prenatal care

Mamas on Bedrest: “From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest”

May 7th, 2014

Well Mamas,

We’ve done it! We have successfully produced our first book. From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest is our guide to navigating, surviving and having bed rest success! This e-book is full of medical and scientific information about bed rest, tips and advice from mamas who have been on bed rest and information for dads on how to survive their partner’s bed rest. I really think that we hit a home run with this one! The book will be available via iTunes on Starting Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014 for $9.99. Thanks so much to all the mamas and dads who shared so willingly and authentically to make this book happen!

ebook cover

 


Mamas On Bedrest: The Global Prenatal Initiative

March 21st, 2014

Global Prenatal Initiative

Greetings Mamas and “Happy Anniversary”!!

I am pleased to present to you the Global Prenatal Initiative (GPI). GPI is an initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) Commission of the World Organisation of Prenatal Education Associations (OMAEP), and is in partnership with the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations International Year of Families. The GPI is an awareness raising campaign. The mission of the Global Prenatal Initiative is:

  1. Raise awareness in all sectors of society of the long-term impact of the 9 months of pregnancy for individual and global peace, sustainable development and poverty eradication.
  2. Emphasize the impact of parenting, and especially the key role of the mother during pregnancy and birth, for the future of humanity.
  3. Advocate putting “prenatal education” at the heart of all education, health, social development and policy making.

Julie Ryan Gerland is the Chief United Nations Representative for the OMAEP and the co-founder of GPI. Julie’s work with the UN focuses on improving Maternal Health and Reducing Infant Mortality, sustainable development, the Commission on the Status of Women and all peace issues. She is a perinatal education pioneer, co-author, international lecturer and advocate in the field of very early parenting from pre-conception to the first year after birth. Julie founded the Holistic Parenting Program: Preconception to Birth & Beyond, a program for parents and professionals in Provence, France. Julie’s mission in life is to raise awareness of the necessity of “a calm and peaceful start.” Through her program, Julie educates men and women before they conceive on the importance of creating a calm and peaceful environment for the eagerly anticipated child. She people to heal their own wounds from their individual, family and cultural upbringing prior (optimally) to becoming a couple and most certainly before becoming parents. Her intent is to solidify the bond between man and woman and than between parents and child.  In her own words, 

“The Global Prenatal Initiative (GPI) is a wake-up call to the essential paradigm shift that makes global sustainable development realizable. The “9 Months to Save the World” begins at conception. The time spent in the womb is the foundation for long-term health, emotional security, intelligence, creativity and much more for every human being. It is vital that the link between these early stages of human development, their long-term impact and the current global challenges be known.” 

“If we want peace, for instance, babies must experience peace from the start then they grow up knowing peace, being peaceful and re-creating peaceful activities and environments which will in turn bring global peace. How can we expect someone who has always known violence from the moment of conception through the most vulnerable time of development, the nine-months in utero, followed by a violent birth and early infancy to act peacefully?”

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, an event created and celebrated by the United Nations. OMAEP and it’s global partners will be celebrating, discussing UN priority themes as well as bringing light on the vital role pregnancy and birth play in the long-term development of every human being. OMAEP and its member associations will assemble and diffuse the scientific and psychological knowledge on the importance and long term impact of the «primal period» from preconception to the post natal period, and the mother-father-child bond during this time.

I am fascinated by this work and these initiatives. It also makes me wonder, how is the US faring in the face of these initiatives? Our invasive medical techniques, high rates of induction and cesarean section, our high rates of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality (especially in black women) and our high stress, vary rapid lifestyle kind of make me go “ouch”.  Reading these initiatives and the work that is being done at the international level, I ask myself, “What do these workers think of bed rest?” How does bed rest even factor into the Global Prenatal initiative? And most certainly I wonder, “If there were programs such as the Holistic Parenting Program in the US (and there may be and I’m just not aware of them!), would there even be a need for bed rest?”

I am just learning about GPI but I believe that its work is coming at a critical juncture in the “revolution” that is perinatal health and work. The anniversary celebration will be going on all year all over the world, so I’ll do my best to keep you up on the latest.

What’s going on in prenatal health in your neck of the woods? We have mamas in our community from all over the world, so we’d love to hear what’s up. Share your happenings in the comments section below! Have a question or comment on GPI? Feel free to e-mail us at info@mamasonbedrest.com.

Mamas On Bedrest: How Did You Decide With Whom and Where to Deliver?

March 14th, 2014

Greetings Mamas,

I was just surfing around and came across a most disturbing webpage. Under the guise of wanting to “protect babies” this webpage’s content focused soley on disparaging midwives, lay midwives and Certified Professional Midwives in particular.

Now I am going to out myself right here and now and say that I have immense respect for midwives and the work that they do. I know both Certified Nurse Midwives-midwives who studied and trained at major universities here in the United States, as well as Midwives who were trained in other countries and chose to simply sit for the midwife exam rather than repeat their entire education (and pay the hefty educational costs) here in the US. I also know a few “lay midwives”, women who had such a passion for midwifery and childbearing that they have spent countless hours appreticining beside a midwife. All of these women are extremely dedicated to their clients and provide excellent care. Like all professionals, I do believe that they have all had some “untoward events”, i.e. births that have gone poorly. And like all professions, I believe that there are some really good midwives and some that aren’t so good.

The same can be said of physicians. We all know really excellent physicians and we also know physicians we wouldn’t let care for the neighborhood Alley cat! We must all remember that in every medical school, there are those students who graduate at the top of their class and those students who are amongst the bottom tier. Yet, We cannot (well, we should not) judge an entire profession based on the performance and habits of a few.

I was really disheartened to see this webpage really bashing midwives. There were a lot of sensational articles and posts, but little to no data to back up the claims. The moderator made very disparaging comments stating that laymidwives and Certified Professional Midwives had little more than highschool diplomas. It was shocking because most of the midwives that I know have sat for and passed national certifying examinations. I am all for having an opinion for or against something, but if you are going to make claims-and especially if those claims are disparaging or potentially impactful to those who may not be aware of all the facts-you must be able to back up what you are saying with hard evidence.

So that being said, Mamas on Bedrest, how did you decide with whom to deliver and where? If you are wondering how to figure this out, I’ll share with you how I made my decision.

1. Determine what type of practice and birth you want. I knew I wanted a midwife. I love the midwife model of care and I love that woman to woman interaction. I chose a practice that was all women. This is not to say that a practice that has men can’t be good or can’t be sympathetic. In my current area, the practices that are predominantly male were not as open to the less invasive, expectantly wait “midwifery”  model. But I do want to say, before I got married I had a wonderful OB/GYN that was a man, and only switched because I moved out of state.

2. Interview the practices. Now I have had many people gawk when I say this. But let’s be real. You interview contractors before you have work done on your house. You interview daycare providers before leaving your children. Heck, I interviewed vets before I ever took my beloved cats even near the door! Don’t you deserve at least as much? And when I say interview practices, I mean OB/GYN practices as well as Midwife practices. Your personalities have to mesh! Ask about call schedules, ask about meeting the other providers, ask about classes and how questions are answered and how soon phone calls are returned and how lab results are delivered. Make sure that you are able to have the level of communication and attention that suits you! Every practice is different and you must feel comfortable, heard and free to ask questions and get a reasonable response. If you feel put off, if things are more automated than you like, If you just don’t feel comfortable, try another practice.

3. Know your As/gynecologic history. I had a history of uterine fibroids and was over 35 conceiving, so I knew that I was at increased risk of having complications. While I wanted the back up of obstetricians, I also wanted a practice that would be as minimally invasive as possible. Be reasonable. If you have a history that is complicated, you may not be a candidate for a midwife. Don’t be mad and don’t berate her skills. If she tells you that she isn’t comfortable handling your case, you should thank her. She is putting your health and well-being first! Likewise, if you have a complicated history like I did and a midwife tells you, “No problem, you can totally deliver out of hospital!” Be wary. She may be operating beyond her scope of practice and potentially putting you and your baby at risk.

4. I wanted as much midwife interaction as possible. Almost immediately, my first pregnancy went high risk and my hopes of a midwife delivery went out the window. However, my OB worked closely with a midwife and so I was able to see the midwife for many of my OB visits. Additionally, after I gave birth to my daughter, I was able to have my follow up visits with the midwives. Go for what you want as much as possible. I was not a candidate for a midwife attended birth in a birthing center birth, but I was able to have a lot of education and interaction with midwives. For me, I got the best of both worlds.

5. Speak to friends, Get references. One of the best indicators of a practice is references and testimonials. There are a lot of websites where patients rate their experiences with doctors or doctor’s offices. This is a good place to start. Likewise, Midwives are also rated and referenced. But far and away the best information comes from other mamas. Try to connect with other mamas in your community to see what their experiences were like. Remember, every pregnancy and every birth will be different, and not all personalities mesh. But if you have a practice that everyone loves, you can be pretty sure that it’s a good practice. Likewise, if there is a provider that consistently gets poor reviews-be it OB or midwife-you may want to steer clear (or at the very least, do a thorough evaluation to see if this is the provider for you!). Also, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM),  and Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) all have ways to find out about those in their profession, evaluate their performances, etc…

It all comes down to being a savvy consumer. Don’t be swayed by positive or negative advertising. Do your homework and get enough information so that you are making a wise and informed decision about who will provide health care to you.

And this is important even if you are in a small town or have limited options. I frequently get e-mail from mamas saying, “I can only go to this one practice because its the only one covered by my insurance.” Or “I have to go to this practice because its the only one in my town that serves high risk pregnancies.” No matter. You still need to do your homework. Get to know the providers and the staff. Get to know how the office works and who you need to contact if you need information. Establish as much open communication as possible so that you can voice your concerns and make your preferences heard.

Mamas, how did you choose with whom and where you will deliver your baby? Please share your experiences and any tips for other mamas in the comments section below.