Thursday, July 24, 2008

Birth Track

There has been a lot of buzz on the internet this week about a new cervical tracking device that clips to the woman's cervix and monitors her "progress" (and baby's descent) throughout labor. There is an excellent and very funny post on The True Face of Birth about it.

The Birth Activist also has an informative post about this device.

Here is information from the manufacturer

And, a description of the product

Information from the FDA about marketing of devices like these.

And, information about another labor tracking system using ultrasound (not yet approved for use in the U.S.)

Thanks to Angie on the MCFI e-list for the three links above!

The comment is made by the manufacturers that the clips on the cervix will not bother the laboring woman because the "cervix has no nerve endings."

My first thought when reading about no nerve endings, was having that sensation during the last weeks of pregnancy that the baby is "biting my cervix" (kind of a sharp *zing* right in the cervix). Or, the "pinched" feeling that I get during pap smears or the aching sensation from cervical bumping of any kind (though perhaps that is actually a uterine sensation and not strictly cervical).

I just googled "nerve endings in the cervix" and the first site to pop up said this, "There are nerve endings in the cervix. They are less dense than other areas but some women have a quite sensitive cervix." Then I read this link from the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology: "Sensory, sympathetic, and parasympathetic fibers are present in the cervix. Instrumentation of the endocervical canal (dilatation and / or curettage) may result in a vasovagal reaction with reflex bradycardia in some patients. The endocervix also has a plentiful supply of sensory nerve endings, while the ectocervix is relatively lacking in these. This allows procedures such as small cervical biopsies and cryotherapy to be well tolerated in most patients without the use of anesthesia."

This is different to me than "no nerve endings"!

Makes me think of the days in which baby boys were circumcised without anesthesia because newborns "can't feel pain." I guess women can't feel pain either...

On another note, remember Susan's Hypnobabies interview tomorrow morning on at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time and Saturday, July 26 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time.

I'm posting today instead of my usual Friday, because I will be unavailable to post tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More news coverage

Recent articles about midwifery:

In North Carolina from Star News: Homebirth Midwives Push for State Licensing

And Midwives Want Statewide Licensing

In Utah this blog article.

In Missouri: FoMM blog post about recent victory party celebrating the Supreme Court decision (two of Missouri's candidates for Attorney General came to the party!)

Hypnobabies Interview

This morning, CfM President Susan Hodges was interviewed by Kerry Tuschhoff of Hypnobabies. The show will air on on Friday, July 25 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time and Saturday, July 26 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time. It is also archived for about 2 months starting a few days after the first air date.

I'm looking forward to listening to it and hope many people will tune in!

Hypnobabies also an interesting blog that I enjoy checking.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Grassroots Network: More responses to AMA Resolution

Dear Friends,

The AMA’s “Resolution 205 on Home Deliveries” and reactions to it have continued to be in the news and on blogs.

For example, ABC News ran a story on July 11 and so far there have already been 170 comments, with most people expressing strong feelings that home birth should remain a choice, and that the AMA is out of line.

Many of you may want to write letters to the editor (especially in response to news articles) or write on blogs. Several organizations have now come out with formal statements, which include information and quotes that could be useful:

The Midwives Alliance of North America has posted a "President’sEditorial: Doctors Ignore Evidence, AMA Seeks to Deny Women Choices in Childbirth" that includes excellent information as well as references.

The Maine Association of Certified Professional Midwives posted a press

Midwives Remain Committed to Women’s Birth Choices, Despite AMA Resolution that Aims to Restrict Them.”

Holistic Moms Network has a press release “Parenting Group Denounces AMA Resolution Against Homebirth: Members of the Holistic Moms Network Say Homebirth is a Safe Choice And Must Remain a Legal Right.”

The ACNM also has a statement but it is only accessible to ACNM members (as of Sunday evening 7/13/08).

This will not be the last Grassroots Network Message on this topic and what you can do!

Susan Hodges, “gatekeeper”

Dutch journalist comments on homebirth

Amongst all the news related to the AMA, it was interesting to see midwifery in Missouri referenced in an unlikely article. The article is about a Dutch journalist and how he handles his "beat" of covering news throughout the U.S. (right now writing about politics and presidential campaigns, etc.) Then, midway through the article are his comments with regard to homebirth and midwifery in MO:

"I try to go to whatever place a normal reader would never come to, like St. Peters, Missouri," he says.

Earlier Wednesday he had been in Blackwater, population 199, near Columbia, to talk to a woman who will shortly give birth to her third child.

"And she wants to do that with the help of a midwife," Tom says. He also interviewed the midwife.

The 2007 Missouri law that legalized midwifery was upheld in June by the state Supreme Court.

Midwifery is more common in the Netherlands, Tom says.

"My two kids were born with the help of the midwives," he says.

Earlier on his I-70 trip, Tom stopped in El Dorado, Kan., where Obama's grandfather grew up.

Also in Kansas, he interviewed two lesbian women who live in rural Kansas.

"It's part of my story on cultural wars," he says."...


I thought it was fun to see this midwifery news mingled in with all of the other subjects mentioned in the article!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Free Webinars! CIMS Grassroots Advocates Committee Ambassador Trainings

"Interested in gathering obstetric intervention rates for the hospitals and birth centers in your area?"

Become a GAC STATS Ambassador and work with us to collect obstetric intervention data at the facility level for all 50 states. The public has the right to know what is happening in our hospitals. Pregnant women have the right to know what to expect from the hospitals and birth centers in their communities in order to determine which health care facility will best service their needs. You can help us get this vital information out to the public by becoming a GAC STAT Ambassador. We will provide you with the support, tools and guidance you will need to connect with the right people in your state, access the data and get the data out to the public. Join a GAC STAT Training and help increase women’s access to this important information.

"Want to help spread the word in your community about the national launch of The Birth Survey?"

Join the GAC Marketing Ambassadors and help us to make The Birth Survey a success in your area. We’ll provide you with marketing tools and materials designed to engage the public and generate excitement around The Birth Survey. Learn about grassroots marketing efforts, creative community based initiatives, and internet based strategies that will help you get the word out and insure that The Birth Survey will thrive in your area.

Click on a link below to register for a free webinar training. It’s easy and only requires a phone and a computer with internet connection. Please note the “Marketing” Trainings are only a single training. The GACSTAT series has a Part 1 and a Part 2 below. Please register for both parts if possible.


Get the Word Out About The Birth Survey” GAC Marketing Training
Saturday July 19thth , 2008 1:00 pm- 2:30 pm EDT

GACSTAT Training Part 1- Intro and Collecting the Data
Saturday August 2nd, 2008 1:00 pm- 2:30 pm EDT

GACSTAT Training Part 2- Demystifying the Data
Saturday August 9th, 2008 1:00 pm- 2:30 pm EDT

"Get The Word Out About The Birth Survey": GAC Marketing Training
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 9:00 PM - 10:30 PM EDT

If you have further questions please e-mail.

Thank you,


Friday, July 11, 2008

Items of Interest

I wanted to post about a couple of items of interest that have come to my attention this week. One is that BOLD Founder Karen Brody has a great blog. I just discovered it yesterday and had such a good time reading through all her posts. BOLD rocks! I've never actually seen the play, but I've read so much about it and looked at many great pictures. I really hope to see it myself one day. I also learned from her blog that a book version is being released. I'm an avid reader and so I'm certain I will be reading it!

Secondly, I got a newsletter yesterday with an advertisement in it for the Midwives Alliance of North America's (MANA) conference in Traverse City, MI this year. I adore the logo for this conference. It is very cool. You may not be able to see in the picture, but surrounding the woman are tons of phrases using the word "push"--such as, "don't get pushed around" and "push for change" and "push your baby out" and "push together" and so forth. It is very neat . I'm sure the MANA conference will be a great learning opportunity for those who get to go this year.

Last, I wanted to share a link to an article I read this week by Henci Goer. The article was written in 2004, so it isn't "new news," but it was the first time I'd read it. Called "Humanizing Birth: a Global Grassroots Movement," it is a commentary/analysis of 24 grassroots birth-activist organizations around the world. CfM is one of the organizations. She looks at the goals of the organizations, obstacles to progress, achievements, etc. Her conclusion is that, "the blossoming and growth of each organization add to the critical mass that may one day bring about real change on a worldwide some idea of the size, strength, and universality of the grassroots birth-activist movement..." I've been hearing more recently about the term "humanized birth" (instead of "normal birth" or "natural birth" or whatever. Humanized has a slightly different context and I find it an interesting term. I hope to post more about it sometime in the fairly near future) .

Grassroots Network: Jennifer Block on AMA Resolution to outlaw home birth

Dear Friends,

If you haven’t seen it yet, Jennifer Block had an opinion piece published in the LA Times on July 9: Big Medicine's blowback on home births. Why do U.S. doctors strong-arm women into our standard maternity care system?

This is a well-written (and quotable!) response to the AMA’s resolution to “outlaw” home birth (see previous post).

Susan Hodges, “gatekeeper”

Grassroots Network: Big Push responds to AMA’s apology for racism

Dear Friends,

You may have seen this news today:
AMA To Issue Apology for Past Transgressions Toward Black Physicians
Kaiser Network Daily Reports reported:

The American Medical Association on Thursday is scheduled to release a formal apology for its "historical antipathy" toward black physicians and to express regret for a "litany of transgressions," the Washington Post reports. AMA's transgressions include not allowing blacks to join the group and not speaking out on legislation to end racial discrimination. According to the Post, "The apology marks one of the rare times a major national organization has expressed contrition for its role in the segregation and discrimination that black people have experienced in the United States."
According to the AP/Los Angeles Times, former AMA president John Nelson offered a similar apology at a 2005 meeting on improving health care and eliminating disparities. AMA in 2004 joined the National Medical Association, a black physician group, and other minority physicians' groups to form the Commission to End Health Care Disparities. According to the AP/Times, "The new apology is more formal" and is also part of the organization's effort to improve its image (Tanner, AP/Los Angeles Times, 7/10).
Read the whole report here.

The Big Push for Midwives has immediately issued a press release, doing a great job at tying the AMA news to midwifery and additional actions the AMA should take!

Susan Hodges “gatekeeper”

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Big Push: Independence Day for Midwives Campaign

Read the full details in the PushNews report.

Text from the PushNewsAlert:

What is Going On?

Since the American Medical Association (AMA) voted in June to outlaw home birth, we are doubling our efforts to advocate for freedom of birth options for our nation's mothers and families.

While the AMA and the American College of Obstetricians (ACOG) are likely to back a forceful lobbying operation in Statehouses from coast-to-coast in the months to come, we are P-U-S-H-I-N-G back ... building state-of-the-art advocacy campaigns toward successful regulation and licensure of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) ... helping our state member groups to stand up together, united for safe and legal birth choices.

Why so urgent?

Beyond this David-and-Goliath struggle, we face a critical problem in our society. Nearly 1 in 3 American women are going through major surgery to give birth, but only a fraction of those women would be considered "high risk." Yet, in spite of the lack of medical necessity for many such cases, the most frequently performed surgery in the U.S. is the cesarean section at 1.3 million surgeries per year. Given present trends, our nation is headed for a staggering 40-50% cesarean surgery rate.

For many reasons, this newly emerging health policy issue is urgent, and some go so far as to say that the civil rights of pregnant women are being disregarded ... that mothers and their families are not being fully informed nor adequately supported in their quest for maximal results with minimal interventions.

What is the Big Push for Midwives Campaign?

The Big Push for Midwives Campaign is the first initiative of the National Birth Policy Coalition (NBPC). We play a critical role in building a new model for the delivery of U.S. maternity care at the local and regional levels. At the heart of this plan is the Midwives Model of Care, based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.

Through local and national media attention, public education and coalition building, we are creating meaningful consumer protections and a system into which midwives are fully integrated, with increased transparency and accountability for the health and well-being of mothers and babies.

Big Push Campaign Launches the 2008 "Independence Day Midwives PushDrive"

You can help the Big Push for Midwives Campaign stay in top pushing-for-birth-independence form!

Just as the research shows that food and water should not be withheld from laboring women during their marathon-like efforts in birth, our Caring Campaign Midwives remind us that we need nourishment for this journey to ensure we can perform our most critical functions this month.

We must raise $25,000 in the month of July to pay for the tools, staff and resources necessary to deliver consistent and well-executed communications and collaborate among our geographically dispersed teams.

Please show your leadership on national health issues and your willingness to support our innovative approach to rehabilitating our U.S. maternity care system. Please consider contributing immediately to our campaign in any amount that is feasible. $10, $20, $50, $100, $500, or even more.

We so appreciate any amount!

You can also help by joining one of the many national birth advocacy organizations such as the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), Citizens for Midwifery (CfM), the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) and your state's consumer group that is advocating for midwives and the expansion of the Midwives Model of Care. You can find a listing of groups on our PushStates page.

Thanks from everyone at the Big Push for Midwives!
Happy Independence Day!!!!!

A Response to the AMA Resolution

Submitted by Jeanne Batacan as an example of an "Opinion" page contribution for local papers in response to the AMA's Resolution against homebirth.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is now pushing for the American Medical Association (AMA) to lobby Congress for a law banning out of hospital birth.

Despite a statement by ACOG, regarding a patient's right to informed consent and informed refusal, it seems that more and more decisions and "recommendations" made by ACOG, are moving further away from that basic tenet. This is resulting in thousands of women being stripped of their basic right to choose safe maternity care based on balanced informed consent or informed refusal.

Not all ACOG members are happy with the current situation. Dr. Fischbein, a California physician stated, "ACOG's little 'guideline' paper on vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC) in 2004 where the word readily was changed to immediately has had the chilling effect of doing away with VBAC options at hundreds if not more hospitals. Not due to patient safety, or the ideal of giving true informed consent but really, let's be honest, to fear of litigation. I have seen how patients have become counseled by obstetricians at facilities where VBAC has been banned. They are clearly given a skewed view of the risks of VBAC but rarely told of the risks of multiple surgeries. If a hospital cannot handle an emergency c/section for VBACs - and most emergencies are for fetal bradycardia, hemorrhage (i.e. abruption) or shoulder dystocia, not for ruptured uteri - then how can they do obstetrics at all?" Indeed.

ACOG needs to defend their position in encouraging the AMA to lobby Congress for yet another
restriction on the freedom of choice that belongs to all women and their families. Those choices include midwifery care and the right to give birth wherever best fits their needs and desires.

Today's Midwives are well trained professionals and are required to have obstetrical backup. Interestingly, in the countries that have the lowest maternal and infant mortality rates the vast majority of pregnancies and births are managed by midwives.

The U.S. spends more money on maternity care than any other country in the world. Yet, we rank somewhere below 32nd (NOT 1st) in maternal and infant safety. Our maternal mortality rate is on the rise, as well a premature birth, epidemic rates of labor induction and Cesarean Section. Knowing this, ACOG needs to turn it's attention on reversing this alarming and shameful trend by welcoming the superb care that midwives provide and then, taking a long hard look at -- what is it, that Singapore, Sweden, Japan, Hong Kong, Iceland, France, Finland, Norway, The Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Israel and TWENTY-NINE other countries are doing so much better than us?

Grassroots Network: Attorneys looking for VBAC ban victims

Dear Friends,

As you are likely aware, many women are denied access to VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) because of hospital policies and outright bans.

Attorneys with the Northwest Women’s Law Center in Seattle are looking at this issue. One of them asked us to post the following:

"I’m a lawyer with the Northwest Women’s Law Center in Seattle. I’m investigating possible legal responses to bans on vaginal birth after cesarean at hospitals in the northwest states Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon. If you are currently pregnant and want to have a VBAC, but are facing a hospital policy that would require you to have a c-section regardless of whether you want it and regardless of whether it is actually medically necessary, and you are willing to consider working with a lawyer on this, we’d like to talk with you.
Please respond here."

Even if you are not in one of the states listed, you can still help by emailing this out to any email lists you are on and asking everyone who receives it to email it to all the lists THEY are on as well so that it is distributed far and wide. Thanks.

Susan Hodges, “gatekeeper”