26 September 2009

maternal mortality

One mother dies every minute of every day in relation to childbirth - and it doesn't have to be this way. Check out the great piece in Huffington Post with a few stunning statistics like these"

Each year, more than a half million women lose their lives from complications arising before, during, or after childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occur in the developing world, and almost all of them are preventable.


The child of a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5, and when girls finish quality secondary and higher education, 84% of them will give birth with skilled medical help, more than twice the rate of mothers with no formal education.

CIMS (kickass) response to The Today Show

Sept. 22, 2009

Dear Producers of The Today Show,

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) and the undersigned
organizations are disappointed with The Today Show's misrepresentation of
midwives and home birth that aired on Sept. 11, in a segment titled "The
Perils of Midwifery," later changed to "The Perils of Home Birth." This
biased and sensational segment inaccurately implied that hospitals are the
safest place to give birth even for low-risk women and mischaracterized
women who choose a home birth with a midwife as "hedonistic," going so far
as to suggest that these women are putting their birth experiences above the
safety of their babies. Neither could be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, The Today Show did not do its homework on the evidence
regarding the safety of home birth and midwifery care. The segment featured
an obstetrician who presented only the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists' (ACOG) position in opposition to home birth, but it did not
make any attempt to present the different viewpoints held by the many
organizations that are committed to improving the quality of maternity care
in the US. We are deeply saddened that the show did not take the opportunity
to note that both CIMS and The National Perinatal Association respect the
rights of women to choose home births and midwifery care, and that the
respected Cochrane Collaboration recommends midwifery care because it
results in excellent outcomes.

There is no evidence to support the ACOG position that hospital birth for
low-risk women is safer than giving birth with midwives at home. What the
research does show is that the routine use of medical interventions in
childbirth without medical necessity can cause more harm than good, while
also inflating the cost of childbirth. However, the current health system
design offers little incentive for physicians and hospitals to improve
access to maternity care practices that have been proven to maximize
maternal and infant health.

"Birth is safest when midwives and doctors work together respectfully,
communicate well, and when a transfer from home to hospital is needed, it is
appropriately handled," says Ruth Wilf, CNM, PhD, a member of the CIMS
Leadership Team.

That is why the national health services of countries such as Britain,
Ireland, Canada, and the Netherlands support home birth. In those countries,
midwives are respected and integrated into the maternity care system. They
work collaboratively with physicians in or out of the hospital, and they are
not the target of modern day witch hunts. These countries have better
outcomes for mothers and babies than the US.

Childbirth is the leading reason for admission to US hospitals, and
hospitalization is the most costly health care component. Combined hospital
charges for birthing women and newborns ($75,187,000,000 in 2004) far exceed
charges for any other condition. In 2004, fully 27% of hospital charges to
Medicaid and 16% of charges to private insurance were for birthing women and
newborns, the most expensive conditions for both payers. The burden on
public budgets, taxpayers and employers is considerable.

As US birth outcomes continue to worsen, it should come as no surprise to
The Today Show that childbearing women are seeking alternatives to standard
maternity care. After all, American women and babies are paying the highest
price of all-their health-for these unnecessary interventions, which include
increasing rates of elective inductions of labor and cesarean sections
without medical indication.

To the detriment of childbearing families, the segment "The Perils of
Midwifery" totally disregarded the evidence. Although the reporters
acknowledged that research shows home birth for low-risk women is safe, that
message was overshadowed by many negative messages, leaving viewers with a
biased perception of midwifery care and home birth. CIMS makes these points
not to promote the interests of any particular profession, but rather to
raise a strong voice in support of maternity care practices that promote the
health and well-being of mothers and babies.

One of the ten Institute of Medicine recommendations for improving health
care is to provide consumers with evidence-based information in order to
help them make informed decisions. The Institute recommends that decisions
be made by consumers, not solely by health care providers. The Institute
maintains that transparency and true choice are essential to improving
health care. We remain hopeful that the medical community will soon
recognize the rights of childbearing women when it comes to their choices in
childbirth and will respect and support these choices in the interest of the
best possible continuity and coordination of care for all.

We urge The Today Show to provide childbearing women with fair and accurate
coverage of this important issue by giving equal time to midwives, public
health professionals, researchers of evidence- based maternity care, and
especially to parents who have made choices about different models of care
and places of birth.

Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
Academy of Certified Birth Educators
Alaska Birth Network
Alaska Family Health and Birth Center
American Association of Birth Centers
American College of Community Midwives
American College of Nurse-Midwives
Bay Area Birth Information
Birth Network of Santa Cruz County
Birth Works International
Birthing From Within, LLC
BirthNetwork National
BirthNetwork of Idaho Falls
BirthNetwork of NW Arkansas
Choices in Childbirth
Citizens for Midwifery
DONA International
Doulas Association of Southern California
Evansville BirthNetwork
Harmony Birth & Family
Idaho Midwifery Council
Idahoans for Midwives
InJoy Birth and Parenting Education
International Childbirth Education Association
International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization
Lamaze International
Madison Birth Center
Midwives Alliance of North America
Motherbaby International Film Festival
Nashville BirthNetwork
National Association of Certified Professional Midwives
North American Registry of Midwives
Oklahoma BirthNetwork
Perinatal Education Associates, Inc.
Reading Birth & Women's Center
Rochester Area Birth Network
Sage Femme
The Big Push for Midwives Campaign
The Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation
Triangle Birth Network
Truckee Meadows BirthNetwork

About Us
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of
individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and
wellbeing of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote a
wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and
substantially reduce costs. The CIMS Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative
is an evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family- friendly model of care
which focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost
screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.

1. The Perils of Home Births,
2. Birth Can Safely Take Place at Home and in Birthing Centers,
3. Offers All Birthing Mothers Unrestricted Access to Birth Companions,
Labor Support, Professional Midwifery Care,
4. ACOG Place of Birth Policies Limit Women's Choices Without Justification
and Contrary to the Evidence,
5. Ratifiers and Endorsers of The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative,
6. Choice of Birth Setting,
7. Position Statement on Midwifery,
8. Midwife-led versus other models of care for childbearing women,
9. Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is And What It Can Achieve,
10. Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices,
11. Millennium Development Goals Indicators, United Nations,
12. National Vital Statistics System, Birth Data,
13. Induction By Request,
14. Cesarean Birth By Request,
15. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century,
16. The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative,

Coalition for Improving Maternity Services
1500 Sunday Drive, Suite 102
Raleigh, NC 27607

Tel: 919-863-9482
Fax: 919-787-4916


25 September 2009

Hey NBC!

Let NBC know that the viewing public deserves accurate information on birthing options...sign the petition by Choices In Childbirth

(check out background on what all the fuss is about & watch the video here)

24 September 2009

my baby with his baby

August, 2009. He used to carry a frog around in the sling. He didn't want to send this picture into school when a picture was needed...sigh
The camo shirt is a bit ironic, I suppose!

ladies & babies

23 September 2009

another snippet of motherhood

A breakfast conversation:

8yo son: "Mom, can we start going to church? I like those God crackers I tasted that one time"

Me: "Well, they are called Communion Wafers and not all churches have them. Is that the only reason you want to go to church? Because we can go, but not just for crackers."

Son: "Hmm...I don't know - I'm just curious. Of course, we would need different clothes..."

19 September 2009

snippet of motherhood

Today my five year old said, "Mom, pretend I control you"...pretend?

16 September 2009

Welcome baby Ruby!

Good things come to those who wait - and wait we did!
Born this afternoon, at almost 42 weeks, 7 lbs 12 oz and a beautiful girly girl!

Ruby - thank you for choosing today and allowing me to be at your birth!

Your momma's hard work and preparation paid off - she was so incredibly relaxed and worked so hard but made it look easy as she sang you into the world. Both your folks were filled with fun and laughter...what a gift to be born into so much joy! Even your doggy sister seemed excited today and I know she, too, will give you many kisses.

Enjoy this big, amazing world Ruby!

PS: This evening I happened to see the other Ruby I know...I was at her birth too and now she's in first grade (!) - she thought it was neat that you were born today!

15 September 2009

Welcome baby Lachlan!

Wow - so you decided to be a Jersey boy instead of an NYC kid...no rush hour trip to the city for your momma in transition after a short labor!

7 pounds and 19 inches of cute! What a blessing to have your grandma there with your awesome parents, who were both so upbeat while waiting for you. Your strong momma actually sang beautifully through her contractions while your daddy and I danced with her, sometimes all three (well, make that four, including you) of us together. And she had a peaceful smile on her face in between contractions, all while conversing in German with one of the doctors!...such a touching and inspiring thing to see.

Enjoy this big world, Lachlan...and have fun climbing all the trees in the orchard your folks have planted for you!

14 September 2009

Have you hugged...

your massage therapist today? I have!
Today, as a post-triathlon (more on that later) treat, I booked a massage with my friend Sue Rexford. Sue did the tri also - in fact, she was the one who suggested I do it (as well as a boatload of other women), so it seemed appropriate to spend part of today with her.

I have seen her for massage a few times along the way during training and I really think it helped me avoid injuries and I know she helped me run the 10k in June. Not sure, but I think she has some special training in sports massage, as well as prenatal/postpartum and good old everyone.

Today I went to her brand new space and had the most sublime time. The new digs are sunny, calm & relaxing (no worries - the scented eye pillow made it instantly dark). Sue just knows where things hurt and finds the spots I didn't even know were bothering me. My pregnant & postpartum clients have also had this experience with her - a wonderful intuition about the body entrusted into her amazing hands.

So if you're local & this entry has sparked an interest in looking Sue up, you can get in touch with her at her new studio,
Bodhi Tree
75 South Orange Avenue
suite 211
South Orange, NJ

12 September 2009

Presumption or positive thinking?

I just learned that next year's Danskin Triathlon is one year from today & we can sign up before the race. Will I want to do this again in 364 days?
What if you had to commit to having a next kid at the start of labor with the current one?? Wacky.

11 September 2009

born again: September 11th

I just learned that a friend of mine decided to start her family eight years ago today; she now has three beautiful kids. I know another who found out on that same date that she was expecting her first child; she also now has three.

Though I had two already and would go on to have a third, the new life that began gestating in me that day was the life I currently lead: being a doula.

I was an attorney and had a pretty cushy job. Everyone said so. I was home-officed most of the time, worked with nice people, was good at what I did and was well compensated for it. And I was bored. Uninspired. And it made the rest of my life poorer as a result.

Although I did not have an epiphany on September 11, 2001, the feelings of needing to make life count, really count, did reawaken that day. Emboldened by my ability to pay off school loans as a result of my grandmother's passing on August 31 of that year, I was able (with my husband's full support) to leave law behind. Things clicked into place quickly and easily and by the end of that year I was on my path.

I am sorry for those lost, including co-workers and members of my community. Like many, I can easily be brought to tears remembering every detail of that beautiful, horrible day. And yet I am grateful for all the life that grew out of it.

10 September 2009

race ready

The triathlon is only three days away. I am ready. Physically & emotionally...not unlike being ready for labor...so let's get it on! That's my theme song - I just decided!

BUT...oh my goodness, these babies that have not been born yet, or might want to be born early...they are on my mind. Of course I have backup, but I want to be at these births. I know it's not about me and I just have to trust that it will happen as it's supposed to...

I was telling someone that I'd really just like to go into a sleep pod and wake up when it's time to leave. No responsibilities. No pile of school forms not yet sent back to the PTA etc. No laundry that needs to be put away. Just sleep, the ultimate "tapering" (not working out much for the days leading up to a race)...oh well.

Wish me luck - I'll report back!

Welcome babies!!

OK - bad slacker doula...I'm behind in announcing some adorable new world members!

Welcome baby Ishan...your amazing momma did most of her labor without realizing it, finding the right people to help and being super open but not in labor yet. But once things started it was fast & furious and you were ready...and what a strapping guy you are, born to a rock star momma! Enjoy, my baby friend!

Welcome baby Christopher. And what better way to spend Labor Day than at a labor! The doctor predicted 6am the next morning but I thought you would come quickly once we got going and Labor Day was your birthday after all! You are born to parents very committed to doing all it takes to do what they know is right for them and you and that's a great thing...your momma was amazing and your daddy was watching over you both every second. Enjoy this world, Christopher!