It turns out that the cash in your wallet may be contaminated with the dangerous chemical BPA. A recent study found that BPA (a widely used chemical that causes genetic damage, miscarriages, birth defects and acts like a hormone) is present in paper money. Water bottles, baby bottles and sippy cups just a few years ago were almost all made from BPA-containing plastic (although many are now BPA-free). The linings in food cans often contain BPA. Now we have to deal with BPA contamination in an item that we literally touch multiple times a day.
So how did BPA, commonly used in the clear hard plastic called polycarbonate, find its way into our paper currency? BPA is so widely used by industry that it has become ubiquitous in the environment. One potential source in paper money is thermal paper—the kind that’s used in inkless cash register receipts. The traces of BPA (found in the powdery film on the receipt paper) MAY rub off and transfer from receipts to our dollar bills (ie. every time a receipt is placed near the money in a cash register or wallet; or whenever we touch a receipt before touching money, etc).
Normally, I would not write about the Church of Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard. I think they are a bit bizarre, but like all philosophies and religions, there are usually some tenets of truth in relation to humanity that are worth contemplating.
I recently received a press release from the Scientologists advocating “silent birth”. As I reached to click delete, seeing who the source of the email was, my curiosity was piqued.
WHAT IS SILENT BIRTH?
Silent birth is all about providing the best possible environment for the birthing mother and her new baby. Its origins can be found in L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and are firmly rooted in a fundamental and abiding principle that women, particularly expectant mothers, be given the utmost in care and respect.
Choosing a natural birth under the care of a midwife certainly has its environmental benefits compared to a labor filled with medical interventions in a hospital facility. A South Dakota Midwifery Clinic has taken it a step further by earning the Green Star Certified Mark of Consumer Environmental Awareness. Now families-to-be are not only comforted by their plans for a natural birth, but they can rest assured that the midwifery clinic the visit is energy efficient.
What does supermodel Gisele Bundchen and yours truly have in common? We are both gorgeous chose to give birth to our babies in water. Studies and personal experiences have clearly shown that water births ease labor pain for mothers and offer a gentle transition to newborns.
Celebrities, such as Gisele Bundchen and her husband Tom Brady, are helping normalize natural, water births by making their choices and births public.
Do you know what delayed cord clamping is? I remember first coming across this information in a natural childbirth book my midwives had loaned to me, and I was struck at how barbaric it is not to delay umbilical cord clamping. In a typical hospital birth, the baby’s umbilical cord is clamped immediately after it has left the birth canal. Yet, if you observe the umbilical cord, it is still pulsing and delivering oxygen rich blood to the baby, even though the newborn has taken its first breath.
Why did doctors begin early cord clamping? According to Empowered Childbirth, it was to prevent anesthesia from “heavily medicated births” from entering the newborn’s bloodstream. Empowered Childbirth goes on to explain:
When a human baby is born it needs to begin breathing air into its lungs in order to survive. However, it would be a mistake to imagine that a baby’s first breath contains their body’s first experience of life-giving oxygen. Oxygen is provided for the fetus throughout the entire pregnancy by the mother, through the placenta. Following birth the placenta continues to provide oxygen for approximately 5 minutes while blood pumps, to and fro, through the umbilical cord. This is part of an ingenious plan of God’s (or nature’s) to allow the newborn time to “unfold” his/her lungs and to gently make the switch from living underwater to breathing air through the lungs. Remember, the infant is not receiving “placental” blood or even the mother’s blood through the umbilical cord. The baby is retrieving its own blood supply from one of its own functioning organs that just happens to be inside its mother’s body.
On April Fools Day, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named, Clark. I wrote a post on how to prepare for homebirth and so when the day arrived things fell into place just as planned. The day before I gave birth I’d been experiencing a little cramping. Nothing unusual but the sense a woman gets when her monthly cycle is going to begin. I had a feeling that it was the onset of labor so I told my husband to be prepared to come home (he commutes an hour away). Just after I called him he left work because he too had a feeling. I called him in the early morning before 10AM and we spent the rest of the day taking it easy.
The cramping had subsided by late afternoon. I was 38 weeks and 4 days and ready to have a baby! I didn’t realize that he’d really come on April Fool’s day as some had predicted. That evening I went to bed at 8:30pm and woke up with surprise to what I thought was my water breaking. It turns out that I had a high leak which means that baby Clark only tore my bag of waters rather than rupture it. With my first my water broke and that was that! This time around it was a gradual process.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada has announced that c-sections are no longer recommended for breech babies!
This is contrary to common practice in North America, in which very few doctors or midwives will attempt a vaginal delivery on a breech baby. A c-section is automatically dictated for these babies who want to come out feet first. Canada plans to train doctors in breech vaginal delivery following the new recommendation. Carla Wintersgill writes for Globe and Mail:
Since 2000, C-sections have been the preferred method of delivery in breech births. Studies suggested that breached births were associated with an increased rate of complication when performed vaginally. As a result, many medical schools have stopped training their physicians in breech vaginal delivery…With the release of the new guidelines, the SOGC will launch a nationwide training program to ensure that doctors will be adequately prepared to offer vaginal breech births..The new approach was prompted by a reassessment of earlier trials. It now appears that there is no difference in complication rates between vaginal and cesarean section deliveries in the case of breech births…Cesarean sections, in which incisions are made through a mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby, can lead to increased chance of bleeding and infections and can cause further complications for pregnancies later on.
Women in labor can shorten the first stage by about an hour by walking, kneeling, standing, or otherwise avoiding lying in bed, according to a review of 21 birth studies covering over 3700 births.
“This shortens labor by about an hour and, for a lot of women, an hour would be really important.” – Teri Stone-Godena, director of midwifery at Yale School of Nursing
It’s not long before the birth of our baby makes his debut into the world. Preparing for a home birth can be overwhelming but for the most part it has really put things into perspective. For instance, having to get your home ready by doing all the cleaning and sorting and laundry seems to be the overwhelming aspect. Ordering the birth kit and receiving our water birth tub put things into perspective as I realize the birth our baby is not far off. After that, it’s mostly preparation in the home which seems to be a large task but if done at pace, isn’t so bad and well worth it.
Having the labor and birth items 6 weeks before you deliver is usually key. The cleaning and sorting part can wait till the last few weeks. If you’re anything like me though- it can’t wait. I feel so much better working on things here and there as the weeks go along. Rather than trying to scramble and get it all done in one day or week seems more nerve-racking to me than spacing it out. At this point, I’ve been able to get to all the nooks and crannies that I feel should get cleaned prior to delivering a baby in our home. Focusing on the bathroom and birthing room is a must.
When I first got pregnant, I remember my mother sending me tons of books, as well as perusing the pregnancy aisle at the library and bookstore. There is a plethora of labor books out there, but not all of them support natural birth, especially home birth. Thankfully, my midwives had a lending library, and one book Special Delivery was required reading. In this list of essential books for natural birth, I’ve also included two books by Ina May that were highly recommended as well by my midwives.
What makes a pregnancy book essential reading for natural birth? I think a natural birth book should support all women’s choices, both home and hospital births, as well as carefully explain all of the interventions that could happen if medically needed. The book should support women, as well as realistically discuss how each labor is unique.
Essential Books for a Natural Birth
- Special Delivery by Rahima Baldwin: This book can be hard to find, but it is well worth the hunt. This book prepares you for all aspects of a home or hospital birth, and we read many times to be prepared in case we didn’t make it town in time during my labors. My first child was a breech baby, but she turned thanks to this book! Rahima explains an exercise where mother’s lay with on their backs, knees bent, and pelvis highly elevated. When followed precisely, this method turns babies 85% of the time. It worked for my daughter, and I have this book to thank! [Read more...]
It’s probably going against the grain to be talking about pain medication in a natural parenting blog, and one of the few writers this week that would probably advocate non-natural childbirth; but I always knew that epidural was going to be my drug of choice when the time came to give birth. Two distinct memories of labor and birth came from my mother and childhood best friend. I was three weeks overdue, and by the the time my mother delivered me; I was over ten pounds. She would regale in the horror of the labor and how terrified she was of her next birth, my brother. My best friend had a child right out of high school. I remember her telling me how it was the worst pain she had ever been in her life. With those two very painful experiences; I decided that I would DEFINITELY get an epidural, no doubt about it. I would always joke, first sign of contraction, I am rushing myself to the hospital so they could stick a needle in my back. Of course, I never expected to be induced either.
I waited a long time to have a child. Although I am only couple months shy of thirty; I am the last of my siblings, who are of rightful childbirthing age, to have a baby. My brothers would often ask me, when I would settle down and be a mother. I had no interest in settling down. I loved traveling and loved my life as a single girl in the city. However that changed when I met my baby’s father. Things progressed pretty quickly for us, and not even a year after we became a couple; I was pregnant. I suffered through the hell of first trimester, the bliss of second, and the ridiculous weight gain of third. We started laughing one night because my feet were SO swollen, they looked like Fred Flinstones. Then there was the waiting game. Waiting patiently for my daughter to make her entrance into the world. Eight days past her due date, and still no sign of our daughter; an induction was scheduled. Although I had always planned for an epidural; the induction didn’t play into the equation. I tried everything from sex to chocolates to induce naturally. No avail, on April 1st at 7:30 in the morning; we arrived at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, PA with my trusty pillow. [Read more...]
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I did not have a doula when my children were born, because I had the loving care of two midwives attending our homebirths. If I was planning a hospital birth or wanted a little more support at home, I would definitely find a doula. What is a doula? Doulas is an ancient Greek word meaning “handmaid”.
According to Wikipedia, “A doula is an experienced, non-medical assistant who provides physical, emotional and informed choice support in prenatal care, during childbirth and during the postpartum period.” Dona International further explains:
Giving birth to a baby is so much more than a physical phenomenon; it engages parents-to-be in a transformational experience, a key life event full of emotion and meaning. A doula who accompanies a woman in labor mothers the mother, taking care of her emotional needs throughout childbirth. A doula also provides support and suggestions for partners that can enhance their experiences of birth. A postpartum doula continues that valuable emotional support and guidance, helping a family make a smooth transition into new family dynamics. [Read more...]