Archive | November 2012

Mom defies doctor, has baby her way –

cnnMom defies doctor, has baby her way

By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent

December 16, 2010 1:28 p.m. EST

Aneka gave birth to a healthy boy this month at home, after she had given birth to three children through Cesarean section.


Aneka decided to give birth vaginally after having C-sections

She was told her actions were irresponsible and that she could die

Vaginal births after cesarean sections pose some risk, but so does having another cesarean

(CNN) — On Thursday, December 2, as Aneka sat at home nine months pregnant, the phone rang.

It was her obstetrician wanting to know where the heck she was. Did Aneka forget that today was the day for her cesarean section? How could she have forgotten?

No, Aneka hadn’t forgotten. She hadn’t shown up intentionally.

“She told me, ‘You’re being irresponsible. Your baby could die. You could die,'” Aneka recalls. Then the doctor hung up.

Aneka (she doesn’t want her last name used) had already resolved to not have a C-section, even though the doctor told her it was absolutely necessary. She wasn’t going to be opened up surgically, no matter what her doctor said, no matter what any doctor said.

In some online communities, Aneka is a hero who defied the obstetrical establishment and gave birth her way. To many doctors, however, she’s a risk-taker who put her and her baby in peril by giving birth at home.

‘No, no, no, you can’t do this’

Aneka’s story begins nine years ago with the birth of her first daughter, Nya. After 10 hours of labor, her doctor told her she wasn’t progressing quickly enough, and she needed a C-section.

“I didn’t know any better, so I said OK,” Aneka says.

In a postpartum visit six weeks later, the doctor told her she’d needed the surgery because her hips were too small to pass the baby.

“I thought to myself, what’s she talking about, I don’t have small hips,” Aneka remembers.

Four years later, doctors told Aneka she couldn’t deliver her second child vaginally, since Nya had been delivered by C-section. Studies show when a woman gives birth vaginally after having had a previous C-section, there’s a higher chance her uterus will rupture since she’s pushing against scar tissue.

Then again, when Aneka was pregnant with her third child, son Adasjan, she had a C-section for the same reason.

When she became pregnant with her fourth child, a boy named Annan Ni’em, she expected to have a fourth C-section. But about seven months into her pregnancy, Aneka started to read more about childbirth online, and noticed a documentary by actress Ricki Lake called “The Business of Being Born,” a film released in 2008 that questions the way American women have babies.

Aneka made a controversial health decision by giving birth vaginally to her fourth child after three previous C-sections.

Aneka made a controversial health decision by giving birth vaginally to her fourth child after three previous C-sections.

“I was a little bit angry after watching documentary,” she said. “It made me realize I’d been robbed of the birthing experience. If possible, all women should be allowed to birth naturally.”

“I asked my doctor if I could try delivering vaginally, and she said no,” Aneka says. “I called the hospital and they said they wouldn’t allow it, and I called three other hospitals and they wouldn’t let me deliver vaginally, either.”

The closest hospital that would let her try to deliver vaginally was in Manassas, Virginia, about 90 minutes from her Maryland home. She and her husband, Al, decided that was too far.

So just seven weeks away from her December 1 due date, Aneka contacted the International Cesarean Awareness Network, an advocacy group that promotes vaginal births after cesareans, or VBACs.

“She asked me if I could find someone who would deliver her vaginally,” remembers Bobbie Humphrey, who works with ICAN. “She started to cry because she’d heard ‘no, no, no you can’t do this’ so many times.”

But Humphrey told her yes, that she knew of a midwife who would be willing to deliver her baby at home.

An article in Midwifery Today, written by Barbara Stratton, the National VBAC ban chair for ICAN, lists several approaches women have used to protest a VBAC denial.

On December 5, three days after the C-section that never took place, Annan Ni’em was born at home. He weighed 9 pounds, 6 ounces and was delivered after 20 hours of labor, and, she says, just four minutes of pushing. He was completely healthy.

“We were all crying at the delivery,” says Humphrey, a doula who assisted the midwife at the birth. “It was very emotional. I was just so proud of Aneka.”

Soon, word spread on e-mail lists and chat rooms about the healthy delivery.

“People were e-mailing Aneka saying ‘congratulations, you’re a role model,” Humphrey says.

“Potential for catastrophe”

Vaginal births after cesarean sections pose some risk, but so does having another cesarean. After weighing the risks of each, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists came out with a statement earlier this year saying it’s reasonable to consider allowing women who’ve had two C-sections to try to have a vaginal delivery.

The group added that there’s limited data about what should happen with women, like Aneka, who’ve had more than one previous cesarean.

Despite the ACOG statement, many doctors and hospitals refuse to do VBACs because of the risk. Women who try to deliver vaginally after cesarean have between a 0.5 percent and a 0.9 percent chance of having a uterine rupture — a potentially deadly complication for both mother and baby, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Women with two previous C-sections have a 1 percent to 3.7 percent risk of a uterine rupture, according to ACOG.

Studies show the risk for a uterine rupture goes up if the woman’s labor is induced. Aneka’s was not.

Dr. Jeffrey Ecker, a spokesman for ACOG and director of obstetrical clinical research and quality assurance at Massachusetts General Hospital, warns against reaching too many conclusions from Aneka’s successful VBAC at home.

“Anecdote is no way for folks to make plans,” he says. “Just because something turned out well for one patient doesn’t mean there are no risks and it will turn out well for you.”

He says there’s a reason that uterine rupture is more likely when a woman’s had a C-section.

“You cut into the muscle of the uterus during a cesarean, and it heals with a scar that is often weaker than the muscle that was there before surgery,” he says. “The scar can be weak enough that the contractions cause it to separate.”

In that case, blood flow to the placenta can be interrupted, and the baby doesn’t get enough oxygen.

In its latest position paper, ACOG recommended that VBACs be attempted “in facilities with staff immediately available to provide emergency care.”

“There is potential for catastrophe if [a uterine rupture] happens in a home environment,” says Dr. William Grobman, an ACOG spokesman and associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Grobman says he understands Aneka’s desire not to have another C-section.

“This was a last resort. This was a choice because she had no other options,” he says.

But Aneka says if she has another child, she’ll give birth at home.

“Once you have that experience there’s no other way to go, being in the comfort of your home without any unnecessary interventions and feeling like you’re in charge,” she says.

via Mom defies doctor, has baby her way –



Eating Eggs When Pregnant Affects Breast Cancer In Offspring


Eating Eggs When Pregnant Affects Breast Cancer In Offspring

ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2008) — A stunning discovery based on epigenetics (the inheritance of propensities acquired in the womb) reveals that consuming choline—a nutrient found in eggs and other foods—during pregnancy may significantly affect breast cancer outcomes for a mother’s offspring.

This finding by a team of biologists at Boston University is the first to link choline consumption during pregnancy to breast cancer. It also is the first to identify possible choline-related genetic changes that affect breast cancer survival rates.

“We’ve known for a long time that some agents taken by pregnant women, such as diethylstibesterol, have adverse consequences for their daughters,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “But there’s an upside. The emerging science of epigenetics has yielded a breakthrough. For the first time, we’ve learned that we might be able to prevent breast cancer as early as a mother’s pregnancy.”

The researchers made the discovery in rats by studying females whose mothers were fed varying amounts of choline during pregnancy. Different groups of pregnant rats received diets containing standard amounts of choline, no choline at all, or extra choline. Then the researchers treated the female offspring with a chemical that causes cancer of the mammary gland (breast cancer). Although animals in all groups developed mammary cancer, the daughters of mothers that had received extra choline during pregnancy had slow growing tumors while daughters of mothers that had no choline during pregnancy had fast growing tumors.

“Our study provides additional support for the notion that choline is an important nutrient that has to be considered when dietary guidelines are developed,” said Krzysztof Blusztajn, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology at Boston University and the study’s senior researcher. “We hope it will be possible to develop nutritional guidelines for pregnant women that ensure the good health of their offspring well into old age.”

The researchers also found multiple genetic and molecular changes in the rats’ tumors that correlated with survival outcomes. For example, the slow growing tumors in rats had a genetic pattern similar to those seen in breast cancers of women who are considered to have a good prognosis. The fast growing tumors in mice had a pattern of genetic changes similar to those seen in women with a more aggressive disease. The researchers also found evidence that these genetic changes may result from the way that choline affects modifications of the DNA within the mammary gland of fetuses as they develop in the womb.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be more than 184,000 new cases of breast cancer in 2008 and more than 40,000 deaths. Treatments for women suffering from breat cancer range from hormone therapy to surgery.

via Eating Eggs When Pregnant Affects Breast Cancer In Offspring.

Accidental UC {Unassisted Childbirth} of Moses | Birth Without Fear

Accidental UC {Unassisted Childbirth} of Moses

by Mama Queenly on November 16, 2012

This pregnancy was much different from the previous ones from the start. I had a feeling from the very beginning that this baby would come very fast. One night I was talking with John and told him my concerns that we would be delivering on the side of the highway and I couldn’t shake the feeling. I told him that I had prayed about it and thought we should give some thought to the midwife/home birth route. John’s response was, “Yes, let’s do it!” I knew then that this was God’s path for us to follow.

So, when I was four months pregnant we switched from the OB/GYN we were seeing 45 minutes away to a CNM, a midwife, who lived two blocks down on the same street as us. She came highly recommended and we felt comfortable from the start with her. I had a consult at 16 weeks with her and never went back to the OB. From that point on, my appointments were with her. We walked down to each appointment and the kids and John were always included. Each appointment lasted 45 minutes to an hour. The pregnancy was stress free and I have never felt more informed about myself, my baby, or the birthing process. Our bodies are incredible! God has uniquely made us, women, to birth and breastfeed.

On Saturday night we went to dinner with my family to celebrate my Granny and Aunt’s birthdays. My grandma had come into town and that night told Moses to, “Move it along, your Granny is in town.” I guess he listened. I didn’t feel any different that evening; I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions since about 33 weeks, so those were “normal” for me that night. I’m still not sure if I lost my mucous plug and just didn’t have any bloody show. We came home from dinner and I told John that the only “labor inducer” we hadn’t tried yet was dancing. So we put on our Kinect game, Just Dance 3, and did about five or six songs. I was tired, showered, and went to bed. Penny came to our bed like she does most nights around 11 or 12:00am – all was normal.

At about 3:00am I woke up feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, John had diarrhea the day before and we had eaten at Cracker Barrel, so I assumed it was that bothering my stomach.  Nothing happened so I just lay down and went back to sleep. At 3:20am I woke up to a strong cramping and woke up John saying I think I might have had a contraction. He dozed back off to sleep. At 3:24am I woke him up again saying that I was going to relax in the tub to see if they were “poop cramps” or real contractions.

He followed me, with my phone to time contractions. I had another one, but they weren’t anything I couldn’t breathe through. John still had tummy troubles so he left to use the other bathroom. By the time he got back I was moaning through the contractions. They were about three minutes apart and lasting about a minute or so. I looked at him and said, “Call the Midwife! Call Rachel NOW!” Rachel, my sister, was lined up to watch the kids.

He made a 12 second gurgled phone call to her and she raced over in a record breaking 2 minutes; forgot her shoes and everything! She came in, rocked Penny and put her back to bed, and the kids stayed asleep through the whole thing even with us in the hallway in front of their rooms! God is good!!! (Later on they told me that they heard me scream, but just went back to sleep. Penny blamed it on a spider and that I was scared of the spider.)

John called the midwife at 4:00am. She was staying with her sister about 15-20 minutes away and was on the way, she told John to call her if anything changed. The contractions got more intense, but I didn’t want to get out of the tub, I also didn’t want the sound of the water to stop. The sound of the water was super soothing, so John unplugged the drain and we just let it run. I’m pretty sure that I started labor and went straight into the transition phase; I was almost immediately nauseous and shaking after the first few contractions. I started to feel like I needed to push and moved to my hands and knees.

John gave the phone to my sister so he could support me. He was pouring water on my back and neck as I was bent over. My sister called the midwife again at 4:14am and the urge to push was overwhelming, so I listened to my body. I pushed once and my water broke. The pain became super intense and I remember telling John the infamous line, “I can’t do this!!” We had talked beforehand about word affirmations, so he encouraged me by speaking, “No, Chula, you can!  You were made to do this!  This is our child!  Breathe!” My sister ran to our room to get our birth kit.

Those words of encouragement from John were just what I needed, I sat up on my knees, grabbed John’s hand, the soap holder, and pushed hard. I let out a roar and his head came out. John put his hand down to feel for the head and told me to sit up higher so that the head wouldn’t hit the bottom of the tub, so I put one leg up and was kneeling. I remembered the worksheet we had been given said that if in the water, to deliver the head in one push and deliver the shoulders in the next. So with the next contraction I pushed with all my might and Moses was born at 4:18am. We have this clocked because my sister called the midwife again when he emerged. Moses did have the cord around his neck once so John took it off and handed him to me. He got the bulb syringe from the birth kit and suctioned his nose and mouth. I just held him with towels until the midwife got there about 5 minutes later.

We had planned for a home birth and for John to catch the baby, but with the midwife’s guidance! We also planned to let the cord stop pulsating before cutting, so that worked out well too.  It stopped pulsating about 20 minutes after birth. John cut the cord and I started cramping again, so I delivered the placenta soon afterwards. This part all took place with the midwife there, thank goodness.

Everyone checked out fine; I had no tearing. The midwife cleaned everything up for us while everyone bonded together. At about 5:30am we called my mom who had my grandma staying with her. They were in shock and raced over. Moses latched on perfectly in the tub while we were waiting for the midwife and hasn’t had a problem nursing. He actually unlatches himself if he’s improperly latched and corrects it – such a smart boy. He weighed in at 7 lbs 4 oz and was 20 inches long. On Tuesday at our two day check he weighed 7lbs; it’s typical for newborns to lose up to ten percent of their body weight in the first week after birth. Today at his first pediatric visit he weighed 7 lbs 5 oz. So he’s back to birth weight plus an ounce; an excellent eater! He is  a very calm and content baby.

Penelope was the first one up that morning meeting her brother and has been absolutely in love with him since. Every time she sees him she needs to love on him and always says, “Awe, he’s just so cute!” Livi was next and wasn’t sure what to think at first; the looks on her face were quite hilarious, but she has warmed up to him quickly and loves him so much. She often says, “That’s mine,” while pointing at the baby and always asks, “Where baybee?” when entering the room, and then gives TONS of kisses. Oscar is soooooo happy to finally have a brother. He is so good and helpful and he loves to hold Moses. I can tell they are gonna have lots of fun together. John the Superdad took two weeks off from work to take care of us. We are so incredibly blessed and are in amazement of God’s handy work once again.

Side Note: I/We have been researching birth and breastfeeding to one degree or another since I had Oscar. I had a not-so-great experience with his birth in a Naval Hospital and knew that couldn’t be how it was suppose to go. I researched ahead of time the “automatic” Pitocin shot that they give women in the hospital after birth. I have always had HORRIBLE after pains, needing to take Tylenol-3 to control them, even with my first. After researching it was pretty clear, Pitocin was the culprit of the intensity of the pain.

Yes, I know after pains are very painful, but these were curled up in a ball, horrible pains previously. So the midwife and I discussed before to skip the Pitocin shot as long as I wasn’t excessively bleeding and everything looked normal. Thankfully it did and I’ve been able to control the pain with Motrin and Tylenol. Today is day four and I’m hardly having any cramping at all. I was taking Tylenol-3 for a good week with my other pregnancies.

There is so much more information out there about the unnecessary things that happen in hospitals to mother and baby. It’s really sad actually. The experience is so blissful and it is being stolen from women in this country every day. Trust your bodies, ladies! I highly recommend the book, “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” and some good documentaries to see are, “The Business of Being Born” and “Pregnant in America”. If you have Netflix, you can watch both of these on instant streaming. These are starting points that will have you in amazement!

via Accidental UC {Unassisted Childbirth} of Moses | Birth Without Fear.

Eating dates can shorten your labor according to a study

The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery.

Al-Kuran O, Al-Mehaisen L, Bawadi H, Beitawi S, Amarin Z.


Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.


We set out to investigate the effect of date fruit (Phoenix dactylifera) consumption on labour parameters and delivery outcomes. Between 1 February 2007 and 31 January 2008 at Jordan University of Science and Technology, a prospective study was carried out on 69 women who consumed six date fruits per day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated date of delivery, compared with 45 women who consumed none. There was no significant difference in gestational age, age and parity between the two groups. The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005), and a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007). Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024). Use of prostin/oxytocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036). The mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044). It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.

via The effect of late pregnancy consumption o… [J Obstet Gynaecol. 2011] – PubMed – NCBI.

42 Weeks Homebirth {Hypnobabies} | Birth Without Fear

42 Weeks Homebirth {Hypnobabies}

by Mama Queenly on November 15, 2012

I was 42 weeks 1 day pregnant with my second daughter on the morning of August 30th, 2012, when I began to have gentle surges. My husband went to work and my 2-year-old daughter and I went to a play date. My friends enjoyed watching me close my eyes, use my Hypnobabies tools and breathe through more surges; every 15 minutes or so. When I used the restroom and had some bloody show they were all VERY excited about that!

All afternoon the surges were getting a little more intense and a teeny bit closer together. I called my midwife’s office to give her the head’s up that things might be happening sometime soon. While my daughter napped, I did a few Hypnobabies track. At about 2:00pm, I finished the last track and the surges, while not intense or long, were very noticeable. I began feeling teary and sensitive and I wanted my husband with me.

After dinner that evening, through many tears and worries on my part, we decided that sending my daughter for her first overnight at my Mom’s house would be the best idea. Looking back, I realize that my overwhelming emotion was a sign that my labor was starting to progress!

Soon after they left, I lay down to do another Hypnobabies track and had several stronger surges that caught my attention, even while in hypnosis! At about 9:30pm my husband and I went to bed, knowing that this was indeed the night!

We were both able to snooze between surges until about 11:30 – when the party really got going. The rest of my labor was spent standing up and swaying/lunging from side to side, leaning forward on a rolled-up pregnancy pillow at the edge of the bed while my husband rubbing my shoulders and gave me Hypnobabies prompts, hanging on him and labor dancing, or doing what felt the best: sitting on the toilet. The birth ball was out of the question because of the pressure it pushed back onto her wee head and my pelvis.

At 1:00am my husband paged our midwife to update her, and unbeknownst to me, he also wisely started filling up the birth pool. My midwife asked if I was still pretty verbal, which I was, and I told my husband to tell her that I didn’t want her to waste a trip or come too early because my last labor was 38 hours and I was still feeling pretty relaxed. She said to page again in an hour or when things picked up. At 2:00am I had a surge on the toilet and felt a familiar but new-to-this-birth sensation and shouted to my husband in the bedroom, “I’m feeling pushy!” He paged her to come straight away.

My midwife arrived at 2:30am. While she was taking my blood pressure, I told her that I wanted her to check me internally but was afraid to; worried that I’d, “Only be like, 4 centimeters dilated or something.” She said that if I wanted her to, she’d check me when I wasn’t feeling afraid anymore. Good answer, right?! She left the room and went downstairs to talk to the assistants but just then, I had another surge where I was holding back a push and screamed her name.

I heard her feet padding up the stairs and down the hall. She came in and said, “Honey, you sound like you’re gonna have a baby in your pants!” I told her to please check me, which she did, while I had a surge. When it ended, I asked her how far I had progressed. She smiled and said, “You didn’t hear me? Oh honey, the birth door is open! Let’s go downstairs and have a baby!” I threw my arms around her, thanking her and God that I was complete!

I made my way downstairs while having another surge and telling my husband that we never should have purchased a two-story house. I paused at the bottom and held the railing for a moment to have yet another surge and my water broke. I quickly stepped into the birth pool and was flooded with sweet, sweet warm relaxation. I immediately had another surge and pushed… I had a second and then third in the water and my midwife said she could see my daughter crowning. On the fourth surge, at 3:04am on August 31st, my midwife told me to lean back and sit on the seat in the pool as I pushed and to pull my daughter up and out of the water! I did! She came out easily and quietly and I brought her straight onto my chest. What an incredible feeling!

We relaxed in the warm water and began falling in love with one another (while she pooped on me!) for about 15 – 20 minutes while everyone took vitals, photos, recorded data, and made phone calls. After we cut the cord and I delivered my placenta, I walked to the couch and started nursing this sweet girl, whom I then named Madeline. She latched beautifully and stayed that way for the following hour and a half!

It was SUCH an incredible and easy birth experience… I had no idea it could be that way for me, especially after my first SUPER long marathon hospital birth which included 2 hours of pushing and a lot of “management” on my part to keep it moving. This just happened like it should; all on its own – and I just rode the roller coaster. I will treasure these memories of pure joy and empowerment for as long as I live. Birth is so amazing.

via 42 Weeks Homebirth {Hypnobabies} | Birth Without Fear.