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New Series: “BABE”- Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators! “Got Oxytocin?”

January 9th, 2015 by avatar

By Kyndal May, MFA, LMP, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE

Today on Science & Sensibility, we start a new series on teaching ideas and techniques for you to use in your birth classes. The BABE series (Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators) will bring you exciting and innovative methods to teach the topics normally covered in a Lamaze CBE series. We will be highlighting a variety of childbirth educators as they share some of their favorite activities from their classes.  Today, we welcome Kyndal May, a childbirth educator in Boise, ID, as she shares how she covers the hormones of birth, and the role of oxytocin.  Do you have a creative method of teaching a CB topic?  Let me know via email, and we can connect about sharing in a future BABE blog post!  Everyone loves to learn new ideas and refresh their class activities.  I would love to hear from you.- Sharon Muza, Community Manager, Science & Sensibility.

© Kyndal May

© Kyndal May

This past September, I was among many doulas and childbirth educators lucky to attend Sarah Buckley’s session on The Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing at the Lamaze International/DONA International Confluence in Kansas City, MO. Following Dr. Buckley’s U.S. tour of her Undisturbing Birth Workshops, I suspect many childbirth educators may be revisiting the way we approach and explore the topic of the hormones of labor in our classes.  After viewing her DVD, Undisturbed Birth: the Science and the Wisdom, I am currently working to adapt both my childbirth classes and my birth doula workshops to incorporate this information in a new way.

While I play with what that will look like and how best to make that learning both powerful and playful, I’ll share how I have long taught about the hormones of labor –with a focus on oxytocin and a few activities (both past and present) that make it meaningful and fun.

Like everything in my classes, both content and my facilitation style is constantly changing based on what I am reading at the time, what I am witnessing in births, and the dynamics of the group. My students’ interactions and participation bring so much to the experience that they unknowingly contribute (often month to month) to what stays and what gets tossed.

I doubt that I am that different from other passionate childbirth educators who tend to see life through a “birth lens” if you will, meaning that very often, what I see, hear, and experience goes through the “how does this relate to birth?” or “could I tweak this to be a teaching tool?” filter in my brain. So, in 2009, when I saw t-shirts with messages like “I love my midwife” and “My midwife helped me out,” I immediately starting thinking of a t-shirt message I could use in my class and quickly put in a custom order for my “Got Oxytocin?” t-shirt.

© Kyndal May

© Kyndal May

I wore this t-shirt under another shirt through the first half of class one but I wait to show it to the class until we have explored the role of oxytocin in relation to birth. For example, oxytocin as a smooth muscle contractor – the perfect lead-in to discovering the unique structure of the myometrial musculature and watching as moms and their partners come to appreciate the uterine muscle and its work in labor in a new and meaningful way; oxytocin as ejection reflex initiator – the perfect lead-in to discussing oxytocin’s role both in the second stage and in orgasm and watching the connections made by each couple as they realize the essential environmental commonalities between the two and the need for a safe, private space for both.

At this point, orgasm becomes the perfect lead-in for understanding the role of beta-endorphins — as pain-suppressant and pleasure/transcendence producer — through a brief lesson on the etymology of the word (sometimes using smart phones).

Endorphin

With a consensus regarding the pleasure of orgasm and the pulsating rhythm of labor, everyone would very much like to know how to avoid inhibiting that process. So, epinephrine and norepinephrine become the perfect lead-in to receptors and …a short detour actually, to the brain, where we acknowledge the differences between a “typical male” and “typical female” brain through the perspective of the adolescent brain, in particular. Here, we compare the fight or flight response to ‘tending and befriending’ and what that can look like in different settings.

Throughout this process, we pause so that each couple can answer a few questions together and privately identify their own unique styles of co-creating an oxytocin-rich environment in their day-to-day living and connect it to their mutual vision of a safe birthing space.

Sound complex? It is – as complex as the interactions of these hormones, but just as rewarding and very fun. At this point, we take a break and when we come back together, I am sporting my “got oxytocin?” t-shirt for all the class to see.

As we turn our attention to how oxytocin and its partnering hormones set up both mother and baby for a thriving start together in the postpartum period, I pass out plain, white baby t-shirts to each couple. I invite them to take them home and design their own “Got Oxytocin?” baby t-shirt. I ask them to create it as if the baby was asking the question of everyone who comes into the birthing space.

© Kyndal May

© Kyndal May

My intention is to have them continue to think about oxytocin’s value in labor; to remember how it interacts with and is inhibited by the other hormones and how they might best co-create a space that supports the free-flow of the hormone. And most of all, because their canvas is the baby t-shirt, they are mindful how it benefits not only the mother but also the baby.

Each time I have used this activity, the response has been very positive. The first time, it was met with surprising enthusiasm and every couple chose to participate. Two weeks later, they returned with their amazingly creative t-shirts using everything from paint, to iron-on transfers, crochet to tie-die. One couple even reconstructed their t-shirt into a bowling shirt complete with buttons, color panels, collar and nametag. It was clear all of them not only enjoyed the activity, they enjoyed doing it together as a couple. A few commented that the activity provoked them to imagine their baby’s personality.

At least one couple took their baby t-shirt to their birth as a reminder to everyone who entered to support their efforts to create a safe and private birth space. Many couples commented how meaningful it was to them to have the t-shirt as a memento from the class in their baby book.

It has been a while since I have done this kind of an activity in class, but a new idea came to me last year. As we approached the holiday season, it seemed the perfect time of year to try it out.

© Kyndal May

© Kyndal May

At the end of class one, I handed each couple 2 clear plastic tree ornaments – one round and one in the shape of a heart. These ornaments can be opened and filled with paint, confetti or, in the case of the photo here, a piece of paper with some writing on it. I asked each couple to think of some way they might represent oxytocin or what oxytocin means to them and put it into the ornament. The objective is to work together to identify what is especially oxytocin producing for them. Once they do that, they’ll find a creative way to represent it and put it in the ornament that will then become their personal “mistletoe”.

They are invited to hang their “oxytocin ornament” and each time they walk under it, it will remind them to stop and spend a little time in an embrace — which we know, if they will hold for 10 seconds or more and do it 8 times a day, is a wonderful way to increase their own oxytocin levels.

Ornament music

© Kyndal May

This first group brought their oxytocin ornaments back and I had just a moment to photograph just a couple at the break. The first one is filled with berries that represent gooseberries for the couple who met a health store called “Gooseberries.”
Another couple filled theirs with sheet music as each of them is very musical and plan to use music as a comfort measure in their birth. One couple filled their ornament with small birthday candles to represent candlelit moments and another filled theirs with layers of colored cake decorations – each color representing something about their relationship. Overall, the project was met with positive interest and one couple said they enjoyed it so much they found themselves giggling through the process which became a very playful experience them.

Early in my teaching career one of the moms in class brought a gift to give everyone at the closing class of the session.   She told us all, “The way Kyndal talked about oxytocin, I just felt it was a ‘wonder-product’. It can contract the uterus and bring milk down, it can bond people to each other and more…maybe even get stains out of the carpet. So, I thought everyone should have their own bottle of oxytocin.” She passed out massage oil in tiny bottles with a label claiming the contents to be “oxytocin” and thus began an long tradition of sending each couple home with their own personal bottle of “oxytocin”.

I have since shifted my parting gifts but I revisit that one now and again as it was a long-running favorite. You can see more of the “Got Oxytocin” baby t-shirts by visiting my site.

Maybe you would like to incorporate some of the ideas listed here in your childbirth classes as you cover the hormones of labor.  If you do, please consider coming back to Science & Sensibility and sharing how it goes.  We’d love to hear from you. – SM

About Kyndal May 

© Kyndal May

© Kyndal May

Kyndal May, MFA, LMP, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, is a storyteller and facilitator; a confidence and commUnity builder for expectant parents, doulas and childbirth educators. She has been an active, private practice childbirth professional since 1995. Teaching her own curriculum, first in Seattle, WA and now in Boise, ID, she has well over 2000 hours of teaching experience and has attended nearly 300 births. A Licensed Massage Practitioner, she incorporates her background in bodywork and movement into her classes to facilitate awareness and help her students discover their own way to labor and birth. She refers to her Confident Birthing Childbirth Class as an ‘informed choice’ class and her unique education platform is used by educators in the United States and abroad.

She is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, a DONA Certified Birth Doula and Birth Doula Trainer offering advanced doula trainings in loss and communication. She serves as the consumer member of the Idaho State Board of Midwifery and on the DONA International Board of Directors as the Western Pacific US Regional Director.

Kyndal’s photography has been published in The Essential Homebirth Guide, Birth Ambassadors: Doulas and the Re-emergence of Woman Supported Childbirth in the United StatesA frequent speaker at professional conferences, her session, The Doula’s Field Guide to Birth Photography is available online through DONA International’s webinar series. To view more of her birth photography, visit her website at: www.kyndalmay.com

Babies, Childbirth Education, Guest Posts, Infant Attachment, Newborns, Series: BABE - Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators, Uncategorized , , , , , , ,

Remembering Elizabeth Noble and Her Contributions to Maternal Infant Health

January 7th, 2015 by avatar
© Elizabeth Noble

© Elizabeth Noble

Elizabeth Noble, author, presenter, teacher, and advocate for mothers, babies and families, passed away last week after spending time in hospice care.   Elizabeth was a highly respected physical therapist and internationally recognized expert on, and an advocate for, the normal physiology of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Born and raised in Australia, Elizabeth received degrees in physiotherapy, philosophy and anthropology before she moved to the United States in 1973.  In 1977, Elizabeth founded the Section on Women’s Health for the American Physical Therapy Association.  In 1979, Elizabeth also founded the Maternal and Child Health Center in Cambridge, MA, along with Cambridge Physical Therapy.  She was the director of these organizations until 1990.

Elizabeth Noble authored eight books; Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year (her most well known), Having Twins and More, Childbirth with Insight, Marie Osmond’s Exercises for Mothers to Be, Marie Osmond’s Exercises for Mothers and Babies, Primal Connections, The Joy of Being a Boy, and Having Your Baby by Donor Insemination.  Many of these books have been translated into several other languages.

Elizabeth created several multimedia productions (videos, DVDs and CDs) that included Inside Experiences, Channel for a New Life, BabyJoyExercises and Activities for Parents and Infants, Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year and Marie Osmond’s Exercises for Mothers-to-Be and Pelvic Power.

Elizabeth authored  several articles, chapters and forewords and was a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, and Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology. A former Director of the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health, she has served on the boards of many organizations such as ICEA, The Toronto Birth Center, Center for Loss in Multiple Pregnancy, and Dancing Through Pregnancy®.

Elizabeth was the creator of “Instructor Training in Prenatal and Postpartum Exercises” a three day course geared for professionals.  She presented this frequently all over the world.

Some of her well known lectures and presentations included:

  • Optimal Health
  • Deskercises
  • Say What You Mean!
  • Pelvic Power: An Evening Public Presentation
  • Pre- and Perinatal Origins of Mental and Physical Health
  • Preventing Professional Burnout: Personal Growth for Maternity Care Providers
  • Hands-on Pelvic Assessment & Treatment
  • Prenatal Preparation
  • Empowerment Challenges for Expectant and New Parents
  • Psychophysical Aspects of Pain in Labor
  • The Pregnancy Playshop:  Weekend Childbirth Intensive for Expectant Parents
  • New Dimensions in Support for Childbearing Year
  • Childbirth Preparation and Unfulfilled Transitions
  • Reproduction and Birth in A Technological World
  • Marching Backward: The Malaise in the Natural Childbirth Movement
  • The Power of Knowing: Psychological Strategies for Expectant Parents and Maternity Care Providers
  • Tapping the Unconscious Mind
  • Inside Experiences: Guided Recall for Birth & Before
  • Reproductive Technology
  • Anonymous Donor Gametes and Genealogical Bewilderment
  • Multiple Pregnancy
  • Fetal Surveillance and the Nocebo Effect: Recommendations for a Normal Pregnancy, Vaginal Birth Optimal Outcome.
  • Pre and Perinatal Loss of a Twin
  • Bonding with Multiples
  • Sharing Space: Twinship Experiences in the Womb

Elizabeth’s dear friend and colleague, Nancy Wainer, CPM, had this to say about Elizabeth Noble:

Liz was quite unique- well-educated, well-read, well-traveled, well-spoken, opinionated (because she was educated!) and feisty. She was extremely articulate and was most dedicated to mothers and babies.

Liz took excellent care of herself – her diet/nutrition was excellent and she exercised regularly. She was mindful.  She had so many things she wanted to accomplish in her lifetime, both professionally and personally. It seems so unfair to those of us who knew her that she was stricken with this dreaded and painful disease, cancer, and that she succumbed this past week. For the past decades, she has been a driving force for mother and babies and and natural living (having had her own home birth in a tub outside on a beautiful day at her’s and Leo’s lovely home in Harwich) and was knowledgeable about so many aspects of birth that made her a true pioneer/trail blazer. She was cut out of a very special mold and her absence will be surely be felt in our circles. Her list of accomplishments are a mile long, and should have been another full mile. Rest in peace, dear Liz… rest in peace.

© Elizabeth Noble

© Elizabeth Noble

The Section of Women’s Health (APTA) recognized Elizabeth by establishing The Elizabeth Noble Award, given yearly to an APTA member in good standing who has provided extraordinary and exemplary service in the field of women’s physical therapy.

Many in the birth world are very familiar with all of Elizabeth Noble’s many contributions to mothers and babies and had the deepest respect for her significant accomplishments.  Her voice and her knowledge cannot be replaced and will certainly be missed.  All of us at Science & Sensibility and Lamaze International offer our condolences to the Noble family.

Babies, Childbirth Education, Newborns , ,

Become a Lamaze International Member and Reap the Benefits

January 2nd, 2015 by avatar

Join Lamaze NowDid you remember to renew your Lamaze International membership?!  Membership runs with the calendar year, but if it slipped your mind at the end of 2014, don’t hesitate to join or renew now!  You do not have to be a childbirth educator to be a Lamaze International member and support the organization. Here are twelve reasons why everyone should join and become a member of Lamaze. Renew or join now!  Please note: If you are a certified LCCE or are recertifying, your membership is now provided at no cost with your certification/recertification fees, so be sure you are taking advantage of all these benefits as part of your certification.

1. Supporting the Lamaze International Mission

The mission of Lamaze International is to advance safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and early parenting through evidence and advocacy. Our vision is “knowledgeable parents making informed decisions.”

I am a childbirth professional, working with birthing families, new doulas and new childbirth educators.  I find that Lamaze’s mission aligns so well with my own, and how I create my classes and work with families and birth professionals.  I am proud to say that I am a member of Lamaze and an LCCE.  I think that many of today’s families and birth professionals can also respect and relate to Lamaze’s mission and find that their values are in sync with what Lamaze offers to the maternity world.  Your membership dollars, combined with other members’ financial support help Lamaze to fulfill this very important mission.

2. Journal of Perinatal Education

The Journal of Perinatal Education (JPE) is a quarterly journal mailed to the home of all Lamaze members and is  filled with relevant, current research that can change the way you teach or practice.  The JPE offers you insights into current maternity trends, access to in-depth articles and the opportunity to learn from international experts.  The JPE is read by childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, RNs, Doctors, Lactation Counselors and other professionals. Additionally, as a Lamaze member, you have access to back issues of the JPE online.

3. FedEx Office Discounts

Being a member of Lamaze International allows you to receive a  fantastic FedEx Office (Kinko’s) discount that has the opportunity to provide you with significant savings.  All of the discounted services that I use yearly offer me savings that exceed the price of my yearly membership.  I am amazed at the level of savings on some of the products and services I use for my business printing and shipping needs.

4. Reduced Fees for Lamaze Products and Events

As a member of Lamaze, you receive member discounts when you register for the annual conference, free continuing education webinars (contact hours available for an additional fee*) and other Lamaze materials in the Online Education Store.

5. Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care Journal Discounts

Birth is published quarterly and Lamaze members receive a 50% discount on both the hard copy journal and the online journal. Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care is a multidisciplinary, refereed journal devoted to issues and practices in the care of childbearing women, infants, and families. It is written by and for professionals in maternal and neonatal health, nurses, midwives, physicians, public health workers, doulas, psychologists, social scientists, childbirth educators, lactation counselors, epidemiologists, and other health caregivers and policymakers in perinatal care.

6. Your Lamaze Classes Listed on Lamaze Website

If you are a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and a current Lamaze member, your childbirth classes can be listed on the Lamaze International website for parents, in the “Find a Lamaze Childbirth Class” section so that those families looking for a childbirth class can locate your offerings. Increase your class enrollment with this members only benefit.

7. Full Cochrane Library Access

Lamaze International members have full access to the Cochrane Library, a collection of databases containing independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.  The Cochrane Library is considered the gold standard of evidence based information and if you are looking for the most up-to-date research on topics relevant to obstetrics and maternity care, breastfeeding and newborn issues, this is the ideal place to find the information you are looking for.

8. Lamaze Forums and Community

As a Lamaze International member, you have member access to our professional forums, on-line communities and discussion groups, where you can share teaching ideas, learn how your peers feel and respond to different topics of interest and collaborate with professionals around the world, from the comfort of your own home or office.

9. Members Only Teaching Resources

When you join Lamaze International, you are provided access to teaching handouts and resources to share with your students, and a variety of class-enriching resources to make your course more relevant, useful and informative to the families that you are working with. You can find printable handouts and infographics, and discover new teaching ideas and curriculum.

10. Supporting Lamaze Improves Maternity Care Worldwide

LCCEs attend the DONA Conference
Photo Credit HeatherGail Lovejoy

When you purchase a Lamaze membership, Lamaze International can pool your dollars with other members’ dollars and use some of this income to support and collaborate with other organizations that are leading the way in changing maternity care around the world for the better.  Lamaze International supports and collaborates with the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), Childbirth Connection and others.  Additionally, Lamaze can send representatives to international conferences to represent Lamaze International, create networking opportunities for all of us, collaborate with other maternity leaders and further work to fulfill the mission of Lamaze International and improve birth for women everywhere.

11.  Access to Online Webinars

Lamaze International offers online webinars with leaders in the field of maternal/infant health that are free to Lamaze members and provides contact hours that can be used toward LCCE recertification.  Additionally, these continuing education hours are accepted by other birth organizations as well.

12. A Deductible Business Expense

My membership fee is a deductible business expense and by purchasing it before the end of the year, I can deduct the cost on my taxes.

Where else can a membership in a maternal infant organization produce such tangible benefits and savings for you and combine with other membership funds to improve maternity care worldwide?  I am proud and excited to renew my Lamaze International membership every year and invite you to renew yours, if you haven’t already.  If you are not a member of Lamaze, then now is the time to join, so that you can reap the professional benefits for the full calendar year.  For a full list of member benefits , please see the member benefits page on the website. Don’t hesitate, join or renew now!

Can you share how being a Lamaze International member has benefited you? Why are YOU a Lamaze member?  Tell us what it means to you in the comments section.

* Updated 1/3/2015 to reflect 2015 policy and program changes.

 

Lamaze International, Lamaze News , ,

Best in Birth for 2014

December 30th, 2014 by avatar

By Cara Terreri, LCCE

Best of  BirthAs the year winds down this week, many will take stock of the best and worst of happenings throughout the year. In the world of maternity care, there are several notable and promising advances, discoveries, and recommendations in care practices. ICYMI (in case you missed it), we’d like to share the best in birth for 2014.

The Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health released important new U.S. research on the outcomes of home birth entitled Outcomes of Care for 16,924 Planned Home Births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009.” This was the first study on outcomes of home births since 2005. For a in-depth review of the study, check out this and this.

In February, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued a joint Obstetric Care Consensus Statement: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery. The statement aims to change the way practitioners manage labor in an effort to reduce the cesarean rate, and was considered by many a major game changer in how women are cared for in labor. The ACOG press release is here, which provides more detail of the study. Science & Sensibility covered it here.

Evidence Based Birth a well-respected resource site for birth practices, published the article, “Evidence for the Vitamin K Shot in Newborns,” which examines Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), a rare but serious consequence of insufficient Vitamin K in a newborn or infant that can be prevented by administering an injection of Vitamin K at birth. The article helps to clear up many misconceptions and questions surrounding the Vitamin K shot.  Sharon Muza interviews Rebecca on this topic here.

Lamaze International launched a series of online parent classes that cover a variety of topics on pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. The online classes are presented in an interactive, engaging format with unlimited access so you can complete the class at your own pace. They provide vital information, and are recommended to be followed up with a traditional, in-depth childbirth class. Topics covered include, VBAC, Six Healthy Birth Practices, and Breastfeeding Basics.  A Pain Management and Coping Skills class will be released shortly in the new year.

The journal Birth published a study that compared the difference between nonpharmacologic (aka: non-drug) pain management during labor with more typical pain relief techniques. Results showed that nonpharmacologic pain relief techniques can reduce the need for medical interventions. Read an in-depth review here.

The “family-centered cesarean” birth continued to emerge as an option for more families as new providers and hospitals adopted practices to facilitate the approach. For more information, check out the Family Centered Cesarean Project and this article.

Out-of-hospital (OOH) births rates continued to increase, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics released this year. The report also showed that OOH births generally had lower risk than hospital births, with lower percentages of preterm birth and low birth weight.

Work continued on human microbiome (aka: healthy gut bacteria) research, and further investigation is underway on the impact of cesarean birth and infant gut bacteria colonization, and the potential benefits of artificially transferring mother’s bacteria to baby.

What other groundbreaking maternal infant topics do you feel made a big leap in 2014?  Share the topic and any relevant links in our comments section.

About Cara Terreri

cara headshotCara began working with Lamaze two years before she became a mother. Somewhere in the process of poring over marketing copy in a Lamaze brochure and birthing her first child, she became an advocate for childbirth education. Three kids later (and a whole lot more work for Lamaze), Cara is the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence, the Lamaze blog for and by women and expectant families. Cara continues to have a strong passion for the awesome power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and for helping women to discover their own power and ability through birth. It is her hope that through the GBWC site, women will have a place to find and offer positive support to other women who are going through the amazing journey to motherhood.

ACOG, Childbirth Education, Evidence Based Medicine, Guest Posts, Lamaze International, New Research , ,

New Lamaze Infographic on Labor Support and Doulas!

December 23rd, 2014 by avatar

Lamaze International has been periodically releasing a comprehensive series of infographics designed to help consumers understand maternal infant best practices.  These easy to read, evidence based infographics can help families to know the facts and supports the “Push for Your Baby” campaign that can help improve birth outcomes.

doula info 1

The newest infographic covering the topic of labor support helps families to understand that building a great support team, including adding a professional doula, can reduce the risk of unwanted interventions and non-medically needed cesareans.  “Who Says Three’s A Crowd”  lets families know that while health care providers can offer emotional support and physiological comfort measures, their responsibilities and patient load may prevent them from offering the continuous support that has been shown to reduce cesareans, need for pitocin, epidurals and improve satisfaction with the birth experience.

Lamaze International’s Healthy Birth Practice #3 “Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support” goes into further detail about the benefits of having good labor support, and includes a short but informative video that supports the third birth practice.  The labor support infographic is a very simple and attractive learning tool that educators can use to teach from or make available in handouts or on the classroom wall for passive learning.

doula info 2

Available infographics include:

Lamaze International provides links to specific infographics for viewing online and makes them available in downloadable “pdf” or “jpeg” formats. Check out the Lamaze International Professionals website here, specifically the infographics page, to see all the infographics.  Parents can find them at the “Push for Your Baby” website.

Have you checked out the infographics?  Have you shared them with your students and clients?  Which one is your favorite?  How do you use them for teaching?  We’d love to hear from you!

Childbirth Education, Doula Care, Evidence Based Medicine, Healthy Birth Practices, Lamaze International , , , , , ,