NPT Reports: Child Health Crisis

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Trying to get pregnant?

I’ve decided to add a new column heading for those that are trying to achieve pregnancy. Most of these tools can also be used to avoid pregnancy.

New terms for you? Welcome to the world of Fertility Awareness. We say things like avoid pregnancy or conception, and achieve pregnancy (or conception). We also use words like cervix and cervical fluid and vagina without batting an eye. As a doula, my job is to empower women and their birthing partners to give birth in the way their bodies were designed to. As a woman, my passion is to empower women to know their bodies, and become intimately aware of themselves, and the way their bodies work. Fertility Awareness is an amazing way to begin to explore.

I won’t list all the new links here, just scoot over to the right and look for the heading ‘Fertility Awareness’.

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Doctors ban Labor Support for Laboring Women.

Ouch. It’s difficult to not take this letter personally. Patients of Kingsdale Gynecologic Associates (in Columbus Ohio) received a copy of this letter recently.

The team at Kingsdale Gynecologic Associates is so pleased that you are expecting.  We look forward to helping you enjoy your pregnancy and hope to provide a meaningful and safe birthing experience.

Because of concerns for increased risk to you or your baby, the doctors at KGA have made a thoughtful, unanimous decision not to allow doulas to participate in the birthing process.  It has been our experience that they may serve to create a state of confusion and tension in the delivery room, which may compromise our ability to provide the safest delivery situation possible for you and your baby.

Again, with safety in mind, we have created a Kingsdale Birth Plan (which can be viewed in the obstetric packet provided at your initial visit), outlining the philosophy of our doctors with regard to labor and delivery.  It is our opinion that other birth plans are unnecessary.  We feel that our many years of obstetric experience in a setting of modern day challenges (larger babies, more difficult deliveries) enable us to provide sound judgment with regard to each woman’s particular needs during her course of labor.

Thank you for your understanding in our hopes of facilitating a safe pregnancy and birth process.


Patient’s signature



Kudos to the docs over at KGA for their blatant honesty. They do not want doulas present when they are delivering their clients of their babies. So let’s have some honesty equaling their honesty. It does not benefit doctors for their patients to have knowledge of the research that doulas can provide to their clients about common interventions. My role as a DONA doula is not to create tension or confusion in a labor room. It is to provide well-researched evidence for couples that must make decisions about their child’s birth. My role is to provide emotional support as well as help my client with comfort measures. My role is not to speak on my clien’ts behalf to medical staff. So where does tension come from? Doctors who don’t practice evidence-based medicine vs. doulas who provide evidence and research. This is not to say that there may not have been a renegade doula who came into conflict with one doctor too many over at KGA. A renegade doula is a doula by name, but may not be under a certifying organization, or if she is she doesn’t stick to their scope of practice. Too bad.

It is too bad for KGA’s patients planning on having labor support at their births. Thankfully they can find supportive care (see Women’s Contemporary Health practice), and maintain their will to be informed and educated about their bodies and the birth process during the birth of their child. Thankfully KGA decided to show their true colors and can now be seen as what they are: doctors in control of labor instead of allowing their patients to be in control of their labors and bodies.

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Cord clamping: to delay or not?

Researchers recently published findings in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine that concluded that in normal birth, delayed cord clamping should be encouraged, as it amounts to “mankind’s first natural stem cell transplant.” MSNBC published an article about the research results.

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“Between the Needles and Nightfall”: a record

I live in Music City. I work as a doula. Our Nashville hospitals are within miles of famous, or infamous, Music Row. I have always been a musician, in his own right my husband is a musician. Our best friends are amazing musicians: Shirock. It is not something we do, it’s as integral to our lives as eating, sleeping, and breathing. Which is why, when I heard the following story, originally heard on npr’s all things considered, I had to give it space here.

Marco Benevento lives in New Jersey. He is a pianist and jazz musician. His most recent album is entitled “Between the Needles and Nightfall.” Without having heard his music, you guess he may play some intense music. Or have an intense drug issue.  After all, where do most folks imagine needles in association with musicians? Sorry guys, I’m afraid Lost’s Charlie has propagated the stereotype even further.

But find Benevento’s music, hear the beauty in the jazz, and now learn why needles. Benevento’s second daughter was born at home, and to induce labor his wife experienced acupuncture treatment. After the treatment their midwife commented that “Hopefully, you’ll have your baby between the needles and nightfall.” Their daughter, Ila Frost, was born just before dark.

Somewhere between Music Row and downtown Nashville, somewhere between your bed and your bath, somewhere between the east and the west, babies are born everywhere, all the time. Somewhere between inductions and c-sections, somewhere between acupuncture and moxibustion, somewhere between foley bulbs, prostaglandins and amniotomy. Way to go Benevento, you have won me as a fan for your educated decision to have a homebirth, and to chronicle it through your music. Another event in the circle of life, music, and death.

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Maternity Care Costs by The Unnecesarean

Interesting. The March of Dimes assessment on 2004 expenditures. After you observe the hospital costs for vaginal birth and cesarean birth, be sure to scroll down and view the research done into a midwife’s fees and an OB’s fees in Arkansas.

The Unnecesarean is a great resource for expecting women who are trying to understand US maternity care, get support for avoiding an ‘unnecesarean,’ and read birth stories of fellow women.

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A push to read ‘Pushed’

I read this volume in five days. Unheard of for a working at home mother, but somehow I squeezed the time out of each day and night to do it, neglecting many things in favor of this amazing book.

Three years late, it seems, I have bought and read “Pushed.” This book’s subtitle is ‘The painful truth about childbirth and modern maternity care.” It outlines the history of care in the US, how common interventions came to be, the statistics that support, or don’t support, the widespread practice of them, and suggests a few ways to begin to fix our extreme cesarean rate and equally extreme maternal mortality rate. This book has joined my must-read list for hopeful and expecting mothers.

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Midwife coverage in The Tennessean

Our local health writer writes about some of our mother-friendly options, Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, and class instructors. A neglected topic in news, Sanchez writes that “about 10 percent of births attended by midwives result in cesarean sections, compared with 31 percent with obstetricians.” She also compares costs of midwifery care vs. obstetrical care. If you are low-risk, have you considered your options for your pregnancy and birth? And no, a midwife attended birth may not be like what you think. Read this article.

On a personal note, one of these women is my midwife, one of these women is my client, and one of these women is one of our local leaders of the Nashville Birth Network.

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Mother’s Pamper Party

Join other mothers Sunday, May 16, from 3-5 pm to relax and be pampered. Join the Nashville Birth Network for a FREE pamper party including light refreshments, prenatal massages, henna tattoos and pampering from an aesthetician. This event will be held at 2817 West End Ave, Suite 205, Nashville.

Want more information about Nashville Birth Network, a local growing chapter of Birth Network National? “The Nashville Birth Network is an alliance of individuals and organizations in Middle Tennessee with concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote an evidence-based, wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs.

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Ina May Gaskin’s Books

“Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” is the first book I recommend to every client. This book is full of proven wisdom and well-researched facts and has guided thousands of women through childbirth. The first section of this book has inspiring and encouraging birth stories.

“Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” offers solutions and support for the breastfeeding or soon to be breastfeeding mother.

“Spiritual Midwifery” is for the birth enthusiast looking to expand his or her knowledge of the role of midwives and the incredible process of childbirth.

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