The Average Length of Pregnancy

We have three stacks of pancakes: stack one with eight pancakes, stack two with three, and stack four with four pancakes. There are 15 pancakes in all. If we rearrange the pancakes to have an equal number in each stack, we get five in each stack. Upon doing so, five is thus the average number of pancakes in each stack.
 
With this logic in pregnancy, we take three women: one who goes 38wks into her pregnancy before giving birth, one who goes 40wks into her pregnancy, and one who goes 43wks into her pregnancy before giving birth. There are 121wks total among the three women. If we arrange the weeks to have an equal number in each pregnancy, we get 41wks for each woman. Upon doing so, 41wks is the average number of weeks a woman would go into her pregnancy before giving birth to her baby…
 
Except pregnancy doesn’t work like that because 41wks might be the average length of a pregnancy until one reaches full term, but it doesn’t mean it’s for every woman. Due dates are calculated around this illogical idea of the average length of pregnancy and thus creates an already difficult journey to feeling like one is expired when truly, their baby is exactly where they should be (except for exceptional cases, of course) and their pregnancy is not yet to the end. As such, there is no such thing as going “late” or “too long” in a pregnancy. One can only reach their own very unique and personal full term with each individual pregnancy and each individual woman. 
Women and pregnancies aren’t pancakes. We’re a lot more amazing than that. 😉

Charcoal for Infant Jaundice

Image result for activated charcoal babies

So thankful that a friend shared this info with me. I found this truly fascinating and wanted to share!

To read this article in full and to see other uses for charcoal, go to: Charcoal for Babies

“Just like adults babies get sick too. It seems unfair that these fragile vulnerable infants have to face a world full of so many enemy agents so soon in life. For babies born in hospitals and babies born at home there are a host of unseen but very lethal organisms lurking about ready to infect their little bodies. Whether it be a hospital borne infection or something a breast feeding mother ate at her last meal, babies are not equipped to deal well with their new environment. Whether it beGastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), neonatal jaundice, infant diarrhea, colic, or accidental poisoning, in many cases Activated Charcoal has been found to be an effective simple and natural remedy.

Infant Jaundice

Even from birth many babies fall victim to neonatal jaundice. Whether jaundice be because of an inherited factor such as in Erythroblastosis fetalis, or because of a sluggish immature liver, many babies turn yellow soon after birth instead of a glowing pink.  Activated charcoal is a simple natural remedy for a jaudiced baby.

“When Nathan, our firstborn, came along, he was somewhat jaundiced. The yellow-orangish appearance of his skin and eyes was due to the build up of bilirubin, a bile pigment that was not being properly metabolized. For various reasons, the liver sometimes does not kick into gear at birth, as it should have with Nathan. Out he went into the sun for a daily sunbath. Charcoal has also been credited with lowering bilirubin levels. But, since babies are only designed to swallow at birth and not chew, we mixed some activated charcoal powder in a bottle of water and let the particles settle out. We then poured this slurry water off into a baby bottle and popped that into his mouth. After a couple of days, and several ounces of slurry water later, he was a healthy ruddy pink.

“As he grew, Nathan would now and again show signs of being a little colicky. We could only smile as he would accept a charcoal tablet, and then thoroughly enjoy playing with it in his mouth. By the next morning he would be over whatever had caused him discomfort. Later, when his brother Enoch came along, charcoal tablets were his first experience with “candy”. If only other young parents knew how powerful charcoal can be as a first aid.”CharcoalRemedies.com page 27

For jaundiced babies, add one tablespoon of activated charcoal powder into four ounces of water. This makes a good slurry that is able to pass through the nipple of a baby bottle. Shake well before giving. Or, you can let the charcoal settle out, pour off the gray water and give that. 

Dr. Agatha Thrash M.D. tells the following case of neonatal jaundice in a four-day old breast-fed baby:

“The father took the baby to our laboratory to be tested for its total bilirubin levels. The levels continued to climb over the next twenty-four hours and a consulting physician agreed with our suspicion of an ABO blood incompatibility. When the bilirubin rose to 18 mg% the consultant prepared to give an exchange transfusion of blood.

The same hour the mother began administering as much charcoal as she could get the baby to accept. With the baby undressed in her lap, she sat in the sunlight giving over an hour of exposure to both front and back (babies can tolerate more sunlight before getting a sunburn than can adults).

At the next six-hour bilirubin check, the level was down to 16.5%, and we knew we had avoided the hazardous exchange transfusion. Continuing with this treatment the bilirubin began to clear and was down to 4 mg% by the tenth day.”

In one astounding study the need for exchange transfusions in babies with erythroblastosis fetalis was cut by more than 90% with the use of charcoal. Erythroblastosis fetalis is a severe anemia that develops in an unborn infant because the mother produces antibodies that attack the fetus’ red blood cells. The antibodies are usually caused by Rh incompatibility between the mother’s blood type and that of the fetus (that is, the mother and baby have different blood types).

These babies can be at extreme risk after birth and, depending on the severity, a blood transfusion may be performed. In one study done at Fort Benning, Georgia, activated charcoal, suspended in water, was given every two hours. The treatment was continued for 120 hours in normal newborns and 168 hours in premature infants, or until bilirubin levels fell. Charcoal should be begun at four hours of age to produce the maximum reduction in elevated bilirubin levels.”CharcoalRemedies.com page 158 “

A Word From the Admin

The main goal here at Free Pregnancy and Freebirth is to arm men and women with information to make educated choices about health, pregnancy, and birth. Pregnancy and birth is not predictable, and as such, it’s important to understand the body, how to care for it, and the dynamics of birth to encourage a safe and empowering experience. Keeping the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual states of the mother, father, and baby in mind all factor into this experience.

We support the desire of men and women who feel more comfortable with assistance that includes chiropractic, midwifery, naturopathic, or obstetric care. It is not our goal to ostracize the medical community. There are scenarios when the need for urgent care arises, and that should be the only time interventions take place. For this, we are thankful for those in the medical community who seek to serve, educate, and empower families in their pregnancy and birthing journey, and take on the life-saving tasks when it’s a true need.

Freebirth is not a desire to risk or endanger the lives of babies or women. It’s a calculated and educated choice with the desire to be free to birth as it was designed and to be free to seek help if and/or when it’s needed. Emergency cesarean sections are a gift, only when they are necessary. The decision to move onto a cesarean section should not be taken lightly if a woman would rather give birth vaginally. In order for that to happen, interventions should only take place if there is a need. Routine practices and liability concerns are not needs.

There is a known truth in our culture and it’s not that ‘labor is hard’ or that ‘women are strong’. It’s that men and women are intelligent and capable of making choices for themselves that is in the best interest of their families; it’s that they are the protector, provider, and parent and will seek help when they need it for their babies. It is never okay to ignore that truth, no matter whether one deems themselves in a position of authority. Even if anyone had authority over the woman and what she feels led to do in birth, good leadership comes when you consider the benefits that everyone brings to the team. This includes the woman’s knowledge of her own body, her compassion for her baby, and the wisdom she has in how to address any situation involving her family.

Here at Free Pregnancy and Freebirth, we believe women are designed to bear, nurture, and bring forth life. We believe that both men and women should be cared for while during this transition of welcoming their new baby into their arms. We believe that birth is not a medical event. We believe that birth is beautiful.

Free Pregnancy and Freebirth (2)

Labor Hormones in Under 10 Minutes

“Note: this page is about how to TEACH this concept to expectant parents. If you’re an expectant parent looking for info on labor hormones, their effect on labor pain, and what your partner can do to help you have a shorter and less painful labor, click here.

In my childbirth classes, and with doula clients, I want them to understand that our emotions, and the support we receive, absolutely affect labor on a physiological basis, by influencing our hormones. The big message is that fear and anxiety slow labor down and make it more painful. Support and feeling safe make labor faster and easier. I have simplified the complex details into a simple stick figure drawing that takes 5-10 minutes.

Before I talk about my teaching method, let’s start with a basic summary* of hormones:

Hormone What Does It Do What doesn’t help What does help
Oxytocin Causes labor contractions that dilate cervix Anxiety, bright lights, feeling observed, feeling judgedPitocin – if have synthetic oxytocin, make less hormonal oxytocin To increase oxytocin: Skin-to-skin contact.
Nipple stimulation, making love.To increase endorphins: social contact and support from loved ones.To increase oxytocin and endorphins and to reduce adrenaline: create an environment where we feel private, safe, not judged, loved, respected, protected, free to move about.(So, partners, if you remember nothing else about labor support, remember that if she feels safe, loved and protected her labor will be faster, and less painful)
Endorphins Relieve pain, reduce stress (cause euphoria and feelings of dependency) Stress, lack of supportNarcotics (if you have an external opiate, your body will start producing less internal opiate… even after the narcotics wear off, you’ll have less endorphins)
Catecholamines (adrenaline, etc.) In early / active labor: slow labor down(Imagine a rabbit in a field. If it doesn’t feel safe, it wants to keep baby inside to protect it)In pushing stage: Make you and baby alert and ready for birth, give you energy to push quickly.
(If the rabbit is about to have a baby, and something frightens it, it wants to get the baby out as quickly as possible so it can pick it up and run with it.)
Stress / anxiety / fearLack of control

Feeling trapped

Hunger, cold

 

So, in class how do I convey these ideas in just a few minutes, so it’s easy to understand and to remember?

First, I say: “In labor, our emotions and our environment effect our hormones. Our hormones have a huge effect on labor. Let’s look at a couple scenarios for labor.” [I draw two stick figures on the board.] “This one is awash in stress hormones which will make labor longer and more painful. Let’s label it adrenaline. This one is under the influence of oxytocin and endorphins. These help the laboring person shift into an altered state where labor pain is milder (less intense and less unpleasant) and also help labor progress more quickly.” [Add labels to drawings, add sad face and smiley face.]

Picture2

Then I say “So, you are all probably familiar with adrenaline. What do we call it? Yes, the fight or flight hormone. This is the idea that if an individual ran into a tiger in the woods, they would choose either to fight it or to run away. Do you know what we call oxytocin? Many call it “collect and protect” or “tend and befriend.” If a tiger is coming into our village, we gather everyone together, because we are safest together.” [I add these labels to my drawing.]  (I sometimes throw in the tidbit here that men who are not dads are more likely to release adrenaline during stressful situations; women and dads are more likely to release oxytocin – it’s the “gather the babies and protect them” response.)

Picture3

“So, what effect do these hormones have?”

“With adrenaline, all your muscles tighten. All your energy goes to your limbs in case you need to fight or run away. So, oxytocin production drops and labor slows down. (It’s hard for your cervix to open when you feel scared…)  You are also more sensitive to pain – this is useful if you’re at risk of injury – your body tells you what to move away from. But, in labor it’s not helpful – it just means labor hurts more!”

“With oxytocin and endorphins all your muscles relax. Energy is sent to the uterus and oxytocin increases. (Oxytocin is often called the love hormone, because it increases when we feel loved, and its peak levels are when we orgasm, when we birth, and when we breastfeed. It’s all about making babies, birthing babies, and feeding babies.) We also get an increased endorphin flow, which makes us less sensitive to pain, can cause euphoria, and can cause feelings of love and dependency in us… “I love you man….””

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Pre-labour Rupture of Membranes: impatience and risk

wateroncarpetAmniotic sac and fluid play an important role in the labour process and usually remain intact until the end of labour. However, around 10% of women will experience their waters breaking before labour begins. The standard approach to this situation is to induce labour by using prostaglandins and/or syntocinon (aka pitocin) to stimulate contractions. The term ‘augmentation’ is often used instead of ‘induction’ for this procedure. Women who choose to wait are often told their baby is at increased risk of infection and they are encouraged to have IV antibiotics during labour. In my experience most women agree to have their labour induced rather than wait. I wonder how many of these women would choose a different path if they knew there was no significant increase in the risk of infection for their baby?

The rush to start labour and get the baby out after the waters have broken is fairly new. When I first qualified in 2001 the standard hospital advice (UK) for a woman who rang to tell us her waters had broken (and all else was well) was: “If you’re not in labour by [day of the week in 3 days time] ring us back.” Over the following years this reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours, then 24 hours, then 18 hours, then 12 hours and now 0 hours. You might assume that this change in approach was based on some new evidence about the dangers involved in waiting for labour. You would be wrong.

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