Re: your Feb. 6 article, “St. John’s Pleasant Valley forbids midwife deliveries as of Monday”:
Let’s be honest. The decision to take away the option for women to have a midwife-attended birth at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo as of Feb. 8 had nothing to do with concerns for the safety of women or babies. If it had, the hospital would not have canceled privileges for midwives Lynn Olson and Joyce Weckl.
There is plenty of evidence that indicates that putting midwives in charge of caring for healthy women during pregnancy and birth actually produces better results for mothers and babies with fewer interventions at lower costs than having an obstetrician (who is trained to deal with pathologies of birth, not with normal birth) be the sole caregiver for healthy women.
There is no evidence that newborns or mothers at St. John’s were put at any increased risk because of midwifery care. Hospital CEO T. Michael Murray knew this, I suspect, or he would have presented some with his cowardly statement that rescinded the midwives’ privileges.
A recent U.S. study showed that nurse-midwives spend an average of 24 minutes with a woman during each prenatal visit, compared with obstetricians, who spend only 10 minutes per visit on average. Another study of more than 4 million U.S. births found that midwife-attended, low-risk births had 33 percent fewer newborn deaths and 31 percent fewer babies born too small, which means fewer brain-damaged babies.
It is well-known that midwife-assisted births are far less likely to be induced or to result in a Cesarean. No wonder approximately 60 women in the Camarillo area took advantage of this option last year. But that’s over now — at least in Camarillo.
This bullying of pregnant women and midwives is outrageous; it is especially insulting to explain it as a “safety” measure.
Without exception, the European nations in which 75 percent of births are attended principally by midwives (usually with no obstetrician in the birth room) have lower rates of newborn and maternal deaths than we have in the U.S. None of these countries spends nearly as much money per capita on maternity care as we spend, and in none of these countries are licensed midwives kept from working in hospitals providing maternity care.
The U.S. is the only country among the highly industrialized nations that even has the concept of midwives who must beg for privileges, which can later be summarily withdrawn without any right of appeal…
Sunday, February 28, 2010
[Bulk] This Week on My Best Birth: Laila Ali’s Birth Story, Ricki Lake at CIMS, Abby Epstein’s VBAC and More...
February 28, 2010
February has been a fantastic month for us at My Best Birth. We’d officially like to welcome our new Web Administrator and Marketing Director, Lynn Wolf, to the team. Click here to see Lynn’s profile or contact her about advertising on our site.
We are almost at our goal of 10,000 members so keep spreading the word!
Abby, Ricki, Lynn & the My Best Birth team
A New Celebrity Birth Webisode Premieres on My Best Birth: Laila Ali
Following up our popular webisode series featuring Cindy Crawford, Melissa Joan Hart and Alyson Hannigan, we are excited to bring you exclusive excerpts from the birth story of professional boxer and television host Laila Ali! Laila’s planned home birth was switched to a hospital birth because of growth concerns about her baby.
We interviewed Laila and her amazing doula Ana Paula Markel about her birth journey and we are thrilled to bring you their story on My Best Birth! Starting March 8th, Laila and Ana Paula will host an online forum on our website to answer your questions.
Ricki Lake Attended the CIMS Mother-Friendly Childbirth Forum in Austin, TX Last Week
(left to right: Deja Bernhardt, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Ricki Lake, Debra Pascali-Bonaro)
On Friday, February 26, Ricki was keynote speaker at the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) Forum and Annual Meeting. She was also presented with the Sharron S. Humenick Award! Please click here to read Ricki's latest blog post, and hear all about her weekend in Austin, TX!
Congratulations to Abby Epstein on the Birth of her Second Baby!
On February 3, 2010, Abby gave birth to her baby boy, Pietro! Congratulations to Abby Epstein, Paulo Netto and big brother Matteo! Please click here to read Abby's latest blog post, the first installment of her birth story.
A Warm Welcome to Our New Sponsors
Welcome our new sponsors Momzelle, featuring cute, eco-friendly nursing tops, and The First 8 Days of Being a Mom, an absolute must read for any new or expecting mother. We'd also like to welcome Hypnobabies, hypnosis for childbirth. Thank you for supporting My Best Birth!
We have so many phenomenal members of our community! Many of you are actively posting interesting blogs, articles and discussion forums, and we would love to start featuring you! This week we are featuring Kim Nelli. Kim and her husband James coach pregnant moms on how to nurture happier, healthier babies; they are founders of YourSuperBaby.com and authors of soon-to-be-released book "Super Baby". Check out Kim's latest blog post about Environmental Dangers and Childhood Illness. If you would like to become a featured member, write a blog post and host a discussion forum, please contact email@example.com for more information.
News From the World of Childbirth
Certified Nurse Midwives were recently barred from delivering at St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital, in Ventura County, CA. Please click here to read more, and find out how you can take action.
Invite Your Friends to Join My Best Birth
We are almost at 9,000 members! It's easy to invite your friends to join My Best Birth. Just locate the Invite tab on the upper left hand corner of your page, and click to import your contacts from Yahoo, MSN, Gmail and AOL. It's a great way to support our amazing community, and to help us grow!
We Have a Facebook Fan Page
Are you on Facebook? Become a fan of My Best Birth and spread the word! Our community is rapidly growing, thanks to our amazing members! please click here to visit our Facebook fan page.
Link Your My Best Birth Page to Your Twitter
You can now seamlessly integrate your Twitter account with your My Best Birth page. Just locate the Twitter icon on your page and click to share blog posts, discussions and more! It's that simple, and a fun way to help grow our community.
Actress Kimberly Williams Paisley Wears Her Baby in Our Moby Wrap
Click here to see the new spring colors!
Your Best Birth
YOUR BEST BIRTH is an empowering childbirth guide packed with crucial advice from medical professionals, delivered in a down-to-earth, engaging, and honest voice. Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein reevaluate the pregnancy process, renew expectant mothers’ confidence, and place the control back where it belongs: with parents-to-be.
Order your copy now!
The Business of Being Born on DVD
"It should be seen by EVERY pregnant woman in America..." -NY Daily News
Click here to watch the trailer
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Last updated at 1:23 AM on 27th February 2010
When Sarah Watkins, a 28-year-old mother of two from Leigh, Lancashire, agreed to be a surrogate for a friend, she had no idea how close she would come to tragedy...
Lying on my hospital bed after giving birth, with the doctors and midwives bustling around me, I began to lose consciousness. Sounds and voices were fading into the background. Before I knew what was happening, I was wearing an oxygen mask and waking up to alarm bells as a crash team battled to save my life.
I couldn't see anything and was crying out for my husband Dave. Reaching out, I felt him grab my hand, letting me know he was there. I was more terrified than I'd ever been in my life. This was it: I was going to die.
Greatest gift: But Sarah Watkins, with baby Lewis, took a terrible risk when she helped Anita (right)
Above all else, I thought about my two young sons, Matthew, who was two-and-a-half, and 18-month-old Adam, and wondered if they'd ever forgive me for leaving them…
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Super Saver rate deadline extended until March 15. Register now and save!
Celebrating the Fourth In Our Nation's Capital
What better place to celebrate the Fourth of July than in our nation's capital! Washington's celebration of Independence Day - known locally as A Capitol Fourth -- opens with day-long performances on the National Mall by some of the country's top musicians and ends with a spectacular fireworks display over the Washington Monument accompanied by a live performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. And, it's ALL FREE! (The line-up of performers hasn't been announced yet but we'll share it with you as soon as it is.)
We've planned our 2010 National Convention program to end on the evening of July 3rd (with our annual banquet) which gives you all day on the Fourth to enjoy the sights and sounds of one the country's best celebrations. And, the Hilton's discounted NAMI convention hotel rates of $155/single and $165 double are good through July 6. So, make your travel plans now and join us in Washington, DC!
Monday, February 22, 2010
By Jane Feinmann
Last updated at 11:51 PM on 22nd February 2010
With her long eyelashes and black hair, Alexandra was, says her mother Beatrix, ‘the most beautiful thing I could imagine’. The newborn, who weighed 9lb 4oz, had been conceived through IVF after five years of trying (which had involved both parents undergoing surgery) and was a much longed-for child.
So her arrival last June should have heralded a time of joy. Yet her parents are grieving for their daughter, who died when she was just three days old.
‘The saddest moment of my life was when I took Alexandra’s blanket from Beatrix’s hospital bag, knowing there was no longer any need for it,’ says her father, Dr Craig Campbell, a university psychologist.
Grieving: Beatrix and husband Dr Craig Campbell whose baby Alexandra died just three days after a forceps delivery
Her voice breaking with emotion, Beatrix says: ‘To walk out of a hospital that had destroyed my strong, healthy child was just devastating.’
For Alexandra died as a result of severe injury to her spinal cord inflicted during a forceps delivery that went wrong - ten hours after her parents had repeatedly begged the obstetric team to deliver the baby by Caesarean.
The couple were later told by their doctors at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh’s Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health that Alexandra had been ‘unlucky, very unlucky’.
However, they believe she was the victim of medical arrogance and a determination to reduce the rising Caesarean rate.
As a result, thousands of babies every year are being delivered using forceps - yet this instrument is deemed so risky many obstetricians no longer use it. Unfortunately, few women are told of the potential dangers…
Posted by: "ariellecg"
Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:51 am (PST)
Grassroots Network Message 100107
Online Survery: Tell Citizens for Midwifery What We Can Do Better!
As part of our exciting transition, with new leadership and an expanded
board ahead of us, we at Citizens for Midwifery are also thinking about
how we can better focus our work to serve our members and friends: you!
Please help us out by taking our online survey (information below). You
can participate any time over the next two weeks, and the results will
help inform CfM's mission and goals as we move forward.
Thanks so much for your time! We really look forward to hearing from
Arielle Greenberg Bywater, "sidekick"
Citizens for Midwifery Survey
Citizens for Midwifery is conducting a survey. Please check it out at
As Susan transitions into retirement this year, CfM is taking this
opportunity to evaluate our communications, products, services, and
membership. We'd like to identify what we are doing really well,
and what value CfM brings to our members, supporters and the public in
general. We'd also like to know what we could do better as we grow
as an organization. So please take a few minutes and visit our survey at
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CfMsurvey1. We want to hear your voice.
I thought the diagnosis was for war veterans, not new mothers. Then I had a baby
By Taffy Brodesser-Akner
The delivery of my son didn't start with a rush of water, or cramps that left me hunched. It was a decision, an edict, and with it, the drip Pitocin, a drug that induces contractions. The contractions came big and loud, almost immediately at one minute apart. My cervix wouldn't dilate, though. I was eventually given the narcotic Stadol, which caused me to hallucinate through a very long night. Twenty-four hours later, clear-headed but still not dilated, I told my doctor I didn't believe the induction was working, that I wanted to discuss other options. But before I knew it, he began painfully separating the membrane guarding my bag of waters.
"He isn't examining me," I yelled at my husband. "He's doing something."
In a hushed tone, the doctor asked the nurse for the hook, a mechanism that breaks your water.
"Why did you do that?" I asked when it was done. "I thought we were going to talk about it!"
His voice was cold, flat. "You're not going anywhere," he said.
My C-section came 30 hours after admission. It was a middle-of-the-night affair: a chilly operating room, an oily anesthesiologist, a clock on the wall that would not tell me when this would be over. I didn't think I would make it out of that hospital alive.
This is a vignette in the story of modern medicine, which allows many of us to survive childbirth, and for which we should be grateful. There is no doubt I needed it, either by me or the three obstetricians I've had examine my case since (though there is doubt as to whether I should have been induced). Both my life and my son's life were in danger by the time I ended up in surgery. And so why, when I returned home — a little sore, but with a healthy baby — was I not grateful?
Within a week of my son's birth, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD), which afflicts 15 percent of new mothers. I was diagnosed by three healthcare professionals, including the psychiatrist specializing in PPD to whom I was finally sent. It was a diagnosis that, at least on the surface, appeared to fit: I was sad and hopeless. I met most of the criteria on the checklists. But my sadness didn't explain the fits of anxiety to which I was prone, the ones that kept me writhing on my bed. "It's postpartum anxiety," said the psychiatrist, checking off a box on her clipboard. "Sometimes you get both," she told me, as though I'd happened upon a grocery store during double-coupon day.
But something more was going on with me. When I spoke to other women who had PPD, our symptoms didn't match up. I didn't have resentment or contempt for my baby. Further, the women I spoke to and the books I read made no mention of the things plaguing me: Just lying on my back opened a trapdoor to those horrible moments of my C-section. I would wake up from two-hour fits of sleep breathless and scared; I felt that I was stuck in fight-or-flight. Certain words and images were like a tripwire in my brain; driving past the hospital where I gave birth, I started shaking so much I had to pull over. I went to emergency rooms to evaluate pains that may or may not have been real, I consulted another psychiatrist, and another, I took a low dose of Zoloft, but none of it worked. Desperate, I consulted yet another psychiatrist — but this time, I chose a generalist, not a specialist in PPD. It was my husband's advice to try someone whose livelihood did not revolve around a certain disorder: "Never ask a barber if you need a haircut," he said.
Dr. K's office was bare, with ugly wall-to-wall carpet, not the comforting art of the first three psychiatrists, or their shelves of books. It was just him and his desk, a legal pad, a manila folder, and a Lexapro pen. He sat back and asked me what had brought me there. For the first time, the room wasn't crowded with questions from a checklist. I felt I could speak, that I could tell my story.
Toward the end, he started zeroing in on specifics. Was I having intrusive thoughts? Flashbacks? Did I feel that I was often reliving my son's birth? Did I avoid places that recalled the birth? Yes, I said. Yes, yes, yes.
He confirmed that I didn't have PPD or any of its cousins. Yes, I had depression. Yes, I had anxiety. Yes, I was postpartum (four months at this point). But what I had was something else, something those specialists, so married to their own territory, couldn't see. I had post-traumatic stress disorder…
Friday, February 19, 2010
National Institute of Mental Health Awards a Phase I SBIR Grant to MicroTransponder to Develop a Neurostimulation-based Therapy to Treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PR.com
Dallas, TX, February 19, 2010 --(PR.com)-- MicroTransponder, Inc., a privately-held medical device company, announced that it has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to develop a neurostimulation-based therapy for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This project will explore utilizing the company’s novel method of targeted plasticity to enhance the extinction of fearful memories in a laboratory setting. MicroTransponder is developing neurostimulation-based therapies for a wide range of neurological disorders using wireless devices.
PTSD is a tremendous health concern in the United States. According to the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), approximately 8% of the US population suffers from the disorder. The Society for Neuroscience reports that 5.2 million Americans, aged 18-54, are newly diagnosed with PTSD each year. There is likewise a growing awareness of this condition in the military, as up to 20-35% of the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to suffer from PTSD.
“MicroTransponder’s novel approach to treating PTSD utilizes the body’s natural ability to both enhance memory and control anxiety. Our therapy enables currently existing rehabilitation protocols such as Exposure Therapy to be far more effective due to enhanced memory capabilities,” stated Navzer Engineer, MD, PhD, Vice President of Preclinical Affairs.
Will Rosellini, CEO of MicroTransponder, stated, “This grant demonstrates the great potential of our neurostimulation therapy to treat many devastating neurological disorders. We are excited by the opportunity to explore a therapy which could potentially help many of our returning military warfighters and prevent a lifetime of psychological suffering. With support from the NIMH, our goal is to make this treatment available to both soldiers and civilians as soon as possible.”
About MicroTransponder, Inc.
MicroTransponder (www.microtransponder.com) is developing a wireless neurostimulation system for the treatment of chronic pain and several other neurological indications. The minimally invasive device will provide relief from chronic pain without requiring an implanted battery or wires. The company is finalizing R&D on the device and accumulating data towards FDA clearance. MicroTransponder also is adapting the system for a pipeline of innovative treatments for other neurological indications, including tinnitus, stroke rehabilitation, anxiety, and Parkinson’s disease.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
By John M Grohol PsyD
We’re pleased to announce that our partner MindApps has released a new iPhone/iPod Touch app known as eCBT Trauma. As you can guess, eCBT Trauma is focused on individuals who are coping with posttraumatic stress disorder — PTSD — in their lives.
“With eCBT Trauma, we wanted to help people who have experienced a trauma by providing education and interventions to help them cope with the symptoms of PTSD,” said Michael Hufford, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder and CEO of MindApps.
“eCBT Trauma can serve as an adjunctive tool for therapists to use with their clients, or as a standalone intervention.”
eCBT Trauma is an iPhone application that provides users with a way to assess their symptoms after experiencing a trauma, graph their symptoms over time and e-mail their progress to a caregiver, learn relaxation and grounding skills to help cope with symptoms of PTSD, and it provides structured interventions to help users complete ‘exposure’ exercises, which have beenshown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
It also includes links to online content regarding PTSD, support groups, and provides help finding a therapist…
February 17, 2010
Research You Can Use
February systematic review: Eating and Drinking in Labor
For decades, women entering the hospital for labor and birth have been told not to eat or drink, typically receiving only ice chips and sips of water from the time they enter the hospital until the baby is born. The reason for this policy is to avoid the risk of a rare but serious problem in the event that the laboring woman needs emergency general anesthesia. Research conducted in the 1940’s showed a heightened risk under general anesthesia of vomiting and inhaling the stomach contents into the lungs, where its high acidity can cause damage to the lung tissue (a condition called Mendelson’s syndrome). While some women in active labor do not feel like eating or drinking, others may be hungry or thirsty, or need to replenish their energy during a long labor. In recent years, regional anesthesia is most often used during labor and birth, and general anesthesia techniques have improved in cases of emergency.
A new Cochrane systematic review looked at the pooled results of 5 experimental trials including 3130 women at low risk for complications requiring general anesthesia. The review compared the outcomes for women whose intake was restricted to water only to those who were allowed to eat and drink various substances. No statistically significant differences were found for any of the outcomes studied. These included, as primary outcomes, cesarean birth, operative delivery and Apgar scores, and secondarily, maternal nausea and vomiting, use of pain medication, length of labor, labor augmentation and NICU admissions. Mendelson’s syndrome is so rare that it was impossible to assess whether eating and drinking in labor made any difference to the incidence of this problem.
The take-away: Many people have questioned the basis for restricting women’s oral intake at a time when they are exerting great physical and metabolic energy and when exhaustion and dehydration can negatively impact the progress and outcomes of labor and birth. None of the studies in the review assessed how women in labor feel about policies that do not allow them to eat or drink during labor. The results of this review support allowing women at low risk for surgical complications to make their own choices about dietary intake during labor and birth, eating and drinking to their own comfort level.
California Task Force Confronts Rising Maternal Mortality Rate
While the rate of women in California who die from pregnancy-related causes has tripled in the past decade, that state’s department of health has chosen not to release a report highlighting this alarming trend. “More women dying from pregnancy complications; state holds on to report” was published on February 2nd by California Watch, and featured on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. The story discusses the potential reasons behind the trend and, using data from Childbirth Connection, touches on the financial incentive to perform c-sections.
The article states that findings by national bodies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also point to a rise in maternal death rates across the country. Factors including obese mothers, older mothers, fertility treatments and better reporting on death certificates cannot fully account for the rise in mortality. In California, there was also a 50% increase in the number of c-sections over the past ten years. A California state task force concludes that altering the way providers are practicing could prevent a large number of deaths. The staff at Childbirth Connection would like to wish you joy and peace as we look forward to the new year.
A Tribute to Susan Hodges
Susan Hodges, co-founder of Citizens for Midwifery, has just stepped down after serving as the group’s president for 13 years.
We salute Susan for her many contributions to support the Midwives Model of Care, which includes:
Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
Minimizing technological interventions
Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention.
Under Susan’s leadership, Citizens for Midwifery has supported such care by working collaboratively with like-minded organizations, maintaining a website, producing the Midwives Model of Care brochure, sending Grassroots Network email messages, publishing a newsletter, using social media, and many other means. We wish Susan and her family and Citizens for Midwifery well!
NIH Conference on VBAC to Develop Consensus
Since 1996, VBAC rates have consistently declined, while c-section rates have been on a steady rise. The National Institutes of Health is hosting the Consensus Development Conference on Vaginal Birth after Cesarean, March 8-10 in Bethesda MD. Experts will present findings from a systematic review of the scientific evidence, discuss key questions, listen to public comment, and prepare a consensus statement on the key questions. Questions include: what are the benefits and harms of trial of labor after prior cesarean?; what are the factors that influence the use of trial of labor after prior cesarean? The conference is free and open to the public and will be broadcast live via the Internet.
Two Major Reports Released to Make Maternity Care Better
Last month, we released two reports that are the culmination of over two years’ work by more than 100 maternity care leaders. Just as the Institute of Medicine's Crossing the Quality Chasm defined high-quality health care, the “2020 Vision for a High-Quality, High-Value Maternity Care System” presents a shared view of fundamental values, principles and attributes that constitute a high-quality, high-value maternity care system. The “Blueprint for Action” provides detailed strategies developed by five stakeholder workgroups to achieve the Vision. Specific strategies in 11 critical areas are outlined and answer the question: "Who needs to do what, to, with, and for whom to improve the quality of maternity care over the next five years?"
Read and tell others about out our web page “Tips & Tools: C-Section” for tips you can use during labor to increase your chances of having a vaginal birth.
February 17, 2010
In this edition...
Excitement Builds for the 2010 CIMS Forum
Won't you join us in Austin, Texas, Feb. 26-27?
With little more than one week until CIMS descends on Austin, Texas, for the 2010 Mother-Friendly Childbirth Forum, Feb. 26-27, the excitement is building by the day. With the help of Ricki Lake and a program that includes some of childbirth's most notable names, we are gearing up for the best CIMS Forum ever! Online registration is available atwww.motherfriendly.org.
We're thrilled to welcome Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, to the 2010 CIMS Forum Program. Kathy is a recognized expert in the fields of trauma, women's health, depression, and breastfeeding, and she is the author or editor of 19 books, including Depression in New Mothers, 2nd Edition (in press, Taylor & Francis), and Non-Pharmacologic Treatments for Depression in New Mothers (2008, Hale Publishing). In her Friday, Feb. 26, session, "The Surprising Link Between Breastfeeding and Maternal Mental Well-Being," Kathy will report on new research that reveals the relationship between depression in new mothers and an unregulated stress response and will speak on the positive effect that breastfeeding has on the stress response.
- Register Now!
- Hotel Reservations: The 2010 CIMS Forum will take place at the Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin-Town Lake in downtown Austin. Use the promo code 'CIMSAF' to receive the group rate of $139/night.
Childbirth Connection and More Than 100 Maternity Care Leaders Provide Comprehensive Recommendations to Improve Maternity Care
Advocates and supporters of theMother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI) now have clear, comprehensive, transparent, inclusive, and evidence-based recommendations for bringing about substantive changes to improve maternity care. Childbirth Connection has recently released two reports, "2020 Vision for a High-Quality, High-Value Maternity Care System," the shared view of more than 100 leaders and multiple healthcare industry stakeholders of what maternity care should be, and "Blueprint for Action," explicit proposals for actionable projects developed by five stakeholder workgroups. Both reports and other documents from Childbirth Connection's Transforming Maternity Care Project are published in the January 2010 supplement to Women's Health Issues.
Everyone involved in any aspect of maternity care will be able to make a significant contribution to achieving a High-Quality, High-Value Maternity Care System by becoming involved in the Transforming Maternity Care Partnership Action Community. This initiative was developed to implement the recommendations of the Blueprint For Action by bringing together individuals, birth advocates, consumer groups, and community-based providers. A web page is currently being developed for the Action Community, but motivated change-makers can contact Rima Jolivet, Transforming Maternity Care Project Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in the project. Jolivet will be presenting 2020 Vision for a High Quality, High-Value Maternity Care System at the CIMS 2010 Mother-Friendly Childbirth Forum, Feb. 26-27, in Austin, Texas.
New Guides on Elective Induction Encourage Provider-Patient Communication and Informed Patient Decision-Making
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has published a guide for healthcare providers, "Elective Induction of Labor Safety and Harms: Clinician's Guide,"with a companion guide for patients on the subject of elective induction, "Thinking About Inducing Your Labor: A Guide for Pregnant Women."
The purpose of the clinician's guide is to summarize the clinical evidence on the safety of elective induction as compared to expectant management of the term pregnancy, and to offer information about maternal and fetal outcomes when elective induction is used. Although this guide is meant to help expectant mothers make informed decisions about elective induction, the authors admit that the research used to construct the guide has shortcomings in the comparison groups, induction methods, cesarean rates, and reasons for induction. The discussion on assessing the risk of elective induction addresses the factors which could increase the risk for cesarean. Risk of cesarean is lower if the status of the cervix is favorable based on a high Bishop score, if the gestational age is between 40-41 wks, and if the woman has had a prior vaginal delivery. The guide emphasizes the fact that the cesarean rate is higher for women having their first baby with an elective induction.
The patient guide simplifies the clinical data into an easy to read format, and is intended to help expectant mothers to speak with their doctor about this subject. Several statements are in compliance with the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative. The expectant mother is told that the risk of infection is higher after the bag of water breaks, but if it is intact, she can ask to go home if she is not dilating. For this reason, women may consider avoiding amniotomy. Mothers are also informed that the use of medications for induction requires continuous fetal monitoring, which then restricts walking and effective position changes. The importance of avoiding induction before 39 weeks to prevent potential prematurity and the importance of avoiding induction for a VBAC are also included. The most important quote in the patient guide may be, "My doctor or midwife is suggesting an elective induction. Do I have a choice"? Yes. With elective induction, there is always a choice. Be sure you talk with your doctor or midwife about what you want."
For women who are considering an elective induction due to physical discomfort, concern about getting to the hospital, having their own doctor or midwife, scheduling issues with their spouse, work or childcare concerns, this guide may help women to consider the risks involved. The guide may also be viewed as an acceptable tool for communication by physicians who do not favor elective induction seeing as it is generated by a credible source, the AHRQ.
The guides can be found at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov or a free copy can be requested from AHRQ (800) 358-9295.
Laboring Women Should Eat and Drink, Or Not, As They Desire
A new 2010 Cochrane Review "Restricting Oral Fluid and Food Intake During Labour"examined the results of five studies which included 3,130 women. The studies compared low-risk women who were restricted from fluids and food with low-risk women who were free to eat and drink during active labor. There were no statistically significant differences in outcomes, c-section rates, forceps or vacuum delivery, or Apgar scores. The authors concluded the evidence proved no benefit or harm; therefore, the restriction of oral intake during labor in low-risk women can no longer be justified and women should be free to eat and drink, or not, as they desire-a conclusion that is consistent with the evidence-based Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative.
For Expectant Families
Is your baby a future basketball star? You might have more influence than you know...
You have many hopes and dreams for your new baby, and you are committed to giving your baby the very best start. For many new moms, that means a commitment to breastfeeding your bundle of joy. While we are continually learning about the superior benefits of breastfeeding, new research published by the journal Public Health Nutrition and reported by the Baby Friendly Initiative demonstrates a surprising correlation between breastfeeding and adulthood height. Could you be nursing a future basketball star?
For the study, researchers recruited schoolchildren aged 12 to 15 years and followed-up with them as young adults aged 20-25 years. As adolescents, the researchers found no significant height differences between those who were breastfed and those who were not. However, by the time the children reached adulthood height, those who had been breastfed were "significantly taller" than those who had not been breastfed. The researchers concluded that, "given the known association of increased adult height with improved life expectancy", the study adds to the already known benefits of breastfeeding.
Though breastfeeding is a natural source of optimal nutrition, it does not come easily to all new mothers. A variety of factors can impact your ability to establish and continue breastfeeding. The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee's "Breastfeeding FAQs" page is a fantastic resource for new and expectant parents that provides answers to many of the questions you may have about breastfeeding. It includes answers to questions about the impact of birth practices on breastfeeding, finding a Baby-Friendly birth facility, and traveling while breastfeeding, among others.
Whatever your hopes and dreams are for your new baby, CIMS wishes you the greatest success in birth and beyond.
- Northern Ireland study demonstrates increased height amongst breastfed babies, The Baby Friendly Initiative
Welcome to the February 2010 edition of DBSA's e-Update! If you have any feedback for us, please e-mail programs@DBSAlliance.org.
Save the Date
- March 14, 2010: Extended deadline to register at the Early Bird rate for National Conference
- April 29-May 2, 2010: DBSA 2010 National Conference: Celebrating 25 Years of Peer Support
- May 3-May 7, 2010: DBSA Peer Specialist Training (Itasca, IL)
- October 2, 2010: 5th Anniversary Rebecca's Dream Gala (Chicago, IL)
"Walk to Washington" Supports Individuals Living with Depression.
Learn more about the many ways to participate.READ MORE
Podcast with Pulitzer-Prize Nominee Marya Hornbacher
Listen as Marya speaks about her New York Times best-selling book, "Madness".READ MORE
"Attitudes Towards Mental Illness" Survey Results Posted.
Results reveal both familiar and surprising opinions.READ MORE
"Finding Iris Chang" author, Paula Kamen to Keynote
Paula will share discoveries and lessons learned from her friend, fellow-journalist, and political activist, Iris Chang. READ MORE
Have You Considered Participating in a Clinical Trial?
DBSA is seeking your opinion on what's important to you.READ MORE
Rebecca's Dream Scholarship Applications Now Available
Applications posted for all consumers, family members and DBSA chapter members to attend the DBSA 2010 National Conference and Chapter Leadership Forum. READ MORE
Final Conference Agenda Lists Sessions, Speakers, and Times
Start planning your weekend now to ensure you make the most of your experience. READ MORE
Wellness Tips from Peers
"Never underestimate the strength within you. It is the rock that has kept you alive all this time and the base of which your recovery will grow from." Read more wellness tips from peers. READ MORE
Chicago, IL 60654
Thursday, February 4, 2010
POSTPARTUM SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS IN UNPRECEDENTED PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO ADDRESS RISING U.S. INFANT MORTALITY RATE
First-Ever Free Mobile Health Service Text4baby Provides Health Tips to Pregnant Women, New Moms
Santa Barbara, CA, February 4, 2010 – Today, Postpartum Support International announced that it is an outreach partner of text4baby –a new free mobile information service providing timely health information to pregnant women and new moms from pregnancy through a baby’s first year.
Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish) receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health, including birth defects prevention, immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.
An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby delivers timely health tips via text message to those who need it most. It is made possible through an unprecedented public-private partnership which includes the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Voxiva, CTIA-The Wireless Foundation, Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company) and founding corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson. Premier sponsors include WellPoint, Pfizer and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and wireless carriers are distributing text messages at no charge to recipients. Implementation partners include BabyCenter, Danya International, Syniverse Technologies, Keynote Systems and The George Washington University.
“We believe the power of partnership and community can make an incredible difference in women’s and children’s lives,” said Judy Meehan, executive director of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. “Text4baby brings HMHB’s mission to life and with the help of our partners, we believe we can be a strong catalyst for change.”
Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday—signifying a public health crisis. The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is one of the highest in the industrialized world, and for the first time since the 1950s, that rate is on the rise.
Research shows that while 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone fewer have access to the Internet, and texting is more prevalent among women of childbearing age.
“Postpartum Support International is proud to be a part of text4baby,” said Birdie Gunyon Meyer, president of PSI. “Mobile health services around the world have demonstrated the ability to help change patient behavior and improve health outcomes, and we believe that this program can have a significant impact on maternal and child health in our country.”
Messages aimed at the mental health of mothers will direct women who need help to the PSI Warmline at 1-800-944-4PPD.
“By putting key health information directly into the hands of pregnant women and new moms, text4baby demonstrates the tremendous reach of mobile health technology and the ability of mobile phones to inform and engage people to help them live healthier lives,” said Paul Meyer, chairman and president of Voxiva, the mobile health platform provider. “These same tools can be applied to many of the America’s big health care challenges.”
“We believe programs like text4baby are critical to providing much-needed information and support to pregnant women and new moms, especially among underserved populations,” said Brian D. Perkins, corporate vice president of corporate affairs for Johnson & Johnson, text4baby’s founding sponsor.
“We hope this program not only helps reduce infant mortality rates but also serves as an example of how the private and public sectors can work together to solve problems.”
Steve Largent, president of The Wireless Foundation and president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association said, “Wireless technology has the unique ability to deliver valuable, life-enhancing information anywhere, anytime. We’re pleased to be part of this innovative partnership which promotes the birth of healthy babies, particularly those in underserved populations.”
The text4baby wireless carriers are voluntarily providing the critical communications link of the initiative, distributing text messages to recipients at no charge. Participating carriers include: Alltel, AT&T, Cellular South, Cellcom, Centennial Cellular, Cincinnati Bell, Metro PCS, N-Telos, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon and Virgin Mobile.
“Fifty percent of people with chronic health problems in the U.S. have Internet access, but 90% of Americans have mobile phones," said Lynn O'Connor Vos, CEO of Grey Healthcare Group. “That alone tells us the potential of mobile technology to reach more people with vital information to improve health outcomes."
About the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition
The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB) is the only coalition of its kind which acts as a catalyst for change by creating partnerships among community groups, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, businesses and government agencies. The Coalition promotes optimal health for mothers and babies, and works to strengthen families and build healthy communities.
About Postpartum Support International
Postpartum Support International (PSI) is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to helping women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression, the most common complication of childbirth. PSI was founded in 1987 to increase awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional difficulties that women can experience during and after pregnancy. The organization offers support, reliable information, best practice training, and volunteer coordinators in all 50 U.S. states as well as 26 countries around the world. To learn more, call PSI at 800-944-4PPD or visit www.postpartum.net.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Attend Evidence-Based Nursing Care: Labor Support Skills Workshop
Save the Date for March 5, 2010, in Hollywood, FL
Join a dedicated group of health care professionals who truly understand and appreciate the labor process.
Register now to join us March 5, 2010 in Hollywood, FL for the
Lamaze® International Evidence-Based Nursing Care: Labor Support Skills Workshop. This specialty workshop presented by Lamaze International is designed to help health care professionals develop and hone their labor support skills.
Birthing professionals like you are raving about this comprehensive workshop. See what your colleagues who have completed this workshop have to say:
- “The workshop was very informative, providing helpful techniques and ideas for my practice.”
- “It surpassed my expectations; I discovered best practices that I couldn’t have learned about anywhere else.”
Learn from a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator
Michele Ondeck, RN, IBCLC, LCCE, FACCE, will guide you through an innovative workshop that focuses on proven strategies you can use to provide the highest quality care.
Upon completion, you will know how to:
- Help women reduce pain from contractions through movement;
- Provide comfort through use of focusing, relaxation and massage techniques; and
- Utilize methods associated with decreased need for medical intervention.
Opportunity for Contact Hours
In addition to enhancing your support skills and affording you the opportunity to network with other like-minded professionals, this one-day workshop is approved for:
- 7 Lamaze contact hours
- 7 Nursing contact hours
Don’t Wait to Register!
Provide the best support—register now for the Evidence-Based Nursing Care: Labor Support Skills Workshop! Register online or call 800-368-4404.
Learn more about evidence-based care and other valuable educational opportunities by visiting www.lamaze.org.
HAVE YOU REGISTERED YET?
Trends and Traditions in Midwifery and Birth
Midwifery Today Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 14-18, 2010
You STILL have opportunities to SAVE on conference fees
2nd deadline is FEBRUARY 1st!!
See the program and register NOW! http://www.midwiferytoday.com/conferences/Philly2010/
Learn from these great teachers: Mary Cooper, Elizabeth Davis, Betty-Anne Daviss, Cornelia Enning, Ina May Gaskin, Carol Gautschi, Lisa Goldstein, Carol Gray, Tine Greve, Gail Hart, Mary Hostetler, Janice Marsh-Prelesnik, Michel Odent, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Molly Petersheim, Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos, Elaine Stillerman, Jan Tritten, Naolí Vinaver, and Marsden Wagner.
Gain new perspectives on familiar skills and take home some new tools: With exciting hands-on classes and plenty of round-table discussions, you’ll have lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn about the latest techniques, renew old acquaintances, meet new friends and strengthen the ties that bind midwives together.
Choose from a wide selection of topics, including traditional midwifery skills development, prenatal care, emotional issues in labor, breech birth, massage techniques, difficult labor, craniosacral therapy, and the ever-popular “Tricks of the Trade.” There’s something here for everyone–whether you’re just starting out or have been a midwife “forever”!
Register by February 1, 2010 and SAVE!
Subscribe to Midwifery Today and SAVE!
SAVE with student discount on three+ days of attendance!
· Go to our Web site: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/conferences/Philly2010/
· Complete the registration form and mail or fax to Midwifery Today.
Please e-mail me if you would like a printed program mailed to you. Specify Code 3316 on the registration form or mention this code when requesting a printed program.
CEUs will be offered for ACNM and MEAC.
How to opt out: If you would like to be excluded from future mailings about Midwifery Today conferences, please reply to this message with your request for removal. Please note that, if you have explicitly signed up to receive one of our e-mail newsletters, you must unsubscribe separately according to instructions in the newsletter. The message you are reading now is ordinary e-mail and not a newsletter. I apologize for any inconvenience and thank you.
My best wishes,
Midwifery Today, Inc.
1372 S. Bertelsen Rd.
P.O. Box 2672
Eugene, Oregon 97402
Telephone - 541-344-7438
Fax - 541-344-1422
Plan to attend one of our upcoming conferences:
Philadelphia (King of Prussia), Pennsylvania
April 14-18, 2010 "Trends and Traditions in Midwifery"
28 September-3 October, 2010 "Birth is a Human Rights Issue"
March 30-April 3, 2011
Advertise at a Midwifery Today conference:
Visit www.midwiferytoday.com for information, books, products and other resources for helping to make birth safe for all women and babies.
My best wishes,
Midwifery Today, Inc.
1372 S Bertelsen Rd
PO Box 2672
Eugene, OR 97402
Telephone: +1 541 344 7438
Fax: +1 541 344 1422
Plan to attend one of our upcoming conferences:
Philadelphia (King of Prussia), Pennsylvania
April 14-18, 2010 "Trends and Traditions in Midwifery"
29 September-3 October, 2010 "Birth is a Human Rights Issue"
March 30-April 3, 2011
Advertise at a Midwifery Today conference:
Visit www.midwiferytoday.com for information, books, products and other resources for helping to make birth safe for all women and babies.
Meandering Michele’s Mind: New PTSD Research | Meandering Michele's Mind | Heal My PTSD, LLC - Your source for symptoms, causes, and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Meandering Michele’s Mind: New PTSD Research
Monday, February 1st, 2010 • Meandering Michele's Mind •
One of the things I most deeply believe in is how PTSD impacts identity. This idea — and how important it is to reverse the negative impact! — was the foundation for my own healing journey and is now the crux of how I approach self-empowered healing in all of my work.
Imagine my delight, then, when Sarah Vine contacted me about graduate research she’s doing in the area of PTSD and identity. As survivors we’re always looking for people to support us. We’re also looking for people to hear what we have to say about the PTSD experience. Sarah offers to do both. In her guest post today she asks for volunteers. I hope some of you will agree to share your experience with her so that the reality of PTSD gets even further documented.
Naturally, you’ll want to know about who Sarah is, her purpose and her mission. You’ll see from her words that she’s genuine. She’s also willing to answer any questions so feel free to reach out to her!
I am a final year undergraduate student of psychology studying at the University of Derby, specialising in Mental Health. As part of my undergraduate thesis I am conducting a study exploring individual experiences of living with PTSD and the relationship this condition has with identity and view of self. As part of my project I need to interview people who have been diagnosed and are still dealing with their PTSD. My brother has been my first volunteer; he has been coping with his Combat PTSD for the past 9 years and is one of the main reasons why I am so interested in contributing to this field.
The rationale behind the study is to further inform the existing psychological research into how people suffering from PTSD cope with and manage their condition. Recently some researchers have argued the significance of considering the perception of self and identity in relation to people who suffer from chronic conditions. These studies have investigated the personal experiences of people living with chronic conditions and the surfacing theme has been the influence this has on the view of the self (Bramley & Eatough, 2005; Murray & Harrison, 2004; Smith & Osborn, 2007). These studies have highlighted the magnitude of investigating subjective experience and focusing beyond certain disease-specific thinking to begin to foster an understanding of how self perception could supply insight to these chronic conditions. However, the majority of this research has taken a sociological perspective or examined particular chronic physical conditions. This study will explore Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the concept of self and identity, a greatly overlooked aspect of psychological research surrounding this chronic condition. It is my belief that by focusing on chronic mental conditions from a psychological perspective, whilst exploring the personal accounts of sufferers in depth, would build upon the work to date and has the potential to contribute considerably to understanding the healing process and the development of new treatments.
You are invited to take part in this study. This will involve answering questions regarding your experience of living with the condition and NOT the trauma behind your condition (unless you feel it is relevant) in response to either an online real time interview via Skype Chat/MSN messenger or emailed questions. Your interview and personal information will be kept completely confidential and secure at all times, and you will not be identified in the final report. After the report has been completed, all interview transcripts and other related information will be destroyed. Your answers will be part of an Independent Studies project and may be published in academic texts, however, they will remain completely confidential and unidentifiable.
You don’t have to participate in this study. If you do consent to taking part, you still have the right to withdraw your responses from the research, without giving a reason, for a period of one month post the interview date. This can be done by contacting me at the address below. If you would like further information on the study please do get in touch. Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you wish to participate please email me and we will organise the preferred method of interview. If you do have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sarah Vine is a currently studying to be a clinical psychologist with her main focus centering within the mental health field. Prior to taking up this training, Sarah spent 7 years working with the British military helping both current and ex servicemen and women affected by PTSD to receive the care and assistance that they required to deal with their condition.
Sarah is no stranger to PTSD and the impact this chronic condition has on the lives of the sufferers and their families. For the last 9 years she has been the main support for her brother, diagnosed with combat PTSD, and continues to help him recover from his trauma.
The mother of two boys, 7 and 3, of whom the eldest is autistic, Sarah wants to utilize her ‘everyday’ learning acquired from living with and loving people with mental trauma and developmental disorders and combine this with her formal psychological training to aid a greater breadth of people in her life.The research cited is being conducted exclusively by and only relates to Sarah Vine.
Share and Enjoy
By Valerie Berenyi, Calgary Herald
Being squeezed through a canal about the width of a bagel is humankind's first and oldest rite of passage. We emerge into the light, our heads misshapen, shocked into breathing by the feel of air on our skin.
No wonder we cry.
Then there are the babies delivered by caesarean section. Plucked like pearls from an incision in their mothers' bellies, they're prettier, less mashed, but they sometimes struggle to breathe, not having had the fluid compressed from their lungs as they would in a natural birth.
More than a quarter of us are now born by the knife.
According to a national report released in June by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 28 per cent of Canadian babies were delivered by C-section in 2007-08, up from five per cent in 1969.
It's a remarkable change to this most basic of human experiences. "The difference between my two births was amazing," says Airdrie's Marlaine Diggens, 33, who delivered two sons, the first by C-section, the second by Mother Nature…
By Karen Kaplan
…Scientists have been studying disasters for more than a century.
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., sponsored small fact-finding missions in the aftermath of earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters in the 1800s.
The federal government's first large-scale effort to understand the causes and consequences of an earthquake came after the San Francisco quake of 1906, said Marc Rothenberg, the historian for the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va.
When Congress established the foundation in 1950, it took on primary responsibility for funding studies of U.S. quakes and other natural disasters. The government's investment varies based on events, but most initial grants are in the range of $10,000 to $50,000. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, the foundation handed out more than $5 million for about 70 data-collection projects, said Dennis Wenger, the agency's program director in charge of disaster research funding.
The National Institutes of Health has also gotten into the act, sponsoring research on mental illnesses that often arise after disasters.
"It gives us an opportunity to learn something about the risk for psychopathology that can't be studied in other contexts," said Farris Tuma, chief of the Traumatic Stress Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health.
After four major hurricanes hit Florida in 2004, scientists studied survivors' medical records and gathered blood samples to tease out the role of specific genes in causing PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, depression and suicidal thoughts.
"You have this more level playing field of vulnerability, which gives us a better way of trying to identify what's protective for people and what puts people more at risk," Tuma said.
The first researchers began arriving in Haiti about a week after the Jan. 12 quake…
Posted by Rachel
A special supplement of the journal Women’s Health Issues highlights two new reports published by Childbirth Connection: “2020 Vision for a High Quality, High Value Maternity Care System” and “Blueprint for Action.”
The reports result from “an extensive multi-year collaboration with more than 100 maternity care leaders representing industry stakeholders – from hospitals and health plans to consumers and providers” with the purpose of “creat[ing] a framework for revamping maternity care in the US and advancing health care reform.”
Freely available online, the 2020 Vision document describes core principles and beliefs about maternity care and goals for care during pregnancy, around the time of birth, and after birth. Examples of values outlined in the document include practicing evidence-based care, supporting physiologic birth, using performance measurement, and supporting shared decision-making and choice.
The Blueprint for Action document, also freely available, provides more specific recommendations for action, including payment reform, reduction of disparities, altering the maternity care workforce composition and distribution, altered approached to liability, focus on resolving clinical controversies, conduct of comparative effectiveness research, better coordination of maternity care, and many others.
Overall, the documents provide an outline for reform of the maternity care system to support evidence, choice, cost-effectiveness, and safety, with recommendations for action and identification of key players for reform at each step, somewhat in the style of the Healthy People model for setting decade-long health system goals. The numerous specific recommendations contained in the documents are a lot to digest, so we appreciate reader responses in the comments.
Women who have been raped have much more difficulty in childbirth than their peers who have never suffered sexual abuse or violence, a new study shows.
"The challenging part seems to be in the second stage, when the baby is to descend and the woman should start pushing," Dr Lotte Halvorsen of the University Hospital of North Norway, who helped conduct the study, told Reuters Health in an email.
"A possible explanation may be that the physical pain when the baby is descending activates flashbacks of the rape, and the resistance to the traumatic experience," the researcher said.
Midwives, nurses needs to know history
Based on the findings, she adds, doctors, midwives and nurses helping women in labour and delivery need to know if that woman has a history of rape, so that they can assist her during labour without re-traumatising her. "A previous rape is a shameful, and therefore often a silent and unprocessed, negative experience in life that women do not bring up themselves," she added.
Halvorsen and her team decided to do the study after observing that women who had been raped had longer second-stage labours, and were more likely to need C-sections or assistance with forceps or a suction device to deliver vaginally.
They compared 50 women who had been raped at or after the age of 16 to 150 women who had not been raped. Birth attendants did not know about a woman's history of rape.
16 times more likely to have C-sections
As many as 40% of the women who had been raped had C-sections, while another 40% had vaginal deliveries assisted with a vacuum-like device or forceps. This translated to a 16-fold greater likelihood of having a C-section for rape victims, and a 13-fold greater likelihood of assisted vaginal delivery.
And while the women who had not been raped spent about an hour in the second stage of labour, on average, duration for the second stage of labour among the rape victims averaged two hours.
The women who had been raped were heavier, more likely to smoke, more often unemployed, and more likely to be single. They also had experienced more abortions and miscarriages. But the researchers adjusted for these factors in their analysis.
In Norway, Halvorsen noted, birth attendants "surprisingly often" do not have information about a woman's rape history. Typical aspects of labour and delivery, such as vaginal exams and having strangers in the room, may be traumatising for women who have been raped, she added.
"Women who have experienced rape need a birth attendant who can support birth with as few interventions as possible, as well as to help the woman to keep focused at the birth," Halvorsen said. They may also need more time in the second stage of labour, she added, in order to deliver vaginally. - (Anne Harding/Reuters Health)
SOURCE: British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, January 2010.
Half the Sky
Authors say elevating women is key to making progress on poverty
By Caley Moore
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
By Nicolas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Sunitha Krishnan was promoting literacy in an Indian village when a gang of men, indignant at her intrusion, raped her. Somehow undaunted, the young woman turned her attention to sex trafficking and now leads an organization that helps prostituted women rejoin society.
Krishnan’s is one of the many remarkable stories in Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who shared a Pulitzer for their coverage of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. In their new book (whose title draws on Mao’s aphorism “Women hold up half the sky”), the husband-and-wife team exposes the shattering effects of gender discrimination in the developing world.
Many of the women and girls profiled in the book have suffered harrowing experiences, from beatings by pimps to untreated fistulas after traumatic childbirths. But almost every personal tale ends in resiliency or healing; the point is not to overwhelm readers but inspire them to act.
While climate change is often described as this century’s crucial moral challenge, the defining issue for Kristof and WuDunn is “the struggle for gender equality in the developing world.” They urge readers not to be bystanders in the movement, and the evidence they present is powerful.
There’s a growing consensus in the development community that elevating women is key to making progress on poverty and even terrorism. Societies that treat women as equals tend to be more stable and prosperous than those that don’t. If you invest in girls and women, give them the opportunity to go to school and hold jobs, they’ll in turn give back to their families and communities, becoming agents of economic and social change.
The authors highlight several efforts that are working, most of them grassroots projects with local leadership. Westerners still have an important role to play, but it’s largely a supportive one; not “holding the microphone at the front of the rally but writing the checks and carrying the bags in the back.”
Feminists and conservative Christians feud about abortion, but over half a million women worldwide still die each year in childbirth. Kristof and WuDunn appeal to all of us to open our eyes and do something. “This is a story of transformation,” their introduction states. After reading Half the Sky, you will want to be part of that story.
Caley Moore is a writer and editor in Toronto.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The United Church Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!