Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Calling all Pushers!

You can now get your PushGear from Cafe Press. Let the world know that you support the Big Push for Midwives.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New research shows labor prior to primary c/s reduces risk of uterine rupture

Recently released in ACOG's Green Journal is a new study that examines the effects of labor prior to cesarean in relation to uterine rupture. The study found the following:

Labor before the primary cesarean delivery can decrease the risk of uterine rupture in a subsequent trial of labor. A history of primary cesarean delivery preceded by spontaneous labor is favorable for VBAC.

Read more here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tell Obama about Midwives!

From Susan Hodges at Citizens for Midwifery:

Dear Friends,If you haven’t heard yet, President-Elect Obama has invited YOU to tell him what you’d like to see in health care reform.Thank you to everyone who has brought this to our attention!Read about Obaman’s propososals for health care at:http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcareClick on the paragraph under "Present Your Ideas." This will take you to an online form you can use to offer your ideas on health care to the new administration.You can urge the administration to support increased access to midwives and to take a look at the Midwives Model of Care page on CfM's website (http://www.cfmidwifery.org/mmoc). Issues that could be brought up: The need for accountability for outcomes and costs in maternity care; the need for transparency so women can find out accurate information about the practices of maternity care providers; the need to address disparities in access to care and effectiveness of care. A policy for evidence-based practices in maternity care, including the Midwives Model of Care, would help to address these issues. We also encourage you to suggest that the new administration implement the recommendations of Childbirth Connection's Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Accomplish." (http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10575) This will bring this comprehensive policy report to their attention.The more the campaign hears from us about the problems in maternity care and the SOLUTIONS, the better!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baby, You're Home

The New York Times posted an article entitled "Baby, You're Home" in their Home and Garden section today about the rising number of home births in the New York City area. Check it out here.

Alabama earns an F on the March of Dimes Report Card

Alabama has been given an F by the March of Dimes when it comes to our preterm birth rates. In the year 2005, 16.7 percent of babies born in Alabama were born prematurely. Read more here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Even the Wall Street Journal is catching on!

NEW YORK, NY, Oct 08, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Over 31% of US births are now by cesarean section, although a 5% to 10% rate is best for mothers and babies. The extra cost is well over $2.5 billion per year. The excess cesareans buy no reduction in maternal and newborn deaths. But they cause unneeded exposure to the dozens of adverse effects more common with c-sections. This is just the most striking example of how health care provided to mothers giving birth exposes them to avoidable harm and expense. These conclusions are found in "Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve," a report released today by Childbirth Connection, The Reforming States Group, and the Milbank Memorial Foundation.

Read more here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

High-tech interventions deliver huge childbirth bill

Today's USA Today looks at how high-tech interventions in childbirth are causing soaring health care costs. Consider this: Childbirth is the number one reason for hospitalization in the United States. And chew on this: More than $2.5 billion, that is $2,500,000,000, is spent on unnecessary cesarean sections in the United States alone. More fodder for our fight to fully integrate midwives into our maternity care system!

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buy some stamps. Support Midwives.

"Stamps are a simple way of making a statement. Now, with the launch of midwifery-themed postage stamps, supporters of midwives can send their message across the country: 'Choose a Midwife.' The American College of Nurse-Midwives is unveiling the new stamps in conjunction with National Midwifery Week, October 5-11. Stamps are available for purchase online at http://www.photostamps.com/acnm."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Birth Right Festival '08

Thanks to all who came out today and made ABC's Birth Right Festival a roaring success. Special thanks to Susan Petrus and Dalia Abrams for being the masterminds behind the event.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Birth Right" at Sidewalk Film Festival

Eight short films made by UAB students will be screened during the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival scheduled for Sept. 26-28. The films begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 in the Carver Theater, 1631 4th Ave. North.

Included is a film by Neeta Kirpalani and Emily Jackson about the history and future of midwifery in the state of Alabama:

Many healthy women in the state are not allowed by law to have natural, midwife-assisted births at home. This film examines midwifery communities and the benefits and larger social justice issues such as access to care and lack of choice within the health-care system."

Please show your support for Emily and Neeta's amazing work and the Ethnographic Film class at UAB!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ABC at Babypalooza

ABC had a great day at Babypalooza! Sponsored by Alabama Baby Magazine, this event at Brookwood Mall in Homewood gave parents and expectant parents a chance to check out a variety of vendors and organizations serving families in our area. Dozens of people stopped by the ABC table to ask questions and request information on midwifery and evidence-based maternity care. We saw a few familiar faces and many new ones. What a teriffic opportunity for ABC to offer educational resources in the community! Many thanks to Susan Petrus for organizing our table, and to Fredia Nelms (pictured above) and Brandy Dahlen for helping staff it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why an ABC supporter would rather give birth than get a paper cut . . .

Our very own Kim Hildenbrand has an article in this month's Lipstick Magazine entitled Pain and Suffering . Congratulations, Kim! Job well done.

Pain and Suffering

I’m a wimp.

This is not something I’m particularly proud of. In fact, it’s something I’ve always been vaguely ashamed of. But it’s the truth.

I hate being in pain, and my tolerance for it lies somewhere around my ankles. Some people— including my mom — can plunge their hand in boiling water to grab, say, a spoon that’s fallen to the bottom of the pot. Not me.

To read the rest of the article, please visit Lipstick.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Interview with Abby Epstein, Director and Producer of the Business of Being Born

Abby Interviewed on GivingBirthNaturally.com

From http://www.givingbirthnaturally.com/business-of-being-born.html

The Business of Being Born
An Interview with Abby Epstein,
Director and Producer of The Business of Being Born

Q: As a self-proclaimed homebirth skeptic before “The Business of Being Born” project, what eventually drew you to make this film?

A: I think I was first inspired by watching the video of Ricki’s home birth. I had never seen anyone give birth like that in my life. She looked like a goddess in that bathtub! It completely re-wired my brain as to what the possibilities were for an amazing birth experience. Soon after, I read Ina May Gaskin’s book Spiritual Midwifery and that sealed the deal. After that, I really understood that there were so many more aspects, layers, and gender politics around childbirth than I had ever imagined.

Q: Natural birth critics and anti-homebirth advocates contend that homebirth is an outdated approach that should be replaced with the technologies of today, stating that hospitals are better and safer because of the medications and emergency equipment available. How do you respond?

A: First and foremost I feel this is a matter of Choice. I would never advocate homebirth or even natural birth to any of my friends. I would only advocate they have as informed and empowered a birth as possible. This is a deeply personal choice that couples need to make on their own and its none of anyone’s business to tell them what is ‘safer’ or ‘better.’ It’s akin to the abortion issue in the sense that this is a reproductive right, where all mothers should have the right to choose where they feel safest giving birth. The statistics just do not exist to say that hospital birth is safer. In fact, the studies show the opposite, that homebirth is just as safe as hospital birth for low-risk women. So we need to pay attention to the studies that are published in medical and midwifery journals and not use fear tactics and anecdotal evidence to discourage homebirth because it frightens some people or adds competition to the marketplace.

Q: What are some of the reasons you discovered women choose homebirth with a midwife over hospital birth?

A: I think many women had their first child in a hospital setting and either had an unsatisfying experience, or just felt confident enough in the process that they wanted to birth at home the second time around. I think the personalities of many of the homebirth mothers I meet are very confident and ‘take charge.’ They trust their bodies on an intuitive level and many also feel that a homebirth will be the safest and gentlest experience for their newborns. Also, I think that women who have homebirths with a midwife are usually totally transformed and empowered by the experience. They did not expect it to be as life-changing as it was.

Q: Did your pregnancy affect the direction of “The Business of Being Born”?

A: My pregnancy was only included in the film on a lark, at the suggestion of my editor. I was very much against it, as I didn’t see what the director’s birth story was going to add to a film already full of great birth stories. But when my birth became the ‘exception to the rule’ dramatic experience that it was, we knew we had to include it to balance out the film. We wanted to show the importance of the medical and midwifery models working together.

Q: How did you decide which births to include in the final cut of the film?

A: This was very difficult and a few were omitted because we had too many characters!

Q: Once you went into preterm labor, did the knowledge you gained during your work on “The Business of Being Born” affect your response to the medical care you received?

A: The knowledge I had gained during the making of the film was so invaluable that I don’t know how anyone has a baby without doing all the preparation that I did! (Especially seeing a few live births firsthand) So, I was never frightened. I knew exactly what was happening at every moment. I knew we were in amazing hands at home and in the hospital and that we were never in any danger. (Except maybe for the taxi cab ride!) Several people who had babies after seeing the film, also told me that they felt the same way. They felt very empowered to become participants in their own births.

Q: As I’m sure you’re aware, the AMA recently backed ACOG with a resolution to draft
anti-homebirth legislation, asserting hospitals are the safest place to give birth, even referencing your work in their first draft. What is your response?

A: You know, I find it very sad and desperate that such noble organizations who are supposed to have women’s healthcare as their first priority would waste their precious time and energy on such a petty turf war. When you think of all the problems facing our maternity care system and the overwhelming amount of uninsured, the growing premature birth rates, the terrible infant mortality stats, the disappearance of VBAC, etc… It’s amazing they would put so much energy into the less than 1% of mothers giving birth at home. These mothers and midwives will continue to birth at home whether it’s legal or not, so by threatening legislation they are going to push homebirth into the ‘back alley abortion’ territory and move this country backwards instead of working WITH the midwives on licensure to make birth safer for all women and babies. But they are fighting an economic battle here and I find it very sad. I see great hope and compassion in the new generation of medical students and doctors who support our film and I think that eventually this new generation will rise above the hundred-year-old competition and fear of midwives that dominate the current medical profession.

Q: What do you hope people will take away from “The Business of Being Born”?

A: I just hope people will re-examine all their fear-based assumptions about birth, like I did. I hope they will see birth as a joyful, powerful experience and open their eyes to all the different options available to them.

Q: What type of changes would you most like to see implemented in the course of modern maternity care practices?

A: I would like to see midwives integrated into the system more autonomously. I would like to see more obstetricians backing up midwives and supporting natural deliveries. I would like to see more birth centers opening all over the country. I would like to see insurance carriers reimbursing midwives equally to doctors for doing the same job better and more cheaply. I would like to see the malpractice crisis resolve itself somehow so that doctors and midwives don’t have to work everyday with a lawyer looking over their shoulders, worrying that every medical decision can be defended in a court of law.

Q: Finally, can you tell us a little bit about any forthcoming projects?

A: Ricki and I have a book coming out next May called YOUR BEST BIRTH, which will be a wonderful practical guide to planning your birth. We are also working on a follow-up DVD to “The Business of Being Born,” which should be completed by next spring.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Leanne in the Birmingham News

Leanne Pearce Reed, ABC's very own treasurer extraordinaire, had a well written and pointed Letter to the Editor regarding Alabama's escalating Infant Mortality Rate published in the September 1st edition of the Birmingham News! Congratulations and thank you to Leanne!

Alabama mothers deserve midwives:

In his efforts to prevent midwives from practicing in our state, Dr. Donald Williamson of the Alabama Department of Public Health has said that losing just one baby under the care of midwives would be one too many. And yet under Williamson's watch, more and more babies are being lost in our state as our infant mortality rate climbs.

Alabama's rate of 10 deaths per 1,000 is now higher than that of some developing countries. In fact, the countries with the lowest infant mortality rates in the world use midwives as an integral part of their maternal-child health care system.

Midwives are not responsible for our state's dismal infant mortality rate, but they can be part of the solution. The Certified Professional Midwife 2000 Study, published in the British Journal of Medicine, demonstrated certified professional midwives provide effective care with infant mortality rates as low as hospitals, yet with far fewer interventions.

The current system is obviously not working. Alabama mothers deserve better than they are getting. Alabama mothers deserve midwives.

Leanne Pearce Reed


The Midwife On A Mission, CBS Evening News: Can A Simple, Caring Approach Reverse The High U.S. Infant Mortality Rate? - CBS News

Every time Ruth Lubic fusses over a healthy baby, the joy in her voice comes from eight long years of beating the odds. In Washington, D.C., where the infant mortality rate is almost double the national average, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports.

Welcome ABC to the blogosphere!

We're happy to announce the arrival of the Alabama Birth Coalition to the blogosphere. Please check back often for midwifery news on both the state and national level.