Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mo. Supreme Court upholds midwifery law

There was celebration Tuesday afternoon at a Columbia birth center after the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a 2007 state law that legalizes midwifery without fear of potential criminal charges.

"We're all still kind of like goofy around here," Ivy White, a certified midwife and executive director of the Columbia Birth Center, said in a mid-afternoon phone interview to a chorus of cheers and claps in the background. "Everybody's jumping up and down, screaming, and high-fiving."

The cause for her jubilation was a 5-2 state Supreme Court decision earlier Tuesday to reinstate a 2007 law making certified midwifery legal without the presence of a physician. The issue has undergone more than 25 years of debate and met with opposition from groups such as the Missouri State Medical Association. A Cole County Circuit Court had ruled against the law, saying its passage in an unrelated health insurance bill was unconstitutional.

"We've had setback after setback, and it's finally nice to have something go in our favor," said Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, medical director of the Columbia Community Birth Center. Allemann has been involved with the midwifery issue since 1990 and was a defendant in the suit ruled on Tuesday by the Supreme Court.

White said the Columbia birthing center is home to two of the 10 certified professional midwives in Missouri and hopes to be able to provide more options for mothers-to-be should the decision withstand a 10-day period before becoming law.


Ricki Lake on Good Morning America and Access Hollywood

How Safe Are Home Births?
Good Morning America
Access Hollywood

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Experts Worry About Rise in C-Sections

Once the delivery option of last resort, Caesarean sections are now all the rage: Nearly 1 in 3 pregnant women had a C-section in 2006, compared with about 1 in 5 a decade earlier.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Sunday, August 24th from 3-6PM at James G. Atkinson Memorial Park, La Leche League of Glassboro will be hosting the 2008 World Walk for Breastfeeding. (You don't really have to walk, nor must you be a breastfeeding mother!) It is a family gathering and fundraiser event for the group which covers operating costs and allows the group to supply breastfeeding mothers with helpful materials. LLL helps mothers every day by supporting them through the breastfeeding years with mother-to-mother support from volunteers.
There will be things to buy such as clothing and books for every age, and many silent auction items. Some are baby-related but most are general items such as food, gift cards to many stores, tickets to local attractions, gift certificates for salon services, etc. If you or someone you know is expecting or has an infant, this is a great opportunity to bid on great baby items at less than retail prices.
There will also be free food donated by local businesses! It is a kid-friendly place with 2 playgrouds, restrooms, and ample parking. We will be in the pavilion located near the entrance on Bethel Mill Road (north of the main entrance).
We would love for you to participate. Even if you don't want to bid, come for the food and friends. It is a fun day for everyone.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ricki Lake's Response to the AMA

June 18, 2008

Dear BOBB Friends and Supporters:

We wanted to make sure you are all aware of the news story that has exploded over the last 24 hours regarding the recent AMA Resolution against homebirth and Ricki's response to being named in it.

In February of this year, one month after the premiere of BOBB, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reiterated its long-standing opposition to home births. In an obtuse reference to The Business of Being Born, ACOG stated, "Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what's fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre." If that wasn't enough, ACOG, this past weekend, introduced a resolution to the American Medical Association (AMA) at their annual meeting. The resolution commits the AMA to "develop model legislation in support of the concept that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital...". The reasoning for this resolution begins, "Whereas, There has been much attention in the media by celebrities having home deliveries, with recent Today Show headings such as "Ricki Lake takes on baby birthing industry: Actress and former talk show host shares her at-home delivery in new film...". (Resolution 205, click here to read).

Since when did Ricki become an evidence-based data point? What are they so afraid of?

Just last week, Medical News Today reports that "about 8.2% of infants born in the US in 2005 had low birth weights, the highest percentage since 1968." US infant mortality rates continue to rank us below 30 other countries, 22% of pregnancies are induced, and most worrisome of all, in the last 4 years, the maternal mortality rate has risen above 10 per 100,000 for the first time since 1977. To us, these seem like the troubling trends, not home birth.

News outlets including the AP quickly picked up this story yesterday as it hit TMZ, E! USA Today, Daily News, FOX.

Ricki will be featured on Good Morning America this Saturday discussing the controversy. (If you Google "Ricki Lake, AMA" you will see the bloggers are all over this!)

Filmmakers Abby Epstein and Ricki Lake teamed up with journalist and Pushed author Jennifer Block to pen the response (following at the end of this email) for the Huffington Post (click here to read).

Late yesterday, the AMA changed the final wording on resolution 205 to omit the mention of Ricki. (Hmmm...) The AMA says that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) drafted the initial statement so any issues should be taken up directly with them.

Stay tuned for more news to come...

The BOBB Team


Ladies, the physicians of America have issued their decree: they don't want you having your babies at home with midwives.

We can't imagine why not. Study upon study have shown that planning a home birth with a trained midwife is a great choice if you want to avoid unnecessary medical intervention. Midwives are experts in supporting the physiological birth process: monitoring you and your baby during labor, helping you into positions that help labor progress, protecting your pelvic parts from damage while you push, and "catching" the baby from the position that's most effective and comfortable for you-hands and knees, squatting, even standing-not the position most comfortable for her.

When healthy women are supported this way, 95% give birth vaginally, with hardly any intervention.

And yet, the American Medical Association doesn't see the point. Yesterday it adopted a policy written by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists against "home deliveries" and in support of legislation "that helps ensure safe deliveries and healthy babies by acknowledging that the safest setting for labor, delivery, and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital" or accredited birth center.

"There ought to be a law!" cry the doctors.

The trouble is, they have no evidence to back up their safety claims. In fact, the largest and most rigorous study of home birth internationally to date found that among 5,000 healthy, "low-risk" women, babies were born just as safely at home under a midwife's care as in the hospital. And not only that, the study, like many before it, found that the women actually fared better at home, with far fewer interventions like labor induction, cesarean section, and episiotomy (taking scissors to the vagina, a practice that according to the research should be obsolete but is still performed on one-third of women who give birth vaginally).

Which is why the American Public Health Association supports midwife-attended home birth. The British OB/GYNs have read the research, too, and have this to say: "There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications... it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman's likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe"

The other trouble with the American MDs is that they seem to have lost all respect for women's civil rights, indeed for the U.S. Constitution - the right to privacy, to bodily integrity, and the right of every adult to determine her own health care. The "father knows best" legislation they are promoting could indeed be used to criminally prosecute women who choose home birth, say, by equating it with child abuse.

Research evidence be damned, the doctors want to mandate you to go to the hospital. They don't want you to have a choice.

We think they're spooked. The cesarean rate is rising, celebrities are publicizing their home births (the initial wording of the AMA resolution actually took aim at Ricki for publicizing her home birth on the Today Show!), people are reading Pushed and watching The Business of Being Born, and there's a nationwide legislative "push" to license certified professional midwives in all states (The AMA is against that, too, by the way).

The docs are on the defensive.

After all, birth is big business-it's in fact the most common reason for a woman to be admitted to the hospital. And if more women start giving birth outside of it, who will get paid? Not doctors and not hospitals.

"The AMA supports a woman's right to make an informed decision regarding her delivery and to choose her health care provider," the group said in a statement. But if it really supported women's birth choices it wouldn't adopt a policy condemning home birth and midwives.

Because if U.S. women are to have real birth choices, everybody needs to be working together to provide them, not engaging in turf wars at their expense.

By Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein and Jennifer Block for The Huffington Post

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father Knows Best Meets Big Brother Is Watching

Physician Group Seeks to Outlaw Home Birth—Is Jail for Moms Next?
To

Just in time for Father’s Day, at its annual meeting last
weekend, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution to introduce legislation
outlawing home birth, and potentially making criminals of the mothers who choose home birth with the
help of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) for their families.

“It’s unclear what penalties the AMA will seek to impose on women who choose to give birth at home,
either for religious, cultural or financial reasons—or just because they didn’t make it to the hospital in
time,” said Susan Jenkins, Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives 2008 campaign. “What we do
know, however, is that any state that enacts such a law will immediately find itself in court, since a law
dictating where a woman must give birth would be a clear violation of fundamental rights to privacy and
other freedoms currently protected by the U.S. Constitution.”

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Rising Moon Birth Fund

What is a Birth Fund?
A birth fund helps to fund the cost of the sevices of a midwife for people who could not otherwise afford it. Rising Moon Birth Fund seeks to make homebirth a viable option for families with financial obstacles through fundraising, outreach, and education.

Why homebirth?
For many people homebirth is simply the only option which matches their belief systems. Some have had to endure painful hospital experiences which alert them to the arbitrary nature of protocols in place there. For some it is a gradual education process which begins when the first visits to the local obstetrician end poorly and the family begins to seek other options. Some have several children before finally realizing homebirth was right for them all along. Some want control of the labor process, impossible with managed care, others want control of what happens to their baby in the hours after birth. Some want God to lead the process and others want to be simply left alone. What bonds homebirthers together, because they come from all walks of life and all income levels and all religions and creeds, is a need to be at home and undisturbed and to let nature take its course gently and easily. Birth at home is remarkably simple and comparatively easier than hospital birth. 90-95% of the time the baby is born at home and is healthy after a labor which while longer is often more pleasant than the typical medical birth experience. You can labor in water, move around to be comfortable, you can eat. You can let the aches and pains of a healthy muscular system work the way they should, and scream or cry or be totally silent. Your toddler can run around and your husband can be where you both feel safe and protected. To labor in your own big bed, and deliver there, and stay there and spend the night is such a gentle process. No wheeled transport, or little plastic boxes for the baby, your arms do just fine. Midwives clean up the mess and chat about the beauty of what they just saw and leave you comfy and clean.

For more information about Rising Moon Birth Fund, please visit www.RisingMoonBirthFund.com.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Breastfeeding Helps Girls' Lung Health

Breast-feeding gives all infants numerous health advantages compared to baby formula, but in at least one respect girls get a greater benefit from breast milk than boys, researchers said on Monday.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Vaccine Debate: Are we hurting our kids?

By the age of 6, most children have been injected with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation of 48 doses of 14 different vaccines, not including optional immunizations. With that number of shots, parents are taking a critical-thinking approach to vaccinations and making themselves aware of the pros and the cons.


After Cesareans, Some See Higher Insurance Cost

When the Golden Rule Insurance Company rejected her application for health coverage last year, Peggy Robertson was mystified.

“It made no sense,” said Ms. Robertson, 39, who lives in Centennial, Colo. “I’m in perfect health.”

She was turned down because she had given birth by Caesarean section. Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, Golden Rule did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified.


FDA Proposes Changes to Prescription Drug Labeling

FDA Proposes New Rule to Provide Updated Information on the Use of Prescription Drugs and Biological Products during Pregnancy and Breast-feeding

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today proposed major revisions to the physician labeling for prescription drugs (including biological products) to provide better information about the effects of medicines used during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

The proposed changes to prescription drug labeling would give health care professionals more comprehensive information for making prescribing decisions and for counseling women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or of child-bearing age about using prescription medications.


The Happiest Baby on the Block Class

Are you ready to be a parent? Sleepless nights, crying baby, marital stress. Learn an extraordinary approach to calm your baby in our Happiest Baby Class. New parents will learn step-by-step how to help babies sleep longer and how to soothe even the fussiest infant in minutes... or less!

Location: Journey Birth Services, 52 Marshall Road, Glen Mills PA 19342

Time and Date: Wednesday, February 25th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Wednesday, April 22nd, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Wednesday, June 24th, 6:30pm - 8:30pm

The Happiest Baby on the Block Class is $50 for two hours, and includes a parent kit consisting of The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and a Soothing Sounds CD - a $40 value!
Space is limited. To register for this class, please call Journey Birth Services at (610)765-1252 or submit your registration either online or through the mail at the Journey Birth Services website.