Saturday, December 25, 2010

Naitree enchantee

This is such a beautiful film! It is birth with acceptance and without fear. It's simplicity speaks volumes. It is in Arabic, French, Spanish and English. The labor is enchanting and her vocalizations through contractions are musical. Gentle, peaceful, spontaneous, and joyous - a birth to be watched by all women. My favorite part is the cat ears poking up towards the pushing phase! Enjoy and happy holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dua (Supplications) for Pregnancy, Labor and Conception

This has been going around lately, but I thought some of you might benefit. Unfortunately, I'm not sure who put it together so I can't give credit where it's due. For those of you who don't know the Arabic terms, apologies! I should probably put a glossary on here somewhere, but for now if you have any questions just ask. Enjoy!

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Here is a brief list of various things that we were told to recite and do during pregnancy and labour.

Please pass it on for anyone who you feel may benefit from it.

Muhammad, peace be upon him


- Surah Inshiqaq (Surah 84) – to be recited daily throughout the pregnancy

- Surah Luqman (Surah 31) – to be recited daily during the 1st trimester when the baby’s brain, mental faculties and nervous system are developing

- Surah Yusuf (Surah 12) – to be recited in the 2nd trimester when the child’s physical appearance is forming

- Surah Maryam (Surah 19) – to be recited in the 3rd trimester as labour approaches

- “Ya Lateef” – to be recited 129 times every morning and evening

Muhammad, peace be upon him

7th month only

- The husband should recite Surah Inshirah (Surah 94) 152 times on the baby

Muhammad, peace be upon him


- The first ayat of Surah al-Fath’ (Surah 48)

- “Ya Lateef”

- Surah Maryam (Surah 19)

- Surah Inshirah (Surah 94)

- “As salaam Alaikum ayuha-nabee wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu”

Muhammad, peace be upon him

General advice

- Shaykh Muhammad Ba Shu’ayb once advised, for the sake of any children we are to have to recite all our adhkar and awrad everyday and to ensure that we pray as many prayers in congregation with our spouse.

- Read as much Quran as possible.

- Try and do as much salawat on the Prophet (saw) as possible – in particular Salat al-Tunjina’ and “As salaam Alaikum ayuha-nabee wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu”

- As babies are said to be able to recognise certain sounds and music from their time in the womb, reading certain texts such as the “Book of Assistance” by Imam al-Haddad, is advised in order to bring about recognition.

- One of the Habaib advised pregnant women to look at pictures of the Ka’aba when she was too tired to actively engage in ibada.

Muhammad, peace be upon him

For those trying to conceive children

Habib Umar has recommended…

- Recite Surah Fatiha (Surah 1) 41 times in between the sunnah and fard of Fajr prayer.

- Recite verse 38 of Surah Imran (Surah 3) as many times a day as possible.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Homebirth Video

The Homebirth of Lucia Mae from Sara Janssen on Vimeo.

This video has some darling , colorful pictures. I love the portrayal of the daughter's role in her sister's birth. It is also a testimony to the family's affection for their midwife, she's like a part of the family! To read more on the lasting impression a midwife makes through a woman's lifetime (i.e. beyond the childbearing years), check this out, Midwifery Care: Reflections of Midwifery Clients. Be sure to download the full text.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mom I Am

I couldn't find an author to credit for this poem, so whoever you are, thank you! This is humorous and right on. Enjoy, and enjoy your weekend!!

Dr. Seuss for Nursing Moms

Would you nurse her in the park?
Would you nurse him in the dark?
Would you nurse him with a Boppy?
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?

I would nurse him in the park,
I would nurse her in the dark.
I’d nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.

Can you nurse with your seat belt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though she may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse her `till she’s full!

Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes her healthy strong and smart,
Mommy’s milk is the best start!

Would you nurse him at the game?
Would you nurse her in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse him at the game.
I would nurse her in the rain.

As for those who protest lactation,
I have the perfect explanation.
Mommy’s milk is tailor made
It’s the perfect food, you need no aid.

Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast’s the perfect food!

I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that this milk’s the perfect food!

We make the amount we need
The perfect temp for every feed.
There’s no compare to milk from breast-
The perfect food, above the rest.

Those sweet nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mommy’s milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can’t be beat.

I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.
I will not let my baby cry,
I’ll meet her needs, I’ll always try.
It’s not about what’s good for you,
It’s best for babies, through and through.

I will nurse her in my home,
I will nurse her when I roam.
Leave me be lads and ma’am.
I will nurse her, Mom I am.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Right Side Up - Breech Babies

The women in the above photo are trying to right a baby. This directionally challenged baby is coming bottom first. The method they are using to try to turn the baby, hard to decipher in this photo, is called moxibustion. Moxa, or mugwort, is heated and, like acupuncture, used over certain pressure points to induce heat to the region, and thereby blood flow. It works incredibly well for turning babies upside down, exactly where they need to be in order to be born.

Four percent of all babies present breech at term, or 37 weeks of gestation and beyond. How do you imagine that those four percent are born? Does the doctor or midwife, pull them out by their feet? What is the danger of a breech birth? Why do we never hear of babies born breech anymore?

A recent study in Tel Aviv has challenged the wisdom of late that breech babies should be born via Cesarean section. In the 'old days' the skills to deliver a baby coming breech, feet or butt first, were taught in medical school. After 2000, this was no longer the case. The Term Breech Study, the largest of its kind on breech births, found that breech babies delivered vaginally had a 1% increase of death in the first six weeks of life. The study also found that for mothers there were more benefits to a vaginal birth. From then on, the only doctors to attempt breeches were the old school doctors who had learned from experience that babies born breech, stubbornly do just as well as their head first counterparts. There were many issues with the 2000 Term Breech Study including research bias, and the fact that it's near impossible to randomize such a study.

The Tel Aviv study is urging medical schools to reintroduce the skills of delivering breech babies. Their research shows that there is no increase risk to a baby born breech vaginally and that mothers do better with morbidity and mortality when delivered vaginally. Professor Glezerman, a researcher on the trial, states that a C-section is no minor event in a woman's reproductive life, that it impacts future pregnancies, uterine health, and subsequent labors.
Although, not mentioned in the study, increasingly the research is pointing towards health effects of babies born by C-section as well. In one of the more recent findings, babies born by Cesarean section are at a higher risk of developing celiac disease. Another reason to avoid unnecessary surgery, who would want to assign anyone to a diet that prohibits bread, pasta, cookies!! Poor baby.

So how do you reconcile the lack of skill of the current docs with a pending breech birth? Look at the photo above for some inspiration - you make all efforts to turn the baby before delivery. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Acupuncture/moxibustion is a powerful tool for breech babies. Do the moxa each day while squatting and making figure eights with your hips. I'm not kidding! One time I had an acupuncturist for a client, with a persistent breech presentation. She tried everything under the sun, before turning to her chosen profession, to turn her little girl. Two nights of these contortions and the babe turned!

  • Pulsatilla 200C one time. My little girl was breech until about 35 weeks. I never resorted to this, but I was ready to. It was suggested to make it a one time event, and to do it consciously. Light some candles, pour some tea, put your hips up, and take the pulsatilla. Engage with your baby, visualize his little head snuggled tight in your pelvis. This can be a really powerful way to turn a baby.

  • The breech tilt. This is an old recommendation, but really useful. The idea is to elevate your hips higher than your pelvis, to disengage the baby so that when you stand up, the baby will realign itself the proper way. You can do this by laying an ironing board angled against a coach and laying down, with your feet up and head on the floor. Or you can make a stack of pillows and put your hips atop the pillows. Do these for at least 15 minutes twice a day. Talk with your baby and shine a flashlight starting at the top and moving to the pelvis, "For now and always baby, follow the light."

  • Webster's Technique is a chiropractic technique that is often employed to help turn breech babies. It's not really 'turning' the baby, it's addressing tightness and torsion, among other issues in the mother's pelvis. Let's be fair after all, there are two players at work here, it's not just the baby choosing to be breech. Fibroids, cysts, and other issues in the mother's pelvic can force the baby into a breech position. Webster's technique can address some of these problems.

  • One of the interesting theories about why babies are breech is not a physical reason. There is a theory that babies who are breech do so out of a need to get their mother's attention. It's as if they are saying, "Hello, remember me, I need you to pay attention." It could be this lack of attention that is causing them to swim close to mama's heart, a gentle pull on it's strings, those tiny fingers dialing your number before you've even heard them cry. It's a sweet thought and one I found bore a lot of fruit for women who were breech beyond 35 weeks. It tended to happen to women who worked, worked, worked right up until the end, women undergoing a lot of stress, and women who maybe had some hesitancy about becoming a mother. Overall tension also produces lots of tension in the pelvic region, which can be a culprit in breech presentation. If you are breech these themes are worth exploring through journaling, art, conversation, etc...

  • If none of that works, there is always frozen peas. Put a pack of frozen veggies on your babies bum. They won't much like it and will soon get the picture that that's not where they should be hanging out and will head to, uh, warmer regions!

The most important thing with breech delivery is the skill and experience of the practitioner. If none of the above work, seek out someone experienced with breech births. These tend to be the older male obstetricians and older midwives. Trust your instincts, as always. And encourage medical schools to teach the skills of delivering babies who for some reason, want to land in this world, feet first.