|Photo from Natural Beginnings, V. Maddock|
This weekend I went to a workshop to see what wisdom I could pick up from a room full of doulas and four guest speakers: birth workers with a combined 150 years of experience serving women.
Two of the guests were from Portland, OR and I was grateful for my blogging friend Snow who has educated me enough so that I felt as if I had some idea about their part of the world. (thank you!) One of these midwives recounted to me a little of what it was like to attend a birth in the aftermath of the Mt St Helens eruption which I found interesting.
As evidenced by the picture I was deep in thought for much of the day and although my readers here tend not to be a demographic who are particularly interested in the issues surrounding birth we can never underestimate the value of getting good information to anyone who belongs to humanity so here are the take home messages of the day (as I see it)
- We might do well to think about putting more emphasis on the baby and less on pre-birth pedicures and brazilians.
- We need to stop giving women the message that they need help to birth. Doulas are there to affirm the mother's own ability and bear witness to her process, not to fiddle about with evening primrose oil, rebozos, massage oils or "natural induction methods".
- There is no good evidence for the current trend of placenta encapsulation and no guarantee that it is not harmful.
- Two enormously helpful things any mother can do which are proven to reduce the risk of pre-term birth are to gain enough weight (15-20kg) and to eat plain yoghurt at least once a week during the pregnancy. This improves gut health and produces a favourable vaginal flora, reducing infection risk to mother and baby.
The day was organised but Denise Love of Women's Health Cambodia and featured the owner of the organisation, Chong Nai Hy. Read about their work here.