Archive by Author

In Celebration of International Doula Month: A Mother’s Letter To Her Doula

13 May

Dear Ellie,

It has been three months since my daughter’s birth. I have been blessed and delighted with motherhood. I enjoy her tremendously and therefore I have neglected the rest of the world. I have been meaning to write and let you know how wonderful it was for my daughter and me that you were our doula. We are so glad we chose you to be with us for such a precious, intimate, soul piercing moment-the birth of my daughter. I wanted to take the time to thank you for your care and concern about my well being during labor. Starting with your massages, they were soothing and invigorating. I loved your rocking me. It produced in me a sense of calmness. You seemed to have known when to talk to me to keep me focused on my daughter’ birth.

Alexandr Vasilyev/Dol

Alexandre Vasilyev/DollarPhotoClub

 

You facilitated communication between my doctor and my nurses. At times I was out of it emotionally and physically that medical explanations had little meaning to me. You clarified, explained, asked questions and kept my interest at heart. You made a “dysfunctional labor”, as my doctor labeled it, functional. My doctor spoke highly of you and so did my family. My husband was so happy that you were there because it allowed him to relax and enjoy the process. He told me he trusted you implicitly.

[…]

In Honor of Cesarean Awareness Month: Introducing The VBAC Education Project

10 Apr

VBAC was deemed a reasonable and safe option to a routine repeat cesarean by the National Institutes of Health decades ago (1981). But, in recent years, misinformation about its safety and lack of clear national practice guidelines have succeeded in virtually eliminating VBACs in many hospitals. Intro.keyThousands of women are being denied medical care for VBAC and given no choice but to “consent” to a repeat operation they do not need or want. Mothers have the legal right to make their own health care decisions, but that right, more often than not, is not upheld. The  upcoming, evidence-based VBAC Education Project, endorsed by the International Childbirth Education Association and the International Cesarean Awareness Network was developed to answer the many questions parents have about VBAC and provide educators and maternity care professionals with the resources they need to support women who want to labor after a prior cesarean. This volunteer collaborative project will be available for download at no cost.

The VBAC Education Project consists of four sections:

  • žDeciding if A VBAC Is Right for You: A Parent’s Guide (slides)
  • žVBAC for Educators: A Teaching Guide
  • ž Resources for VBAC and Physiologic Birth
  • žEducational Handouts for Parents

For Parents

žIf you are a parent whose baby was born by cesarean section, VBAC_HandoutsForParentsthis evidence-based slide presentation (14 modules) provides comprehensive information on vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC), a safe option to a routine repeat cesarean. It will also help you to understand why you may have had a cesarean and how you can do things differently this time. The Resources will help expand your knowledge about VBAC and physiologic (normal) birth. The Educational Handouts for Parents will give you the tools you need to make informed decisions and help you to have a safe and satisfying birth.

žFor Educators and Group Leaders

VBAC For Educators: A Teaching Guide is a companion to Deciding if A VBAC Is Right for You. If you teach childbirth classes or lead a support group for women with a prior cesarean the supporting e-book, VBAC for Educators: A Teaching Guide will help you to present the material to your students. It includes background information for each of the 14 modules, sample class outlines, teaching tips, examples of hospital guidelines and informed consent forms for VBAC you can duplicate for your own educational use. VBAC_ForEducatorsFor mothers considering a birth-center or home VBAC the Teaching Guide also explores the relative safety of VBAC outcomes for low-risk women who begin labor on their own compared to outcomes for planned hospital VBACs.

For Maternity Care Professionals

žIf you are a labor and delivery nurse, office nurse, doula, community-based maternal-child health worker or birth activist, this visual guide provides the medical facts you need to understand the VBAC option, the psychological issues related to laboring for a VBAC after an unexpected prior cesarean, and the many ways you can support and empower mothers to make their own best decisions about how they want to give birth this time. The Resources and Educational Handouts for Parents will be useful for you and the mothers and families you work with.

žFor Physicians and Midwives

žIf you are a physician or a midwife, this visual guide can help provide expectant parents with evidence-based information about vaginal birth after a cesarean. It can also help them to clarify some of the issues they are most concerned about.VBAC_Resources Clinicians rarely have the time to provide parents with all the information they may need to make informed decisions for birth after a cesarean. This guide can help begin the prenatal conversations you will have with mothers to help them make an informed choice about how they want to give birth this time.

The VBAC Education Project will soon be available for free download from www.vbac.com and the International Childbirth Education Association. We hope it will help parents to find out more about the VBAC option and encourage maternity care professionals to safely support them.

Updated June 24, 2015.

Women Fight For The Chance To Use Their Own Bodies In Giving Birth

13 Mar

Los Angeles, CA (March 2015) — Ninety percent of American women who give birth by Cesarean will have all future babies by surgery. The new feature-length documentary film, Trial of Labor TOLgives a voice to four California women fighting those odds: planning births after Cesarean (VBAC).

Access to VBAC remains extremely restricted in the U.S., with many hospitals maintaining mandatory surgery policies (also known as “VBAC bans”) for women who have had Cesareans. These policies, based primarily on non-medical factors, mean that tens of thousands of women every year have no choice in how they give birth: they are pushed into surgery whether they need it or not.

This situation persists despite a top-level push to increase access to VBAC. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls VBAC, “safe and appropriate” for most women, while the National Institute of Health and American Academy of Family Physicians urge increased access to VBAC as a pressing issue of public health, warning against the life-threatening risks of harm from multiple Cesareans. When a woman is given the chance at a “trial of labor,” she has about a three-in-four chance of avoiding the operating room.

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Epidurals For Labor: Telling It Like It Is

11 Feb

A national survey of women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2011-2012 reported that 6 out of 10 mothers had an epidural for pain relief in labor. An epidural is a very effective form of pain relief, but it can also lead to complications that eventually makes it necessary for the mother to have a cesarean.

At Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial in Fremont, Michigan expectant mothers are educated about the benefits and risks of using an epidural in labor and their informed choice is respected. Dr. Tami Michele, DO, FACOG, OB/GYN, Medical Director CassieEhard3746461480_ba31648524_zand Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chair is a strong advocate of women’s informed choices. Mothers are educated about the benefits and risks of epidural anesthesia for labor and also given a Plan for Vaginal Birth form that includes many options for pain relief: massage; hypnosis techniques; use of whirlpool or  shower; use of a birth ball and freedom of movement and positions for birth.

This is the information that women are currently given if they are considering an epidural for pain relief.

Read more  […]