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What is a Doula? A Doula provides emotional and physical support to mothers and families during their pregnancy and birth journey. A Dou...

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

SUPER-MUM SPINACH PANCAKES (VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE!)

SUPER-MUM SPINACH PANCAKES


Looking for the perfect recipe to surprise a special Mum in your life? Look no further! These energy boosting green pancakes are delicious and nutritious.


Make them small or large. Delicious with berries and maple syrup. 



Super-Mum Spinach Pancakes Recipe: 


Pancake Ingredients:

3 x Ripe Bananas (medium size) OR  2 x Large Ripe Bananas

2 x Cups Fresh Baby Spinach

1 x Cup Rice Milk 

1½ x Cups Gluten Free Self-Raising Flour

2 x Tbsp Golden Syrup

2 x Tbsp Rice Flour

⅓ x Cup Rice Bran Oil 

1 x Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

For Cooking:

1 x Tbsp Rice Bran Oil

Baking paper cut to circles to fit your fry pan

Frypan

Method: 

Add all of the pancake ingredients to a bowl and stick mix until smooth. About 1 minute. 

Add ½ Tbsp of Rice bran oil to pan on medium heat. 

Put baking paper on top of oil in pan. 

Spoon or pour batter to size and shape of desired pancake. I usually do three in the pan, a tablespoon of batter each. 

When bubbles start to appear on top flip pancake over. You may need an extra spoon to stabilise the baking paper. 

When second side is coloured nicely (happens quickly for the second side) remove pancakes from pan. 

Continue until all the batter is gone. 

Yield: 

24 Mini Pancakes. 

Hints: 

Don't worry if you burn or undercook the first one. Everyone does in the history of pancakes. Bin and carry on. 

The baking paper is useful for cooking without egg as batter becomes very sticky, even on "non-stick" surfaces.

Rice milk can be substituted for cows milk.

Rice flour and Golden syrup can be substituted for an egg.

Gluten free self-raising flour can be substituted for regular self-raising flour. 

If you are wanting to use another type of flour such as oat or spelt, it might be better to do half plain/ half alternative flour as batter can get heavy and chewy. 



Perfect for kids! Lunchbox friendly. Coconut yogurt is fun for dipping. 




How romantic... Dig in! 


Enjoy!! 







Tuesday, 3 January 2017

THE SWEET AND SOUR OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES

Gestational Diabetes Explored. 

Gestational Diabetes Debate. 


The medical model of care for pregnancy is often focussed on the possible 'issues' or 'complications' that may arise. The standard glucose tolerance test is evidence of this, whereby without overt symptoms a diagnosis is made from pathology findings. Whether the benefit of this testing outweighs the risk is subject to debate. 

Gestational Diabetes: when sugar is on everyones lips

World renowned Obstetrician Michel Odent, in particular notes that one role of the placenta is to change the mother's physiology to accomodate the baby. That is, a mother with high glucose may indeed be growing a large baby, however her glucose is raised to facilitate this rather than causing this

The diagnoses of Gestational Diabetes is used to identify baby's at risk of: 

1. Being large for gestational age

2. Being small for gestational age

3. Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar in the baby after birth, due to drop in blood sugar)

Click here to find out more about what Michel Odent has to say about this. I found it particularly interesting that he notes that the medication given to women doesn't prevent hypoglycaemia. 

Diagnostic Criteria and Percentage of Woman diagnosed.


In recent years the criteria for diagnosing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) changed. In short, you are more likely to be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes now than ever before! (Approximately 13% of women will be diagnosed)

How Diagnosis works: 

The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is routinely offered at 24 weeks to 28 weeks gestation. 

First you have to fast for 10-12 hours.

Then somehow get to the pathology place without fainting- good luck finding someone to mind your other children at 7am too. 

Then they take your blood.

By the way- keep calm because fight or flight mode increases your blood glucose levels... no pressure. Hope you don't have a fear of needles. 

Then they give you 75mL of the most sickly sweet syrup "drink" that you are required to finish within five minutes. 

Then you wait- 2 hours for another blood test without vomiting. Some places like to test at one hour as well so that's fun too. 

Then you eat the muesli bar you packed in three second flat because being a starving, sugared up, nauseous, tired pregnant woman with a bruise and a bandaid on your arm is actually horrible. 

GDM would be diagnosed if one or more of the following criteria are met:


Fasting Blood Glucose level equal to or more than 5.1 mmol/l 


One Hour Blood Glucose Level equal to or more than 10.0 mmol/l 

Two Hour Blood Glucose Level equal to or more than 8.5 mmol/l


It may be helpful to compare this with the results from your test.

What happens when you are diagnosed?


Well you are now a "Gestational Diabetes Pregnancy". Hope you like labels, because there is one for you and one for your yellow card, just so everyone knows. You walked into the appointment a healthy pregnant woman and walked out with a diagnosis. 

If you are booked into a 'low risk' model of care you are likely to be kicked out. Sorry. If you are lucky you might be allowed to stay as long as the gestational diabetes is diet controlled and you attend extra appointments. 

You will be instructed to buy a glucometer and strips and that you will need to test your blood sugars regularly and write them down. 

You will not be told how many readings above their required blood glucose levels you will be allowed before you are pushed into medication such as insulin. If you ask, it might be around the number 3. 

Your care providers might like to weigh you, or even talk about you losing weight. This might be emotionally devastating if you are one of the 15% of women who have had (or currently have) an eating disorder. You have a right to autonomy in your care (all of your care), you can say no to being weighed.  

How does this feel for the woman?


Shit. 

It feels shit.

If this is you right now it's ok to feel shit about it. You are probably actually in a complex grief cycle, because your perception of your capabilities and your body, as well as your expectations for your pregnancy and birth have all been rocked to the core. 

Denial

Anger

Bargaining 

Depression 

Acceptance

The five stages of grieving is a tool to identify what is going on, label it and feel like even though you are grieving, it is ok and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is likely that you will be feeling these things as you process your 'diagnoses' and may fluctuate back and forward through the stages. 

Shame. Some women are so ashamed of this. It can be difficult to tell their loved ones. Diabetes comes with a stigma and scary and hard to tell your family and friends, which you will probably need to at some point if you share meals together. It might help you to know that the physiology of gestational diabetes is more related to hormones controlled by the placenta than any lifestyle decisions. Some of the most healthy, diet aware women are diagnosed with this. 

It can feel like a lot of pressure to change your entire diet and lifestyle in a couple of days. Then as time goes by many women get frustrated about having to cook different meals for themselves, partner, toddler. 


Gestational Diabetes Education: the cherry on top


You will be expected to attend a class where they briefly overview how to count carbohydrates, how many you are expected to eat and what that looks like in terms of the food you eat. 

It sort of looks like this. 

Dairy is pushed as a source of low carbs- tough luck if you are intolerant, vegan or paleo. 

Toast and biscuits seems to be the food of choice in these classes- two bikkies with cheese for your second snack, one bit of toast at breakfast and a mountain bread wrap at lunch.

They also want you to eat very frequently, at least six times a day. 

Don't eat bananas. Don't eat potatoes. Well do... but not really. 

Actually drink lots of diet drinks. They don't have any sugar. Aspartame is fine apparently. Coca-cola's studies prove it. 

Don't drink juice. Water is fine. 

Do eat 'skinny cow' ice creams. 

Exercise is mentioned vaguely- although they aren't forthcoming with options if you have pelvic pain. Insulin seems to be the answer to that. 

You can only have small quantities of rice.

All right off you go. 

WELL SHIT. If you eat anything other than the bogan western diet you have probably been left spinning from this 'education'. 

If your main meals usually consist of rice you are pretty well stuffed. Interestingly, if you cook your rice in coconut oil, cool it down then cook it again it reduces the carbohydrates by half- see here.

Some sugar coating for you 


There can actually some really fantastic positives from having a glucometer and measuring your blood sugar levels. 

The best being that you have an opportunity to become more aware of your body and how you respond to different types of carbohydrates. You may begin to know the feeling of increased blood sugar and low blood sugar, and start to trust the signs your amazing body gives you about food. 

If you are at the in-laws for lunch and they can't cook very well- you don't have to eat it all... because diabetes. 

Over time you will feel more confident in your choices and may even learn a lot about food. 


How to avoid being diagnosed?


These ideas may/may not be suitable for your individual situation. 

If you don't take the test you won't be diagnosed. Not necessarily the easy option, as many care  providers take this test very seriously and may even change the way they provide care to you. 

Get the test in Winter. According to this study you are more likely to be diagnosed in Summer than Winter. 

You can incorporate apple cider vinegar and cinnamon into your meals in the lead up to the test or see a herbalist to prepare you a therapeutic dosage of herbs that regulate blood sugar. 


During the birth


With a GDM diagnosis your blood sugars may be tested every four hours, and care providers may change your mode of care and suggest insulin if you are out of the expected range. If you want to drink electrolyte drinks during birth it might help to either water it down or drink water in between. It may help to talk to your care provider to clarify your individual expectations.

After the birth 


Breastfeeding as soon as possible and as long as possible after birth is now your priority to increase your baby's blood sugar levels as much as you can. It is likely they will want to test blood sugars (from your baby's heel) regularly over the next 24 hours. Some women express colostrum during pregnancy and bring it to hospital with them in case the baby has difficulty latching to avoid formula being used to raise the blood glucose levels.

Updated to add: A lovely reader has brought to my attention that skin to skin contact is also a strategy for regulating your baby's blood sugar levels! Which makes sense when a baby isn't using energy to keep warm or calm down. Such amazing babies. See more here :)



Thank you for reading!!!



Please feel free to leave comments below :)

xx













Thursday, 24 November 2016

WHY DOES MY BABY HATE THE CAR?

WHY DOES THE BABY HATE THE CAR????!! AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT. 

No parenting class can prepare you for this moment. You are in the backseat of a car next to your baby, who is screaming himself blue in the carseat while you are travelling at 110km/h on the freeway.

It's one of those truely magical parenting moments that forgets to get a mention.

What does get a mention is how much babies LOVE the car. Puts them right to sleep. You'll drive around for hours.



Deceptively calm car baby.

Not necessarily.

So why do some babies hate the car and what can be done to help them, you and the general population on the road?

Let's have a look at some possible reasons for 'Screaming Car Baby'.

1. Car Sick


What is it?

This would suck wouldn't it. You've just been born mum keeps putting you in the seat that makes you want to hurl. Sometimes you do. Mainly you scream.


What to do about it?

- When the baby is old enough,  forward facing can help.

- In the mean time try and restrict car trips to nap time to avoid staring out at the constantly moving scenery.

- Keep the car cool.

- Try to avoid bumpy or winding roads.

- Avoid stop/start peak hour traffic as much as possible.

- Have a break or escape plan set up. Know the parks and cafes along the drive if you need to hop and and have a break until baby is tired or calm.

- Do not stop on the side of the freeway or motorway if you can avoid doing so. It is dangerous, attempt to exit the road first.

- Install an Antistatic car strap (click for picture)


- Use other modes of transport. Trains and buses seem scary and difficult to navigate. But you have grown and birthed life. You've got this. 


Freshly washed car seat cover. Luckily they aren't too tricky.

2. Bored


What is it?

This bubba wants stimulation and there isn't much happening facing the back of the car. 

What to do about it?

- Toys on rotation. And more toys. It's great if they make noises or have buttons/ sound effects. 

- A mirror to see mum.

- Some fantastic mind-numbing music. Try Disney's Frozen album (NB: do not let the steering wheel go).


3. Lonely


What is it?

This little one just wants a hug. 

What to do about it. 

- Mirror mirror on the carseat - adjusted so that baby can see your beautiful face. The mirror comforts the baby that you are there. It is also reassuring for you to be able to see your baby.

- Constant singing of a favourite nursery rhyme. Try the wiggles or anything from play school. Keep it up for duration of trip. 40mins of singing vs 40 mins of crying. It's not pretty, but I know which one I'd pick. 


4. Reflux/ Gassy


What is it?

If this is your baby... you probably know all about it. Fussing and crying is their game, with or without a carseat. These bubs are most comforted by being held upright, so a carseat is basically the opposite of what makes them feel better.

What to do about it?

- Wait. As the baby grows and the digestive system matures the symptoms should reduce.

- If you think your baby has undiagnosed reflux, it might be a good idea to check in with your GP.

- Avoid the car when you can. This baby does best in an upright baby carrier or sling, which coincidentally makes public transport a more achievable option.

5. Hot and Bothered


What is it?

Have you ever gone to get your baby out of the car and realised that they are really sweaty? Babies are still learning to regulate their body temperature, and since there is less surface area on them than an adult they can get really hot (and really cold) very quickly.

This can quickly become a problem as the weather heats up. Especially if your baby is screaming and using lots of energy.

What to do about it?

- If you have a capsule a refacing car seat may have better airflow.

- Buy a clip on fan like this (click here).

- Keep the a/c on the down low on hot days- it probably needs to be a degree or two colder than is comfortable in the from to reach the back at a decent temp.

Bonus hint: point air con towards roof so that you don't freeze but air reaches the back seat.

- Try to park in shady places.

- Place a reflective cover over the car seat while you are parked so that it stays as cool as possible.

- Check in with your baby frequently. If you are worried, stop the car in a safe place and check the baby.


6. Uncomfortable


What is it?

Pretty self-explanatory. Some carseats you can just look at and see that they will not be comfortable. Others look comfortable, however as the baby 'uncurls' from newborn to baby the ergonomics of comfort change. 


What to do about it?

- Try a rear facing car seat instead of a capsule.

- Consider getting baby checked by an osteopath or chiropractor in case there are alignment issues causing discomfort.



7. All of the above


What to do about it?

- Abandon your car for at least 6 months.... Save the planet and your sanity. 







Thank you for reading!!! And safe travels. 


Please feel free to leave comments below. 





xxxxx









Thursday, 20 October 2016

DOULAS ARE NOT MIDWIVES IN EMBRYO

THE ROLE OF A DOULA IN A HEALTH PROMOTION CONTEXT




Last week Christa presented a beautiful poster about the role of a doula to a crowd of around 500 birth professionals, most of whom were midwives. Like a boss. 

Christa Buckland: Doula Extraordinaire

Why did she choose to present to this audience?

Doulas know how important their role is. Their clients know how important the Doula is. Yet somehow, many midwives and doctors have become cautious in recommending or even accepting doulas into their practise.

"I wanted to help midwives and medical care providers understand that our role as Doulas is not treading on their toes and that we really do make a difference with the support we provide. Additionally, we are peers with the women we serve so we are not a threat to care providers in any way."- Christa Buckland

What's the deal with that? 
Christa speculates that some of the problems arise from confusion over what a doula actually does and whether or not it's helpful. I would go further to suggest that often the focus of a doula's role is shifted onto what they do not do, rather than the amazing things they do.

Doulas viewed in a Health Promotion context. 
She describes doulas as a grassroots health promotion strategy born from community need. The women who have chosen to become doulas have seen the need, created and filled the role to serve pregnant women.

"In a health promotion context, this comes under the banner of "community action and participation" so in this sense we are utilising a very effective strategy to improve health outcomes for women, babies and families."  -Christa Buckland

See that tail coming out of the sperm??? I know you do.
That's the doulas!!


Doulas as Community Action:


"This closely resembles a peer support or community-based model (HealthConnect One, 2014). This perspective may help to diffuse the tension between care providers and doulas, as it views doulas as part of the community, rather than part of the 'medical team'."  - Christa Buckland

See that lady wearing a cape there? ^ She's a Doula!
She is an allied health professional and community member. 


Alrightio, so how can a doula help?

With fractionated and unpersonalised maternity systems often the doula provides the only continuity of care received by childbearing women.

Which leads to the amazing conclusion that...
Doulas are amaaaazing!!

"Doulas are not 'intruders' in the birth room. Rather, they represent an excellent example of community action and empowerment." - Christa Buckland


Christa is a passionate doula, childbirth educator and health promotion graduate. She has a Bachelor of Health Science (Health Promotion) from Western Sydney University and is now embarking on postgraduate research studies. Christa is the President and Co-Founder of Doula Network Australia Inc 

Find out more: www.naturalbirthconnection.com



Brochure accompanying poster presentation:





Wednesday, 19 October 2016

DAY 3- OF THE 11TH INTERNATIONAL NORMAL BIRTH AND LABOUR CONFERENCE 2016

Normal Labour and Birth Conference 2016


This final day of the conference was filled with joy and sadness. Pretty much in that order as it started with keynote addresses on oxytocin and moved onto the deeper and darker side of maternity, coming to a head with Bashi Hazard's speech about human rights in childbirth. Keep reading to find out how that all went down!

Professor Kerstin Uvnas Moberg- 'The Oxytocin Factor'


This Professor knows oxytocin. And she wasn't shying away from putting it aaaall out there, good and bad. 

I'll start with a quote from her which brings everything she said in wonderful detail into a single point. 

"Normality in birth is usually best because everything was thought of when these systems were created." - Professor Kerstin Uvnas Moberg



Professor Kerstin Uvnas Moberg keeping it real.

So then what does she have to say? Here are the main points (I tried to condense for you)

1. Oxytocin is more than a hormone, it is a complex system. 

It has the same effect on all mammals, you can even give it to sandworms and they will lay eggs... the relevance of this information evaded me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it none-the-less and hope you do too. 

2. It's a long point but good- it was new to me and may be to you too so hang in there. I believe in you. 

There are two nerves that interact with the uterus (the new exciting thing is the nerves- hopefully the italics helped you with that). One is tapped into fight-or-flight system, the other waves the flag for rest-and-digest. (In labour, women have faster labours with less pain when they are channelling the rest and digest system). Synthetic oxytocin basically switches of the rest-and-digest nerve, and leaves the ugly cousin fight-or-flight nerve in control of the uterus. This gets messy because it means a reduced blood flow to the uterus and placenta- which is bad. It also causes unnaturally long contractions which the Professor speculates may then impact the baby because of the physical force- also bad. 

3. Epidurals may also impact these nerves, as the anaesthetic is given very close to where they are. Also the probability of needing synthetic oxytocin increases with an epidural. She really makes her point by adding that women describe epidurals as having reduced pain, however, do not describe their births as being more pleasant than physiological birth. 

I told you she wasn't shying away from telling it how it is. She uses the research she undertaken to illustrate her points. I think some of those points got a little bit pointy for some of the audience, but 'truth will out' right? She then goes on to describe unnecessary intervention as:

"Cutting off the roots of a positive, self supportive system" - Professor Kerstin Uvnas Moberg.

She said a lot more but that was the final cut. 


I probably needed a brain break at that point but onwards and upwards we went to Professor Maralyn Fourer's 'How birth space can influence normal birth". 


This talk was interesting, and began with the speculation that moving women from birthing at home to in the hospital was one on the most "amazing uncontrolled experiments ever". She then went on to examine how neuroscience is connected to architecture. Who would have thought.  

Professor Maralyn Fourer- setting the scene before talking about setting the scene. 

Quick facts:

1. Worldwide all hospital birth rooms have the same four features: Bed, Monitors, Neonatal Rhesus Bed and Bright lights. Pretty sexy. The bed is the biggest and most central feature of the room. 

2. Optimal birth space influences the brain to produce optimal oxytocin levels, increasing the probability of normal birth. This is because the fear of something going wrong increases adrenaline, decreases oxytocin and therefore it makes the chances of something actually going wrong much higher. 


3. There are some really cool birth rooms- my favourite was one with a projection of nature scenes onto the wall. Just showing this on the screen for 10 seconds was calming as a member of the audience, I can only imagine how effective it would be in a birth space. Excitedly (but under her breath) the midwife next to me commented that there are lots of white walls in hospitals. 

Dr Rachel Reed from Midwife Thinking is a passionate advocator for women in the arena of traumatic childbirth. She presented 'Traumatic childbirth: Women's descriptions of care provider actions and interactions'. 



I already loved her blog. Now I love her. #notweirdiswear


So what did she have to say?

1. Care providers are prioritising their own agenda over the birthing women they are serving. 

2. Rachel ran a survey, and of all birth trauma described by women 2/3 described care provider interactions as the traumatising event of birth (1/3 described physical trauma).

3. Women are left feeling violated, disregarded, coerced, judged, lied to, many reported screaming 'no' to their care provider, some said they felt as though they "were treated like a piece of meat". It's so so bad. 

4. Institutions are risk averse, with many unnecessary procedures being forced on women in the name of risk. However, in Australia, the leading cause of maternal death is suicide. That's a risk. 

5. Rachel noted that there are mandated workshops for healthcare workers in many areas, such as personal protective equipment and she suggests that mandated workshops on promoting wellbeing may be part of a solution to this insidious issue. 

It wasn't a feel good presentation. It was a get off your butt and do something presentation. If you have unresolved feelings about your birth please seek help. Birth Talk is a foundation dedicated to helping women with birth trauma, or you may benefit from professional birth debriefing, visiting a counsellor or psychologist. You are not alone.

Then, as though they knew we needed a big dose of cuteness, these lovely geese and their little goslings decided to give us a show. 


Our new friends sensed the oxytocin in the air!

Bashi Hazard 'Human Rights in Childbirth' - The last session of the conference did not disappoint. 



What an amazing woman. Here are some highlights from her talk:


1. Midwives have been persecuted in the past and continue to be in their current work, particularly home birth midwives, for example Agnes Gereb. 

2. We are fostering a system where women are being forced to choose between their mental health and their physical health. 

3. In countries such as India and South America, governments are getting rid of traditional midwives (often the only accessible form of maternity care in rural areas) and pushing women into institutions where they are abused and disrespected. This is called obstetric violence and is pervasive. 


Slide displayed by Bashi Hazard during presentation. Bam. 


I could say so much more I had such an amazing time!! Feel free to ask any questions. 


THANKS FOR READING! 

Comment below <3 




Wednesday, 12 October 2016

DAY 2- OF THE 11TH INTERNATIONAL NORMAL BIRTH AND LABOUR CONFERENCE 2016

NORMAL BIRTH AND LABOUR CONFERENCE 2016



The second day of the conference was just as engaging as the first. I'll start from the very beginning because I hear it's a very good place to start.

Keynote Address by Professor Sally Tracy and Professor Alec Welsh

Holy schamoley- these two trailblazers basically introduced a whole new model of care in their Tertiary Hospital's maternity unit. Just casually of course. 

They used a woman-centered midwifery group practice model for both 'high' and 'low' risk women. The Obstetricians, Registrars (fresh doctors) and midwives had meetings weekly to ensure quality care.  This model exemplified continuity of care, which is essential for good outcomes. You go guys. 

Bonus quote: "Let's do what we can together to keep birth normal" - Alec Welsh

Yessir.


Professor Alec Welsh and Professor Sally Tracy 

And then Dr Andrew Bisits wooed the audience with his presentation on 'Can breech birth normal?'... hot tip. The answer is yes. 

He basically addressed 500 women who either were already in love with him, or are now. 


Fun facts from his talk: 

1. Birth workers can use every breech birth as an opportunity to learn about and therefore normalise breech birth. His groovy example was that even during a cesarean he lifts the baby from the womb in such a way as to show his Registrars how a breech would naturally arrive. 

2. He suggested that women were just as, if not more interested in how the baby manoeuvres during a breech birth than the statistics surrounding the decision making process. 

This is where it gets really good. 

A lovely Keynote speaker in the Audience, Bashi Hazard (who we hear from tomorrow... exciting!) asked Dr Bisits to explain to her, as though she were the mother, how the breech baby was born. 

He may as well have sung us all a breech lullaby. 

By the time he finished everyone was deadly quiet, as they had been hanging onto his every word. 

In the spirit of education I'll attempt to replicate what he said below... if you want the real deal I highly recommend seeing him at any future conferences/ chances you get. 


The Baby Women Whisperer


How does a breech baby come out? A Dr Bisits Breech Lullaby: abridged version. 

Everything moves down as a unit
Baby's bottom presses on the cervix, replicating the head
Cervix dilates at the same rate as head first
Once the Cervix is fully dilated and baby reaches mothers pelvic floor
One of the baby's hips move into the mother's pelvis
Mother gets a strong urge to push that hip under pubis bone
Then the baby comes down hip first, two steps forward one step back 
Get to point where it's two steps forward no steps back
That is bottom almost out
Which is good because babies' hips are same width as their head, you know baby won't get stuck if their head is tucked in
Once bottom is out, baby turns
-At this point bottom, body and arms are out
Then the woman feels a strong urge to push- even through contractions
This pushing is encouraged as this last stage should only last 3-4 minutes. 
Baby's head comes out 
Voila 
Baby is born. 


Dr Bisits went on to describe breech birth competence as a "fundamental and nonnegotiable item for midwives and obstetricians".  

It was all too much! We cheered. Then got tea. 

Rhea Dempsey wrote the book on pain dynamics in birth. I know, because I bought it today. 



Just hanging out with Rhea Dempsey. Everything is normal. 


Rhea's session on Pain Dynamics and Physiological birth had so many layers and so much truth to it. Like a truth cake... or truth haircut. Anyway- here are the quick highlights of what I took away: 

1. There are many different mindsets of women regarding their perception of pain during labour. At one end of the spectrum are women who do not want to experience it at all (orders the epidural before labour),  at the other are women who are keen to embrace the pain and arrange their birth environment and support people around that preference (home birth, birth centre). The majority of women are in between these two options. 

2. There are primarily two mindsets of labour ward midwives. They are either a working with pain midwife or a medicate pain midwife. This creates a problem for the majority of birthing women in the middle, as they don't know which midwife they will get. This can be seen in the woman who, during labour, decided that she really wanted an epidural but the midwife talked her out of it and as a result she was devastated; and the woman who had an epidural but didn't really want it, but had asked for it and then felt guilty about her decision. 

It's basically a communication breakdown which is leading to neither party knowing the mindset of the other, creating a difficult scenario when women reach their "crisis of confidence" points in their labour- wherever that may be. 


Here she is again. Because two pictures is better than one


The final keynote address of the day didn't leave a dry eye in the house. Or in my row of seats at least. Professor Sue Kildea and Leona McGrath's combined presentation addressed 'Birthing on Country, from Policy to Practice' and an 'Aboriginal Midwives perspective'. They also introduced us to Ranae Coleman, an Indigenous student midwife. 


L-R: Renae Coleman, Professor Sue Kildea, Leona McGrath.
A quick overview: 

1. They opened with a series of sobering statistics about maternal and infant mortality and morbidity for Indigenous compared to non-Indigenous Australians. Basically every statistic that I would hope would be the same, was twice as high, if not higher. 

2. They implored that culturally safe care is vital. 

3. Ranae Spoke about her journey to becoming an Indigenous student midwife, the difficulties she encountered and overcame along the way. **insert tears**

4. The importance of developing culturally safe stand alone birth centres in rural Indigenous communities was raised with the aim of improving cost effectiveness, health outcomes and provide spiritually safe care. However, at this point in time this seems like a pipe dream, as funding has not been granted- Professor Sue Kildea speculates that public involvement may amend this. 

Rally anyone?


Please take time to read the quote that Renae read to us.


"When you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, you are denying that I am Aboriginal. To deny that I am Aboriginal is to deny that my grandmother was taken by welfare because she was Aboriginal, by the dictates of past government policies. To deny that she was taken because she was Aboriginal is to deny that past policies attempted genocide of Aboriginal people. To deny that the government’s objective was genocide is to deny that the government is responsible for the widespread decimation of Aboriginal language, traditions, land rights and intact family trees today. To deny that there is no widespread crises of identity within Aboriginal individuals, families, communities – and indeed our entire country – is to deny our lived reality. And when you deny our reality, you deny us our humanity. And so when you tell me ‘you don’t look Aboriginal’, it goes much further than just skin-deep." - Mykaela Saunders

The full article can be found here.



Thanks for reading you gorgeous thing! 



xxxxxx



Comment below if it pleases you. 







Tuesday, 11 October 2016

DAY 1- OF THE 11TH INTERNATIONAL NORMAL BIRTH AND LABOUR CONFERENCE 2016

NORMAL BIRTH AND LABOUR CONFERENCE 2016



O.K. Today was a special day! The first day of a three day international conference (held in Sydney this year woooooh) exploring normal birth.

Here is the highlight reel for those of you playing along at home.

This guy... Professor Eugine Declercq

 

It doesn't look like it here.. but this guy had a room full of sleep-deprived birth workers giggling.

Somehow Professor Eugine Declercq managed to make statistics fun and informative... what kind of magic is this?

One highlight from Professor Declercq was:


1. Women are being told that their babies are too big... but babies aren't getting bigger. Interesting. 



Check out some fun data at the Birth by the Numbers website he recommended.


The next exciting development of the day.... got me all sweaty and nervous! 

 

As fate would have it I got to sit next to my doula crush Sarah Buckley! She wrote the first book that I ever read which got me questioning how we do birth in this country. *birthy swooooon*

 
Me and Sarah Buckley. I'm definitely not pooping my pants...
 my face just looks like that.

 

As if that wasn't enough... I then got to listen to a room full of amazing midwives talking about the third stage of labour!  

 

All the funs.

After a fun history lesson where I learned that apparently the drug Ergometrine originally came from a fungus that grows on rye (Delish!) then all the midwives were on the placenta train. Listening to their experiences was so incredible. I. can't. even. 

So three fun facts from this session:

1. Many midwives primarily practise managed third stage... some have never seen a physiological third stage- even at the normal labour and birth conference. 

2. Language is important. It's "placental birth"opposed to third stage. Instead of Delayed Cord Clamping they are labeling it Physiological and Early Cord Clamping should be used for anything other than Physiological.

3. Increased management of the third stage has not decreased post-partum hemorrhage rates. In fact they are increasing. 

And a bonus one for funsies

With delayed cord clamping placental blood transfusion to the baby can be anywhere from 50mls to 150mls. My good mate (who I said an entire two sentences to) Sarah Buckley brought this up, the hypothesis is that the baby can regulate the amount of blood he/she receives when optimal cord clamping is used. Clever things. 

If this area interests you check out my post 10 Things To Do With Your Placenta



Then I went to Bernadette Leiser's Session about acupressure for the perinatal period. 

 

I'm not sure what drew me to this one in the first place, but I do feel more confident in using the tools they showed us for women during labour. 

Things I learned:

1. There is a bucketful and a half of studies showing that acupressure is effective- including randomised control trials. 

2. There is a woman called Deborah Betts who is super passionate about this all and has lots of info for parents on her website. Check it out here.

3. There is an acupressure point that stimulates your bowel. Interesting right? 


*Then I had a lovely doula catch-up lunch where talking about placentas over pasta was acceptable* 

 


Next keynote speaker was Caroline Homer, the President of the Australian College of Midwives. 

 

Holy mackerel.

This woman is clever. And I mean clever. She pretty much blew everyone away with her address. It was centered around the inequalities that women face in low income countries.

Taking into account all of the places she has visited, papers she has worked on and things she has done, I have deduced that she is at least 130 years old.
Things I took away from her talk: 

1. Developing countries have incredibly low cesarean rates (sometimes as low as 0.25% in poor rural areas) and women and children are dying because of it. This is due to many factors; primarily access, funding and education.

2. Where women in low income countries do have access to a cesarean birth, they may have many complications as a result- including approximately 20% of all women developing birth fistulas as a result of the operation. Further concern surrounds future birth for these women who may not be able to access healthcare again from small villages.

3. If local women in developing countries could be trained adequately as midwives, many of the inequalities surrounding birth could be addressed- the money doesn't need to go into fancy machines.

The take away message was that globally our healthcare system is in desperate need of balance.



THANKS FOR READING YOU LOVELY PERSON YOU!!! 

 

 

Please feel free to comment below! xx