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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Need Some Spark? Try a New Hymen!

From the "what in the world?!" files...

Women are having surgery to rejuvenate their love lives


When Jeanette Yarborough decided to give her husband a gift for their seventeenth wedding anniversary she wanted it to be special. Really special. She decided that conventional treats such as Mediterranean cruises, gold watches, cars, a murder-mystery weekend, or even a boob job just weren’t going to cut it. She gave him something much more personal — and painful. Her virginity.

Well, sort of. Mrs Yarborough paid $5,000 (£2,860) to a cosmetic surgeon to stitch her hymen back together so she could “lose her virginity” all over again and her husband would have that thrilling conquest at the grand age of 40.


Ok...so lemme get this straight...we now live in a world where people are so vain and have so much extra cash lying around that they'll devote three months of recovery time and a enough money to pay for a year's tutition at a public university to a few seconds of "fun" for their husbands?

Seriously?

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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Quick Update on NIH Press Conference

Not much to write about really when it come to the press conference, about an hour of the same things being repeated over and over.

The takeaway...

1.) There is not enough data on maternally request c-section with no medical reason in comparison to planned and completed vaginal birth to be able to make a clear recommendation either for or against it.

2.) Maternally requested c-section should be just that...requested by the mother. A health care provider should not bring up the topic and should share a discussion of the known risks and benefits if the mother brings it up.

3.) Maternally requested c-section should NOT be performed prior to 39 weeks, without an amnio check for lung maturity and in mother's planning to have more than two children.

That was pretty much it...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

National Institute of Health Releases New Data on C-Sections

I'm just now settling in to watch the live webcast of a press conference being put on by the National Institute of Health that will be talking about elective c-sections. Anyone that happens upon the blog in the next little bit can log in at this link:
http://videocast.nih.gov/.

I'll be posting again after it's over...

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tom and Katie's Silent Home Birth

A lot of the gossip rags are buzzing this week about the upcoming homebirth being planned by Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. While I always think it's cool when celebrities homebirth (go Ricki Lake!) I'm just not so sure about this one.

The New York Daily News (among others) reports that Tom and Katie are not just planning a home birth, they are planning a traditional Scientology "silent birth." The idea behind a silent birth is that any sounds of moaning, groaning, screams or even talking from the mother (or anyone else in the room) during labor will traumatize the child. A silent birth is followed by seven days of silence for the baby during which the parents are not to speak to it.

Now, I like the idea of no screaming, as screaming can actually contribute to pain because of the way it moves your muscles. Low groaning or moaning can actually HELP women work through the pain though, which is why many moms that choose to go drug free tend to moan, groan or growl loudly through birth.

I'm also not keen on the not talking to the baby thing... seriously, don't we have volunteers that go and sit with crack babies because a baby that is left alone has a harder time developing? They need the positive interaction and love in order to thrive outside the womb. So, I'm really not sure I get the thought behind this...

Finally, the other word in the gossip columns is that Katie wants to give birth in a hospital and to have access to pain meds. Now, as much as I'm a proponant of home birth, I think it should ONLY happen when the woman is 100% on board. This is a freedom of choice issue. If a woman is being forced or otherwise having her arm twisted into a home birth, then it does a disservice to the movement.

Now, I need to go focus on something intelligent and worthwhile to rid myself of the shame of spending ten minutes talking about Hollywood gossip...

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Monday, March 27, 2006

The Lactivist Mentioned in the Denver Post

Had a chance to speak with Marsha Austin of the Denver Post last Friday. Marsha was writing an article about the increased interest in milk banks, for-profit milk processing and the breast milk black market that takes place online. We had a nice conversation and I was really looking forward to her article.

It ran on Sunday. You can read the article here:
Sides clash over putting price on mothers' milk


Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed in the article. While it does a decent job of explaining the issues surrounding a lack of milk for mother's that want to give it to their babies, there are two major points that I feel are severely misrepresented.

1.) The issue of private milk sharing. Now, I understand that most people have a pretty negative view of private milk sharing. The idea of getting breast milk from strangers and giving it to your child is pretty scary for most moms. However...the reality is that most moms that are doing this are setting up their own "mini" milk banks. They are medically screening donor moms and many have at home pasteurizers. I know that the author of the article knows this because we talked about this exact issue.

While I don't want to see private milk sharing promoted, because I think there are potential risks, I also think that we do a disservice when we portray these moms as recklessly endangering their children.

Which leads to point two...

2.) Offered up as a potential solution to the shortage of milk via the HMBANA milk banks is Prolacta and the National Milk Bank. Prolacta is a for-profit company that is working to become the new hospital supplier of breast milk and a new breast milk fortifier. They gather the milk via the "National Milk Bank" which touts itself as a non-profit milk bank. Basically, Prolacta uses the national milk bank to attract donors and then turns around, processes the milk and profits from its sale.

Now, let me be clear that I have no problem with capitalism. I have no problem with companies profiting off of breast milk.

HOWEVER...if they are profiting, then they should be buying the milk from mothers. My issue is that they are subtly working to railroad the HMBANA milk banks by lobbying hospitals to become their supplier and by lobbying mothers to become donors. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I think Prolacta has the potential to do major damage to the non-profit milk banking industry in this country and I think that would be a crying shame.

So please, make sure that when you become a milk donor, that you are donating to a HMBANA milk bank.

As for the author, I'm disappointed. We had an excellent talk and I was really looking forward to reading the article. I really didn't expect the tone or the message that ended up coming across in it. It's good that the issue got some exposure, but I don't think it did as much for the milk banking cause as it could of.

Oh well...another day, another battle.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Study on Safety of Home Birth

I'll be breaking this study down into several different points in the upcoming weeks...but I wanted to give a link to the full study for those that are interested.

Study on safety of home birth published in the British Medical Journal.

The study covered 5418 women in the United States and Canada that intended to have a home birth attended by a midwife during the year 2000. The study was designed to cover issues like maternal and infant mortality, maternal and infant morbidity, rates of transfer, reasons for transfer, interventions and even rates of satisfaction. It's also important to note that the study included the birth of singleton, vertex babies born at at least 37 weeks gestation.

The high level finding of the study is that home birth is "as safe" for a low-risk woman as a hospital birth and that home birth actually has lower incidents of intervention (episiotimy, c-section, etc...).

An interesting statement from the study...

Women who started birth at home were on average older, of a lower socioeconomic status and higher educational achievement, and less likely to be African-American or Hispanic than women having full gestation, vertex, singleton hospital births in the United States in 2000.

More coming in the future...I'll be posting on transfer rates and how they break down, and doing some posts on c-section rates and other intervention rates.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh Gag Me!

Dedication of Britney "giving birth" statue.

From the article...


"Britney provides inspiration for those struggling with the 'right choice'," said artist Daniel Edwards, recipient of a 2005 Bartlebooth award from London's The Art Newspaper. "She was number one with Google last year, with good reason --- people are inspired by the beauty of a pregnant woman," said Edwards.


Seriously...apart from all the other issues I have with this...I'll stick with these two...

1.) You can seriously tell me that you can't find a better role model for young mothers than Britney? In a nano-second I can point out Reese Witherspoon and Kate Winslet.

2.) Umm...hello...giving birth "naturally" on all fours? (which would require an unmedicated delivery.) That's fantastic and all...but Britney had an elective c-section because she didn't want to go through the "pain" and "trauma" of a vaginal delivery.

So again, I say "oh gag me!"

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Excellent Letter to the Editor

Saw a great, if short, letter to the editor today in the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger. The letter was in response to a prior letter that talked about the need for Mississippi to exempt breastfeeding from the indecency laws.


What a joke! A fuss is made about a young mother breastfeeding her baby in public ("Miss. 'decency' law should exempt breastfeeding moms," Feb. 2 letter), when the fashion of the day is to expose all of the breast possible without going to jail.

In my youth, mothers nursed their babies even in Sunday school; they did, however, keep their clothes on the rest of the time and were prettier for it.

Richard W. Metz
Carthage


I love it, so simple, so accurate and so...well...real.

Good for Richard Metz. ;)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New Survey Shares Findings on C-Section Experience

I've been overwhelmed this week with great data, sources and blog ideas from readers and thus far, haven't had a chance to delve as deeply into researching them as I'd like. That said, I did get to skim the surface some today of a new

I haven't had a chance to read through all of this yet, but it looks like there is some really good information here.

These first quotes come from a media briefing that ACNM (American College of Nurse Midwives) did as part of their REDUCE campaign studying the state of c-sections in the U.S. today.

Some snippets from a few of the statements...

"Maureen Corry, MPH, of Childbirth Connection, a national not-for-profit organization that works to improve maternity care quality, presented data from Listening to Mothers, a national survey of women's childbearing experiences. The new survey, conducted by Harris Interactive® among women who gave birth in 2005, offers the first national data collected from mothers themselves on many views and experiences with cesarean section. "Mothers have spoken: Contrary to common belief, they are not electing to plan primary cesarean sections without medical reason; and furthermore, many believe that the current malpractice environment leads providers to perform cesarean sections that are not really needed. It's time for policy makers, health professionals, and women themselves to confront the legal, financial, clinical and other factors that contribute to the escalating U.S. cesarean rate."

"Voluntary cesarean surgeries are being sold as a woman's right to choose," says Lamaze International President Raymond DeVries, Ph.D. "But for a woman to choose the best option for her and her baby, she must know all the risks of surgical delivery and the comparative risks of a well-managed vaginal birth. Health care providers have the ethical and legal responsibility to provide this information to the women they care for."


Also note that data from Childbirth Connection's Mother's Survey on issues of primary c-section, whether medically indicated or not. (note, nearly all mothers stated that their sections were medically indicated)

Some interesting quotes from this one...


"Eighty-one percent of mothers stated that before consenting a c-section, it is necessary to know every possible complication, and 18% felt it necessary to know most complications. By contrast, most mothers who had cesareans were poorly informed about specific complications of cesarean section. Close to half of survey participants (42%-45%) were "not sure" about how to reply to four statements about complications of cesareans and 21%-33% responded incorrectly."


"Eighty-five percent of women agreed that a woman with a previous cesarean should be able to have a VBAC if she wants one, just 5% disagreed. However, the survey found that last year most women with previous cesarean had no recourse but surgery for giving birth. Just 12% of women with a previous cesarean had a VBAC. Of the remaining women who had a repeat cesarean, 45% were interested in the option of VBAC, but more than half (56%) of them were denied the option, primary because their caregiver (45%) or hospital (23%) was unwilling to do a VBAC."



While I find it encouraging to hear that women aren't choosing c-section for elective reasons (to avoid pain, to avoid supposed incontinence, etc...), I'm still upset to hear that most women that end up with a primary c-section are still not properly informed of the risks. I also find it pretty disheartening to hear the current state of VBACs and realize that we have a long road ahead in fighting to give women this option.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

A Chauffer for Breast Milk?

What do you do when it's the end of the day, you're working late and you're not going to make it home in time to feed your son? Why you grab the nearest set driver and have him shuttle expressed milk home for your tot. At least that's what Kate Winslet did while on the set of her film 'Romance and Cigarettes.'

From Showbiz News:

"I would literally feed him, throw on a tracksuit and lump my way into work with massive breasts and rehearse between feeds. My co-star Mary-Louise Parker's little boy was only five weeks old too, so in between scenes we could hear one another's breast pumps through the walls of our trailers."

"One particularly ridiculous moment came when we were filming in Agent Provocateur underwear and ended up running over. I had to put the milk in a freezer bag and get some random set driver I'd never met before to take the milk back to our house."


Good for her! :)

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Mississippi Breastfeeding Bill on Way to Governor

I wrote back in January about a set of pro-breastfeeding bills working their way through Mississippi in order to provide more protection for mothers breastfeeding in public and for mother's needing to express milk in the workplace.

There's a story on the AP Wire today that says the breastfeeding bill has passed both the House and the Senate and that it is on its way to the governor's desk to be signed. The article mentions that the bill now includes an exemption from jury duty for nursing mothers with children under the age of one, making Mississippi's suite of breastfeeding laws similar to those that have been enacted in other states over the past year. Mississippi also becomes just the second state (Louisiana is the first) to require day care centers to make adjustments for mothers that wish to visit their children during the day in order to nurse them.

Only one Senator voted against the bill and he states that he did so based on one set of wording, not on the changes they would actually make to the law.

Sen. Tommy Robertson, R-Moss Point, was the only senator to vote against the bill and he said the statement was the reason.

"I don't like the idea of making statements in bills," Robertson said. "Some people are unable to breast-feed their kids, and I don't think it's right that we say it's not nutritional."

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Proper Breastfeeding Education Needed in Third World Countries

Imagine a country where colustrum, the liquid gold that a mother produces before her milk comes in, is thrown away and replaced with a local mix of ingredients and water. It's a scary thought for mothers that know the powerful protection that can be delivered to baby in those first few days, but it's also a reality in countries in Africa and South Asia.

The New York Times featured a report this weekend on the malnutrition and the different ways that the World Bank and the WHO are working to fight it. While the article talks about the great strides being made in nutrition education for school age children, international programs are still missing the boat when it comes to infants.

From the article:

Outside of regions in crises, nutritionists at the bank say, programs should shift their emphasis from directly providing food to changing the behaviors of mothers — for example, to breast-feed exclusively for the first six months of life or seek quick treatment for their children's diarrhea. Improvements to sanitation and health care are also needed.

Critics of the current programs claim that they focus too heavily on providing meals for school-age children and too little on educating mothers about the importance of breastfeeding and proper nutrition in toddlers. They go on to claim that many times, irreparable harm has been done to a child's health before they are even old enough to attend school.

Nutritionists say the implications of the large body of research that informs the bank's report is clear: countries must intervene before children turn 2.

"If you miss that period, the damage is irreversible, especially in cognition, but also in growth," said Marie Ruel, director of the division of food consumption and nutrition at the International Food Policy Research Institute.


Among the things being pushed in these countries...proper support and nutrition for breastfeeding mothers, education about the need for children to be exclusively breastfed during the first six months of their lives and information about securing clean water for use with formula mixes or even simply for drinking by toddlers.

It seems odd to me, to think of the third would countries where I would imagine breastfeeding to be so natural and such an integrated part of the culture and then to realize that many of these countries have lower breastfeeding rates than the United States does.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

The First Frustration with Home Birth

Thus far, I've been pretty excited about the idea of a home birth. I'm a total research junkie, so it's not an issue to me in terms of "safety." I've also found a midwife that I'm very comfortable with, so it's not an issue in terms of finding a primary care provider.

While I'm totally on board with a home birth, I also feel that it's my responsibility to keep close tabs on my health and to make sure that there are no potential problems that could interfear with the home birth. That means that while I'm fine with bypassing things like the Gestational Diabetes test, I'd still like to be tested for GBS and I'd like a late ultrasound (around 30-some weeks) to make sure there are no potential previa issues.

The problem? Finding tandem care. My midwife does not do ultrasounds, most don't. She can do most of the other testing, including keeping an eye out for things like PIH and some other things that would make me high-risk. For the ultrasound, I need an OB a Family Dr or a CNM.

But none will take on a homebirther as a client because of the "high risk." Note...what they actually mean is not "high risk of home birth" but "high risk that we could get sued if something goes wrong."

I've called quite a few practices, including midwife practices, but no luck. I've even offered to sign waivers absolving them of liability. Still no luck.

I find it ironic really. Here I am trying to plan a home birth, but also making sure that I'm a good candidate for it so that my baby is safe and the Doctors and CNMs, the ones that are supposed to be helping me "protect my baby" are making it very difficult for me to do so.

My midwife did have one family doctor that she said she could refer me to, but it will likely be about an hour drive for me. I was really hoping to avoid that if I could, but it looks like I may not have a choice.

I could lie...and I'm sure I'd have no problem finding care. Then I could simply leave a few weeks before birth...but I'm not willing to lie. So that basically seems to leave me out of luck.

Annoying.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nipple Piercings and Breastfeeding

While here's a topic I never thought I'd cover...but saw an article today that made me really wonder!

Found an article that talks about Christina Aguilera and her plans to have a baby then goes on to mention that while she's removed most of her piercings, she still has her nipple ring.

The question... can you breastfeed a baby with a nipple piercing? Wouldn't you have to take it out? If you did...would the milk make it heal closed? Would you take it in and out each time you fed?

So I'm asking...how daring are my readers. Anyone out there want to admit to having a nipple piercing and to still breastfeeding?

How'd that work out for ya? ;)

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Extended Breastfeeding on Desperate Housewives

Don't know if any Lactivist readers watch Desperate Housewives, but last night, during the "next week on..." section there was a little snippet that said Felicity Huffman's character will be dealing with a new employee at work that wants to be able to nurse her child in the office. Apparently the issue will be that the child is five.

Now, I don't in a million years expect that Desperate Housewives will do anything to promote extended breastfeeding, so I'm sure it will be the typical 'what a freak' storyline. I'm also wondering if they picked a five year old for that exact reason. We're finally reaching the point where more people are ok with a two year old nursing. It's when they start to hit three and older that people (myself included, I'll admit) start to get a little wierded out.

Now we all know this is a tough argument...what age a child should be weaned by, and there's no really good answer to it. It's one that depends so heavily on the situation. I'm just interested to see how it's going to get played here.

On that same topic, I'm reminded of Gray's Anatomy and how pleased I've been with a few things on it lately. Dr. Bailey's refusal of an epidural "because it increases the risk of c-section" springs to mind. Also, the episode where a woman started crying and Bailey's letdown reflex left her a bit...umm...soggy in the shirt. :)

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Want to Read More About Midwifery?

Since I'll be adding the topics of homebirth and midwifery to my blog (maybe even doulas too...since not everyone wants to have a birth at home), I thought I'd throw out some suggested reading.

While there are tons and tons of great books out there, and I'll make it a point to review many of them over the next few months, one that stands out in particular, especially for those considering a midwife or a home birth is Peggy Vincent's Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife.

This is the book that truly converted me from "that's interesting" to "wow! that's for me!" I checked it out of the library after my last birth and ordered it from Amazon last night so that I can lend it to my mother-in-law. (She's supportive of the home birth, but carries some concerns. She was an L&D nurse and has a hard time getting past "but what if")

The book follows one woman's journey from L&D nurse to CNM doing both hospital and home births. In fact, I seem to recall that she was one of the first CNM's to gain hospital privledges in the Bay area. It's an amazing read, leaves you feeling empowered, in awe, in shock and even sometimes in tears.

Just head to the Amazon page and read the first few pages that appear in "search inside the book" I can pretty much promise it will leave you ready to hunt down the book and devour it. :)

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Friday, March 10, 2006

First Visit with the Midwife

I realized that even apart from stats and general posts on midwives, some of the readers here might be interested to hear how midwifery care differs from what they may be used to. So, I'll also be posting recaps of my appointments to sort of share the journey.

Had my first appointment with my new midwife this past Wednesday. I came home just absolutely floored at the different in style of this appointment and a typical appointment with my old OB.

The drive was close to the same, 35 minutes instead of 25...so I can deal with that. Though this drive was through the country, including a nice trek down a gravel road. LOL. My appointment was set for 1pm and my friend Rachel went with me to help corral Elnora and to meet the midwife since Rachel will once again be one of my labor support team.

The first nice difference was...the lack of time in the waiting room. Greg and I would typically spend 1 to 2 hours waiting for our appointments, even if we had an early morning appointment. Here, I walked up to her front door, she answered before I knocked and we headed into the living room for our visit.

We talked for about half an hour about how she became a midwife (was helping her oldest daughter look into careers and ended up becoming a midwife while her daughter went to nursing school), how long she'd been practicing (12 years), how many babies she'd caught (over 500) and her usual client type. (half Amish, half "English".) We talked about her experience (she's delivered twins, breech, even footling breech) and her philosophies. We asked questions about how she'd handle different circumstance and generally had a great chat to find out that we were on the same page.

Here were the things that really sealed it for me though...

1.) She asked if I was having trouble with nausea. Everyone who knows me know I vomit at the drop of a hat when I'm pregnant. So, she counseled me on proper protein intake, suggested that I try eating peanut butter or a hard boiled egg when I wake up in the middle of the night, talked about how to keep my blood sugar stable and explained how all of those contributed to nausea. My OB simply offered me a prescription.

2.) We talked about my first labor, which was long and frustrating. She asked lots of questions. When I mentioned how horrible it was to get checked for dialation, she asked for more info. I told her that no one, not even my OB could ever find my cervix. She explained that many women have "posterior cervix" well into labor and that this condition can cause labor to move agonalizing slow. She also said that you can sometimes diagnose a tendancy for this before, or early on in labor and there are things you can do to correct it. My OBs solution was "hook her up to pitocin, that will speed things up."

3.) Her general attitude was very laid back, but also gave off a clear air of confidence. She's been there done that and handled situations that many OBs have never seen. (few OBs deliver breech babies (let alone footling breech) anymore, same for twins) She's also delivered in the middle of nowhere (Amish country) without immediate access to a hospital for transfer and she's confident in her ability to handle things. She made it clear that she feels strongly that God has created a process that works and for the most part, if we don't mess with it, it will continue to work.

It was also funny to find that her backup, in case she has an emergency when I go into labor, is a woman in Johnstown that was next on my list to call. She attends the church of friends of ours and we've heard great things about her.

In all, I spent nearly two hours there. She checked all the same things that an OB would have, but she also treated me like a person, not like the next patient on the list. Though at my OB office when being checked with Doppler, I've never had a cat step on me. LOL. Kind of funny actually, she has this beautiful cat, very friendly. He jumped up on the bed when she pulled out the doppler and stood near me. It's still early (10-11ish weeks) so she wasn't sure she'd find a heartbeat. As she moved the Doppler around the cat would sometimes put his paw up on poke me on the tummy, sort of like "ok, try over here." We all had a good laugh. :)

Overall, a very cool experience. I'm glad that we've decided to go this route. I'm looking forward to taking Greg to meet her on my next appointment.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Prevention of Postpartum Depression Important for Breastfeeding

This afternoon, I was reading a synopsis of a study put out by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Columbia University and published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine that talks about mothers dealing with postpartum depression issues and the impact that it has on their actions as parents.

While the good news is that the study found that just 18% of woman claimed to have experienced symptoms symptoms of depression 2-4 months after their child, the bad news is that just 43.8% of mothers that experienced depression were breastfeeding at that point. Among mothers not experiencing depression, 56.9% were still breastfeeding. That's a pretty dramatic difference.

The study doesn't delve into any details on whether or not the lack of breastfeeding might be a cause or a result of the depression, but based on anecdotal experiences, I think most moms would agree that the more support they have and the more upbeat the feel, the more likely they are to continue nursing their children.

It does remind me though about Naomi Wolf's book "Misconceptions" and her section on life after baby comes.

A great quote from the book:

"Giving birth and becoming a new mother demand great reserves of strength. But all too often, women are offered sugar-coated niceties to guide them on the journey, misleading information, half-truths, and platitudes. Books, classes and videos available to mothers-to-be, I discovered, frequently have hidden agendas. Many of them omit aspects of the birth experience, or withhold information to advance their cause, to women's detriment. Little that women are exposed to in pregnancy adequately prepares them for the first three trimesters and delivery, or offers them a grounding in the gut-wrenching changes of what has been called the "fourth trimester" - that sometimes savagely difficult adjustment period that follows birth.

Becoming a mother requires a kind of supreme focus, a profound discipline, and even a kind of warrior spirit. Yet our culture prefers to give women doggerel: if often suggests that motherhood is something effortless. It calls motherhood "natural" as if the powerful attachment women have to their babies erases the agency they must show in carrying, birthing and caring for children. It casts maternity as being "natural," as a biological unfolding, calm and inevitable as calving in the spring or peaches ripening and dropping from a tree. There is a powerful social imperative to maintaining our collective belief in the "natural bliss" of new motherhood. The American cliche "mom and apple pie" is a telling one. birth is viewed through a softened lens of pink haze: the new baby and radiant mommy in an effortless mutual embrace, proud papa nearby.

Because of the power of that image, many women feel permitted to ask few questions; we too often blame ourselves, or turn our anger inward, into depression, when our experience is at odds with the idea."

Wolf goes on to note that the United States has the highest rates of postpartum depression in the world. She provides some amazing insight into the reality of life as a new mom, especially as a new mom that has to in one way or another return to the work-force.

I didn't read Misconceptions until about six months after Elnora was born and was surprised to find that there were a few passages that hit me so deeply at my core that I nearly cried. (and I don't cry!) I'd sailed through delivery and the early postpartum days with supposed ease, returning to work just two weeks after Elnora was born. (Because when you work for yourself, you don't get paid maternity leave) It wasn't until a good six or seven months after her birth that the stress of my new life crashed down on me.

This is why I suggest this book to anyone I know that is pregnant, or planning a pregnancy. It talks about the things I wish I'd known ahead of time.

Culturally, we've come a long way in advocating breastfeeding, natural birth, and motherhood. Unfortunately, our American "do it yourself" culture has left us failing miserably when it comes to both asking for, and accepting help. I'm not exactly sure how we work to change this, but I do suspect that with the proper support, more women would find themselves able to breastfeed, to breastfeed longer, and even more importantly, to parent the way that they want to.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

New Study Says Breastfeeding Doesn't Prevent Obesity

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about a new study that claimed extended breastfeeding led to reduced rates of obesity in teens and adults. This week, a contradictory study has been released that claims breastfeeding and obesity have no ties.

From the BBC:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study contradicts previous research which suggested breastfeeding could protect against later obesity.

It measured the body fatness of 313 American children aged five and found no difference between those who were breastfed and those who were not.

Lead researcher Dr Hillary Burdette at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said there was much interest in whether breastfeeding or the delayed introduction of complementary foods or both can reduce the risk of obesity later.

But she said many studies had conflicting results, so the team tried to devise a new technique to measure their subjects' body fatness, or adiposity, using a specially created X-ray machine.

Earlier studies had used a body mass index, which divides a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres.


The key difference in this study is the way that fat was measured...as the article points out, older studies have used BMI (body mass index) while the new study proports to more accurately measure obesity. The people that conducted the new study claim that BMI isn't an accurate measure of true body fat levels, but also made note that the study was in no way intended to minimize the other beneficial qualities of breast milk.

Critics note that the study followed children only from the age of 3-5, which doesn't really provide a long-term assessment of the impact of breastfeeding. I'd tend to agree with this camp as obesity, or weight issues, tend to show up after kids hit puberty, thus I would THINK that results would be more accurate if you were making these measurements at a later point in time.

Either way, I'll be curious to see how this plays in the news.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Home Birth vs. Hospital Birth - Issues of Responsibility

Well, the pundits have spoken and thus far, they've all been in favor of the Lactivist branching out to include some information on home birth, so here we go! :)

One of the discussion forums that I frequent to talk about childbirth issues had a great thread recently about the issue of home birth verses hospital birth in regards to how mothers are viewed in the case of a poor outcome.

While every legitimate study ever done has shown that home birth with a qualified attendant for a low-risk mother is absolutely as safe as a hopsital birth (and in fact, safer in terms of morbidity), American culture still has an air of "danger" that it associates with home birth.

While I've been surprised at the support I've received from friends and family so far over our family's plan for a home birth, I've still heard the requisite "I just don't think I could be brave enough to do that..." and "I'd just worry that something would go wrong." We all know that both of these translate into "Do what you want, but sounds to me like you are taking risks with your baby's health."

Now in these cases, it doesn't matter what types of data or stats you throw at people, they still have a hard time realizing the reality of the safety of home birth. This is usually compiled by the stories of horrible things that can go wrong in birth. "My baby was born limp and not breathing" or "After they broke my water, the baby's heartrate dropped way off and I had to have an emergency c-section."

Now, I'll address the truth behing some of that in a future post and will explain the concept of iatrogenic problems then as well....what I want to hit right now is this...

Why is it that if a mom gives birth at home and something catastrophic DOES happen (let's say complete placental abruption) that results in the death of mom or baby, society is fairly quick to place the blame and guilt on the mother for her "poor choice." Let's not even consider the fact that complete placental abruption has a pretty hefty mortality rate even if you are in the hospital...

However, if a mom gives birth at the hospital and something happens (let's say failed induction and AROM resulting in prolapsed cord, deprivation of oxygen and ultimate brain damage despite an emergency c-section) it's either the fault of the Dr. or the fault of "no one."

Anyone know why that is? Anyone disagree with me? Do people find comfort in the hospital because they can "shift the blame" if something horrible does happen? Why are we so quick to blame a mom for her choices in a home birth but so quick to excuse the mom in the hospital that didn't take the time to educate herself about the risks associated with procedures. Is it because it's not supposed to be her job? It's supposed to be the Dr's job? That gives her an out?

Now let me state...the loss or injury of a child is tragic and horrible in either situation...I'm just trying to understand why society puts these different spins on the same outcome simply because of location.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Another $100 raised for Milk Banking!

The first month of the "carcasherdotcom seocontest" is over and the Lactivist blog's entry managed to snag the first place prize for MSN, which means it earned another $100 for milk banking.

Thanks so much to all the readers that helped support this cause by spreading the word about the need for carcasherdotcom seocontest milk banking links!

Let's hope that next month we can capture the prize in multiple engines and raise even more money!

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Kansas Passes Breastfeeding Bill

I wrote a few weeks ago about the pro breastfeeding bill moving through the Kansas legislature. I'm happy to report that Governor Kathleen Sebelius has signed the bill into law, adding Kansas to the list of states that explicitly protects the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in public.

Excellent news!

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Where oh Where has the Lactivist Gone?

I'm here...honest, and coming back full force very soon.

Sorry I've been away for a bit, as someone who actually lectures on blogging, I know how terrible it is to vanish for two weeks. So, here's my explanation.

1.) I'm pregnant. First off, YAY!, second off...exhaustion, nausea, general yuckiness. First trimester over soon, so I'll be able to think straight again. ;)

2.) Been traveling. Spent last week in NYC doing some speaking at a show on search marketing. Not much of an Internet connection while there. :(

3.) Elnora is sick. First time she's ever been sick and she did it up right. Vomiting, diareah, the works. It got bad enough that we had to take her to the hospital on Saturday for IV fluids. :( She's getting better, but it's taken a toll on all of us.

I do promise to be back full force by the end of the week though, but this is where I have to poll my readers.

Since I'm pregnant now and will be planning a home birth, shall I expand the Lactivist to cover both breastfeeding AND home birthing issues, or shall I just stick with boobies? :)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: