AN OLD FASHION COMMON SENSE BIRTH RECIPE:
Birthing Healthier, Happier Families and Babies Who Grow Up to be Well-Adjusted Children and
I know most of you are asking is birth really all that important and impactful on us and determining our lives? This question can simply be answered with the old adage “Make a good first impression”. We all know how important and impossible to erase first impressions are. Let’s all think back to some of the most important first: first day of school, first time driving, and first sexual experience (and yes I’m guessing since we’re talking about birth you have reached that milestone). I’m sure if you traced forward, let’s say all of your educational experiences from that point on, you would find that the way you felt during your first day of school was always prevalent, even if to a lesser degree or maybe a subconscious feeling you could not explain. Now the question is how many of us have ever wondered why. Well, without getting to deep in neuro mumbo-jumbo and pretending like I overstand its finite details; from shortly after inception through the first years of life a babies brain grows the most during which time the most neurological connections, which determine how we perceive and react to all experiences, are created. To put it simply, if you are born in a healthy and happy way and experience health and happiness, you will most likely grow up to be a healthy, happy and successful adult. Malcolm Gladwell does a complaining job explaining this phenomenon in Outliers, but he focuses primarily on late childhood into adulthood. What I like to do is go back, way back to each and every one of our beginnings….
1) Just as any good investment, birth is best planned. I’m not a fan of planning conception around sport or school, etc. cut-off dates, but if that is a part of the success plan you create for your child… Much Success! When I have another child, I will definitely take in consideration the weather in planning my conception date, since our bodies are 98 degrees and newborns have a hard time maintaining their body temperatures. I would plan to give birth in the beginning of summer.
2) Bringing home a new baby is like bringing home a new guest, so we should prepare our homes accordingly in advance. And let’s not forget about the first physical home the baby is going to be staying in, the mother’s body. It also needs to be prepared, so while planning I would use that time to eat healthy, exercise (we definitely want to be physically fit and flexible), strengthen our marriages and other relationships and deal with any emotional or financial issues. This is also a great time to research and plan for things we want to do for and with the baby/child, including birth choices. Some Midwives and Doulas are trained in general health and can help us make the best decisions to improve our lives in preparation for a pregnancy. This is best done as a team effort, so both the mother and father should get healthy that way the seed and semen are the best for the child and the parents are more ready for the demands of loving a newborn. Hopefully the lifestyle changes will be maintained and we will raise our children to exercise, eat healthy and deal with their money and emotions effectively.
3) If you were to ask most Midwives or Doulas what is the single most important factor determining how a delivery goes, most would say the mothers concepts and feelings about birth and motherhood, so preplanning before conception is the perfect time to deal with any concerns that we may have. If you have any fears or issues about birth or with your mom, please address and heal them. I would definitely research rebirthing techniques, Hypnos or just plain old therapy or whatever is necessary. As our young people say today, “Get your mind (and heart) right” during the planning stage.
4) Now once we conceive, the mother should focus on her health as absolutely much as possible. Prenatal yoga and massages are great! And so are mommy clubs, since they give us new friends to learn from. Most of us forget that giving birth is the second most impactful thing we do, behind being born. This is particularly true for mothers, because of the physical and emotional changes, including increased oxygen/blood follow and hormone changes this is a time ripe for change in our lives. Studies have shown that mothers are smarter than women who have not had children. So take a class or several. Learn a skill you can teach your children, such as a new language. Studies show that children who learn multiple languages do better in school, and based off the studies discussed in Outliers and what most of us know, Asian children are better in math then us that is in part to do with the fact that Asian numbers are more logical than ours so teach your child to count and do math in say Mandarin Chinese.
5) If you have not picked a progressive OB GYN, Midwife and doula before conception, right after is a good time. And yes there are Daddy Doulas available to help Dads. Whoever we choose to help us will be a wealth of knowledge and support, particularly when it comes to developing your Birth Plan (this is when we tell the world how we want to birth, including if you want a water birth, if you want to breast immediately after and right down to smallest of details like if want your room to smell a certain way).
6) I personally think that researching all your options as far as your prenatal care and birth options, such as Midwife/Doula verse Doctor/Nurse or home verses birth center verse hospital, is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our babies. I made the mistake in only reading birth material I got from the doctor’s office, but didn’t go beyond what the mainstream was saying. After my son was born I tapped into the alternative flow of info to learn to late that I had so many more options, including special considerations for particular religions. Since this time is so impactful on and affects all involved, particularly the baby, for the rest of their lives, it is so worth doing as much research as possible to make sure we are making the right decisions. A special note here: I know we are all excited and a little impatient to see and meet our new baby, but please limit sonograms to need only basis. Sonograms, particularly 3-D and 4-D, just seem an unnecessary risk. Plus, little long term testing have been done to prove their safety. I personally would not be surprised if later on AMA discourages them like cosmetic circumcisions or if a link is found between them and the increase in prenatal cancer cases.
7) I know we all want to love and trust our doctors, but let’s not forget that they are not all knowing, sometimes are too busy to care and they make mistakes. I will be the first to give all due respect. There are times when doctors and medical intervention are helpful and necessary, but we must all remain objective to any advice that anyone give us.
8) Some details we may not think about when it comes to birth:
a. We have been giving birth for thousands or millions of years (depending on your perspective), so our bodies are physically capable and innately able to do this job. So trust it and allow as little interference as possible to it doing its job. For example, many women drop weight and nest at the end of their third trimester this is usually a sign they’re less than 2 weeks away from birth.
b. Hospitals were created to treat the sick and handle the dead. Birth is neither, so the hospital may not be the best place to birth. Birth Centers are great combinations of hospital safety and home comfort. A home, of course, is the most familiar and comfortable place to birth with the least chance of exposure to new disease and bacterium.
c. Have a Birth Plan and insist or someone (Doulas are great for this) ensuring it be followed.
d. Make sure the Birth environment is clean, comfortable and relaxing for the mother and soon to be born baby, this could include soft light (i.e. candles), relaxing music, and aromatherapy oils.
e. Choose your birth companions as carefully as you choose your business partners. Please do not let anyone (and yes this means anyone, i.e. nurses or moms) in the area that the mother is uncomfortable with or has the wrong feelings about birth. This could really affect how the birth goes!
f. I don’t know how many of us have thought about the fact that birth can be more intense than any marathon, but let us not forget it can be more pleasurable than any hot night with your partner – don’t believe me look it up. It’s called Orgasmic Birthing. And yes, the concept of no drinking or eating is archaic and based on the fact that in the 50’s and 60’s women were laid and sometimes strapped to a bed and pumped full of narcotics causing a twilight sleep and often vomiting. So of course, under these circumstances they had to be concerned about women choking on their own vomit, but not be worried about a women being hungry or low on energy (forceps use was very common). Not so anymore, but some say it is because of the high rate of cesareans and the chance of women choking on their vomit during this procedure. First, if more women eat during labor, they would have more energy to be able to push the baby out and not need a C-section. Secondly, most women are awake during C-sections and simply turn their heads and spit the vomit out. A nice balance solution is for women giving birth to eat or drink high nutrient but easily digestible foods and drinks, such as juice, popsicles or tea with honey. Not to mention, that a little vomiting may not be such a bad thing, because it opens the throat and mouth which have a direct connection to the cervix and vagina (our southern throat and mouth), so this could help open these areas, which is the goal during birth.
g. So yes, ladies talk, moan, vocalize, chant or sing during birth. It has been proven to help open the cervix and vagina and release stress.
h. And since Birth can be like a very intense marathon, we should prepare for it like a marathon: plan, go over our routes, consider any problems and prepare for these, make sure we have everything we need and eat and rest plenty beforehand.
i. I’m sure we have all noticed that during times of emotional imbalance, either stress or depression, 3 things tend to help: movement, fresh air and sunshine. This is just as true during birth, so please make sure you walk as much as possible during birth. The gravity pull and movement are well known to help bring the baby down quicker. But keep in mind that not all hospitals allow this, particularly if we need an IV for any reason, so walk as much as possible before you go to the hospital. This is one of many reasons that if you choose to birth in a hospital, stay at home as absolutely long as possible.
j. A quick note here about IVs, we can refuse them and they offer no pork made for anyone who has religious or dietary objections to pork entering their body. Reports say that 1 in 4 women will require antibiotics for GB, which is a test they do around 36 weeks gestation. Just like yeast, it is simply our natural flora out of whack. And just like with a yeast infection if you stop feeding the out of balance bacteria by limiting sugar, yeast and white carbohydrates and at the same time we boost our immune system with things such as garlic, B-vitamins and Echinacea we can rebalance our vaginal flora and be retested possible avoiding the need for a movement restrictive IV.
k. Once again movement is very important during birth. It helps move the baby down and helps the mother feel better and handle the intense feelings of birth, so dance, walk, try different positions ( such as squatting or on all fours) and change position regularly. Please don’t let anyone tell you, you have to birth flat on your back or sitting in bed. Do what feels best to you.
l. Also, do anything you enjoy, like play a favorite game, and keep things around that make you feel good like a picture of your dog, etc.
m. Another great stress and pain reliever for mom is water that is way water births are so popular! Plus our goal during birth should be to make the baby’s transition as smooth as possible, so not to shock the baby. A warm salt water birth is a great way to do this (some women even birth in the ocean and with dolphins), since the baby has been in triple dark, warm salt water for 10 months. This is another reason the birth space should be peaceful, warm and dark, so the babies will not be shocked by bright lights, cold and chaos. I also suggest introducing the baby to light slowly over days (in some cultures the baby is not exposed to direct light for 40 days after birth) and put the baby back into warm salt water frequently after birth and slow decrease the amount of time the baby spends in the water to slowly introduce the baby to dry living (Remember the baby was in water for 10 months). And yes I did say 10 again. 40 weeks = 4 weeks X 10 months. This whole 9 months thing is as if they don’t plan on letting babies fully mature before pulling them from the womb, and we all know that a fruit picked before it reaches its full maturity never reaches its full ripeness. Think about it!
n. Back to Orgasmic Birthing. Yes, in most cases it is totally safe for most mothers to have sex during the beginning of birth. It allows fathers to be more intimately ;.} involved in the birth and gives mothers and fathers a lot of extra nurturing. Plus, it is a great way for both parents to relax and connect. And as the old adage goes, it’s how the baby got in there in the first place, so it can help get it out. I have been tokd several times by elder women if my pregnancy ran long to try castor oil and sex. What most of us don’t realize there is some true science to that adage. In men’s semen there is a natural form of Pitocin, so next time a doctor or nurse says you need Pitocin, tell to leave you and your husband allow for a hour ;.}. But seriously, I am sure all of us have noticed that a woman’s vagina gets really wet and slippery during good sex and during a good orgasm her uterus, cervix and vagina contract (and toes too). All of this helps to bring the baby out quicker and easier eliminating the need for human interference with Pitocin, forceps, vacuums, breaking the sac and C-sections. This may explain why nature gives so many pregnant women increased libidos during pregnancy.
o. If the women is not interested in sex she may be interested in stimulation of her breast and a perineum massage which still allows the dad to be involved, both to relax and connect and more effective surges (contractions). And it is very helpful to start both a few weeks before birth to help ripen and stretch the vagina, which has been shown to less the likelihood of a perineum tear or need of an Episiotomy (perineum cut).
p. In letter “O” I mentioned breaking the amniotic sac, Amniotomy/ARM (Artificial Rupture of Membranes), basically when a doctor or Midwife sticks a knitting needle like tool into the uterus and breaks the forewaters (the water around the baby’s head) of the amniotic sac causing some of the amniotic fluid to come out. This is done to strength the contractions and quicken the birth, but it usually intensifies surges but does not all ways quicken birth, because the contractions become too hard for the mother to handle. This often causes the mother to tense up slowing the birth and ending up in a C-section (This is the same effect that synthetic Pitocin and other artificial “cervix” ripeners have.) It is interesting how irrationality this common practice is. Let’s think about this. The amniotic sac has been the baby’s home and protection for 10 months. The time the baby most needs its cushion the most, because the contractions are literally squishing the baby out, which is obvious by the cone heads and red or bruised skin the babies are born with, we unnecessarily take it away. Never mind how the baby’s head looks think about what happened to his or her brain during the squishing. Remember during birth the skulls are still soft to allow the head to fit through the birth canal and the babies’ brains still developing. I personally believe that the unnecessary damaged done to our babies brains due to unnecessarily breaking the sac are part of the reason for the increase in the emotional and behavioral problems among children and adults. Unfortunately, to my knowledge no tests have been done to prove my theory. In ancient times a baby born in the amniotic sac or “born in the veil or caul” were said to be special or would grow up to be a geniuses or prophets. I think it was a simple fact that those babies’ brains functioned better, because they weren’t damaged from a birth without their sac. Let’s consider the opposite, animals in nature, particularly hooved, are usually born in their amniotic sac and after mommy eats it off these animals are up and running with the adults within a few hours. Or another example, are the folklores (all of which are based on the truth) of human giants or humans with special powers or skills. I think all these examples should make us say “Humm…?” Could the way we are birthing, and particularly the lack of protecting the baby’s brains and bodies, really be effecting our development and abilities? I know our children (and ourselves) are important enough for at least this consideration. And by the way the WHO (World Health Organization) no longer suggest unnecessary or routine sac breaking just.
q. Every option in birth has its benefits and draw backs that tend to throw off the perfect order of birth, so we need to make sure we overstand what we are agreeing to beforehand. Please, remember that for every medical form of pain management there is a natural and healthier version: such as mediation, visualization, breathing techniques massage, birthing balls, water or intimacy. There are so many options out there that we may have never heard of or considered!
r. Birth is such a beautiful time that it should be memorialized by both pictures and video. Be wary of any hospitals that won’t allow either. I have been told several times that some hospitals won’t allow it because they do not want families to have evidence in malpractice suits. This may be a good reason to keep extra good records including any heart monitoring tape.
s. Once baby is born keep in mind the same principles of that guided you during birth: the perfect divine order of birth and the fact babies do better when transitioned into this world slowly. A good way to look at it is to think of your baby going through Womb Withdrawal and how can we make the transition as healthy as possible. Of course this mentally should continue the whole 20+ years we raise our children. A few examples of these are: co-sleeping, on-demand feedings, self-weaning, proper carrying of your baby (newborns can be traumatized by overstimulation, so do not carry them facing away from you.
t. So there is normally no need to worry about getting the baby cleaned or tested right after birth, and the best place to warm baby is on mom under warm blankets. Remember for 10 months the baby has been in mom, so the best thing we can do is keep the baby on mom. Plus, this allows the natural order to continue. 1) Have any of you ever noticed that a baby and mother stare intently at each other right after birth? It supposed to happen this way. It called Post-Partum Preoccupation. It allows the baby and mother when both are very aroused (if not drugged up) from birth to get to know one another. Dads can definitely get in on this with mom. 2) Put the baby directly on the mom’s legs allowing the placenta (yes still inside mom) and cord to be parallel or slight above baby for a few minutes allowing the placenta to dump as much blood, oxygen and nutrients into the baby. The mother and father, etc. can gently rub and say loving comforting things to the baby. If you’re in water then you can rise up but leave the baby mostly submersed. That is definitely another good reason for birthing in the squatting, all-4s and standing positions. After the cord stops pulsating, then put the baby directly on mom’s chest or tummy still postponing all unnecessary procedures. If allowed the baby will find its way to the breast and latch on and breastfeed. Most babies who have a natural birth and left to their own devices will be able to wriggle up and or over to the mom’s breast and latch on and breastfeed all by themselves. It is the cutest and most amazing thing to see. And for you dads that are worried about your sons being weak. This is a great rights-of-passage! Not to mention the fact that babies are used to continuous feedings so getting them started on breastfeeding before their umbilical cord stops pulsating, which means it has stopped providing food and oxygen, makes a lot of sense (Please keep reading for additional info on cord cutting). This has been proven to improve Apgar Scores (a test done soon after birth to determine how well a baby is handling the transition to independent functioning) and decrease the need for breathing, temperature or blood sugar assistance for baby. This is also a great comfort to the baby and mom after the intense birth. 3) Here’s a little side note: Have any of you ever noticed how rough doctors and nurses are when dealing with newborns. I wanted to smack nurse who looked like she was roughing up a baby while cleaning a baby after delivery. Plus, what’s rush? Babies wear Vernix and amniotic fluid in the womb for months and they are used to moms chemistry so whatever they get from mom isn’t going to hurt or bother them. And hopefully mom isn’t too worried about looks and not tripping off touching her and her baby’s fluids. So leave them alone for a while. Now in the case of meconium, it can be wiped off immediately but gently. A little additional info about Vernix, the cheesy usually white substance covering a baby when they are born. I have heard some Midwives say just rub it in the baby’s skin later (another opportunity to massage the baby). It has been scientifically proven to have moisturizing and protective properties for the baby and anyone who gets it on them. Plus it will fall off when it is not needed about 10 days after birth. And yes, some cosmetic companies are bottling and selling it.
u. Along the same lines if a baby is put on mom for a few hours and left alone, this prevents what I think is the most barbaric common practice done to babies, cutting the umbilical cord immediately or too early. Again let’s stop and think about this. The cord has been the babies’ life line it’s entire life. It provided oxygen, food and eliminated waste. I am sure we can all agree to the fact that birth is a process and transition for the baby is best done slowly as possible. Immediately after birth the baby’s systems and organs, i.e. blood stream, brain and lungs, are beginning to work independently. So if we cut the cord before it stops pulsating, usually within an hour after birth, we are cutting the babies air and food supply and waste disposal system before the baby’s has begun to operate fully. So basically when a baby’s umbilical cord is cut early it smothers, starves and constipates the baby. This has definitely been shown to decrease Apgar scores increase the need for breathing, temperature or blood sugar assistance for baby. And depending on how early, I would imagine could cause permanent brain damage, since they say if a person goes without oxygen for just four or five minutes, like in the case of drowning, that can cause permanent brain damage. A recently published study found that waiting to clamp the cord helped prevent anemia and iron deficiency in 4 month old babies, so like I have been saying what happens during birth affects us later.
v. Once again we need to remember that a baby has been in the mother, so as much contact with her helps a babies transition be healthier. A good option to allow this is to have the baby stay with a mother while she is in the hospital (and even after), called rooming-in, which is common now and most hospitals allow it. Plus, please do not let any hospital staff tell you that a baby ever has to go to the nursery for any procedure, and particularly without you, because all hospitals have mobile scales, etc. I can personally attest to the fact that my son never left my room or sight. I took him to the bathroom with me and he loved to take showers with me whiling breastfeed until he was 6 or 7 months old ;.}. And boy those were some of the most peaceful times I have ever had.
w. Along the same lines, we need to learn our babies signal and feed and give them attention or rest when they tell you they need it. Yes, babies come out fully capable of communicating their needs and wants. We really need to remember that they are much more capable beings than we may think. This will help prevent any miscommunication and stifling their potential. Forced schedules can often be counterproductive and decrease the baby’s feelings of entitlement to having their needs met, and remember the babies weren’t on a schedule in the womb. Plus, natural, healthy schedule will normally develop. I am also sure we have all heard about how breastfeeding helps a woman lose weight after birth, but it also causes serotonin and other feel good hormones to be released every time you breastfeed, so if you feed long and often your baby is happier and you look and feel better. A good technique to get your baby to breastfeed a long time even if they fall asleep, a particular concern for newborns who sleep upwards of 20 hours a day, is to use their root response. This simply means that when you touch the baby they suckle, so give your baby a full body massages every time you feed them and they can eat for up to an hour. If you do this regularly your baby will be more content because they won’t constantly be hungry and more relaxed, which means they will sleep better and longer. Plus, in most cases you won’t have to worry whether they are getting enough food or losing weight. My son never lost an ounce.
x. I have decided to compile the more unique and alternative options into a short list, because these options are best considered after careful research and some require special assistance or training (and a real open mind ;.} ). If you are interested in additional alternative conception and birth options, please research: tantric sexuality/injaculation; eugenics; ocean/dolphin birthing, spirit dances during birth, unassisted birthing, using light, sound, color, charged water and crystal therapies during birth, lotus birth, visualizations/mediations/toning during birth, hypno-birthing, re-birthing, diaper free babies, placental encapsulation or burying and special (raw, vegan and vegetarian) diets during birth.
y. Let me end this by saying that every birth is unique and phenomenal no matter whether it is in the hospital or at home, natural or a C-section. I share this info simply to do that and let parents know parents that there are many options and possibilities to how we birth and raise our babies. I have lightly touched on a lot of inception, birth and nurturing topics simply to provide anyone who reads this article with a jumping point to do their own research, formulate their own opinion and most importantly make their decisions. There is a wealth of birth information available today, both birth experts and websites that can give additional information. Once again, every inception and birth is beautiful and no matter how it goes provides us a divinely unique opportunity to learn, grow, give and do our best for our selves, families and children.
z. Trust yourself, your body, your support team and your baby and have the best birth possible!
Wow! I feel like I just birthed a baby writing this. This is an outpouring of everything I have learned about inception, birth and infant nurturing in the last 11 years, and just like my child it will grow and evolve as I learn more, because there is so much to know about birthing children in a healthy manner. I wish there was some way I could make people know how imperative it is to make a baby’s entrance into this world as healthy as possible. I know that I am just now getting to the point where I am capable of birthing a child in a healthy manner. We need to return to old ways where we were taught our whole lives how to be men and women and raise a successful family. Fortunately there is a vibrant Natural Birth movement ripe with wombdom and new information is being released daily, but as I watch the unfolding global events I become more and more innately convinced that a Birth Epidemic geared towards healthier birthing is necessary to help save the human species and overall improve life on this planet. Every one of us and every one of our babies’ deserves and is entitled to health, happiness, and success. The most important gift that any parent can give is the springboard to these unalienable human rights, so I hope this information is helpful and interesting and that it sparks a fire to know and do your best for yourself and your children. When you have additional questions please contact your local birth specialist, particularly your local Midwife or Doula. If you would like or need to, you may contact me directly at 770.899.7598 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://grracee-amp.webstarts.com/index.html . I look forward to speaking with you and I would appreciate any suggestions, comments and additions anyone feels useful to this article. Much Suncess and Please Share This With Anyone You Know (even if they are not expecting a child they may later or know someone who is)! AKIMNA