Wednesday Wrap Up May 3

WednesdayWrapUpBreastfeedingI’ve seen all too many women think their body is failing them after having a pre-labor vaginal exam. It’s important to remember that those exams don’t tell you much of anything, and that you can’t fail to progress before labor even begins.

I agree that far too often men are portrayed as the buffoon around babies, and we need to have more respect for their ways of parenting as well.

I found this study interesting. It looks at risks and outcomes relative to the length of time the doctor had been working. I’m now curious about whether the length of nursing staff shifts would show a similar effect.

This article Non-inclusive Birth Preparation is Traumatizing Women very much fits with my two main goals for teaching, and I hope that teaching both the skills for natural birth AND skills for navigating unexpected twists and turns in the process.

An interesting look at the variety of ways in which mammals give birth.


Wednesday Wrap Up April 19


I’m not a huge fan of podcasts, but I know many people are, so I thought I’d pass on this list of the best birthy podcasts for doulas and parents.

Sometimes the very people who you should be able to trust with your care cross the line during birth. I’ve seen it, and it’s not good.

This totally makes me want to start recording interviews with the doulas who were central to our local doula association! It’s Your Turn to Write Doula History

Curious about the VBAC rates where you are? Check out the 2015 VBAC rates for each most states!

An interesting read on the risks – and relative perceptions of risks – in the home birth field.


Wednesday Wrap Up April 5

Six recommendations from ACOG that doulas should be sharing with their clients. I’ve been teaching and sharing these for a while now, nice to see them in a short list like this.

I’ve never understood why people just LOOOVE to tell pregnant women horror stories. And this article argues that these stories are setting women up to fail. (Though I really hate the use of the word “fail” when it comes to birth…)

When you get a positive pregnancy test, and are not yet ready to share with the world. Everything has changed, and yet nothing has changed.

How design and size of a hospital’s labor and delivery area can influence cesarean rates.

Nearly a third of all women experience birth as traumatic. If you are caring for or attending someone in labor, please read this to know how you can help lessen the risk of birth trauma.


Lessons learned from April the Giraffe

Not April, just a giraffe at my local zoo.

Not April, just a giraffe at my local zoo.

It’s been over a month now since the Animal Adventure Park started streaming the live cam of April the Giraffe‘s “imminent birth” and…..still no baby.

Some examples of the kinds of things people are saying about April on Facebook:

From CBS Denver: “OK, April. We need to talk. Bend down here. You know that baby you’re carrying? Spit it out. We’ve been more than patient about this. It’s time to produce the giraffe-child. Nod your head if you understand this. April? Drop the hay and listen, please…”

The Daily Mirror: “Is this the longest pregnancy ever?! This is why April hasn’t given birth yet!”

Kind of reminds me of my favorite site to send to moms who are past their estimated delivery date and are dealing with the constant question “Have you had that baby YET?”

Seeing this huge surge of interest on a large scale is not unlike what human moms experience! Once you hit that “full term” mark, everyone starts watching, checking in, and expecting baby news at any time. The scrutiny is real! But is it helpful?

Two things that I think are real and effect human moms:
Birth Lessons from April the Giraffe
1. The Watched Pot Syndrome – While April is extremely unlikely to be aware of the millions of people who are on the watch for her baby, human moms absolutely ARE aware of being watched, and of the constant barrage of questions and comments. And observation can absolutely effect them. I promise the comments of “Are you STILL pregnant?” or “Holy Cow! You’re about to pop!” or “Would you hurry up and have this baby already?” are completely unhelpful, and often leave expecting moms feeling hurt and even more impatient personally. Even once labor begins, observation can inhibit labor from getting well established. It’s one reason I prefer to leave families alone to labor during the earlier parts of labor and provide support by phone while things are mild and gettign established. I wrote about my experiences with Watched Pot Syndrome here

2. Unrealistic expectations – The window of time for a full term human birth is about the same amount of time the camera have been watching April. While I’m not an expert of giraffe gestation, I would think there’s a similarly wide window of normal, full term gestation. If a woman’s well-meaning doctor, doula, family and friends all start telling her “Could come any minute now!” at the very beginning of that window, it’s going to feel like a LOOOONG time before baby comes! If you think you’ve waited a long time to see April give birth, imagine how it might feel to still be pregnant three months after everyone started telling you it was time to have your baby! And yet that is what most first time moms experience, since first time moms average one week *after* the estimated delivery date.

I loved this tweet from an expecting mom that just summed it up:


I hope April gives birth soon and that she and her calf are healthy. I also hope that when those around you are in that final window called “full term” you will remember to exercise patience and support as she awaits her baby’s birth, because to her the wait feels TWICE as long as we’ve all been waiting for April the Giraffe to birth!




Wednesday Wrap Up March 29


Interesting slideshow of the kinds of places employers provide for employees to pump milk for their babies. There’s quite a variety!

Interesting TED Talk on the difference between a medical model of birth and an evidence based model.

Looking at what are some of the causes and driving forces behind the high cesarean rate and what can be done to reduce it.

Interesting photos of a baboon birth!

Rarely, some women experience a profound sadness with breastfeeding. It’s not the same as PPD. What it’s like to breastfeed with DMER.

What it would be like to be pregnant and not be able to afford health care.