Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Breastfeeding campaign

The small print says:

Breastfeeding boosts your bank account and your baby's immune system, saving you on hospital bills, doctors' visits, medicine, and missed days of work. It could also save billions on health care costs. Are your hospital, physician, employer, and insurer doing their part to help you succeed?

They are on facebook: Babes for Breastfeeding

Friday, May 29, 2009

Doulas on MSNBC

My friend Sharon Muza (New Moon blog) sent me the link to this MSN clip on Doulas. After you read Sharon's touching Thank You Letter to My Clients, watch this clip on doulas. Of course there are little pieces we would have re-written to be clearer but still - it's on MSNBC.
And then I want you to do an honest evaluation of what you teach in your cb class - do doulas get a mention or do they get the same (or even more) attention/time as an epidural? Leave a comment and tell us how many minutes epidurals get and how minutes are spent on doulas. And also share your ideal if you are teaching a standard curriculum for a facility that controls the curriculum (I have even heard there is at least one hospital that forbids their CBEs to mention doulas. Is this urban myth or true?)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The brilliance of a clever writer

A big "what a great idea" came to my mind as I read the comparison made between a golf caddy and a doula. I am not a golfer but this is so brilliant.
Read Robin's post on Birth Activist. It has a lot of potential to help others understand what a doula does!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You have to read this!

There is a study about childbirth education that is grabbing headlines in the UK and beyond. It will spread across the puddle soon - and the media is making the sound byte that CBE makes no difference. AARRGGH!

So to inform yourself walk, no run, to The Family Way to read the original research and read the wise words of Debby Amis. Equip yourself in case you are besieged with media questions or less then supportive co-worker's comments who want to jump on the band wagon of discouraging childbirth education!

Thanks Debby for providing the original study as well as the valuable interpretation!

How could this be used in a CB Class

I spend a lot of reading other blogs about birth research and tracking down abstracts and reading articles and it's all a bit boring! But I really want to stay up to date, so I really appreciated this you tube update about some important research! And as you watch, think how you could incorporate this into your childbirth class!

thanks to pinkyrn blog for being the first place I spotted it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Costs of an epidural

There is a great article about the cost of birth recently in
Wall Street Journal

Those charges I could decipher seemed stunningly high. A "Tray, Anes Epidural" cost $530.29. (After inquiring, I learned this was the tray of sterile equipment used to give me an epidural anesthetic injection.) An "Anes-cat 1-basic Outlying Area" was billed at $2,152.55. (I was told this was the cost of the hospital's resources related to the epidural.) These items were in addition to the separate anesthesiologist's charge of $1,530 for giving the epidural. Even though the pain-killing epidural shot felt priceless during my 20 hours of labor, I was amazed that its total cost could run so high.

When I am named "queen of the insurance companies" - I would mandate that all women who hire a doula and don't use an epidural get reimbursed for their fees. Actually I would mandate reimbursement for all doulas regardless of her epidural usage. But I find it incredulous that doula support is not routinely reimbursed. But yet $4212.04 is never questioned.

Do you cover the cost of healthcare/birth in your childbirth class? My friend Ann Tumblin has the bill from her birth a couple decades ago. I think it was less than the epidural tray in the WSJ journal article! At some point I hope pregnant women find a louder voice to lobby their insurance companies to cover doula care. Plant the seeds in your childbirth class - most of the people in your class will have a second baby.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Are all CB groups fun?

Most of the time childbirth education groups "gel" and connect and interact! We love those groups! I have a friend in Texas that talks about one group that continued to meet regularly after their babies were born and even met when all their babies graduated from high school! Now that's a network of support. I often joke that while birth can be a challenge, so can all the stages of parenting and having a group of support that are facing the same challenges is great!

While a group that gets involved is what we work towards, every once and awhile it doesn't happen. It's like when you are a great breadmaker and all of a sudden a loaf doesn't rise for no apparent reason. A friend from the east coast recently sent me this note and I share it to reassure new educators that every once in awhile we all get a challenging class and to not to get discouraged. (However, if every class is a dud, we need to talk!)

Here is what Amy shared: "I loved my last group. Funny how some just seem to gel particularly well. I'm sure that long-term friendships were made, and the babies from that class will be playing together as preschoolers and beyond.

Now, my current Monday night group, on the other hand, is a whole different ball of wax. About 1 series a year is like this one: not many questions, not many laughs. I'm tempted to see if any memorably noisy clients from previous series would be willing to come and stir things up a bit :)"

I think that's a great idea - at least the fantasy of doing that!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Research looks at CB education + birth satisfaction

For as long as childbirth education has been around, you would think there would be volumes of research documenting the benefits. Sadly there is not as much as I would expect.

I recently came upon an article that highlighted the recent work of Dr. Angelina Arcamore at Villanova University.

Initially she reviewed studies about birth satisfaction and concluded that a woman's sense of control, support from and confidence in caregivers and meeting expectations of childbirth all contribute to birth satisfaction. She further points out that dissatisfaction can affect a woman's emotional well-being, her future childbearing experience and even her risk level for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Her study included 158 women who had vaginal births in urban hospitals. 2/3 had attended formal cb classes. The demographics of those who attended vs those who did not were that they were older, better educated and in a relationship longer than those who did not. She used a "Gratification with Labor and Delivery" questionaire.

Now time for the drum roll: The only statistically significant predictor of satisfaction with childbirth was ATTENDING A CHILDBIRTH CLASS!

She noted that the many younger women are forgoing childbirth classes and are depending on the internet and TV. "Although this information often promotes misconceptions and increases anxiety."

Thanks to Marsha Rehms who reported on this in the CBEreporter from a session held at the 2008 AWHONN conference.

So how will you incorporate this information into your marketing message? Building on yesterday's blog post, I find myself humming "I can't get no satisfaction, but I try...."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Healthy Birth Practices

I have been having fun with the Healthy Birth Practices and a Playlist I have picked 6 songs whose title somehow relates to each of the 6 practices - have fun and see if you can tell which one is for each one! Answers tomorrow!!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Friday, May 22, 2009

Birth is ours

Joni Nichols shared the link to this video - and it so touched me as it will you!
This subtitled little gem was created by El Parto Es Nuestro (Birth is

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And the winners are....

A couple weeks ago, we ran a "contest" and asked readers to share why they became childbirth educators. I am happy to announce that the five winners have been posted to Passion for Birth

Thanks for sharing Stacie, Candace, Heather, Molly and Faith!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

NARM petition

Friend and birth advocate Pam Pilch forwarded me information about the petition that has been created to send to the Board of Directors of ACNM (American College of Nurse Midwives) which is meeting in Seattle next week. Basically the ACNM has edited its statement on midwifery education. NARM has posted a petition they want to send to ACNM to get them to change it to recognize the apprenticeship pathway. It is all more complicated than I can write about here... so here are the links:

Background on the issue with a link to the ACNM policy statement, a link to NARM and a link to the petition within it:

Massachusetts Friends of Midwives

The Petition sponsored by NARM

To be an independent CBE requires to have a entrepreneurial spirit

Watch and enjoy - consider what a similar video about being a CBE would be!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brief interview

I have loved the Passion for Birth seminars I have led with Debra and wanted to share this Mindful Mama interview. She has worked so hard, shared so much and really had an impact! I know I am biased but of the current popular birth films out there - (The Business of Being Born, Pregnant in America and Orgasmic Birth) I feel that Debra has surpassed them all and Orgasmic Birth is my favorite. Maybe I really appreciate it because the film is not about her! It reflects her philosophy and creativity and vision but it's about the many women she features and focuses on - that's the strength!

Can't wait until Debra can slow down a bit and join us again!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Belly Art

Stacie B. sent me this link and it brought such a smile of "wow, this is so innovative!" that I decided to share with you.

A pregnant artist, created a black box with a framed opening and put her belly on display complete with a recording of the baby's heartbeat! Read about her experience and the reaction.

Thanks Stacie!
Belly Art on Display

Friday, May 15, 2009


I have been reading the book Unbuttoned and came upon something I have been trying to figure out how to present/capture in a childbirth or breastfeeding class. We often list out all the advantages of breastfeeding, many of us present the risks of formula feeding (which if breastmilk is the standard, then alternatives should be presented in relation to the standard/norm.)

I have a collection of symbols in a lunchbox and often use it as a prop for the disadvantages (a diaper for a smellier "poo", a syringe for missing the first "immunization"/protection in breastmilk, etc.)

But what I want to capture are written in these words from the Breast Laid Plans chapter written by Heidi Raykeil. She makes a mental list of all the reasons breastfeeding is important to her to get over the early weeks:

I am favored
I am flavored!
the feeling of leting down
setting an example
burning extra calories!
baby gazing
no binkies
no bottles
no period
goopy-eye cure!
milk on tiny lashes

The baby makes another hungry strike at my breast, turning angry and bright red until, suddenly she's on. Her color goes back to normal, and instantly her body goes limp, falling into me, milk-drunk. And it hits me - this is the real reason I love breastfeeding. This moment. It's not something you can put on a list; it's one of life's biologically reinforced, beautiful intangibles. It is the surprise of direct connection, ultimate intamacy, the trust and ability to go back, if even for a 15 minute feeding to a time when two separate beings ere one.

So I think I will clip that quote and but it in the lunch box and read it as a closing to the exercise. Thanks Heidi. And I am on page 48 and I give it a thumbs up!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elisabeth Bing Inducted!!

Well, I am so proud that Elisabeth Bing was inducted as one of the 20 Health Heroes!

See my blog entry on May 1! Thanks for taking the time to vote! To read about those who were honored and inducted: Our Bodies Our Blog

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Tube video contest - vote

BirthMatters Virginia has a You Tube video contest in progress - Read more about it on their website
The deadline to enter has passed but you can watch videos and vote! I have embedded some of the ones I found and enjoyed. I may find more and add. Or you can add their your favorite's url in the comment section

Monday, May 11, 2009


Do you like to multi-task? I love to listen to podcasts as I do other things. Here are some free podcasts on breastfeeding:



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I worked this weekend at Seattle Midwifery school with a group of doulas and doulas soon to be and midwives to be. It is always an honor! It is always reassuring that there are more people being called to this incredible work.

Last night a small group of friends went to see the Righteous Mothers...what a hoot. And what a treat - live music and friends! Passioneers who gathered included Kris Avery, Sharon Muza and PfBgrad/photographer Marilyn Nolt as well as a sister, husband and a co-mother-in-law-to-be.

I had a great time and realized I get out and about too infrequently! During the quiet time between sets we talked about the amount of time that blogging, being on facebook and twittering takes - and does it help or does it just suck time? And then the question is how would we measure its value? For the doulas and childbirth educators does it bring more connection/potential clients? Does being part of a larger web prevent burnout? Do we get ideas that make us more effective?

Are there ways to twitter, fb and blog without sacrificing huge amounts of time?

So I am thinking of all the mothers around the world today and hope that every day is their day - those with babies in their wombs, at their breast, in their arms, children in their homes, in their communities, away at school or serving their country, children who are living independently and those who have their children in their memories. May your role as a mother be celebrated and honored every day!

Even though my own mother lost her battle with cancer 15 years ago, I keep her in my heart and I am so glad she was my mom!

Friday, May 08, 2009


When I lived in West Virginia, I was a Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker and was delighted to see this clip on You Tube about the program. I really believe in this model!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

International Day of the Midwife

Today is International Midwife Day - do something nice for your favorite midwife! See what my friend Robin says about the importance of midwives Birth Activist

I also decided to upload the same video she has - just to make sure you see it:

Monday, May 04, 2009

Midwife day - t-shirt

Looking for a way to celebrate the International Midwife Day? Order a t-shirt! Florida Midwife Support

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Baby born in caul in water

Debra Pascali Bonaro shared this You Tube on a facebook page. Wow!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Time to vote on-line

Our Bodies Ourselves is sponsoring a Women's Health Hero contest. The nominees are very impressive but I was tickled to see that Elisabeth Bing had been nominated and now I am going to encourage you to vote for Elisabeth. Leave a post on how her work has influenced you. I know she is currently challenged with health issues but how great to honor a pioneer!

OurBodies Vote for Bing!