out the door. OK, here I am, trapped in the room that echoes. I can’t reach my crutches, I am not really sure where she’s going and I still don’t know if it is broken or not. I guess I wait for her go and come back. Hopefully, she will stay focused and go and come right back.

I decide to go in my mind and slow down time. I do this sometimes when I am in a cab, stuck in traffic, working on not being late for an appointment. It works, quite readily, in fact. I imagine Ms. Radiology moving, floating to her destination and back with efficiency and grace. Five, six, seven minutes later she comes into the room.

More to come….look for Part III

Requesting A Break – Part I

September 24th, 2009

Are you aware of how you create your life through the power behind your thoughts, emotions or words? The following is a first hand, rather first foot, experience that ‘woke me up’ to the next step, (no pun intended) in my personal and professional growth.

I just finished a two-week, annual vacation to the midwest to visit my family.  First stop, Minnesota. I embrace the challenges with my mother and her memory, giant crossword puzzles and visits with the grandchildren.  I revel in the joy of holding my 4 month old, great-nephew for the first time. I share in the excitement of my nephew and his wife’s enchanting new home. Myself, my sisters and sister-in-law, engage in a yearly ritual of ‘overnight with the girls.’ We cheat in a hysterical game of crocket, rummage through hundreds of pictures from the past and top it off with an evening of nothing but the best homemade midwest cuisine and conversation. The whirlwind week in Minnesota flies by in a blink.

My oldest sister, Mary, and I drive down to her home in Iowa.  My father lives in Iowa as well, in a nursing home where hospice visits him regularly.   As my father and I spend the week together, he goes through an ‘awakening’ process.  From our first visit, he transforms from, falling asleep in the middle of sentence, to eyes wide-open and non-stop conversation by the end of the week.  It’s amazing how love, personal touch, reading aloud, clipping fingernails, hair trimming and good ‘ole fashioned sunshine and fresh air, brings dad back into his body.  I spend my days, in the dream world where my father lives.  In the evenings, I share cherished conversations and moments with Mary.

I comment to my sister what a whirlwind 2 weeks it has been and I need a break before I get back to the rat race in NYC.  I just need a break, and any kind of a break. I can’t believe it, but Friday has come so quickly and I must head back to the Big Apple.

Around 11 am I begin to load my suitcases into my sister’s van. My flight takes off at 2:40 pm. There is plenty of time as I leisurely prepare for the all day trek to La Guardia Airport in NYC.  I strategically load my two smaller bags and my heavy computer suitcase around my shoulders.   I open the front door and second screen door with my right hand, bracing the doors with the right leg as I take a step onto the welcome mat leading with my left foot forward.  Out of nowhere, within a split second, I feel as if someone has vigorously pushed me from behind out through the door, as I yell out loud to myself, “What the hell?”

I forcibly land on my left foot. It collapses inward at the ankle and I hear a  dry, loud CRACK!  Searing pain shoots up my leg, everything I am carrying  goes flying onto the steps  and I pound the pavement with the left side of  my body. I spontaneously curl up in a ball, in sheer, primal survival mode,  grasping my left ankle with both hands screaming, “f—!”

Within seconds, my mind goes from, a 10 second ‘pity party’,  tears welling up in my eyes, going out of my body and into the victim role: “Why did this happen to me? I have a birth waiting for me when I get back to NYC!!! OMG what am I going to do????!” I pout.

Suddenly, I am back in my body, level headed and able to see the greater picture, “You know EXACTLY why this happened!  So get over it and move forward.” Ok then, I will have to check back with that later I remind myself.

I wonder if it’s broken or if I have torn ligaments or tendons?  Within seconds, I deduce, based on the sound, feeling and pain, it’s probably fractured.

I scream for my sister to come to my aid, “Mary, I just broke my ankle!!”

She screams from the kitchen, “WHAT???” I hear her running toward the front entryway, “What happened?”

“You are never going to believe me!” I shoot back in pain.

“What?” She impatiently asks.

“I felt like someone pushed me through the doorway and I landed on my left foot and it broke!” I honestly reported.

“Judith, there’s NOBODY else here.” She looks at me suspiciously.

“I know. I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.” I respond.

She rolls her eyes. I get this is not the time or place to discuss the ‘deeper’ more mysterious circumstances surrounding the accident.

The nurse practitioner in my sister, asks me to remove my hands so she can look at my ankle. I scream back at her like a mother protecting her cub, “NO! I have to keep my ankle supported.”

I immediately gather myself, looking at the watch on my right  wrist and say, “OK, it’s 11 am and my flight takes off at 2:40  pm. I need to get someplace to get an x-ray and be seen by a  doctor. I don’t have insurance, so what is this going to cost  me, ball park?”

Mary looks at me in disbelief. (I’m not sure if it’s the ‘I don’t  have insurance’ comment or the fact I have switched gears so  quickly that gave her a startled response.)

“Well, it could be as much as $1000. Can you afford that?”  Mary’s being very logical.

“At this point, I can afford whatever.” I respond in total trust,  because there is no room for fear.

“OK, the two options are, going to the emergency clinic at the hospital which will probably by about a grand, or there is another clinic, but I am not sure if they have an x-ray machine. I will have to call.” Mary kicks into gear.

“OK, go make the call and bring ice.” I yell after her as she runs back toward the kitchen.

Still curled up in a small ball on my left side, I close my eyes and I talk to God,

“OK, I need a sign to let me know if this is broken or I have extensive ligament and tend on damage.” I take a breath out, wait for a feeling, open my eyes and without missing a beat, the first thing I see is one of the 10 bangle bracelets on left wrist.  It’s broken, and there is a wire sticking straight up, with a number of  turquoise beads neatly lined up in a row. “Ah ha! It’s a clean break.”  I am pleased to have received a response.

At that moment, Mary comes back with, “You are in luck. The clinic outside the hospital has an x-ray machine. They can see you right away and it will be MUCH less expensive than the emergency room at the Hospital.”

“Great!” I am relieved. “Mary, I know it’s a clean break.” I confidently diagnose.

“How do you know that?” Mary responds surprised.

I nod to my left wrist, sticking the broken bangle out as far as I can, still grasping onto the left ankle and extending my  body forward.  “See?”

“What? Where?” She looks up and down my body questioningly.

“Right there, on my wrist…the broken bangle!” I shove the wrist even further towards her.

“Ah, Judith, you ARE going to have to have an x-ray to confirm your break,” She starts to laugh and shakes her head.

Mary removes my broken bangle. Very nurse-like, she wraps the ankle in a huge ice pack with a wide adhesive bandage.  Ahhhh, the cold relieves the pain.

Mary loads the rest of the luggage into the van and hunts for  spare crutches in the basement. I duck walk toward the  van; on my butt, hands and right leg weight bearing, as the  left leg extends out.  (Good thing I  spent the last two weeks  of my vacation working out, building muscle, and  healthy tissues to help buffer this accident.)

Mary comes outside to see me performing my cal-esthetics and says, “Judith, what in the world are you doing?”

“I’m getting to the van. You are loading things up, so I thought I’d get myself there.” I respond logically.

“Well, sheez, let me help you up.” Mary leans down to assist me to stand upright and hop to the van.

As I sit in the front seat, leg elevated, patiently waiting for Mary to lock up the house and drive me to the emergency care center I reflect about the experience. It’s as if this incident is designed to help me remember I’m not in control and that a deeper design is trying to emerge into my consciousness by putting my ego-mind (judgment, criticism, victimization, etc.) in the back seat for a time.

Mary joins me in the van, grasps onto the wheel, darts back forth through traffic as she emphatically suggests, “You know Judith, you HAVE to put this in your book!”

Now I roll my eyes.

Stay tuned for Part II …

Awakened Birth – You Are Already There

September 16th, 2009



This is it! This is the time to be alive. To REALLY be alive. We are potentials of unlimited powers, capacities to love, serve, share and support ourselves and each other during this new and revolutionary time in our history.

As the world becomes Awakened,  new paradigms in childbirth are emerging: Awakened Birth, Dreambirth Imagery, Calm Birth, Birthing From Within, Birth As We Know It, Gentle Birth Choices, reflect  powerful body/mind paradigms. New words such as, sustained energy, green, recycle have become common phrases in our every day lives and media. There are breakthroughs in medicine, science, ecology and technology. What we think, feel and consume affects the whole, individually and globally.

People ARE becoming more awake and aware. In the past three years, the films; “Orgasmic Birth”, “The Business of Being Born,”  “Pregnant In America,” have flooded the market, waking people up to choices and knowledge. For our sheer enjoyment, “BABIES,” a visually stunning documentary follows four babies around the world from their gestation, first breath to first step.

“The Secret-Law of Attraction,” or “What the Bleep,” have opened the doors encouraging awareness as to how we live our lives today. Dr. Oz, Oprah’s physician, Dr. Phil,  Oprah’s OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network debut 1/2011) has brought television to another level through it’s ‘mastery classes,’ Oz educates and inspires people to become more aware of their bodies as their  best healers. Preventative medicine is the ticket to a healthier you.

In 2008, Echart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey shared the largest internet class to date, covering 10 chapters in Tolle’s book: “A New Earth-Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose.” The enrollment for the first week was so large, the systems crashed. By the end of the 10th week numbers reached as high as 8 million people!

Futurist and evolutionary Mother of the planet, Barbara Marx Hubbard, develops tools for visions of a Universal Humanity.  She is a leader on the growing edge of the women’s movement, supporting the emergence of the Evolutionary Woman the Feminine Co-creator who is calling for the next level of creativity and partnership between women and men to guide our world through our current challenges and opportunities.

“Consciousness” raising websites, inspirational films and you tube presentations are popping up all over. Even reality shows are presenting people processing their lives right in front of millions. It’s not going to stop. It’s just going to become more.

To become a 21st century teacher to yourself, your baby, in and out of your womb and to those around you, Awakened Birth, guides you how to be an inspirational role model, by living a life of purpose, clarity, joy, integrity, trust, fulfillment, aliveness and connection.

What got me started on my ‘awakened’ path was an editorial a few years ago in Mothering Magazine, by Peggy O’Mara. The words at the top of the page screamed out, “WAKE UP! Women in birth WAKE UP!!! I didn’t initially understand what she meant by the words but my body felt a sense of urgency and truth with them.

The synchronicity of the editorial and my life took on a new meaning. I noticed the women I was working with at the time seemed to have ‘fallen asleep.’ The emails on my yahoo groups supported my similar  observations. Women give their power over to medical caregivers, birth caregivers, machines and drugs. I wondered where their sense of connection and communication with their bodies and babies went? When I would talk about the ‘biology of birth,’ eyes would glass over in classes. Women WANTED to drop down into biology and attempt a natural childbirth and/or breastfeed, but when push came to shove, literally, something happened. They went ‘asleep’. They shut down. Exhaustion and fear became the dominant emotions, mindset and body breakdown. I realize we are at a critical mass,  a tipping point in childbirth.

When I first started in 1987, vaginal breech births were being done routinely in hospitals. Labor doulas were not a common addition in the room, yet there was an interest and welcome by the medical staff for the ‘extra help’ for the mother and her partner. A woman was given an IV only if she medically needed one. Women were allowed to walk around much more during labor. Group b strep tests and early admissions were not routinely administered. Cesareans and episiotomies were used only when medically necessary. Women were not induced regularly for low amniotic fluids and or big babies. I attended the first ‘walking epidural’ at Roosevelt Hospital. The Doctor who invented the procedure administered it and the woman actually walked through most of her laborIt was amazing. Yet, times have changed.

It’s 2011, the scales have tipped and we are in a state of critical mass. Generations are being drugged, cut, strapped to machines and gurneys and losing all sense and connection with their hormonal potentials, their babies and bodies. Fear has become the dominant driving force in childbirth. I am not only experiencing this in hospital births but also in birth center births and home births. While I advocate a woman to choose the place she feels safe and supported, it is important whatever the choice, ask questions up front, make sure your needs are being met and nothing is done to you without your knowledge and or permission.

So why ‘Awakened’? Why not Awake, or Awaken or Awakening Birth? The choice of ‘awake’ is a state of doing on the physical plane. ‘Awaken’ is a state of unfolding to a potential. ‘Awakening’ is a process of trying and trying to get there and not necessarily succeeding.

AWAKENED is state of already ‘being there.’ Awakened Birth is remembering what we have forgotten; our bodies know how, our babies know how, without even thinking about it. All the necessary tools, insights, possibilities, potentials and hormonal pharmaceuticals are inside each woman, man, child, waiting patiently to be accessed, remembered and given permission to be released.

What happens when you’re ‘awake’ in life? Actions, words, thoughts, feelings, colors, sounds, smells and experiences are brighter, stronger, clearer and flow more readily. There is no ego involved. There is a sense of connection with Source, guiding, assisting and participating in the miracles of life. ‘Awake’ can happen when you are awake during your day and also when you are sleeping at night. Remember the last time you awoke from a dream with a desire, passion or message to do something, call someone or create something? When you are sleeping, your dreams can potentially become ‘lucid’; you are aware of what you are dreaming and able to SHIFT the actions in your sleep state or receive important information.This is also an example of being awake.

When you’re ‘asleep’ in your day and night time, you may be restless, confused, hyper, worried, doubtful and fearful. You are disconnected with Source and your ego is the driving force behind all your words, thoughts, feelings and actions. The intention behind your action could be judgement, criticizism, to defend, which is really attacking self, or having an attachment to a person, idea or thing. Eckhart Tolle, author of, “The Power of Now,” calls this behavior our “pain body.” Debbie Ford, author and seminar leader, calls this “The Shadow Process.” Nightmares keep one stuck in this experience of resistance. Carolyn Myss, medical intuitive, calls it the ‘wounded soul.’

When women ovulate or are pregnant, their senses become more acute. Everything is exaggerated. (Sometimes pleasantly and some times not so pleasantly.) The intuitive senses are triggered like a fine tuned antennae waiting to receive, and transmit information. Day dreams, intuitive sensations, night dreams are vital. They are pathways of reception and avenues of clarity. Abraham Hicks says everything is vibrational energy and all we need to do is, “tune in, tap in and turn on.”

How do you know if you are ‘awake’ or ‘asleep’? Most people are not able to access what they are feeling.  Many are more in touch with their thoughts and your body never lies. Your physical body will let you know. It is the grossest, densest of the bodies and the last to receive information.

The first step is to breathe out. What are you feeling emotionally? Good or bad?  Check what you body feels like: comfortable, light, easy flowing or painful, uncomfortable, heavy and blocked. Check your mind. What are you thinking? Are you judging or  surrendering? Feelings are indicators and thoughts are the power behind those feelings. Thoughts are triggered by heart felt feelings and emotions. Are you angry or trusting? Moment to moment, staying present and aware of what is happening in your emotions, physical body and mind is the FIRST step toward being Awakened. Small baby steps will bring rise to giant, consistent reminders of your Awakenedness.


Pelvic Types

June 13th, 2009

Pelvic Evaluation:

Let’s talk about the pelvis (as it relates to women). In general, the
 pelvis consists of four bones (paired innominate bones, coccyx, and
 the sacrum) held together by ligaments. The size and shape of
 these bones have a tremendous impact on how a woman looks
 physically. Medically speaking, pelvic shape is classified using
 something called the “Caldwell-Moloy” system.
There are four basic pelvic shapes:

Gynecoid     •     Android

Anthropoid   •      Platypoid

A gynecoid pelvis is oval at the inlet, has a generous capacity and wide subpubic arch. This is the classical female pelvis. Pelvic brim is a transverse ellipse (nearly a circle) Most favorable for delivery.The gynecoid pelvis (sometimes called a “true female pelvis”) is  found in about 50% of the women in America. It is the “classic” form that we associate with women and has an anteroposterior diameter  just slightly less than the transverse diameter. Lucy Lawless of Xena, Warrior Princess fame has a classic gynecoid pelvis. Women like this tend to look…like women. They are shapely and curvy. They tend to hold fat around the thighs more so than the mid-riff. They can have a flat stomach without                                                        really dropping body fat levels low enough to cause some “female problems.”

A platypoid pelvis is flattened at the inlet and has a prominent sacrum. The subpubic arch is generally wide but the ischial spines are prominent. This pelvis favors transverse presentations.  Pelvic brim is transversekidney shape. The platypelloid pelvis is very short (almost like a “flattened gynecoid shape”). Only about 3% of women have a true and pure pelvis of this type. Women having a platypelloid pelvis tend to carry a lot of weight in the lower abdomen. It’s very difficult for these women to have really flat abdomens without getting body fat levels down into the                                                                              single digits.

Flattened gynecoid shape

An anthropoid pelvis is, like the gynecoid pelvis, basically oval at the inlet, but the long axis is oriented vertically rather than side to side.Subpubic arch may be slightly narrowed. This pelvis favors occiput posterior presentations.  Pelvic brim is an anteroposterior ellipse, Gynecoid pelvis turned 90 degrees, Narrow ischial spines.  Much more common in black womenThe anthropoid pelvis is very long and almost “ovoid” in shape. It is more common in non-white females (it makes up about 25% of pelvic type in white women and close to 50% in non-white women). Women who have such a pelvis shape tend to have “larger rear ends” and may carry a lot of adipose tissue/weight in the buttocks as well as in the abdomen. These women can have a flat stomach with some real effort (they may have to drop body fat levels down a bit lower than women with the other two aforementioned pelvis types, but it’s “doable”).

 

An android pelvis is more triangular in shape at the inlet, with a narrowed subpubic arch. Larger babies have difficulty traversing this pelvis as the normal areas for fetal rotation and extension are blocked by boney prominences. Smaller babies still squeeze through. (Male type)  Pelvic brim is triangular  Convergent Side Walls (widest posteriorly)  Prominent ischial spines,  Narrow subpubic arch, More common in white womenThe android pelvis (sometimes called a “true make pelvis”) is found in about 20% of American women. Women who happen to have such a pelvis tend to have “flat rear ends.” Many of the truly “waifish women” we see so prominently in modeling today have this type of pelvis. It’s not necessarily a good thing for a woman to have such a pelvic shape, as most of these women will end up having a Cesarean Section if they want to have children. Women with this shape of pelvis have virtually no real difficulty in achieving a flat stomach—no more than the “average male”—because their pelvises are shaped like an average male.

PELVIC INLETS:

GYNECOIDPLATYPOIDANTHROPOIDANDROID

  1. Caldwell-Moloy Classification
    1. Gynecoid Pelvis (50%)
      1. Pelvic brim is a transverse ellipse (nearly a circle)
      2. Most favorable for delivery
    2. Android Pelvis (Male type)
      1. Pelvic brim is triangular
      2. Convergent Side Walls (widest posteriorly)
      3. Prominent ischial spines
      4. Narrow subpubic arch
      5. More common in white women
    3. Anthropoid Pelvis
      1. Pelvic brim is an anteroposterior ellipse
        1. Gynecoid pelvis turned 90 degrees
      2. Narrow ischial spines
      3. Much more common in black women
    4. Platypelloid Pelvis (3%)
      1. Pelvic brim is transverse kidney shape
      2. Flattened gynecoid shape

 

Pelvises I Have Known and Loved

June 13th, 2009


Pelvises I Have Known and Loved – by Gloria Lemay (Midwife)

(© 2003 Midwifery Today, Inc. All rights reserved.If you enjoyed this article, you’ll enjoy Midwifery Today magazine! Subscribe now! [Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 50, Summer 1999 and is also available online in Spanish.])

What if there were no pelvis? What if it were as insignificant to how a child is born as how big the nose is on the mother’s face? After twenty years of watching birth, this is what I have come to. Pelvises open at three stretch points—the symphisis pubis and the two sacroiliac joints. These points are full of relaxin hormones—the pelvis literally begins falling apart at about thirty-four weeks of pregnancy. In addition to this mobile, loose, stretchy pelvis, nature has given human beings the added bonus of having a moldable, pliable, shrinkable baby head. Like a steamer tray for a cooking pot has folding plates that adjust it to any size pot, so do these four overlapping plates that form the infant’s skull adjust to fit the mother’s body.

Every woman who is alive today is the result of millions of years of natural selection. Today’s women are the end result of evolution. We are the ones with the bones that made it all the way here. With the exception of those born in the last thirty years, we almost all go back through our maternal lineage generation after generation having smooth, normal vaginal births. Prior to thirty years ago, major problems in large groups were always attributable to maternal malnutrition (starvation) or sepsis in hospitals.

Twenty years ago, physicians were known to tell women that the reason they had a cesarean was that the child’s head was just too big for the size of the pelvis. The trouble began when these same women would stay at home for their next child’s birth and give birth to a bigger baby through that same pelvis. This became very embarrassing, and it curtailed this reason being put forward for doing cesareans. What replaced this reason was the post-cesarean statement: “Well, it’s a good thing we did the cesarean because the cord was twice around the baby’s neck.” This is what I’ve heard a lot of in the past ten years. Doctors must come up with a very good reason for every operation because the family will have such a dreadful time with the new baby and mother when they get home that, without a convincing reason, the fathers would be on the warpath. Just imagine if the doctor said honestly, “Well, Joe, this was one of those times when we jumped the gun—there was actually not a thing wrong with either your baby or your wife. I’m sorry she’ll have a six week recovery to go through for nothing.” We do know that at least 15 percent of cesareans are unnecessary but the parents are never told. There is a conspiracy among hospital staff to keep this information from families for obvious reasons.

In a similar vein, I find it interesting that in 1999, doctors now advocate discontinuing the use of the electronic fetal monitor. This is something natural birth advocates have campaigned hard for and have not been able to accomplish in the past twenty years. The natural-types were concerned about possible harm to the baby from the Doppler ultrasound radiation as well as discomfort for the mother from the two tight belts around her belly. Now in l999, the doctors have joined the campaign to rid maternity wards of these expensive pieces of technology. Why, you ask. Because it has just dawned on the doctors that the very strip of paper recording fetal heart tones that they thought proved how careful and conscientious they were, and which they thought was their protection, has actually been their worst enemy in a court of law. A good lawyer can take any piece of “evidence” and find an expert to interpret it to his own ends. After a baby dies or is damaged, the hindsight people come in and go over these strips, and the doctors are left with huge legal settlements to make. What the literature indicates now is that when a nurse with a stethoscope listens to the “real” heartbeat through a fetoscope (not the bounced back and recorded beat shown on a monitor read-out) the cesarean rate goes down by 50 percent with no adverse effects on fetal mortality rates.

Of course, I am in favour of the abolition of electronic fetal monitoring but it would be far more uplifting if this was being done for some sort of health improvement and not just more ways to cover butt in court.

Now let’s get back to pelvises I have known and loved. When I was a keen beginner midwife, I took many workshops in which I measured pelvises of my classmates. Bi-spinous diameters, sacral promontories, narrow arches—all very important and serious. Gynecoid, android, anthropoid and the dreaded platypelloid all had to be measured, assessed and agonized over. I worried that babies would get “hung up” on spikes and bone spurs that could, according to the folklore, appear out of nowhere. Then one day I heard the head of obstetrics at our local hospital say, “The best pelvimeter is the baby’s head.” In other words, a head passing through the pelvis would tell you more about the size of it than all the calipers and X-rays in the world. He did not advocate taking pelvic measurements at all. Of course, doing pelvimetry in early pregnancy before the hormones have started relaxing the pelvis is ridiculous.

One of the midwife “tricks” that we were taught was to ask the mother’s shoe size. If the mother wore size five or more shoes, the theory went that her pelvis would be ample. Well, 98 percent of women take over size five shoes so this was a good theory that gave me confidence in women’s bodies for a number of years. Then I had a client who came to me at eight months pregnant seeking a home waterbirth. She had, up till that time, been under the care of a hospital nurse-midwifery practise. She was Greek and loved doing gymnastics. Her eighteen-year-old body glowed with good health, and I felt lucky to have her in my practise until I asked the shoe size question. She took size two shoes. She had to buy her shoes in Chinatown to get them small enough—oh dear. I thought briefly of refreshing my rusting pelvimetry skills, but then I reconsidered. I would not lay this small pelvis trip on her. I would be vigilant at her birth and act if the birth seemed obstructed in an unusual way, but I would not make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. She gave birth to a seven-pound girl and only pushed about twelve times. She gave birth in a water tub sitting on the lap of her young lover and the scene reminded me of “Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields—it was so sexy. So that pelvis ended the shoe size theory forever.

Another pelvis that came my way a few years ago stands out in my mind. This young woman had had a cesarean for her first childbirth experience. She had been induced, and it sounded like the usual cascade of interventions. When she was being stitched up after the surgery her husband said to her, “Never mind, Carol, next baby you can have vaginally.” The surgeon made the comment back to him, “Not unless she has a two pound baby.” When I met her she was having mild, early birth sensations. Her doula had called me to consult on her birth. She really had a strangely shaped body. She was only about five feet, one inch tall, and most of that was legs. Her pregnant belly looked huge because it just went forward—she had very little space between the crest of her hip and her rib cage. Luckily her own mother was present in the house when I first arrived there. I took her into the kitchen and asked her about her own birth experiences. She had had her first baby vaginally. With her second, there had been a malpresentation and she had undergone a cesarean. Since the grandmother had the same body-type as her daughter, I was heartened by the fact that at least she had had one baby vaginally. Again, this woman dilated in the water tub. It was a planned hospital birth, so at advanced dilation they moved to the hospital. She was pushing when she got there and proceeded to birth a seven-pound girl. She used a squatting bar and was thrilled with her completely spontaneous birth experience. I asked her to write to the surgeon who had made the remark that she couldn’t birth a baby over two pounds and let him know that this unscientific, unkind remark had caused her much unneeded worry.

Another group of pelvises that inspire me are those of the pygmy women of Africa. I have an article in my files by an anthropologist who reports that these women have a height of four feet, on average. The average weight of their infants is eight pounds! In relative terms, this is like a woman five feet six giving birth to a fourteen-pound baby. The custom in their villages is that the woman stays alone in her hut for birth until her membranes rupture. At that time, she strolls through the village and finds her midwives. The midwives and the woman hold hands and sing as they walk down to the river. At the edge of the river is a flat, well-worn rock on which all the babies are born. The two midwives squat at the mother’s side while she pushes her baby out. One midwife scoops up river water to splash on the newborn to stimulate the first breath. After the placenta is birthed the other midwife finds a narrow place in the cord and chews it to separate the infant. Then, the three walk back to join the people. This article has been a teaching and inspiration for me.

That’s the bottom line on pelvises—they don’t exist in real midwifery. Any baby can slide through any pelvis with a powerful uterus pistoning down on him/her.

Gloria Lemay is a private birth attendant in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Winners of “Birth Matters Virginia Contest”

June 13th, 2009


Congratulations to all these filmmakers and ‘media midwives’. I truly know what it is like to create these labors of love.  My hat goes off to you all and your work.

The top 11 finalists in alphabetical order:

Birthing Plain and Simple, by Lynn King (Indiana):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAre8Ews3fk

Do You Doula? by Julie Clevidence (Ohio):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvmB96cRnaU

Doulas Make a Difference, by Marla Yeatts (Virginia):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfOBVPZg94Y 

Educated Birth, by Margaret Dombrowski:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC0UZShzIHw 

Home Birth/Water Birth of Judah Darwin, by Rachel Zucker (New York): 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJvDZ_Ev6M&feature=channel_page  

Home Birth DIY Labor and Delivery, by Ryanne Hodson (Virginia):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=245bDnOVAxQ

It’s Worth It, Kat Hickey (Indiana):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ7J8BIYa7g

Misconception, Becky Carey (Virginia): 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxRmVciXy-g

Natural Born Babies (Part 1& 2 considered as one entry), Kip Hewitt (California): 
Prevent Cesarean Surgery, Ragan Cohen (California):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZy0JPtubiQ  

The Nature of Natural Birth, Laura Alvarez (Wisconsin): 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrIPtVEjVnc

With your comments and questions re: this contest email to richmond@birthmattersva.org.
 
                            

Patients Bill of Rights – Coerced Medical Interventions

May 18th, 2009

 


On the Birth Plan of all my clients, I suggest they write at the top of the page:  ‘Nothing can be done to myself or my baby without my knowledge and/or permission.’ All too often women are coerced into medical interventions or they are just ‘done to them’ without a discussion or explaination.  It’s time for we women to WAKE UP and STAND UP for our rights.  Please read and pass on to ANYONE who might listen:

Coerced medical interventions on pregnant women:
http://advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/main/publications/articles_and_reports/
coercive_medicine.php

“Once a patient has been informed of the material risks and benefits
involved with a treatment, test or procedure, that patient has the right to
exercise full autonomy in deciding whether to undergo the treatment, test,
or procedure or whether to make a choice among a variety of treatments,
tests, or procedures. In the exercise of that autonomy, the informed patient
also has the right to refuse to undergo any of these treatments, tests, or
procedures. . . . Performing an operative procedure on a patient without the
patient’s permission can constitute ‘battery’ under common law. In most
circumstances this is a criminal act. . . . Such a refusal [of consent] may
be based on religious beliefs, personal preference, or comfort.” 
ACOG. Informed refusal. Committee Opinion No 237, June 2000.

These legal and medical ethical principles make sense for both women and
children. Doctors are not infallible and their advice is just that, advice.
In addition to the consensus of medical organizations, courts, too, have
long recognized a patient’s right to make health care decisions free from
governmental intrusion. However, in the case of a pregnant woman refusing
potentially beneficial medical treatment for the fetus, the principle has
been too easily set aside, and for dubious reasons.

Aromatherapy During Labor & Birth

May 18th, 2009


I have been a labor support doula predominantly in the New York, tri-state area since 1987. I have been flown internationally to attend births in Mexico, Germany, to name a few.  Body work has been in my blood and life since I was 3 years old.  My father remembers how I would run and jump into his arms at the end of a long day and hug, kiss and rub my little hands all over his neck and face and chest. He said it was one of the best parts of his days.

Now, many years later, I have discovered, beyond my own aromas, in labor and birth there are numerous scents to help enhance, soothe, uplift and support the mother, baby and her partner.  You may use aromatherapy by mixing with tracer oils or in a diffuser accompanied by low lights and music to enhance the aroma.  My favorites essences during labor, IF the woman is comfortable with the smell are moroccan rose and/or geranium together or separate, lavender and/or neroli, together or separate.  Clary sage is my all time favorite for stimulating the womb and encouraging the expansion and softening of the cervix.

Here is my research so far.  Enjoy the aromatic experience! 🙂

AROMATHERAPY LABOR & BIRTH

BASIL

General tonic, can relieve nervous tension, flatulence and nausea and aids digestion. Credited with the power of relieving the pain of a woman in labor.

BERGAMOT

A “ray of sunshine.” This is said to uplifting, light and refreshing, helping relieve depression and anxiety. Helps to renew energy during the labor.

CHAMOMILE

The “Matriarch” of oils, very gentle, soothing and calming to the mind and body. Helps calm the irritated, fretful or nervous person. Helps to renew energy and ease during the labor.

CITRUS

Generally quoted as having some degree of photo toxicity, which is of relevance in maternity care, for these are otherwise considered to be among the safest oil to use during pregnancy.

CLARY SAGE

This essential oil must not be confused with sage. Don’t use sage for the baby’s sake – it leaves too high toxic residues in the body. Clary sage is a milder version, although still should be used with care. Helps respiratory, muscular, and uterine systems. Mild analgesic. Facilitates birth; uterine tonic. Euphoric. Helps breathing by calming the lower part of the spinal cord. Works on the uterus or that influence hormone balance, during the labor to stimulate contraction or after the birth of the baby to aid the mother’s recovery. This works well as a muscle relaxant, relieving stress and tension in the body. During the labor, it has a very special action of toning the muscles of the uterus and is particularly effective if the mother’s contraction is weak and irregular and progress towards the birth of the baby is slow. In this case, apply a little oil to the belly between contractions using the circular clockwise strokes, applying a firm but gentle pressure using the flat of the hands in the comfortable position. Concentrate on relaxing the muscles of the lower belly allowing the baby to move downward to press firmly on the neck of the uterus. Apply this massage for 10-15 min or until regular contractions is established. NOTE: Some practitioners advise that this be used during labor only. Before using this during pregnancy contact someone knowledgeable in essential oils.

GERANIUM

Circulation-stimulating. One of the best circulatory oils – and if the circulation is good, breathing will be easier. Good for uterus and endometrium. Contractive effect – pulls together dilated tissues, so excellent for after the birth. Good for the whole female reproductive system. Antidepressant, known for its uplifting effects. Has a great benefit as it is used to massage the lower back.

JASMINE

Works on the uterus or that influence hormone balance, during the labor to stimulate contraction or after the birth of the baby to aid the mother’s recovery. Reassure and boost confidence during the labor. Because of its actions on the uterus, it is invaluable during childbirth. It can strengthen contractions, yet relieve pain and due to its anti-depressant quality, can help with post-natal depression. Has a great benefit for massaging the lower back with Jasmine.

LAVENDER

Circulation stimulating. Slight analgesic effect. Calming. Antiseptic; antibiotic; disinfectant; slight antiviral properties; anti-inflammatory.Promotes healing of open wounds – can be used instead of antiseptics.Accepted by everyone. Good for headaches, fainting, and bringing around after shock. Restores unbalanced states to a more harmonious state, and has been said to strengthen contractions. Has a great benefit as it is used to massage the lower back.

LEMON OIL

Active phototoxic ingredients of lemon oil is mainly the furancoumarins bergapten and to some extent oxypeucedanin. However, some suggest that distilled lemon and lime oils, and expressed mandarin, tangerine and sweet orange oils are not phototoxic.

LEMONGRASS

The effectiveness in stimulating stress related weakness has been shown to help in encouraging milk production and digestion.

NEROLI

Works on the nervous system and facilitates easy breathing, especially during panting (if this is used to stop pushing). Its calming effect increases the oxygen supply to the blood and brain and helps the woman to avoid hyperventilation.In low doses (1-2 drops per day on a diffuser) it has a sedative and calming effect; in higher doses, it is a stimulant. Has a great benefit as it is used to massage the lower back.

NUTMEG

Analgesic. Calms the central nervous system; alleviates anxiety. Increases circulation – good for blood supply.

NEROLI

This oil may be one of the most effective anti-depressant oils; it is useful for insomnia, hysteria, anxiety and other stress-related condition.

ROSE

Uterine relaxant. Helps ligaments to soften, enabling the pelvic bones to expand; and to regain elasticity after the birth. Natural antiseptic. Slight analgesic effect. Good cardiac tonic. Reassure and boost confidence during the labor. Works on the uterus or that influence hormone balance, during the labor to stimulate contraction or after the birth of the baby to aid the mother’s recovery. Has a great benefit as it is used to massage the lower back

ROSEMARY

May be used in late pregnancy with caution, but are thought to be toxic in early pregnancy. Do NOT use if the mother develop high blood pressure during the pregnancy or labor as it may unduly stimulate the circulation if high blood pressure develops.


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