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CONSCIOUS BIRTHING INDIA

Holistic Perspectives & Directory For Northern India

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Awakened Birthing

Upfront & Straight forward


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In view of the current situation in North India – lack of awareness amongst pregnant parents and medical professionals as well as a lack of facilities –  we have decided to move forward with a hands-on-approach: we ask for donations. The money that reaches us will be immediately used for awareness campaigns, networking & research, website maintenance AND eventually for funding the implementation of a holistic birthing sanctuary near Dehradun (Uttarakhand). 

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Note: Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you’re not a registered charity. The project leader is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.

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Birthing Dilemma in Dehradun

Here we go, once again, a pregnant lady from Rishikesh contacted us, asking for a place and a doctor that would allow her a natural birthing experience. And once again, I have no one to recommend in this region! Once again I directed a pregnant woman towards South India: Kerala and Hyderabad.

It is exasperating, infuriating even, that women cannot get any holistic support for their birth planning in Uttarakhand. Forget homebirths and waterbirths. There are just no midwives / doulas around, and even if one can be found, there are no doctors / ob-gyns as back up, who have the necessary holistic view, the commitment and integrity. Because even if doctors say they support zero/minimal intervention, they tend to change their minds last minute. Usually, money is the reason, as they can charge much more for c -sections etc. Standardised clinical birthing is also time efficient (‘cookie cutter principle’) and fairly foreseeable in terms of risks. And although women might be able to get the natural birth with no epidural, they still get episiotomy and made to stay in the bed in one position… 

The ob-gyns in Rishikesh really are a disaster, and this is not only a conclusion from my own research and experience but that of various local and foreign women, pregnant or not. Gynaecologists are rude and condescending. Not listening, not interested, not resourceful. At times not properly informed / up to date either. Ok-ish, if you just need a quick ultrasound, otherwise to be avoided. 

Women have the right to individual maternity care, but do not receive it. Instead they have no other option than to submit to standardised, rushed procedures, rough, superficial examinations and a ‘programmed conveyer-belt birthing’ with lack of choice and loss of control.

Lack of consent and direct violations of rights, occur on a daily basis in childbirth: women forced into medical interventions without consent and without plausible benefit to their baby – including forced internal vaginal examinations, verbal coercion and lack of information / explanations. This has nothing to do with ‘care’. This is plain disrespect and abuse. And it happens in both developed and developing nations.

I repeat the following although it has been said many times before. Short and longterm implications for mums and children after stressful, hurried, medicated and invasive births are well documented: 

Physical consequences (pains, reduced lactation, unhealed episiotomy etc) as well as psychological issues (e.g. on mum’s side postnatal depression, self-doubts and affected self-worth (disconnect to own body), rejecting neonate, reduced / dysfunctional bonding with baby, sexual avoidance / fear of future births, relationship disruption with partner / broken-down relationships  and on the child’s side (especially as adult): lack of confidence, relationship issues, permanent latent anger / rage, unexplained infertility, soul split / dissociation).

While these might seem to be negligible in the context of an overall physically healthy mother and child, there are significant long-term familial and social implications, e.g. inter-generational trauma, no subsequent children after traumatic labour, spreading of further horror stories, shrinking of families and troubling demographics (aging population and lack of children / youth – which is not an issue in India currently, but in Western countries such as Germany).

The maternity care system in trouble. And looking away is NOT the solution. At least women notice and begin to listen to their inner voice, demand information and facilities. Expectant parents begin to question the ‘take over’ by doctors/ nurses/ gadgets/ medication. And we can only encourage woman and mums to listen to what they know deep within, inform themselves and take heed: confidently demand what they need.

Also human right organisations are beginning to notice that high level clinical competence and technologies are NOT ENOUGH. Required are time, silence, trust and above all heartfelt care (empathy) and respect. 

Birthing is not a disease or drama, but a natural event, and the bodies of mum and baby know what to do, if given space and reassurance.

If there are any Indian ob gyn doctors, midwives / doulas, maternity care professionals and even sponsors (!) who resonate with our approach and vision, please get in touch. With joined efforts, we should be able to create the much needed birthing sanctuary in Uttarakhand. Similar to the Birth Village in Kochin / Kerala, and Fernandez Hospital / Storck Home in Hyderabad. 

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The Greatness of Women

“I call on the next generation of young women to be the mothers of the Compassionate Revolution that this century so desperately needs. You have a special role to play in creating a better world. It is often thought that women are more empathic and sensitive, and more receptive to the feelings of others. These are qualities that are embodied by mothers. In this sense, women are models of humanity.”
~ His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama

“There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of woman is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.”
~ Swami Vivekananda

”In this creation, why is the female more powerful energetically than the male? In the Vedic tradition, they say the female has one additional unbelievable chakra, her womb. The woman’s kingdom is a hundred times more powerful than the man’s, because she has an ability to give birth to any creation.
They say God’s entire creation is hidden in a woman’s womb. Even if God wants to come on this planet he has to choose a female and go through a mother’s womb. God can only come through that channel. The woman is the creator, she’s pulling the energy, she’s receiving the energy, and she’s creating with that. What can you take from her and create? Does it make sense logically? Number one, the woman is the receiver, from that she can give to the kids, and she can bless the man with her love. She can give joy; she can create happiness; she can give peace of mind; she can change the energy and bless it.What else does the man need in the world?
If a man meditated one day and a woman meditated one hour, huge same. I’m not buttering. That’s absolutely true. When they’re pulling the energy, mostly it is going to the womb. It is going to the womb. A woman’s Womb Chakra really helps her to pull the energy very strongly. It’s actually a power spot. It’s completely a divine power. Women’s kingdom, please try to recognize this. It’s God’s gift you came as a woman on this planet.”
~ Sri Kaleshwar 

Take care of your children TODAY…

… and of course, take also care of your mothers, today.

This statement by Marianne Williamson is valid for every country on the planet:

The Truth about Birth Trauma…

…and how to heal from it

Text by By Anthea Thomas for hyonobirthing.com

You yourself may have experienced a difficult birth, and let’s face it, you only have to start talking to couples about their births, and the horrific stories start pouring out. Clearly the system around birth is not working, because it is not your body that is failing. Let’s look at how birth trauma is defined.

Birth trauma is defined as

  • A loss of a sense of control
  • Not feeling heard by health professionals
  • Feeling isolated and alone
  • Feeling anxious and afraid
  • Fearing for your baby and your own life

What does it effect?

  • Sense of self: when you believed you could birth, and you ended up feeling like a failure. It can have a profound effect on your self esteem
  • Self-confidence: doubting your ability to be a good parent, good partner, doubting your ability to read your babies cues correctly
  • Relationships: partner, family, friends, social groups, feeling withdrawn
  • Bonding: don’t get the rush of hormones, affects bonding, let down, recovery, energy, ability to cope
  • Future births: trauma stays with you, and you take that trauma and fear into the next birth
  • Development of baby: staying inside, not interacting, no stimulation, lack of bonding, baby may then lack a sense of security which can lead to future mental health of the child and a delay in the child’s development

Can you ever forget?

Child Birth is a monumental and transformational event in a couple’s life, and whether it’s the most powerful, ecstatic, joyful experience or the most terrifying horrendous experience, the fact is that it is never really forgotten. Birth stories are written and videos are shared all over the internet, and no one birth experience is exactly like another. Every woman has a different journey. It is deeply personal and something she will carry always with her.

Can you heal? The great news is ‘Yes’!

Don’t suffer in silence, even if you don’t think that your birth was ‘bad’ enough to warrant getting help.

What we perceive as a great birth, can actually hold some deep trauma for women because of the way they were treated, or because of how they were feeling. In HypnoBirthing we teach that fears, beliefs and previous births experiences can have a profound effect on the way we give birth, and our couples go through a process of releasing the things that may get in the way of them having a positive birth. We see increasing numbers of women reaching out to us because they don’t want to experience another birth like their last. And the same techniques we use in HypnoBirthing can be used to heal your birth trauma, and help you find inner peace again. Doing that inner work is where it is at.

“Women need to know there is help and support out there if they have experienced a traumatic birth, and they all deserve the support. I believe even women who have had mostly positive births still need to debrief and process aspects of their birth as birth itself is such a huge process, physically, emotionally and spiritually!”
– Diana Fischer, Clinical Hypnotherapist & HypnoBirthing Educator

healing mums


Top image: birth trauma tree by ‘unfold your wings’ in the UK. The roots represent some of the causes that may lead to trauma, and the leaves represent the symptoms you may feel. Bottom image: Sacred Healing, artist unknown

Benefits of Natural Childbirth

While medical interventions can and do save lives in a small percentage of births, the majority of labors can unfold as nature intended. As natural mamas, we need to take back this experience! Natural birth is a tremendous rite of passage, but you just may be surprised at how beneficial it is for baby and mama.

Written by Genevieve Howland (childbirth educator, bestselling author, breastfeeding advocate, mother of three)

Here are 14 benefits of having a natural childbirth.

1. Freedom during labor

Having an epidural, IVs or continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) usually means you will be confined to bed, unable to walk or change positions when it would be beneficial to do so. Many moms don’t realize that they’ll be given a catheter once the epidural is administered so forget laboring on the toilet!

Natural childbirth allows you to move freely and work with your body to birth your baby. Freedom of movement makes labor easier, and sometimes faster. Women who walk and change position during labor experience increased comfort, are more likely to give birth vaginally, and have a better sense of control over their experience.

Freedom to eat and drink during labor is another way that natural childbirth helps women have easier births. A woman who is well nourished and hydrated is a strong woman ready for the hard work of labor.

2. Avoid the cascade of interventions

Each unnecessary intervention has the potential to lead to more interventions, including c-section. When birth begins on its own and continues on its own time, mom is less likely to need these interventions.

For example, if you have an epidural, labor is likely to slow which may mean that your doctor will give you Pitocin to push labor along. Likewise, if labor is induced and your body and baby weren’t ready you will not produce natural oxytocin to begin contractions. You will then need Pitocin to get contractions going.

Pitocin has the potential to create intense and frequent contractions that don’t allow mom or baby rest, which can reduce the oxygen supply to baby. If baby becomes distressed many doctors will recommend a C-section.

3. Avoid Cesarean

Natural childbirth reduces the risk of cesarean delivery. Simply planning a natural childbirth with trained professional midwives reduces your risk of having a cesarean section from 30% to about 5%. Hiring a doula decreases your risk of a cesarean by 60-80%.

There have been a number of studies addressing whether epidurals cause higher risk of cesarean section and none have found a direct link. Unfortunately, these studies are flawed because they compare epidural anesthesia to narcotic pain relief rather than unmedicated labor. However, we do know that epidurals increase the risk for forceps or vacuum assisted births, which are related to higher risk for C-section.

We also know that, though continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) is not evidence based, even with high-risk moms, most OBs will require you to be continuously monitored while on an epidural (and in some other cases too).  In a Cochrane review, continuous EFM was associated with an increase in pain medication use, cesarean sections and instrumental vaginal births including forceps and vacuum extraction.

4. Shorter, easier labor

In natural childbirth oxytocin signals the uterus to begin contracting and signals the brain to send endorphins, nature’s pain killer. It also signals the brain to continue sending oxytocin which will reach a peak during the pushing phase.

Epidurals interfere with this normal cascade of labor hormones and can slow labor significantly. Often Pitocin is recommended to get labor progressing.

When you have an epidural you can’t feel your lower body so you can’t change positions when it would be beneficial. Also, if you can’t feel your contractions you can’t push at the right time and with the right force to help baby out, resulting in a harder, longer labor.

5. Safer for baby

Epidural use can cause sudden blood pressure drop for mom which means less oxygen rich blood pumping to baby. This can result in fetal distress and many practitioners will recommend a C-section.

After an epidural, babies are less alert, less able to orient themselves, and have less organized movements for as long as a month after birth. Your body and the placenta help the baby to eliminate toxins while he is in your uterus. However, once he is born, his newborn liver will need to do it alone, which means it sometimes takes longer for babies to get rid of drugs and toxins in their system.

Narcotic pain relief medication can cause additional side effects in baby as well. These include:

  • Central nervous system depression
  • Respiratory depression
  • Impaired early breastfeeding
  • Altered neurological behavior
  • Decreased ability to regulate body temperature

Because of these side effects, baby may need additional medications.

6. You’re present during natural childbirth

Narcotic pain relief can cause mom and baby to be groggy and “out of it.” Forgoing this kind of pain relief will help you to stay present during the birth of your baby. Even epidural pain relief can make you feel disconnected from your child’s birth. Though the medication may not make you feel groggy, the lack of sensation and connection to the physical act of giving birth may make you feel disconnected from the experience. Some moms have to be told when to push because they can’t feel the urge. Moms may also have an epidural “hangover” or feel itchy as the result of the procedure.

Unmedicated, natural childbirth, on the other hand, requires your full attention. Some women describe it as “other worldly” because of the connection between mind and body that has to occur during birth. With the rush of natural endorphins, some moms even enjoy giving birth rather than just suffering through it.

7. Natural childbirth is empowering

Natural childbirth supports the idea that childbirth is a rite of passage. Because of the blood, sweat and tears that you put into birth, there is something really transformational that happens. Some like to say that you go into birth as a maiden and come out the other end as mother. Natural childbirth advocates know that this journey to motherhood is a necessary one. They know that it is empowering for a woman to give birth on her own terms. To make choices for herself and her baby without coercion, guilt and ridicule. The mother needs to feel empowered and encourage as her birth unfolds.

8. Better breastfeeding right after delivery

A sleepy baby doesn’t breastfeed as well. The less he eats, the more sleepy he becomes and the less he will nurse. This can start off the nursing relationship with some bumps in the road. Pitocin can cause jaundice in some newborns, which makes babies lethargic and sleepy as well. Narcotic pain medication can also cause sleepiness in baby, while there is some evidence that epidurals are associated with reduced rates of breastfeeding success.

According to La Leche League International pain relievers or anesthesia can contribute to breastfeeding problems:

  • The baby and/or mother may be sleepy or less alert and thus delay the first nursing.
  • The baby’s ability to suck, swallow, and breathe may be disorganized.
  • The baby’s rooting and sucking reflex may be delayed and depressed.

The most important time for establishing a breastfeeding relationship is in the minutes and hours just after birth. If mom and baby are sleepy, groggy or disoriented, they are much more likely to miss the opportunity to begin breastfeeding at the optimal time.

C-sections have also been associated with difficulty in breastfeeding (mostly because of hospital protocol getting in the way), and also with delayed onset of milk production due to the blunt in hormonal cascades that normally occur in natural birth.

9. Quicker recovery

Without the haze of drugs or the soreness of surgery, moms who experience natural childbirth are able to recover quickly and be present right after birth. Moms experience an oxytocin high which gives them a boost of energy to cuddle their baby and begin skin-to-skin touching, breastfeeding and eye contact, which in turn enhances the oxytocin cascade. Many moms are up and walking around shortly after natural birth.

10. Natural childbirth improves healthy gut flora

Natural childbirth benefits babies in their gut. Gut bacteria plays an important role in building and sustaining a strong immune system and proper digestion. Vaginally birthed babies have more diverse gut flora that they acquire in the birth canal.

Research has shown that babies who are born via cesarean delivery have less diverse gut flora and are more likely to have harmful skin bacteria like Staph and Strep that is usually present on the skin. This may be that babies born via c-section don’t come in contact with vaginal bacteria but instead gain their first colonization in the operating room from mom’s skin or the skin of practitioners.

Breastfeeding is another way that baby develops a healthy gut, so breastfeeding becomes even more important after a cesarean delivery.

11. Decreases risk of adult illness

As we mentioned, gut health is vital to overall wellness. Early healthy gut flora seems to be key in teaching an infants immune system what to attack and what to allow, meaning that autoimmunity is learned early.

Recent research, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that c-section babies are more likely to develop obesity, asthma, and type 1 diabetes when they get older.

We also know that C-section babies are hospitalized more often for asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder, immune system defects, leukemia, and other tissue disorders during their lives. They also have a 20% higher risk of developing asthma and an approximately 40% greater risk of developing immune defects.

Though not directly linked to cesarean delivery, unhealthy gut flora has been linked to allergies, autoimmunity, vascular disease, some cancers, depression/anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders and type 2 diabetes, so it makes sense that early unhealthy gut flora could contribute to these diseases later in life.

All is not lost if a child has to be born via Cesarean. These medical interventions can save lives and are absolutely necessary in about 10% of births. A mother can optimize her surgery by electing for a Gentle Cesarean. This practice will help to boost the health of her newborn and create some of the positive benefits of a natural childbirth.

12. Better brain development

A team of researchers found that natural childbirth triggers the release of a protein in a newborn’s brain that improves brain development and function in adulthood. This protein (UCP2), which regulates behaviors related to memory, learning, spatial awareness and stress response, is released as the hippocampus is stimulated in the birth canal. Alternately, The brains of cesarean babies may have impaired expression of the same protein.

Additionally, the protein help cells metabolize fat, which is a main component of breast milk, suggesting that triggering of the UCP2 protein through vaginal birth may help newborns transition to breastfeeding. Therefore, the lack of this protein may also contribute to cesarean babies and moms struggling more with breastfeeding.

13. Better fine motor and social skills

As if lower risk for blood transfusion, anemia and low blood volume weren’t enough reason to demand delayed cord clamping, research has found that there is another, surprising benefit to this natural childbirth choice.

One study found that babies who experienced delayed cord clamping had better fine motor and social skills at age 4 than those that had early clamping. This was especially true for boys. Researchers speculate that girls are more protected by the high levels of estrogen in utero.

14. It’s Cheaper

With healthcare costs rising finding a way to save money isn’t a bad idea. Natural birth is far less expensive than a birth that has many interventions. Giving birth at a birth center or at home is also much less expensive than giving birth naturally at a hospital. 

Original article posted on: mamanatural.com


In addition, 5 more benefits according to Sabrina Rogers-Anderson, writer / author

While there are certainly cases in which a cesarean is necessary for the safety of the mother or the child – such as prolonged labor, abnormal fetal heart rate and problems with the placenta – there are many more in which this major surgery could be avoided. If you have a low-risk pregnancy, your baby is in the head-down position and you’re at least 37 weeks pregnant, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends attempting a vaginal birth. Even women who have had a previous cesarean and those who are expecting twins are encouraged to try to deliver vaginally if the conditions are right and their obstetrician gives them the green light.

Here are 5 benefits of a vaginal birth for you and your baby:

1. Your baby will receive beneficial bacteria
As your baby passes through your birth canal, it ingests bacteria that contributes to its gut health and boosts its immune system. Although a baby’s microbiome – or collection of microbes – begins to form in the womb, vaginal delivery is an essential part of the process. Some studies have found that babies born by C-section who miss out on these crucial bacteria are more susceptible to health problems such as food allergies, asthma, hay fever and obesity later in life. Researchers from the Department of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine were successful in partially restoring the microbiome of C-section babies by exposing them to their mothers’ birth canal bacteria at birth, but it remains to be seen whether it will have a long-term impact on their health.

2. You’ll squeeze fluid out of your baby’s lungs
While your baby is in the womb, its lungs are filled with fluid. Hormonal changes that occur during labor start to clear the fluid and much of the rest is squeezed out as your baby passes through your birth canal. Any remaining fluid is coughed out after the birth or absorbed by your baby’s body. When fluid remains on the lungs or is cleared out too slowly – a condition known as transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) – breathing problems can occur and oxygen might be required. Babies born via C-section are at higher risk for TTN.

3. Your hospital stay will be shorter and your recovery time will be faster
You should expect to stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and two to four days after a cesarean. While you should avoid any strenuous activity for six weeks after a vaginal birth to allow your body to heal, you should be able to perform your regular daily tasks within a couple of days. Because a C-section is a major abdominal surgery, recovery is longer and more difficult. You should rest as much as possible and avoid any heavy lifting or driving a car for the first six weeks. It can take six to 10 weeks for your scar to fully heal.

4. You’ll avoid the risks of major surgery
All major surgeries carry risks, including a bad reaction to the anesthesia, infection, hemorrhaging and blood clots. There are also additional risks with a cesarean, such as inflammation of the uterus, surgical injury to the bowel or bladder, and amniotic fluid embolism (when amniotic fluid enters the mother’s bloodstream and can cause a serious reaction).

5. You’ll be less likely to have life-threatening complications in future pregnancies
A major review of 80 studies published in PLOS Medicine earlier this year found that women who gave birth via cesarean had an increased risk of serious complications in subsequent pregnancies, including miscarriage, stillbirth, problems with the placenta (placenta previa, placenta accreta and placental abruption) and uterine rupture (a tear in the wall of the uterus).

India’s Maternity Mess

When it comes to health policy, India often strangely lunges at the mistakes of the US, ignoring insights and better approaches from Europe.

India has an irrational fear of midwives. To some, it is a reminder of ancient times with their unhygienic practices and unscientific opinions. Understandably, therefore, many women are unsure of the quality of care they might receive from a midwife, compared to a doctor.

But there is growing evidence that trained midwives are as good as doctors in taking care of pregnant women and in overseeing uncomplicated births. In the United Kingdom, for instance, there is a recognition that “all women need a midwife, and some need a doctor too.”

Our singular focus on just the outcome (of reducing deaths) has sadly led to a gross neglect of the right methods to achieve it, with the health system forgetting that a pregnant woman is a human being (and “not a birthing machine”) who deserves to be treated respectfully and provided all information honestly. Midwives are an important part of the answer here as maternity systems with midwives tend to be more humanistic and personal, more respectful of women, and less interventional.

Midwifery might not be a comprehensive answer to India’s maternity mess, but it is an important and necessary part of the answer.

To continue reading the original article
“Shunned for years, can trained midwives fix India’s maternity mess?”
by Kirna Kumbhar, click:

https://qz.com/india/629132/shunned-for-years-can-trained-midwives-fix-indias-maternity-mess/

The Umbilical Cord Blood Controversy

by Chinmayo Forro, CDM

When it comes to new research aimed at saving people’s life, none elicits more conflicting opinions than the stem cell controversy. More specifically, the use of umbilical cord blood has generated numerous heated debates: to cut or not to cut and when to cut? Conflicting information has added pressure on pregnant couples: who is right? Doctors favor cutting the cord within seconds of the baby’s birth, whereas midwives have always delayed cord clamping until it stops pulsating – an average of fifteen minutes – and some even advocate to wait a couple of hours after the delivery of the placenta. Cord blood banks have been growing like mushrooms in the past twenty years and advocate freezing the cord blood for possible later use. Some cultures even practice Lotus Birth – leaving the placenta attached to the baby until the cord falls off days later – as a meaningful spiritual practice. Thus, if we want to improve the health of future generations we absolutely must start at the beginning of life and seriously investigate the risks/benefits of early vs. delayed cord clamping.


So let’s first look at what proponents of immediate cord clamping have to say, since theirs is the most accepted practice today. French doctor Francois Mauriceau, a leading obstetrician in 17th century Europe, was the first to insist that the cord be cut immediately following the baby’s delivery. Although this was not an evidence-based decision it has become the gospel of truth in today’s obstetrics, which argues that polycythemia (too many red blood cells) and hyperbilirubinemia (clinical jaundice) could endanger the newborn’s health if the cord is left uncut for more than a few seconds after birth. Does research agree with this argument?

First, according to Dr. H. Rabe (2008), Neonatologist at Brighton and Sussex Hospitals, U.K., “the procedure of a delayed cord clamping time of at least 30 seconds is safe to use and does not compromise the preterm infant in the initial post-partum adaptation phase.” Furthermore, in an article published in Pediatrics (2006), Drs. Barclay and Murata present randomized trials and conclude that early cord clamping “…might deprive the newborn of some benefits such as an increase in iron storage…Iron deficiency early in life may have pronounced central nervous system effects such as cognitive impairment.” And that is not all: in the same article, they argue in favor of delayed cord clamping because “…the increase of hematopoietic stem cells transfused to the newborn might play a role on different blood disorders and immune conditions.” In addition, Dr. Andrew Week (2007), Senior Lecturer in Obstetrics at the University of Liverpool, has research of his own which supports Barclay and Murata’s argument:

Clamping and cutting the umbilical cord should be delayed for three minutes after the birth, particularly for pre-term infants…as the umbilical cord sends oxygen-rich blood to the lungs until breathing establishes…As long as the cord is unclamped, the average transfusion to the newborn is equivalent to 21% of the neonate’s final blood volume and three quarters of the transfusion occurs in the first minute after birth…There is now considerable evidence that early cord clamping does not benefit mothers or babies and may even be harmful…Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) have dropped the practice [of early cord clamping] from their guidelines.

Well, some doctors will argue, what will you do when presented with a nuchal cord (cord wrapped around the baby’s neck)? Cutting the cord then is especially detrimental to the fetus, as CNM’s Mercer et al (2005) have observed from their research: “Cutting the umbilical cord before birth is an intervention that has been associated with hypovolemia, anemia, shock, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy.” Mercer continues by suggesting the use of the Somersault maneuver (holding the infant’s head flexed and guiding it upward so that the baby does a somersault) to deliver these infants. And what about babies who suffer from hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) and need resuscitation, the skeptic will ask? Mercer has an answer for them, too:

Air pressure does not keep lungs open, because lungs have only atmospheric pressure. It is the hydrostatic exoskeleton generated by the capillary network that maintains alveolar expansion and prevents the alveoli from closing or collapsing on expiration…Adequate blood flow to the lung clears the lung fluid during the initial breaths because higher colloidal osmotic pressure of the blood in the capillaries draws the fluid from the alveoli (p.375)

Having established the importance of delayed cord clamping, how do we determine when to cut? As we have seen from the research mentioned above, the recommended time is at least three minutes after the birth of the baby. So why do most midwives wait until the cord stops pulsating, which averages fifteen minutes after birth? Common sense! If nature keeps it pulsating for so long there must be a reason, so why interfere with it? Also, midwives know that immediate cord clamping prolongs the delivery of the placenta and increases maternal blood loss. Yes, physiological jaundice sometimes occurs, but this is a natural process not to be mistaken with clinical jaundice, which has been associated with medications in labor.

Midwife and obstetrics researcher Anne Frye (1998) goes a step further by recommending not to cut the cord until it stops pulsating at the base of the umbilicus: “…typically, it takes one and half to three hours for pulsing at the umbilical base to completely disappear.” She adds:

Even after the placenta is born, equilibration continues by slight adjustments that occur via reflex action of the intra-abdominal portions of the vessels, eliminating the development of excessive central nervous pressure and thus allowing the baby’s system to gradually integrate the additional blood volume…Allowing physiologic equilibration to take place as it naturally occurs is the most gentle option as far as normal neonatal transition is concerned.(p.496)

In light of what we have learned from all this research, why on earth would doctors still want to cut the cord within seconds? Old habits are hard to die. Meanwhile, cord blood banks are pushing hard to store cord blood as a rich source of stem cells to treat more than 70 diseases. This is a multimillion dollar industry – Cryocell, established in 1989, has over 160,000 clients; Viacord, established in 1993, has over 110,000 clients; and Cord Blood Registry Inc., established in 1995, has over 200,000 clients – Here is how it works: as soon as the baby is born the cord is cut and cord blood must be collected within ten minutes; before delivery of the placenta, the mother’s blood must be collected as well, and everything is picked up immediately by a courier who sends it to the blood bank. The shipment must arrive within 24 hours in order to be processed and frozen. Having done this procedure for couples who paid the cord blood bank thousands of dollars I can testify that this process disrupts early bonding between mother and child and distracts the care provider who, instead of looking out for them, must focus on mixing the blood with a prepared Heparin syringe, place labels on all vials, and fill in the paperwork before the courier shows up.

What if, by cutting the cord too early, we created the exact conditions that stem cell research is trying to fix? And what if we just gave Mother Nature a chance, left the cord intact at least until it stops pulsating, and started gathering data on these newborns? As health care providers, “first do no harm” means little if we can’t acknowledge with humility that, yes, perhaps we got it wrong; we should be willing to learn from our mistakes and do our best to provide the next generation with what is its birthright: a cord full of rich blood.

waterbirth_05.jpg
This newborn is only minutes old and still attached to the umbilical cord when he starts nursing in his mother’s arms.

The original text can be found here:
http://www.childbirthwithlove.com/controversy.html

References:

  • Barclay, L., Murata, P. Delayed cord clamping at birth may reduce neonatal anemia.
    Pediatrics, 2006: 117,779-786. Retrieved February 13, 2009 from
    www.medscape.com/viewarticle/530352
  • Frye, A. Holistic Midwifery 1998; 497-498. Portland: Labrys Press Publication.
  • Mercer, J., Skovgaard, R., Peareara-Eaves, J., Bowman, T. Nuchal cord management and nurse-midwifery practice. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Heath 2005: 373-379. Copyrights 2005 by the American College of Nurse Midwives.
  • Rabe, H., Reynolls, G., Diaz-Rossello, J. A systematic review and meta-analysis of a brief delay in clamping the umbilical cord of preterm infants. Neonatology (2008) Vol.93 No2. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from
    www.content.krager.com/produkteb/produkte.asp?typ=fulltex&file=000108764
  • Week, A. (2007) – BMJ – British Medical Journal. Umbilical cord clamping should be delayed. Science Daily. Retrieved February 13, 2009 from
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/0708161/93328.htm

9 months in 4 minutes

An amazing journey we all made – in our mothers’ wombs.

And some of us will make it again (if they reincarnate).

 

Deciding factor: Limbic Imprinting

By Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova

Limbic imprinting is the inborn capacity of the nervous system to absorb and memorize, on a cellular level, all of the information from its surrounding environment during the early formative period– the moment of conception through 9 months of gestation, birth, and the first few years of life. Every fluctuation of the mother’s hormonal, physical, emotional experiences are registered by the fetus and non-cognitively recorded in its developing nervous system. These early impressions and sensations remain with this person throughout their entire lifespan. Good news: If the original limbic imprint, or ‘basic settings’, were undesirable and painful, it is possible to consciously create an alternative later on in life.  

To better understand the term “limbic imprint,” let’s look at the basic structure of our brain. At the tip of the spinal cord there is a segment called the reptilian brain, responsible purely for the physiological functions of the body. That’s the part of the brain that still remains functional when a person is in a coma, for example, in a “vegetable” state, – the basic physiology of the body is still going on, women even keep menstruating and can continue with gestation if they are pregnant.

Then there is the cortex, usually referred to as the “gray matter,” responsible for our mental activity. That’s what we routinely call “the brain”, – the part of the brain responsible for our cognitive functions: logic, calculating, planning…

And then we have the limbic system of the brain, responsible for our emotions, sensations and feelings.

Limbic imprinting happens in that part of the brain, which is not directly connected with the cortex, responsible for cognitive memory. During gestation, birth and early childhood, the limbic system registers all of our sensations and feelings, without translating it into the language of cortex, simply because it’s not developed yet. That memory lives in the body through out the rest of our life whether we know of it or not.

We come into this world wide-open to receive love. When we do receive it, as our first primal experience, our nervous system is limbically imprinted – “programmed” with the undeniable rightness of being. Being held in the mother’s loving arms, feeding from her breast and seeing the great joy in father’s eyes, provides us with the natural sense of bliss and security; it sets the world as the right place for us to be in.

If our first impressions of being in the body are anything less than loving (painful, frightening, lonely…), then that “anything” imprints as a valid experience of love. It is immediately coded into our nervous system as a “comfort zone,” acting as a surrogate for the love and nurturing, regardless of how painful, frustrating and undesirable it actually was.

And in the future, as adults, we will unconsciously, automatically re-create the conditions that were imprinted at birth and through our early childhood.

Research done by the pioneers of prenatal psychology, such as: dr.Thomas Verny, dr. David Chamberlain, dr. William Emerson shows that an overwhelming amount of physical conditions and behavioral disorders in are the direct result of traumatic gestation time and complications during delivery, including unnecessary mechanical interventions and an overdose of anesthesia.

Also, it turns out, on top of the devastating effect of trauma during the actual birth, what happens after it,- like routine impersonal postpartum care,- is also a source of trouble: lack of immediate warm, soft and nurturing contact with the mother, premature cutting of the cord, rude handling, circumcision, needles, bright lights, startling noises… all this sensory overload becomes instantly wired into the newborn’s nervous systems as the new “comfort zone”, against all logic. As logic resides in a different part of the brain, which is not quite developed yet. So that person will continue unconsciously recreate/attract the same repeated situation of abuse and/or become abusive. Even if later on in life his or hers rational mind/cortex will recognize this as pattern of “abuse,” the imprinting had already happened in a different part of the brain, which doesn’t have the skill to stop the pattern.

We can make an effort to heal our own birth trauma and embrace the opportunity of creating a masterpiece of our lives. We can recognize that however rude our beginning was, we do have a choice as adults to change our basic settings, to reprogram our limbic imprint and transmute our suffering and helplessness during birth into the love and joy of being born on this planet. We can regain our authentic power, clear the pain of our ancestors from our system, and set the stage for our children to step into their lives as peaceful, empowered guardians of Earth. I invite you to envision the possibilities that would open up for humankind if women fully claimed their original capacity that all mammals have – to give birth and raise our young without trauma.

Call me naïve, but I truly believe that we can improve the quality of our species in just one generation by allowing our kind to enter into this world without being ‘programmed’ on suffering and pain. I envision the new generation coming into the world of safety, compassion and common sense. Please, join me in this vision.” 

Birth, Baby, Chiropractice

See baby being pulled out by the neck? That’s a typical c-section, with the doctor pulling baby through an incision in mom’s abdomen. Those pulling forces are experienced by baby in most births, vaginal or cesarean, and cause a subtle shift in the top bone of the neck. And this can cause a variety of issues for the child. Since the nervous system controls and coordinates everything in the body, including development and healing, we have to make sure that a child’s nervous system is working properly. And the spine is the most common place in the body that can interfere with the nervous system, disrupting the amazing power that made the body.

Example: Despite being seen by neonatologists, pediatricians, lactation consultants, and a pediatric dentist who released 4 tongue/lip ties, no one could explain why Owen struggled to breastfeed. Mom thought nothing would change…then she tried chiropractic. After one gentle adjustment, which Owen melted into a relaxed bliss, things changed. He latched, and nursed. Mom sent a text soon after: “I just wanted to say thank you. We just got home and Owen nursed for 30 minutes…I can’t hardly believe it. I’ve cried for a week unable to provide for my babe, I’m so thankful! Whatever we are doing to him, it’s working.“

baby chiropractic

It is so important that every provider who works with pregnant women and children – OB/GYNs, midwives, perinatologists, pediatricians, neonatologists, lactation consultants, dentists, and others – understands that birth is physically stressful, and chiropractic offers a safe, gentle, and effective approach to helping Mom and baby navigate the transition from pregnancy to birth and beyond.

Source: Shtulman Family Chiropractic, USA, welladjustedfamily.com

Midwifery in India

Disgruntled with the way the hospital machinery functions, more and more couples in India are looking at other (happier) ways of bringing their babies into this world… And more certified independent midwives for one-on-one care are needed!

Article in The Hindu, 18. June 2018:

https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/the-midwifery-model-of-childbirth/article24190985.ece

As pdf:

The midwifery model of childbirth – The Hindu

Healing powers of Spiraling

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova speaks about ‘Spiraling’:

“When asked directly about why the Birth Into Being Method has such a staggering display of efficiency, I would always limit myself by saying something like ‘one of the main factors is that all of our processes are experienced by participants in a slightly altered states, achieved by a few very specific types of movement alternating with a few very specific types of breathing’. That was the most revealing statement about my work that I was open to sharing publically, feeling that I can’t properly introduce this deeply mystical experience in a brief intro and do it justice by giving out only a fraction of information. But at this point, it feels right to start sharing more openly. So, in this interview, you can see a short version of the First type of movement, necessary to gently ascend the group of people into that proverbial slightly altered state, up into the vortex of the Birthing Field, the very source of our creativity and sexuality, into the pre-cognitive space ‘beyond the Story’, in which they can easily access and activate their Free Will.  Done properly, it goes with very deep breathing in the rhythm of waves rolling on a seashore.  Do try this at home. It feels incredibly healing, recharging, rejuvenating. Let your body flow like a piece of seaweed on a bottom of a shallow lagoon, completely at the mercy of the pulse of Life Force that charges and moves the water around it! Allow yourself to experience in real time that level of surrender, support, and mercy, all at the same time… Sending you so much sweet longing for more of THAT in your Life, that will inevitably bring you more… It all starts with us knowing what we want and what we don’t want. Lots of Love and Blessings, Elena”

quote

Birthing & Bonding

Joseph Chilton Pearce (January 14, 1926 – August 23, 2016) was an American author of a number of books on human development and child development.

Your grandma’s and your mother’s lives affect You

3 generations

The above illustration (currently circulating on social media platforms) shows that the egg that created you was formed inside of your mother’s fetus while she was inside of your grandmother’s womb. So the way your grandmother and your mother lived their lives, affects you in the now.

This is why it is possible for babies to be born with deficiencies and already suffering illness; health carries down the line of women in the family. For example, a mother exposed to insecticides and mercury can pass this down to her daughter and her granddaughter. Because at the time of birth, children have inherited the lymphatic system of the mother (the lymphatic system belongs to the waste drainage system of the body), along with any genetic weaknesses from both parents.

Our physical aspects and genetic inheritance but also our beliefs, thought patterns and ultimately our actions (behaviour) are significantly influenced by our parents and ancestors.

We are part of the family group consciousness, or morphogenetic field, and my work with Family Constellation and Hypnotherapy has demonstrated again and again, that the family energy field intimately influences the lives of each of us. This means that our hearts, minds and bodies carry echoes and repercussions of traumas, physical and emotional woundings that our parents, our grandparents and even our great-grandparents experienced. Bert Hellinger, researcher, author and therapist of Family Constellations, advanced this theory long before a confirmation came from science. 

In essence, waiting until you are just about to have a baby, or until you fall pregnant, to make healthier changes in your life, can be too late. What you do today affects your child decades down the line.

Perfect Hands Off Breech Birth!

Screenshots of video, posted by “Mães & Babys” on fb:

Quoting the video description:

“I never imagined a birth like that would be possible. The realization of natural #childbirth with pelvic presentation is possible? The answer is #yes! Before clarifying the reasons for this possibility, we will define what the pelvic presentation is. Between the 36th and 40th week gestational occurs the intensification of uterine contractions and the baby begins to adopt a position to be born, most often with the head down (presentation presentation) which is considered the most appropriate For birth. However, it does not always happen and there are cases that the child remains sitting in the mother’s belly, so this posture is classified as a pelvic presentation. Pelvic labor is not an absolute indication of caesarean section! Many people believe that this type of presentation prevents a natural and safe birth by associating with anomalies and / or gestational disease, which in fact is a great #myth! In this type of delivery we need a team prepared to understand all the processes involved and do not intervene unnecessarily (pulling, compressing, compressing, etc. ), one of the most indicated positions is support with knees (of four), which may still have ball or shower aid. Pioneers in this area as researcher dr. Frank in points out that it is essential to wait for the baby to come naturally because physiology will be responsible for driving birth. In The Brazilian public health scenario it is essential that this subject is disseminated in the perspective of reducing the submitted of an elective caesarean section without indication because there are several studies that point to natural childbirth as the safest, the surgical conduct indicated only in births with dystocia. #Curiosity : the only anomalous presentation that is considered absolute indicative of caesarean section is transverse / Oblique (crossed in the uterus). However some professionals still choose to adopt this conduct only after the start of labor because they also consider the possibility of the baby adopting vertical position. 👶 #Health #woman #mother #sus #nursing #birth #obstetrics #neonatology video: the arrival of thayla – Youtube. The video features scenes of a labor. It’s not porn!”

Why not to clamp the cord early

“There’s something important parents need to know about that moment when the umbilical cord is clamped. And that is that at the moment a baby’s born, 1/3 of their blood, the blood that’s been going through them for all of pregnancy, is still outside their body. And what happened for all of human history is that after the baby is born, the cord would pump. It would pulse. It would push blood into the baby. They’d get 30% more blood. They get 60% more blood cells. They get iron to last them through their first year. They would get white blood cells to fight infection. They would get antibodies. They would get stem cells to help repair their body. But what happened in the 20th century is we got the idea to immediately put a clamp on the cord. To clamp it, cut it, and lock out the oxygen, lock out the iron, lock out all those wonderful things. If you wait just an extra 90 seconds or so, you get all the good stuff in your baby. Immediate clamped kids are 10x more likely to get iron deficient in the first year, which can affect their brain. So the campaign’s called TICC-TOCC Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping to Optimal Cord Clamping.” – Dr. Alan Greene

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To have children, or not to have children?

Conscious birthing embraces also the understanding that not every woman (and every couple) has to procreate. To be fertile and to consciously give birth can also mean to bring something other than a baby to the world: writing a book, expressions in art and music or any other project and venture that comes from your heart… there are so many ways to bring love, life and aliveness onto this planet, to people, animals and nature.

This post is an invitation to rigorously and ruthlessly check your self before ‘making a baby’. Below some inspiration for your investigations. After all, a child is a 20 years + project. Are you and your partner prepared for and integrated to it? Do you have the energy and commitment? Are you sure it serves your soul’s calling?

Good reasons for not having kids:

Bad reasons for having kids:

6 terrible reasons (Psychology Today):

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201512/6-terrible-reasons-anyone-have-child

AND: 10 Things to Know Before Having a Baby 

WHO: Individualised care is key

WHO has issued new recommendations to establish global care standards for healthy pregnant women and reduce unnecessary medical interventions.

Worldwide, an estimated 140 million births take place every year. Most of these occur without complications for women and their babies. Yet, over the past 20 years, practitioners have increased the use of interventions that were previously only used to avoid risks or treat complications, such as oxytocin infusion to speed up labour or caesarean sections.

“We want women to give birth in a safe environment with skilled birth attendants in well-equipped facilities. However, the increasing medicalization of normal childbirth processes are undermining a woman’s own capability to give birth and negatively impacting her birth experience,” says Dr Princess Nothemba Simelela, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women, Children and Adolescents.

“If labour is progressing normally, and the woman and her baby are in good condition, they do not need to receive additional interventions to accelerate labour,” she says.

Childbirth is a normal physiological process that can be accomplished without complications for the majority of women and babies. However, studies show a substantial proportion of healthy pregnant women undergo at least one clinical intervention during labour and birth. They are also often subjected to needless and potentially harmful routine interventions.

The new WHO guideline includes 56 evidence-based recommendations on what care is needed throughout labour and immediately after for the woman and her baby. These include having a companion of choice during labour and childbirth; ensuring respectful care and good communication between women and health providers; maintaining privacy and confidentiality; and allowing women to make decisions about their pain management, labour and birth positions and natural urge to push, among others.

Every labour is unique and progresses at different rates

The new WHO guideline recognizes that every labour and childbirth is unique and that the duration of the active first stage of labour varies from one woman to another. In a first labour, it usually does not extend beyond 12 hours. In subsequent labours it usually does not extend beyond 10 hours.

To reduce unnecessary medical interventions, the WHO guideline states that the previous benchmark for cervical dilation rate at 1 cm/hr during the active first stage of labour (as assessed by a partograph or chart used to document the course of a normal labour) may be unrealistic for some women and is inaccurate in identifying women at risk of adverse birth outcomes. The guideline emphasizes that a slower cervical dilation rate alone should not be a routine indication for intervention to accelerate labour or expedite birth.

“Many women want a natural birth and prefer to rely on their bodies to give birth to their baby without the aid of medical intervention,” says Ian Askew, WHO Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research. “Even when a medical intervention is wanted or needed, the inclusion of women in making decisions about the care they receive is important to ensure that they meet their goal of a positive childbirth experience.”

High quality care for all women

Unnecessary labour interventions are widespread in low-, middle- and high-income settings, often putting a strain on already scarce resources in some countries, and further widening of the equity gap.

As more women give birth in health facilities with skilled health professionals and timely referrals, they deserve better quality of care. About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day – the majority could be prevented with high-quality care in pregnancy and during childbirth.

Disrespectful and non-dignified care is prevalent in many health facilities, violating human rights and preventing women from accessing care services during childbirth. In many parts of the world, the health provider controls the birthing process, which further exposes healthy pregnant women to unnecessary medical interventions that interfere with the natural childbirth process. 

Achieving the best possible physical, emotional, and psychological outcomes for the woman and her baby requires a model of care in which health systems empower all women to access care that focuses on the mother and child.

Health professionals should advise healthy pregnant women that the duration of labour varies greatly from one woman to another. While most women want a natural labour and birth, they also acknowledge that birth can be an unpredictable and risky event and that close monitoring and sometimes medical interventions may be necessary. Even when interventions are needed or wanted, women usually wish to retain a sense of personal achievement and control by being involved in decision making, and by rooming in with their baby after childbirth.

source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2018/positive-childbirth-experience/en/

Conscious Birthing in Northern India

Conscious birthing is as much about conscious conception and parenting, as it is about the actual natural birthing process. Given India’s rich yoga and ayurveda traditions one would expect this country to have holistic doctors and natural birthing facilities available en masse – but the reality is far from it. When searching for clinics for water birthing, midwives for home birthing and experienced, holistically thinking gynaecologists in the state of Uttarakhand (North East India), there are NONE to find.

While Mumbai and Hyderabad offer already some good alternatives to the standardised allopathic birthing procedures, the region between Delhi and Dehradun is way behind.

India, the largest democracy on the planet with more than 1 billion people, is going through big changes. While ambition and strength are needed for the country’s development and expansion, balance, attention and discernment are equally crucial.

Given the speed in which India’s population is growing, the provision of an environment where babies, Indian society’s future members, can enter life naturally, in peace and calm, without time pressure and trauma, should be amongst the top priorities.

Short and longterm implications for mums and children after stressful, hurried, medicated and invasive births are well documented.

With media under a rather strong Western influence, Indian women who were used to natural births (for example Garhwali women in Uttarakhand), started believing that it is unfashionable to do so. They have to be encouraged to return to their natural ways, which might take a generation of education and training.

In this fast paced world it is more urgent than ever to ensure the fullfillment of the basic needs of women giving birth. To become aware and understand their physiological and psychological processes, and to give women knowledge and the freedom of choice.

Vision for Uttarakhand:

  1. To have a reliable network of holistic birthing professionals and experienced midwives for home- and hospital births in Uttarakhand.
  2. To have reliable support from committed staff in well-equipped hospitals.
  3. To ultimately establish a holistic integrative birthing sanctuary in Uttarakhand – between Rishikesh and Dehradun – with skilled midwives and doctors (trained under international standards incl. alternative medicine), facilities for natural birthing (e.g. water pools, private rooms, calm atmosphere) and a state of the art ob/gyn department for emergency interventions. To have the space and facilities for parents to stay well in advance of the due date, and stay as long as needed. Focus: Treat expectant mothers with respect, acknowledge their individual needs and allow them to experience birthing without time pressure and enforcement of medicine or invasions. This sanctuary would balance the best of all worlds – mum’s and baby’s body wisdom, naturopathy, spiritual science and healing modalities as well as conventional medicine.

If you are interested in supporting the realisation of such a sacred birthing home, please get in touch.

“Being from Europe where natural birthing, home births, waterbirths and trained nurses have long ago started to be widely available – just check Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland–, I see a massive lack of such options in India. The caesarean rate is 98%, presence of midwives maybe 2%. And even if clinical doctors promise to support expectant parents in their natural birthing process, they more often than not change their minds last minute because higher hospital fees can be charged for c-sections.”
HypnoBirthing Practitioner, 2014

Beautiful Video: Home Water Birth

Thanks to Maraya Brown & Family.

 

Where to Walk?!

Conscious ‘conception-birthing-parenting’ are part of conscious living. What about conscious city planning and landscaping? Shouldn’t this also be an integral part of our considerations and social responsibility, in order to prepare the ground not only for the well-being of our children but also for creating sustainable infrastructures for generations to come? Increasing traffic, the related bad air quality, noise and lack of safety are major concerns that need to be addressed – urgently and wholeheartedly.

I am German and love India. In fact, I also live in this magnificent country with my beloved (who is Indian). One of the things I really do miss here though, is an environment that allows an exploration of land and cities by foot with ease.

It is impressive how people have adapted to the apparent road chaos and creatively move around (remarkable how accepting citizens are), but I have also observed how challenging it is to go for a walk in public, without risking health and life. There’s no denying that the traffic situation, services and facilities, are characterised by a significant neglect and attitude of indifference.  

The below videos show the situation in Rishikesh (Tapovan/ Laxman Jhula) for example, and unfortunately it is emblematic for many roads in the country. Just see for yourself in the second film how a mother shields her son from all the speedy traffic. But then, the parked motorbikes force her to step on the road…

A simple stroll turns into an unnecessarily risky adventure. The current infrastructure is frustrating and worrisome – not only for mothers and fathers with their kids, pregnant women and dog owners, but for everybody who wants to go for a walk, or must walk in order to get from A to B.

Where is the walking space? How to navigate a walk when there is no pedestrian and footpath? Buses, trucks, cars, autorikshas and motorbikes have taken over. Vehicles pop up from all directions, oftentimes super speedy. Rubbish, stones, loose bricks, gravel, dog poo, cow poo and what not, create additional obstacles on the narrow sidewalks.

Feeling safe and comfortable while walking in the street is naturally given in almost any other country. In India it’s a dream and one wonders where the responsible street and city planners are. There seem absolutely no regulations for protection of public space. Least concern for pedestrian safety. 

I do not even dare to wish for public parks and green areas for doing sports, walking, socialising or to simply enjoying mother Earth, although such facility is an indisputable must have in most cities on the planet. Here instead, the main focus seems on commercial spaces which pop up by the minute. The city landscape tends to be a mess and eyesore. Big old trees get ruthlessly cut and supposed height limits for buildings are blatantly ignored. And it pains me even more, when I notice the lack of maintenance of India’s ancient spiritual treasures and sacred powerspots like Rishikesh. An Indian friend also pointed out that the open loos for men and garbage dumps are a violation against public hygiene and global efforts for environmental sustainability

Just shortly after recording the above videos, I saw a car from Delhi bumping into a woman holding a baby in her arms. She walked on the stingy path beside a busy road. The driver caught her from behind, just laughed (!) and drove away. Supported by family members, she was ok, but shock and disbelief stood on her face. While it is hardly possible to control the driving behaviour of individuals, it is possible to control the development of road structures.

Time to take a strategic approach and bring awakened consciousness, humanity, sustainability and beauty into public space-planning and infrastructure implementation.

In the following 2 mins. recording, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev eloquently describes that a new attitude is indeed needed to secure India’s development and survival (original: “Sadhguru & Baba Ramdev at Rally for Rivers event at Haridwar” on YouTube):

Midlife mums: Pregnant over 40

Given that in India the average marriage-age for men is 26 and 22 for women*, and in rural regions even earlier, the median age at first pregnancy is 20. In Western countries the average age for women to have their first baby has risen to 29 and above – and with that an increase in books, blogs and other media featuring women getting pregnant in their 40s can be observed. In contrast to India: the fact that women can have healthy happy babies also at a later stage in their lives seems doomed unrealistic (by most doctors) and undesirable. BUT once a 40+ woman is pregnant or once the baby is delivered, hardly anybody raises an eyebrow. Pregnant women and mothers are adored and honoured in India.

Time for an awareness and paradigm shift amongst Indian women, couples and above all amongst Indian doctors, gynaecologists and nurses.

I’m very much in favour of exploring life and getting to know yourself and the world in your 20s and 30s before settling down, getting married and starting a family. Expand your horizon, be whole and complete within yourself, your body-mind-soul, first. 

Apart from humanity struggling with excess population, this world has enough children who were conceived accidentally and un-lovingly. India has enough couples that follow blindly what everybody else is doing, what their families expect and what society dictates, without checking what is their own real calling. 

Starting a family and having children takes a long term commitment and spiritual maturity. Ideally we have mothers and fathers who choose conscious conception, conscious birthing and conscious parenting. However, this does not tend to be on one’s radar when only 20 or 25 years old.

I am neither in favour of a late pregnancy, nor am I against it. I just want to point out that conceiving a healthy happy baby later in life IS possible. And we have to acknowledge that society in the East and West is changing, and more women are having babies at an older age, for a variety of reasons.

Here a small selection of the inspiring material that is already out there:

BLOGS

Wonderfully honest, hopeful and important blog by Tracy Slater. Read also her article: Why It’s Not So Rare to Get Pregnant after 45.

Mush brained ramblings is a blog by author Ellie Stoneley. Read also her article in the Huffington Post and the post In the Beginning about the journey of being a first time mother at the age of 47 1/2.

BOOKS

ARTICLES

YOU TUBE:

Interview Lauren Hanna & Lilou Mace, “Pregnant at 46!” (35 mins):


*Source: WHO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India, 2011 report.
Image: unknown photographer

Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin is the famous midwife who founded The Farm, an inspiration to birthing women worldwide, and an advocate for normal birth. She is the author of several books: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding, and Spiritual Midwifery.

book

Lotus Birth

Lotus Birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut, so that the baby remains attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates from the navel, 3-10 days after birth. Please research this process yourself to make an informed decision. There is a lot of material available on YouTube, blogs, websites and in books.

lotus_birth_fetal_circulation

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3.-9. Sept 2016 : Healthy Birth Healthy Earth : International Conference

Healthy Birth – Healthy Earth
International Conference in Scottland
from 3. to 9. September 2016
Live Webstreaming and/or participation in person at the Ecovillage Findhorn in Scotland.

„A conference about conscious conception, pregnancy, birth and early childhood, as well as the healing of birth trauma in adults.“

Amongst the 24 speakers are Michel Odent, Elena Tonetti Vladimirova and Robin Lim.
Full program and detailed information:
https://hbhe.co/programme/


 

Home or Hospital?

Holding the Space for Human Birth
TED Talk by Saraswati Vedam:


WHO Recommends Doulas Attend Births

“WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist” has been developed to support the delivery of essential maternal and perinatal care practices. The Checklist addresses the major causes of maternal death (haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labour and hypertensive disorders), intrapartum-related stillbirths (inadequate intrapartum care), and neonatal deaths (birth asphyxia, infection and complications related to prematurity). It was developed following a rigorous methodology and tested for usability in ten countries across Africa and Asia.

An implementation guide for health facilities has been developed to help birth attendants and health-care leaders successfully launch and sustain use of the WHO Safe Childbirth Checklist. The simple document lists basic interventions. Amongst the six instructions: “Encourage birth companion to be present at birth”.

Birth companions provide support to the mother during birthing and in the postpartum period. They can also recognise danger signs, alert health care workers in case of emergency and care for the baby. Possible birth companions are the spouse, a family member, friend, health worker or doula. 

Evidence shows that birth companions can help to improve health outcomes. The emotional and psychological benefit cannot be emphasised enough. The presence of birth companions increases the likelihood that the mother will have a spontaneous vaginal delivery instead of caesarian, vacuum or forceps birth. Mothers with birth companions have also been shown to need fewer pain medication, to have shorter birthing process and be better satisfied with their delivery experience.

This is great news for doulas as they receive validation from the most influential health organisation in the world. 

Check: http://www.who.int/patientsafety/implementation/checklists/childbirth/en/

benefits doula

Background

Of the more than 130 million births occurring each year, an estimated 303 000 result in the mother’s death, 2.6 million in stillbirth, and another 2.7 million in a newborn death within the first 28 days of birth. The majority of these deaths occur in low-resource settings and most could be prevented.

BetterBirth study

Since 2012, WHO has been supporting a multi-centred randomized controlled trial in more than 100 hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, India, to test whether adoption of the Checklist improves health outcomes for mothers and newborns.

The trial is being conducted by the Ariadne Labs, a joint centre of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Check: https://www.ariadnelabs.org/areas-of-work/childbirth/better-birth/


 

Paradigm Shift

Giving birth with ease and grace

1.) Birthing can be calm, gentle, painless and even pleasant for a woman.

2.) A woman and her baby have their own timing which is perfect for them. No “pushing” is needed and no nurse or doctor should interfere, know better and try to shortcut the individual birthing process (“Let me give you an injection and your out of here in no time.”).

3.) If a woman gets her time, space and support, which means she feels safe and can move as she wants, and if she is mentally well prepared (positive affirmations, visualisations, hypnosis, relaxation training and breathing techniques) she can give birth without any synthetic hormones (epidural etc) and without getting her perineum cut.

4.) After the baby arrived “outside” it is best to place the child immediately on the mother’s chest – without slapping its backside, without much wiping, without sucking out liquids from its nose/mouth and without cutting the umbilical chord. The baby will do what is called “breastcrawl”, which means it will find its own way in its own time to the breast of the mother. 

5.) Once the newborn latches on mum’s breast another wave of hormones surges within the mother which helps to release the placenta.

6.) When the pulsation of the umbilical chord stops, the baby is able to breath on its own and only then the chord should be cut.

7.) If doctors interfere with the natural process e.g. “forcefully break the water” or introduce artifical hormones, the whole natural cycle is destroyed, especially the mother’s sensitive/delicate yet powerful hormone production which is required for a smooth delivery, and birthing has to be continued and finished with the artificial procedures.

8.) The birthing partner (e.g. husband, friend, mother) plays an important supportive role to the mother during the birth preparation and the actual delivery.


 

Become a Doula!

Learn about doulas, how labor works and how our ideas about birth can shape our experience of birthing in this awesome talk by Ginny Phang:

Ginny Phang is passionate about enriching a woman’s child birth experience, supporting couples through their choices and helping them to achieve the best possible birth experience. As a Doula, she has supported over 300 births and taught antenatal classes to hundreds of couples.

She’s been speaking all over the world in front of audiences ranging from small groups of single pregnant women to the Singapore International Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecol­ogy. She’s been trained by pioneers in childbirth education and labor support. She’s been quoted all over the place, including TIME magazine and other publications.

Information on Doula training:
http://www.fourtrimesters.com


 

Slow Birth & Social Implications of Fast Birth

So called modern societies have dramatically disturbed women during the child birth process and these days we seem to have not only a lack of an appropriate cultural model for childbirth but also a lack of time, patience and trust in a woman’s body, and the natural orchestration of mother and baby during birthing.

It seems standard to replace natural oxytocin with drips of synthetic oxytocin and natural endorphins by epidural anaesthesia. So most women give birth without relying on the release of their own natural hormones. The downside of the readily available synthetic hormones is, that they do not have the same behavioural effects as the natural ones. Synthetic oxytocin for example inhibits the release of natural oxytocin from the woman’s pituitary gland. The artifical drug will be effective at stimulating uterine contractions, but it will not reach the brain, meaning it will not have the ‘bonding effect’ as the natural hormone. 

Mechanised, rushed birthing ‘appointments’ really have a vast array of side effects. To name a few: physical and emotional trauma (in mother and baby, as well as father), mothers’ and fathers’ sense of disempowerment, mums’ struggle with depression and feelings of disconnection towards their babies. And a baby’s anesthetised body which is forced to exit from the womb has manifold implications as therapy work with adults reveals again and again.

Last but not least, there is a the spiritual side to childbirth. This is rarely featured in mainstream media although even scientific research shows that hormones of love and transcendence are released in peak doses during labor, birth and breastfeeding.

Now, this raises several big questions:

What effect has birthing on a baby’s life and the individual relationship of mother and child?

How will humanity evolve over generations of women giving birth under unnatural conditions? And where does it leave the father?

And how will women ever get back their sense of ease, grace and ownership for childbirth, and her their own bodies?

It is more urgent than ever to become aware and understand women’s physiological processes and emotional needs, to ensure the fullfillment of (at least) the basic requirements of women giving birth and to give them more knowledge and freedom of choice.

“How a baby is born and how well a woman is treated when she gives birth sets the tone and is the matrix from which a child will grow into a future we have not yet imagined. (…) f each pregnant woman were well nourished and supported in her community, each birth was attended by a skilled and loving attendant and each child had an enriched loving environment, we could change our world into a world of peace, not war.” – Marianne Littlejohn (professional nurse and midwife, and ambassador for natural birth)

Similar to fast food, fast birth is neither nourishing, empowering nor sustainable in the long term. 

“As a reaction to industrial agriculture and food marketing, the Slow Food and locavore movements have recently been born. If de-escalation of our food production practices is healthier or more humane, why is intensification of our child production practices better than sustainable childbirth? I’m waiting for the birth of the revolution, or at least, the revolution of birth. Will women who are interested in Slow Food or cage-free eggs find their way to a Slow Childbirth movement? Imagine: educated upper-middle-class women who buy songbird-certified organic coffee and worry about their carbon footprint, just saying no to the quick-fix cesarean culture. If they’re not part of the problem, maybe they can be part of the solution. But the impetus must come from women themselves. Do we really believe that industrial obstetrics is the best model for ourselves and our children? We must clearly understand that real autonomy does not mean cesarean on request, but instead a spectrum of birth options that honor women’s authentic choices. Real autonomy also means, to borrow a sentiment from Gandhi, that women should bring forth the change they wish to see in the world.”  Excerpt from “Mommy, What Did You Do in the Industrial Revolution? Meditations on the Rising Cesarean Rate” by Lauren A. Plante


 

Importance of Oxytocin

The key role for an amazing experience in the birthing process plays oxytocin, the „love hormone“ involved in bonding, sex, childbirth, breast-feeding as well as feelings of peace and calm. Those who meditate regularly might know that also meditation can increase oxytocin’s effect. The deep state of rest produced during meditation triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Ingredients that have vital roles for emotional awareness, attention, perception, self-recognition, decision making and stress regulation.

Dr. Michel Odent talks about the biochemical explanation for why birth is and should be an erotic and sometimes orgasmic event: the main hormone in both sex and birth is the same (oxycontin). And we need as good conditions for good labour as we need good conditions for good lovemaking. Because if a woman produces adrenaline (related to fear) she cannot produce oxyocin, which is the hormone not only needed to deliver the baby but also to deliver the placenta. 

It is absolutely necessary for a woman during labour to feel at ease and comfortable (unobserved and not judged), that she is uninhibited to follow intuitively her blue print for labour and encouraged to trust her body to complete this ancient and mystic process. Unfortunately, few women ever have such conditions of privacy, safety and non-disturbance, which is the fundamental problem for why women need so much help when giving birth. 

These days it seems more “natural” to replace natural oxytocin with drips of synthetic oxytocin and natural endorphins by epidural anaesthesia. So most women give birth without relying on the release of their own natural hormones. The downside of the readily available synthetic hormones is, that they do not have the same behavioural effects as the natural ones. Synthetic oxytocin for example inhibits the release of natural oxytocin from the woman’s pituitary gland. And the artifical drug will be effective at stimulating uterine contractions, but it will not reach the brain, meaning it will not have the „bonding effect“ as the natural hormone. 

Natural methods also require the woman to be an active participant in the birthing process, which involves empowering her to listen to her body and being able to change positions (walking, squatting, rolling, hovering in water or just resting) – in contrast to a woman being stuck in a hospital bed on her back with feet strapped, which has consistently been shown to slow down and complicate labor.

“The same movements that get the baby in, get the baby out.”
From Birthing From Within


 

Conscious Birthing: Re-introducing the Birth Process

Why seems birth so easy to animals and so difficult for us humans? Why should we, who have been created as sexual beings that come together in love and joy, get pregnant and then have to give birth in a painful and stressful way? It just does not make sense. And why have women in some cultures gentle, pain-free childbirths and why do women with less educated and upscale backgrounds usually deal with birthing in such uncomplicated manner? 

We’d like to share the most important facts about natural birthing and HypnoBirthing® as it reveals a whole new perspective on birthing (including a new, much gentler language for the process), which every woman – and man – should be introduced to. Natural birthing methods help to resolve limiting social norms and to recover a healthy confidence in the female body, in its natural instincts and in the harmonious orchestration of the mother’s and baby’s bodies at birth.

“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change.”
Marie Mongan, Founder of HypnoBirthing®

The answer to the initial questions is actually rather simple: Fear. For most of their lives, women have been inundated with the negative stories of other women’s birth experiences. Everyone, from their mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, and even strangers, wants to tell them the horrors of giving birth. They have been conditioned to believe that excruciating pain is associated with the delivery. And because of this, women today hold an unprecedented fear of giving birth. Where there is fear, there is tension, where there is tension, there is contraction, and with it come limited perception and limited physiological functions.

This extreme fear not only causes women‘s bodies to become tense with the approaching birthing date – and that tension prohibits their bodies from easily performing what should be a normal natural birthing procedure, resulting in exactly the feared long, painful „labour“ or unnecessary intervention – but also, even before conception, in a lack of confidence in their body‘ inherent capacities to birth. Most women who give birth by the vaginal route rely on pharmaceutical drugs and technologised treatments in the clinical labour rooms, because they fear they cannot manage birth by themselves.

Holistic prenatal classes such as the HypnoBirthing® program are built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, clearing of subconscious limiting beliefs, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Expectant women learn to dismiss fear-based stories, misinformation and birthing myths. And they are helped to see birth as normal. They learn to trust that their bodies know how to bring their babies into the world in the calm and gentle way that nature intended.

„Wow, this is what I was looking for. Deep within I always knew natural birthing methods must exist. Now I feel truly empowered. Even ready to birth alone in a forest, if necessary.“
First time expectant mother after HypnoBirthing® course.

Everywhere in the world, the number of women who give birth to a baby by themselves – which means by their own hormones (e.g. oxytocin and endorphin) – is getting smaller and smaller. While the conditioning of women‘s minds plays a significant role, our society‘s standardised, and by expectant parents mostly unquestioned, “take over” by doctors/ nurses/ gadgets/ medication is the other major influence. Good news is, that a movement of natural birth (meaning without any medical intervention) is gaining more and more momentum, whereby women stop to accept limiting mainstream conditions for their childbirth.

Giving birth can be easy and calm for women. It can even be a pleasurable and highly erotic as well as a deeply spiritual experience.  And if a woman is well prepared (positive affirmations, visualisations, hypnosis, relaxation training and breathing techniques) she can give birth without any synthetic hormones (epidural etc.) and without getting her perineum cut.

„To those who say it is just not possible to birth naturally without pain, I say, “But what if we’re right? Wouldn’t it be wonderful?“
Lorne R. Campbell, M.D.

 

 

Featured post

Labour in harmony with nature

An increasing number of moms-to-be are opting for traditional birthing practices. An article by Poona Jain.

We are not incharge of our existence. Who knows this better than a woman in labour? Perhaps, that’s why an increasing number of women are choosing to give birth naturally, a departure from the earlier trend prevalent among upwardly-mobile urbanites, to go for a Ceasarian-section.

 
When, on the march, a Guyanese woman in South America goes into labour, she just steps aside, delivers, wraps up the baby with the afterbirth and runs to catch up with the others. At the first stream that presents itself, she washes herself and the infant, reveals Judith Goldsmith, in her book Childbirth Wisdom From The World’s Oldest Societies.
 
A similar expression of nature’s creativity is shared by Livingston Jones in his A Study of the Thlingets of Alaska. The vast majority of Thlingit women suffer very little and some, not at all, during childbirth. They have been known to give birth while sleeping, he remarks. This was clearly during a time when there was full and easy harmony with the nature of the cosmos.
 
Traditional cultures were evolved in the way ‘primal’ woman behaved during labour. She was governed by her instincts; fear was absent and children were born effortlessly. In traditional societies, a baby was seen as a link with ancestors, says 84-year-old UK-based Sheila Kitzinger, natural birth activist and social anthropologist. “In our wealthy modern society, giving birth to a baby is treated as a personal accessory to the romance between couples who, once they have established a home together and acquired a car and stereo, proceed to ‘acquire’ a baby, or even, when that romance is fading, look to a baby as a means of reviving and enhancing it,” she says.
 
Mothers are increasingly choosing waterbirths. Providers, doctors, midwives, spiritual teachers and birth assistants have the responsibility to assist women in finding their centre, connecting to the source and letting the baby emerge into wholeness, shares Barbara Harper, founder of Waterbirth International. She says, “The use of water assists in the process in ways that are amazing and extremely beneficial.”
 
During waterbirth, a baby flows through the mother, into warm watery fluid that is similar in temperature to the womb. Everything stops as we witness and hold the space for this new being to enter into a life of intention as it makes the effort to survive, to connect at every level, cell, neuron, and to his spiritual being. The newborn baby that is treated in a kind, respectful, conscious, gentle manner grows to be a connected, trusting adult who celebrates his very being. “Would you like to be welcomed into the world in rush, pain and fear, or with love, joy and connection,” asks Harper, who was recently in Bangalore where she delivered a talk on the impact birthing practices have on foetal brain development.
 
Most births today are hurried, especially so in metros. “The US seems to have influenced much of the world with the rather brutal form that obstetrical care took during the early 20th century,” says the US-based Ina Gaskin May, described as ‘the mother of authentic midwifery’. She continues: “Midwifery was eliminated, and birth moved into hospitals that employed no midwives who could have taught doctors less, drastic ways to get babies out of women.”
 
Awakening To Life
 
C-sections and episiotomy — a surgical procedure to enlarge the birth passage — mutilate the female body, according to Janet Chawla, a Delhi-based birth activist and scholar. That part of the female body, the yoni — through which all human life is born — is accorded dignity in Sanskrit and subsequent languages as being the source, both metaphysically and as a physical part of the body.
 

Birth can hold many aspects and feelings: blissful, challenging, ecstatic, difficult, sacred and transformative. It is important we develop an understanding and a vocabulary of pleasure if we are to overcome our fear of birth and share what is possible — allowing women a full range of options. Women must embrace the power and the pleasure in welcoming babies with consciousness. For birthing spiritually-aware babies means bringing forth souls connected to a love-filled universe. With so much love, only one thing is possible — and that is, an illumined world.


Conference 2.-5. February 2017, Mumbai: Human Rights in Childbirth

An impressive forum of scientists, gynaecologists, midwives, therapists, lawyers, journalists and visionaries. Check link for program details:
http://www.humanrightsinchildbirth.org

Background:

Everybody working in maternity care shares a common goal: healthy mothers, and healthy babies. Governments, NGOs, and providers are working around the world to help ensure that every woman and baby survives birth.  But more is at stake in pregnancy and childbirth than survival alone, and obstetric models of care can either protect or violate the fundamental human rights of the women they serve. The care that women receive during pregnancy and childbirth intersects with the rights to physical integrity, self-determination, privacy, family life, and spiritual freedom.

Women do not lose their basic human rights once they become pregnant. And yet, across the globe, women’s human rights are compromised and violated around childbirth.

Examinations, interventions and procedures that pose risks to both mothers and their babies are routinely performed without informed consent, or through coerced compliance via threats or fear. When women come out of childbirth with post-partum PTSD from disrespect, abuse, or obstetric violence, the goal of a “healthy mother and healthy baby” has not been met. In many places in the world, race or ethnic background plays a large role in the care women and families receive. Often times poor, working class, minority, or marginalized peoples receive no care or insufficient care in maternity settings, making maternal and infant mortality higher in these groups.  HRiC recognizes these disparities, and works to create change in especially the most marginalized communities.

Every woman has the right to access the healthcare support that she, personally, needs for a healthy birth.

Every woman has the right to be respected as the decision-maker about her own care and her baby’s care. Every healthcare system should be equipped to meet women’s individual needs and personal decisions around childbirth. HRiC is committed to supporting the efforts of individuals and organizations working all over the world to promote the fundamental human rights of pregnant people.


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