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Birth Rights

Top 5 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Doctor to Deliver Your Baby

There are many questions to encourage dialogue between you and your doctor, especially when you are still interviewing a medical care provider. Here are my TOP 5 suggested questions that will give you a good idea as to the doctor’s philosophy about caring for you and supporting your Birth Preferences.  Ask these questions in a respectful and non-confrontational manner to illicit a healthy dialogue with the doctor. It is a good idea to interview at least 2 or 3 providers. Listen to your Intuition and watch the doctor’s body language. And if during the course of your pregnancy you are getting the feeling your doctor may not be on the same page as you regarding your Birth Preferences, it may not be too late to change providers. It may not be too late to ‘break up with your doctor!’ Please check with your insurance company regarding switching doctors because some insurance companies may have time-deadline restrictions.

 What are your protocols regarding my Due date and post-dates,  i.e. if baby and I are healthy, how long can I go past my due date? 40 weeks? 42 weeks?
If I were interested in having a natural, un-medicated birth, how would you support me? I would prefer freedom of movement and choice of birth position, i.e. push and give birth in side-lying, all fours or squatting positions?
What would you recommend I do if my water breaks before contractions have begun? Assuming I am GBS negative and not running a fever, how long after my water breaks would you recommend before induction/augmentation of labor if it doesn’t start on its own?
How do you feel about a labor support professional such as a doula or massage therapist joining my birth team.
Do […]

By |March 17th, 2015|Birth Rights, Doulas, Labor Tools|Comments Off on Top 5 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Doctor to Deliver Your Baby

Successful VBAC Birth Story After Three Days of Labor!

This is the year for VBACs in my doula practice. I love supporting VBAC mamas; they have this special zing and purpose about them. I suppose hindsight is 20/20 and so these women approach birthing, the second time, being more informed and prepared.

In 2010, The American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologist (ACOG) issued Practice Bulletin No. 115, replacing Bulletin No. 45 which  included the infamous requirement of doctors to be “immediately available” which resulted in a fire of VBAC bans to rage around the country, but primarily in rural areas. ACOG’s current position  is supportive of VBACs stating that VBAC is a “safe and appropriate choice for most women” with one prior cesarean and for “some women” with two prior cesareans.  Being pregnant with twins, going over 40 weeks, having an unknown or low vertical scar, or suspecting a “big baby” should not prevent a woman from planning a VBAC (ACOG, 2010). That is great news across the country and I anticipate the Cesarean rate to low overall.

The risk of uterine rupture with one prior low-transverse uterine scar is low, 0.5% to 0.9% so for those considering a VBAC, read Katie’s inspiring birth story and the steps she took to ensure VBAC success!

Katie’s VBAC Story – Birth of Rowan
The Previous Cesarean
From my 20-week ultrasound on, I knew that I would be having a scheduled Cesarean Section with our first baby girl, Daphne. Due to a defect in her abdominal wall that would require surgery, the doctors recommended that a Cesarean was the safest way for her to be born. I was heartbroken, fearing that it would pave the way for my subsequent births.
Daphne’s birth was an emotional experience because there were so many unknowns […]

6 Things to Do if You Have an Unplanned Home Birth

We’ve all heard stories about the baby born in the car, on the way to the hospital or born unassisted (unintentionally) at home.  We call it precipitous labor (a labor length of under three hours). While the intention of these couples  was to give birth in a hospital facility or planned home birth, the fact of the matter is that birth happens! I once heard Ina May Gaskin say at a birth conference, “Birth was made to work in case nobody is there.”

Although precipitous labors occur more frequently with subsequent births, the overall percentage of this happening to you is very LOW so no need to rush to the hospital at the sign of your first contraction.  Here are a few statistics I found from the CDC 2004 report. The overall percentage of labors, which were deemed Precipitous:

<3 hr: 2% overall

  .7% chance for first-time moms (primips)  to

  5% chance for 8th-time moms (multips)

In discussing this topic with my midwife friends, Ashley Guntkowsi, CNM and licensed midwife Amy Tinney here are the top six things to do in the rare case that a fast birth should happen to you.  I call it the 6 C’s:

1)  Calm yourself, breathe and stay put.  Don’t freak out, no need to ‘boil the water’.  Stay calm and take a few deep breaths.  Remind yourself your body was made to give birth.

2)  Call 9-1-1 for emergency paramedics or call your midwife if you had planned on a home birth. I personally do not recommend getting into the car to drive to the hospital under these circumstances.  It is wiser to stay put and let the professionals come to you rather than risk giving birth in transit.

3)  Catch the baby.  Lower […]

Top 10 Most Important Things to Pack in Your Labor Bag

If you are pregnant and wondering what to bring to the hospital or Birth Center for your upcoming labor & delivery, chances are you have already come across those long lists of what to pack. Sure, the essentials are obvious such as your toiletries, change of clothes, a coming home outfit for the baby…your husband and Birth Partner, duh of course! But, what about a SHORT list of the absolutely most essential things to bring with you that will make a big difference?  I give you a short list of the top 10 most important things to pack in your hospital bag but often get overlooked, so if you are within 4 weeks of your due start packing your bag now.

 Birth Preferences List (Birth Plan) – This is your communications tool about what you prefer for your birth.  Your Birth Plan should be no more than 2 pages long, easy to read, and also include your preferences for baby care (i.e. do you want certain injections, eye ointment?).  Bring three copies with you, which ideally have been signed and agreed by your doctor.  A sample Birth Plan is provided in Posh Push.
 Birth Ball (to aid with labor support) – These are very large rubber balls used for exercise and Pilates. Recommended size for labor is 65 cm.  You want your hips to be above the level of your knees when you sit on it.  You can find an exercise ball at any Sporting Goods store or shop like Target. Please don’t go in asking for a “birth ball” because they will look at you cross-eyed.  Bring this ball with you to the hospital already pumped up and ready to go.
Wear Your Own Labor Gown – […]

By |April 9th, 2013|Birth Rights, General Topics, Labor Tools|Comments Off on Top 10 Most Important Things to Pack in Your Labor Bag

Cord Blood Banking: Are We Steeling Babies Blood?

I recently read an awesome article by one of my favorite childbirth blogs called Midwife Thinking’s Blog.  The topic was called “Cord Blood Collection: Confessions of a Vampire-Midwife,” posted February 10, 2011.

It was well-timed since I just received an email from a Representative of Pacificord- Cord Blood Collection.   Funny how they got my name and email? What was most interesting is his offer to give me (as a Doula) a $50 referral fee for every client I sent to them and booked an account.  Wow!  Now, I know this type of thing happens at doctors’ offices but this is the first time, as a doula, I have been approached and been offered CASH for referrals.

I am aware of doctors and hospitals receiving incentives for selling/recommending drugs or childbirth interventions but have never heard of doulas being approached. What happened to the doulas helping to be the Guardians of gentle birthing for moms and babies?  I have to admit, for a quick second I thought, “Hmmm, who do I know that I can refer?”  Then I quickly snapped myself back!  But with such a generous referral incentive you can see how tempting it could be to pass along the Pacificord brochures.

Read The Midwife Thinking’s blog to learn more about the process of cord banking and the affect on baby.  When you learn how much of the baby’s own blood volume is taken (about 1/3)  it makes one really think hard about this topic of cord banking.  The midwife further states, “I am not saying cord blood banking shouldn’t be an available option. All I am suggesting is that parents need adequate information before they make a decision to withdraw a significant amount of their baby’s blood volume. They need to be able […]

Posh Push: Modern Girls Reveal Secrets for a More Natural Birth

Must-read Guide That Reveals How Labor Can Be Faster, Easier and Even Luxurious
LOS ANGELES, Calif., October 05, 2012 – Women everywhere have questions about childbirth.  “Am I prepared to have an enjoyable, comfortable childbirth?   Could I have a natural birth experience without drugs?” Now these women can find all the answers, secrets and more in the new book, Posh Push: Modern Women Reveal Secrets for a More Natural Birth, now available on Amazon:

This fabulous new book offers support and helps build confidence in modern women who strive to have a more natural childbirth. The book is packed full of insider tips, gems of wisdom, and stories from modern mothers and birth experts to help women achieve a more natural labor, with ease and comfort.  Posh Push celebrates a more natural childbirth as beautiful, attainable and for every woman that wants it.  This essential guide will prepare women in mind and body to optimize their pregnancy and birth environment.

Natural childbirth is an increasingly popular trend.  We see many celebrities choosing to have natural childbirths and sharing their stories in the media.  Now, chic, modern moms everywhere like Alison, Johanna and Tiffany, featured in Posh Push, are sharing their revealing birth stories in rich detail and answering “Why would anyone want a natural childbirth?”

Written in a fun, informative format, the authors ask, “Where are all the worldly stiletto wearing women who want to birth their babies naturally?” Co-authors, Patricia Grube and Sara Smildzins found them and the stories these women share exclusively in Posh Push will have pregnant women everywhere saying, “I want that too!”  For women that are […]

By |October 7th, 2012|Birth Rights, Doulas, General Topics, Homebirth/Midwives, Labor Tools, Yoga|Comments Off on Posh Push: Modern Girls Reveal Secrets for a More Natural Birth

The Big Baby BS – Fetal Macrosomia

It breaks my heart and also frustrates me to hear women time and time again share with me the fear that has been implanted in their minds by their doctors concerning the size of their babies. Knowledge is power. Let’s have a discussion today about “the Big Baby Bullshit.” I put this term in quotes because I did not coin this term but ran across some website a few years ago dedicated to this topic.

First, allow me a moment to celebrate a few September births from my yoga class:

Amy ‘s story: “Hi Patricia! I’m the short blonde girl who usually sat in the back corner. I was scheduled for a planned c-section because the doctor said I would have a huge baby.  But, I went into labor on my own on Friday August 31st (water broke at 12:50am), I dilated all the way to 10 cm by Saturday night at 9pm but he wasn’t coming so they wheeled me in for c-section at 1:30am.  On Sunday morning, September 2nd, Baby boy, Everett James, was born at 2am and weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz.  Doctors were way off thinking I was going to have a 10 lb baby!”

Another Yoga Mama who declined her doctor’s recommendation for induction/Cesarean for suspected big baby:

Liza’s story: “Hi Patricia! This is Liza from Yoga class. I’m the girl with glasses that sits all over the place and brings non-pregnant family members to learn yoga moves with us. My daughter Lillian Marie was born on Thurs, Sept 27 after twelve hours of non-medicated labor – four at home, eight at the hospital. I used multiple music playlists, lots of dancing and moving, a yoga block, and partner stretches to get me […]

By |October 2nd, 2012|Birth Rights, General Topics|Comments Off on The Big Baby BS – Fetal Macrosomia

VBAC Ban Lifted at Torrance Memorial Hospital!

I am pleased to announce that effective March 1, 2011, the VBAC ban at Torrance Memorial Hospital has been lifted!  The news was reported in the Sunday, Mother’s Day edition of the Daily Breeze dated May 8, 2011.

This is significant news for women in the South Bay who have had to leave the neighborhood and find a doctor and hospital out of the local area in order to birth vaginally after a Cesarean (VBAC). As a doula, I can’t tell you how wonderful this change is because it means that we don’t have to get on the 405 freeway in the throws of labor just to get to a hospital who would support

I am so very happy about this new Hospitalist model at Torrance Hospital and I am waiting with abated breath for
Little Company of Mary to follow suit too!

What a Happy Mother’s Day it was indeed!  Thank you, Daily Breeze, for posting this story.

By |May 19th, 2011|Birth Rights, General Topics|Comments Off on VBAC Ban Lifted at Torrance Memorial Hospital!

Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training at Golden Bridge 2011!

I am excited to announce that the 2011 prenatal yoga teacher training is currently being held from January 29, 2011 through February 5, 20011, at Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles.

If you are interesting in teaching pregnancy yoga this is a training not to be missed!  Gurmukh runs the training just once per year in the Los Angeles studio and then again in New York so mark your calendars to sign up for 2012.  Even if you are already certified to teach pregnancy yoga, I guarantee you that what you learn from The Khalsa Way teacher training will be unique, filled with spirit and enlightenment, and it will change the way you teach pregnant women.

I took this training in 2005.  At that time Gurmukh still taught part of the sessions in her home.  I think we were the last graduating class who will have that same privilege.  Imagine, a group of at least 50 students cooking in Gurmukh’s kitchen, sitting on big pillows eating on the floor, and doing meditations in the gardens.  I can still remember the “Maa” meditation we did in her living room.  We cupped one hand partially over one hear whilst chanting the mantra “Maa…Maa…Maa.”  I tell you, the vibration of our voices was so strong that the wind chimes outside her window were clinking!  It brought me to tears.

Today I combine what I have learned through my years of Hatha yoga along with the Kundalini yoga lineage of teaching pregnancy yoga.  And I have to say that it is in those Kundalini yoga sessions where I leave my classes so high on Spirit and my heart expanded three-fold.  The students also experience an “awakening” and it is not uncommon […]

By |January 29th, 2011|Birth Rights, General Topics, Yoga|Comments Off on Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training at Golden Bridge 2011!

Implementing New Birth Law to Affect Change

I found a very interesting paper published on November 7, 2010 on The Unnecesarean Blog concerning a new law that was enacted in Peru.  The Organic Law on the Right of Women to Be Free from Violence was instituted in Venezuela on March 16, 2007.   In this article there is introduction of the legal term “Obstetric Violence” which is defined as:
“…dehumanized treatment, an abuse of medication, and to convert the natural processes into pathological ones, bringing with it loss of autonomy and the ability to decide freely about their bodies and sexuality, negatively impacting the quality of life of women.”
It sounds amazing, doesn’t it?  But upon reading further into the article more I discovered that deliveries are all handled by physicians and that the option of midwifery does not exist.  Perhaps this medical model in and of itself is what is lending itself to “obstetric violence”?  Venezuela’s solution, although an admirable gesture, is to slap a fine of  two hundred and fifty units (250 TU) to five hundred tax units (500 TU) .  And like most legal proceedings, a doctor would be innocent until proven guilty, now placing the new mom into the position of having to prove and defend her allegations.  I don’t know too many new moms that would bother to pursue action against their doctor unless the action was severe and physically damaging.  Okay, so now I am putting on my paralegal hat.   Does Venezuela have levels of fines for obstetrical violence? Would the fee be more for more severe cases?   One could see how the main point of treating women with respect during the time or parturition can easily be buried into a  legal spider web and ultimately […]

By |November 11th, 2010|Birth Rights|Comments Off on Implementing New Birth Law to Affect Change