This video showing the birth of a baby elephant is all over Facebook, and I even posted it to the Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Page. Now I have been known to post all things mamas and babies on this page, so it probably was no surprise when this video appeared. However, I want to call your attention to some very specific details in this video that should be mandatory for any birthing female-of any species! I truly believe that if we practiced the habits exhibited by the elephants in this video, birth outcomes in humans (especially in the US) may very well improve!
1. Allow Mama to labor in whatever position is most comfortable for her. Throughout this video, the laboring mama elephant is moving about the elephant pen and doing what she can to find comfortable positions while her baby makes its way through her birth canal. This mama is not placed in the lithotomy (on her back, legs up in the air) position! And mama is not being given any medications to “speed up the labor” or to dull the pain. This mama elephant’s birth is following nature’s course and in due time, this mama elephant gives birth to a healthy baby elephant.
2. Mama should make whatever sounds she needs to make while laboring and delivering. This mama elephant cries out when she needs to and in a way that is natural to her. No one is telling her to “Get mad” and push her baby out! She is using sound and movements natural to her to manage her labor and delivery.
3. Mamas may snack while in labor. At one point during the video, another elephant offers the laboring mama a branch to snack on as she labors. This is in stark contrast to laboring women her in the US who are not given food and water but instead are hooked up to an IV fluid bag “In case a c-section is necessary”.
4. Mama took all the time she needed to labor. No one told mama elephant that her labor was taking too long, she wasn’t given pitocin and she wasn’t told she’d need a c-section if her labor went beyond a certain time. Mama Elephant simply kept roaming the pen and moving about until finally her body pushed her baby out “at the perfect time”.
5. Other female elephants were there at the birth. African Elephants are known to be very tribal and when a female is giving birth, the other females of the herd care for her and support her during her pregnancy, are present and assist as needed during labor and delivery and help the new mama raise her young one. African Elephants have a 22 month gestation and only get pregnant once every 5 years, so supporting the growth and development of the babies is critical to the survival of the herd. As seen in this video, when a mama elephant is laboring, the other females of the herd offer her food (tree branches), keep her cool (throw sand on her body), check the birth progress (sniff and lick her bottom) and help clean and care for the new baby when it was born.
In many cultures and species, birthing is considered to be “women’s work”. If we look throughout history, women traditionally attended births; be it the mom, aunties, cousins, or other women in the community. In this way, the wisdom of childbearing and childrearing was passed down. Modern day obstetrics severely hinders this passage of information from woman to woman and generation to generation. It has in many ways thwarted the knowledge many new mamas have at childbirth and the shared commitment to the mother and infant from families and communities. In Elephants, once the elephants mate, the male moves on to another herd while the newly pregnant mama elephant is now cared for and supported by the mamas, aunties, sisters and cousins in her herd. A pregnant elephant is never left on her own because her herd recognizes that the survival of the entire herd depends upon everyone being healthy and well. So mama is nurtured throughout her pregnancy, labor and delivery and once the baby is born, the entire herd raises the baby.
We could learn a lot from elephants and quite possibly improve our human birth outcomes!!
Mamas on Bedrest and Beyond introduces the Get Your Body Back After Bedrest Program. These 30, 60 or 90 day programs help mamas regain strength and muscle tone, lose the baby weight, boost their nutrition and increase overall wellness. Each program is customized to individual mamas and begins with a 5 Day detoxification and then slow, steady, transformation to a pre-pregnancy level of health and wellness (or better!) Former Mamas on Bedrest are able to participate in the programs when they are at least 6 weeks post partum and have been released from medical care from their obstetricians or midwives. Our first programs will kick off on Sunday, July 13th, and supplies need to be ordered by July 3rd for timely shipping. If you are ready to “Get Your Body Back!” send an e-mail to email@example.com today and we’ll get you started!
I am always so thrilled to get an e-mail that has a beautiful cherubic face of a newborn from a Mama on Bedrest. You mamas (and dads) rock! But with all that you have gone through with your pregnancy, labor and delivery, have you ever considered taking a little post partum vacation? They are called “BabyMoons”. But we all know that such a “pre-baby” vacation is impossible for Mamas on Bedrest. So I called representative for the California Association of Boutique Bed and Breakfast Inns and asked, “Well, do you offer similiar packages for new mamas and dads which will accommodate newborns? The answer, a resounding YES!
Now to be fair, the term “BabyMoon” actually refers to a vacation an expecting couple takes before the birth of their wee one. Coined by the California Association of Boutique Bed and Breakfast Inns, BabyMoons are designed to provide (one last) escape for expecting couples before the baby arrives. The destinations offer couples’ massages by prenatal-certified massage therapists (for mamas) and an array of “babymoon” package indulgences.
Mamas, these places are spectacular!!! Dotted along the California coast, they span from Sonoma all the way down to San Diego! The inns are the height of luxury and just what weary “Former” Mamas on Bedrest and The Dads who love them need after months on bed rest. Imagine beautiful accommodations overlooking the ocean. Firepits to sit by and watch the sunset. Massages by certified perinatal massage therapists to soothe and smoothe all those aches and pains from the weeks on bed rest. Sumptuous meals and a calming atmosphere are just what Mamas and Dads need-in addition to relaxing time to bond with their little one.
Participating properties are listed below with links to the sites with descriptions and pricing. I truly hope that some of you have the opportunity to relax in such luxury after all you have done to birth your little ones!
Timber Cove Inn (Baby Moon Retreat is the Second Special listed)
Mount View Hotel & Spa (Oh Baby! BabyMoon for 2 is the last special listed)
Old Monterey Inn (BabyMoon Getaway is fourth special down)
Does this type of post partum vacation appeal to you? share your thoughts in the comments section below. I wanted to know more about these getaways, so I have put in a request for an interview. We’ll podcast as soon as there is a response and acceptance!