Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For a gentle, loving childbirth at home or in the hospital...


With 85% of US births considered traumatic for mother and child, how can we create the gentle, loving childbirth and postpartum WE ALL WANT?

Watch the New Mother video...

THE C-SECTION EPIDEMIC: Are WE Culpable & What Can We Do About It?

Microbirth - The New Film from One World Birth
There is a global c-section epidemic. Both mothers and babies are suffering trauma and health risks. New research is emerging indicating that the health of society at large is being compromised as a result.

While the reasons for the epidemic are varied and complex, awareness is growing (thanks in large part to mothers, birth workers, and advocates using social media). Earlier this year, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, jointly-issued the Obstetric Care Consensus, stating that allowing most women with low-risk pregnancies to spend more time in the first stage of labor may avoid unnecessary cesareans [1] (long understood in the world of midwifery). 

Despite the growing awareness, US C-section rates (approximately 1/3 of all births) remain far in excess of the WHO standard: “The estimated proportion of births by caesarean in the population is not less than 5% or more than 15%.”[2]  (Note that 15% is not the rate it “should be,” but the very high end of what could be expected.) 

Of course there are some hospitals and OBs with decreasing C-section rates, but the fact remains that, based on the WHO guideline, 55-85% of the C-sections performed in the US are in excess of what should be required.

Alarmingly, maternal mortality rate is higher in the US than in China[3] despite the fact that China has a dramatically higher C-section rate (47%).[4]  Worse, Abigail Higgins reports: “Eugene Declercq, of Boston University's School of Public Health, produced a short film named Birth by the Numbers discussing maternal mortality in the US. In a 2013 follow-up report, he noted that mortality rates in other industrialized nations had declined - while in the US, it increased by 30 percent in the first decade of the new millennium,”[5] partially due to C-sections. [6]

Not only are c-section rates climbing, but surgery is being forced on women against their will.  In April this year, a woman was “kidnapped” from her home by authorities in Brazil to make her comply with her doctor’s demand that she have a c-section.[7]
And just last week in what the Inquisitor said could be termed a violation of the most basic of feminine, or even human, rights, a woman in Staten Island was forced, against her will, to undergo a cesarean section.[8]

Are We Culpable in the C-Section Epidemic?
As the friends, family, and caretakers of the victims of C-section abuse, we are unwitting accomplices to the tolerance and acceptance as “normal” of C-section rates of 33% (US hospitals), and even of 90% (private hospital rates in Brazil) when, by contrast, the rate at The Farm from 1970-2000 was 1.4%[9] (lower than would be expected in any medical facility, but the statistic and their work (www.thefarmmidwives.org) merit consideration. See footnotes*)
 With one sentence—“At least you had a healthy baby”—we unconsciously endorse the system that has created the phenomenon of the “emergency birth,” and the perception that birth is dangerous enough to frequently require surgical intervention to “save” mom and/or baby.
There are dozens of reasons never to utter those words to a new mother after her C-section (all actually nuances of the single problem that it makes us accomplices). Here are the top seven. 



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gentle Methods to PREVENT & TURN a Breech Baby



Gentle Methods to PREVENT & TURN a Breech Baby

Interview with Dr. Daoshing Ni and Dr. Jessica Chen, by Allie Chee


 Just the word “breech” can strike fear in pregnant womenand rightfully so.


 In the U.S. hospital environment, a breech presentation would “almost certainly mean a cesarean section, considered major abdominal surgery that generally leads to longer hospital stays, longer recovery and, like all surgery, the risk of complications[1]—and loss of any hope of a natural childbirth experience.

In the case of home birth with a midwife, some midwives will deliver breech babies and some won’t. World-acclaimed midwife, birth educator and activist Ina May Gaskin said in one of her lectures, “At first, we brought breech pregnancies to the hospital, but we found after a while that we could deliver them here just fine. Footling breeches, which are thought to be the most difficult, in our experience, they often just slid right out.”[2]

However, today more than 90% of breech babies are born by Caesarean [2]. A woman will be hard-pressed to find a provider who will happily encourage a vaginal birth with a breech presentation and she will likely find herself in the OR on her big day.

But for any woman wanting to avoid that scenario—great news!

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers an extremely gentle, painless procedure with a high success rate for turning breech babies.  Further, TCM offers suggestions and ideas for how to avoid a breech presentation in the first place.

To find out more, I interviewed two doctors considered top in the field:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Cut It Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America, by Theresa Morris

If you're planning a natural childbirth in the hospital...

I read this new release immediately upon receiving it yesterday. Though I can see its great contribution to these fields, I did not read it from a childbirth provider's, scholar's, or politician's point of view. I read it as a mother who chose home birth at 42 years old---amongst other reasons--to avoid being caught in the "cascade of interventions"--or what I call the "birth template" prepared for us by committees. I read it as someone who writes and advocates for natural childbirth.

Cut It Out, written by Professor Theresa Morris, offers new insight to answer the question: "if most women do not want or choose c-section and most maternity providers claim not to prefer c-section over vaginal birth, why has there been an astronomical increase in the c-section rate in the United States?"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Is DAD the Ideal Postpartum Doula?



Is DAD the Ideal Postpartum Doula? 
 Is DAD the Ideal Doula? as published on The Birthing Site
by Allie Chee, with comments from Darren Mattock, Darla Burns, Elly Taylor, and Dr. Ning X. Fu, O.M.D., Ph.D

Postpartum care around the world has well elaborated traditions that support healing, bonding, and growth for the new family. They are respected and received by families in all financial strata. These traditions are considered essential not only to the mother’s immediate recovery, they’re believed to benefit her subsequent pregnancies, menopause, and golden years.

The postpartum time for women in the US historically involved at least periods of bed-rest, during which an experienced woman—usually one or several family members—supported the new family.

However, the concept of postpartum care for the family is currently the subject of debate in the United States where

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

YONI BLISS: Postpartum Care for Our Most Delicate & Tough Body Part



 Postpartum Care for Our Most   
 Delicate & Tough Body Part!
 
Our bodies were made to give birth. It’s natural, it’s miraculous, and when we allow it to…it just happens.

But that doesn’t mean that we emerge from the experience unscathed.  Let’s face it—though breastfeeding and childbirth are the major role of our nipples and yoni[1]—those delicate parts (and others) take a bit of a beating in childbirth and the early days postpartum!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Prenatal Glucose Test: Is it Necessary?


•50 grams of glucose •tap water •artificial flavor

     That's not what you'd expect to find on a “recommended” list for pregnant mothers, but those are the ingredients of the drink a pregnant woman must consume if she follows doctors orders for glucose tolerance screening.

    Women who are discerning with the things they consume during pregnancy--or at any time in their life--are not likely going to drink the glucose test beverage without, at least, asking: “Is this really necessary?”

    When pregnant,

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    The Secret to Calm & Confidence in Childbirth



     

    The Secret to 
    CALM & CONFIDENCE  in Childbirth


    With Excerpts from New Mother
     

    Throughout my thirties I watched not one or two, but almost all my friends enthusiastically enter the hospital in labor, having claimed for nine months that they would have a natural birth. Yet they came out two (or ten) days later having been induced, forced to labor on their back, drugged, cut, and observed by countless strangers. Their babies had been taken from them immediately after birth and they were having problems nursing.
    I wondered what had gone on behind the doors of the L&D that all of them were checking out with dramatically altered birth stories.
    In my third trimester I attended an all-day birthing class at a store for new moms and babies. The women in attendance were from around the world, highly educated in their fields of work, and well to do with all conveniences of life available to them.
    And yet... here are some things I heard during class:

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    AFTER MISCARRIAGE

     
    AFTER MISCARRIAGE

    Postpartum Care for Mothers Experiencing Loss

    By Allie Chee


    People in the US are rediscovering the mind/body benefits of a 30-40 day postpartum recovery period for new moms during which they rest, are cared for, eat special foods for rejuvenation, and are supported by family and postpartum care providers. This, of course, leaves mom better able to care for and bond with her new baby, and to return to her old strength, if not even an increased vitality—quickly!

    In China the term for this time is called “sitting moon” (zuo yuezi in Mandarin—one month being “one moon”), but cultures throughout Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Far East have similar practices, each with their own special techniques and care providers. This postpartum care is not considered something only for

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    NO FEAR of BREECH - The New Mother Cover Story



    NO FEAR of BREECH
     The New Mother book cover is based on the image of a woman approximately 32 weeks pregnant—me. When working on design ideas for the cover, the production team asked me to send a photo of myself pregnant, and that ended up being the inspiration for the cover.

    But that’s not where the inspiration stopped.  In other words, it’s not a literal image.

    New Mother Cover Design
    We don’t see an umbilical cord; there’s no placenta in sight; and the baby, rather than in the ideal position for birth, is “cradled” in the mother’s arm and looking straight at the reader—smiling!

    If the baby had been presented exactly as she was positioned at the time, she would have been head-down, nestled in the pelvic girdle, and the reader would have a lovely view of her back and bum, or maybe her curled legs and feet. That could be important for a medical journal, but the artist had an intention with her cover design.  She wanted the baby to interact with the reader—to say: I’m a participant, aware and involved.

    I loved the idea and the image, and the idea that the baby was “breech” never crossed my mind.  After a reader contacted me saying

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Avoiding Exposure to Violence While Pregnant



    For a healthy, happy baby
    take... a love bath?


    •A Texas Twist on an
    Ancient Chinese Precept•


     Of all the unusual things I learned from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda about conception and pregnancy, this one caught people’s attention most. Probably because it was the one thing they’d never heard of...and because the effect on the baby is so profound.

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    A Midwife, Doula, and Postpartum Help for Healthier, Happier Mom, Dad & Baby




    Who uses a doula, midwife, and postpartum help?

    Barefoot hippies? Hollywood divas?

    Yes, and millions of everyday, hardworking people around the world who have decided either through their cultural heritage or personal research that for them, a natural childbirth and postpartum care with the support of a midwife, doula, and other services makes for the healthiest, safest, and happiest ways to give birth to and care for the new spirit in their lives.

    Natural childbirth in a hospital, home birth, and postpartum care have become so uncommon in the US (and increasingly in other countries) that they are now considered by many to be too difficult, unnecessary, or even frivolous.

    But, just a glance at the number of women in the US who fail to have a natural childbirth (when that’s what they intended), fail to breastfeed (even when they wanted to and tried), and who suffer from

    Monday, February 25, 2013

    Baby Sign Language is Cool! Easy, Fun Communication with Your Infant Using ASL



    After good morning hugs & tickles...signing time!
    BABY SIGN IS COOL!

    Easy, Fun Communication With Your Infant Using ASL



    Several years ago I was friends with a deaf[*] woman and was always intrigued when watching her sign with her baby.

    When pregnant I heard about the trend of parents who weren’t deaf teaching their babies ASL (American Sign Language) or a modified “baby sign” as a way to create clear, two-way communication before a baby was able to speak. I knew that parents and babies had many ways to communicate and express without needing to use sign, but again I was intrigued.

    I read several books and websites to learn more. Many teachers and authors encouraged parents to begin signing with their children between 6-8 months, and advised that though babies would be learning—they’d usually remain unable to sign back until 9 months, 12 months, or older.

    Encouraging parents to sign with their children at any age seemed beneficial and fun, but the information I found was a little different from what I’d observed with my friend and discovered in the deaf community (and what with a little contemplation makes sense):  deaf parents use sign to communicate with their newborns from day one. Just like newborns learning to speak from day one with their parents, babies can learn sign from day one!

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

    CANCER, CIRCUMCISION & C-SECTION...What Will People Say?



     DARK AGE II: REPORT ON THE RITUALS & BEHAVIORS OF ANCIENT TRIBES LIVING IN NORTH AMERICA FROM 1950-2050.
      
    “The philosophies of one age have become the absurdities of the next.”
    -Sir William Osler


    It is now the year 3013, and in this report we will discuss briefly three rituals and behaviors of the tribes of people living in North America: the tribe of the United States collectively called “Americans,” and the tribe of Canada collectively called “Canadians”—during an era now called “Dark Age II”—1,000 years ago in the period between 1950-2050.  As we’ll see in this report, Dark Age II was marked by extraordinary aberrations of nature and a reign of fear, exemplified in these three rituals/behaviors:

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    CONCEIVING AFTER MISCARRIAGE: When to Try Again & Increasing Ability to Carry Full Term


    CONCEIVING

    AFTER  MISCARRIAGE


    In Part 1 of this article, AFTER MISCARRIAGE: Postpartum Care for Mothers Experiencing Loss, we discussed the care a woman should receive in the first several weeks after a preterm loss (or stillbirth) to help her through the grieving process, to assure her return to vitality, and—according to the precepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine—to increase her chance of a successful pregnancy the next time she conceives.

    Here in Part 2, we’ll address the question: When should we try to conceive again? It would be nice if there were one, but the answer is that there is no one answer.  Conceiving life is a sacred event, and there is no single fact or consideration that can offer a single best answer for everyone.

    However, since there are biological and emotional ramifications of pregnancy and loss, there are factors we should consider when deciding when it’s best to try to conceive again.

    The western medical industry essentially considers one factor when making recommendations: What is the statistical likelihood of carrying the next pregnancy full-term when conception happened x amount of time after a miscarriage?” 

    That is indeed the ultimate question in any woman’s mind. However, the western medical industry offers studies with tremendously conflicting results to answer that question.

    For example,

    Monday, December 17, 2012

    Natural Childbirth Exercies - Review

     
    Natural Childbirth Exercises

    If we want any performance or undertaking to turn out the way we envision, training and study are a must—even with natural childbirth. 

    The good news is: the more we study and train, the more we can release concerns, look forward with joy, and entrust the outcome to the Divine!

    With that in mind, check out this fantastic book by Rhondda Hartman, mother to 5, grandmother to 9, & trainer to 14,000+ pregnant women…

    Saturday, August 25, 2012

    FREE LOVE: Every Ideas for Joyful Living

     

    Release Date: September 21, 2012

    In my book, New Mother, I discuss how profit-driven institutions have eliminated all that was natural, loving and sacred in pregnancy and childbirth--and what we can do to reclaim the magic in motherhood. 

    In FREE LOVE, we pick up where New Mother left off. The same institutions have invaded our kitchen, family life, and communities.  We've allowed it--but once again--at any income level, with any amount of free time, and starting right now, we can reclaim the magic in our homes and communities.  
     

    Available Sept 21, 2012

    FREE LOVE: RATED G!


    We Can Have Exactly What We REALLY Want—Right Now
    In 1993, Allie Chee—planning to move to Calcutta—had a one-hour phone call with Mother Teresa that set her off on a different journey—one that led to dozens of countries, great adventure, and unexpected lessons on free love.  In communities around the globe—rich and poor, peaceful and war-torn—she learned that we don't need more time, we don't need more money, we don't need special skills, and we don't need to give up anything we enjoy or desire. We can experience more fun, more joy, more LOVE—we can get our groove back right now—with the simplest of activities in our kitchen, at home, and in our communities.  
    The everyday ideas for joyful living that Allie shares in FREE LOVE are waiting for you. So what are you waiting for?
    Get your groove on and start spreading the love!




     
                             ALLIE CHEE has studied Asian martial and healing arts since 1989, earning a 2nd degree black belt and certification in TCM nutrition; she is a 42-year old home birth mom; and author of NEW MOTHER: Using a Doula, Midwife, Postpartum Doula, Maid, Cook, or Nanny to Support Healing, Bonding and Growth; and FREE LOVE: Everyday Ideas for Joyful Living.

                              Her articles have appeared in The Well Being Journal, The Holistic Networker, The Birthing Site, and MidwiferyToday.  

                             Website: www.alliechee.com  Facebook: www.facebook.com/AllieChee 

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012


    WHERE SHOULD MY BABY SLEEP?


    Co-sleeping, nursing, and weaning à la Good Nights

    New parents have a lot of questions. Some of the most basic are the most controversial:

    • For how many months (or years) should I nurse my baby?
    • When should I wean my baby and how?
    • Where should my baby sleep?

    Saturday, July 28, 2012

    Response to: Maternity Leave? It's More Like A Pause, NY Times article

    Not a single mother interviewed in this article from the New York Times: Maternity Leave? It's More Like a Pause" was from the "natural birth" or "sitting moon" (40-day postpartum healing and bonding time) end of the spectrum.

    They interviewed only women who took just a few days or weeks off and continued working.  And loved it. This is exactly the kind of social influence from leaders, Hollywood, and commercial interests that I discuss in my book, New Mother.

    The message in the article is loud and clear: American women, forget about taking care of yourselves and bonding with your children.  Work trumps all.

    We give birth, if we're blessed, perhaps only once in our lives.  Our babies are only babies for one year. And ever-increasingly, our society refers to this sacred event and magical time as something to be tended to briefly, and gotten over with as painlessly as possible, in exchange for further financial gain and ladder-climbing.

    Quoted in the article is Jane M. Swift, who was a month into her term as acting governor of

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    When people ask new moms...

    How Can You Stand Staying At Home?



    I’m often asked that question.  It implies that staying home, raising our children, is less desirable, fun or respectable than working in an office.

    Personally, I can’t imagine any joy greater than staying home with my baby, cooking for her and my family all day, and being her best friend and teacher.  That’s not what we’re all called to do, nor what we’d want at every phase of life. Maybe that’s why some women feel it’s less desirable than working in an office.

    To be fair, I understand what is driving the question...
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