Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Defending My Cause

I recently had the following comment on my blog by someone anonymous in response to my episiotomy post:

Mother-Friendly Childbirth--Highlights of the Evidence

"My BFF did the Bradley method and did everything right and still needed an episiotomy, or as you call it, "the cut".

And to all the moms reading this who DON'T circumcise your sons, NOBODY is going to want to date them when they are older because uncircumcised penises are DISGUSTING! Especially when you're 80 and can't clean behind the foreskin. (I'm a nurse). Ugh, even the word foreskin makes me want to vomit. Gross!"

Although I believe this comment to be very derogatory and inappropriate, I would like to clarify any misguided thoughts and beliefs on the subjects of the Bradley Method, episiotomies, and circumcision.

The Bradley Method of childbirth education is a 12 week class that provides couples with information and education on how to have a spontaneous, unmedicated, vaginal birth. Couples come away with comprehensive information on topics such as medical vocabulary, nutrition, relaxation exercises, birth plans, bonding techniques, and staying healthy and low risk. Attending a childbirth class of any kind will not guarantee that you will or will not be faced with interventions during birth. Furthermore, women and their partners are responsible for relaying information and discussing expectations with their caregiver prior to the birth. Unfortunately, many doctors are still doing routine episiotomies for babies of any weight or presentation. For more information about The Bradley Method, visit their website, and for episiotomy information see my previous post.

Circumcision is a decision parents make based on personal, medical, or religious beliefs. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association do not recommend circumcision as a routine procedure. Statistics now show that 57% of babies born today are not being circumcised. However, parents need to feel free to make the decision that is right for them and their son. See my previous post for more information.

I have always wanted my blog to be informative and educational for all who desire to know more about pregnancy, natural childbirth and holistic healthcare. I understand that there are many ideas and opinions out. I encourage you to always research and be completely informed before making decisions that will affect you, your birth, and your family.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Welcome Baby Luke!

The 15th Baby

Baby Luke

Born: 6/27/09 at 12:44am at the birthing center in Dallas

Stats: 8 lb. 12 oz. 21 1/2"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Battle for "Best Dad" and "Doula" Contests

Happy Father's Day, to my dad and all dads today!

I currently have two contests on my blog right now. One in honor of Father's Day today. I am eager to hear your "best dad" stories. Tell a story on a father you admire in your life. It could be your husband, father, grandfather, or friend! And, in the post below, share one for your birth experience with a doula. Tell me about how a doula helped you at your birth.

The winner of each contest will get a custom made pair of shoes made by me (like the ones below) for the special little baby boy or girl in your life!

On July 1st, I will randomly select a winner from both contests! Thanks for sharing your stories.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hannah Reasoner, CD(DONA)

Yes, it is official, as of today, I am now certified as a birth doula through DONA!

In honor of these new credentials, I thought I would have another contest on my blog.

Obviously, I am very passionate about labor support and helping couples achieve their desired birth. I am interested in hearing your stories about the doula support you had at your birth. Why did you and your partner decide to hire a doula for your birth? How do you feel about the support she provided? Would you do it again? Have you had a doula at all your births? If not, what were the differences in your births with and without a doula present?

Thanks for your participation. I will randomly select a winner on July 1st!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Teen Pregnancy

Recently, I have been doing research on teen pregnancy. In my work at The Gladney Center for Adoption, I mentor many teens who are preparing to place their baby for adoption. But, this is only a handful of girls who will become a teen pregnancy statistic. Many others will plan to parent or have an abortion.

With teen pregnancy on the rise, I feel it is important to provide support, education, and care to these young women and their support system. Many young girls may find themselves without the support they had hoped for during their pregnancy. A doula can help provide this support to the young teenagers and help get them started on the right track into parenthood.

Doulas can help with mentoring, in-home support, making healthy pregnancy choices, preparing for labor and birth, developing a birth plan, breastfeeding support, and newborn care and preparation for the postpartum period as the teen parent(s) and their families prepare for a new baby. In addition, the doula has a network of caregivers she can refer these young women to, such as, safe housing, drug and alcohol treatment centers, counceling, lactation support, parenting support groups, and programs to assist in completing education and furthering their education if desired.

If you are a teen or the parent of a teen and desire support, please contact me for further information. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to receive the support and help you need for little to no cost.

The following is an article I retreived from another website. Click here to connect directly to the site for more information on teen pregnancy.


Teenage Pregnancy and Teen Abortions - Statistics and Facts

Teenage pregnancy is an issue that is rampant throughout the world and is a major concern due to the ill effects associated with teenagers bearing children. Here is an attempt to fathom all the possible reasons that lead to teenage pregnancy as well as the effects of teenage pregnancy and teen abortions. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics One of the surveys conducted by a leading international organization called Save the Children stated that annually 13 million children are born to women under the age of twenty, more that 90% in developing countries. It also said that the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world was found in sub-Saharan Africa. The United States has the highest teenage birth rate and a very high teenage abortion rate as well. Until 2006, there had been a declining trend in the teenage pregnancy numbers, especially since the early nineties. The Guttmacher Institute conducted a research, which stated that the decline was owing to successful promotion of abstinence and effective use of contraceptives amongst teenagers. However, as of 2007 the teenage pregnancy rates have begun to rise again reversing the positive trends seen in the previous years. Causes of Teenage Pregnancy While discussing the issue of teenage pregnancy it is very important to think about the possible reasons that are responsible for this phenomenon. One of the most important reasons for teen pregnancies is the way in which adolescents are looking at sex. For a majority of teenagers, lack of appropriate sex education, and the portrayal of sex through the mass media results in an inappropriate and a rather careless approach about the phenomenon of sex in general which leads to the fact that teenagers look at sex very differently. Most of the teenagers lack the maturity and sound understanding about the phenomenon of sex and often get carried away in the moment. The practice of unprotected sex leads to teen pregnancies and further to teen abortions. Although some of the teens decide to give birth to the child, the process of raising a child at a teenage is extremely difficult and hampers many factors like the education of the teen, the financial concerns, and of course the psychological stress associated with the process. Teen pregnancies can also result from sexual abuse of teenage girls. Instances of teen pregnancies resulting from sexual abuse by sexual predators, or even date rapes have been on the rise. Dealing with a teenage pregnancy can be even more difficult in such cases, due to the emotional as well as physical trauma. The Internet might have been a great source of communication, but has emerged as an easy option for sexual predators to lure and victimize teenage girls. In some countries child marriage is practiced which leads to teenage girls being forced into motherhood at a very young age at which the girl is not ready for motherhood both physically and emotionally. Impact of Teenage Pregnancies and Teen Abortions Most of the people put a lot of thought and planning before they decide they want to have children, since raising a child is an extremely difficult task, which requires a lot of psychological, physical as well financial strength. The first and most important thing about teenage pregnancies is that teenage is a very tender age, and hence teenagers lack the physical as well as psychological maturity required for conceiving children. Teenage pregnancies can very extremely difficult to deal with not only for the teen, but the entire family and might have an effect on the younger siblings of the teenager. Continuing education becomes very difficult for teenage mothers, which again leads to an unstable future without education and proper employment opportunities. This affects the quality of living of both the mother as well as the child. The risks associated with childbirth are higher for girls under the age of fourteen years. An underdeveloped pelvis often leads to complications during childbirth. The Caesarean section option can be used for dealing with obstructed labor, however, in developing regions where medical services might be unavailable, it can lead to obstetric fistula, eclampsia, infant mortality, or even maternal death.

It's hard to raise a child when you're still a child ~ Anonymous

Do You Need a Doula?

Even with a caring partner, family support, and the care of a doctor or midwife, will he or she:
  • Come to your home and labor with you until it's time to go to the hospital or birthing center and then stay with you continuously until the baby is born?
  • Provide advanced labor techniques such as massage or acupressure?
  • Provide several prenatal visits in your home?
  • Help you develop a "birth plan"?
  • Provide the encouragement you need while you are in transition and when the baby is being born?
  • Take notes during labor and provide you with a written record of birth?
  • Take photographs of you and your support person(s) during the labor and with your new baby?
  • Help you with breastfeeding?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


See below to changes made in the documentary that will be shown at the screening on July 11th. Sorry for the confusion. Still hope you can attend!

Free Movie Screening

Join us for a free screening of this popular documentary on childbirth. See additional information below. We hope to see you there!

Movie Synopsis
Joyous, sensuous and revolutionary, Orgasmic Birth brings the ultimate challenge to our cultural myths by inviting viewers to see the emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through birth. Witness the passion as birth is revealed as an integral part of woman's sexuality and a neglected human right. With commentary by Christiane Northrup, MD, and midwives Ina May Gaskin, Elizabeth Davis and other experts in the field . . . and stunning moments of women in the ecstatic release of childbirth.

Orgasmic Birth has had an international impact on the film festival circuit and was screened this year at the prestigious Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival; The Baltimore Women's Film Festival; Usti Film Festival in the Czech Republic; Festival Caminhos in Portugal; and 'Official Selection' The European Independent Film Festival (ÉCU) 2009 in Paris. Orgasmic Birth also won the Audience Choice Award at the 2008 Motherbaby International Film Festival in Bermuda.

Five years in the making, Filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro reveals a revolutionary approach to birth that is statistically safer for both mother and child than the birthing and delivery methods that are standard in many parts of the world today. The viewer becomes an intimate part of the birth stories of 11 women during this 85 minute documentary.

The evocative score for the film was created by John McDowell, composer of the score for the Oscar-winning documentary Born Into Brothels, with additional composition by Sabina Sciubba of the group Brazilian Girls.


What: "Orgasmic Birth"- Movie Screening

When: Saturday, July 11, 2009 7-10pm

Where: Mansfield, TX (exact location TBA)

Who: Adults who are interested in learning more about natural childbirth

Why: To educate and provide information on childbirth

Hosted By: Donna Ryan, AAHCC, ICEA

Please RSVP by June 22nd to hannah.reasonerLMT@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Poll

Please take a moment to take the new episiotomy poll on my blog located in the right column. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Dreaded Cut

There are many reasons that I am thankful I have become a "birth junkie" before having children of my own. Many doulas happen upon this as their calling because they had a wonderful or not so wonderful previous birth experience. But, for me, I desire to educate, care for, and nourish pregnant and birthing mothers.

The "cut" is one of those things I dread to see and hear happen in births. It looks awful and sounds horrid when it is happening. Flesh being cut with scissors is almost the worst sound ever next to nails on a chalkboard!

If dads could really grasp what the "cut" is and all it entails, I believe he would demand for it not to happen at all costs. The first time I educated my husband about it, he was mortified and cringed in horror. I knew at that point that when the time came, he would fight for me if it comes to that.

When I discuss a birthing with my hospital clients and the "cut" comes up, I am sure to let them know that they need to discuss that with their caregiver and the nurses they have in the hospital. Many nurses will help adequately prepare the perineum for the birth. I also discuss the benefits of kegel exercises that help to prepare and strengthen the pelvic floor.

Many midwives pride themselves in having minimal perineal tearing in births. They will use hot compresses and perineal massage with oils. Midwives do not perform episiotomies and most believe that tearing, if that occurs, will heal better.

What is an episiotomy?
An episiotomy is a cut made in the back of the vagina to enlarge it for birth. With midline or median episiotomy, (the type usual in the U.S. and Canada), the cut is made from the back of the vaginal opening straight toward the anus. With mediolateral episiotomy (the usual type in most of the rest of the world), the cut is made off to one side. See photos below.

How does an episiotomy affect my pelvic floor?
In the past, most care providers believed that episiotomy would prevent serious tears extending into the anal muscle. Anal muscle injury is a concern as it can lead to leaking gas, a sense of urgency about elimination, or even leaking feces (bowel incontinence).

However, a large body of consistent research has shown that liberal or routine use of episiotomy promotes rather than prevents pelvic floor dysfunction. It offers no advantages over the spontaneous tissue tears that may occur during birth. Midline episiotomy (the type that is usual in the U.S. and Canada) increases risk for tears into or through the anal muscle. Nearly all anal muscle tears that occur during birth are extensions of midline episiotomies.

Mediolateral episiotomy (the cut is made diagonally off to one side) is usual in most other parts of the world. Although it doesn't seem to cause anal muscle tears, it doesn't prevent them either. Women with no episiotomy have similar low risk for anal muscle tears compared with women with mediolateral episiotomy. This type of incision, however, goes through muscle fibers and can involve a longer, more painful healing period, scarring, and sometimes a scar with uneven healing that pulls to one side.

What is a reasonable episiotomy rate?
While the percentage of women who give birth vaginally and have episiotomies has fallen steadily in recent decades in the U.S., it still has far to go. Currently, about 35 in 100 women with vaginal births have episiotomies. Episiotomy rates vary widely across caregivers and across birth settings; studies show that they could safely be much lower, 7 or fewer in every 100 vaginal births.

How can I avoid an episiotomy?
With 1 woman in 3 with a vaginal birth in the U.S. having an episiotomy and much higher rates in many other parts of the world, it is important to understand the practice style of those who might attend your birth. If possible, arrange to receive care from a caregiver (or group of caregivers) with a commitment to restricted use of this procedure. If this is not possible, make it quite clear that you do not want an episiotomy unless there is a medically urgent need to hurry the birth.

When might an episiotomy be recommended?
About the only reason most caregivers would agree that an episiotomy is appropriate is when the baby is close to being born and an urgent problem develops.

When examined in scientific studies, none of the reasons given for the common or routine use of episiotomy holds up, including:

  • Woman is a first-time mother: Studies that attempt to restrict episiotomy do not find that having a first baby is in and of itself a reason for episiotomy.
  • Caregiver believes a tear is about to occur: Performing an episiotomy for this reason has not been shown to have a protective effect.
  • Woman is having a vacuum extraction or forceps delivery: Women are much less likely to have anal muscle injuries if they don't have a midline episiotomy with an assisted vaginal birth. (Mediolateral episiotomy neither prevents nor causes anal injury compared with no episiotomy.)
  • Belief that episiotomy prevents pelvic floor weakness: Women are just as likely to have weak pelvic floors or urinary incontinence in the early months after childbirth with or without an episiotomy. Women with no episiotomy and no or only a tiny tear at birth (intact perineum) have the strongest pelvic floors while women with tears into the anal muscle have the weakest pelvic floors. Women with spontaneous tears do just as well as, or better than, women with episiotomies.
  • Belief that episiotomy is easier to repair (to stitch closed) than a tear: No research supports this claim. Certainly the tear that occurs when a midline episiotomy extends into the anal muscle is more difficult to repair than more a small tear. With optimal care, many women will need no more than a few stitches or no stitches at all.
  • Belief that episiotomy heals better: An episiotomy of either type is more likely to have delayed healing or to become infected in comparison with no episiotomy. A mediolateral episiotomy is more likely to scar and heal pulled to one side compared with the tears that may occur with no episiotomy.
Take the poll located on the right of the blog.

The 14th Birth

On Friday, June 5th I attended my 14th birth with a client from the adoption agency where I work. Here are some "belly notes" from that birth.

  • At 23 years old, she desired to have a natural birth because her mother and grandmother did and she wanted to carry that on. In addition, she wanted to steer away from medications for the sake of the baby. It is rare when we have a client that truly understands and embraces the ability her body has to birth naturally and who also cares enough for the health of the baby that she intends to place for adoption.
  • As an agency, we are working to accommodate the needs of every client, but unfortunately because 99% of them want medication, their 6 hour childbirth education class does not fully prepare them for having a natural birth.
  • I am grateful for the two amazing nurses (two shifts) she had at the hospital that fully accommodated her efforts to have a natural birth and her 25+ hour labor, 12 hours of which we were at the hospital.
  • I am thankful for the doctor on call who did not do a cesarean when she stalled at 8cm for a few hours. It makes me appreciate birthing in the middle of the night when there are not as many time restrictions and clock watching. Even the nurse admitted to that one!
  • When she began to get tired and the pain got too much for her I got nervous. As much as I feel that I know how to help, this was a situation that I felt helpless. I had to dig deep into myself to really know what to do and say with her. After almost 20 hours in labor, she decided to have the help of medication.
  • Although the agency does not have access to alternative childbirth classes, it has made me appreciate the births I have attended with clients who were adequately prepared. I believe that it is important for my clients to be well prepared and going forward I may request that my clients outside from the agency have Bradley, Hypnobabies, Hypnobirthing, or some other form of childbirth class that is geared toward natural birthing.
  • I got to see the nurse actually birth the baby that early morning at 3:53am. The doctor was taking his time. But, because he did and the nurse was so careful, she did not tear or receive an episiotomy that she so desperately did not want to have.
  • I was with her for 19 hours of her labor and birth. Although, not the longest birth I have ever attended, it was still tiring, but worth every minute of being sleep deprived. I never question why I do this because watching a new life come into this world makes me so happy.

Book of the Week

Childhood Vaccinations
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

I recently posted that I would write about vaccinations. Since then, I have been reading and researching beyond what I had already done over the past several years. It has been about eleven years since I first learned of the choices that we have concerning being vaccinated and vaccinating our children.

In addition, about a month ago, the daughter of a close friend of mine contracted the measles. Using holistic health care methods and closely monitoring her temperature and symptoms, my friend was able to care for and nurse her child back to health.

I have also had friends whose children have had whooping cough, influenza, chicken pox, and mumps. None of these are deadly if cared for properly. It is interesting to me that many of the illnesses such as these are vaccinated for. It really gets me thinking about why and how this came to be?

It is important for parents to know is that they always have choices no matter the age of the child. Many schools "require" vaccinations before entering school at certain grade levels. You can request a personal, religious, or medical exemption against vaccinations at any age. For more information on the exemptions forms for each state, go to this website.

Because there is so much information out there, I have decided not to post on this. I am encouraging you to read this book that I found at the library. Dr. Lauren Feder writes about childhood vaccinations. She is a medical doctor who has chosen not to vaccinate her own children. I believe that says a lot. She writes from a neutral point of view and states all pros and cons of vaccinating. She has patients who desire to have their children vaccinated and she provides that. But, what I like about her views is that she takes the time to educate and inform her patients.

I will leave you with this. If you are unsure about what to do with your children after gathering all the information and education possible to make an informed decision, ask your pediatrician if he/she vaccinates his/her children. I would question the validity of the vaccination if my own doctor has chosen against it for his/her own children.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative

As the Tarrant County Birth Network is evolving, we are expecting that all members, practitioners, and those involved will adapt to the high standards of care that were put in place by The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (or CIMS). Women and their families should expect no less than this standard of care as they conceive, carry, and birth their children.

CIMS has a mission to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. This evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family-friendly model focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs.

CIMS has developed the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative that is evidence based and is a collaborative effort of many individuals and more than 26 organizations focused on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding during meetings spanning nearly three years in the 1990’s.

They incorporate many philosophies including: normalcy of the birthing process, empowerment, autonomy, do no harm, and responsibility.

I have included below the steps to Mother-Friendly Childbirth as found at the CIMS webstite.

Ten Steps of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative
For Mother-Friendly Hospitals, Birth Centers,* and Home Birth Services

To receive CIMS designation as “mother-friendly,” a hospital, birth center, or home birth service must carry out the above philosophical principles by fulfilling the Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.

A mother-friendly hospital, birth center, or home birth service:

  1. Offers all birthing mothers:
    • Unrestricted access to the birth companions of her choice, including fathers, partners, children, family members, and friends;
    • Unrestricted access to continuous emotional and physical support from a skilled woman—for example, a doula,* or labor-support professional;
    • Access to professional midwifery care.
  2. Provides accurate descriptive and statistical information to the public about its practices and procedures for birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.
  3. Provides culturally competent care—that is, care that is sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.
  4. Provides the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of the lithotomy (flat on back with legs elevated) position.
  5. Has clearly defined policies and procedures for:
    • collaborating and consulting throughout the perinatal period with other maternity services, including communicating with the original caregiver when transfer from one birth site to another is necessary;
    • linking the mother and baby to appropriate community resources, including prenatal and post-discharge follow-up and breastfeeding support.
  6. Does not routinely employ practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including but not limited to the following:
    • shaving;
    • enemas;
    • IVs (intravenous drip);
    • withholding nourishment or water;
    • early rupture of membranes*;
    • electronic fetal monitoring;
    other interventions are limited as follows:
    • Has an induction* rate of 10% or less;†
    • Has an episiotomy* rate of 20% or less, with a goal of 5% or less;
    • Has a total cesarean rate of 10% or less in community hospitals, and 15% or less in tertiary care (high-risk) hospitals;
    • Has a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) rate of 60% or more with a goal of 75% or more.
  7. Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief, and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.
  8. Encourages all mothers and families, including those with sick or premature newborns or infants with congenital problems, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.
  9. Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
  10. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding:
    1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff;
    2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy;
    3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding;
    4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth;
    5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants;
    6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated;
    7. Practice rooming in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day;
    8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand;
    9. Give no artificial teat or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants;
    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from hospitals or clinics
† This criterion is presently under review.